Jenny Hensman Mind the Gap Harvest family village
Jenny Hensman from Bridlington runs this charity which is in Zimbabwe.
They have had 2 years of drought so very little food and water is available. They now have Corona virus, we don’t seem to hear about these events in Zimbabwe on the world news.
Please put this in the search box in Google or any search methods you use on the internet :
Jenny Hensman – “Who we are – Mind the Gap Africa”
Sunday 5th April 2020
Palm Sunday – please join with us at 11 a.m.
Call to Worship Philippians 2: 10, 11
At the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth
and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Hymn StF 262 All glory, laud, and honour
1 All glory, laud, and honor 2 The company of angels 3 To you before your passion
to you, Redeemer, King, is praising you on high; they sang their hymns of praise;
to whom the lips of children and we with all creation to you, now high exalted,
made sweet hosannas ring. in chorus make reply. our melody we raise.
You are the King of Israel The people of the Hebrews As you received their praises,
and David’s royal Son, with palms before you went; accept the prayers we bring,
now in the Lord’s name coming, our praise and prayer and anthems for you delight in goodness,
the King and Blessed One. before you we present. O good and gracious King!
Going up to Jerusalem – a prayer
Loving God, at this time, we remember that going up to Jerusalem cost Jesus his very life.
So we come before you, apart and yet together, conscious of the ways in which we take for granted,
the opportunities we have always had to come together in in your house to worship together.
But we still have a journey to make. We are conscious of the way religious words and holy phrases
can slip so easily from our lips and our hardened hearts.
What do we really know of your mountainous truth, your rock-hard integrity,
the depth of your suffering for love of us all.
Forgive us for the shallowness of our faith, and the timidity of our following:
forgive us the ready excuses we make for going our own way and claiming it as yours.
Turn us around again we pray, by your Holy Spirit, active within us and among us, wherever we are.
Show us how to be open again to your faithfulness and to your freedom, that we may live
new lives and be again bearers of the seeds of the Kingdom of Jesus. Amen.
(Going up to Jerusalem [adapted], John Harvey, Eggs and Ashes, Ruth Burgess
& Chris Polhill, Wild Goose Publications, 2007. Reproduced with permission)
Hymn StF 638 Through all the changing scenes of life
1 Through all the changing scenes of life, 4 The hosts of God encamp around
in trouble and in joy, the dwellings of the just;
the praises of my God shall still deliverance he affords to all
my heart and tongue employ. who on his succour trust.
2 Of his deliverance I will boast, 5 Oh, make but trial of his love,
till all that are distressed experience will decide
from my example comfort take, how blest are they, and only they,
and charm their griefs to rest. who in his truth confide.
3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me; 6 Fear him, ye saints, and you will then
with me exalt his name; have nothing else to fear;
when in distress to him I called, make you his service your delight,
he to my rescue came. your wants shall be his care.
Isaiah 50:4-9 [find and read] The Servant’s Humiliation and Vindication
Philippians 2: 5 – 11 [find and read] Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus
Hymn StF 265 Ride on, ride on, in majesty
1 Ride on, ride on in majesty!
Hark! all the tribes hosanna cry;
O Saviour meek, pursue your road
with palms and scattered garments strowed.
2 Ride on, ride on in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die:
O Christ, your triumphs now begin
o’er captive death and conquered sin.
3 Ride on, ride on in majesty!
The winged squadrons of the sky
look down with sad and wondering eyes
to see the approaching sacrifice.
4 Ride on, ride on in majesty!
Your last and fiercest strife is nigh;
the Father on his sapphire throne
expects his own anointed Son.
5 Ride on, ride on in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die;
bow your meek head to mortal pain,
then take, O God, your power and reign.
Matthew 21: 1 – 11 [find and read] Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem will be remembered by many Christians all around the world today, despite the disruption and the tragic effects of the coronavirus. The Church of Christ meets as one today, in many countries, in many time zones, under many circumstances, under many roofs. Without our familiar Sunday surroundings, the Church of Christ still meets. If you have one, and if it is safe for you to do so, you may wish to light a candle in this moment, for Christ, the Light of the World, is here.
You can sense the tension in Matthew’s narrative. Jesus has made his way purposefully to Jerusalem, telling his disciples three times that he must suffer there, and they are still baffled by it all. Now we have reached the final stage. Jesus arrives at the Mount of Olives, the place where the Galilean pilgrims camped during the great festivals. It looks out over the Kidron Valley and into the Holy City. Jesus prepares to enter Jerusalem and claim his crown (although it will be a crown of thorns).
This is the most important week in history. All four gospels climax at this point. Matthew takes 8 chapters in its telling: Mark, 6 chapters, Luke 5½ and John 9½ chapters. 29 chapters in all, recalling the events of one week in the life of one man! Compare that with a total of only 4 chapters on the first 30yrs of Jesus’ life, including his birth! The short passage that we have just read is the first act in the grand drama of the final week of Jesus’ life, the road to Jerusalem, a road that had to be travelled and a road that would change the course of humankind for all eternity.
Many man and women have lived memorable, even victorious lives. Their achievements have been recorded in history books for everyone to read. There have been volumes written on, for instance, the life of Napoleon Bonaparte. They describe his accomplishments, his military genius, the campaigns that he fought and the battles he had won. If you look on Google there are 28½ million entries about him but this is what the Encyclopaedia Britannica has to say about his last day:
“He died on the morning of May 5th in his fifty-second year … he was buried in a lovely spot near a spring, shaded by two weeping willows. On his stone was written the words, ‘Here lies’ but no name”. The death of Napoleon was just about the least important episode in his life. Whereas the crucifixion was one of the most important and celebrated events in the life of Christ.
The crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ was the complete payment for the sins of the world. No other sacrifice or death was sufficient, and no other sacrifice was required. And we know that according to the scriptures he laid down his life that all might live. What should we learn from that event and how should we respond? I’ve tried to identify four different ways:
- Respond with OBEDIENCE.
When Jesus told the disciples to go get the donkey, they went and did it. They obeyed without hesitation. The disciples were unaware of the part they were playing in this grand drama. In fact, the disciples appear to have been in a complete fog about all that was happening, as they so often were. We have the gospels that were written 70 years or more after the event. As they were writing, the authors had the benefit of hindsight. But Can you imagine what it was like for his dedicated followers? “Just pop down into town and ‘borrow’ a donkey. You will find one tide up”. And they obeyed, without hesitation. They weren’t driven by logic or common sense. They took it on trust. When I obeyed gods call on my life to leave a twenty-year career in gardening to join the prison service, I wasn’t sure where it was going to lead. And when I was laid off on medical grounds it seemed as though the bottom had fallen out of my world. Looking back I can see how God was working and guiding my life and I suppose at the time I had to take it all on trust.
We must respond to Jesus with obedience. We may not always be aware of where we are headed. Nonetheless we must obey. What might God be calling you to do?
- Respond with RED CARPET.
The actions of Jesus on this day have always amazed me. This man, who for so much of his ministry had in fact been a very private person, telling people to keep his miracles to themselves, praying alone, keeping close company with just his chosen Twelve, suddenly goes public! The Passover was being celebrated in Jerusalem at the time of this triumphal entry, a celebration that had been taking place for over 1400 years. It was a celebration of thankfulness to God for bringing them out of Egyptian captivity, and the place was thronging. And Jesus rides in on a donkey! The reaction of the crowds is astounding. The disciples took off their coats and threw them on the donkey as a makeshift saddle. Others threw their cloaks, along with branches, onto the ground. This is the equivalent of the Red Carpet treatment.
This crowd, probably made up of those who had been following Jesus during his ministry, had witnessed many miracles. Just prior to the passage that we have read this morning, Jesus healed two blind men. They knew there was something special about this Jesus. As did Nicodemus who came to Jesus by night, the Samaritan woman at the well, the man born blind who was given back his sight, and Lazarus brought forth from the tomb. After these extraordinary signs, I wonder what their expectations were about this man?
How do we give Jesus the Red Carpet treatment? We do it when we extend the Red Carpet to others. Jesus said, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me”. Jesus also said, “Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me”. We welcome Jesus when we open our arms to others.
It doesn’t take much. When new neighbours moved in across the road from where we lived in Norwich, Anne and I dropped a card through the letterbox. It just introduced our family (and our dog), and it said that if they needed to borrow anything while they were finding their feet, anything from a tin of beans to blankets, they only had to come across the road and ask. It was nothing special, but to them it was rolling out the Red Carpet. A few days later one of them said to me that her partner was in tears when she first arrived ahead of the removal van, to a cold, empty house and opened the card. It only takes a little time and effort to roll out the Red Carpet. What are we doing now, in these difficult times, to welcome Jesus?
- Respond with PRAISE.
The crowd shouted praises to Jesus as they proceeded into the city. They shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” The crowd led the way into the city. I’m sure you know that Hosanna means ‘save us’ or ‘save now’. It was a shout of praise, but it was also a cry for help. They were pleading with Jesus to save them. When they called him the Son of David, they were proclaiming him as the Messiah. Jesus intentionally shied away from being called the Messiah (The Christ). When someone did recognise him as the Messiah, he told them to keep it quiet. This was mainly due to the politicization of ‘Messiah’. It was the popular belief that the Messiah would be a political/military leader. Through his open actions here, Jesus is at last laying claim to the title (a title which of course John never shies away from in his gospel!) Jesus knew this was the time. How do we praise Jesus? Is it merely by showing up on Sunday and singing, “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the king of creation!” or whatever we sing? That is part of it, but not all. Everything we do in our life should be a praise to God. When we give literal praise to others, we praise God, just as when we welcome others. We must also remember to respond when our prayers are answered. We often pray for something, but we don’t always take the time to praise God when he answers, especially if the answer is ‘no’. What do you need to praise God for today?
- Respond with EXPLANATION.
As I said, Jerusalem was packed for the Passover festival. It is estimated that the population of Jerusalem may have swelled to over 2½ million during that week. People from all over the known world were there. The crowds inside the city notice the crowd leading Jesus into the city. Imagine the size of the crowd to attract such attention. Remember that Jesus’ life was lived in a relatively small area. His life was lived in an area about twice the size of Yorkshire. Outside of Israel, he was virtually unknown! Naturally, the people who had never heard of Jesus were curious about the fuss that was being made of this man. So, they asked “Who is this?” The crowds that were with Jesus, responded with an explanation. God had promised a Prophet. “I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him”. (Deut.18:18)
When Jesus comes, of course he is going to create a stir. People will be curious about this Jesus. Peter said, “Always be prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you”. We should always be ready to give some explanation about who Jesus is.
It’s a funny thing, when I was in my late teens and I first went out to work I was very cautious of speaking about my beliefs. I was mindful of what I had heard so many times about non-Christians who objected when “Religion was rammed down their throats” – until someone came up to me one day, someone who was obviously upset, going through a difficult time and in need of some consolation. He said to me, “I thought you were supposed to be a Christian but I never hear you talk about your faith!”
We do not need to be a great theologian (although make no mistake, we are all theologians when we talk about God!), to explain what Jesus has done for us. The crowds in Jerusalem who knew Jesus, weren’t aware of all that was happening, or what would transpire in the days ahead, but they explained as best they could. What kind of a stir has Jesus caused in your life? Who do we need to tell about it? Sometimes the most unlikely of people, sometimes the last people we would think of.
Today is the first step in the final stage of the earthly journey of our Lord Jesus Christ. The journey which we have been sharing through lent on the road to Jesus’ crucifixion. As we are prompted by this event let’s just remind ourselves of the four different ways in which we should respond:
With OBEDIENCE, as Jesus did when he made that fateful, last journey. What is God calling you to do?
With RED CARPET, as the crowds did, laying palm branches. What are we doing to welcome Jesus?
With PRAISE, as the people did. What do we need to praise God for?
With EXPLANATION. What shall we say about our faith, to others?
Because at this time, in these days of fear and uncertainty, at the start of Holy Week, with the most significant events in religious history about to be remembered and retold, isn’t it time we shared it with someone else? Amen.
Hymn StF 51 Great is thy faithfulness
1 Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
there is no shadow of turning with thee;
thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;
as thou hast been thou forever wilt be.
Great is thy faithfulness!
Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see:
all I have needed thy hand hath provided–
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
2 Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
join with all nature in manifold witness
to thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love. [Chorus]
3 Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! [Chorus]
Prayers of intercession – from Italy
(who have more than twice as many deaths as any other country, from the coronavirus).
God of grace,
we turn to you in prayer in this difficult time
in which the spread of a pandemic infection has forced our governments
restrictive measures that limit the normal course of life,
they block our sociality and risk making us shut up in our increasingly small sphere,
but they are necessary.
God of love,
help us to maintain community bonds and solidarity with our sisters and brothers,
especially with those who are in sickness and need,
and help us to be a family for those who are without a family.
God of healing,
we pray for those who have been infected and for their family members,
give them the courage to face this moment of illness;
we pray for all healthcare workers who are spending so much
to manage this epidemic competently and generously,
for scientists who are working hard on a cure in a short time;
give them all strength and vision to face and try to stop this epidemic.
God of mercy,
allow us to live this time as a profitable opportunity to reflect on our experience of faith
and on our being part of an easy society prey to fear and discouragement in the face of adversity;
help us, despite the difficulties of this situation, to keep us united and open to others,
help us not forgetting all the other great tragedies that undermine peace and disrupt the world.
God of salvation,
we pray you to support us in fighting the chains of exploitation and injustice
and help us to maintain chains of solidarity throughout Europe;
please don’t abandon us to the fear of contagion,
but even more to the contagion of fear
for Christ Jesus our brother and savior.
Amen (Revd. Mirella Manocchio
Presidente of OPCEMI (Opera per le Chiese Evangeliche Metodiste in Italia)
Hymn StF 359
1 Lord Christ, we praise your sacrifice, 3 Though helpless and rejected then,
your life in love so freely given. you’re now as risen Lord acclaimed;
For those who took your life away forever by your sacrifice
you prayed: that they might be forgiven; is God’s eternal love proclaimed:
and there, in helplessness arrayed, the love which, dying, brings to birth
God’s power was perfectly displayed. new life and hope for all on earth.
2 Once helpless in your mother’s arms, 4 So, living Lord, prepare us now
dependent on her mercy then; your willing helplessness to share;
at last, by choice, in other hands, to give ourselves in sacrifice
you were as helpless once again; to overcome the world’s despair;
and, at their mercy, crucified, in love to give our lives away
you claimed your victory and died. and claim your victory today.
God of all-redeeming grace,
in your great love you gave your only Son
to die for the sins of the whole world.
Help us, by your Holy Spirit,
to worship you with reverence
and to enter with joy into the celebration of those mighty acts
whereby you bring us life and immortality;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
May Christ crucified, draw you to himself,
that you may find in him a sure ground for faith,
a firm support for hope, and the assurance of sins forgiven,
and the blessing of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with each of you,
Val Emmersons Contact details
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