Call to Worship (from Psalm 96)
O sing to God a new song; sing to the Holy One, all the earth.
For great is our God and greatly to be praised.
Glory be to the Creator, and to the Christ, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.
Opening Psalm (Psalm 40:1-3, 8-11)
I waited patiently for Yahweh,
who inclined to me and heard my cry;
Who drew me up from the desolate pit,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure;
Who put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in God.
I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.”
I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congregation;
see, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O God.
I have not hidden your saving help within my heart,
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.
Do not, O Lord, withhold
your mercy from me;
let your steadfast love and your faithfulness
keep me safe forever.
Collect (by Bosco Peters)
Dancing God, you exult over us with joy;
as we celebrate what has past, renew us by your love
that we may face the future with hope and joy;
through our Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God now and forever. Amen.
Scripture: Matthew 5:1-12
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Silent and/or Spoken Reflections
Meditation: Matthew 5:1-12, Message version
1-2 When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:
3 “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
4 “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
5 “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
6 “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
7 “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
8 “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
9 “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.
Offering Our Prayers (God, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer.)
Concluding Affirmation (from the New Zealand Prayer Book)
You, O God, are supreme and holy.
You create our world and give us life.
Your purpose overarches everything we do.
You have always been with us.
You are God.
You, O God, are infinitely generous,
good beyond all measure.
You came to us before we came to you.
You have revealed and proved
your love for us in Jesus Christ,
who lived and died and rose again.
You are with us now.
You are God.
You, O God, are Holy Spirit.
You empower us to be your gospel in the world.
You reconcile and heal; you overcome death.
You are our God. We worship you.
May the blessing of the God of Abraham and Sarah, and of Jesus Christ born of our sister Mary, and of the Holy Spirit, who broods over the world as a mother over her children, be upon you and remain with you always. Amen.