• Rossendale Circuit

Successful Succession - Sunday Service 14.02.21


Video Service


Watch directly on youtube here.


Part 1


Hymns and Songs:


MP 327 'Immortal, invisible, God only wise'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spE-BE23qxA


MP 987 'Here is love vast as the ocean'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8YOPj5TnUM



Part 2


Hymns and Songs:


Singing the Faith 260 'Swiftly pass the clouds of glory'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-EQz8PWL1Y

big build up to the last verse – worth waiting for especially if you are into organ music.


MP 385 'Jesus the name high over all'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSeAYKG-8Ko



Part 3


Hymns and Songs:


MP 728 'We have a gospel to proclaim'

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


MP 559 'Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus our blessed Redeemer'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_nIRLD_5gE

Fanny J Crosby would love this version



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




Transcript


*Not always exact to the videos.


Welcome!


Notices: Ash Wednesday service on Zoom next week at 7:30pm


Our main theme for this week is ‘Successful succession’ – something which runs through both of our Bible readings.


And we begin with a fascinating story from the Old Testament.

The prophet Elijah was about to be taken to heaven. Elisha, his servant, was well aware of this but didn’t seem to want to talk about it.

Three times Elijah suggested to Elisha that he should stay behind in one of the towns they were passing through, but Elisha refused – he was very tenacious and had, what today we may well call, stickability.

Elisha was committed to successfully succeeding Elijah as God’s prophet – to prove himself worthy and knew that if he got his wish, he would need all the help that was available.


So, he asked to inherit a double portion of Elijah’s spirit.

For this to happen Elisha had to make sure that he didn’t take his eyes off Elijah, so when the scene exploded into action with a fiery chariot and fiery hoses Elisha witnessed it all and the prophets of Jericho, who saw him returning from a distance, said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha”.

Successful succession accomplished!


The full story is in 2 Kings 2:1-15.


Prayer:


As it is Valentine’s Day on Sunday we focus on God’s love in our prayers.

Almighty God, we praise you for your love which you revealed in Jesus.

You are loving, kind, and worthy of all praise.

Thank you that your love is eternal.

We come to you in prayer, needing again to experience your love and forgiveness for us. In a moment of stillness, we confess our sins to you.

We hear your loving words: ‘your sins are forgiven’.

Loving God, pour out your love on all people and, as we join our worship with countless others around the world, show us by your Holy Spirit how we might show your love today.

Loving God, pour out your love.

Pour out your love.


Amen.


Photo by Benjamin Davies via Unsplash


The Lord’s Prayer


MP 327 'Immortal, invisible, God only wise'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spE-BE23qxA


MP 987 'Here is love vast as the ocean'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8YOPj5TnUM


As many of you know I come from farming stock. Mostly dairy and sheep farming although I also have a little experience of horses (falling off mostly) and free-range hens.


I have milked cows and helped with calving. I have lambed sheep and been the catcher for professional sheep shearers. Sadly for me, I more often than not ended up on the floor covered in sheep muck – I really wasn’t a good shepherd!

I did however get on very well with tractors, although I have been known to get them stuck and have wrapped the odd trailer round a gatepost!

There was no way I was ever going to succeed my dad as a farmer.


Fortunately, my younger brother Stephen was an excellent farmer and so I was free to leave and pursue my own interests.

For my Dad, the question of who would succeed him on the farm was sorted. And when Dad finally, although rather unwillingly, retired, a successful succession was achieved.


And it was successful, largely because Stephen, from being only three years old, was desperate to learn, and Dad was just as equally keen to teach him and eventually to let him get on with it. We have a photograph of my brother, aged 3, standing watching dad digging out a ditch with a spade to get the water flowing again. Not only was it cold, it was tipping it down with rain – and although dad offered on several occasions to take Stephen home he point blank refused!


Legal experts in farming succession tell me that succession is sadly not always successful as the farmer often doesn’t want to let go, retire and move on, even to the point of refusing to talk about any kind of succession until it is sometimes too late.


Thankfully, when it came to his successor, Elijah got it right. The Bible first introduces us to Elisha in 1 Kings 19:16-21 when Elijah anoints him as ‘prophet in his place’ and Elisha becomes Elijah’s disciple. A disciple is someone who learns, and in this case, it was on the job learning – rather like my brother.


Likewise with Jesus, who spent three years teaching and training his disciples who watched, listened and were then challenged to put into practice everything he had taught them.

Jesus was always planning for a successful succession. As you listen to the story of Jesus’ transfiguration think about how this experience for Peter, James and John was important in equipping them to successfully continue Jesus’ work after his return to heaven.


Read: Mark 9:2-9


On the mountain Jesus shone with a radiance that gave the disciples a glimpse of Jesus in all his glory. It was, as John Wesley puts it, not so much a transformation as a pulling back of the ‘veil of flesh’ to reveal the true nature of the Son of Man.


Traditionally the presence of Moses is seen as representing the Jewish Law and Elijah the prophets. In Jesus’ day ‘The Law and the Prophets’ summed up all the Hebrew scriptures (the Old Testament).

Remember too that Matthew (5:17) quoted Jesus as saying, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them”.

Jesus closely followed on from ‘The Law and the Prophets’; he was in effect their successor. He had studied them in detail, he often quoted them and through his words and actions they became a reality. There is a wonderful continuity between God’s relationship with the people of Israel in the Old Testament and Jesus’ relationship with His Church in the New Testament.


The presence of Moses and Elijah also anticipates Jesus’ conquest of death, something that only Luke makes clear by reference to Jesus’ ‘exodus’ that he was to accomplish in Jerusalem (Luke 9.1).


Moses and Elijah also remind us of God’s rescue of his people from slavery to freedom through Moses and the call to faithfulness through Elijah; both men encountered God on the mountain (Sinai/Horeb) and both experienced rejection by, and suffering at the hands of God’s own people, which makes the connection between the suffering Jesus has just spoken of and the glory which he will receive.


After the resurrection, Jesus’ disciples probably couldn’t wait to tell everyone about their amazing experience, even though it didn’t paint them in a very positive light – remember they had fallen asleep at first, (they had a habit of falling asleep at some really important moments!).


Why did they tell people? Partly because it was a great story, I’m sure, but mainly because they wanted people to know that Jesus really was God’s Son. They had seen Jesus in all his glory, they had heard God say, “This is my Son, whom I love, listen to him!” And they had seen Moses and Elijah leave to make way for Jesus.

It was a successful succession.


This is not the end of the story of course. Another important succession was necessary for the Church to come into being. Jesus, at his ascension said to his disciples, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Jesus left planet earth, and ten days later his disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit. Out onto the streets they went to tell everyone the good news of God’s love as they had experienced it in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. All Jesus’ teaching and training paid off, and with the power of the Holy Spirit within them a successful succession was accomplished.


And still, we are not at the end of the story. Not only did Jesus hand over his ministry to the disciples, but every Christian has also inherited Jesus’ ministry from someone else.


There is an unbroken line of successful succession.

The apostle Paul wrote these words to Timothy, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5).

Two successful successions down the generations.


Paul also writes of the transformation we see in each other when we see the transformed face of Jesus:

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Cor 3.18)

This succession may not happen overnight, but it will happen as we walk daily with the resurrected Jesus. I am sure you can name Christian brothers and sisters whose faces light up when they speak about their faith or people you know who were transformed when they came to faith.


I was not the one who succeeded Dad on the farm, but dad and mum did everything they could to make sure they passed on their faith; they wanted a successful succession for all three of their children and I thank God that they succeeded. I pray I can do the same for my children.


The challenge is ours.

Will we follow Jesus and share with others, through our words and actions, the wonder of Jesus’ death and resurrection?

Will we do our utmost, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to make sure that we hand on our faith?


Will we do all we can to ensure a successful succession?


Singing the Faith 260 'Swiftly pass the clouds of glory'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-EQz8PWL1Y

big build up to the last verse – worth waiting for especially if you are into organ music.


MP 385 'Jesus the name high over all'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSeAYKG-8Ko


Prayers of intercession:

February 14th as well as being Valentine’s Day is also Racial Justice Sunday, and our prayers of intercession reflect this.


Lord Jesus, help us to listen to you.

May we always be ready to challenge injustice and prejudice.

Empower us to challenge the systems which enslave and keep people down.

As you listened to and helped people who were ignored and excluded, may we also listen to, and help those in our churches who are ignored and excluded.

Give us the strength to follow you up the mountain, and then to follow you down through the valley of despair, and on to the cross where there is love, justice, mercy, and forgiveness.


We pray that your kingdom will come, bringing with it the new life you have promised, where all distinctions of race and class are irrelevant.

We pray for those feeling isolated and alone, remembering by name those in our own churches and community . . . . .

Be with all who grieve the loss of loved ones and fill their lives with your peace and comfort . . . . .

We pray for those who are sick and overwhelmed. May their frailty inspire us to hold them up, and may they be encouraged by your dazzling light.

We pray that policy makers and government leaders will seek your perfect will in their plans for young and old, rich, and poor. Give them a double portion of the Elijah spirit to do what is right and loving for your people.

May all who follow the way of war turn from their wicked ways and see the glory of peace. We pray for an end to all wars and ask for peace in all lands remembering again the people of Yemen and Myanmar.

  • Renewed fighting between government troops and armed groups has left around 4,000 villagers from the Karen tribe in need of urgent assistance in Myanmar. Currently, travel has been blocked due to unsafe conditions in the area. Pray for wisdom for Tearfund and our local partners as we find a way to reach those in need with food, blankets and other necessities. Pray for peace for Myanmar.


  • We continue to pray for the people of Honduras where sSince November's hurricane, conditions have continued to worsen. We pray for those who have been pushed to breaking point by poverty and violence and for the thousands who continue to flee, hoping they can find refuge elsewhere. We pray for the government in Honduras to provide resources to help families restore their lives. And for safety and provision for those forced to leave.


With all your people we look forward to the day when, in glory, we can join in song with, ‘every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them’. (Revelation 5:13)


We offer these prayers so that the world may be transfigured in Jesus Christ for God’s holy purposes. Amen


Don’t forget Ash Wednesday service next week at 7:30pm on Zoom and the beginning of Lent when there will be further Zoom Bible study groups.


Blessing: May God’s grace and love fill the earth and our hearts.

May justice flow like a roaring, mighty river.

May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace as we trust in him, so that we may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen


MP 728 'We have a gospel to proclaim'

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


MP 559 'Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus our blessed Redeemer'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_nIRLD_5gE

Fanny J Crosby would love this version