• Rossendale Circuit

Good News - Sunday Service 24.01.21

with Revd. David Burrow


Video Service

Watch on youtube here.


Part 1


Hymns & Songs:


MP 640 'The Church’s one foundation'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rIS166ppoE


MP 181 'God forgave my sin'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NWOTInWoZs


Part 2


Hymns & Songs:


Hymn: 'God’s spirit is in my heart'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-ibXHqsUTw


Hymn: 'Inspired by love and anger' by John L. Bell and Graham Maule

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


Part 3


Hymns & Songs:


MP 728 'We have a gospel to proclaim'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-SPYAgCtkw


MP 501 'O Jesus I have promised'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_JLAwhag3Y




Transcript


*Not always exact to the videos


Rossendale Methodist Circuit Worship 24th January 2021 Revd David Burrow

Mark 1:14 – 20 Repent and believe in the good news!


Looking back over the 20 years I have lived and worked in Rossendale I realised that many of the highlights of that time have been acts of worship when churches from different denominations have come together. The wonder and beauty of Carols by Candlelight in one of our Anglican churches, the vitality and joy of the united service on the first Sunday in February, the quiet solemnity of the services of remembrance and the sense of being part of the worldwide church, of being one in Christ at our services celebrating the week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It used to be referred to as the ‘Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity’, and this year began, according to my Methodist diary, on Monday 18th and will finish on Monday 25th January.

So, this Sunday our prayers are taken from the worship material prepared for the worldwide church by the sisters of the Community of Grandchamp in Switzerland. (https://www.grandchamp.org)


Check them out, for theirs is a very impressive story.


Their theme is “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit”.


I quote from their introduction: ‘It is the great desire of God, expressed by Jesus, that we might come to him and abide in him. He waits for us tirelessly, hoping that, united to him in love, we will bear fruit that will bring life to all. Faced with our differences, we risk withdrawing into ourselves and seeing only that which separates us. But let us read how Christ calls us to abide in his love, and so bear much fruit’.

John 15:1-17.


This Bible passage played a very important part in my call to be a minister. A college tutor quoted verse 16 to me after we had prayed together about the plans God had for me. A call and a promise: chosen to bear fruit that will last.


It’s a call I often reflect on and a promise I regularly claim. But before any fruit was possible, I first had to respond to the call and then learn to abide in Jesus’ love.

The call was urgent, there was no time to lose. The moment had to be seized, which for me as a born procrastinator, was quite a challenge.


Like Jesus’ disciples, I had no idea where God’s call would take me, but I was reminded that when I was working overseas as a volunteer teacher in the mountains of Papua New Guinea, I had prayed what I call my martini prayer: ‘God, I will serve you, anytime, anyplace, anywhere’.


Did I really mean it? This was the time to prove I did. It was my own Kairos moment.


If we want to abide in Jesus’ love we must first respond to Jesus’ urgent call to follow him and so this Sunday I am going to focus on Jesus’ first recorded message in Mark’s Gospel, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news”. Mark 1:15


Prayer: Jesus Christ, you seek us, you wish to offer us your friendship and lead us to a life that is ever more complete. Grant us the confidence to answer your call so that we may be transformed and become witnesses of your tenderness for the world. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.


MP 640 'The Church’s one foundation'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rIS166ppoE


MP 181 'God forgave my sin'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NWOTInWoZs


Photo by unknown via Unsplash


Prayer:


In peace let us pray to the Lord: Lord, you are the vinedresser who cares for us with love.


You call on us to see the beauty of each branch united to the vine, the beauty of each person.


And yet, too often the differences in others make us afraid. We withdraw into ourselves. Our trust in you is forsaken. Enmity develops between us. Come and direct our hearts toward you once again.

Grant us to live from your forgiveness so that we may be together and praise your name.


Amen


The Lord’s Prayer


Mark 1:14-20


Apparently, in sales, in America, there is something called ‘the elevator pitch’.

A good salesperson can sell their product in the time it takes to do a journey in a lift!

I wonder, could I, could you ‘sell’ Jesus in such a short time?

I think I might need a very tall tower and I would have to get in the lift on the ground floor and hope my listener stayed until the top floor.

Again, according to those in the sales business, the best pitches don’t simply describe what a product does, they also tell you the difference it makes and, of course, the changes for the better that it will bring.

A few years ago, I was in B&Q and I was drawn to an advert for a lawn mower that mows the lawn by itself. The price was a mere £1300! So, how was it advertised?

Well, the pitch was that it would save you time that you could spend with your family.

On the box was a picture of the mower cutting the grass of a lovely big lawn while dad, instead of pushing the mower, was pushing his little girl on her swing and everyone was grinning broadly.

In a single picture I knew what the mower could do, and the changes it could bring – what a bargain!


Needless to say, I didn’t buy it!


Our reading from Mark gives us Jesus’ ministry, his pitch, if you like, in a nutshell: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news”. Mark 1:15


Mark’s gospel should go down well in the 21st century.

He brings an urgency into the ministry of Jesus, something which needs to be reflected in the work of the church today. This urgency was also a mark of the Early Church, they believed that Jesus would soon return.


Time was short, so they better get on with it – the lift was almost at the top of the tower.


Even though 2000 years have now passed, and Jesus still hasn’t returned, we still need to be urgent in our proclamation of the Gospel - after all no-one knows when they will be called to meet their maker.


Mark 1:15 is the only ‘sermon’ that we get in Mark; there is no Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) or Sermon on the Plain (Luke 7). So, we really need to get this verse right.

Jesus’ pitch tells us that the time had come; it was a Kairos moment for everyone, a moment to be seized and not missed; a time for a decision.


The Kairos document of 1985 about the liberation of South Africa was saying, “This is it! The time has come for radical change.”


Unsurprisingly it reflected Jesus’ words all those years ago and both were good news.


God’s kingdom, or rule, was breaking into the lives of the people where Jesus ministered. As Jesus said, “The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them.” Luke 7:22


Have you ever seen, during daylight hours, a darkened sky pierced by beams of sunlight? Whenever I see the beams of light breaking through the dark clouds I am reminded of Jesus’ words about God’s kingdom, God’s rule, breaking in.


Whenever someone believes the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection and repents, God’s kingdom breaks in and becomes a reality.

Whenever justice is done, God’s kingdom breaks in; whenever mercy and forgiveness are offered in God’s name, God’s kingdom breaks in.

I am sure that you can list many more examples as part of your pitch on behalf of Jesus.

In a single sentence Jesus told everyone what was happening and the difference it could make in their lives. And it is still true today.


Jesus’ message is one of profound change: a new way of living; it is not an offer to stay the same.


I’m sure you know the hymn, ‘Onward Christian soldiers’, the second verse reads,

‘Like a mighty army moves the church of God,

brothers we are treading where the saints have trod.’


Someone once said that it could be rewritten as:

‘Like a mighty tortoise moves the church of God,

brothers we are treading where we’ve always trod.’


And if that is only partly true – it does not reflect the good news of God’s kingdom.

For the sake of God’s Kingdom Jesus calls us to leave things behind: poor attitudes, nets, job, friends, even family, and to be changed as we answer his call as to repent, believe the good news and follow.

Repentance is an interesting word. It means ‘to change direction’. Lives that have been self-centred need to totally become God-centred.


The fishermen Jesus called, Simon Peter, Andrew and James and John, didn’t set out that morning with the intention of making a career change, never mind planning to get in on the ground floor of a new religion.

But they responded. They must have caught something of Jesus’ vision of the wonder of God’s kingdom. They knew this was a Kairos moment – miss it and it might not happen again. It was their chance to make a decision that would transform their lives for ever -for eternity.


No doubt they had heard Jesus speak and without hesitation they followed.

The call to be a Christian is a call to be part of a community. Something, which in these times seems a little difficult, but I am encouraged by all the stories I hear of church members reaching out to others with acts of practical help and a listening ear. As we do so, God’s kingdom breaks in.


Jesus’ call is a call to be transformed by the Holy Spirit living within us.

And then, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to change our communities and the world in which we live for the better.

We are to be instruments of God’s kingdom, called to share each other’s joy and pain, to meet with people in their need and draw them into the community of God’s people, and as we do so we celebrate the hope, the good news of God’s kingdom!

So, how is your Jesus pitch?

Will you convince your listener of the good news of God’s kingdom before the lift reaches the top of the tower?

You know, lockdown is a great time to practice!


Hymn: 'God’s spirit is in my heart'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-ibXHqsUTw


Hymn: 'Inspired by love and anger' by John L. Bell and Graham Maule

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


Photo by Lane Jackman via Unsplash


Prayers of intercession


Lord Jesus, Prince of Peace, light the fire of your love in us so that suspicions, contempt and misunderstanding cease in the Church. May the walls that separate us fall. May your kingdom come.


Holy Spirit, Consoler of all, open our hearts to forgiveness and reconciliation and bring us back from our wanderings. May your kingdom come.


Lord Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, give us poverty of spirit so that we may welcome the unexpectedness of your grace. May your kingdom come.


Holy Spirit, you never abandon the men, women and children who are persecuted for their loyalty to the gospel. Give them strength and courage, and support those who help them. May your kingdom come.


The Lord calls us to be united among ourselves. He gives us his peace and invites us to share it.


Amen


Allow me to challenge you this week to share a Sign of Peace. It might be a phone call, a card or letter. Perhaps a chat over the garden fence. Pray for the person before, during and after you share the peace.


Blessing: Be one, so that the world may believe!

Abide in God’s love, go into the world and bear the fruits of this love.

May the God of hope fill us with all joy and all peace in faith, so that we may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.


MP 728 'We have a gospel to proclaim'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-SPYAgCtkw


MP 501 'O Jesus I have promised'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_JLAwhag3Y


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