Today’s service starts a new series entitled Hope in despair and is a study of Lamentations. This week we look at Lamentations 1 and is called “A bitter regret”.

The service is designed to be used in conjunction with the order of service emailed earlier but which is also available to download here 19. HOPE IN DESPAIR (1) A Bitter Regret – Lamentations 1 (12.07.2020)

Watch the whole service on YouTube by following this link.

 

Song of preparation

O Lord the clouds are gathering

Call to worship

Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD; O LORD, hear my voice (Psalm 130:1-2).

Opening prayer and confession

Gracious Lord, we come with open hearts and open hands before you. You are merciful and kind but also holy. We confess that we have not lived according to your holy ways of justice and love. We confess our own sins and the sins of our nation.

Have mercy on us, O God, in your constant love; in the fullness of your mercy blot out our offences. Wash away all our guilt, and cleanse us from our sin. Forgive our nation for turning its back on you and your ways.

If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Therefore to all who truly repent this is his gracious word: ‘Your sins are forgiven.’
Amen. Thanks be to God.

Opening song

Desert song

Reading Lamentations 1: 1-7 (NET)

Alas! The city once full of people now sits all alone! The prominent lady among the nations has become a widow! The princess who once ruled the provinces has become a forced labourer! 2 She weeps bitterly at night; tears stream down her cheeks. She has no one to comfort her among all her lovers. All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies. 3 Judah has departed into exile under affliction and harsh oppression. She lives among the nations; she has found no resting place. All who pursued her overtook her in narrow straits. 4 The roads to Zion mourn because no one travels to the festivals. All her city gates are deserted; her priests groan. Her virgins grieve; she is in bitter anguish! 5 Her foes subjugated her; her enemies are at ease. For the Lord afflicted her because of her many acts of rebellion. Her children went away captive before the enemy. 6 All of Daughter Zion’s splendour has departed. Her leaders became like deer; they found no pasture, so they were too exhausted to escape from the hunter. 7 Jerusalem remembers, when she became a poor homeless person, all her treasures that she owned in days of old. When her people fell into an enemy’s grip, none of her allies came to her rescue. Her enemies gloated over her; they sneered at her downfall.

Reflection

HOPE IN DESPAIR (1) A Bitter Regret

Song

When the tears fall

Prayers

Lord, we thank you for this book of Lamentations. We pour out our grief to you, just as we read here. In our darkness and distress, in our confusion and pain we thank you for your presence and your righteousness. We praise you that you bore our sins. We cry out to you for the sins of the world. Cause the world to come back to you and follow your holy ways of righteousness and love.

Lord, we give thanks for the love of family and friends. We bring before you our homes, especially where we are not coping well, where we are struggling in relationships, made worse by the lockdown. We bring before you our homes where tensions exist between parents and their children, between husband and wife. Be close when our home life has fallen apart, that we may turn to you and find hope for the future.

Lord, when we are overwhelmed by the storms of life, in particular the loss of loved ones, the loss of health, the loss of home, the loss of income and employment, the loss of hope. In our despair, anxiety and exhaustion come close, that we may rediscover your love and purpose in our lives.

Lord, when we run out of words and find ourselves empty, would your Spirit intercede for us with groans. For those under the pressure of leadership, great and small, with responsibilities no human wisdom can handle, remind them again of the greater King, the Suffering Servant, the Lord Jesus.

Lord, we are grateful that your word acknowledges the reality of our pain, our grief, and our confusion, that you give us words of lament to pray. You know how fragile we are and we thank you that you listen to us and hold us.

All these things we pray in the name of Jesus, the one who suffered for our sake. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

Communion

We read in Scripture that on the night in which he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus took bread and gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat. This is my body, given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ After supper, he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it for all to drink, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant of my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin. Do this in remembrance of me.’

As often as we eat this bread and drink this cup we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Therefore, gracious God, with this bread and this cup we remember that our Lord offered his life for us. Believing the witness of his resurrection and ascension,
we look for his coming in glory, and our sharing in his great and promised feast.
Send now, we pray, your Holy Spirit, that these gifts of bread and wine may be for us the body and blood of Christ and that we may live to your praise and glory with all your saints in light.

Join our prayers and the prayers of all your people on earth and in heaven with the intercession of Christ, our great high priest,
through whom, with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all worship and honour are yours, almighty God and Father, for ever and ever. Amen.

The bread we break is a sharing in the body of Christ. Christ is the Bread of life.
The cup we take is a sharing in the blood of Christ. Christ is the true Vine.

The Body of Christ broken for you.
The Blood of Christ shed for you.

Prayer after communion

We praise you, God, for the bread of heaven and the cup of salvation which you give for the life of the world. With this food for our journey bring us with your saints to the feast of your glory. Amen.

Song after communion

Be still, my soul

Closing prayer and blessing

Gracious Lord, as we go, teach us to listen to those in pain, give us ears to hear your Spirit speaking, and transform us with your unending love for the lost and broken; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

And now may the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be with you and upon this nation, now and always. Amen.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen.