Take time to worship.
To think, reflect and respond to God in your own space.
Sunday 24th May 2020
Welcome to our worship today.
For almost 6 weeks following his death and resurrection, Jesus appeared at various times to the disciples and up to 500 others; on the road to Emmaus, at a breakfast fishing trip in Galilee and in a locked room in Jerusalem over the course of a couple of Sunday evenings - once with Thomas and once without.
After 40 days that all stopped. Jesus was seen by the disciples to ascend to the presence of God the Father as they looked to the heavens and held onto the promise that the Holy Spirit would come 10 days later at Pentecost.
Today we pick up the theme of Ascension Day and next week we celebrate Pentecost. Mairi welcomes us and introduces the first hymn of personal faith in Christ. Lyrics appear on the screen after about one and a half minutes when the congregation joins in with the hymn writer who leads us.
Click on the black arrow to be led by Mairi as we pray the Lord's Prayer together.
Our Father, who art in heaven hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
The reading this morning is from Luke 24 vv 44-53 and you'll find that here. After reading for us, Sally Young will introduce the hymn she has chosen.
'The best thing I have ever done is to become a follower of Jesus,' says the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. He speaks, on the left, in one of the daily videos coming out from Thy Kingdom Come to support us while we pray during this season of Pentecost. We're praying particularly for others to become followers of Jesus. On the right, Justin Welby tells the story in today's video clip of Luke's life changed by meeting Jesus. If you are not receiving these daily emails, you can sign up at Thy Kingdom Come's homepage here and using the "register" button in the top right of the screen. Many pages on the site are worth visiting; here you can download a prayer journal if you've missed out.
Our prayers of Adoration and Confession pick up the disciples' posture from Ascension Day, encouraging us not just to look to the heavens but to look to and go into the presence of God.
Take time over each of these phrases to make it your own prayer.
We look to the heavens longing to know the full seasons of your kingdom.
We look to the heavens longing to know the heights and depths of your steadfast loving-kindness.
We look to the heavens longing to know that you are God and that we are yours and that in the end, all shall be well. Yet you hold the fullness of the seasons, for you are the true depths of love and only in you shall all finally be well.
Turn our heads from too much star-gazing and turn our hearts from too much navel-gazing that we might be present to resurrection life right before us.
Remind us that any love of infinite power will never overcome the power of infinite love. Fill us with such resurrection power that in our love and even in our doubt we might give witness to the mystery of your kingdom and the healing of your love.
Mairi leads us in the reflection entitled "Living ascended lives" and then introduces our final hymn which concludes with a blessing.
Now the notices!
Do please read them because somewhere in among them there's news of our live service next week.
Don't forget there is weekly content for families and younger children including PATCH - Parent and Toddler Church over at our Children and Young People's Page. Click here to go there now.
As mentioned last week, it can be hard choosing the best version of hymns to link through to in our service. Here are four alternative ways to enjoy worship music of your choosing from the web:
For a selection offered by Thy Kingdom Come aware that so many services are online click here.
For the BBC Songs of Praise top 100 hymns mentioned a fortnight ago click here.
For the Spotify "CCLI Sang on Sunday (UK)" play list click here or search in your Spotify account for that playlist. This list is based on the weekly returns from folk like us of which words we've been reproducing "in churches" to be able to give writers their royalties.
For Premier Praise radio station click here or find them on your digital radio.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has written to Christian worship leader Tim Hughes to thank him for organising 'The UK Blessing' music video which closed our service recently. The video features people from 65 churches and has been seen over 2 million times on Youtube. Click on the image to listen.
In a personal letter to Tim Hughes, the Prime Minister awarded him his daily Points of Light Award - a prize which has been running since 2014 to recognise individuals who have had a positive impact on society. Boris Johnson said: "At a time when our churches are closed, I am filled with admiration to hear how you have used the power of music to bring together Christians of all denominations from across our United Kingdom. "Your sensational singing masterpiece 'The UK Blessing' is truly uplifting and has touched millions around the world with its message of hope and its beauty. "As we continue to protect our NHS and save lives, I know you are also leading efforts through your own church to support those in need in Birmingham and to befriend those who are feeling lonely or isolated at this time. So on behalf of the whole country, I just want to say a big thank you for all that you do."
Today marks nine weeks of joint calls by Scottish churches to pray at 7pm in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Thousands of people across Scotland have been answering the call to join in prayer during this time of sacrifice, difficulty and bereavement. Use the prayer on the Church of Scotland website here or join us on the Blackford Parish Church Facebook page (which can be seen on our website homepage here) where the prayer will be posted just before 7pm this evening.
The Bible Study meets on Zoom at 8pm on Tuesday evening - bring your own tea or coffee and join us on this link: https://zoom.us/j/99569326307
We're running a new series called Trusting God in difficult times and it's
based on a series of short talks from Tim Keller. This session is from
Blackford Hot Chocolate Youth Group meets this evening at 7:30pm for a murder mystery set in a Pizzeria and a topical reflection on Romans 12:12.—keeping with the Italian theme. If it works you can borrow the material afterwards; if it doesn't you can keep it!
A PDF copy of this service is available here to download and print for your own use or to pass on to someone else.
Last Sunday over 50 folk got to the website one way or another and over 40 on the Monday as well catching up on either the service or possibly the school assembly.
Next week, Sunday 31st May, we are live again at 11:00am over on Zoom using this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/92405856362. Give yourself a few minutes more than you'd imagined on Sunday 31st to allow for downloading an update on Zoom software. We'll have the chat rooms open from 10:30am and look to use more rooms after the service to give smaller groups over coffee.
Also next Sunday at 10:00am, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland is hosting a 30 minute nation wide celebration of Pentecost on the Church of Scotland website. Once we know the link for that it will be added on here.