Welcome to our virtual worship and may it be a blessing to you during this current lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Our first hymn today sings about that one great family of humanity, from many lands or nations of the earth, praising you with many tongues but one Spirit:
HYMN NO. 1 – ONE FAITH, ONE LOVE – WCG 256
youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zlp-n_ghhwg (virtual choir)

Ross Jutsum has been sending some of his hymns during the lockdown for us to enjoy. They bring hope, inspiration and connection. This one is called Family Now And Forever
SPECIAL MUSIC – ROSS JUTSUM – FAMILY NOW AND FOREVER
Click on the ‘play’ symbol in the centre of the picture in thisLink: https://www.dropbox.com/s/fbykmt9njm0l47m/6.%20%20Family%20Now%20and%20Forever.mp4?dl=0

Family now and forever—for even from my youth, O God, by Thee have I been taught, and now when I am old and gray, forsake me not, we sing in our next hymn:
HYMN NO. 2 – FOR EVEN FROM MY YOUTH, O GOD – WCG 80
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-twF8ssvUo

Irene Wilson recently wrote a day by day that illustrates this connection from youth to old age (maturity!):
DAY BY DAY –IRENE WILSON – THE SUNFLOWER


The Sunflower

“’Do you hear what these children are saying?’ they asked him. Yes,” replied Jesus, ‘have you never read, “From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise”?’”
Matthew 21:16 (NIV)

My grandson and I grow sunflowers.  They make me smile, I admire their bright garish colour, their presence in the garden, standing tall and reaching for the sun.  Each year during winter, the seeds are sown. With regular watering they soon sprout and are transplanted into tiny pots. As Spring arrives the seedlings are re-potted and finally when the frosts have gone, the young plants are put into the garden.  There they flourish and grow – this is a process carried out year on year in many gardens. 

This year however, something unusual happened.  As the plants rapidly grew stretching up and up, one plant seemed reluctant to join the others, the growth was much slower.  I admit to thinking that this one was not going to make it and started to plan what to replace it with.  Imagine my surprise when with only half the height of the other sunflowers, the little one was the first to produce a beautiful jewel bright bloom – the size of a dinner plate!

The other flowers will bloom but they are so high that unless you are in a helicopter, you will not be able to see them!  This has been a lesson in perspective for me and my grandson.  There was a time when the disciples shooed away little ones from an audience with Jesus.  All they would want to do was to receive a blessing from Jesus, but no, perhaps the disciples pre-empted the Victorians with ‘children should be seen and not heard!’  Thankfully, Jesus was ahead of the situation, He invited the children over, he blessed them and then came the thunderbolt as far as the disciples were concerned.  Jesus looked straight at them and said, “truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Luke 18:17). That stopped them in their tracks!  First Century middle eastern society gave no status to children – yet here Jesus is encouraging them to think like children.

It was the children who greeted Jesus as He entered Jerusalem (Matthew 21:15). Jesus recognised the innocence, humility, and honesty of the young people, who were oblivious of political undercurrents.  They were pleased to see Jesus and earnestly wanted to be near him.  In a way, Jesus was saying in today’s vernacular ‘small is beautiful.’  We need to lose the cynicism of adulthood and regain the innocence and purity of thought that children can have – it will help us bloom like my little sunflower!

Prayer
Father, thank you for the gift of children, forgive us for our adult perceptions of life and help us to become humble and innocent of sin
.
Amen

Study by Irene Wilson

Our children are very important to us and to God. They are part of that one body, one Spirit, one Lord and one faith that we sing of in our next hymn, behold, How Good And How Pleasant for brethren to dwell together in sweet harmony:
HYMN NO. 3 – HOW GOOD AND HOW PLEASANT – WCG 144
youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XflOOq7X884  (virtual choir)

SATURDAY 27 JUNE 2020
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6qdOLWxWg8

SUNDAY 28 JUNE 2020
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgtEXTkPC2I

Every kindred, every tribe on this terrestrial ball are beloved by God as his children. Through His power we’re led:
HYMN NO. 4 – ALL HAIL THE POWER – WCG 272
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-N9_SdxW4c

We sent out the link to the GCI President’s Update so I have put this at the end of this worship in case some of you had already watched it. If you haven’t already watched this, here is the link with Dr. Greg Williams giving his update with a theme of Empathy, which fits in nicely to our theme today of Family:
PRESIDENT’S UPDATE – DR. GREG WILLIAMS – EMPATHY
https://update.gci.org/2020/06/empathy/

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