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Worship Sheet for Sunday 6 September – Conflict resolution.
In Matthew 18 Jesus gives us pointers as to how we should deal with “those who have sinned against us” – try nipping it in the bud, share with a witness, if very serious and otherwise ignored take it to the Church. We might have other options nowadays but ALWAYS the aim is a restoration of relationship, not revenge.

Call: Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song! We are glad in our Maker and rejoice in our King.
May we bring pleasure to our Lord, and seek out his most holy way. And when we find ourselves amidst argument and division, conflict and disagreement, may we return to your presence resolved to find a better way. Praise the Lord in all we do!

Mini Service
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Listen to the 1st Prayer

Pray Lord, deep down we have many reasons to offer you our thanks and praise. While we may moan about the knocks we get, we are so fortunate compared with many. It is often only when things go wrong that we realise how blessed we’ve been. And while that doesn’t take the trauma away it is a real comfort and encouragement to know that we are loved – by friends and family, by you! Help us to soak that up and appreciate it, and be willing to share it with others. Sometimes we will feel aggrieved at the way we’ve been treated by others – and with good reason. Sometimes we’ll have been the one who’s caused hurt. The strain of the last few months (and even as lockdown is being eased) has been fertile ground for moans and groans, for being short, and causing offence however unwittingly. Help us to make allowances, to let grace abound and not to rush to complain or condemn. Yes, we might need to challenge but help us to do with patience and understanding and with your help to give space for forgiveness, with a view to restoring relationships rather than falling out. Above all, help us to see the importance of Jesus’ readiness to forgive US. We pray for a real sense of your love in our midst; work to multiply love and grace among us, that we might point others to share in it too for the sake of Jesus, who taught us to pray together saying: Our Father…

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Matthew 18 verses 15-20. Jesus on how we should respond when we have been wronged.
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Thought The gospels can be frank about how the Christian life is not all plain sailing. Fallings out, failures, wrong attitudes are not hidden. Jesus’ guidance on how believers should deal with believers who have sinned against them presupposes serious wrongdoing not minor differences. Certainly, bringing the issue to the whole church suggests a major offence that was undermining the gospel. While we might hesitate to raise the issue – the Church is a work in progress, we are fallen people, forgiven but not perfect. While we may not feel bound to adopt the Matthew 18 passage as a strict protocol – three things stand out – 1) without ignoring serious issues try to sort it out quickly and without fuss 2) escalate only if people are closed to addressing the issue and 3) whatever you do, the prime objective should be trying to maintain or improve relationships (without turning a blind eye). Why? Because grace, forgiveness and reconciliation characterised Jesus’ life and ministry. We might look for mediation and external support – the hows will vary, but these principles are important. In a society that is so quick to apportion blame or demand retribution (and perhaps compensation) the Church as a community of faith, while it will need its procedures and protocols like every other organisation, should reflect Jesus’ nature and seek to deal with conflict with grace, love, forgiveness and reconciliation to the fore wherever possible.
Praise: CH4 485 Dear Lord and Father of mankind v1,4 & 5.
Read or Print Hymn CH4 198 by clicking this link
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Listen to the 2nd Prayer

Pray Heavenly Father, thank you that you are in the business not just of forgiveness but transformation, of relationships and communities as well as individuals. We pray for a healing and restoration of trust that is all the more needed because of the stresses and strains we’ve all been under – at local level among our own circles, in the community and in congregations and on the world scene too. We see the highly publicised instances of aggression, intolerance and violence but we are aware of other undercurrents and ill feeling. Come among us and may your grace and love transform us, our relationships and foster true well being according to Jesus’ pattern. Help us forward as we seek to adjust to all the changes that lie ahead of us and to do so with consideration. In our prayer walk this week we pray for the Church of Scotland as a whole. SILENCE
Lord hear our prayers spoken and silent and answer them for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen Blessing May the Lord bless you. Amen.