• Rossendale Circuit

Sunday Service - 23rd of August - Who Do You Say That I am?

Updated: Aug 22

With Revd. David Burrow


Welcome to our 100th post on the website!


Video Service


Scroll down to view the written service and click to view directly in youtube here.



Part 1


Hymns:

MP 1000 'King of kings, majesty'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5VutCGsVXE

MP 41 'At the name of Jesus'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OI2rKRCWmOU

(3 verses)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4d4UXSJXig&list=RDr4d4UXSJXig&start_radio=1 (6 verses)


Part 2


Hymns:

MP 790 'You are the King of glory'

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

MP 378 'Jesus shall take the highest honour'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hv33W6W_ssw

Choir version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-dfOWMpS34


Part 3


Hymns:


MP 825 'Faithful One, so unchanging'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PjSO5Ihl0M


"The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble." Psalm 9:9 NIV. Vertical Worship - Faithful Now (with lyrics)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2YHvIam5vY

(Live version) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YexUJ2WHik


Part 4


Hymns:


MP 296 'I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene(How wonderful, how marvellous)'

Chris Sligh https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVyeV5irvqc

Sacred Songs and Solos 20 'Come sing, my soul, and praise the Lord' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOs6PXVERv0 For those who love Sankey!




Written Service


*Please note this text is not an exact transcript of the video


Circuit Worship 23:08:2020 Matthew 16:13-20 Who do you say that I am?


Romans 12:1-2, 9-12

Call to Worship based on Romans 12:12

Paul says, “Rejoice in hope!” We are ready to rejoice.

Paul says, “Be patient in suffering.” We are ready to be patient.

Paul says, “Persevere in prayer”. We are ready to persevere.

Rejoice, be patient, persevere in prayer. We are ready, praise God!

Hymns:

MP 1000 'King of kings, majesty'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5VutCGsVXE

MP 41 'At the name of Jesus'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OI2rKRCWmOU

(3 verses)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4d4UXSJXig&list=RDr4d4UXSJXig&start_radio=1 (6 verses)

A Third-century prayer:


May none of God’s wonderful works keep silence, night or morning.

Bright stars, high mountains, the depths of the seas, sources of rushing rivers: may all these break into song as we sing to Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

May all the angels in heaven reply: Amen! Amen! Amen!

Power, praise, honour, eternal glory to God, the only Giver of grace. Amen! Amen! Amen!


The Coventry Cathedral prayer of confession 1964:


For the hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class, Father, forgive.

The covetous desires of people and nations to possess what is not their own, Father, forgive.

The greed which exploits the labours of people and lays waste the earth, Father, forgive

Our indifference to the plight of the homeless and the refugee, Father, forgive.

The lust which uses for ignoble ends the bodies of men, women and children, Father, forgive.

The pride which leads to trust in ourselves and not in God, Father, forgive.

Lord Jesus, Son of the living God, we thank you for the forgiveness you have won for us through your grace.

We thank you for your victory through the cross over the powers of sin and death and now we dare to pray, come Holy Spirit, cleanse us, renew us and empower us to live holy lives. Amen

The Lord’s Prayer

Read Matthew 16:13-20

Hymns:

MP 790 'You are the King of glory'

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

MP 378 'Jesus shall take the highest honour'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hv33W6W_ssw

Choir version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-dfOWMpS34

Jesus’ question, “Who do people say that that Son of Man is?” has the disciples offering various answers: John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.

An interesting and lively theological debate could have followed if Jesus had wanted to explore their answers. But that wasn’t his intention.

The first question was just to get their brains warmed up for the second question.

The question that put them on the spot and made it personal. “But who do you say that I am?”

Who other people think Jesus is, is important.

Those who have no experience of the Christian faith and no church background may even doubt Jesus lived, while others may say he was a good teacher.

People’s understanding of Jesus is influenced by their cultural background.

For example the picture of a traditional English blue eyed and blonde Jesus surrounded by sweet animals from the English countryside is one that should be erased from every picture book – but it is one that many people, myself included, were brought up with!

Compare that picture with the Jesus of the wanted posters from Latin America where Jesus is depicted by the powerful who control society, as a dangerous rebel whose intentions on behalf of the poor are nothing short of criminal. They want him arrested!

“Who do you say that the Son of Man is?” “You’re a criminal who should be behind bars.”

If, however, you travel to Kenya the Masai Christians view Jesus as the Lion of Judah.

There is a kinship system which connects everyone in a tribe, clan or family, so that family relationships dominate every area of social life.

So, Jesus too is identified through his kinship ties as we read about them in the New Testament:

he is Son of the creator God, the elder brother of all humanity (Romans 8:29)

and also elder brother of the ancestors because he is firstborn of the dead (Colossians 1:18).

The Masai elder brother defends his younger siblings in their quarrels with other families and acts as mediator between them and their parents in important matters such as marriage.

He bears responsibility for them and may even sacrifice himself on their behalf.

Through his resurrection Jesus has become elder brother to all humanity, both today and to those who have gone before.

Jesus transcends tribal and family loyalty and African believers are related through him to all humanity.


“Who do you say that the Son of Man is?” “You are our elder brother”.

We could talk at length about how Jesus is viewed by Christians and others in many different cultures.

In Peru, the crucified Jesus has been shown as the outcast, the one whom it is difficult to love. The figure is said to resemble an executed guerrilla warrior. It reminds us that that the suffering of the cross was dehumanising and ugly. However, this elevates the experience of all who suffer and feel with Jesus on the cross that they have been forsaken by God.

“Who do you say that the Son of Man is?” “You are suffering forsaken one”.

But behind the dreadful and the sad there always is with Jesus real hope for change.

God does not will suffering, he wants everyone to enjoy fullness of life. Jesus enjoyed a party, he laughed and told jokes. And in many poor countries this led to what is called the ‘joy of the poor’ as even in the midst of poverty and oppression there can be joy with Jesus. Luke’s gospel says that those who weep today will laugh tomorrow. And when the poor laugh with Jesus this confronts the powerful who expect the poor to weep but how do they account for their laughter? What dreadful force for change does that indicate?

“Who do you say that the Son of Man is?” The poor might answer, “You’re the Jesus who laughs in the face of injustice.”

We need to know how people think about Jesus if we want to share our faith with them.

But what about Jesus’ second question. “But who do you say that I am?”

Peter’s answer: “You are the Messiah; the Son of the Living God” probably raises other questions.

Peter didn’t understood the full implications of what he was saying, but more of that next week, for now we need to note that the title ‘Messiah’ (Hebrew) has the same meaning as ‘Christ’ (Greek) which is ‘anointed’. Jesus was God’s anointed one.

That is how Peter answered Jesus’ question when he was put on the spot. Peter identified Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.

So, let’s move on and ask ourselves the same question.

How do you answer Jesus when he asks you, “But who do you say that I am?”

Would you answer the question today in the same way that you did 50, 40, 30, 20, 10 years ago?

Would you answer the question today in the same way you did six months ago?

Our answer to the question won’t always be the same.

How we answer depends on how we have encountered Jesus through the years and on our current situation.

If I have a growing relationship with Jesus, nurtured through prayer, Bible study and worship, and my life is being transformed by the Holy Spirit then my answer to Jesus’ question will change as that relationship deepens and develops. At such a time I may answer Jesus’ question by answering: Jesus is the potter and I am the clay Romans 9:20-21.

As a student at Cliff College, one of the issues I had to deal with in my life was pride. When God got to work on that I would have answered Jesus’ question by saying he was the gardener wielding his pruning shears cutting out the diseased wood and pruning the good parts to bear fruit - it was quite painful at the time, but very necessary.

When I am having a great time in my life then I might describe Jesus as God’s anointed one who pours out his blessings as I offer him my thanks and praise in worship.

As many of you know, I served in Papua New Guinea for three years as a teacher and one of the things that surprised me, as a farmer’s son, was the lack of sheep. Any sheep in PNG had been imported. So when the people of PNG read the Bible passages about sheep and shepherds a bit of education was needed. If Jesus had asked them who they said he was not one would have replied, ‘You are the Good Shepherd’. Some of my friends in PNG had been known to ask why God had not given them sheep and only given them dirty pigs instead – pigs were at the heart of the culture as a measure of wealth.

In times of suffering, however, we might well answer Jesus’ question with the words: You, Jesus, are the Good Shepherd of Psalm 23; in fact you are both the good shepherd and the lamb who was sacrificed on my behalf. Jesus: fully shepherd and fully lamb.


Only Jesus can sing Psalm 23 from both points of view: God walks through the valley of the shadow of death both with us as our shepherd and for us as the lamb. Jesus is the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep (John 10:11) and he is the perfect sacrificial lamb who dies to pay the price of our sin, ‘For Christ our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed for us’ (1 Corinthians 5:7).

Even in the midst of our pain and suffering we have this wonderful promise, ‘For the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.’ (Revelation 7:17).

How wonderful to know that Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of the living God is always with us, transforming our pain and offering us comfort and hope.

Jesus put Peter and his disciples on the spot by getting personal. He does the same to you and me – every day.

So, today, how will you answer Jesus - ‘Who do you say that I am?’


Photo by Clay Banks via Unsplash

How we answer Jesus’ question is vital.

No, it’s more important than that.

My answer, your answer, determines how we will live our lives today and what happens to us in eternity.

How we answer is just the beginning of course, as we read the next few verses of Matthew’s Gospel we learn of the implications of saying with Peter that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God.

What are those implications? That’s for next week, but for now here’s a spoiler alert, it involves a personal cross and losing our lives in the service of Jesus in order to find them.

For today and this week take time to reflect on how you answer Jesus’ question,

‘But what about you? Who do you say that I am?’

Hymns:


MP 825 'Faithful One, so unchanging'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PjSO5Ihl0M


"The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble." Psalm 9:9 NIV. Vertical Worship - Faithful Now (with lyrics)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2YHvIam5vY

(Live version) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YexUJ2WHik

This is about holding on to faith despite what we see going on around us.

Prayers of Intercession:

With help from Pete Greig from 24-7 Prayer we will focus our prayers of intercession on the theme of God’s justice and apply it to our lives and our world today. It’s easy to reduce justice to a feeling of outrage or a meme on social media, but the Bible commands us to live with integrity and to care for all who are in need in prayer and in practical ways:

God of justice and mercy, we come before You with an awareness of those whose prayers today are sighs, sobs or even screams for help. We remember the victims of the explosion in Beirut, the refugees risking their lives to find a place of safety they can call home and asylum seekers struggling to make ends meet while waiting for decisions on their future lives.


We lift to God the family of the Sudanese boy who died this week as he tried to seek asylum in the UK and the dozens of migrants who died in a shipwreck off the coast of Libya. We pray that all governments, including our own would pursue peace by ending the trade in weapons and promoting dialogue. We thank you for Sophia and her friends who are walking the Rossendale Way to raise money for the Lebanese Red Cross – may they raise more than they could imagine!

Lord Jesus, soften our hearts to care more keenly, sharpen our minds to think more clearly, and clench our fists to fight more fiercely for those who are oppressed.

Lord we pray, may justice prevail.

We pray for the Church worldwide. It’s easy to blame everyone else for the world’s injustices but too often the Church is also guilty. We invest in companies without checking how they resource their raw materials and pay their workers. We claim to care for the poor but so often look only to our own needs. We thank you for those places where your Church, the Body of Christ is serving the poor, challenging injustice and fighting against a culture that accepts that life is not always fair.

And today we thank you for those who have made it possible to reopen churches for worship. We pray that the next step of opening to serve others will soon be possible.

Lord Jesus, soften our hearts to care more keenly, sharpen our minds to think more clearly, and clench our fists to fight more fiercely for those who are oppressed.

Lord we pray, may justice prevail.

We pray for the school students and their teachers who continue to face chaos and uncertainty over their A-level, GCSE and BTec results. God of justice, we pray for clarity of decision making for those who administrate these procedures and that the final results will be seen to be fair and just and that students and teachers may know your peace.


Lord Jesus, soften our hearts to care more keenly, sharpen our minds to think more clearly, and clench our fists to fight more fiercely for those who are oppressed.

Lord we pray, may justice prevail.

We continue to pray for everyone who is suffering because of the pandemic, through illness, isolation, unemployment and redundancy. God of mercy, fill their lives with the knowledge of your love that they might trust in you and you alone.

Lord Jesus, soften our hearts to care more keenly, sharpen our minds to think more clearly, and clench our fists to fight more fiercely for those who are oppressed.

Lord we pray, may justice prevail.

Jesus, I am rich and privileged in so many ways. Today I yield to Your humility and acknowledge my innate sense of entitlement. But I am also poor and weak in so many ways, and today I yield to You as the friend of the poor, my advocate and champion in this world.


Lord, You challenge me to change but You also promise to help me change. Thank You for your beautiful promise that, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ (2 Cor 12:9).

Loving God, we pray that by your Spirit and by your mercy, we might present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to you. We pray that we will not be conformed to this world, but will be transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that we may discern what is your will; what is good and acceptable and perfect. For we ask it in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, Amen.

Blessing: The Lord bless you and keep, the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you His peace. Amen (from Numbers 6:22-26)

Hymns:


MP 296 'I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene(How wonderful, how marvellous)'

Chris Sligh https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVyeV5irvqc

Sacred Songs and Solos 20 'Come sing, my soul, and praise the Lord' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOs6PXVERv0 For those who love Sankey!

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Email us: rossendalemethodistcircuit@gmail.com