• Rossendale Circuit

God's Vineyard - Sunday Service 4.10.20

with Revd. David Burrow


At 4pm today the Methodist Church are having a harvest big sing over on their youtube channel if you'd like to join in click here!


Video Audio Service


Scroll down to view the transcript and click to view directly in Youtube here.


Part 1


Songs:


MP 367 'Jesus is Lord! Creation's voice proclaims it'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HHYt40whHQ


Singing the Faith 156 'From the breaking of the dawn' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMuq5z1uaMo



Part 2



Songs:


MP 346 'It is a thing most wonderful'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpVbLuIsksM a gentle reflective version


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78DAvd2TXXs songs of praise version


Singing the Faith 175 'Light of the world you stepped down into darkness - Here I am to worship' - Maranatha! Music (Lyric Video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03G52K9X2hQ


Part 3



Songs:


MP 242 'Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest!' 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAiBntMtViY performed, appropriately, by Vineyard


MP 1072 'In Christ alone'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouGuG97l2RY Stuart Townend


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ch6eXkQWU8 Acoustic Version by Lauren Daigle



Part 4



Songs:


MP 1012 'These are the days of Elijah'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ca9LnzJnpjQ


Kenoly Brothers - 'Righteousness, peace & joy'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ramv-CUMkN4



Transcript


*Not always exact to the videos


Call to Worship Psalm 19:1-4


'The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.'

Songs:


MP 367 'Jesus is Lord! Creation's voice proclaims it'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HHYt40whHQ


Singing the Faith 156 'From the breaking of the dawn' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMuq5z1uaMo


A prayer of praise by Chris Stand from the Methodist Prayer handbook:

Everything that has breath shout, “Praise the Lord!”

All creatures lift up your voice and shout, “Praise the Lord!”

Rise up to the furthest shore and shout, “Praise the Lord!”

Travel to the nearest hill and shout, “Praise the Lord!”

Heaven and earth shall shout, “Praise the Lord!”

Photo by Tim Mossholder via Unsplash


A prayer of Confession and Thanksgiving :


Mighty Creator, you made us the pinnacle of your masterpiece to reflect your love, mercy and compassion. We bow our heads in sorrow for we have fallen far short of the potential we have as your children.


From desiring what we can't have and shouldn't possess: good Lord, deliver us and forgive us.

From looking out for number one and failing to see our neighbour's need: good Lord, deliver us and forgive us.

From being consumed by what we want and from obtaining it by whatever means and at whatever cost: good Lord, deliver us and forgive us.

From greed, envy and lust for what does not belong to us: good Lord, deliver us and forgive us.

From selfishness, pride and blindness to our own faults: good Lord, deliver us and forgive us.

From placing our hopes in false gods and material possessions: good Lord, deliver us and forgive us.

From coming to you with our hands full of things so we fail to take hold of your grace: good Lord, deliver us and forgive us.


Thank you that you forgive us, setting us free from sorrow and guilt. Lift us up and fill us with your Holy Spirit that we might glorify you in the lives we live, for we ask it in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.


Amen


The Lord’s Prayer


When our three sons were all teenagers (only one is now) I didn’t understand a lot of their stories. Why?


Because I didn’t then, and still don’t, ‘get’ teenage culture.


To fully understand a story you need to ‘get’ the culture, which is why the Old testament (Jesus’ Bible) sometimes leaves us struggling. When Jesus told a story and referred to the Old Testament people understood him clearly. In the Old Testament Israel is often referred to as God’s vineyard. God, in his love for them, rescued the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt and planted them in the Promised Land expecting a rich harvest. But they failed to deliver, and were, therefore, worthy of judgement. God had lavished his attention on his vineyard and expected good grapes: the fruits of living in a right relationship with God, the good wines of justice and joy. Instead, the vineyard had produced the grapes of wrath: the tragedy of injustice and cries of distress. Judgement and exile would be the outcome and the land would be laid waste.

Read Isaiah 5.1-7


Jesus used this passage as a background to create a picture for his story of the tenants in the vineyard which comes after we reflect on the cost of Jesus’ love for us in a hymn.


Songs:


MP 346 'It is a thing most wonderful'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpVbLuIsksM a gentle reflective version


Singing the Faith 175 'Light of the world you stepped down into darkness - Here I am to worship' - Maranatha! Music (Lyric Video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03G52K9X2hQ


Photo by Jaime Casap via Unsplash


Our Gospel reading takes place during Holy Week.

From Palm Sunday onwards, the week was marked by confrontation and conflict. Until it all seemed to have come to an dreadful end with the horror of crucifixion and the silent desolation of Holy Saturday.


There must have been, however, moments of joy and no doubt laughter as Jesus told some memorable stories. Isn’t it wonderful when a good storyteller leans forward and says, “Listen”?


Immediately you’re hooked and filled with anticipation.

Jesus was a brilliant storyteller and when he said, “Listen”, the crowds knew they were in for a treat.

In Holy Week though, the chief priests and Pharisees must have been a little anxious about what was coming. Once again Jesus didn’t disappoint.


Read: Matthew 21:33-46


Jesus and his listeners knew their scriptures and Jesus knew how to tell a story for a reaction!


We have just heard how he draws his listeners into this tale of the landowner who plants a vineyard and provides everything his tenants need to make it a success.

It’s straight out of Isaiah! But with a twist because the Landlord left.

Jesus knew that absent landlords were unpopular with his listeners, many of whom would have been on the tenants’ side until the murders started. Then they would have been troubled.


Who was who in the story?


Who was the landlord and who were the tenants? And what about the servants and the son?


Well, God is the landlord, the landlord of his vineyard Israel; the servants are his prophets whom he sent to call his people back to repentance when they worshipped foreign gods, and the tenants are the religious leaders who mistreated the prophets.

Lastly, the son is Jesus himself and, in this parable, although much of it refers to the history of God’s relationship with his people Israel, he foretells his own death.

Jesus knew what was coming.


The chief priests and Pharisees were not slow in realising that Jesus was talking about them. They were keen to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowds.

Jesus’ listeners knew that Jesus was saying that the chief priests and Pharisees were coming under God’s judgement as they, like the leaders of old, were rejecting one of God’s prophets. What they didn’t know was that they were about to reject, not just a prophet, but the one who is the cornerstone of God’s kingdom, the Son of God.


Where do we fit in? What does this story have to say to you and me today?

God, through Jesus, at great cost, like the vineyard owner has planted his Church, and has provided all we need to produce a rich harvest.

He has invested a great deal in us, as individuals and as the Church.

The cost was the death of his Son who took upon himself the judgement we all deserve.

But thank God, that in his love for us we don’t get what we deserve.

As we come to God in repentance, we receive, not judgement, but mercy and forgiveness, and thanks to Jesus’ resurrection, eternal life; for such is God’s grace.


Stories like this are dangerous and perhaps we find them uncomfortable with what they say to us.

But isn’t it the purpose of the good news of Jesus to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable?


So, here are a few questions to ponder and reflect upon:

Do we always welcome the vineyard owner, or do we try and keep God out of our plans and schemes? Do we delight in God’s gifts or overlook them in our greed?

Are we willing to work to produce good fruit?


The onus is on us, as members of God's kingdom, to cherish what we have inherited, take what we have received and re-invest in those to whom we are called to minister.

As God’s tenants we are to plant richly and generously in the lives of those with whom we worship and to whom we witness.

The onus is on us to continually re-examine our discipleship and check we are producing rich fruit that lasts.


And what is this fruit?


It’s the same as in Isaiah’s day; the fruits of living in a right relationship with God, the good wines of justice and joy. To which, thanks to the Holy Spirit, we can add peace, love, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control, and more besides!


Our world is in a dark place.

The pandemic is not under control and while politicians rightly focus on the threat of the coronavirus there is so much more that needs their attention.

From the threat of other diseases going untreated to the suffering of refugees.

From the wars in Yemen, Afghanistan, and Syria (among others) to homelessness and poverty in our own nation.


Jesus’ challenging story of violence and murder demonstrates the deep inner motivation of the human heart.


People, sadly, love darkness more than light, but the good news is that the light of the world has come (John 3.19 & 1:5). Wherever God's people are, the light shines and God’s vineyard produces rich fruit; fruit that will last (John 15:16)


Photo by Federico Respini via Unsplash


Songs:


MP 242 'Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest!' 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAiBntMtViY performed, appropriately, by Vineyard


MP 1072 'In Christ alone'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouGuG97l2RY Stuart Townend


Prayers of Intercession


Almighty God we pray for your Church. We thank you for all your people who worship you today. May we be a people who produce the wine of justice and joy that others can enjoy, and which will draw people to you.


Lord, where there is darkness may your light shine.


We pray for courage for your people Lord Jesus, especially where there is persecution, that they, and we, filled with the Holy Spirit might always be ready to speak your word boldly. Send your Spirit Lord, fill, and go on filling our hearts and lives that we might overflow with your love.


Lord, where there is darkness may your light shine.


Today, in the Methodist Prayer handbook we are asked to pray especially for the Methodist Churches of Equatorial Guinea and Ghana.

So, we join our prayers with those of our sisters and brothers in Christ. In Equatorial Guinea we pray for women to be empowered to serve God in their communities and for the country’s leaders that they may be blessed with wisdom, compassion and love for their citizens.


In Ghana we pray for employment opportunities for young people and for those who continue to live in extreme poverty in a land with rich resources.


Lord, where there is darkness may your light shine.


Lord, we are in awe of our planet and all around us there is beauty and wonder. Yet we also know the daily toll of 21st century lifestyles on our towns and cities, mountains and beaches and we know we must change our ways. Help us to find the wisdom and courage as individuals, as congregations and as nations to take the steps that are needed to save the planet for future generations. (by Lynne Ling).


Lord, where there is darkness may your light shine.


In the face of the suffering brought about by the pandemic we pray for all who suffer, through bereavement, sickness and loneliness. Where possible use us to be the answers to our prayers that we might be instruments of righteousness, peace and joy.

We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and our Saviour,

Amen


Please add your own prayers for your own loved ones and for yourself.


Blessing: May we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)


Songs:


MP 1012 'These are the days of Elijah'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ca9LnzJnpjQ


Kenoly Brothers - 'Righteousness, peace & joy'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ramv-CUMkN4

© 2020 Rossendale Methodist Circuit

Email us: rossendalemethodistcircuit@gmail.com