A verse from one of Charles Wesley’s hymns – H&P 693
Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees, And looks to that alone,
Laughs at impossibilities, And cries: ‘It shall be done!'
Let us pray. Incredible God, we thank you and praise you for trusting in us even when we find it hard to trust in you. We thank you and praise you for offering us more than we could ever imagine. We thank you and praise you for making the impossible possible. We thank you and praise you for all the blessings of youth and of age. We thank you and praise you for everything – in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Lord, you have commanded us to take up our cross and follow you. That is hard. There are many days when all we want is an easy life. We want to please ourselves and not bother about others. We like to find the quickest way to get something done. We are not good at waiting for those who do things differently or to try to understand them. We do not spend much time praying for others instead of ourselves. Lord, it is hard to follow you in the way that you demand. But then, Lord, even as we say this we remember your life here on earth. What if you had taken the easy way out of every situation? What if you had put your own needs first rather than serving others? What if you had pleased yourself instead of pleasing your Father? And, Lord, how can we ever think it – what if you had refused to go to the cross because it was too hard? What if you had never died in order to bring us to God? Lord Jesus, forgive us that we so easily give up in our efforts to follow you. We thank you that you have given everything for us. We bring ourselves again to you today. Please help us to live lives worthy of your name. For it is in the name of Jesus that we pray.
Our Father, who art in heaven,……….
Give me the faith which can remove
This is a marvellous hymn, one that many of us love to sing, but do we really ever stop to grasp the enormity of what Charles Wesley has us asking of God? Give me the faith which can remove and sink the mountain to the plain? Why does Charles Wesley make such a seemingly impossible demand? Well, he took words of Jesus from Matthew’s Gospel. In chapter 17, after the Transfiguration, the disciples could not heal a boy who had seizures, but Jesus drove out his demon. Verses 19 to 21 read: Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, Why couldn't we drive it out? He replied, Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.
Effectively, Jesus told us that if we do have real faith and do not doubt, we could throw Roseberry Topping into the North Sea. Yes, that truly is the scale of what we have just been singing about. And that still seems impossible to us, as mere mortals. And the reality is that it will remain impossible because we can never truly find enough faith to be able to copy things that God alone can do!
Can it be that we find it equally impossible to heed the next line: Give me the childlike praying love? We simply are incapable of trusting God in the way we trusted our parents, or others, when we were very young. And following our reading about Abraham and Sarah we are left gasping and staggered about what God is asking us to believe. To have faith that he can do the impossible.
And we struggle because many other things recorded in the Bible also simply defy our human logic. But, our faith and beliefs are at the centre of our thinking today, based on that fact that God does, indeed, do what he says, that all things are possible to him. It is part of our task, if we believe what we hear and say, to continue to pass on this good news for the sake of not only our own generation, adulterous and sinful as it may be, and as it was in the time of Jesus, but also for the sake of generations yet unborn. It is truly wonderful that although we sometimes think this impossible, the task is beyond us, God, as always, sees the possibilities within us – yes, even us! – and uses them in his own way! Amen
Let us pray. God of Abraham and Sarah, we give thanks for people of faith, who follow your calling and remain true to you. We pray for all who must leave their homeland and travel to new places far away. God of Abraham and Sarah, we pray for those who long for children, for those who care for other people's children and those who seek to find homes and safety for children who suffer.
God of Abraham and Sarah, we pray for the leaders of nations, for presidents and prime ministers, kings and queens, local government politicians and tribal chiefs. God of Abraham and Sarah, we pray for those who are old, for those who inspire us with stories of the past and those who suffer through sickness or loneliness. We also pray particularly for any known to us who need to know your love today. God of our ancestors, hear our prayer today. Amen.
Dear Lord Jesus, we don't understand how you did miracles, saved lives and healed pain.
We don't understand how you walked that road towards the rough cross.
We don't understand your love, but we are happy to receive it.
The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore.