• Rossendale Circuit

God's Glorious Kingdom - Sunday Service 13.06.21

with Revd. David Burrow


Video Service


Watch on youtube here.


Hymn and Song recommendations:


After Psalm 92


MP 106 'Come, you thankful people come'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3n7IUCdqAM


MP 193 'God moves in a mysterious way'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCca-8HDiVg


After the first prayers and before the reading:


MP 732 'We plough the fields and scatter'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccVEjKFkAV4


MP 575 'Rejoice the Lord is King!'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2N0iVysrykU


Acoustic version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oh0BYrdd-8o


Another Choral Version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDFAv0eh-s8


After the sermon and before the intercessions:


MP 590 'Seek Ye First'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsBpM9IcBts


Or this version for more ‘Alleluias’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHfzAJS7IRc


We seek your Kingdom: https://youtu.be/2Lp2mMpSa1E


To close your worship:


MP 651 'The kingdom of God is justice and joy'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqCOqgQhFyo


'Thy Kingdom come' – sung by Pete James

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWhL6v8oQZ0



Other Links


Our Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuzuzxmGWU4e_xRupJilppg


Our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/rossendalemethodistcircuit


Our Instagram Page: https://www.instagram.com/rossendalecircuit/


Our Website: https://www.rossendalemethodistcircuit.co.uk/


Our Email Address: rossendalemethodistcircuit@gmail.com





Transcript


'God's Glorious Kingdom'


Read Psalm 92:1-4


MP 106 Come, you thankful people come

MP 193 God moves in a mysterious way


Prayers:

Father, we praise you, our faithful creator.

You make us whole and your grace fills us with hope, peace and healing in our hearts.

While others put their trust in worldly things, we trust you, our living God.

Forgive us, we pray, when we have tried to hide things from one another and even hoped that we might hide things from you too.

We come to seek your healing touch, to ask for your forgiveness.

Come Lord and make us new!

The Lord says, ‘You’re sins are forgiven.’

Thank you, Lord God, that we are members of your glorious kingdom. Fill us with your Spirit that we might sow abundantly the seeds of your kingdom in the lives of all whom we know and meet.

We are grateful that you know the secret of life and growth, and that through your tenderness and love the seeds we sow in your name will one day produce a glorious harvest.

To you be all the glory. Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer


Reading: Mark 4:26-34


In my days on the farm sowing seed was an annual event. But it wasn’t always straight forward. One year things didn’t go according to plan.

My dad had ploughed the hillside field and I was called upon to disc the furrows. Discs are pulled behind a tractor to break up the large sods of earth to make it easier to sow the seed.

Seed was precious and expensive and not to be wasted. Sowing was dad’s job as I lacked experience in this particular field, if you will pardon the pun.

But I was up next with the chain harrows, dragging them behind my tractor to mix the soil and seed together. I followed that task with the tractor and roller trying to make sure there were no ridges on the corners – which is a very slow and boring job for a teenager who loves speed. The roller is used to make sure that the seed is pressed into the soft earth where the birds can’t get to it. Even if I say so myself, when I had finished the field looked a picture.

All we needed was some rain to water the seed.

And rain is what we got, but in one massive cloudburst.

All the topsoil on the field was swept down the hill and piled into a large soil drift against the drystone wall at the bottom of the field. Rather like a snow drift, but just made up of soil!

Then began the seemingly never-ending task of spreading that soil – still hopefully containing the seeds – back over the field.

Thankfully most of the seed did what seed does, and grew.

And although the harvest wasn’t all we hoped for we were thankful that all our hard work had not been in vain.

Perhaps it wasn’t exactly a picture of the abundant nature of the kingdom of God that Jesus would have painted but for a couple of farmers it was a good rescue job!


Photo by Veeterzy via Unsplash.


Jesus often used the sowing of seed and the growth of cereal crops to speak about the kingdom.

And here in Mark’s Gospel Jesus tells two lovely short parables about the kingdom of God.

Both speak of the abundance of life that comes from sowing the seeds of the kingdom.

Farmers are reminded, in the first parable, that we don’t understand what happens to the seed when it is in the earth.

Thankfully, the seed has within it the secret of life and of growth. As I know from first-hand experience, producing a harvest means a lot of hard work although Jesus doesn’t mention that here. His emphasis is on the need for patience. It takes time to see results, just as it does with the Kingdom of God.

Sometimes when we tell people about Jesus, when we sow the seed of the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we don’t seem to get much response. It can seem like the seed has been washed away in a flood of worldly interests.

But the secret of life and growth is in the seed, and if, like the farmer we can do our bit to nurture that seed with the right conditions for growth – such as plenty of prayer and some good conversation then who knows what might happen to that seed.


We are all sowers. God has chosen to share the gospel with the world through his people, through you and me.


In 1 Corinthians the apostle Paul says that we are ‘God’s fellow workers’.

The picture of the sower representing Christians is common in the Bible. Paul, for example, speaks of himself as planting (or sowing) in 1Corinthians 3:6 - “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase”.

Who sowed the seed? The apostle Paul sowed the seed.

Who watered the seed? Apollos watered the seed.

But who gives the increase? It is God who causes the seed to take root and to grow.

God knows the secret of life and growth. Sometimes the seed of the good news of Jesus takes a long time to grow and produce a harvest.


A friend of mine didn’t even realise the seed was growing in his life – sown there by members of his family, until one day all he had heard became clear. The seed that was sown in his life has now produced a rich harvest.


This isn’t the end of the story though – we all need to keep growing in our faith.

God’s grace is a free gift of life to us. It is a source of power that changes our hearts and causes us to grow spiritually.

The growth is certain, but it requires the cooperation of the Christian who must have ‘an honest and good heart’ (Luke 8:15).

When the seed falls on such ground, then growth is inevitable and unstoppable. The goal is to produce the full kernel in the head and the mature grain in the ear.

It was for this purpose that Paul laboured so much, ‘to present every person mature in Christ’ (Colossians 1:28).

Paul also writes in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

When a believer allows the Spirit of the Lord to take full possession of their heart, they progress and grow from glory to glory. Christian growth and the glorious Kingdom of God go hand in hand.


Jesus continued with a second short parable.

This time he used the image of a mustard seed to speak of his kingdom.

Don’t forget that parables are stories with a meaning.

And don’t get distracted like a farmer from Norfolk who argued that the mustard seed is not the smallest of all seeds, and the bush is not the largest of all bushes. He was in danger of missing the point of the parable.

The mustard tree (Salvadora persica) which grows wild throughout the Middle East and North Africa reaches a height of around 25 feet and is often filled with birds which enjoy the seeds.

The tree is not the one from which we get Colman’s mustard!


The picture Jesus paints for us is of the beauty and wonder of life in his glorious kingdom.

From only tiny beginnings there is impressive growth and abundance.

Picture in your mind’s eye the tree with all kinds of birds perched in its branches and listen to the wonderful birdsong – it would be a noisy tree filled with life and full of colour. Finches, woodpeckers, robins, blackbirds, bluetits, kingfishers and if you lived in the tropics, parrots and glorious Birds of Paradise.

It’s a glorious picture of life, in all its variety and richness, being lived to the full.

Such a flourishing environment is part of God’s plan for God’s world. And humankind is a part of that flourishing environment. God’s kingdom is meant to be just like this, teeming with life. And it starts from the smallest of beginnings.


We cannot create the Kingdom of God; the Kingdom is God’s.

We can hinder the Kingdom, or we can help to bring it in.

We need to be faithful in the sowing of the seeds of God’s glorious kingdom and then we need to be patient as we trust God for the harvest for only God knows the secret of life and growth.


Jesus said that the Kingdom of heaven is among you, but he also told us to pray for the kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven.

Because the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection is true, we sow the seeds of faith by sharing the story of how Jesus has transformed our lives.

Then we patiently and faithfully wait, work and pray for God’s kingdom to grow and flourish in the life of every person we have spoken to or spent time with.

God alone knows the secret of life and growth, and his kingdom, which ‘has come near’ (Mark 1:15) will, one day come in all its wonderful joyful, noisy, colourful, variety.

What an awesome day, what a glorious day that will be.

May God’s glorious kingdom come in your life today. Amen



Prayers of Intercession.

Heavenly Father we pray for the nations and their leaders where there is war and destruction; where innocent children and families are killed while others are forced from their homes. We pray especially for the nations of the Middle East, Myanmar/Burma and Afghanistan. We pray for a seed of hope to be planted that will grow into lasting peace.

Lord of the planted seed, come, give us the harvest.


Lord, we pray for the people of Ethiopia and others who again face the horror of famine. We pray that the nations of the world will respond and that a seed of generosity will be planted. A seed that will grow into a supply of food bringing healing and wholeness.

Lord of the planted seed, come, give us the harvest.


Lord, where people are lonely and alone and have no one to share their memories, we pray for a seed of compassion to be planted that will grow into joy and contentment.

Lord of the planted seed, come, give us the harvest.


Lord, where churches have lost hope and forgotten their purpose and there is no vision of renewal and recovery, we pray for a seed of new growth to be planted that will become a people vibrant in witness and faith.

Lord of the planted seed, come, give us the harvest.


Lord, where people are uncertain of what the future may bring. Where jobs and business’ have been lost because of the pandemic, and doubt and depression is robbing people of peace and prosperity, we pray for a seed of peace, joy, hope and healing to be planted, that will open a new pathway into the glorious kingdom of God where Jesus is calling us to walk with him.

Lord of the planted seed, come, give us the harvest.

We bring our prayers, ready to plant the seeds of your glorious kingdom so that you, Jesus, may reap a great harvest. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen


Blessing: May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit fill you to overflowing. May you sow the seeds of God’s kingdom and may Jesus, through you, reap a harvest of love, joy and peace. Amen


Hymn and Song recommendations:


After Psalm 92


MP 106 'Come, you thankful people come'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3n7IUCdqAM


MP 193 'God moves in a mysterious way'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCca-8HDiVg


After the first prayers and before the reading:


MP 732 'We plough the fields and scatter'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccVEjKFkAV4


MP 575 'Rejoice the Lord is King!'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2N0iVysrykU


Acoustic version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oh0BYrdd-8o


Another Choral Version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDFAv0eh-s8


After the sermon and before the intercessions:


MP 590 'Seek Ye First'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsBpM9IcBts


Or this version for more ‘Alleluias’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHfzAJS7IRc


We seek your Kingdom: https://youtu.be/2Lp2mMpSa1E


To close your worship:


MP 651 'The kingdom of God is justice and joy'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqCOqgQhFyo


'Thy Kingdom come' – sung by Pete James

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWhL6v8oQZ0



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