• Rossendale Circuit

Meeting With God - Audio service 01.05.22

with Revd. David Burrow

Video Service

Or watch on youtube here.

Subtitles available on the video, please click the 'cc' button.

Suggested Hymns & Songs:

'I serve a risen saviour, (he lives!)'


'When we walk with the Lord' (Trust and obey)



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Hello and welcome to this audio service by the Rossendale Methodist Circuit, what you'll hear shortly is a recording of a service that usually takes place at Longholme Methodist Church in Rawtenstall on Tuesday mornings at 10am, this is a live recording so do expect some background noise although we've tried to reduce this as much as we can. The hymns, unfortunately have to be removed for copywright reasons, but we've suggested some links to versions of the hymns below this video, this weeks service is entitled, 'Meeting with Jesus' and you'll hear Revd. David Burrow begin the service now.

I hope you've had a good week. (Murmurs of agreement) Have you heard God this week? Have you heard God speak to you this week?

I don't know whether you would call this God speaking to me but I was pottering on on Friday, last week at, across on Sparrow park, sort of you know, getting ready for this Britain in Bloom business, you know, oh I'll have a little nose at them you know, weeding out this patch at the bottom right hand corner and you know, we're digging out a lot of erm primroses, and thinking what on earth am I going to do with these you see, and I was just pottering around and I turned up a spoon.

A spoon? A spoon. Ok. A dessert spoon of course, yes. And I was pottering along and I thought you know, how am I going to plant these things. What the spoon? I hadn't got a trowel the spoon will do. Hallelujah Lord, thankyou. Practical in the most little things sometimes.

Wonderful. Wonderful. Thank you, David. The writers of the Hebrews writes these words 'In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets and many times and in various ways, but in these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he also made the universe.' Hearing God begins and ends with meeting with encountering and with getting to know Jesus. Nothing matters more in life than a personal encounter with the risen Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us pray. We come to meet with the risen Lord in our hymns and our prayers, Lord Jesus, make yourself known in the readings and the preaching, make yourself known Lord Jesus in our times of conversation and fellowship. Make yourself known, Lord Jesus. Whenever bread is broken among those who seek to follow you, make yourself known, Lord Jesus, amen.

Photo by Palden Gyamtso via Unsplash

And we come to God in prayer. Lord God Almighty, you make us see things afresh. We see winter turn into spring and then into summer for the ability to see change and find joy, we praise you. We see babies turn into children and children into grown men and women. For the wonder, of change, we praise you. We see people overcoming failure, disaster, illness, and bereavement. For the joy in change, we praise you. We meet others and hear stories of courage, of faith, of perseverance in difficulty. For this wonderful, joyful ability to see change, we praise you. Keep us faithful we pray to the good news, death and darkness will not win. But love and life will always remain with those who seek to follow you. Lord God, we know we are not always ready to find you as we travel life's road. Sometimes like the disciples after the crucifixion, we are lost in sadness and in grief. Sometimes we're just simply too busy enjoying ourselves or making money or trapped in the the minutiae of our own family life. Sometimes heedless of your care for us, we are overwhelmed by worries about our health, our families, our jobs or our possessions, shake us out of our preoccupations. Make us see you and know you. For only then will we find the peace and the joy that you promised to your followers. Lord Jesus, we thank you that although your disciples took a while to recognise you, when they did, they rushed out to share the good news with everyone. Help us never to be too preoccupied, to hear your words, or to recognise your presence among us. Open our eyes and our ears so we never miss your explosive love. That can transform, unite, and resurrect lives and communities to your glory. Lord Jesus, you are the author of my faith. You are the one writing my story. And I surrender every page of my life to you. You are also the perfector of my faith. You are the one who forgives my sin and makes me whole. This morning, today and every day I fix my eyes on you, Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, Amen.

I know it's a little bit after Easter, as it were, but we're still in the Easter season of course. And I want to stay on that Easter Sunday this morning. That Easter Sunday was an emotional roller coaster to say the very least I would say and since the first morning all kinds of stories started flying around. Some of Jesus's friends had gone back to the house in Jerusalem where they'd shared their last meal with him. Maybe to comfort one another. And what do we do next? Where do we go from here? What happens now? All these questions must have been flying around. Some of the women of course, as we know went to Jesus's tomb in the morning and they had met Jesus and recognised that he was alive again. What a wonderful experience. But the men didn't believe them. Luke tells us, he says it seemed to them, to the men, an idle tale. I think that's a wonderful expression. It seemed to them an idle tale. So emotions were running high and two of Jesus' friends decided to get away to leave Jerusalem for a while and find somewhere quiet. A village not too far away, about 7 miles, the village of Emmaus. And so we find, we join them as they're walking along in Luke 24 and Verse 13 and they were talking with each other as they walked the seven miles to Emmaus from Jerusalem. They were talking about all these things that had happened. And while they were talking and discussing Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognising him. And he said to them, 'What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?' And they stood still looking sad. And one of them whose name was Cleopas answered him. 'Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?' Jesus asked them 'what things?' they replied 'the things about Jesus of Nazareth who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women in our group astounded us. They were at the tomb earlier this morning when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed see the vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see him.' Then Jesus said to them, 'oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared. Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things, and then enter into his glory?' And then beginning with Moses and all the prophets he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead, as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly saying stay with us because it's almost evening and the day is now nearly over, so he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognised him and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other 'where not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the Scriptures to us.' That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem, and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, 'The Lord has risen indeed and he has appeared to Simon.' Then they told what had happened on the road. And how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread. Amen.

Just when you thought the story was coming to the end, you realise it's only a beginning. Easter Sunday marks that end of that journey, the climax if you like, through lent, and it's a glorious end to that journey, isn't it? But after it's over, we the church begin to look forward to Jesus's ascension and onto Pentecost. But for the fledgling Christian Church, Easter Sunday was a first faltering step. Just listen to those two disciples on the road to Emmaus, lost in the grief, lost in their bewilderment, they're wondering what is going on?

So lost that they were unable to understand or to get their heads around what the women had reported to them and as for an empty tomb well that was just a bit too much wasn't it. These disciples had a long way to go not in the sense of a journey to Emmaus because that wasn't very far. But they had a long way to go in their faith. But God knew their situation. And in the risen Jesus he met them on the road, to spend time with them. And Jesus got their attention, he feigned ignorance. You can just imagine can't you, what things happened in Jerusalem? What are you talking about? You know, he must have had a bit of a smile on his face. I'm sure there's a bit of comedic value in all of this isn't there, what's going on. Because they couldn't believe that anyone who had been around Jerusalem for the Passover, actually had no idea had failed to notice what had been going on. But apparently here was somebody who was completely ignorant of everything that had happened. So they told him the whole story. They were telling Jesus, what had happened to Jesus. I mean, get your head around that for a minute. That's quite something. The thing was, he did have their attention. And having gotten their attention, then Jesus told them, that they really were a little slow. Both in understanding and believing what they should have known, that the Old Testament scriptures foretold that the Messiah would have to suffer and die. Have you ever thought that you were a little slow yourself to understand something? You've finally got it? I've been in that place many times. And you feel a bit silly, bit embarrassed to ask another question. And finally, someone says to you, what's the matter with you? Can't you get it through your thick skull? What I'm telling you. I've been despaired of on more than one occasion by my family, I must admit, but allowing for their slowness in the midst of their confusion. Jesus explained everything that had happened and he opened up to them, all the Old Testament scriptures and he showed them all, all the stories that related to him beginning with Moses, and going through all the prophets he says. That is some Bible study isn't it and all the things that related to him, that showed that he was the Messiah, and still they didn't recognise him. And here we are 2000 years on. We take a lot of this for granted. We have Bibles in our churches, but how often do they get opened by people on a Sunday? Or at other times. How often do people follow the Bible reading? Oh, we know the story. You know, we've heard it before.

I'm reminded again of one of my sons when he was only four. Can we have a different Christmas story this year, please? You know. No, you can't! We just get so used to them don't we, and we just take it for granted. And in fact, if anybody says to us, you know, asks us a question. Well, we know where the Bible is, we know where to look. And if we don't know where to look, we know how to find out how to look if we don't know that we know somebody who can tell us how to find out how to look. So you know, it's pretty much all at our fingertips. And ultimately, you can always Google it anyway. Other providers are available, of course.

We miss out so much on the drama of these stories because we know them so well. Imagine what a filmmaker would do with this story. These two - well we know Cleopas was one of them, it might have been his wife, it might have been another male, so we don't know. But these two people walking along just last year. And you can imagine the music playing in the background. You know, sad, depressed music kind of thing. And then muttering, they're chatting they're you know, they're going to talking about what's happened they're not sure they're confused and a good director would really get that across. Then suddenly they're joined by Jesus and you know that drama of how he tells them about what happened to him. And then at the very end, as they get to Emmaus Jesus makes as if to go on and you can almost feel the climax building. Are they going to miss out? Are they not going to find out? Are they not going to discover the truth? You know, the whodunits that you read and all of those things. When are we going to know? Jackie, and I have been watching a series on one of these things, so you can just watch it whenever you want. They're such a pain aren't they. They they make it drag out for so long. You know what they could do in three hours, they do in nine

just to make extra programmes, so they make -. anyway nevermind that, but, and you can drag this out as well. But you just want them, you just want to know what's happening to these characters because you're invested and if this was, just imagine the drama here. Just picture the drama. Will Jesus stay with him? Will he walk on? Will they find out who he really is? You know, when people first read this, they must have been an edge on tenterhook, what will happen? And they invited him to come and stay thankfully, ah, we can all relax now, because they've invited him. But still when he's in the house, they don't know who he is. And he's not told them yet, why's he not telling them? And then he does something very very simple. He breaks the bread. And in that moment, all is revealed, they recognise him. I wonder have there been times in my life when I've missed out on encountering the risen Jesus in someone or in some situation when I've failed to notice, when I've failed to spend time with somebody because I've been too preoccupied with something else, too busy, as we say these days maybe I've missed out on a simple offer to invite someone somewhere so they can encounter the risen Jesus in my life. I wonder, those are questions that we need to ponder sometimes. But thankfully, these two disciples invited Jesus stay with them. Even in their ignorance they wanted to offer Jesus hospitality a simple offer to someone who had become a friend and a teacher on the road. And they were utterly blessed when they recognised Jesus and they were so excited, that seven miles was nothing and I bet they beat my personal best for seven miles. Back to Jerusalem. 56 minutes, okay. Just so you know.

So desperate to tell the others what they'd experienced. So keen to talk about this experience and how they'd been blessed. These disciples gave to this person they met on the road, they opened their hearts, their homes too and they received so much more than they could ever have expected. They had a personal encounter with the risen Jesus. So here's a couple of questions that I read just this morning, in my quiet time. And I've been pondering for the last few hours, since about half past six this morning. Okay.

Do I simply go to meetings about Jesus? Or do I actually meet with him? Do I simply go to meetings about Jesus? Or do I actually meet with him? That's the first question. The second question is and, spoons aside, when was the last time I encountered Jesus personally? When was the last time I encountered Jesus personally? Just take a moment. Do I simply go to meetings about Jesus or do I actually meet with him and when was the last time I encountered Jesus personally?

How exciting it would be to think I'm on my way to a meeting where I'm going to encounter the risen Jesus. It would be better than going to watch Burnley wouldn't it? When they might win. How exciting it would be to think, I'm gonna meet the risen Jesus. At this meeting, maybe in a whole new way, who knows? And at least to be open to that. Now think of two or three friends, maybe family members even, who haven't yet encountered Jesus for themselves. Maybe they've been to meetings about him, but haven't yet met.

Here's a prayer to pray for those family members or friends.

Lord Jesus. I name these friends these family members one by one and I ask you to meet with them just as you did with those friends on the road to Emmaus. Show them who you are. Amen.

Sometimes the simplest prayers are the most powerful aren't they. So I pray that today we'll all meet with the risen Jesus in new new ways in old ways, t doesn't really matter does it. We started our service with these words from Hebrews. 'In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he also made the universe.' Hearing God begins and ends with encountering and getting to know the risen Jesus, and nothing matters. Nothing else matters, more in every person's life than a personal encounter with Jesus. Let us pray.

Come, Lord, and walk with us. Share our life's journey and let us share our lives with you. Let us confide in you all that lies deepest in our hearts be our friend always, Lord, whatever our faults or failings. Be our companion on the way. If we're downcast as the disciples were, may your friendship keep us going. When we experience life's, disappointments when life gets the better of us, and it all seems too much to handle. Help us to keep walking on. Yes, Lord, walk with us. Teach us your ways, for you are the way, speak to our hearts for you are the truth. Open to us your words of life, for you are the life, may the joy of your presence sustain us and keep us on to our journeys end. Risen Lord Jesus we thank you that you do walk with us you never leave us or forsake us. And as we offer our prayers this morning we do not only pray for ourselves but we pray for others too and once again we remember the people of Ukraine and give you thanks for those who were able to celebrate Easter this past Sunday. Thank you for the peace that many of them were able to find as they met with you. We thank you for the comfort that they found in you and in one another's company and we thank you for their witness for their example of worshipping you even in the deepest darkest moments. So Lord we join again, once again our prayers with theirs for peace in their land. For an end to the war, an end to suffering and to death. Lord turn the hearts and minds of those who do evil away from those ways. Lord move in the hearts and minds of those who do evil we pray by the power of your spirit that they might be changed, transformed by your presence. And Father we pray against the powers of evil and we pray that love will drive out hatred and your light will drive out darkness and that you might reign and your glory might be seen. Lord as we pray for the people of Ukraine so we remember so many others around the world who are suffering the terrors the horror of war, people of Yemen people of Syria still, Lord we pray too for our brothers and sisters in Christ, who are suffering such terrible persecution. Again, in so many parts of the world, we thank you for their witness and for their example

for their courage for their faith and pray that it might inspire us to always be willing to share our faith whatever the cost might be. And Lord we thank you, that you are always there to walk with us. You're always there to talk to, to spend time with, to bless, to love to forgive, to be this awesome God that we worship. And so we offer our prayers in your precious name, Amen.

Let us pray. Come Lord and stay with me. Whatever stage I'm at on life's journey, whether the day is still young, or it's the middle of the day, or it's now the eventide of my life, or whatever life's opportunities missed, it's never too soon or too late to invite you into my life and into my heart. Stay with me always Lord, to share my life, my joys and sorrows, my failures and celebrations. Let me never close you out. Never close the door of my heart to you. But may I always make you welcome. Yes, Lord, stay with us. May we always enjoy your company. For you said that where two or three were gathered in your name. You will be there in the midst of them and that if anyone loved you, you would make your home with them, Lord help us also to love you. That you stay with us always. And we can make our home in you. Amen.

Thank you for listening and we hope you enjoyed the service. You can find us online on www.rossendalemethodistcircuit.co.uk and also on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Please do let us know what you thought of this service in the comments below and you can always contact us by email at rossendalemethodistcircuit@gmail.com.

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