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GOOD FRIDAY MEDITATION
2021

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Full-length audio of service
(To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

A note to our worshippers. The audio above is the concatenation of all the audio in this service which makes it a very large file. The benefit is that you won’t continually have to alternate between tabs and can follow the service without interruption while listening to the audio.

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HYMN: WHEN I SURVEY THE WONDROUS CROSS
Introduction: Intro When I survey (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

Our Good Friday meditation commences with the hymn, ‘When I survey the wondrous cross. The first two lines of the second paraphrase the words of St Paul as recoded in Galatians 6:14 “But God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.’
Audio file:
When I survey (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

1. When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

2. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
Save in the death of Christ, my God;
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.

3. See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down;
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

4. Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
(Isaac Watts -1674-1748)

THE LORD’S PRAYER (SUNG)
The Lord's Prayer. (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

HYMN THERE IS A GREEN HILL
Intro There is a green hill (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)
Good Friday would not be complete without the hymn we include the hymn, ‘There is a green hill far away. “The words were written by Cecil Frances Alexander was an Anglo Irish hymnodist and poet. She married the Anglican clergyman William Alexander who afterwards became Bishop of Derry and Archbishop of Armagh.


Audio file: There is a green hill (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

1 There is a green hill far away,
without a city wall,
where the dear Lord was crucified,
who died to save us all.

2 We may not know, we cannot tell,
what pains he had to bear;
but we believe it was for us
he hung and suffered there.

3 He died that we might be forgiv'n,
he died to make us good,
that we might go at last to heav'n,
saved by his precious blood.

4 There was no other good enough
to pay the price of sin;
he only could unlock the gate
of heav'n, and let us in.

5 O dearly, dearly has he loved,
and we must love him too,
and trust in his redeeming blood,
and try his works to do.


POEM: IS HE CALLING ME BY NAME?
(Based on John 20:10-18 Jesus calling Mary by name)
(It can be sung to the tune: Tyndal)
Is he calling me by name (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)
Is He calling me by name?
Me- who caused His greatest shame?
Me-who caused His pain and grief
By my sin and unbelief?
But He died at Calvary
And by grace He’s calling me!

Is He calling me by name?
Me-whose actions him defame?
Me-with so much history?-
No one could be won through me.
But He died at Calvary
And by grace He’s calling me!

Is He calling me by name?
Me-who he could rightly blame?
Me-who saw His bleeding side-
God incarnate crucified?
But He died at Calvary
And by grace He’s calling me!

(
Malcolm Westwood)

CHORAL: WORTHY IS THE LAMB Introduction: Intro worthy is the Lamb (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab) Wonderful music of George Frideric Handel-‘Worthy is the Lamb’ , taken of course from ‘Messiah’ which was written in 1741. The libretto written by George Jennings is entirely drawn from the Bible, mostly from the King James’ Bible. The lyrics are taken from Revelation 5:12-14-‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain and hath redeemed us to God by his blood to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and blessing. Blessing and honour glory and power be unto him that sitteth upon the throne and to the lamb for ever and ever.

WORTHY IS THE LAMB
Worthy is the Lamb (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

BIBLE READING
Matthew 27:27-50. (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)
27 
Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him.28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spit on him, and took the staff
and struck him on the head again and again. 
31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”).34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. 35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots.36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. 37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: this is Jesus, the king of the Jews.
38 Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself!Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)
47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

HYMN: AND CAN IT BE
Intro And can it be (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab) Words by Charles Wesley. The tune, Sagina is by Thomas Campbell who published ‘The Bouquet’ a collection of tunes composed and adapted to Wesley's Hymns which included 23 tunes, all of which were given botanical names; the most well known is SAGINA (PEARLWORT).

Audio file:
And can it be (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

1. And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Saviour's blood?
Died he for me who caused his pain,
For me who him to death pursued?,
Amazing love! how can it be
That thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

2. He left his Father's throne above,
So free, so infinite his grace,
Emptied himself of all but love
And bled for Adam's helpless race.
'Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For, O my God, it found out me.

3. Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature's night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray;
I woke; the dungeon flamed with light.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed thee.

4. No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in him, is mine.
Alive in him, my living head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach the eternal throne
And claim the crown, through Christ, my own.

CHORAL: STABAT MATER DOLOROSO
Intro Stabat Mater:(To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)
The "Stabat Mater" is a 13th-century Latin poem exploring the sorrows of the Mary the mother of Jesus as she watched her son dying on the cross. The title comes from the first words of the poem: Stabat mater dolorosa / Juxta crucem lacrimosa / Dum pendebat Filius (The mother stood in sorrow, weeping beside the cross where her son was hanging).

Pergolesi’s Stabat mater is a transcendently beautiful and deeply personal musical meditation on suffering and redemption, written by the 26-year-old composer as he himself lay dying.


This is an English translation of the Latin poem.

Mother bowed with grief appalling
must thou watch, with tears slow falling
on the cross Thy dying son!
Through my heart, thus sorrow riven
must that cruel sword be driven
as foretold – O Holy One!
Oh, how mournful and oppressed
was that Mother ever-blessed
Mother of the Spotless One:
She, whose grieving was perceiving
contemplating, unabating
all the anguish of her Son!
Is there any, tears withholding
Christ’s dear Mother thus beholding
in woe – like no other woe!
Who that would not grief be feeling
for that Holy Mother kneeling
– what suffering was ever so?
For the sins of every nation
she beheld his tribulation
given to scourgers for a prey:
Saw her Jesus foully taken
languishing, by all forsaken
when his spirit passed away.
Love’s sweet fountain, Mother tender
haste this hard heart, soft to render
make me sharer in Thy pain.
Fire me now with zeal so glowing
love so rich to Jesus, flowing
that I favor may obtain.
Holy Mother, I implore Thee
crucify this heart before Thee
guilty it is verily!
Hate, misprision, scorn, derision,
thirst assailing, failing vision
railing, ailing, deal to me.
In Thy keeping, watching, weeping
by the cross may I unsleeping
live and sorrow for his sake.
Close to Jesus, with Thee kneeling
all Thy dolours with Thee feeling
oh grant this – the prayer I make.
Maid immaculate, excelling
peerless one, in heav’n high dwelling
make me truly mourn with Thee.
Make me sighing hear Him dying
ever newly vivifying
the anguish He bore for me.
With the same scar lacerated
by the cross enfired, elated
wrought by love to ecstasy!
Thus inspired and affected
let me, Virgin, be protected
when sounds forth the call for me!
May his sacred cross defend me
he who died there so befriend me
that His pardon shall suffice.
When this earthly frame is riven
grant that to my soul is given
all the joys of Paradise!

Audio file: Stabat Mater Doloroso (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

BRASS: FOR OUR TRANSGRESSIONS
Introduction: Intro For our transgressions. (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab) Here is one of my most favourite brass band meditations. It’s called ‘For Our Transgressions and was written my Morley Calvert. It focuses on the Scripture, ‘He was wounded for our transgressions and with his stripes we are healed. ‘ He uses the words, ‘Out from his wounded side’ the phrase which opens the piece. Then he includes ‘There is life for a look at the crucified one’; The wounds of Christ are open; and “I shall know him.’ The words of which are printed out.



Audio file:
For our transgressions (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

Out from his wounded side,
Rivers of mercy are flowing
Out from his wounded side.


THERE IS LIFE FOR A LOOK

1. There is life for a look at the crucified one,
There is life at this moment for thee;
Then look, sinner, look unto him and be saved,
Unto him who was nailed to the tree.

Chorus
Look, look, look and live;
There is life for a look at the crucified one,
There is life at this moment for thee.

2. O why was he there as the bearer of sin,
If on Jesus thy sins were not laid?
O why from his side flowed the sin-cleansing blood,
If his dying thy debt had not paid?

3. It is not thy tears of repentance or prayers,
But the blood that atones for the soul;
On him then who shed it thou mayest at once
Thy weight of iniquities roll.

4. Then take with rejoicing from Jesus at once
The life everlasting he gives;
And know, with assurance, thou need'st never die
Since Jesus, thy righteousness, lives.

CHORUS
The wounds of Christ are open,
Sinner, they were made for thee;
The wounds of Christ are open,
There for refuge flee.


CHORUS

I shall know him, I shall know him
And redeemed by his side I shall stand
I shall know him, I shall know him,
By the print of the nails in his hands


GOOD FRIDAY THOUGHTS
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Dr. Malcolm Westwood

Audio file Good Friday thoughts (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

The period of Easter takes the emotions of Christians from one extreme to the other, doesn’t it. The triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and the adulation of the crowd, the derision in the mock trials at the Sanhedrin and then before Pilate resulting in the crucifixion before we can celebrate the Resurrection on Sunday.And sometimes, because we know that eventually ”All will be well” as Jesus is resurrected, we find we can view the injustice and cruelty to Jesus as something which, although horrible, because it all turned out well in the end is really almost something to read about quickly before we enjoy the spectacular vindication to the detriment of the cost but for the words used in songs and music. And we do have, in our Easter services, such wonderful music with the overriding message of love and redemption. Easter is a time of joy and celebration. It is only natural that we celebrate Jesus being our Redeemer but we can so concentrate on that glorious fact that we can skim over the detail of what he went through. Its not intentional-It’s just that we know that the end of the drama turns out well. We sing old familiar and much loved hymns-There is a green hill far away/The Old rugged Cross. And we marvel at the amazing music of Bach and Handel. Who wants to dwell on the macabre when we can be taken to the heights with Handel’s Messiah! There’s something about all our celebration that gives us that ”All is well” feeling and Easter becomes a sheer time of joy.

Yes, on good Friday in our churches we see the Cross displayed and although it is a reminder that something awful happened to Jesus, that cross in our churches is empty. What happened happened and Jesus passed through that time and we rejoice on Easter day that Jesus was resurrected. We say ”Thank you” to Jesus but sometimes the events from the entry into Jerusalem to the death on the cross we can almost unintentionally sanitise.
So let us recap the reading in St. Matthew’s gospel at the point in the dialogue when Pilate had Jesus scourged.
Roman scourging was torture in the extreme. The victim was stripped, his hands tied behind his back. He was tied to a post with his back bent doubled making it more easy to be lashed with a long leather thong which was studded with sharpened pieces of bone and pellets of lead. This always preceded crucifixion. The victim’s back was reduced to strips of raw flesh with inflamed and bleeding weals.Hold that picture in mind please, because there is a comment I’d like to share with you in a moment.After the scourging, Jesus was handed over to the soldiers while the cross itself was being prepared. They took him to the barracks where the detachment -called a Speria, usually 600 men. It’s unlikely that there was a full Speira in Jerusalem. It’s more likely that these were Pilate’s bodyguard who had accompanied him from his permanent headquarters at Caesarea. As such, they probably had no idea who Jesus was and cared even less. They were certainly not Jews because Jews were exempt from military service.

To these soldiers, Jesus was just another person to be crucified. Horseplay with their victims was just part of their regular routine.Reading the account of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus, there is actually only the briefest insight into the torture and agony but we must remember that the crucifixion of Jesus was no different to any other victim who the Romans had condemned to death this way. And we have plenty of details about this form of death.
As I mentioned earlier, at Easter time we are surrounded by the most beautiful music imaginable. The scenes have resulted in the finest paintings and sculptures the world has known and we hear of the miraculous nature of how the crucifixion affected individual people. But to ignore the pain and brutality of the crucifixion of Jesus would be to not know what Jesus went through.
Of course our redemption happened by the giving of Jesus of his life for us. But let us never be unaware of the detail of what that cost Jesus so forgive me if I detail what happened.

Joseph Klausner, the Jewish writer, says ”Crucifixion is the most terrible and cruel death which man has ever devised for taking vengeance on his fellowmen.” Cicero called it, ”the most cruel and the most horrible torture” And Tacitus
called it ”A torture only fit the slaves.” So awful was it, it was illegal to inflict on a Roman citizen.Klausner describes the crucifixion this way….’The criminal was fastened to his cross, already a bleeding mass from the scourging.

There he hung to die of hunger and thirst and exposure unable to defend himself from the torture of the gnats and flies which settled on his bleeding wounds.Let me now please refer you back to my earlier point. We must remember that the theological significance of the cross cannot be separated from the historical and physical event itself. The height of the cross was important and usually the victim’s feet would be no more than one or two feet above the ground. This was so that the wild beasts and scavenger dogs, in the city might feed on the corpse.

And here’s a further horrific thought. When Jesus was dying on the cross we read that darkness covered the earth from midday until 3 o‘clock. Can you imagine still being alive hearing the scavenger dogs approaching scenting their prey.
Handel’s wonderful Messiah is a world away from those moments in the dark while Jesus was struggling to breathe and hardly able to shift his weight to alleviate his pain.

All this for you and me.


CHORAL: FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORD (Stainer)
Audio file: For God so loved the world (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)


BENEDICTION
Audio file: Benediction (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)
May the blessing of God who gave his Son that we might be redeemed be seen in your living your to the honour and glory of his name. Amen












DECEMBER 2020

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Full-length audio of service 01 Podcast Carol Service (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

A note to our worshippers. The audio above is the concatenation of all the audio in this service which makes it a very large file. The benefit is that you won’t continually have to alternate between tabs and can follow the service without interruption while listening to the audio.

When you right click and then open in a new tab it may take some time to load and create the tab before you can switch back to the tab with the words.

It may even be larger than your system can handle at one time and will seem to freeze or hang. If this is so, please just go back to the method of clicking on the individual audio files as you have been accustomed to in previous services to follow along. This won’t be necessary if you are able to download the large version.
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CAROL: JOY TO THE WORLD

Introduction:
Intro Joy to the world (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)
The words of 'Joy to the World' were written in 1719 by Isaac Watts who wrote many hymns and Carols. The music to the carol is by George Frederick Handel (1685-1759).
Audio file:
Joy to the world (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)


1
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

2
Joy to the earth, the Saviour reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

3
He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.


PRAYER:
Audio file:
Prayer (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)


Our Heavenly Father, as we approach the time of year when everyone joins in the celebration of Christmas where or nor they are Christians, those who are joining together in this service want to say ‘thank you’ for allowing Jesus to come into this world b be our Saviour. We pray that by the way we celebrate that those who just use the time as a time of merriment might realise that there is more to Christmas that self indulgence. May those who have not claimed Jesus as their Saviour see the emptiness of their celebration, not that we want people to be miserable. We just want to share genuine eternal joy with them.

We pray that in all the celebration of Christmas, the greatest will be because we see the miracles which happened for us-the miracle of your love for us, dear God, that you would go to such extremes to show us your love; the miracle of of Jesus taking on human form; the miracle of the virgin birth; the miracle of allowing your beloved Son to endure human experiences, not only of those who loved him but those who showed him so much hatred; the miracle that you would stay your hand against those who treated Jesus so dreadfully.
When we remember your love for us allowed all this, forgive a world, we ask, which seems intent on ignoring you.

At this time , our thoughts are particularly with those who are so worried about loved ones suffering with the coronavirus. We give you our thanks for the hope of the coming vaccine and we are so grateful for your inspiration to the research scientists who are developing the vaccine and for the volunteers who have agreed to be tested in the vaccine trials.
We pray, too, for the doctors and carers who are doing their level best to cope with those who are desperately ill with the virus. Protect them, we pray, from the virus.
We remember, too, who are on their own and are facing this worrying time without support. Grant to them human and spiritually help, we ask, please.
And though this service, we pray will that our faith in you will increase, our hope will become certainty and trust in you will result in the peace you have promised.
All this we ask in the precious and worthy name of Jesus.
Amen

CAROL: HARK THE HERALD ANGELS SING

Introduction:
Intro Hark! The herald angels (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)
The original hymn text was written as a "Hymn for Christmas-Day" by Charles Wesley, included in the 1739 John Wesley collection Hymns and Sacred Poems. Wesley's original hymn began with the opening line "Hark how all the Welkin rings". This was changed to the familiar "Hark! the Herald Angels sing" by George Whitefield in his 1754 Collection of hymns for social worship. A second change was made in the 1782 publication of the Tate and Brady New Version of the Psalms of David. In this work, Whitefield's adaptation of Wesley's hymn appears, with the repetition of the opening line "Hark! The Herald Angels sing/ Glory to the newborn king" at the end of each stanza, as it is commonly sung today.

Audio file:
Hark! The herald angels (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

1.
HARK! The herald angels sing:
Glory to the newborn king;
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled.
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With the angelic host proclaim,
Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Hark! the herald angels sing:
Glory to the newborn king.

2.
Christ, by highest Heaven adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord,
Late in time behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin's womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail the incarnate Deity!
Pleased as man with man to dwell,
Jesus, our Immanuel.

3.
Hail the Heaven born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Risen with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.



CHORAL: FOR UNTO US A CHILD IS BORN
Introduction
Intro For unto us ((To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)
From Messiah, by G.F. Handel. The music is based on the words of Isaiah 9:6-7
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Audio file
For unto us (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

BRASS PRELUDE ON THE TUNE ‘DIX.’
Introduction:
Intro Prelude on the tune Dix (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)
Composed by Stephen Bulla and played by the USA Southern Territory Salvation Army Band. This an arrangement of the carol ‘As with gladness.’

Audio file
Prelude on Dix (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)


POEM
Audio file
Poem Jesus (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)
‘JESUS’

1
He couldn’t have known
When he lay in a stall
That he was the Saviour
God sent for us all;
Divinity dressed
In a baby’s first clothes,
As heaven on earth
Rests in gentle repose.
2
He couldn’t have known
That the angels were there,
That he was the answer
To Israel’s great prayer,
Dependant on man
Whose salvation he bore,
The hope of the world
Now by grace, not by law.
3
He couldn’t have known
He was born to be king,
Nor would he have witnessed
The angels take wing,
For he was a baby
On hay fast asleep,
And others for now
Must attend to his sheep.
4
He couldn’t have known
As the star shone above,
How man in his weakness
Rejected God’s love,
But there in the councils
Of Heav’n long ago,
The cost of God’s giving
Man never can know.

(MW)


CAROL AWAY IN A MANGER
Introduction:
Intro Away in a manger (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)
An alternative tune and arrangement of one of the most loved carol.
"Away in a Manger" was first published in the late nineteenth century and used widely throughout the English-speaking world. In Britain, it is one of the most popular carols; a 1996 Gallup Poll ranked it joint second. Although it was long claimed to be the work of German religious reformer Martin Luther, but that is disputed and the origins are really unknown.

Audio fie
Away in a manger (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

1
Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
The stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.
2
The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.
I love thee, Lord Jesus! look down from the sky,
And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.
3
Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me I pray.
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
And take us to heaven to live with thee there.



GOD’S TITHES AND OUR OFFERINGS
Audio file
God's tithes (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

Christmas is a time of giving and there’s no better time of expressing our love and thanks by giving to God’s work.
May I suggest that we might consider how best our financial offering can be used most effectively by God and prayerfully allocate our offerings in that way.

CAROL O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM
Introduction:
Intro O little town (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)
The text was written by Phillips Brooks (1835–1893), an Episcopal priest, then rector of Church of the Holy Trinity, Philadelphia and later of Trinity Church, Boston. He was inspired by visiting the village of Bethlehem in the Sanjak of Jerusalem in 1865. Three years later, he wrote the poem for his church, and his organist Lewis Redner (1831-1908) added the music.

Audio file
O little town ((To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

1
O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light.
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.

2
For Christ is born of Mary
And, gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wond'ring love.
O morning stars, together
Proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King,
And peace to all on earth!

3
How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is giv'n!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of his heav'n.
No ear may hear his coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him, still
The dear Christ enters in.

4
O holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in,
Be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, 
Our Lord Immanuel!


BRASS: CHRISTMAS DAY
Introduction.
Intro Christmas Day (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)
This is a Christmas selection about Christmas composed by the musically talented Kevin Norbury

Audio file
Christmas Day (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)


CAROL: SILENT NIGHT
Introduction:
Intro Silent Night ((To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)
The origin of the Christmas carol we know as Silent Night was a poem that was written in 1816 by an Austrian priest called Joseph Mohr. On Christmas Eve in 1818 in the small alpine village called Oberndorf it is reputed that the organ at St. Nicholas Church had broken. Joseph Mohr gave the poem of Silent Night (Stille Nacht) to his friend Franz Xavier Gruber and the melody for Silent Night was composed with this in mind. The music to Silent Night was therefore intended for a guitar and the simple score was finished in time for Midnight Mass. Silent Night is the most famous Christmas carol of all time

Audio file
Silent Night (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

1
Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

2
Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Saviour is born
Christ, the Saviour is born
3
Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth "


BIBLE READING Matthew 2:1-8
Audio file
Matthew 2:1-8 (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,     are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler     who will shepherd my people Israel.”
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.  He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

CAROL THE FIRST NOEL
Introduction:
Intro The first Noel (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)
 It tells the story of the night that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, based on the Gospel accounts in Luke 2 and Matthew 2.
Today, "The First Nowell" is usually performed in a four-part hymn arrangement by the English composer John Stainer, first published in his Carols, New and Old in 1871.The First Noel is unknown in origin but is generally thought to be English dating back to the sixteenth century. There is a misconception that the First Noel was French and it is believed that this is because of the French spelling of Noel as opposed to the olde English Anglo-Saxon spelling of the word as in Nowell. After England was captured by the Normans numerous words were adopted from the Norman French language and Noel was re-spelt as Nowell, early printed versions of this carol use the Nowell spelling. The First Noel was first published in 1833 when it appeared in "Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern," a collection of seasonal carols gathered by William B. Sandys.

Audio file
The first Nowell (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

1
The first Noel the angel did say
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay;
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep,
On a cold winter's night that was so deep.

Chorus
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel,
Born is the King of Israel.

2.
They looked up and saw a star,
Shining in the east beyond them far,
And to the earth it gave great light,
And so it continued both day and night.

3.
And by the light of that same star,
Three wise men came from country far,
To seek for a king was their intent,
And to follow the star wherever it went

4.

This star drew nigh to the northwest,
O'er Bethlehem it took its rest,
And there it did both stop and stay
Right over the place where Jesus lay.

5.
Then entered in those wise men three,
Fell reverently on bended knee,
And offered there in his presence
Their gold and myrrh and frankincense.

6.
Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord,
That hath made Heaven and earth of naught,
And with his blood mankind hath bought.


ORCHESTRAL: March Of The Three Kings (Bizet)
Introduction:
Intro The three Kings (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)
We come now to the March of the Three Kings. Introduction: The Crusades-those religious expeditions to rescue the holy places in Palestine from the Moslems -created an enormous interest in both faith and fighting in the Middle Ages. French peasants from Provence in the 13th century, when the tune for this "March of the Kings" was being sung and danced to, must have endowed the Three Kings of the Christmas story with all the virtues and appearance of their own folk heroes nearer at hand. These were the French dukes, clad in gleaming armour, carrying brilliant banners and bejewelled shields, who fought for the Pope far more willingly than they would have for the lives of their own serfs. Hence the martial references in this text, sung to a tune that is perhaps even older than the verses. Georges Bizet, composer of the opera Carmen, used the same tune as a farandole, or stately dance, in his incidental music for Alphonse Daudet’s play L’Arlesienne (The Woman from Aries).

Audio file
March of the three kings (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

CAROL: O HOLY NIGHT
Introduction:
Intro O holy night (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)
The words and lyrics of the old carol 'O Holy Night' were written by Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure in 1847. Cappeau was a wine seller by trade but was asked by the parish priest to write a poem for Christmas. He obliged and wrote the beautiful words of the hymn. He then realised that it should have music to accompany the words and he approached his friend Adolphe Charles Adams(1803-1856). He agreed and the music for the poem was therefore composed by him. Adolphe had attended the Paris conservatoire and forged a brilliant career as a composer. It was translated into English by John Sullivan Dwight (1812-1893).

Audio file
O holy night (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)
O holy night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
‘Till he appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices
O night divine, O night when Christ was born
O night divine, O night divine

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming
Here came the wise men from Orient land
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our friend

He knows our need, he guardeth us from danger
Behold your King! Before the lowly bend!



SERMON

me0021-3-3 Dr. Malcolm Westwood

Audio file Sermon (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

We face a Christmas unlike any other we have experienced before. Despite the coronavirus vaccine, it will be well into the new year before we get back to what we regard as normal. Every day we hear of those who are affected by covid. Many will be without loved ones who have died because of the virus. Many more are suffering intense loneliness as they are isolated from families and friends and Christmas Day they will be without the family hugs and the celebratory Christmas meal.
We’re so grateful for the technology such as face time on computers which allows us to see children and grandchildren but it’s not the same as being there in person, is it.
Not to over emphasise it, but it’s unlikely to be the kind of Christmas we’ve come to love and enjoy. Those happy Christmases of the past may make Christmas this year seem disappointing even though, of course, the Christmas message is ever the same. For many, the way our celebrations are restricted this year may well seem that Christmas is just the same.
But as the Christmas cards have been arriving at our home, many of them have, as usual, pictures of the wise men and the shepherds travelling to visit Jesus. No isolation and safe distancing for them!

The shepherds saw an angel who told them the news of the birth of the Saviour who the angel said is ‘the Messiah, the Lord.’ And suddenly they were treated to a spectacular display of a great company of the heavenly host praising God. You’ll remember the account in St. Luke’s Gospel….

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
We can understand, can’t we, why the shepherds felt a mixture of terror and exultation at such an appearance. It was night and they were –as the carol reminds us- doing what they did every night…. watching their flock. It was an ordinary night when, as the Bible states Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared.
In the middle of the night- from ’nowhere’ a mass of angels appeared. No wonder the shepherds were terrified! It’s not as though the shepherds were expecting something amazing or had been studying the heavens. They were just doing what they did normally.
In contrast, Scripture tells us of Magi from the East who also came to see Jesus. ‘Magi’ was a title given to the priests in a sect of the ancient Persians. Their reason for coming was that as astrologers and astronomers, who in those days would be regarded as a highly skilled and respectable occupation in the science.They had been studying the appearance and movement of the stars. Scholars have long speculated from where the Magi came. The most likely area would be Southern Turkey/Northern Syria. That would mean they had to make a journey of anything up to a thousand miles. That being so, they would have needed to have been very convinced that the star they saw was something the like of which they had never seen before.
The Magi thought the star was important enough to make a very long journey yet they were to find the ‘king’ in a very unpretentious place. Despite the Christmas cards picturing the Magi in the stable, most scholars suggest it is unlikely there were there. Matthew’s reference to the Magi finding Jesus in a ‘house’ rather than a stable suggests that the family had stayed in Bethlehem for a while after the census had been taken and Jesus may have been one or two years of age at the time of the Magi’s visit.
But even among Biblical scholars there is much speculation of the timing. No one is certain of the timing nor the distance of the Magi’s journey or the exact location of where the Magi presented the gifts.
Whatever conclusion scholars come to, the Magi would have had need to have been completely convinced that it was a journey which they needed to make but not finding Jesus in a palace they can’t have been impressed to find him in a ‘house’ as St. Matthew says. It was hardly the kind of place they would have expected to find him. We might feel it was quite logical for them to ask King Herod where the baby King had been born.
After travelling so far they must have been really disappointed where they actually found Jesus after such a long journey.
No doubt when we come to celebrate the birth of Jesus this year after our difficult journey through the past months, our Christmas could seem an awful disappointment and quite an anti climax. Many of us will be away from loved ones, hope could be in short supply as people are suffering so much because of the coronavirus and although a vaccine is on the horizon, Christmas won’t be the joyful time we are used to enjoying.
Though the Magi must have been so looking forward to all they believed the star foretold, they ended up in a very ordinary house. They must have been not a little bewildered. But like everyone who encounters Jesus there is transformation from despair to hope, from disappointment to joy. There was no ‘Well, that’s all a bit of a let down!’ from the Magi, and with their tails between their legs, thinking thy might have misread the signs in the heavens, kept the gifts and made their weary way home. Not a bit of it!-They ‘fell down and worshipped him’ and gave their gifts to Jesus despite the unpromising situation. They believed the sign God had given them and just knew they must kneel in the presence of Jesus. As countless millions have discovered -meeting Jesus is special beyond words.
The Shepherds, on the other hand, had only a short way to travel and if the Magi found where Jesus was living was an incongruous place for a king, after the spectacular angelic chorus, to find Jesus- the Saviour of the world- in a manger in a stable must have been the biggest anti-climax of the century.
A stable after all isn’t the most hygienic of places. Animals are useful creatures but they aren’t exactly particular what they do in a stable! My wife used to work on a farm and speaks about having to muck out where the animals had spent time. The idea of Jesus being surrounded by animal excrement and the inevitable fleas of the animals might have seemed –even to shepherds used to such things- as the strangest place on all the earth to find the Saviour of all the world, especially with the sight of the angels and with the singing of the heavenly host still ringing in their ears.
Coming into the presence of Jesus is always an awesome experience.
It does something to one’s very soul. We’re told that the meeting with Jesus had so affected them that when they left the stable ‘…..they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. (Luke 2:17/18)

The presence of Jesus whenever and wherever he meets us is holy ground and when we accept that he is not only the Saviour of the World, he is our Saviour, then we have a longing to tell others about him. And when we do, like the Shepherds found, whoever hears about what has happened to us will be amazed.

We may be in a situation this Christmas which is unusual –and indeed not one in which we want to be, but we’ll still be on holy ground as we experience the presence of Jesus just as the wise men and the shepherds felt. Despite the physical restrictions we are enduring, the reality of experiencing the presence of Jesus will ever be the same and we will ever want to tell people what it’s like to be in the presence of Jesus our Saviour. And those who hear about our experience of meeting with him will be amazed at what we tell them about him.
What a lovely mission we have….to go from kneeling on holy ground in the presence of Jesus to telling people all we have experienced.

It’s going to be a great Christmas after all!


CAROL: WHO IS HE
Introduction:
Intro Who is He? ((To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)
Benjamin Russell Hanby was born July 22, 1833, In his short life Benjamin graduated from Otterbein, taught school, became a United Brethren minister, started a singing school, was editor for John Church publishers in Cincinnati and composed many songs and hymns before he died of tuberculosis aged 34. 
This version is by my good friend, the very talented musician, Richard Phillips

Audio file
Who is He? (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

1
Who is he born in the stalll
at whose feet the shepherds fall?
Who is he in deep distress, 
fasting in the wilderness?

Refrain: 'Tis the Lord, O wondrous story! 
'Tis the Lord, the King of glory! 
At his feet we humbly fall, 
crown him, crown him, Lord of all!


2
Who is he the people bless 
for his words of gentleness?
Who is he to whom they bring 
all the sick and sorrowing?
[Refrain]

3
Who is he that stands and weeps 
at the grave where Lazarus sleeps?
Who is he the gath'ring throng 
greet with loud triumphant song? [
Refrain]

4
Lo! at midnight, who is he 
prays in dark Gethsemane?
Who is he upon the tree 
dies in grief and agony?
[Refrain]

5.
Who is he that from the grave 
comes to heal and help and save?
Who is he that from his throne 
rules thro' all the world alone?
[Refrain]


BENEDICTION
Audio file
Benediction (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab)

May the presence of God in your life give you the confidence to share his love with those who are fearful, lonely and see little hope in the future. May you experience the blessing of God as you reveal Jesus to a needy world. Amen






If you would like to comment on the service,  please e mail  Dr Malcolm Westwood  on  mw@veilministries.org








AUGUST 2020

     



HYMN: COME LET US JOIN OUR CHEERFUL SONGS
Introduction: 01Intro and Audio Come let us join our cheerful songs (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab) 
Isaac Watts was born in Southampton, July 17, 1674. He is said to have begun the study of Latin, when he was just 4 years old, and was writing poetry by the age of seven. In 1702, he became pastor. He was apparently an inspiring preacher. Because of a breakdown in health (1712), at the invitation of Sir Thomas Abney, he went to stay for a week’s visit with the Abneys, in Hertfordshire. He remained with the Abneys for the rest of his life.
He is generally recognised as one of "the greatest names among hymn-writers," having over more than eight hundred hymns published.
Watts died November 25, 1748, and a statue was erected in Southampton, and there is also a monument to his memory in the South Choir of Westminster Abbey. 

1
Come, let us join our cheerful songs
with angels round the throne;
ten thousand thousand are their tongues,
but all their joys are one.

2
'Worthy the Lamb that died,' they cry,
'to be exalted thus';
'Worthy the Lamb,' our lips reply,
'for he was slain for us.'

3
Jesus is worthy to receive
honour and power divine;
and blessings, more than we can give,
be, Lord, for ever thine.

4
Let all that dwell above the sky,
and air, and earth, and seas,
conspire to lift thy glories high,
and speak thine endless praise.

5
The whole creation joins in one
to bless the sacred name
of him that sits upon the throne,
and to adore the Lamb.

PRAYER
02 Prayer Aug 2020 (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab) 
Almighty and eternal God, we come before you acknowledging your omnipotence and wanting to say how grateful that your love for us is all embracing. We marvel that your faithfulness o your promises to provide for our needs extends for us beyond anything we deserve.
When we realise all you do for us we become aware of the kind of love you have for us and long to show you just how you much we want to tell others just what you mean to us.

So many in the world are struggling at the moment with having to socially and being unable to have the support they need. We live in times when we need so many miracles. Not only are we having to cope with the coronavirus pandemic, there are leaders of nations who are not governing with compassion for theur own people and are affecting the security of other nations. We need opportunities to reveal Jesus to them and for your Holy Spirit, dear, Lord to convict them of the beauty ad wonder of living for you.

Grant, we pray, to all Christians and increasing vision of what you can do in us and through us and give us the courage to be what you want us to be for you.

Accept we pray, our promise to serve you with all our heart. This we ask in the precious and worthy name of Jesus. Amen

HYMN: PRAISE HIM! PRAISE HIM!
Introduction: 03 Intro and audio Praise him (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab) 
Words by Fanny Crosby, published in1869.
Fanny (more formerly known as Frances Jane Van Alstyne) was an American mission worker. She wrote more than 8,000 hymns and gospel songs despite going blind shortly after birth.
The music was written by Chester Allen, also an American. He was a teacher, composer and a musical writer. For some time he edited the New York Musical Gazette and he taught in the schools of Cleveland, Ohio.

1
Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer!
Sing, O Earth, His wonderful love proclaim!
Hail Him! Hail Him! Highest archangels in glory;
Strength and honor give to His holy Name!
Like a shepherd, Jesus will guard His children,
In His arms He carries them all day long.

Refrain:
Praise Him! Praise Him!
Tell of His excellent greatness;
Praise Him! Praise Him! Ever in joyful song!

2
Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer!
For our sins He suffered, and bled, and died.
He our Rock, our hope of eternal salvation,
Hail Him! Hail Him! Jesus the Crucified.
Sound His praises! Jesus who bore our sorrows,
Love unbounded, wonderful, deep and strong.

3

Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer!
Heav’nly portals loud with hosannas ring!
Jesus, Saviour, reigneth forever and ever;
Crown Him! Crown Him! Prophet, and Priest, and King!
Christ is coming! over the world victorious,
Pow’r and glory unto the Lord belong.

BAND : MARCH : ANTHEM OF THE FREE
Introduction: 04 Intro and audio Anthem of the free (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab) 
The composer, Dean Goffin was a Salvation Army Bandmaster before enlisting into the New Zealand armed forces during the 2nd World War. He became Bandmaster of the newly formed band of the 20th Infantry Battalion and later on the 4th Infantry Battalion. Whilst he was serving in the Middle East he composed this march initially under another name ‘Bel Hamid’ The march was later adapted and renamed ‘Anthem of the Free’.
Dean Goffin went on to have much music published and won several composition prizes which led him to compose a test piece for the British Open Brass Band Championships, notably, ‘Rhapsody in Brass’. He completed his BA in music in 1950 just prior to him entering the Salvation Army Officer Training College in Wellington. He was later appointed to head up the Salvation Army’s music in the UK which he did with distinction before moving back to New Zealand to ultimately become the Salvation Army’s leader in that land. Dean Goffin was honoured by the Queen with a knighthood on the occasion of the Centenary of the Salvation Army’s work in New Zealand.
Inserted into the original Bel Hamid march to make the march as we know it as ‘Anthem of The Free; today are the words given here.
The words associated are

1. Ring the bells of Heaven, there is joy today
For a soul returning from the wild!
See, the Father meets him out upon the way,
Welcoming His weary, wandering child.

Chorus:
Glory, glory, how the angels sing!
Glory, glory, how the loud harps ring!
'Tis the ransomed army, like a mighty sea,
Pealing forth the anthem of the free.

2.
Ring the bells of Heaven, there is joy today
For the wanderer now is reconciled!
Yes, a soul is rescued from his sinful way
And is born anew, a ransomed child.

3.
Ring the bells of Heaven, spread the feast today;
Angels, swell the glad, triumphant strain!
Tell the joyful tidings, bear them far away,
For a precious soul is born again.

GOD’S TITHES AND OUR OFFERINGS
05 God's tithes (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab) 
Being committed to building God’s kingdom on earth is a privilege afforded to all Christians. To see people coming to faith in Christ brings such blessing, but we know that God needs human hands and hearts to bring the gospel to people. Together with prayer and trust, we have to have access to finance to enable us to open the doors as we evangelise.
Let us take a few moments to determine where it would be best to allocate our finance. Waiting on God for his guidance will open our minds to where our finance should go. A prayer for that, please:-
“Dear God, bring to our thoughts, we pray, where we should give finance to support your disciples who are sharing your Word. This we pray for Jesus’ sake. Amen”


HYMN: CHRIST, WHOSE GLORY FILLS THE SKIES
Introduction: 06 Intro and audio Christ whose glory (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab) 
This hymn by Charles Wesley was written in 1740 but is unusual in that it does not contain the customary reference to the previous night's rest or to the work and dangers of the day ahead. The text begins by placing the focus entirely on Christ, the "light of the world," the sun of Righteousness who rises with healing in his wings"; he is the "Dayspring" and "Daystar." Thus the "light of Christ" is to fill our lives and lead us forward "to the perfect day." James Montgomery, himself a great hymn writer held this hymn in special esteem, and regarded it as "one of Charles Wesley's loveliest hymns.

1
Christ, whose glory fills the skies,
Christ, the true, the only Light,
Sun of Righteousness, arise,
triumph o'er the shades of night;
Dayspring from on high, be near;
Daystar, in my heart appear.

2 Dark and cheerless is the morn
unaccompanied by thee;
joyless is the day's return
'til thy mercy's beams I see;
'til they inward light impart,
glad my eyes, and warm my heart.

3 Visit, then, this soul of mine;
pierce the gloom of sin and grief;
fill me, Radiancy divine;
scatter all my unbelief;
more and more thyself display,
shining to the perfect day.

CHORAL: WRITTEN IN RED
Introduction: 07 Intro and audio Written in red (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab) 
A modern song which has blessed so many across all denominations.

In letters of crimson, God wrote His love
On a hillside so long, long ago
For you and for me, Jesus died
And love's greatest story was told


I love you, I love you
That's what Calvary said
I love you, I love you
I love you, written in red


Down through the ages, God wrote His love
With the same hands that suffered and bled
Giving all that he had to give
A message so easily read


I love you, I love you
That's what Calvary said
I love you, I love you
I love you, written in red
I love you, I love you (I love you)
I love you, written in red


BIBLE READING Luke 10:25-37
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
08 Luke 10 vs 25-37 (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab) 
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

HYMN HERE IS LOVE
Introduction. 09 Intro and audio Here is love (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab) 
Words :William Rees and William Williams and the music is by Robert Lowry. There are several versions of this hymn. This is the shortest one with just two verses but they convey some beautiful truths.


Here is love, vast as the ocean
Loving kindness as the flood
When the Prince of Life, our Ransom
Shed for us His precious blood
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten
Throughout Heaven's eternal days


On the mount of crucifixion
Fountains opened deep and wide
Through the floodgates of God's mercy
Flowed a vast and gracious tide
Grace and love, like mighty rivers
Poured incessant from above
And Heaven's peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love


POEM: THE GOOD SAMARITAN

10 Poem The Good Samaritan
(To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab) 
Pasted Graphic 1


He was lying on the ground
But no one seemed to care,
People passed by heedlessly
Afraid to even stare,
In fact, they hurried past him
His injuries ignored,
Concerned for their own safety
As though they were forewarned.
He could be someone’s brother,
A father or a son-
Could someone not have bothered
To see what could be done?
If you or I had seen him
Would we have passed him by
Or viewed him as a stranger
And cared not should he die?
We may not know the reason
Why people are in need
What race of from what country
They come or what their creed,
But on the cross at Calv’ry
A sacrifice was paid
For those of every nation,
Their sins on Jesus laid;
It made all men as brothers
In every circumstance,
Their lives entwined with our lives
We meet them not by chance;
Their needs our needs tomorrow
May be their ministry
For they may find they’re needed
To bind our injury.
We’re all the hands of Jesus,
Pierced through for every man,
The nails remind us daily
Of God’s eternal plan;
Our neighbours are our brothers
Whoever they may be,
Their needs we meet for Jesus
And do so lovingly.
(MW)


VOCAL SOLO : YOUR GRACE STILL AMAZES ME
Introduction 11Intro and audio Your grace (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab) 
The soloist is Sandra Entermann who regularly blesses us with her vocal solos and today brings us the solo ‘Your grace still amazes me.’ Thank you for your gifted ministry, Sandra.

Screenshot 2020-06-08 17.06.55



My faithful Father, enduring friend
Your tender mercy's like a river with no end
It overwhelms me, covers my sin
Each time I come into your presence
I stand in wonder once again

Your grace still amazes me
Your love is still a mystery
Each day I fall on my knees
'Cause Your grace still amazes me
Your grace still amazes me

Oh patient Saviour, You make me whole
You are the author and the healer of my soul
What can I give You, Lord what can I say
I know there's no way to repay You
Only to offer You my praise

Your grace still amazes me
Your love is still a mystery
Each day I fall on my knees
'Cause Your grace still amazes me
Your grace still amazes… 

SERMON
12 Sermon Aug 2020 (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab) 

me0021-3-3
Dr Malcolm Westwood


It’s always a privilege to share some thoughts with you from God’s Word and seeking God’s mind what passage He wanted me to share today, I found myself waiting on God’s leading as I walked into town. To my surprise and a little alarm, as I walked past a patch of grass I saw a man lying there. He looked rather dishevelled. His shoes were some distance from him. He lay quite motionless. Apart from one or two people who took a look but didn’t think it was any of their business to see if the man was ill, others just walked by as if the man didn’t exist. You’ll not be surprised to know that my thoughts went to The Parable of The Good Samaritan.
Well I thought this was quite a dramatic way for God to get my attention to share the well known story with you today but I was naturally grateful. So I had the theme for the sermon but it dawned on me that this wasn’t just a reminder to me of the Bible parable. Here was the parable in reality.
But I was in a hurry. If this man needed help, he was in the middle of the town. There were a lot of people who weren’t in such an obvious hurry as I was. I was only carrying enough money for the purchase I wanted to make so if the man needed feeding, I wouldn’t have enough to do that. Of course he might have completely blotto with booze and best left to sleep it off. But that would be just an assumption. And apart from any other consideration, he wasn’t wearing a mask and the coronavirus pandemic was still a worry in the area. But
someone should check on the man.
Let us for a few moments consider what Jesus said……

As we know, the parable of the good Samaritan is one of the best loved stories in the New Testament and although it’s unlikely there’s anything new about the story that we can learn, it’s surprising how a Scripture passage will come alive no matter how many times we’ve read or heard it.
So let me just offer a recap of the story.
It is very likely that Jesus told this story when he was at Bethany which is about 2 miles from Jerusalem on the way to Jericho. The road was notoriously dangerous. It dropped about 3,500 feet in its 18 miles. It passes through desolate mountain ravines without any habitation except the inn we read about, the ruins which can be seen today. Even in the 5
th century the road was called by Jerome, the Bible commentator, ‘The red or bloody way’ because of the attacks which happened there and as recently as the 1930s money had to be paid to the Sheiks to ensure one’s safety.
So we can understood what a dangerous road it was to travel. With its twists and sudden turns it was ideal for bandits and robbers.

Jesus was obviously teaching people as they were seated because we’re told that a lawyer
stood up to address Jesus. Often these lawyers were referred to as ‘Scribes’. They were learned men who knew the law of Moses and the Jewish law thoroughly.
He didn’t ask Jesus a question to learn something new. He just wanted to catch Jesus out. ‘Who is my neighbour?’ was a test question.
If Jesus had answered by naming a group of people, the lawyer would have been pleased that by definition because Jesus would have been excluding some who the lawyer need not regard as his neighbour. The lawyer didn’t ask the question sincerely wanting an answer. He just wanted to justify his way of life. And as we know, the Jews hated the Samaritans, a hatred which was amply reciprocated by the Samaritans for the Jews
The Samaritans were regarded by the Jews as half breeds. They were people of the promise who couldn’t be bothered to keep themselves pure. Hadn’t they opposed the rebuilding the Temple and in fact had established a rival temple on Mt Gerizm?
Surely such people could be excluded, they reasoned! Jews considered Samaritans to be impure because they had intermarried with pagans. The said they were defiled and unfit for God’s service.
The Jewish lawyer wanted it stated that the Samaritans were certainly not ‘neighbours’ of the Jews. The Rabbis had a passion for definition and there were frequent discussions about who should be considered a neighbour.
But Jesus answered his question with a question. He asked the lawyer what the law said. The lawyer well knew the answer.
Conservative and Orthodox Jews during prayer services wore phylacteries sometimes called tefillin, small, square leather boxes containing portions of Scripture. They are are worn in pairs—one phylactery is strapped on the left arm, and one is strapped to the forehead during weekday morning prayers.
Inside each phylactery are four passages from the Old Testament one of which is found in Deuteronomy 6:4
which says “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart”

The lawyer knew those Scriptures and quoted them to Jesus.

The heart refers to the emotions; the soul refers to the vitality and consciousness; strength meant power and drive and the mind meant intelligence.
The Jews had rules enough to spare about how they should obey God. That wasn’t the issue here.
The Rabbis had a passion for definition. The lawyer wanted to have it clearly set out who Jesus was suggesting was a neighbour. After all some even said they shouldn’t help a Gentile woman in labour as that would be bring another Gentile into the world!
So although the question wasn’t one for information, it was a question which he hoped would spell out the Samaritans for instance could hardly be considered ‘neighbours’.
And Jesus told the lawyer the story we know as the GOOD SAMARITAN.

Jesus said , A man-Jesus didn’t name him or describe his background- who fell among thieves intent on robbing him and doing it with so much force they left the man half dead.

A large number of Priests and Levites lived in Jericho and went up to Jerusalem when it was time for them to serve in the Temple. We’re told that one of these Priests was on the road-possibly to fulfil his one week’s service in the Temple. If so, had he touched the injured man, it would have rendered the Priest unclean for 7 days and he would lose his much cherished turn of duty in the Temple. He was more concerned about the liturgy than the pain of the injured man. On the other hand if he had already served God in the Temple and he was on his way home, he had an opportunity to serve man. How sad it would be if serving God was simply reserved for fulfilling his role in the Temple.

The Priest could have claimed many reasons for not helping. He was on a dangerous road, the injured man could have been of some other race and the Priest could have feared being defiled by someone unclean. He might have thought, helping the man would involve him in expense. None of these things were worth mentioning by Jesus because he was to give his life for the world. Whatever his reason, the Priest knew all about social distancing because he passed by on the other side of the road despite the fact that he was duty bound by the Scriptures to help the man.

A Levite also came along the road. Levites assisted the Priests in the Temple. He did a little better than the Priest by going a but closer to the injured man but he would have know that thieves sometimes used decoys, one of their own to act as an injured man to lure an unwitting traveller to see what the problem was only to be pounced on. The Levite was taking no chances and hurried past the injured man.

Then a Samaritan came along- Jesus -doesn’t describe him in any other way -and seeing the injured man he took pity on him. He had no reason to help and any number of reasons not to help the man but he had ‘pity’ on him implying having a love and concern for him. It was not a weak sentimental feeling. It was a love which meant giving the man immediate, emergency help by tending to his wounds. He put the injured man on his own donkey and took him to an inn and paid the innkeeper the equivalent of two days wages for a labourer. In today’s money that would be somewhere in the region of £240-£300 (UK money) and promised to repay the innkeeper for any extra needed as the man convalesced.

So obviously the Samaritan’s credit must have been good.
He could have considered he had done quite enough by getting the man to a place of safety. But he went to that place called ‘no limits’.

Jesus asked the lawyer : “Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” He couldn’t even bring himself to say the word ‘Samaritan’.

Once again, as we so often see, Jesus left people in no doubt what are his expectations on them… and us. Jesus told the lawyer
“Go and do likewise.” And the same commitment is expected of us, of course.

No doubt it’s a story which we’ve probably heard many times. We’ve heard that if people are in need of help, we’re expected to help irrespective-no ifs, no buts.
We have a wonderful next door neighbour. Every week in the present lock down they have made contact to make sure we have food. Whatever we have needed they have willingly provided and each week in our grocery bag, there’s always a little tray of cakes for which they refuse to accept any money.
If we have illness, they are there for us. A while ago I had a car problem. Our neighbour was here in no time and said that his Mercedes car was available whenever I needed it. It will come as no surprise that in return we would help them in any way if it was needed. It’s not difficult to help nice people, is it! But what about the people who bring misfortune on themselves and others? Yes, says, Jesus, they are our neighbours too. And that begins to make us less comfortable about this parable. I could well understand the Samaritan saying to the injured man, ‘It might not have been the wisest decision to travel this dangerous road without some kind of protection.’ Sometimes helpful advice is part of being a good Samaritan! But the Samaritan in the parable saw someone in need and he didn’t weigh up the injured man’s background or consider what it would cost him in terms of money or time. And he certainly didn’t think it was a good opportunity to preach him a sermon! Someone had to help that man and the Samaritan decided he must be that man.


Yes, we have to make conscious decisions how best to help people, and to do that we must pray for wisdom. Continuous short term help without a long term plan to change the situation will inevitably result in people becoming dependent. So being a good Samaritan in obedience to the example of Jesus requires a heart of compassion, a disregard of different backgrounds and cultures. We just need a heart touched by Jesus so that we might love as he loved.

Now, would you please forgive me if I extend these thoughts in a way which perhaps we don’t usually include when speaking about this parable.
Some of the ones we might be surprised to be asked to think about to whom to be good Samaritans may be nearer than we think. They may be in our place of worship. In amongst the saints with whom we are blessed to worship, can be those who are not actually very likeable. Just why they are so unlikeable may not be obvious but they can be really difficult. Whether or not the injured man on the Jericho road was conscious enough to say he was grateful to be helped we’re not told.
But answering the question ‘Who is my neighbour?’ sometimes it’s those who shun the most compassionate offer of help. It may be they have been injured emotionally and as a result their awkwardness isn’t helpful to the fellowship of the Church. They are our neighbours, too.


May I just return to the man I saw lying flat out on the ground. If I walked away no one would have blamed me. Seemingly the people around were completely disinterested in the man’s predicament, whatever it was. But did God draw my attention to the man just to give me a sermon to share or…… was this to be an update of the Jericho road 2000 years ago?.
With some hestitancy I approached the man. He seemed to be breathing but showed no sign of being aware that there was anyone near him. I coughed. No response. I looked around in case I needed help to deal with a sick man who was unable to move. I inched my way towards him and said with some wariness, ‘Are you OK?’ No response. I needed to touch him to see if he was alert. Gingerly with my foot, I moved his foot and he stirred. I repeated my question, ‘Are you OK?’ He opened his eyes and answered ‘ Yeah, just having a kip, mate!’
Perhaps he’ll share the story many times of someone thinking he was half dead and the shock he gave him when he woke up.

But what if I’d read in the newspaper that a man had been found dying in the town and everyone ignored him? And Jesus knew that included me!


There is more than one Jericho road with casualties who need to experience those with the love of Jesus. Am I wrong to think that as I’ve been speaking God has laid on your heart someone for whom you should specifically pray, or someone you should contact to assure them of your interest in them, people who want to sense Jesus but they need help to do so.

May you be a blessed Good Samaritan.



HYMN: THE SAVIOUR OF MEN
13 The Saviour of men (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab) 
1. The Saviour of men came to seek and to save
The souls who were lost to the good;
His Spirit was moved for the world which he loved
With the boundless compassion of God.
And still there are fields where the laborers are few,
And still there are souls without bread,
And still eyes that weep where the darkness is deep,
And still straying sheep to be led.

Chorus Except I am moved with compassion,
How dwelleth thy Spirit in me?
In word and in deed
Burning love is my need;
I know I can find this in thee.


2. O is not the Christ 'midst the crowd of today
Whose questioning cries do not cease?
And will he not show to the hearts that would know
The things that belong to their peace?
But how shall they hear if the preacher forbear
Or lack in compassionate zeal?
Or how shall hearts move with the Master's own love,
Without his anointing and seal?

3. It is not with might to establish the right,
Nor yet with the wise to give rest;
The mind cannot show what the heart longs to know
Nor comfort a people distressed.
O Saviour of men, touch my spirit again,
And grant that thy servant may be
Intense every day, as I labour and pray,
Both instant and constant for thee.

BENEDICTION
14 Benediction (To hear the audio file please right click mouse, then left click to open new tab) 
May you be blessed with the presence of Jesus so that those in need will clearly see his identity in you. Amen.




If you would like to comment on the service,  please e mail  Dr Malcolm Westwood  on  mw@veilministries.org