• Rossendale Circuit

Sunday Service - 21st of June - Where Are Your Wounds?

with Revd. David Burrow


This is Refugee Week, a week to celebrate the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and be mindful of the refugee crisis, those putting their lives at risk in order to try and escape persecution and war and the suffering of those in overcrowded camps.


Find out more:


https://refugeeweek.org.uk/


https://www.facebook.com/RefugeeWeek/


https://www.facebook.com/HelpRefugeesUK/



Video Service


Scroll down to view the transcript of the videos instead. Click here to view in Youtube.


Part 1



Hymns:


MP 192 God of grace and God of glory https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3JCGcpTslk

Great trumpet but no lyrics https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyQKHAkgMe8

Or . . . MP 1259 Bless the Lord, O my soul https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSxocnIaN0A

Part 2



Hymns:

MP 1142 Your eye is on the sparrow by Darlene Zschech https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQkO5tO0GK8

Or MP 33 And can it be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29myH7xXI4M


Part 3



Hymns:


MP 515 O love that wilt not let me go https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmk9sfX_QPY

Or, try this one: Carry your candle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWwYmAMKmBQ


Part 4



Hymn:


MP 393 Joy to the world


More traditional version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyciMYZq2-Y

Pentatonix: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Xo64Q2ucQ8

Or for a BIG production - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDmIddF7DfQ Ignore the fake snow




Written Service


Call to Worship based on Psalm 98


Sing a new song to the Lord, for he has done marvellous things.

Sing to the Lord a song of praise, for he is faithful and just.

Sing to the Lord a song of joy, for he has remembered his love for us.


MP 192 God of grace and God of glory https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3JCGcpTslk


Great trumpet but no lyrics https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyQKHAkgMe8


Or . . . MP 1259 Bless the Lord, O my soul https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSxocnIaN0A



A Prayer of adoration:


Holy God, to you alone belong glory, honour and praise. We join with the hosts of heaven as we worship. You alone are worthy of adoration from every mouth, and every tongue will sing your praise. You create the earth by your power; you save the human race in your mercy, and renew it through your grace. To you, loving God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be all glory, honour and praise now and for ever.

Amen.


A prayer of confession:


Loving God, we have sinned against you in what we have thought, said and done. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbour as ourselves. We are truly sorry and turn away from what is wrong. Forgive us for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.


Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. This is his gracious word: ‘Your sins are forgiven.’


Amen. Thanks be to God.


MP 1142 Your eye is on the sparrow by Darlene Zschech https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQkO5tO0GK8


Or MP 33 And can it be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29myH7xXI4M


Read: Matthew 10:24-39


Do you remember when you first said ‘Yes’ to God? When you committed your life to being a disciple of Jesus? How did it feel? You had a choice, and what a choice to make, to be a disciple of Jesus, your whole life dedicated to serving God in Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.


Or was it more a case of thinking, ‘Yes’ to God is no big deal? Church on Sundays – when I can make it, perhaps being on a committee and maybe serving on the tea and coffee rota now and again. It’s not too costly being a Christian and you certainly don’t need to change your lifestyle very much. Ronald Blythe wrote, "The British churchman goes to church as he goes to the bathroom, with the minimum of fuss and no explanation if he can help it."


If being a Christian is that easy then, saying ‘Yes’ to God is not a problem!

So, did you feel it was a bit much when the minister said you need to tell others about your newfound faith? Or when you were asked to volunteer for a local charity, to join a House group and a prayer group, to get involved in helping asylum seekers and all on top of family and work?


Many years ago, one of my sons (I think he was about six) asked me, “Dad, who do you love more? Me or God?” After a moment’s thought I explained that if I got my relationship, my love for God right then that would help me to love him and the rest of the family more. He seemed happy with the explanation. More recently I told the story to a congregation. One of the members later told me that she was fully expecting me to say, ‘You, son’, and that when I said ‘God’ she was shaken. It made her think that perhaps there’s more to this Christianity than simply turning up on a Sunday morning. She was later baptised!


How often have we told people about the love of God and not mentioned the cost of being a disciple of Jesus? Jesus never failed to make it abundantly clear what the cost would be. If you decide to follow Jesus, he comes first in everything: and if it means persecution, don’t be surprised!


Photo by John Tyson via Unsplash


Which brings us nicely to these words of Jesus in Matthew 10:34 ‘Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.’ That can’t be right – can it? Didn’t Jesus say, “Blessed are the peace makers, for they shall be called children of God”?

So, what’s all this about a sword?


Well it’s a metaphorical sword. The word ‘sword’ is used to speak of division, not conflict. Jesus never suggested that his followers should fight – even when they were threatened.


Proclaiming God’s peace meant disturbing the peace of the old order. And, as we all know, Jesus didn’t die peacefully in old age, but rather endured the horror and violence of the cross.


Jesus created division between the people and powers that welcome God’s peace and the people and powers that resist God’s peace. Should we expect our lives of discipleship to be any different?


When Jesus said that he came ‘to bring not peace, but a sword’ he meant that this would be the effect of his coming not the purpose of his coming.


The sword Jesus brings is a sword that divides our loyalties and calls us to choose between them: “Do you love your family, your friends, your job, or God more?”

Jesus’ warning of the sword of division was true in the early Church and continues to be true today, we know a little about the persecution in Iran. In North Korea being a Christian is forbidden, and in northern Nigeria Christians suffer regular persecution. And what of the UK? People continue to be forced out of their families and their homes because they have chosen to follow Jesus; to allow the Prince of Peace to reign in their lives.


Alan Stewart Paton (11 January 1903 – 12 April 1988) was a South African author and anti-apartheid activist who wrote in his novel ‘Ah, but your Land is Beautiful’: ‘Mr Nene, an anti-apartheid activist, says, ‘When I go up there, which is my intention, the Big Judge will say to me, “Where are your wounds?” And if I say, “I haven’t any,” he will say, “Was there nothing worth fighting for?” I couldn’t face that question.’


Photo by Phil Botha via Unsplash


Are we willing to fight, to suffer, to be wounded, for the sake of the Gospel? And in Refugee week, when we have friends who have fled persecution in their home countries, we cannot but ask of ourselves the question, ‘Where are our wounds?’ Is there ‘nothing worth fighting for?’


Jesus never hid the truth of what it might cost to follow him. He warned his followers then, as he warns us today, that following him may cause conflict in our families, our friendships and other areas of our lives. Are you glad you said ‘Yes’ to God? Do you still want to say “Yes” to God?


I hope so, because, although there is a cost to saying “Yes” to God, there is also joy and wonder: to say “Yes” to God is to receive the forgiveness of God and as you receive his forgiveness, because Jesus has paid the price of your sin, you receive the gift of his peace. And peace with God for each and every one of us is the true purpose of Jesus’ coming.


To know peace with God is to be a child of God. To be willing to pay the cost of discipleship, to lose your life for Jesus’ sake is to find it. Life lived in the power of the Holy Spirit.


To be a child of God is to be loved by God. Look at the sparrows, they were sold for two a penny - the cheapest food for the poor. If you had two pennies, it was, buy two and get one free! Small worthless birds and yet God knows every one of them. God is not so busy running the universe that he has no time for little birds, so don't be afraid, you are worth far more than many sparrows. God is interested in even the smallest part of his creation, he is also interested in the smallest detail of the people he has made; he knows everything about you, even the number of hairs on your head!

To be a child of God is to be acknowledged by Jesus before God in heaven. Such is the reward of the true disciple, the one who is willing to take up their cross and follow Jesus, the one who is willing to pay the cost, to be wounded for Christ’s sake and to be counted worthy by God!


God has found you worthy in Christ, may the Holy Spirit continue to empower you as you serve him and glorify his name.


Our next hymn acknowledges the cost and joy of being Jesus’ disciple. George Matheson was completely blind at 20. His fiancé left him saying she could not go through life with a blind man. He never married. His sister learnt Greek, Latin, and Hebrew to help him in his studies. Matheson had a brilliant academic career and was a minister in the Church of Scotland. When he was 40 his sister married. It was a bittersweet moment. Happy for his sister he was reminded of his own heartbreak. During this intense sadness, on the eve of his sister’s marriage in just five minutes he wrote, ‘O love that wilt not let me go’; he never edited or retouched it. It came, he wrote, ‘like a dayspring from on high.’ Wounds may be painful, but they never have the last word.


MP 515 O love that wilt not let me go https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmk9sfX_QPY


Or, try this one: Carry your candle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWwYmAMKmBQ


Prayers of intercession and Lord’s Prayer


Merciful God, we pray for all those whose desperation leads them to the sea, to undertake perilous voyages, often following dangerous journeys overland: those escaping brutal wars, those fleeing persecution, those escaping climate disasters and economic ruin, those looking for hope in a hopeless situation.


May we look beyond our own fears and concerns to the needs of those who have nothing, risk everything and depend on the kindness of strangers.

May our hearts be opened, our leadevrs changed, and our self-interest called out


Lord Jesus, who fled the wrath of Herod.


Be with those who have to flee the injustice of others.


Lord Jesus who had nowhere to lay your head.


Be with those who have no land to call their own.


For the refugees from Myanmar, Iran and Afghanistan.


Lord, hear our prayer.


For people uprooted in South Sudan, democratic Republic of Congo and Venezuela.


Lord, hear our prayer.


For refugees and displaced persons who have fled from Yemen, Somalia and Libya.


Lord, hear our prayer.


For all refugees who have fled oppression in their own countries and are seeking new lives in new lands.


Lord, hear our prayer.


Help us, Lord, to welcome and care for those who are far from home and families, in Jesus’ name. Amen


Blessing:


Blessing: Now may Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in all ways. The Lord be with you all. Amen.


We close our worship with a song that sadly we only sing at Christmas, but it wasn’t written to be a song. In 1719 Isaac Watts published a book of poems called The Psalms of David, Imitated in the Language of the New Testament. Each poem was based on a Psalm. Watts adjusted the translations to refer to the work of Jesus. One of the poems is an adaptation of Psalm 98 (as was our call to worship). Watts interpreted this psalm as a celebration of Jesus’ role as King of both his church and the whole world. More than a century later, the poem was set to portions of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ by an American called Lowell Mason.


MP 393 Joy to the world


More traditional version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyciMYZq2-Y

Pentatonix: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Xo64Q2ucQ8

Or for a BIG production - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDmIddF7DfQ Ignore the fake snow

© 2020 Rossendale Methodist Circuit

Email us: rossendalemethodistcircuit@gmail.com