Welcome to Haggs Parish Church Website

Minister’s Page

 



Minister: Rev. Raheel Arif

Tel: 01324 819149

Raheel will also  be delivering a video message on his Facebook page at  11.30 am on a Sunday.
A facebook account is required to access.
Link:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/815604555526629/

A YouTube channel to store all the videos has been created to make access easier for those who do not have facebook.
The new link below will take you directly to the channel where all the videos will be visible as they become available.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNfu0lE7AYM97QfvFq75h1w

Christian Aid 2020

This Christian Aid Week 10 to 16 May 2020 is going to be very different.
Please remember that your safety is really important to us.
For that reason, we can’t do any form of door-to-door drop-off or collection during Christian Aid Week.
For further information on Christian Aid see our Christian Aid page on this website
http://www.haggschurch.org.uk/page/christian-aid

Raheels' Weekly Message

Sunday Service 5th July 2020

Good morning everyone and welcome to our Sunday Worship service today. I hope that you’re safe and well in God’s love and grace and I hope that you will receive God’s blessing through this service as we worship together our Lord and Saviour in our houses, physically apart but together in Spirits and hearts.

Call to Worship

Jesus said, if you are tired from carrying heavy burdens,
come to me and I will give you rest.
Take the yoke I give you.
Put it on your shoulders and learn from me.
I am gentle and humble, and you will find rest.
This yoke is easy to bear, and this burden is light.
Christ calls us to come to worship
To rest from the things that are troubling us
To learn what Christ can teach of life
To realise what we can offer to others
And so to return into the world to serve.
Let us worship God

Prayer: You are our guardian and shield, O God, our protector who keeps us from falling. You surround us with righteousness that wards off evil forces; in Christ is the assurance to withstand ways that may tempt us. You shower us with your mercy that cleanses wrongdoing. We meet together in adoration and in praise of Your name.
God our Saviour, we repent that we have laboured long and wasted much energy on things which are worthless in your eternal scheme.
We repent those occasions when we have chosen to only do those things for you that suited our inclinations, and have therefore wearied ourselves on matters that are second best.
We repent the situations when on top of the disciplines of faith we have added the weight of needless worry and exhausted ourselves much too soon.
We repent the burdensome pride that sometimes makes us cling to showy self-justifications rather than admitting our sin and accepting your love.
We repent those events where we have not even made any effort at being Christian, but slipped into the corrupt ways of the world and loaded ourselves with a weight of evil.
God of Jesus, we who are the heavy laden come to you for rescue and relief. Please pity the foolishness of our choices, and forgive us for the evil in which we have participated.
As we accept the invitation of Christ, release from our shoulders the burden of shame that is beyond our power to remit.
Restore our messy spirits, and strengthen our faith in your abundant love.
Return to us an awareness of the beauty of your ways, and enable us to walk in that beauty without looking back. Through Christ Jesus our Redeemer. Amen

Reading: Matthew 11:28-30

Sermon: A Burden that Lightens our Load

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
In these verses, Jesus is speaking to people who desperately trying to find God and desperately trying to be good. These people were finding the tasks impossible and they were driven to weariness and to despair. He says: “Come to me who are exhausted”. His invitation is to those who are exhausted with the search for the truth. The Greek had said, “It is very difficult to find God, and when you have found him, it is impossible to tell anyone else about him.
But Jesus in verse 27 makes it clear how we can find God. He says: ‘No - one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’
In the Old Testament, “know” means more than knowledge. It implies an intimate relationship, a communion between God the Father and the Son and of those who are desperate and eager to know God.
In the OT, the revelation of God was fully contained in the law and the prophets. But in the New Testament, this revelation has been revealed to everyone through Jesus. Jesus’ claim of ‘Everything has been given over to me’ refers to the revelation of the knowledge and authority that has been given to Jesus. This knowledge and revelation provide the believers a freedom from the law – from the burdens and leads them to a light load in Jesus.
For orthodox Jews, religion was a thing of burdens. Jesus said of the Scribes and Pharisees: ‘They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others’ (Matt. 23:4).
To the Jews, religion was a thing of endless rules. People lived their lives in a forest of regulations which dictated every action. They must had to listen to a voice which said: “You shall not”.
But Jesus invites people to come to him and offers people his yoke. He frees them and us from the yoke of the law. He offers the yoke of acceptance and submission to the reign of His Father.
Such acceptance will impose no further burden; rather, it serves to lighten the loads. He says, my yoke fits well and is easy which means that the life he gives is not a burden to cause us pain. His burden is laid on us in love and is meant to be carried in love and then that love makes the burden light even the heaviest.
There is a story which tells how a man came upon a little boy carrying a still smaller boy who was lame, on his back. Someone said to him, ‘That’s a heavy burden for you to carry.’ ‘That’s not a burden’, was the answer. ‘That’s my wee brother.’ The burden which is given in love and carried in love is always light.
So, my dear friends, in one way or other, we are all weary and overburdened. In our depths, lies hidden a poverty which oppresses us because it frightens us, and drags us down. In the words of this passage, Christ welcomes us in our vulnerability and does not seem to be afraid of it. “Come to me,” he says.
Here, Jesus teaches us to offer this inner poverty to God. It is God alone who can cover it with the right garment. Accepting our inadequacies, Christ takes upon himself what hurts us in ourselves.
And Jesus’ proposal goes even further: our shoulders do not remain empty for long. Once we have entrusted our burden to him he gives us another one, which seems to be even heavier. Jesus calls this new load a yoke, the name of the large piece of wood which connects two oxen to each other to plough or to tow something.
We are thus brought from a solitary effort to a common effort. Becoming an ox with Christ is a striking image. It recalls the image used by the prophet Isaiah that of a suffering servant burdened with the faults of others.
So, working in group, or making a joint effort is a gesture which connects us to God. Not only is God unafraid of our poverty, but in addition, he invites us to undertake with him the great work he is accomplishing in the world: to liberate by bearing the burdens of others, especially the self-imposed burdens that are sometimes borne out of self-contempt.
This task is not one that we can achieve by ourselves. If I try to carry myself, often I will simply become a sketch of myself, so caught up in my own preoccupations that I forget everybody else or, even worse, become a burden to them. Listening to Jesus’ words, we are called rather to get rid off ourselves from our own worries and to accept Christ’s concerns in their place, to take upon ourselves a burden that, paradoxically, lightens our load.
Folks, we also know and may have experienced in our lives that following Jesus is full of risks and challenges, as he has made abundantly clear. He calls us to a life of humble service, but it is a life of freedom and joy instead of slavery. It is life yoked to Jesus under God's gracious and merciful reign, free from the burden of sin and the need to prove oneself, free to rest deeply and securely in God's grace.
Jesus offers us rest. He offers us a place where we can lay down our burdens to him and where we can satisfy the deepest longings of the human spirit.
What he calls us to discover and trust is the hidden, deep sacred reality in our lives. He invites us to find that blessed Reality which is around us though we see it not, beside us though we touch it not, within us though we know it not. Jesus asks us to enjoy that holy Reality which cannot be explored by scientific investigation, nor captured in a mathematical equation, nor encapsulated in a theological creed, yet can be loved and trusted even by a little child.
To those who come to him, Jesus offers the secret of the “kingdom of God." The good news of God’s ruling presence in all and through all yet above all. A kingdom of overflowing love, where sinners are recovered, rebels are forgiven, lepers are embraced, and where the lost find themselves truly at home.
When Jesus invites us, there is no need to be afraid like a fearful 19th century schoolboy, to shake before the Master holding a stick. Fear? No. Yes! For God is awesome beyond all else in heaven and earth. Yet we come like children – like little kids into the warm arms of Abba.
In those arms we rest our tired little lives in the One Holy Source that preceeded the ‘big bang” and who will be there for us when this universe is no more.
Jesus does not invite us to take up a new religion nor to burden ourselves with more tough ethical duties.  He asks us to return the true roots of selfhood... to return and find ourselves totally at home.
Maybe today is the time for us to get real and get into Christ’s yoke?
He says to you and me and to everyone ‘Come unto me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn of me. For I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Amen

Thanks be to our Lord and Saviour for offering us his yoke that is light and easy to carry.

Hymn 540         I heard the voice of Jesus say.

INTERCESSIONS

 Loving God, our Friend, Saviour, and Healer, the world is too big for us, the degree of human suffering too great for us, the tangle of cause and effect too complex for us. Prayerfully we place before you a tiny segment of humanity, and ask you to bless them well. Then as you bless them, please bless all the other people whose needs are outside our direct knowledge.
We pray for the young people of our churches and communities, especially for any who find life bewildering and aimless and any who may be contemplating suicide.
Friend, Saviour and Healer, may your children know your love and strength.
We pray for the old people of our churches and communities, especially those who because of illness, frailty or grief, feel that the burden of life far outweighs its remaining joys.
Friend, Saviour and Healer, may your children know your love and strength.
We pray for the overworked and the unemployed people of churches and communities and of our world, especially any who feel that they are trapped in circumstances out of their control in the present circumstances
Friend, Saviour and Healer, may your children know your love and strength.
We pray for grieving members of our churches and communities, those reeling from death, divorce, loss of job, or family estrangement, especially for those who live alone.
Friend, Saviour and Healer, may your children know your love and strength.
We pray for members of our churches and communities who are facing temptations or worries that today seem overwhelming, especially for any who are near breaking point.
Friend, Saviour and Healer, may your children know your love and strength.
We pray for members of our churches and communities who feel at the crossroads between doubt and faith, especially for any who feel too shy or ashamed to talk with their minister or pastor.
Friend, Saviour and Healer, may your children know your love and strength.
Most loving God, with our assistance or without it, please reach far beyond the limited circle of these prayers, that the world may drawn away all that is defeatist, unstable and diseased, towards the love, mercy and peace of your Son Jesus, our Brother and Redeemer. Amen!

Benediction:

God of the quiet times.
God of the noisy times. 
God of the sad times.
God of the happy times.
God of all people, young or old, silent or loud, weighed down or untroubled,
we find peace in your presence and rest in your love.
May the blessings of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be yours now and always. Amen