Communion Prayers

Here are the prayers I used at the Lord’s Table on Sunday, they are adapted from ‘The Reformed Book of Common Order’ p38-41

 

”Eternal God, all creation acknowledges you as LORD. The whole earth is full of your glory. It is good, therefore, that we whom you have created in your own image praise you. We praise, bless, and adore you, that when your own image within us was marred and corrupted by our sin and we were fallen, you did send your son to restore and raise us.

 

We thank you for His life as recorded in the Scriptures, for the prophecies that foretold His coming, for His humble yet wonderful birth, for his life of toil, for His perfect example, for His death upon the cross, for His resurrection from the grace, for His ascension to your right hand, and for His sending the Holy Spirit to point sinners to Himself and to lead them into all truth.

 

As we gather together at His table today, we thank you, in particular for His death upon the cross. We thank you that He took upon Himself there, the punishment which was due to us for our iniquities. We thank you that, in fulfilment of your eternal purpose He made the cross the altar upon which He offered up, once for all, the perfect sacrifice for our sins, the just for the unjust. We thank you that He was, indeed, the Lamb of God, the lamb without spot or blemish sent by you, in your wonderful love, to make atonement, to make us one with you by the shedding of His blood. We thank you that His righteousness is imputed to us by You through our faith in Christ’s completed work of salvation and our trust in you our God and Father.

 

Therefore, at the invitation and command of our Lord and Saviour, we present ourselves at His table to remember Him; to declare and witness before the world that by Him alone we have received forgiveness and eternal life, that by Him alone you do acknowledge us as your children and heirs, that by Him alone we have access to your throne of grace, that by Him alone we have citizenship in heaven, that by Him alone our bodies shall be raised from the dust and share with Him that endless joy which you our Father, have prepared for your elect before the foundation of the world. All these inestimable blessings we acknowledge and confess we have received from your free mercy and grace, by your beloved  Son Jesus Christ; And for these, we, your redeemed, moved by the Holy Spirit, render to you all thanks, praise, and glory, now and always. AMEN”

 

After communion

 

”We give you thanks, O God, that we have been privileged to sit again, at your table. We thank you for those who once sat here and now sit at your table in the  home of many mansions.
Help we us pray, by your Holy Spirit. Preserve us from the wiles of satan. Keep us faithful to the vows we made when we joined this church; and grant us in your mercy that when the busy fever of this life is forever hushed, when our joys here are ended and our work is done, we may have prefect communion with you in that Kingdom where your saints, your Redeemed are forevermore”

Day 7

Day 7 – Wed Sept 7th – I was ordained 16 years ago today. I recently found a transcript of the sermon Dick Lucas preached at my ordination service, I’d got an American intern to type it up years ago. Anyway, I read through it this morning and it’s terrific –  4 priorities from the Pastorals – Preach the Word, Guard the Truth, Live the Faith, Endure Hardship. A  lady from the church is going to edit the transcript and hopefully we can put it on here.

 

The day was taken up with going down to Liss IPC for their session meeting. I’ve been involved as a loan elder alongside 3 others for the last 9 months and before that a member of the Presbytery commission. It’s been a tough couple of years for the congregation in Liss but some encouragements are beginning to emerge. In lots of ways one of the joys of Presbyterianism is that  when there are problems it’s not just left to the local congregation to muddle through. I managed to resign today as a loan elder because of just a greater work load here for the next year and it will be something of a relief. Presbytery will appoint a replacement next week.

 

This evening was our monthly prayer meeting around 35 of us gathered to pray. It was a good time if not spectacular, I hope we’ll see growth in the prayer gatherings this year. A good friend sent us this fun article about photographing a flying baby who has Down Syndrome

Day 6

Day 6 – Tue Sept 6th – Noah went into year 2 today with a male teacher for the first time which will do him good. He went off without a fear which is lovely. I went along with my father in law first thing to our architects this morning, we’re pushing hard on getting the tendering price down for the new church building. I don’t normally attend these meetings but some pressure needed to be brought on them. We’re not far away from being to start, if the deadlines are kept it could be the start of November. It’s pretty disappointing how long it is all taking as we’d hoped we would have begun by now and it’s difficult to raise more funds without people actually seeing something.

 

On Tuesdays we run the Ealing Lunchtime Talks and Hristo a Bulgarian man from our congregation who studied at EMF and Cornhill gave an impassioned plea from the Great Commission to Evangelise. I think it’s the first time in ELT history the end of the talk has been greeted by applause. I worked in the afternoon in Café Zee and managed to get lots done this afternoon.

 

In the evening I visited a young couple in our church who are hoping to get more involved in the church.

 

There’s no one staying in our house and Phoebe is back in her own room which is a source of great joy

Day 5

Day 5 – Mon Sept 5th  – I managed to be in the office for 8 and get straight down to sermon prep, I’m ahead on my morning series Isaiah, the evening series I’m back in Colossians which I’ve struggled with but hopefully the break will have done me good. It was slow and although I got some good work done, I should have made myself get out of the office. We did however get news that our potential intern Donald from Aberdeen might arrive next week!

 

This evening was our monthly session meeting, there are 5 of us elders on the ground in Ealing, Stuart Cashman is planting Immanuel Brentford. Simon Arscott from All Nations Church, Ilford also comes over to attend the meetings. Their reports were encouraging, it was a good meeting and we are working well together as a session. God has been very kind to us as elders, we’ve known unity and the meetings are nearly always encouraging. We started with a good discussion on the Confession’s chapter on Baptism.  I always find it difficult to sleep after a session meeting so I worked late.

 

Aunty Sadie left us to go back to Northern Ireland today she’s been with us for 2 weeks helping with childcare which was a huge help. Claire’s dad arrived tonight for our building project meetings and so we all went to the Harvester, it’s a tradition when he’s here. There’s something wonderful about the Harvester although they’ve just renovated the restaurant, it remains the same and no matter which meat you order it tastes the same.

Day 4

Day 4 – Sun Sept 4th  – This is always one of the best Sundays of the year, people are encouraged after Holiday Bible Club, everyone is back from holidays and enjoys catching up, some new folk arrive. It was our first Sunday with Sunday school at 10 and then worship at 11. We had a joint Sunday school where we gave books to the kids which is always a joy. I spoke a little bit about the year ahead for children’s Sunday school – we’re going to use the Presbyterian Church in Ireland – Child’s catechism for our younger children, the preparatory catechism for the middle group and then our older kids will be using Growing in Christ by Packer which is a terrific resource. Chris Roberts talked a little on how he sees Adult Sunday school developing. We’re hoping and praying the change to 10am sees more people being out at Sunday School.

 

I’d not preached on Sunday mornings at IPC since before the holidays so it was nice to be back, we went straight back into Isaiah 23 and it was ok, nothing special but ok. I felt I wasn’t as clear in the middle as I should have been – Isaiah 23:17,18 are difficult verses to explain. We had a couple of  people back for lunch and then I had an encouraging pastoral visit before the evening service.

 

Chris Roberts preached in the evening, he’s doing his 3rd year at LTS, we’ve supported him through college. He was on Nahum 3 and was very helpful on the cry, the sentence and the relief. We celebrated the Lord’s supper this evening and I read the wonderful prayer from the Reformed Book of church Order which I might stick on here. After church I met with the team of leaders who run our young peoples work which was encouraging. They are a great bunch of servant hearted folk who are a good laugh. I’m hoping to be able to less involved this year which looks like it might happen.

Day 3

Day 3 – Sat Sept 3rd – Holiday Bible Club over for another year – it’s been a triumph and a real joy despite my moaning about being so tired.  We always finish holiday bible club with a picnic for families, lots came and some great conversations. ChurchSome families come along to our weekly clubs but for others it’s an annual thing for them and there’s no contact in between. We’ve some kids come from the local charismatic churches for our HBC but that’s ok. I felt we did a better job this year in linking it with the regular activities in the church, I pray we’ll children and families come from this. We’re not sure whether we’ll be able to do HBC next year as God willing the building programme will start this autumn and it’ll take a year to complete. Anyway I am hugely grateful for the church labouring so hard this week. After tidying up with folk it was after 3 before we got home.

Ridderbos on Church

From Paul: An outline of his theology

‘…….he makes the local congregation also realize their fellowship among each other and wishes to promote among them as large a degree of agreement in their actions as possible. Time and again he points the churches to what is taking place elsewhere.  They are to be conscious of the cosmic (”ecumenical”) relationships in which the gospel involves them (Col 1:6,23; 1 Tim 3:16; cf Eph 1:10). What happens in other congregations must have their full interest (cf 2 Cor 9:2ff; Col 4:16);  they are to participate in that which is undertaken elsewhere (1 Cor 16:1ff); they must allow themselves to be guided by the same line of conduct. Paul accordingly stresses that he gives the same distinctives in all the churches (1 Cor 7:17; 4:17;14:33); he wants them to pay heed to each other’s ecclesiastical rules; and he reprimands the Corinthians for  their individualising and independent attitude: ‘did the Word of God originate with you, or are you the only ones it has reached?” (1 Cor 14:14,36).’ p478

‘In the local church the universal church of Christ manifests itself’ p479