• Rossendale Circuit

Mirror, Mirror...Sunday Service 29.08.21

with Revd. David Burrow


Video Service


or watch on youtube here.



Suggested Hymns & Songs:


MP 495 'O for a heart to praise my God'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MWRgPxwtMs


MP 94 'Come let us sing of a wonderful love'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCSx7ZZ3-2I


MP 51 'Be thou my vision'

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQNczm45GyY by Rend Collective


MP 921 'Purify my heart, let me be as gold'

https://youtu.be/9Y8zP34AhuU


MP 31 'Amazing grace'

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


Singing the Faith 706 'Longing for light, we wait in darkness'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kt3Qc04ulOM


MP 936 'Teach me to dance to the beat of your heart'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1LaArPzHyk


Or this version if you really want a smile:

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


MP 449 'Love divine, all loves excelling'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGGcqhKShQ8


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 Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/rosscircuit


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


Our Email Address: rossendalemethodistcircuit@gmail.com



Transcript


Psalm15


MP 495 'O for a heart to praise my God'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MWRgPxwtMs


MP 94 'Come let us sing of a wonderful love'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCSx7ZZ3-2I


Prayer:


Lord, when we enter your presence it is like stepping into eternity and your glory wraps around us with a hope too deep for words.

Your Word speaks to us of your endless glory and our hearts experience the joy of your touch upon our lives.


Lord we have come with our praises, for on the cross you reached down to lift us up and you reached deep within us to make us whole.

Forgive our lack of love and help us to face our true selves, as in a mirror, as we examine ourselves honestly before you.


You know everything about us.


We come before you and offer to you our prayer of confession in the knowledge that you are our all-just judge and our loving Saviour. Lord, purify our hearts.

We look into your face and experience the freedom of your forgiveness.

As Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, ‘Your sins are forgiven, go in peace and sin no more’.


Father to sin no more is impossible for us.


We need your help, please fill us with your Holy Spirit that we might have your strength to resist temptation and so walk with you.


In Jesus’ name we thank you, Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer


MP 51 'Be thou my vision'

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQNczm45GyY by Rend Collective


MP 921 'Purify my heart, let me be as gold'

https://youtu.be/9Y8zP34AhuU


Photo by Marcel Strauss via Unsplash


Are you a doer? All action, making things happen? Or are you a thinker, who would rather simply ‘be’?


Throughout the history of Christianity there have been those who are contemplatives – those who spend their time reading the Bible, contemplating its truth, meditating and praying. At the opposite end of the scale are those who simply put what they believe into action.


Both are needed of course and most of us come somewhere in the middle. It’s great to be out in the community helping where we can, putting Jesus’ words to love our neighbour into action but if we are going to do that, we need to know what Jesus’ words are, so we need to read our Bibles and spend time in prayer listening to God’s directions. It’s no use simply taking off on our own – we’d soon run out of steam.

Famously the writer of James encourages all Christians to be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves (verse 22). As I said, most of us like to be ‘doers’. It’s good to be busy, showing that we are doing something.


We certainly don’t want to be thought of as ‘holier than thou’ siting in an ivory church tower, so it’s great when we can get involved in making a difference in people’s lives by doing something.


During the pandemic lots of people have been busy helping to serve the community in lots of different ways and the church has been praised because of it. And, understandably, it makes us feel good about ourselves. But what’s all that got to do with mirrors?


Read James 1:17-27


When James was written mirrors were the ‘latest thing’. It was only in the first century that glass replaced the centuries old mirrors of polished metal or stone. The writer had picked up on how people quickly stole a glance of themselves in the mirror to check everything was in place before looking away and, reassured, promptly forgot what they’d seen as they got on with their day without a thought. It’s amazing how some things never change!


James urges us to not forget that the Christian life is not about appearances and reputations but about reaching back to our ‘birth by the word of truth’ (verse 18).

By which he means the time when we came to know Jesus for ourselves – when our lives as faithful Christians first began.


Why? Because it is only in Jesus that we find the true source of our good deeds. It is wonderful to know that we don’t need to worry that we are not doing enough as, ‘Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above’ (verse 17).

The gift of faith which God has given to us will show itself in good and generous behavior.


We will not just be hearers of the word but also doers.


When Jesus was criticised because his disciples ate food without first washing their hands, he told his critics that their concern only with outward appearances came out of hearts that showed they may well have heard God’s word, but they had not put it into practice.


They were hypocrites and, as usual, Jesus didn’t hold back.


The Pharisees and scribes were on a fact-finding mission from Jerusalem. Jesus’ preaching and healing tour was causing a bit of a stir!

Even Herod, who wasn’t interested in religion, knew about Jesus.

The religious leaders had sent out such people before, so it was no surprise to Jesus that from the start they were biased and suspicious.

And rather than attacking Jesus directly they had a go at him through his disciples. Have a read and see what happens:


Read Mark 7:1-23


Horror of horrors the disciples were not washing their defiled hands before they ate.

To our minds this probably seems to be risking illness, and with the pandemic you should still be washing your hands regularly for more than 20 seconds!

But cleanliness was far from the minds of the Pharisees and scribes.

The problem was that the disciples were not washing their hands in the traditional, ritualistic way; they were breaking traditional Jewish teaching.

These rules were not in the scriptures, they were not even written down, they were an oral tradition passed on by word of mouth.


The disciples’ hands were defiled and so not acceptable to God, which meant that the food they touched was defiled and when they ate it, they were too!

Jesus accused the Pharisees and scribes, in no uncertain terms, of hypocrisy.

They made up all kinds of rules and regulations about hand washing, not to mention washing cups, pots and kettles and then ignored the plain commands of God such as the one to honour their parents.


As Jesus said, these ‘people honoured God with their lips, but their hearts were far from God.’


In effect Jesus held a mirror up to them so they could clearly see what they were like.


Jesus followed up this dispute by calling the crowd to listen to him.

His teaching was too important for only his disciples to hear.


Jewish law states that some foods are okay to eat while others are not, there are long lists in the Old Testament (try Leviticus 11 for starters), but Jesus said that it doesn’t matter what you eat. Food does not make you unclean, ‘What goes into a person from outside cannot defile’ (verse 18).

This was revolutionary teaching.


Once again Jesus shocked his listeners as he told them that what really matters in our lives is not ritual and tradition but what is in our hearts and minds, as this will eventually show itself through our actions and words.

I am sure that you cannot fail to be impressed by Jesus’ list of evil things in verses 21-23 that defile the body.


The list challenges us all; I know that there are things on the list to which I must plead guilty! And if I add on James’ references to sordidness, wickedness and gossip I am in real trouble. I wonder, how do you measure up?


We need to regularly, and honestly, look in the mirror and self-examine our hearts before God and seek his forgiveness for our sin. Then and only then will our deeds begin to match our faith. How we manage to make this happen is not easy.

We need the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, but even then we will get things wrong, and society is very unforgiving.


People today speak about ‘cancel culture’. Statues of people who we thought of as great philanthropists have been torn down because their wealth came from the slave trade. Recently it was revealed that Handel had once invested in the slave trade.

Does that mean that we can no longer enjoy the Messiah, even though Handel was a very generous man who supported many charities including one for abandoned children?


And what of statues built of famous people today?

Will they be torn down and dropped in the rising sea by a future generation which is angry about our indifference to the climate emergency?


Angela Tilby, who writes for the Church Times pointed out that ‘part of our human tragedy is that, in spite of our capacity for compassion and our recognition of wrongdoing we don’t always recognise the evils in which we are complicit . . . We all need forgiveness when we know not what we do.’ (Church Times February 2021).

Which is another way of saying we need to check the mirror and honestly examine ourselves before God. This does not mean that we automatically forgive our ancestors, but that we need to learn from their mistakes and recognise that we all need to grow to maturity in Christ (Ephesians 4:9-16).


One final example: most people love the hymn, ‘Amazing grace’, but it’s author, John Newton, even after his conversion had his own slave ship.

Thankfully, after he was ordained, he influenced people like Willaim Wilberforce, and his church became a centre of the campaign for the abolition of the slave trade.

It took a while, but eventually he looked in the mirror, honestly examined himself before God, and his life was transformed, along with the lives of countless others.

Holding the mirror to our own lives reveals our failings, enables us to see ourselves as we are, to confess our sin and then wonderfully, to receive God’s gift, in Jesus, of amazing grace. Amen


MP 31 'Amazing grace'

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


Singing the Faith 706 'Longing for light, we wait in darkness'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kt3Qc04ulOM


Prayers of Intercession


Pray for the people of Afghanistan, Haiti and Yemen.

Pray for our leaders to seek God’s wisdom as they try to solve so many crises.

Keep praying for all who suffer from the pandemic and for all for whom it means so much work.


Pray this week for all who grieve and those who are sick.

And remember to pray for yourself and your oved ones.

In the name of Jesus our Saviour. Amen.


MP 936 'Teach me to dance to the beat of your heart'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1LaArPzHyk


Or this version if you really want a smile:

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


MP 449 'Love divine, all loves excelling'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGGcqhKShQ8


Blessing: May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

23 views0 comments