Our online worship at 10am today will be Godly Play led by Maura Rae: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ry5suS1Tddw&feature=youtu.be
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May 17th Daniel
Good morning everyone, and welcome to worship
Lord, we acknowledge your sovereignty in our lives and over all of history. Help us to give you our whole attention and open our ears to hear from you.
Let’s light the Christ candle as we get ready
Today we are going to be concentrating on the whole book of Daniel. I hope that by getting an overview and a dip into some of its gems you will view this as a taster and be encouraged to spend time soaking up more of the flamboyant detail in the original. My study Bible gives fascinating insight into some of the historical background and possible fulfilment of some of its prophecies so I would recommend finding some commentary to refer to.
Last time we were in the school the children were showing us some of the sign language they had been learning, so I shared a little of the sign language I learned through the Bible Alive programme.
“The Bible is a library with 66 books for you”. The Book of Daniel is right in the middle of the Prophecy section of the library in the Old Testament. The New Testament has one Prophecy book in its library called Revelation to John. There are parts of Daniel which are echoed in Revelation.
Let’s listen to Robert reading us some of the initial greeting in Revelation chapter 1
Grace and peace be yours from God, who is, who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits in front of his throne and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first to be raised from death and who is the ruler of the kings of the world. He loves us, and by his death he has freed us from our sins and made us a kingdom of priests to serve his God and Father. To Jesus Christ be the glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
Let’s sing ‘He is Lord’
Are you ready for the story?
(Maura then told the Godly Play story of Daniel using the visual aids which are shown again during the prayer)
I was pleased to note the other week that the then current moderator, Colin Sinclair chose Daniel for one of his morning addresses as an example of resilience, a quality we are all needing to aspire to in our present circumstances. He served faithfully under many successive administrations without compromising his allegiance to God’s will. The other characteristic of Daniel’s life was his commitment to prayer.
The next hymn is a prayer so let’s start our prayers by singing: Thy Kingdom come, Oh God [CH3 no 322]
Let’s use this story to guide our topics as we put the story away . On Sunday we did the prayers going through the the pictures of the story in reverse order. I have turned them round in case you want to read the scripture passages in order which go with the story before following the prayer.
Daniel chapter 1 The Exile
Maybe some people feel that being in Lockdown is something like being in exile. We pray for those who are finding this crisis particularly difficult, for those whose precious plans have been destroyed and those who are grieving a separation from loved ones, temporarily or until death reunites them. We pray for those whose livelihoods are threatened and for whom the future looks bleak. Be close to them and bring them hope and courage.
Daniel Chapter 2 The image destroyed
We pray for wisdom and integrity for all those in authority, knowing that one day only the Kingdom of God will last for ever. In the outworking of prophecy which is both now and not yet, we know that Jesus announced the Kingdom of God but taught us to pray ‘Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven’. We recognise that Christians down the ages have partnered with you and know that is now our task. Let your Kingdom come, Lord and show us each our part. We ask for strength and wisdom for the newly inducted Moderator of the Church of Scotland and may he be able to balance the needs of the national church with those of his own congregation
Chapter 3 The golden image
I wonder what sort of idols there are today? Lord, please help us to recognise them. Are there expected behaviours and attitudes which are part of our culture which are easier to join in with than to challenge? We pray for those in government and the media who have the courage to stand up and be counted. We pray for their protection and for their voice to be heard. We pray for honour and respect to be the norm in this land for those who have the courage to voice a different opinion.
Chapter 4 The tree that was cut down
We remember that Nebuchadnezzar went through a period of deep distress which was time limited and which brought him into a relationship with God. Let us bring before God those known to us who are in any sort of distress and ask you God to bless and restore them and enrich their relationship with you.
Chapter 5 the writing on the wall
As world events and a national pandemic can suddenly change our lives, give us Lord that trust in your ultimate sovereignty. We know we are at the whim of decisions made by others and by the outworking of our own and others sin and by the brokenness of creation. Help us to know what we can and should take responsibility for and anchor us in the knowledge of your unfailing love.
Chapter 6 The Lion’s den
So few of us would find our lives at risk because we choose to pray only to you, Lord and yet we know this is the case for millions all over the world. We pray for your supernatural protection and miraculous intervention to rescue those who put their trust in you. Give them a deep sense of your love and provision for them.
Chapters 7 & 8 The Ram and Goat and the four beasts
We know of power abused and Evil in leaders in this, our time, as has happened in the past. We pray for your mercy and protection for those who have no escape. Where truth can liberate we ask for revelation and rescue. We pray for the peoples of North Korea, Brazil and Venezuela and the Uighurs in China. We pray for an end to conflict in Yemen and rescue from terrorists in Afghanistan and Sudan. With all our news only focussing on our present danger, keep us praying for those who have been living in danger for decades.
Let’s hear that reading from revelation again
Daniel Chapter 9 Gabriel
Thank you that you hear and respond to our prayers. Help us to learn from Daniel and to take this responsibility seriously. As Daniel asked for forgiveness for the sins of his people we confess our corporate greed, thoughtlessness and self-interest which have caused so much damage to your beautiful world and dangerous poverty to millions. Thank you for this amazing prophecy of Jesus’ death, that for some appeared to accomplish nothing. Help us to be willing to wrestle with mystery until we learn truth. We have hindsight now for that event but for things we are living through we struggle to understand. Help us to trust and persist in prayer for your will to be done. We lift before you now all the unknowns and unanswered prayer that are on our minds.
Daniel chapter 10 vs1 -14 and chapter 12 the man in white
Thank you Lord for the comforting words given to Daniel that although times would be difficult you would stay close to your people. Help us to stay faithful and keep close to you and know that as citizens of your kingdom we will be with you at the end of time
After the blessing we are going to sing a newly composed song to a familiar tune Woodlands which has been written for the worldwide ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ initiative to encourage us each to make a prayer commitment between Ascension Day and Pentecost. You will find more details on the My Kingdom Come website and Facebook page. Ascension Day is this coming Thursday.
And now I will change the light. ( As the candle is snuffed it is explained that Jesus’ light was in one time and place in history. There came a time when his light had to change. As it becomes smoke it is explained that this was so that he could be present in all times and in all places for ever.)
And now, may the Good Shepherd, who knows all of his sheep by name, lead you into green pastures and beside still waters. May he be with you in any time of danger and may you find your pearl of great price and travel with the people of God who are more numerous than the stars in the sky or the grains of sand in the desert. Amen