Lord God, we worship you. We praise you today for your faithfulness.

Thank you, Lord for your love for us, your people, a love that has no ending.  Amen.

HYMN H&P  42 O love of God how strong and new, eternal and yet ever new…

  eternal love, in thee we rest, for ever safe, for ever blest.

PRAYER   Ever-loving God, you call us all into your family of grace. When we are lost, you seek us. Your hands are kind as they untangle us from the thorns of sin that snare us. You restore us with joy. Thank you for not only accepting us, but for celebrating us, for delighting in us as we discover what it means to belong to you. Amen.

MESSAGE: In the gospel of Luke Chapter15 we read that Jesus was speaking to the tax-collectors and sinners who had gathered near to listen to him. Another group of people had also gathered to listen to him. They were the Pharisees and the scribes who were grumbling and saying: ”This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”  Jesus had been welcoming everyone, and he was including people they didn’t approve of and this annoyed them. Jesus’ response is to tell them three parables (stories with meanings). These were about The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin and The Prodigal Son. Today we’re looking at the story of the Lost Coin.

Each of the stories speaks of something precious or valuable being lost and the effort that is made to find it and then the joyful party that celebrates the precious thing being found. As far as the religious leaders could see, the people around Jesus were beyond help – why should He bother with them?. But Jesus implies that God delights in these people too.

LET’S READ Luke: Chapter 15:8-10

MESSAGE: This parable is rooted in the everyday life and customs of Jesus’ world. The lost coin was more than simply money to the woman – it had great sentimental value too. In this parable something was lost, but lost at home. Unlike the lost sheep who wandered off, the coin was lost in the house, in a place of apparent safety.

So what did the woman do? She lit a lamp to illuminate the probably windowless, dingy room. She swept the floor carefully. She searched without giving up. And her reward for that was finding her precious coin.  Then she called her neighbours to rejoice with her – to share her joy at finding that which had been lost, but now was found.

What is Jesus saying to us here? Although all of us are lost at times, often by turning away from God and dabbling in sin, God always looks for each one of us and He goes on looking. Why? Because we are His children who belong to Him and we are loved by Him and He never gives up drawing us back into fellowship with Him. So let’s thank Him and praise Him for this.

PRAYER  God of the wayward and the weary, which often includes us, we praise You. We thank You for caring about each one of us –thank You that we have worth, that we are valued by You. The cares of the world can draw us away from You, Lord. Like a coin falling into the shadows, sudden misfortune enters our lives and we are lost, rolling away from all that holds us safe.      Help us to look for those of Your children, inside the church and outside, who need Your love,   and give us the courage, not only to offer them signs of Your love, but, by our actions and words to share Your love with them, modelling our lives on Jesus, the greatest rescuer of all. Amen.

Shall we say The Lord’s Prayer together: Our Father, who art in heaven………

HYMN H&P215   Amazing grace (how sweet the sound) that saved a wretch like me.

    I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see.

BLESSING: May the love of the Lord Jesus draw you to Himself and the power of the Lord Jesus strengthen you in His service. May the joy of the Lord Jesus fill your hearts. And the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

Worship at Home  18 September 2022 Ruth Lewis LP

 Prayer:  Creator God, you spoke the word and chaos transformed into the star strewn skies of night; you whisper and the wind  stirs our souls ; you smile and all creation rejoices.

Sorrowing God forgive us, your world, for the madness of our wars, the chaos of our power-games; the evil of preventable disease, the crowding of poverty, the empty echo of wealthy isolation. Forgiving God you whisper your words of love to every broken heart, you breathe your call of justice to every heartless tyrant. O Lord our God, we give thanks for the wisdom of the prophetic voice inspired by you that speaks truth to power.

Hymn  H&P  673 Dear Lord and father of mankind 

Here’s a reading Jesus and his followers will have been well aware of. War had come. The land and the temple were in ruins. People were in exile. How might a prophet get people’s attention? How might one bring hope in such a tragic time? Given the extent of the destruction and devastation, only words of deep lament would do. In this passage Jeremiah weeps for the land, the city of Jerusalem and for the nation he loves. There is ambiguity though, about when it is the prophet’s voice we hear or when, maybe, it is God.

Reading:  Jeremiah 8:18—9:1

Message:   Following some brutal but necessary dental surgery a few years ago, I was left with constant tingling, burning and a feeling of soreness and  dryness in my lips!  Told it will never go, I find   LIP balmapplied constantly, soothes and makes it bearable. I love my lip balm and have lots of pots, tubes and lipsticks every-where at hand. So this passage clearly speaks to my condition. Perhaps it speaks to yours. We need a balm. Maybe, along with so many people throughout the world, you have been left reeling by Covid, drought and floods,  with now the energy crisis resulting from the war in Ukraine. Or maybe frailty just from  getting old is an issue. Yet some short-term cost-cutting decisions by politicians affecting crime figures, clean water supplies and above all health provision, our NHS, also leave us with a feeling of despair. Are there no physicians? No Drs? Is there no cure? No soothing balm?  Naturally we cry out like the prophet: Where is the Lord? In the passage God suggests that people have provoked him with their foreign idols. Is it  pursuit of the false idols of wealth, profit and power which have brought our  world to this desperate state? The passage implies God will weep day and night for “the slain of my people”.  It’s a powerful image:  God weeping his eyes out for  people’s  suffering, much of which they have brought on themselves. What an immensely comforting word to people sitting stunned in their sorrow!   When you think you can’t find God anywhere, the Gospel of Jesus Christ picks up from Jeremiah and  tells us that God is sitting right beside us weeping along with us.  He is our balm. When we call out there is no balm in Gilead and the pain will not stop, we could remember the old spiritual and its declaration of faith. There IS a balm in Gilead. Our  Comforter in sorrow is with us on this trail of tears through the valley of the shadow of death. Like lip balm on sore lips our Saviour makes our trials bearable.

Prayer: We pray for those today gathered at the site of road accidents, around hospital beds, in funeral homes, and at scenes of violence and murder. Loving God, comfort your distressed children, and help them to create something good out of their pain and grief.  

We pray for those today whose homes are destroyed by flood, fire, earthquake, terrorism, or war. Loving God, help your homeless children to triumph over such disasters, and direct the efforts of those relief organisations who rush to give assistance. We pray today for the thousands in our country struggling with the cost of living, fearing the energy crisis and  the millions more throughout the world who are literally starving today. Loving God, strengthen   Food-banks and  world agencies that are attempting to bring food to the hungry, and prick the hearts of  politicians, bankers  and corporations whose decisions would  make a difference . God of the all nations, Lover of each individual soul, we say the words Jesus taught us  :  Our father…

Hymn H&P 552 Lord of all hopefulness

Blessing: The American  spiritual puts it: “There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole”. May your life be filled with dignity and peace and your heart soothed by the balm and love of the Lord.  Amen.