Sunday Worship 10th March 2024 – Mothering Sunday & 4th Sunday in Lent

(All our songs this morning are from Singing the Faith (StF) or Hymns & Psalms (H&P) numbers will be given where available)

Welcome to our Sunday Service, today shared on paper across our circuit and with the congregation at Calverley Methodist Church and led by Rev Phil Drake our Circuit Superintendent Minister. The theme of the service is creating and sustaining relationships of care.

Click on the blue links to follow them for bible readings and associated links

Call to worship:

God of mercy and grace, help us to build relationships of care, that we might reflect your loving concern amongst your people.

Song – StF 88 or H&P 16 – Praise to the Lord the almighty, the King of creation

Opening prayers

God, creator and parent of all
we come to worship you.
God, you nourished and rescued your people
we come to worship you.
God, you care for us like a mother
we come to worship you.
God, you give strength and love to all who care for children
we come to worship you.
God, you support us in good times and hard times
we come to worship you.

Help us to listen to the story of your saving love
to share in your love,
and to be carriers of that love to all your people.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, your Son.

God, our heavenly Father, you mother us,
and care for us with strength and gentleness.
Bring us to birth as your children
and teach us, your family, to be part of your godly task of parenting.
Give us each the strength to care,
both for those within our church family,
and for those in the wider community who need to know they are loved and valued.
May your light shine and your love be known,
this Mothering Sunday, and always.

Gospel reading:

John 19:25-27

Short reflection

‘The disciple took her into his own home.’

As I prepare this service, I have my mum visiting me, as she also did this time last year in the time following my father’s death. When Jesus commended his mother into the care of the disciple whom he loved, he was saying something about the new relationship that existed between them. He was giving them to one another in a new relationship of love. This last year there is a sense in which I have found myself in a new relationship with my mum because of what happened a year ago. We have been given to one another in a new way that is not easy to explain, although those of you who have lived with grief will know something of what I am trying to say. It is there in the strength of a hug or knowing when to give one another some space. It is there in words that are spoken, and sometimes when neither of us have anything to say – on one occasion we found ourselves sat side by side holding hands but saying nothing, just sitting quietly in each other’s company: the comfort that comes simply from being together and from being opened up to each other in a new way.

In saying these things, I take time simply to reflect that relationships do change and grow, and it is in the changing and the growing that we come to value each other the more and discover new intensity in our care for each other. The heart of Christian community is that God gives to each other in relationships of care. Through our love for one another, may we discover more of God’s love and care for us in our worship today.

As you reflect on this message and prayer, you may wish to read or listen to the following hymn

Song – StF 526 or H&P 552 – Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy

Epistle reading:

Colossians 3:12-17

To think about: look at this reading a second time – can you identify the marks of a caring church? You may wish to list them down. Can you add anything more to your list? What are some of the practical ways in which the God’s care and concern is shared through the life of the church?

Prayers of intercession

In the shadow of your wings, we sing for joy.
O Lord, restore us and make us new.

God of love,
for the softening of our hearts and the opening of our arms; 
for generosity that welcomes the lost;
for our need of your tenderness to restore our failures;
for our churches to be renewed in loving and giving;
for the courage to lay down our lives for one another;
for the strength to answer your call to serve others;
for a new start:

we cry to you. Bring healing and hope.

God of love,
for all who carry the scars of conflict, 
the external and internal signs of pain endured;
for the lost and lonely;
the displaced and the dispossessed;
for all whose lives have been broken;
for those in our own community who are suffering…
for all who wait powerless at the bedside of the ill and the dying:
we cry to you. Bring healing and hope.

God of love,
for the needs in our own communities;
for families under pressure;
for people struggling with rising bills;
for people in debt and distress who have nowhere to turn;
for all who need to know today they are loved;
for all who are bringing up children amid the pressures of today’s world;
for the sacrifices that form the fabric of parenthood;
and for children and young people facing a future full of challenges: 
we cry to you. Bring healing and hope.

God of love,
for simple pleasures in the midst of challenge and hardship;
for lengthening hours of daylight; 
for people who lift our burdens, 
wipe away our tears, 
share our lives and our dreams
and call out our best selves;
for your faithful presence with us 
through darkness and light,
and for a deeper experience of your love 
which shapes us, calls us, rescues us
and will bring us home:
we cry to you. Bring healing and hope.

In the shadow of your wings, we sing for joy.
O Lord, restore us and make us new. Amen.

We finish this time of worship with a hymn

Song – StF 81 or H&P 566 – Now thank we all our God with hearts and hands and voices


May God our mother,
who labours with us in creation,
watches over our growing,
weeps with our wounds
and ages us alongside us,
hold us always in her loving embrace. Amen.

Acknowledgments: Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Prayers taken from Roots resources, copyright Roots For Churches Ltd. Blessing by Janet Morley, downloaded from with permission to use in local acts of worship.

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