The church bells of Peebles Old ring out a welcome to this week’s online worship. It’s the 7th of February and the fifth Sunday after Epiphany, which reminds us that time passes by with steady tread.
It’s coming up for a year just now that we began our online worship. Of course, it has developed since then dramatically. But the message remains the same. That while our buildings may be closed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the churches remains open, with so much of our regular life to be found on our website.
Today’s service takes its theme from some of the most inspiring words of the Bible - Isaiah 40 - addressed originally to the captives in Babylon, recounting the nature of God and his people….lifting their eye to the soaring eagles, and seeing there an example of how those who serve the Lord can be lifted up in joy.
When the bells stop, our first hymn will be “Immortal, invisible, God only wise.”
5th Sunday after Epiphany
Immortal, Invisible, Hidden God,
We worship you.
By ourselves we could not know you, no argument lead to you
No enterprise reveal you:
In the wealth of its knowledge
The world fails to find you.
But you came to search for us in the frailty of a human life;
You trusted yourself to the fragile faith of wavering disciples.
We praise you that in our very weakness
We can know you;
That stumbling blocks become stepping stones,
And the foolishness of the cross
The very truth that quickens us to life.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Isaiah 40; 21-31
Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you
from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the
It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are
like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and
spreads them like a tent to live in;
who brings princes to naught, and makes the rulers of the earth as
Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem
taken root in the earth, when he blows upon them, and they wither, and
the tempest carries them off like stubble.
To whom then will you compare me, or who is my equal? says the
Lift up your eyes on high and see: Who created these? He who
brings out their host and numbers them, calling them all by name;
because he is great in strength, mighty in power, not one is missing.
Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, "My way is hidden
from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God"?
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the
everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or
grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall
but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they
shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.
you give strength to the powerless and power to the faint;
you raise up the sick and cast out demons.
Make us agents of healing and wholeness,
that your good news may be made known
to the ends of your creation.
Sisters and brothers,
let us lift our hearts in faith
to the one who hears all prayers
and holds close all those in need.
We pray for those locked in circumstances beyond their
May they discover hope buried in deepest suffering
We pray for all those under stress - especially in this time of
For those who feel unable to deal with their difficulties.
May our communities find even more strength to gather
round those who suffer, and may healing come among us,
and in the whole world.
Give us grace to show by our concern and actions
how each is loved and valued by you.
Holy God, you gather the whole universe
into your radiant presence
and continually reveal your Son as our Saviour.
Bring healing to all wounds,
make whole all that is broken,
speak truth to all illusion,
and shed light in every darkness,
that all creation will see your glory and know your Christ.
The Lord bless you and guard you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord look kindly on you
and give you peace.
And the Blessing of that same God, who creates, and saves
and sustains be with you today, and in all the days to come.
New header image courtesy of Ross Duncan