Welcome to Haggs Parish Church Website

Minister’s Page

 



Minister: Rev. Raheel Arif

Tel: 01324 819149

Raheel will also  be delivering a video message on his Facebook page at  11.30 am on a Sunday.
A facebook account is required to access.
Link:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/815604555526629/

A YouTube channel to store all the videos has been created to make access easier for those who do not have facebook.
The new link below will take you directly to the channel where all the videos will be visible as they become available.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNfu0lE7AYM97QfvFq75h1w

Christian Aid 2020

This Christian Aid Week 10 to 16 May 2020 is going to be very different.
Please remember that your safety is really important to us.
For that reason, we can’t do any form of door-to-door drop-off or collection during Christian Aid Week.
For further information on Christian Aid see our Christian Aid page on this website
http://www.haggschurch.org.uk/page/christian-aid

Raheels' Weekly Message

Sunday Service 24th May 2020

Good morning. Hope you are all doing well and living your lives under God’s grace and love.

Today is Ascension Sunday, an important Sunday when Christians all over the world remember and celebrate the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ into heaven after completing his task on this earth. Jesus who now sits at the right hand of God. We begin our service with a call to worship,

Call to worship

Because Jesus ascended and sits at the right hand of God,

a new world has broken into ours—

a world in which justice does come for the poor,

freedom comes for the prisoners,

and healing for the sick.

Because Jesus ascended and sits at the right hand of God,

a new community has been formed—

a community that loves and cares for all members,

a family that welcomes all who are abandoned and rejected,

a place where all find a place of belonging.

Because Jesus ascended and sits at the right hand of God,

a new creation has begun— 

all that was distorted is being restored,

all that is corrupted is being renewed,

all that was broken is being made whole.

Because Jesus ascended and sits at the right hand of God,

God’s new world has begun. 

Let us worship Christ, who overcame death to give us new life – a whole new world!

Prayer: Lord of all time and space, who was and is and is to come, we worship and adore You for You alone are worthy of our praise. There is none before you, none above you.

Your glory is ever before us and this morning we are glad to take our place alongside all those who even now, on earth and in heaven, are raising their voices to exalt You, their minds to know You and their hearts to love You.

May our worship be a fitting offering – a gift in return to the giver of every good and perfect gift.

Lord our God, we confess that too often we are hesitant in our proclamation; seeking safe and suitable opportunities to speak of our faith.

Too often, Lord God, we are half-hearted in our service; reluctant to stand out from the crowd.

Too often, Lord God, we live as if dependent wholly on our own resources; relying on our perceived skills and modest insights.

Too often, Lord God, we look to the clouds for our inspiration,

in the vain hope of finding you there.

Forgiving God, forgive the poverty of our efforts and the frailty of our faith and open wide our hearts and minds to the glorious presence of our Risen, Living and Ascended Lord Jesus Christ. In his name we offer our pray. Amen

Reading: John 17:1-11; 20-23

Sermon: “The Church Is a Home”

A Scottish theologian once led a student mission to a small Scottish town. He was given the opportunity of speaking to sixth-year pupils of the local High School. He began by drawing a large parabola on the blackboard which is a symmetrical open plane curve formed by the intersection of a cone with a plane parallel to its side. His chalk line began at the top, then swept down in a gentle curve before turning and climbing back up to the top at the blackboard’s other side. ‘You all know what a parabola is,’ he said. ‘This parabola neatly sums up the whole Christian story.’ And he explained what he meant.

Jesus came down to earth from His Father’s presence, spent thirty-three years here, then ascended back into His Father’s presence. He came to redeem us, then left us to continue the work he had begun. In twenty minutes he squeezed in something about the Christian life, following Christ, facing hardships, but knowing his presence with us every hour of every day. ‘But,’ he concluded, ‘we must trust Him for ourselves.’ No one moved or spoke as he gave the class that simple lesson.

This is an important reminder of Jesus’ purpose coming down to earth on this Ascension Sunday when we remember and celebrate Christ’s Ascension to heaven – to his heavenly Father after completing his challenge or task on this earth.

The High Priestly Prayer of Jesus in our reading gives us a clear picture of that ‘parabola’. He says He was with the Father before the world began. He goes on to say that He has now done the work God entrusted Him to do, and concludes by anticipating His ascension when He says He is no longer in the world.  He was asking God – his Father to restore him to his original place of honour and authority. Jesus’ resurrection and ascension attest his return to his exalted position at the right hand side of God.

But before his ascension, Jesus prayed for his followers who are in this world with all its needs and problems! From it, we learn that the world is a tremendous battleground where the forces under Satan’s power and those under God’s authority are at constant war. Satan and his forces are motivated by bitter hatred for Christ and his forces.

For this reason, Jesus prayed for his disciples, including those of us who follow him today. He prayed for his chosen people: for their safety, for their purity, for their holiness and unity. 

Jesus prays in Verse 11, “Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.”

Jesus calls us to be united as the community of faith, yet we look around and see much disunity in the church and also in our government and devolved governments in their approach to Coronavirus and relaxing the lockdown.

Most of us agree that we desire unity in the church and in our nation; we want “oneness”. We regret the divisions and debates that drive us apart. We do not want to be divided; yet all too often, we are.

Why? Why we can’t get our act together? What pushes us apart in spite of our desire to be together? Scripture is clear on two points here:

1. Our disunity springs from our seeking to do things our own way, and,

2. The key to unity and oneness is seeking to do things God’s way.

Whenever the people of God lose focus on God, trouble begins; not as a punishment for sin, but as a natural result of spiritual creatures forgetting to take care of spiritual things. It is therefore in our unity with God that we find our unity with one another.

Translators of the New Testament into English were trying to find a word for the new relationship to be found with God in Christ. They hit upon the Middle English word “atone” which came from two words “at one.”

It seems a slight difference, doesn’t it? But in such small things, large and important things reside. For we have made atone a chore – a task – a thing we must do to make up for, to pay for, for to right the wrong that we ourselves have done. This is not what “at one” means at all.

“At one” means that we are at peace with God, so that we can be at peace with one another. And that “at – one – ness” is an act and gift of God; not an act or gift of us. In the midst of the difficult prose of John’s Gospel, we find the message that Christ makes us one with God and with each other. Our calling is to remember that we are one with God and with one another and to act toward each other in ways consistent and reflective of that oneness. God has made peace with us and God has made peace between us.

Dr. Paul Tournier once observed, “There are two things we cannot do alone; One is to be married; the other is to be a Christian. One cannot get married to him/herself, you need another person to be married to. And we or Christians also need a church in order to be Christian; not matter how inconvenient and uncomfortable it might be to get along with the other Christian. Just remember; whatever troubles we are having with them, some of them are having the same troubles with us as well.

We need the church in order to be Christian; if for no other reason than that we cannot learn to love and be loved in isolation. It is within the daily ups and downs of living and working together as the people of God that we find out what it means to be forgiven for our failures, praised for our efforts, appreciated for our qualities, prayed for in our sorrows, helped in the midst of our troubles and loved in spite of ourselves.

It is within the community of faith that we learn to be genuinely loving and praising and forgiving and helping toward others. We need each other in order to practice and learn to be Christian.

Jesus in our lesson today prayed that we would find a home with one another, a place where our “at one ness” with God becomes a strong “at one ness” with each other. Jesus was asking that his followers be united in harmony and love as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are united – the strongest of all unions.

The strongest union we find in verses 21-23. Jesus’ greatest desire for his disciples was that they would become one. He wanted them unified as a powerful witness to the reality of God’s love.

The question for us today is that “Are we helping to unify the body of Christ, the church? “Are we doing our part to build the body of Christ and are we working to make it strong? Or are we working to divide it and make it weaker? 

If we are true Christian, then, our work, our efforts should be unified to build up Christ’s church and we can do it by working together in humility, giving our time and money for the glory of our God, especially at this time when our churches are closed but we still need to pay the bills and pay our monthly contribution to the National church. At this time we need to find out ways of how we can support our church. How we can send our weekly offerings that helps the church going and that helps the church to continue its work and mission. We can put our weekly offering in envelopes and bring them to church when we return to normal or we can make online bank transfers to church’s account or by standing order, so that the work of Christ continues who gave his mission to his followers when ascended. In this way we will exalt Him in this world because we are living in union with God as a branch living in union with the vine and with all other branches doing the same function.

May we or our church be both a home and a place where we are truly one people, one family of God, one community in Christ, one body living and working together in pursuit of one thing, prayerfully seeking to know and do the will of God. Amen

Hymn 448    Lord, the light of your love is shining  

Jesus said, “My prayer for all of them is that they will be one…. Then the world will know that you sent me and will understand that you love them as much as you love me.” John 17:21, 23

Prayer: O God, we are one with you. You have made us one with you. You have taught us that if we are open to one another, you dwell in us. Help us to preserve this openness and to fight for it with all our hearts.

O God, in accepting one another wholeheartedly, fully, completely, we accept you, and we thank you, and we adore you, and we love you with our whole being, because our being is in your being and our spirit is rooted in your spirit.

Almighty God, as the number of dying with the Covid -19 is falling, we give You thanks and praise but we still pray for Your comfort and upholdness for those who have lost loved ones.

We pray for the power of Your mighty healing hand upon those who are ill and suffering from Covid-19 and other diseases. Bring Your healing and wholeness into their lives.

Lord, there’s still way to go, so keep us steadfast in the lockdown and way forward to ease off and when it is gently eased help us not to go too far in desperation. We pray that all the decisions will be made wisely and fairly with justice and in accordance with Your will.

We also pray for the vulnerable – people with additional needs and their families for whom this has been a stressful period.      

Holy God, three in one, this morning we pray that You Fill us with Your love, and let us be bound together with love as we go our diverse ways, united in this one spirit which makes you present in the world, and makes you witness to the ultimate reality that is love.

Love has overcome.

Love is victorious. 

And in that love through Jesus Christ, we ask all our prayers, Amen

Benediction: Glorying in the gift of God’s love

live into God’s world, strengthened in the knowledge that you are God’s own.

Live in unity and in peace, share the message of God’s kingdom, initiate grace, and in the living of your lives may God be glorified this day, and always.

So may the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with you all – and with those you love and with those you struggle to love – now and always. Amen.

Jesus’ Letter

I’ve got a letter here!

It’s a lovely, lovely letter...

• Can you guess what it says? •

Can you guess why I think it’s lovely?

It’s a special letter; it’s from Jesus to his Dad.

• Do you know who his dad is?

Yes! That’s right, Jesus’ dad is God himself!

• So why do you think I’ve got Jesus’ letter to his dad?

• And... what do you think it says?

I will tell you later.

Now I will speak about “Our Letter to God”

• What sort of letter could we write to God?

• And how would God get it?

• We can’t post it off can we?

Stick on a stamp and address it:

God

Heaven

I mean, what’s the postcode for heaven?!

Ahh... but we can send God a letter...

 in fact we send him letters all the time.

• Can you guess how? It’s in our prayers!

• So what’s in that Jesus’ letter I have then?

Dear Dad, See all my friends?

The ones who know my story and believe I am your Son?

Would you do me a favour?

When I’m not there anymore, would you just care for them? Protect them? Hear their prayers and love them for me?

You would?! Awesome! Thanks Dad!

See why I think it’s a lovely letter?!

Jesus asking God to look after all his friends... that’s you and me.

And I think, that’s pretty lovely, don’t you!?