PART ONE – TO THINK FAIRLY
HYMN: (ALL JOIN IN)
All people that on earth do dwell
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice
Him serve with mirth, His praise forthtell
Come ye before him and rejoice
For why the Lord our God is good;
His mercy is forever sure;
His truth at all times firmly stood,
And shall from age to age endure.
READING: John 15: 8,9,10-14, 15 (RSV)
“By this my Father is glorified that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love; just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love…….You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you my servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”
PRAYER (ALL JOIN IN)
Jesus our Master, we hear clearly what you tell us. You have elevated us to friends’ status and taught us all that you heard from the Father. You expect us to joyfully do your commandments as you have fulfilled the expectations of your Father, taking on the suffering and pain involved in the execution of it. But we often forget who we are and the status bestowed on us. Our concern is about the conditions in which we live and we go about striving to create conveniences for ourselves. We pursue happiness and end up in hedonistic practices where fairness is conveniently ignored. Quick gratification, by whatever means, becomes our chief goal in our ordinary existence. We move away from your truth, and your commandments are easily ignored, thus missing the goal you set for us. We pray for forgiveness and quickening of our spirits to think fairly and act in accordance with your commandments. Cleanse us Father to be able to do Thy will and emulate your son in living for others.
In Jesus’ glorious name we pray.
EXHORTATION – (LEADER)
Fairness in thinking comes from sticking to the truth. Abiding in Him and in His truth we prove ourselves His true disciples, capable of thinking His thoughts and doing as He does. By virtue of our being in Him we manifest His character and come to have His integrity. Fairness is not a natural inclination in human beings because all have fallen short of the glory of God. The very first acts of humankind were deeply ingrained disobedience, fearful hiding and violence. Fairness by the best human standards turns dim and dark in the brilliance of Christian charity rooted in divine grace.
Research findings vow by their experimental observation that dolphins, dogs and primates evidence moral sense and they attribute it to innate brain circuity. Instinctive compulsions for survival are a far cry from morality. However, the members of the Toc H Movement must have a sense of observable fairness in their thinking, followed by befitting acts congruent to the Divine presence within.
Most people limit themselves within their areas of influence not daring to reach out into areas of concern about others. Global warming, carbonizing benign environments, denuding virgin forests, turning pristine countryside into toxic dumps are only the masked tips of the huge profiteering rackets. Fairness is leached in the hungry minds lusting for profits. The Toc H Movement is devoted to make and maintain a difference in this attitude and replace it with fairness in the hearts of men and women setting personal examples wherever we have a presence.
In our ordinary everyday life, how fair are we in our thoughts, words and deeds?
S I L E N C E
PART TWO – TO LOVE WIDELY
HYMN – (ALL JOIN IN)
Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of Heav’n, to earth come down,
Fix in us Thy humble dwelling,
All Thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesu, Thou art all compassion,
Pure unbounded love thou art;
Visit us with Thy salvation,
Enter every trembling heart.
Come, Almighty to deliver,
Let us all Thy grace receive;
Suddenly return, and never,
Never more Thy temples leave,
Thee we would be always blessing,
Serve Thee as Thy hosts above;
Praise Thee, without ceasing,
Glory in thy perfect love.
READING: JOHN 15:4,9,10,16,17. (RSV)
Abide in me and I in You………
As the father has loved me so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in His love………
You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name He may give it you. This I command you, to love one another.
PRAYER (ALL JOIN IN)
In this world thirsting for love, you have sent down your Son to abide in us and give us His identity. He lifted us up from slavery to sin to be His agents of love. By virtue of this we have the inexpressible privilege to share His love with others. This is the only command He has given us and expects us to live up to. Where profit motives drive most human relations and manipulations are the marks of the times, taking advantage of others is the major game between individuals, communities and nations. You have strategically placed Toc H to spread your healing touch. When ‘U’ is placed in the middle of TOC H, it becomes your TOUCH! That healing touch is what the hurting world needs. To that end we want to dedicate ourselves and pray that we be made your agents of healing love. That is the crying need of the times, Father. As members of this blessed Movement of Toc H, use us, Father, to spread the fragrance of your love widely in the communities around us.
In the precious name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we ask this.
Love is the binding factor.
You are familiar with the chorus:
‘Bind us together, Lord
Bind us together with cords
That cannot be broken
Bind us together Lord (2)
Bind us together with love.’
Love is the glue that binds the universe together.
Failure and ineffectiveness in life is directly proportional to the distance we keep from love. Love enables us to tide over hard situations and enables us to stay put because it does not seek for itself. Love never looses. Selfless giving and living for others are marks of mature Christians whose hearts brim with overflowing goodness and gentleness. As members of the Toc H Movement we are able to say with the Psalmist ‘My cup runneth over, goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.’ Such are those; the greatly privileged ones, who live in the house of the Lord for ever because they abide in Love and Love abides in them.
Consider the Leper by the wayside who cried out to Jesus – “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean” (Matthew 8:3). The Lord’s response was stretching out His hands and touching the leper even before saying – “I am willing”. Touch the untouchable: (translate – love the unlovable!)
You can do it, if you would put yourself right in the centre where “U” are needed.
We need to reflect on the immense possibilities available to us in Love in our avowed resolve to reach out widely.
In our ordinary everyday life, how far-reaching is our love?
S I L E N C E
PART THREE – TO WITNESS HUMBLY
HYMN – (All JOIN IN)
Forth in Thy name, O Lord, I go,
My daily labours to pursue;
Thee, only thee, resolved to know,
In all I think, or speak or do.
The task Thy wisdom hath assigned
O let me cheerfully fulfil;
In all my works Thy presence find,
And prove Thy good and perfect Will.
Thee may I set at my right hand,
Whose eyes my inmost substance see,
And labour on at Thy command,
And offer all my works to Thee.
READING: JOHN 15: 18-21 (RSV)
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the words I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they keep my word, they will keep yours also. But all this they will do to you on my account, because they do not know him who sent me.”
PRAYER (ALL JOIN IN)
Lord Jesus, we want to understand that you chose us out of the world to be your servants and do the things you did for those who do not understand and accept you. It is not a comfortable responsibility and we would be risking rejection at the hands of the world.
You humbled yourself, came down to our level. You took up the Cross, discarding your high estate and not claiming equality with God; though all things were created by you and for You. Grant, Lord, that we may have the boldness to have that humility even as we appropriate your identity in us. Abide in us, Jesus, and lift us up. We want to be your instruments of humble witness. We know you want us to honour you, in humble service to humankind. We would have no hesitation in serving the suffering and the broken people everywhere, in your time and in your strength. You have made us a part of this great Movement that is Toc H for this very purpose. Equip and enable us to do that, Father. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we ask this.
What is the rationale behind the insistence that we witness in humility. If anyone has anything to do with Christ Jesus, let him or her have this humility first. That is His mark. That should be the measure of our mark. He came down to earth to take on all the sin burden of the whole of humanity and gave Himself up as a ransom for our sins. He stooped down to scoop up the fallen race. The example He set for us was serving the marginalised and washing the feet of His disciples. On the night before He was crucified, He said to His disciples: “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you……Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them”. (John 13:15,17)
We are expected to have His attitude. (Phil. 2:5)
We have the mind of Christ. (1 Cor. 2:16)
The King of kings and Lord of lords had no problem bending the knees and washing the feet of those beneath Him. He did not stand on formalities or pulled His rank. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control were evident in every move of His. By virtue of us being in Him as His branches, He has bestowed us with this fruit. In our life-style as members of Toc H and its branches, we bend in humility bearing this fruit of the Spirit and share it lavishly not waiting to take credit for anything that is made possible through us.
The blessing we receive is for doing as He did. We shall not stand our full height in any manner of Pharisaic arrogance and beckon people to come up. We need to come down on our knees and lift those standing in need of being lifted up.
In our every day life, how humble are we in our witnessing?
S I L E N C E
PART FOUR – TO BUILD BRAVELY
HYMN – (ALL JOIN IN)
Stand up! Stand up for Jesus,
Stand in His strength alone
The arm of flesh will fail you;
Ye dare not trust your own,
Put on the gospel armour,
Each piece put on with prayer;
Where duty calls, or danger,
Be never wanting there.
READING: JOHN 15:4 – 7 (RSV)
“Abide in me, and I in You. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in Him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me, you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in Me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.”
PRAYER – (ALL JOIN IN)
Father, in a world scrambling for personal gain, often ignoring Your golden command, to love others as You love us, help us not to be driven by any personal agenda for gathering and hording, but to give and build up others as lavishly as we keep receiving from You. SinceYou fill us with all good things our needs are taken care of. Whatever we ask,You give because we abide in You. If there is any distance caused and if our abiding is in disarray, restore us in You and enable us to take our allotted niche in You because we know all flesh will fail us. You only are our refuge and our rock, fortress and strength from where we can valiantly build up Your Kingdom wearing the full armour of the Gospel. There is so much of distress and brokenness around and as Your branches we should be capable of challenging the present and future generations to seek Your will in restoring the weak and encouraging the brave to surge ahead in a worldwide adventure for building up Your Kingdom. From that vantage point without fear or doubt we have to act as proud Toc H members. To this end we commit ourselves to be used by You. This we ask in Jesus’ Holy Name.
Courage and the capacity to build up come from the confidence that we have solid support and resources around and within us. “My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken”. (Psalm 62:1-2) Our strength to build comes from that premise. A restless person cannot produce positive changes. Efficiency and creativity will be lost, in the absence of quietness and peace. In our reading we heard; He in me and I in Him make me produce much fruit. Each Toc H Branch needs to be a positive production centre bearing much fruit.
Quote – (Torch – Madras 1965, p 1, Para 4) Good Branches bear much fruit – the fruit of service rendered to the community. In Toc H we say – ‘SERVICE IS THE RENT WE PAY FOR OUR ROOM ON EARTH’. Such a determined attitude will be capable of challenging present and future generations to seek the Will of God in fulfilling the law of Christ. “The roots of Toc H draw their nourishment from the rich soil of personal relationships, based on Christian convictions”. Remember our mandate as a social movement of persons towards each other and God and as such a worldwide adventure for the Kingdom of God. We are to build bridges to relate!
Do we know these things?
Are we blessed knowing these things?
Are we doing these things?
Then let us get on with our Toc H Commandments!
In our everyday life, where are we in this endeavour expected of us?
S I L E N C E
Everyone read aloud :
BECAUSE HE SET US AN EXAMPLE, WE HAVE NO HESITATION ‘TO BUILD BRAVELY’.
BECAUSE HE ABIDES IN OUR WHOLE BEING, WE CAN THINK FAIRLY.
BECAUSE WE ARE HIS BRANCHES, WE HAVE HIS LOVE TO DISTRIBUTE WIDELY.
BECAUSE WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST, WE CAN AFFORD TO BE HUMBLE.
THE TOC H PRAYER
O GOD, WHO HAS SO WONDERFULLY MADE TOC H , AND SET US IN IT TO SEE THEIR DUTY AS THY WILL, TEACH US TO LIVE TOGETHER IN LOVE, JOY AND PEACE; TO CHECK ALL BITTERNESS; TO DISOWN DISCOURAGEMENT; TO PRACTISE THANKSGIVING, AND TO LEAP WITH JOY TO ANY TASK FOR OTHERS. STRENGTHEN THE GOOD THING THUS BEGUN THAT WITH GALLANT AND HIGH HEARTED HAPPINESS WE MAY WORK FOR THY KINGDOM IN THE WILLS OF ALL PEOPLE, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD.
PRAYER FOR FAR OFF MEMBERS
O GOD UNTO WHOM WE OWE THE GIFT OF FRIENDS, LOOK DOWN IN LOVE UPON OUR FURTHEST KINDRED IN TOC H, PROTECT AND KEEP THEM FROM ALL HARM; PROSPER AND BLESS THEM IN ALL THINGS GOOD; SUFFER THEM NEVER TO BE LONELY, DESOLATE OR AFRAID, AND LET NO SHADOW COME BETWEEN THEM AND US TO DIVIDE OUR HEARTS. LET US BE ONE IN JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD.
THE LIGHTING OF THE LAMP
THE CEREMONY OF LIGHT
Let us give thanks for the life/lives of……………………………..
We are called to be instruments of God’s Will.
Where there is hatred, let us bring love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is sadness, joy
And where there is darkness, let us bring light.
One minute’s silence
Let your light so shine before all people that they may see your good works
And glorify our Father who is in Heaven