Sunday 23rd August 2020


Welcome to our ‘Church at Home’ service for Sunday 23rd August 2020, on this page you will find prayers, readings, hymns and a short video message to help you to worship God this morning wherever you are. Today we are looking at the final part in our sermon series on the life of Abraham. Throughout his story so far God has been teaching Abraham to fully trust in his promises. Today he is tested to show the world that he has finally learnt that lesson, and has total faith in God’s character and power to keep his promises.

Call to Worship – Isaiah 51:1-2

May God be merciful and bless us.
    May his face smile with favour on us.
May your ways be known throughout the earth,
    your saving power among people everywhere.

“Listen to me, all who hope for deliverance—
    all who seek the Lord!
Consider the rock from which you were cut,
    the quarry from which you were mined.
Yes, think about Abraham, your ancestor,
    and Sarah, who gave birth to your nation.
Abraham was only one man when I called him.
    But when I blessed him, he became a great nation.”

Hymn 85 – God is our strength and refuge

Opening Prayer

Almighty God,
who dwells in the eternity of the heavens,
we pray that you would
stir the wills,
of us who’s home
is here in this world of change and time,
to number our days so that;
we may fix our hearts on your wisdom,
fill our lives with your praise and service,
and through Christ be numbered
among your saints in everlasting glory.

Holy God,
you sent your Spirit
to be the life and light of your Church.
Open our hearts to the riches of your grace,
that we may bring forth the fruit of the Spirit
in love, joy, and peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who us alive with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen

Reading – Genesis 22:1-19 (NRSV)

After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.”

Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.

When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

The angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, “By myself I have sworn, says the Lord: Because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will indeed bless you, and I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of their enemies, and by your offspring shall all the nations of the earth gain blessing for themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.” So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beer-sheba; and Abraham lived at Beer-sheba.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.

Children’s Talk – Sacrificing Isaac

Children’s Praise – The Lord Your God

Reading – Hebrews 11:11-19

By faith [Abraham] received power of procreation, even though he was too old—and Sarah herself was barren—because he considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, “as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.”

All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.

By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac. He who had received the promises was ready to offer up his only son, of whom he had been told, “It is through Isaac that descendants shall be named for you.” He considered the fact that God is able even to raise someone from the dead—and figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.

Sermon – Abraham Tested (Genesis 22)

A prayer for going back to school

God our heavenly teacher,
thank you for the gift of learning,
that enables us to grow in wisdom and stature,
in relationship with you and others.
We pray for school life as it resumes again,
after months of lockdown and the long summer break.
Be with governors, principals, drivers, cleaners and others,
who have responsibility in arrangements,
for the smooth running of the school day.
Be with teachers and classroom assistants,
as they help pupils settle again into learning.
Be with parents, grandparents and carers,
as they gently help loved ones readjust to the return of school.
Be with children and young people,
as they renew relationships with staff and peers,
embrace new rhythms and routines in familiar places,
pick up the threads of the curriculum again –
remembering what they have learned before,
and quickly making sense of new knowledge coming their way.
Be especially with those in crucial exam years,
taking away fear of months of learning lost,
giving confidence in what can yet be gained.
Help whole school families grow in these days –
physically in their new environments for learning,
mentally as new thinking is required,
emotionally as strains and stresses have to be negotiated,
socially in community with one another,
spiritually as they recognise God at work among them.
Lord Jesus,
whose teaching amazed and astounded,
with its stamp of authority,
and left its lasting mark on many lives,
hear these our prayers for our schools this new term.

Hymn 427 – When I survey the wondrous cross

Final Prayer

God of hope
fill me with all joy and peace
as I trust in you,
so that my heart may overflow with hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit.