Sunday, 28th November 10.30 am Order of Service

PRISONERS’ WEEK SERVICE

Theme: TOGETHER

WELCOME

Ephesians 2:14

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility

SONG Bind us together Lord Mission Praise 54

Refrain

BIND US TOGETHER, Lord, Bind us together

With cords that cannot be broken.

Bind us together, Lord,

Bind us together,

Bind us together with love.

There is only one God,

There is only one King;

There is only one Body,

That is why we sing:

Refrain

Made for the glory of God,

Purchased by His precious Son;

Born with the right to be clean,

For Jesus the victory has won.

Refrain

You are the family of God,

You are the promise divine;

You are God’s chosen desire,

You are the glorious new wine.

Prayer

God, who goes before us, how many times have we looked for you and not found you? How often have we felt alone and lamented your distance from us?

Yet, Lord, you have always been there, and you are here now.

Help us to recognise you when you show yourself but we are too blind to notice.

Give us the confidence to believe that at turning points, beginnings and endings, you watch over us, but just out of sight.

For you are God, and at no-one’s beck and call. Yet as we gather to worship, you are in our midst. Glory be to you, O Lord

Prisoners’ Week Prayer Video

https://www.prisonersweek.org.uk/blog/prayer-video

The Prisoners Week Prayer

Lord, you offer freedom to all people.

We pray for those who are held in prison.

Break the bonds of fear and isolation that exist.

Support with your love: prisoners, their families and friends,

prison staff, chaplains and all who care.

Heal those who have been wounded by the activities of others,

especially the victims of crime.

Help us to forgive one another, to act justly, to love mercy,

and walk humbly together with Christ

in his strength and in his Spirit,

now and every day. Amen.

Children’s Talk Don’t get MAD, get EVEN

Maybe you have heard people say that on the TV. Do you know what it means? It means that instead of getting angry at someone for something they have said or done to us, we should just be nasty back to them! Does that sound like the kind of thing JESUS would SAY?

No – not at all. You maybe know that I work in a prison – and there are some people who think that the main thing to do with people in prison is to PUNISH them for their bad things they have done. And of course, the fact that they are IN PRISON is their punishment.

But what are we going to DO with the prisoners while they are with us? Well, some people are wanting to help these people to STOP doing bad things and to do GOOD things – and one of the ways that we do that is by letting them understand how they have hurt so many people – including their own family.

Let’s watch a short video before Sunday Club.

(Stop at 1.58 minutes)

Children’s Song For I’m building a people of power Mission Praise 151

For I’m building a people of power

And I’m making a people of praise

That will move through this land by My Spirit

And will glorify My precious Name

Build Your Church, Lord, make us strong, Lord

Join our hearts, Lord, through Your Son

Make us one, Lord, in Your body

In the kingdom of Your Son

For I’m building a people of power

And I’m making a people of praise

That will move through this land by My Spirit

And will glorify My precious Name

Build Your Church, Lord, make us strong, Lord

Join our hearts, Lord, through Your Son

Make us one, Lord, in Your body

In the kingdom of Your Son

Build Your Church, Lord, make us strong, Lord

Join our hearts, Lord, through Your Son

Make us one, Lord, in Your body

In the kingdom of Your Son

READING Ephesians 4:15-16

15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

The letters of the New Testament constantly use pictures for the Body of Christ. There is a clear theme throughout that we are not simply in a vertical relationship with our God, but that we together form a community.

Jim Wallis, in his book, The Call to Conversion puts it this way:

Community is the great assumption of the New Testament. From the calling of the disciples to the inauguration of the church at Pentecost, the gospel of the kingdom drives the believers to community. The new order becomes real in the context of a shared life.”

It matters what happens to the parts of the body. (1 Cor 12)

Whilst this is true spiritually, it also holds that we care for each other physically, (and mentally) too. There has always been a school of thought that prison should be harsh, punitive and a “lesson” to the wrong do-er.

Equally, there are those who see prison as an opportunity to change and develop new ways of being for the convicted.

The themes of Retribution and Restoration run deep in the history of criminal justice.

We pray each week for a couple who live and work in South Africa. Dawn Jackson spend a great deal of her time in prisons – and when she goes in, she is running courses on Restorative Justice

I want you to listen to Martin Forrest as he speaks about the impact of the Sycamore Tree Restorative Justice course which runs in several Scottish Prisons – including Inverness Prison (Martin and I were founder members of the India Ministries Fellowship in South India some 38 years ago):

https://www.prisonersweek.org.uk/blog/watch-sycamore- tree-course-at-hmp-low-moss

READING John 11 vs17-37

17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

21 Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

23 Jesus said to her, Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha answered, I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27 Yes, Lord,” she replied, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into

the world.”

28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. The Teacher is here,” she said, and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When

the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 Where have you laid him?” he asked.

Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then the Jews said, See how he loved him!”

37 But some of them said, Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?

SERMON Loss and restoration lie at the heart of this gospel story. The grief reactions of the two sisters reflect what we know of their personalities from the story of the “domestic” over a woman’s role (Luke 10 38-42). Martha is out meeting Jesus and her plain speaking is once again front and centre! Mary is gutted and grieving in the house.

They both reproach Jesus for not being there. They knew that his presence would have changed the outcome. They believed that he was God’s Messiah with the power over life and death.

And yet. Their beloved brother was dead.

We know that the happy ending is near. However, lost in pain and grief and loss the sisters are angry that this could have happened. That Jesus let this happen.

Does this have echoes of our feelings and prayers when something bad happens to us?

Prison is often a moment of great loss for family. Income, relationships, home and status are all threatened and often devastated.

Where do we place our faith at such times? How do we deal with forgiveness and the effect on victims alongside the sense of loss within families? How do we hold together when all is breaking apart?

Video Reflection

https://www.prisonersweek.org.uk/blog/together-a-reflection

PRAYER

God of Abraham and Sarah, Jacob, Moses, and Aaron, who through your prophets raised the eyes of your people to seek a better country where justice prevailed

and peace reclaimed the streets; we pray for the peoples of our time that their lives be not shaped

by the stories only of their past, but that they may discover,

in the traditions of their faith and in the encounter with those who are different from themselves, a future in which there is room for the gifts of all.

Silence…..

Hear our prayers also on this day for those who risk all to worship, Christian communities who are suffering persecution at this time, who flee the violence or continue to live in the ruins,

who fear reprisal, kidnap, and the destruction of buildings.

We pray for world bodies uniting to meet this threat, bodies who bring aid or monitor injustice,

journalists who bring the reality home,

local churches as they what they can offer what they can;

and we pray that the whole church with even greater urgency will seek ways of making known the promise of reconciliation raised before all humankind in the Cross of Christ.

As an Easter people, we remember before you now

Those whom we know who have lost hope..

Those who live in bitterness and hate….

Those who fear for their future….

Those whose lives are defined by pain….

May we as your body bring healing and peace.

Renew our commitment to being your body. Give us compassion for the isolated ones.

Forgiveness for the ones who have hurt themselves and others

Energy and imagination to tell your story and share your love. Amen

Hymn Blest be the tie that binds Mission Praise 60

  1. Blest be the tie that binds
    Our hearts in Christian love;
    The fellowship of kindred minds
    Is like to that above.
  1. Before our Fathers throne,
    We pour our ardent prayers;
    Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
    Our comforts, and our cares.
  1. We share our mutual woes,
    Our mutual burdens bear;
    And often for each other flows
    The sympathizing tear.
  1. When we asunder part,
    It gives us inward pain;
    But we shall still be joined in heart,
    And hope to meet again.

AMEN

Benediction

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