Worship at Home for the Week Beginning 7th January 2024

To listen to the sermon and a hymn dial

01604 266000.

Revd Alan Sharp has prepared this week's message.

This short act of worship is for use from home. Please use this service whenever you like during the week.

Pause to settle yourself in God’s presence, knowing that other people are sharing in worship with you.

Covenant Service
Download the Service Sheet
Download other Resources

Today is Covenant Sunday. For the sake of those unable to share the Covenant Service in Church items from the Service are used here.

HYMN StF 470 “Lord for the years”

Lord, for the years your love has kept and guided,
urged and inspired us, cheered us on our way,
sought us and saved us, pardoned and provided,
Lord of the years, we bring our thanks today.

Lord, for that word, the word of life which fires us,
speaks to our hearts and sets our souls ablaze,
teaches and trains, rebukes us and inspires us;
Lord of the word, receive your people’s praise.

Lord, for our land, in this our generation,
spirits oppressed by pleasure, wealth and care;
for young and old, for commonwealth and nation,
Lord of our land, be pleased to hear our prayer.

Lord, for our world, when we disown and doubt him,
loveless in strength, and comfortless in pain;
hungry and helpless, lost indeed without him;
Lord of the world, we pray that Christ may reign.

Lord, for ourselves, in living power remake us-
self on the cross and Christ upon the throne,
past put behind us, for the future take us,
Lord of our lives, to live for Christ alone.

Opening liturgy

Let us pray.
Glory to the Father, the God of love,
who created us; who continually preserves and sustains us; who has loved us with an everlasting love and given us the light of the knowledge of his glory in the face of Jesus Christ. 

Blessèd be God for ever.


Glory to Jesus Christ our Saviour,
who, though he was rich, yet for our sake became poor, and was tested in every way as we were, yet without sin;  
who proclaimed the good news of the kingdom,
and was obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross; who was raised from the dead and is alive for ever,
and has opened the kingdom of heaven
to all who trust in him;
who is seated at God’s right hand in glory,
and will come to be our judge. 

Blessèd be God for ever.

Glory to the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, by whom we are born into the family of God, and made members of the body of Christ; whose witness confirms us; whose wisdom teaches us; whose power enables us;
who will do for us more than we can ask or think. 

Blessèd be God for ever.

To the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be praise and glory for ever. 


Bible Reading


Many people have wondered “Why did Jesus have to be baptised? But it is there in each of the four Gospels and no-one really doubts that it happened. Bible scholars say that if a story is a bit embarrassing, or causes theological problems, and still gets told then it is more likely to be true.  And if it gets told by everybody, then it is almost certain to be true.  So, what’s happening. Why did Jesus want to be baptised?

A Minister in Canada tells how a few years ago he was reading his newspaper when a picture suddenly reached out to him and caught his attention. It was a picture of a young man sitting on some steps outside a school. The young man was bald, and all around him were his classmates,
about 25 of them, their heads bowed towards the camera – and they too were bald. The Headline next to the picture read: TRUE FRIENDS, and the caption said: “Mark Busse, 16,
poses with classmates from his high school”. His friends shaved their heads to show support for Busse after his hair fell out following chemotherapy for inoperable lung cancer. His friends said that they didn’t want him to stand out among the other students at school. In other words, they identified with him. They showed him that he was not alone. They gave to him a sign which he could treasure, a sign that made real to him and to others their love for him.

That is what the Baptism of Jesus is all about.  It is about making love real – God’s love for us – and our love for God. And just as the baptism of Jesus was an act by which he identified himself with us, so our own baptism in His name identifies us with him. And as Jesus makes God’s love real for us, we have to make it real for others – whatever the cost.

But we don’t do this in our own strength. Jesus saw the heavens torn apart – and then the Spirit descended like a dove upon him. There seems to be two extremes here, but something happened – from now on he changes.  This is the same Spirit by which God moved in creation and brought meaning out of chaos.
Isaiah believed that the same God, the God of Creation, would give a new start to people wearied by the chaos of exile.  It is the same Spirit that can give us a new start now. 

As we start 2024, we may be facing it with trepidation.  But God is with us. That is the message of the Covenant Service.  Read that opening prayer again, and reflect on its words, prayed by Methodists since the time of John Wesley – almost 300 years! In that time there have been many ups and downs, but God’s love has been constant – and will remain so in 2024.

Prayer of Confession

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.

The Covenant

Sisters and brothers in Christ,
let us again accept our place within this covenant
which God has made with us and with all who are called to be Christ’s disciples.
This means that, by the help of the Holy Spirit,
we accept God’s purpose for us, and the call to love and serve God in all our life and work.
Christ has many services to be done:
some are easy, others are difficult;
some bring honour, others bring reproach;
some are suitable to our natural inclinations and material interests, others are contrary to both;
in some we may please Christ and please ourselves; in others we cannot please Christ except by denying ourselves.
Yet the power to do all these things is given to us in Christ, who strengthens us.
Therefore, let us make this covenant of God our own.  Let us give ourselves to him,
trusting in his promises and relying on his grace.

Eternal God, in your faithful and enduring love you call us to share in your gracious covenant in Jesus Christ.
In obedience we hear and accept your commands;
in love we seek to do your perfect will.

With joy we offer ourselves anew to you.
We are no longer our own but yours. 

I am no longer my own but yours.  Your will, not mine, be done in all things, wherever you may place me,

in all that I do and in all that I may endure;
when there is work for me and when there is none; when I am troubled and when I am at peace.  Your will be done when I am valued and when I am disregarded. when I find fulfilment and when it is lacking. when I have all things, and when I have nothing.

I willingly offer all I have and am to serve you,

as and where you choose.

Glorious and blessèd God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are mine and I am yours.

May it be so for ever.

Let this covenant now made on earth.

be fulfilled in heaven.



Loving God, hear us as we pray for your holy catholic Church:

make us all one, that the world may believe.

Inspire and lead all who govern and hold authority in the nations of the world:

establish justice and peace among all people.

Have compassion on all who suffer from any sickness, grief or trouble:

deliver them from their distress.

We praise you for all your saints who have entered your eternal glory:

bring us all to share in your heavenly kingdom.

Let us pray for our own needs and for those of others.

The Lord's Prayer

Please use the version that you prefer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.


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.
Save us from the time of trial
And deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power
and the glory are yours
Now and for ever.


HYMN StF 476 “One more step”

One more step along the world I go
One more step along the world I go
From the old things to the new
Keep me traveling along with you
  And it’s from the old I travel to the new
  Keep me traveling along with you

Round the corners of the world, I turn
More and more about the world I learn
All the new things that I see
You’ll be looking at along with me

As I travel through the bad and good
Keep me traveling the way I should
Where I see no way to go
You’ll be telling me the way, I know

Give me courage when the world is rough
Keep me loving though the world is tough
Leap and sing in all I do
Keep me traveling along with you

you are older than the world can be
You are younger than the life in me 
Ever old and ever new 
Keep me traveling along with you:


May God – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – guide you throughout 2024, and fill the year with peace, joy and love. Amen

Service prepared by Revd Alan Sharp

Webpage: Paul Deakin