« Last post by lastpost on April 15, 2014, 10:09:52 PM »
As the subject of churches and worship has come up, it may or may not be of interest to some but I will write it anyway.
On Friday, after I have finished my shift at the hospital (collecting hospital refuse) in my church we are having a short and simple service although there will be but a handful of humans, as I have done for the last two decades or so.
Essentially, I will just read the sayings of the Cross and a pertinent paragraph or two about each from the Holy Book. It will go something like this...
MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?
FATHER, FORGIVE THEM, FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO.
VERILY, I SAY UNTO THEE, TODAY SHALT THOU BE WITH ME IN PARADISE.
FATHER, INTO THY HANDS I COMMEND MY SPIRIT.
WOMAN, BEHOLD THY SON, (then said He to the disciple) BEHOLD THY MOTHER.
IT IS FINISHED!
These will be interspersed throughout the service but I will not trouble you with the text surrounding the sayings which you already know well.
A hymn may be sung here or maybe later.
Then I may read:
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion: Thy God reigneth! Thy watchman shall lift up the voice; with the voice together they sing, for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.
Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For He shall grow up before Him a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground. He hath no form nor comliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from Him."
Then we may say the Lord's Prayer and then I may pray:
O Tender Father, we thank Thee for the gift of Thy Son Jesus Christ, Who came to live on Earth as man, to be our example in loving obedience to Thy Will. In His great love He endured the agony of the Garden and the Cross that He might bring all men into fellowship with Thee. Grant us Thy Holy Spirit so that we may have grace to follow in His footsteps, and work with Him to establish Thy kingdom of peace on Earth, to the glory of Thy Name. Amen.
Then I may read:
"Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes, we are healed.
All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned, everyone to his own way.
He was afflicted; yet he opened not His mouth. He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before the shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgement; and He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death, because He had done no violence; neither was any deceit in His mouth."
Then I may pray something like:
LORD Jesus, by Thy loneliness and suffering on the Cross, draw near unto all who are desolate and in pain or sorrow this day.
Heal the sick,
Comfort the bereaved,
Sustain the anxious.
Visit with Thy redeeming love all who are in trouble. May Thy Presence transform their loneliness into comfort, and their darkness into holy fellowship with Thee. Amen.
Then I may pray:
O Saviour Christ, Whose love is without measure, grant unto us a greater consciousness of our frailty and our weakness. May we ever remember Thy cry of loneliness on the Cross so that if we should ever be in seeming desolation this link with Thee might bring forth our courage, and raise our souls closer to God, our Father, even as Thou didst in Thine hour of agony. Amen.
Then I may say something like:
Let us remember the comforting and blessed words of the promise of our Lord:
"If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love, even as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. Ye are My friends if ye do whatsoever I command you. These things I command you, that ye love one another."
Then I may read this poem:
"His are the thousand sparkling rills,
That from a thousand fountains burst,
And fill with music all the hills,
And yet, He saith, "I thirst."
All fiery pangs on battlefields,
On fever beds, where sick men toss,
Are in that human cry He yields,
To anguish on the Cross.
But more than pains that racked Him then
Was the deep longing, thirst Divine,
That thirsted for the souls of men.
Dear Lord, and one was mine!
O Love most patient, give me grace,
Make all my soul athirst for Thee,
That parched dry lip, that fading face,
That thirst - were all for me."
(Mrs. C. F. Alexander)
Then I may pray:
Almighty Father, we humbly beseech Thee mercifully to behold this, Thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed and delivered into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon the Cross.
Grant that we may so accept the gift of His sacrifice that we may glorify His Name by our living service to all, and in company with saints, martyrs, prophets and just men and women, be worthy to partake also of Thy blessing, through the love and power of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Then I may say something along these lines:
Dear Friends, in remembrance of our Saviour's love for all mankind, shown at Calvary, we have tried to follow Him in our hearts and minds along the road of His physical and spiritual agony to the Cross, and the surrendering of His earthly life for the help of mankind.
What is the lesson we learn from this? Is it not that in degree we shall likewise be willing to suffer for the sake of those we love? Also to ever remember that our duty to those who are near and dear to us is to try and influence them to face their troubles with calmness, and to hold fast to faith in spite of all that would assail.
As we go back over the past in the Sacred Record we read for our learning of the many noble souls who suffered in order to raise up humanity from the materialism and evil of the world in the Name of God Almighty. And because these souls lived and worked for God, we can draw inspiration from them in His Name, and in the hour of test and trial show something of endurance. In the degree that this is possible, so will be our joy in the Life to come, where service with perfect freedom shall be the portion of such.
May the strength be given so that our courage may never fail, and may the Holy Spirit guide us ever into the way of spiritual peace.
Now unto Him Who loved us and gave Himself for us, be praise and worship and glory, with the Father, for ever. Amen.
This may or may not be the format - it often changes on the day - the true offering to God comes from within and not without. However, in order for different people to come together in a quiet and peaceful manner which lays aside the material world and its thinking for a while, there must be some type of structure in place to hold a harmonious gathering.