Worship for Sunday 28th April 2024, by Rev. Caroline Wickens

Invitation to Worship

May the love that lights up the face of God
shine with favour upon us and bless us;
teaching us God’s way of living and loving, giving and caring
so that in our worship we may witness to that love and grace.

Hymn: StF 102  For the beauty of the earth

Watch the video here.

For the beauty of the earth,
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies—

Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the wonder of each hour,
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon, and stars of light—

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild—

For Thy church that evermore
Lifteth holy hands above,
Offering up on every shore
Her pure sacrifice of love—

Folliott Sandford Pierpoint (1835 – 1917)

Opening prayer

We thank you, O God for the gift of your love for us.
Love that reaches out to accept us, wherever we are, whoever we are.
Love that demands a lot, but at the same time, somehow, amazingly,

enables us to meet those demands.
Love that reassures, affirms, prompts, challenges, and overwhelms us

with the completeness of its response.
Help us, your people, held within the security of your love, to risk giving that same love to others.
May our love, too, be known for its abundance, its readiness to speak out and its healing power.

O God, who sent gifts of the Holy Spirit to your first saints,
We know you continue to send gifts to us,
Even though we do not claim them.
We confess that we have not always opened our gifts.
We have often chosen to keep them packed away or buried.
Move us, by your Spirit,
To pick up our presents, that you so freely give,
To open them and to spend them lavishly on the stewardship of your world.
In the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, we pray.

Hymn: StF 332  Lord, I lift your name on high

Lord I lift Your name on high
Lord I love to sing Your praises
I’m so glad You’re in my life
I’m so glad You came to save us

You came from heaven to earth
To show the way
From the earth to the cross
My debt to pay
From the cross to the grave
From the grave to the sky
Lord I lift Your name on high

Rick Founds, © 1989! Maranatha Music

Reading: 1 Chronicles 29:10 – 17

David’s Praise to God

10 Then David blessed the Lord in the presence of all the assembly; David said: ‘Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our ancestor Israel, for ever and ever. 11 Yours, O Lord, are the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heavens and on the earth is yours; yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. 12 Riches and honour come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might; and it is in your hand to make great and to give strength to all. 13 And now, our God, we give thanks to you and praise your glorious name.

14 ‘But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to make this freewill-offering? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. 15 For we are aliens and transients before you, as were all our ancestors; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope. 16 O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own. 17 I know, my God, that you search the heart, and take pleasure in uprightness; in the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you.


Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the majesty, for everything in heaven and on earth is yours; all things come from you, and of your own do we give you

The word ‘mine’ is one that most children learn very early on. Whether it’s a favourite toy, a biscuit or their comfort blanket, ‘mine’ comes out loud and clear – and in competition with others: mine, and not yours. And it’s easy for grownups to have the same basic mind-set: when life brings me something good, it’s mine. I’ve worked for it, I’ve earned it, and I’m not letting anyone else near it – whatever it is.

David’s words in the book of Chronicles reflect a different approach to possession. If anyone could claim to have earned wealth it might be David. After many tough years fighting for his survival, he finally became king of Israel. Chronicles tells us that he became rich, gold, silver, marble and precious stones – all there in his treasury. But he did not store up his wealth in a private treasure-house, to gloat over it all alone. He spent it, lavishly, generously, in preparing for the new temple which his son Solomon would build. Why? Was he perhaps generating employment, stimulating the local economy? Well, maybe; but his core reason goes deeper. He recognised that his riches were not, in fact, his own. They came from God, and God had given them to him. He had no right to keep them in a locked treasure-house, as though they were completely and exclusively his. He was the steward of these riches, not the outright owner – and so when there was the need to build a new temple to honour God, what better use of these riches could he make than to use them for that purpose? So when Solomon set about building the temple, there was gold and silver, onyx and marble, precious stones and cedars of Lebanon, all ready and waiting to be shaped into a house worthy of a generous God.

‘What is mine is yours’: this, said Jewish teachers long ago, was the right way to live. That teaching flows from David’s response to God’s generosity. Christians see this generosity reflected most clearly in God’s gift of Jesus, the Son, and for us, that creates an imperative to live with similar generosity – to  share God’s good gifts. Loving and giving remains part of our walk with God, part of our discipleship. For some, it means sharing God-given riches; but not many of us have gold or precious stones in our back pockets waiting to be given away! Yet there are always people worse off than ourselves, and sharing what we have is part of our Christian journey. And there are other ways of being generous with what God has given us. For some of us, that’s time – I was talking yesterday to someone, still working at the moment, who is looking forward to retirement so that she can volunteer with charities reflecting her particular strengths and interests. I should say that she already gives masses of time to her church! And then there are those with particular gifts, whether it’s understanding how the building works, or how the heating works, or preaching the word or teaching the children or welcoming visitors or living the Christian life in ways that are deeply attractive. All those are God-given gifts too, just as valuable in God’s eyes as David’s chest full of gold – and just as much for sharing, with that outward-facing focus on other people and their needs, rather than looking at ourselves and thinking about how unselfish we are being in making the choice to help others.

‘All things come from you, and of your own have we given you’ – and so we offer God’s good gifts freely and joyously back to our God for the benefit of our neighbours, our world. We cannot say, ‘this is mine’, for we are not owners but stewards; and as we reflect on our stewardship of what God has given us, we know that we are called to use it for the good of the community, for the good of God’s world.  

Hymn: StF 249  Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love

Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love,

show us how to serve

the neighbours we have from you.

Kneels at the feet of his friends,

silently washes their feet,

Master who acts as a slave to them.


Neighbours are rich folk and poor,

Neighbours are black folk and white,

neighbours are nearby and far away.


These are the ones we should serve,

these are the ones we should love,

all these are neighbours to us and you.


Kneel at the feet of our friends,

silently washing their feet,

this is the way we should live with you.

North Ghanaian song adapted by Tom Colvin (1925 – 2000), © 1969 Hope Publishing Company


Let us pray to God, maker and giver of all good things:

Father, we give thanks for your love and generosity. We remember you have created our world, in its diversity and beauty. You have made each of us, giving us life, and purpose, and freedom through Jesus your Son. Help us to remember all your love and generosity.

As we remember the gifts of food and shelter, we pray for those who lack basic necessities, for the poor of every land, for refugees, for the homeless. Help all who try to offer them hope, especially the charities who have skill and experience. Help us to be practical in our care.

Remembering your creation of the Universe, we pray for scientists and engineers, discovering and working with all you made. We ask that we may be wise stewards of the natural resources you have given us. Help us to use the understanding we have for the good of all.

The riches of the earth are yours, and as stewards, we are answerable to you. Guide economists, politicians, and all your people to a right use of wealth.

We remember those who are in crisis, for any reason. Help them, and those around them. Be with the sick; have mercy on the bereaved, and show us how to honour the memory of those who have died

We pray for ourselves, that we may use your gifts of time, money, and talents with love and wisdom. Help us to understand all that has been given us, and done for us, and to respond gladly. Amen.

Hymn: StF 566 Take my life, and let it be

Take my life, and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to thee;
take my moments and my days,
let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands, and let them move
at the impulse of thy love;
take my feet, and let them be
swift and beautiful for thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing
always, only, for my King;
take my lips, and let them be
filled with messages from thee.

Take my silver and my gold,
not a mite would I withhold;
take my intellect, and use
every power as thou shalt choose.

Take my will and make it thine;
it shall be no longer mine.
take my heart, it is thine own;
it shall be thy royal throne.

Take my love; my Lord, I pour
at thy feet its treasure store;
take my self, and I will be
ever, only, all for thee.

Frances Ridley Havergal (1836 – 1879)


Lord God, make me a true steward of your bounty;

 where there is a need – let me see it;

where there is abundance – let me share it;

where there is time – let me spend it;

 and where there is treasure – let me use it for your glory. Amen.