** This collective worship includes a short craft activity requiring a pencil and a piece of paper (half, or quarter of a sheet of A4 paper) **
It's Friday, 4th September 2020.
Hello everyone, it’s Mr Keep here.
May the Lord be with you.
We are Bishop Ridley, we are One Community, Learning & Growing Together, Sharing the Love of God.
Our song for today is God is with us forever (by Wendy House Music)
Our Bible verse for today is Nehemiah Chapters 8, 9 & 12
Our thought for the day
Take a look at this picture. What is it a picture of? Where might you have seen something like this before?
It is the sacred holy book for the Jewish people and is referred to in the second part of the story of Nehian (below). The scroll contains words that are very important to Jewish people. I wonder what words are important to you?
In the story, Ezra the teacher read out the rules that God had given to his people through Moses. People sometimes call them the Ten Commandments. I wonder if you know any of these? What do you think they were? [You can find them in Exodus chapter 20]
As you read this through, the class can make a heart shape with their hands every time they hear the ‘hearts’.
As we heard Yesterday, Nehemiah was not a builder: he was the cup-bearer to the King of Babylon, who had been sent to Jerusalem to rebuild the city, the home of the people of God. Most of God’s people had been living far, far away from home, in a land called Babylon. Their hearts had not forgotten about Israel, their ‘home’, but the people had never imagined that they would ever be able to return there.
The re-building of Jerusalem had taken seven months until there were homes for people to live in and some of them had returned from Babylon. But God, and Nehemiah, knew there was more work to do, that the people needed more than buildings and homes – they needed to remember who they were…..to re-build their hearts.
So Nehemiah gathered the people together – and Ezra the teacher read from the sacred scrolls containing the teachings of Moses. The people had not met together like this for a very long time, so long, in fact that they had almost forgotten what being together felt like. Their hearts were full of joy – and they worshipped God there together.
As Ezra read on, the people heard the stories of how God had been with them in the past: how he’d rescued them from Egypt and provided for them on their long journey to the land that God had promised them, their home. Their hearts were full of hope, as they remembered that God had been with them all this time.
They listened to Ezra read the rules that God had given to Moses many years ago and thought about what they meant, but then, suddenly, they realised how sad God must be that they had forgotten his rules….and as great big tears fell from their eyes, their hearts were filled with sadness. But God was using this sadness to help mend their broken hearts; to help the people to remember who they were and the things that should be important to them – the things that really mattered to God.
Nehemiah looked at the people and knew just what to do. ‘Don’t cry!’ he said. ‘This is a great day: a day for us to remember and be glad that we are God’s people. His joy will make your hearts strong!’ And he sent them home to eat, to drink, and to celebrate – and to share their food with those who were in need.
When they gathered the next day, the people heard how God had given them a way to celebrate that they were his people – and to remember his faithfulness on the long desert journey long ago, when they lived in tents. As God had told them to, they gathered branches from the trees – and built shelters on their rooftops, shelters in the courtyards and shelters in the grounds of the Temple. The people gathered up all their words of praise into a great prayer. Then they made promises to each other and to God and signed a charter to remind them of who they were, and what they had promised.
And as they celebrated, their hearts were rebuilt, just like the walls of the great city had been.
And God’s heart was very glad!
I wonder how the words that Ezra read from the Torah helped to rebuild the people hearts?
How do you think the great stories of their past helped? How did the stories reminded them of why the words gave them a reason to celebrate?
Nehemiah wrote in his story that there had never been a celebration like it!
Take a piece of paper to make your own scrolls. I wonder which words, or pictures of things, are important to you today?
Write or draw your thoughts onto your scroll and carefully roll it up. You can keep the scroll to yourself, or share it with someone you trust.
Our prayer for today
This prayer is based on some the much longer prayer of Nehemiah 9
‘God, Blessed be your wonderful name. You give life to everything. Because of your mercy, you saved us again and again. You were patient with us for many years. ....our God, you are the great and mighty and wonderful God. You keep your agreement of love.’
We thank you for your love for us and pray that you will help us to show love and kindness to others.
The Lord’s Prayer Song