• Rossendale Circuit

Leaving To Return - Sunday Service 16.05.21

with Revd. David Burrow

Video Service

Watch directly on youtube here.

Part 1

Hymns & Songs:

'Our God is an awesome God'


MP 77 'Christ triumphant, ever reigning'


MP 217 'He is exalted'

https://youtu.be/pM3DCuDVafY Wow!

Part 2

Hymns & Songs:

StF 297 'Christ is alive'


MP 881 'Lord, I lift your name on high'

https://youtu.be/3tWSu9NAFIk dance version!

https://youtu.be/COQ6cni_TG8 more reflective

Part 3

Hymns & Songs:

'My eyes have seen the glory'


or MP 426 'Look ye saints the sight is glorious'


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


*Not always exact to the videos


As we prayerfully think about the suffering in the world caused by the pandemic, the terrible events taking place in Israel and Palestine, the traumatic struggles of many people in West Africa and the Sahel against the forces of Islamic State and other causes of pain it is tempting to ask God, “What on earth are you playing at?”

This is a question sometimes posed by the writers of various psalms.

Have a look at Psalms 10 and 13.

At the start of each psalm the writers cry out to God but they end their prayers with affirmations of great faith. In psalm 10: “O Lord, you will hear the desire of the meek; you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear to do justice . . . .” (10:17-18).

And in Psalm 13, “I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me” (13:6).

In the face of some of the worst violence between black communities in South Africa, during apartheid, Archbishop Desmond Tutu called a prayer meeting in a church in one of the townships at the centre of the violence.

He said he was not ashamed to pray as prayer puts us in contact with the greatest power in the universe, namely God.

So, in the week when we celebrate the Ascension of Jesus, we are going to affirm the Lordship of Jesus Christ as we worship by remembering and proclaiming that he is triumphant over the powers of sin and death.

Prayer: Everlasting God, today, through Jesus, you have called us to step away, for a moment or two, from the world and into your presence: we are here to worship you.

We are here to give you thanks and praise;

we want to learn more of you and seek to follow your ways, not the ways of the world;

we are here to learn to love with the love of Christ, not the love of the world;

we are here that we might feel your protection when our time together comes to a close and our daily lives resume. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we thank you that you came to earth for us, sacrificed yourself for us, died and was buried for our sins. As we celebrate your ascension and your return to glory, we thank you for your prayers for each one of us and the gift of your Holy Spirit.

You did not leave us alone; your Holy Spirit lives in us and works with us and through us every day.

We thank you that one day you will return.

God of all that ever has been, ever is and ever will be. We confess that there are times when we have turned away from you and taken the easy way out.

May we know that loving you sometimes means taking the harder option but that in all things you remain with us. Thank you for your forgiveness.

We humbly receive it and bow down and worship.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Psalm 47

Photo by Nattu Adnan via Unsplash

Hymns & Songs:

'Our God is an awesome God'


MP 77 'Christ triumphant, ever reigning'


MP 217 'He is exalted'

https://youtu.be/pM3DCuDVafY Wow!

Readings: Acts 1:1-11 Leaving to return

How do you feel about endings and goodbyes?

Perhaps you remember saying goodbye to school or college friends?

Or is that a little too long ago?

Maybe in the past family members or friends have emigrated and you haven’t seen them since?

And then there were those new friends you made on holiday who. At the time you all said that you would stay in touch but you knew you would never see each other again .

With endings, there’s always an element of looking back; you know that the joy of your time together will never return as it was, and life won’t be the same – although not necessarily in a negative way.

On Ascension Day, we see the ending of the time Jesus spent with his friends.

His time on earth was over and as he left one chapter closed, but another opened.

The disciples had seen Jesus challenge authorities, defeat the power of death and rise again.

We might think that they would have liked to cling on to Jesus, relieved after his death that he was still with them.

But Jesus had other plans. He delegated!

He gave them their final instructions and ascended to heaven.

It sounds rather wonderful, perhaps a bit ethereal, but here is an ending not marked by death or hopelessness, or fear.

Instead, we have a departure that is full of promise.

Jesus’ authority was confirmed. He was enthroned with the Father. It is because of the Ascension that the lamb who was slain is seated with the one on the throne and shares his worship (Revelation 4).

What a wonderful picture that is!

And the disciples were left, not looking back, but looking forward with a new hope as they returned to Jerusalem full of joy to wait for the Holy Spirit. And they spent their time waiting, not sitting around navel gazing, but in the Temple worshipping God.

So, three points:

  1. Why did Jesus leave in this way?

Why did he not leave quietly and secretly? Because it was important that everyone could see him.

They needed to know this was a final departure.

Jesus would no longer be with the disciples as he had been for the past 40 days.

As humans we often avoid endings, recoiling from farewells or final moments.

Yet as we celebrate the ascension Jesus brings us face to face with his departure.

Jesus doesn’t allow his followers to avoid the reality of his leaving.

There are lots of endings in the Bible, Moses going up the mountain to die; Joshua’s final sermon, Paul and the Ephesian elders saying their goodbyes on the beach – all were good endings.

And of course, for Christians we like to attend church to mark endings in our own lives. And how sad it was when this wasn’t allowed because of covid-19.

Why do we and other cultures like to mark endings?

Well, I would say that it’s because God makes sense of our experiences; he moves us from fear to hope, from darkness to light, from death to life.

God leads us through and beyond our fears – by the way of his love.

  1. Jesus’ final promises

As Jesus ascended a cloud hid him from their sight.

Clouds remind us of the presence of God; do you remember the Shekinah, the glory of God in the temple?

There were also the two men in white who asked the disciples a very simple question, “Why are you standing here looking up into the sky?”

They had to remind the disciples of what they should be doing.

Jesus had left them with a commission, a delegated job to do.

But first they had to wait in Jerusalem to be clothed with power from on high – the promised Holy Spirit. The disciples had a new purpose that they were to get busy with, and they were to be given the power to do it.

They weren’t dependent on their own efforts as the Holy Spirit would fill their lives to enable them to be witnesses to all they had seen and heard, and the Holy Spirit would propel them from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth! Wow!

On earth Jesus could only be in one place at one time, but his leaving enables us all to know his presence in a different way, through the Holy Spirit. We can all know his presence at the same time in different places!

Any fear the disciples may have felt was replaced by purpose, confidence, and hope, which I hope and pray is true for us too.

  1. The final coming

I once had a friend who when it was time to me to leave his place would watch me out of the door and then call me back – when he would ask, “How far would you have got if I hadn’t called you back?” He thought it was very funny. Me, not so much, although I have to admit to doing it to other people since.

Jesus left so he could come back! Which means we have come full circle to where we began.

We see in the words of the men dressed in white robes why it was necessary for the disciples to see Jesus leave with their own eyes.

Because Jesus will return in the same way they saw him go into heaven.

Here is our ultimate hope.

So, take a few moments and stand with the disciples, look upwards, and imagine watching Jesus ascend. Hold on to his promises and look forward to his return!

As Peter tells us in his Pentecost speech(Acts 2.33) the climax of what God has done in Jesus is Jesus being ‘exalted to the right hand of God’.

In the midst of all the pain and suffering in the world, may the departure of Jesus into glory and his promised return be the story and the hope that shapes our lives today and every day. Amen.

Hymns & Songs:

StF 297 'Christ is alive'


MP 881 'Lord, I lift your name on high'

https://youtu.be/3tWSu9NAFIk dance version!

https://youtu.be/COQ6cni_TG8 more reflective


In the incarnation – when Jesus was born, God entered into human existence.

In the Ascension, that humanity is taken up into the presence of God.

Which rather wonderfully means that we have Jesus, our High Priest praying. And, as Jesus is able to sympathise with our challenges, dilemmas, suffering and weakness, that is a great encouragement. Jesus understands our joy and our pain (Hebrews 4.15–16).

Lord, as you raised Christ from the dead and seated him at your right hand may we know your presence this day. We pray for world leaders, particularly the leaders of Israel and Palestine, may they act with mercy and humility and may your will be done through them.

We pray for your church across the world, and especially for those communities who have been persecuted because they worship you.

May they know your love and comforting touch as they continue to struggle to praise you.

Lord give them strength and the knowledge that one day we shall all live in a place of endless praise and worship. [Pause]

Lord, we come to you. Sometimes closed minded, sometimes doubting your promise.

Today open our eyes to you, to your resurrecting love.

You suffered for us and so we draw to mind those that we know are suffering today. Lord, you know all of the people in our hearts and minds.

May they know your love and your presence and healing hand with them this day. [Name those you know before God]

God of rejoicing, as the disciples worshipped and returned to Jerusalem with joy in their hearts when you ascended into heaven, fill our hearts with your joy today.

Let us go into the streets of our cities and town praising and rejoicing in your love.

We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.


Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time and now and for ever. Amen

Hymns & Songs:

'My eyes have seen the glory'


or MP 426 'Look ye saints the sight is glorious'


54 views0 comments