• Rossendale Circuit

Hide and Seek - Sunday Service 7.02.21

Watch directly on youtube here.

Part 1

Hymns & Songs:

MP 506 'O Lord my God!'


StF 89 & MP 1222 'Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord'


Part 2

Isaiah 40:21-31


Hymns & Songs:

StF 657 'You give rest to the weary'


MP 746 'What a friend we have in Jesus'


Part 3

Hymns & Songs:

MP 201 'Guide me O Thou great Redeemer' At the Royal Albert Hall https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ofp6rdAgRrY

'When the roll is called up yonder'


Other Links

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

Our Email Address: rossendalemethodistcircuit@gmail.com


*Not always exact to the videos.

Welcome and notices:

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And finally, we have a chat on Zoom after the Sunday service each week at 11:45am. Anyone is welcome, so if you want to join us please email us rossendalemethodistcircuit@gmail.com and we will send you the Zoom invitation.

Let’s worship God together: As I read Psalm 147, you might like to try and picture some of the images the writer describes: the heavens stretched out above us - the night sky filled with stars – the transcendence of God our Creator. Or maybe, bring to mind the closeness, the immanence of God who loves us, lifting up the downtrodden, caring for the animals and taking pleasure in our wonder, love and awe? Let your imagination run free.

Photo by Ray Hennessy via Unsplash

Psalm 147

Prayer: Dear Lord, today we pause in your presence. In our journey through life, we rest a moment to acknowledge your love and to worship you.

With a thankful heart we recognise that you travel with us, that you, the God of all creation know us and love us, that you sent your son Jesus to open heaven to all believers.

In this moment we worship and adore you.

And as we rest and reflect, we also take this opportunity to say sorry. You know us through and through Lord.

You know our motives, our actions, our deepest thoughts. We say sorry that they are not always loving, they are not always selfless, they are not always worthy of a follower of Jesus. But we trust in your love and mercy. Help us to change, help us to grow, help us to follow the Jesus way, as we hear your words of grace, that our sins are forgiven. And in your name, we pray. Amen The Lord’s Prayer

MP 506 'O Lord my God!'


StF 89 & MP 1222 'Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord'


In Isaiah chapter 40, the prophet Isaiah spoke to the Jewish people who were in exile in Babylon. Their homes, the Temple, all of Jerusalem lay in ruins.

They were without hope.

They felt abandoned, hidden away, captives in a strange land, but Isaiah told them that the Temple with its great curtain, had been replaced by the heavens which stretched out like a curtain, and that these heavens are ‘the tent’ of God’s presence with the people.

God knew where his people were.

And eventually, in exile in Babylon the people of Israel understood that their God was indeed, ‘the Creator of the ends of the earth’.

In their state of hopelessness, as exiles in a foreign country they recognised the truth of, ‘those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.’

And I believe that the words of Isaiah speak just as powerfully to us today as we live in this strange coronavirus dominated world.

Sometimes we feel like prisoners in our own homes and sadly, too many lives have been lost while others have lost their jobs and their homes.

If you’re feeling lost, powerless, faint and without hope, let the words of Isaiah speak to your situation today – you can either listen to them being read or the words, from verse 25 onwards, have been set to music and are beautifully sung by Esther Mui. Either way, let the words fill your life.

Isaiah 40:21-31


What a glorious picture! – Wait on the Lord and then with your strength renewed mount up on wings like eagles. Soaring high in the sky, way above the mountains. Such is God’s promise to all who seek him out to spend time in his presence.

And speaking of seeking, I am sure that at some time in your life, you will have played hide and seek.

As I read Mark’s gospel ask yourself the question, ‘Who is hiding and who is doing the seeking?’

The answer will vary at different points in the story.

Read: Mark 1:29-39 Hide and Seek!

Jesus had begun the day at worship, with his disciples, in the synagogue in Capernaum.

No one was hiding from anyone.

In fact, Jesus had spoken out and healed a man with an unclean spirit and everyone had been amazed not only at this but at the way he taught - with authority!

After worship, when Jesus arrived back at Peter’s house, he was told that Peter’s mother-in-law was sick. She had retreated to her bed where Jesus sought her out.

Finding her, he took her by the hand and lifted her up. The fever left her, and she served everyone with food. Lifted up, as on eagles’ wings perhaps, free of her sickness.

With her health restored her response was to serve.

It should have been a wonderful end to the day. But there was more to come.

That evening after sunset, when the Sabbath had ended, the people sought Jesus out to heal all their sick and demon possessed.

In the film ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ there is a scene where the people, dressed in rags, with all their various needs literally overwhelm Jesus as he disappears beneath them.

It was wonderful for all those people who searched for Jesus, found him and were set free from all the things that troubled them; they, like Peter’s mother-in-law, had their needs met, but did they really find what they were looking for? Perhaps they thought so, but they could have received so much more from Jesus.

Jesus probably collapsed exhausted into bed for a well-deserved rest, but not for long.

Early in the morning, while it was still very dark, he went off to pray.

He was hidden, but the disciples had lots of local knowledge and after a bit of a hunt they found him and told him, “Everyone is searching for you”.

Jesus sought out space and time to meet with his Father and have his strength renewed – to mount up, once again, with wings like eagles and be strengthened to serve once more.

This is a great lesson for us, and a wonderful encouragement.

If Jesus needed to spend time in prayer with his Father, how much more do you and I?

Finding time and space to pray can be a challenge, but it is so important if we wish to serve God. We need to be filled and go on being filled with God’s amazing power and liberating love, to be lifted up with wings like eagles.

Every day it is good to hide away with your Bible and to meet with God in prayer.

Tired and empty after meeting the needs of others, Jesus needed to recover and be refuelled to preach throughout Galilee.

Jesus knew what it was to battle with temptation and be victorious and he also knew what it was like to serve to the point of exhaustion - so he needed times to hide away from the crowds to pray, to be still and be renewed.

Speaking for myself, temptation to sin is something I don’t always triumph over, so I constantly need to search Jesus out, to ask forgiveness and to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

The disciples’ words, ‘Jesus, everyone is searching for you’ includes me too.

Thankfully, Jesus does not hide, but I do have to take the time and find the space to hide away with him.

There are, however, times when I would rather run away and hide from Jesus; times when I have done, or said things, I wish had been left undone and unsaid.

These are the times when it is so important not to hide from Jesus but to search him out in repentance and seek his forgiveness. And as we do so, we are forgiven; we have peace with God, and we are filled with the Holy Spirit to not only strengthen us in the fight against sin but also in the struggle to seek out others who need setting free from all that holds them captive and keeps them earthbound.

How wonderful it is to see those we witness to, those we serve, to discover that they have been found and can now be lifted up as if on the wings of eagles!

Throughout history people have set out to seek spiritual enlightenment; the Beatles went as far as India.

Still today I hear people say, ‘I’m searching for something’.

Remember the disciples’ words, 'Jesus, everyone is searching for you’. Sadly, most people don’t know what, or who they are searching for.

As a boy, my younger brother and I were often packed off to my Grandma and Granddad’s farm for a week or so during the school holidays.

It was a bit of a busman’s holiday as we already lived on a farm.

But anyway, Granddad and Grandma’s farmhouse was big and rambling with many rooms on two floors and we often used to play hide and seek there with our cousins who visited and the children from the farm next door.

One day, looking for a place to hide, I went into the bathroom where there was a floor to ceiling airing cupboard with several shelves filled with blankets and towels. It was a great place to hide.

I climbed onto the top shelf and hid behind the bedding. I said to myself, “No-one will ever find me here.”

I could hear the others being found and the occasionally someone came into the bathroom, but they only gave the airing cupboard a cursory glance.

After what seemed like an eternity and with people shouting, “Has anyone seen Dave?” the truth dawned on me, I was right, no-one was ever going to find me!

Becoming rather fearful I poked my foot out of the door and the next time someone entered the bathroom I coughed, and the shout rang out, “Found you!” I was so pleased.

As professor Fred Craddock once said, “There is no greater desire in the human heart, than to be found . . . except, God’s desire to find you and me.”

The wonderful thing is, you and I have been found by Jesus Christ, the one who sets us free to be the children of God.

Hide and seek is great fun but when people are lost the game is serious.

And that means we have a privileged task, but not always an easy one. Just as I used to remind my children to share their sweets and toys with each other, so our heavenly Father longs for us to share the good news of our discovery – not only have we been found but at the same time we have found Jesus, the one everyone is searching for’, even when they don’t know it.

Our task, in the power of the Holy Spirit, is to show everyone the way to both find, and be found, by Jesus. And when you feel weary, or that the task is too much, do as Jesus did and make space and time to meet with God the Father, for:

Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

And as you mount up once again on wings like eagles, ready to serve, you will discover the wonder of enabling those who are currently lost to do exactly the same. Amen

StF 657 'You give rest to the weary'


MP 746 'What a friend we have in Jesus'


Prayers of intercession

God of creation, you created a perfect planet, fill us with your love for all creation, and nurture in us a zeal to care for and protect the earth and all its inhabitants.

Help us to tread carefully on the sacred gift of your creation and make good the damage caused by human thoughtlessness and selfishness.

God of new beginnings, renew and refresh us with your healing hand.

Give strength and resilience to our health workers, and wisdom and insight to our scientists to drive out the coronavirus and all that destroys health and wholeness.

God of compassion, enfold in your loving arms the oppressed, victims of conflict and all who suffer. This week we remember the people of Myanmar and pray for their freedom.

Cast out the demons of destructive conflict and injustice and fill your Church with the power to seek out and care for all who are lost, weak and vulnerable.

You rejoice when we live in love and harmony. Fire in us a passion for justice that transcends human borders, and send us out to all, to proclaim your message of forgiveness and renewal to all people, in the name and power of our Saviour, your Son Jesus Christ.


Prayer request: During this coming week please pray for our friends at Shawforth, their local community and other churches in the area. Also, for Christians in China.

Blessing: The Lord is the Everlasting God, and our God loves us, more than we can possibly know. God invites us to travel the path he sets out before us. Complete in us, O Lord, the work you have begun and bless us that we might be a blessing to others. Amen.

Two well-known songs to finish. Only in the second one the lyrics are, you might say, hidden, as it is sung in Russian! There are, however, subtitles – so you can still sing along or, try it in Russian and maybe discover new talents. After that you will be ready for a game of hide and seek!

MP 201 'Guide me O Thou great Redeemer' At the Royal Albert Hall https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ofp6rdAgRrY

'When the roll is called up yonder'


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