Sunday Service 24th of May - Revd. David Burrow with Videos
Words by Revd. David Burrow
Circuit Worship May 24th, 2020
John 17:1-11 & Acts 1:6-14
If you just want to read the service or read along with the videos then scroll down and you'll find the written service.
Go straight to Youtube Here.
MP 647 The head that once was crowned with thorns https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33wI9...
Piano version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlNpl...
MP 202 Hail the day that sees him rise https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjofD...
Piano version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ka7pU...
MP 1003 My Jesus, my Saviour
MP 426 Look ye saints the sight is glorious https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dJ3K...
Piano version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYn_Q...
Call to Worship:
Jesus is the Christ, the one who died in the name of love.
Jesus is the Christ, the one who rose because death could not hold him.
Jesus is the Christ, the one who ascended into heaven, that the message of love could go into all the world.
Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.
MP 647 The head that once was crowned with thorns https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33wI9m5WN_8
Lord of the mountain, we look up and You come down to speak your word.
Lord of the cloud, You go up and we return to the city to share Your word.
Lord of the cloud and the fire, You go with us by day and by night and Your word becomes flesh in us.
Forgive us when our words have not enfolded Your love and we have remained silent when Your word had the power to heal and renew.
To those who say sorry for the things they have done wrong, this is the Word of God:
Who will condemn us? Not Jesus who has been raised to God’s side, where he pleads our case. No, God himself declares us not guilty.
Lord, bless us with the gift of your Holy Spirit that we may never be alone whether the news is good or bad for in Your company we will catch fire with your everlasting love through the same Jesus Christ our risen and ascended Lord. Amen.
Photo by Kurt Cotoaga via Unsplash
In the chapters preceding John 17 Jesus is in conversation with his disciples. He warns them of the suffering to come, but also encourages them by speaking of the gifts of his peace and the Holy Spirit. He reassures them that their sorrow will turn to joy (John 16:20) and that he will always be with them.
Then he turns to his Father in prayer:
Read: John 17:1-11
MP 202 Hail the day that sees him rise https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjofDCZlyRY
Read: Acts 1:6-14
Departures and endings are not easy. We like to hang on to things, so it is interesting the way Jesus did it:
In John 17:4 Jesus celebrates that he has achieved what he set out to do: I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you have given me to do.
And in verse 5 he looks forward to his return to heaven; returning home to receive again the glory that was his before creation. Glory is an important theme in John’s gospel. But let’s return to Jesus’ prayer.
Jesus prays for his disciples, for their protection, that they might not be divided but united as one just as Jesus and the Father are one.
Today we stand in the line of followers for whom Jesus offers prayer. We too need to respond to his prayer, to work for unity and to glorify him in all we do.
Jesus was, in effect, passing on the baton as in a relay race, if the runner with the baton tried to hang on to it the race would come to a spectacular halt.
Jesus knew that he had to leave so the Holy Spirit could come to empower the disciples to enable them to carry on the work of sharing the good news of God’s love.
It is difficult to let go – not just for those going but also for those being left behind:
In the Church of the Ascension on the Mount of Olives there is a stone with a mark on it which some claim to be Christ’s footprint.
There’s a real tendency to cling to what is knowable, solid and provable rather than risk moving into unknown territory.
What do we hold on to that really it would be better to let go of? Does the break that the coronavirus has forced upon us give us an opportunity to let go of some things and do things differently? I would be extremely interested to hear your views on this question.
After Jesus’ ascension the disciples were forced into the next chapter of the story! Interestingly the disciples didn’t mourn, they weren’t sad, they didn’t even try to go back fishing!
No, ‘they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the Temple blessing God.’ (Luke 24:52-53)
Not the regular reaction to losing your leader!
The 40 days after the resurrection had been full of surprises, not least Jesus’ constant habit of meeting up with the disciples.
The risen Christ offered a glorious new way of seeing the future.
The crucifixion had stopped the disciples in their tracks, the resurrection had tested their faith, but those 40 days convinced them that Jesus was still present and shifted their focus away from themselves, a group of frightened disciples, to being a people charged with a message and a task.
Jesus promised the Holy Spirit and the disciples recognised that in a new and different way, Jesus’ strength, his gifts and his inspiration, his life and his presence were still with them, he asked for their obedience and promised ‘I am with you always, to the end of the age.’ (Matthew 28:20)
Jesus the Light of the World had left the world; his disciples were then, and are now, called to be the Light of Christ in the world; we move from looking up, to looking out into the world.
Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote a poem called, ‘Kingfishers catch fire’
A pair of kingfishers nested in a tree near my home in PNG. I would sit on my veranda watching them come and go, their orange and turquoise feathers dazzling in the sunlight; a stunning sight, but not as stunning as a kingfisher fishing, if you’re lucky enough to spot it.
A flash of colour, and as Hopkins put it, the bird seems to catch fire as it arrows into the water.
The Kingfisher can’t help but catch fire and draw attention to itself. I don’t know if you’ve ever thought of yourself as a kingfisher but as Christians, we too are called to catch fire with the fire of the Holy Spirit and draw attention to the power, love and glory of God in Jesus. Like John Wesley, who, on the 24th May 1738, felt his heart strangely warmed, we have to direct the eye of the beholder beyond ourselves, & in order to do that we must act in God’s eyes what in God’s eyes we are!
Photo by Vincent van Zalinge via Unsplash
And, what are we? We are forgiven sinners. We have been set free from the penalty of sin. We are being set free from the power of sin and in glory we will be set free from the presence of sin. We are God’s children filled with the fire of the Holy Spirit!
In these days of lock down you may not feel full of glory or much like catching fire. Try this: choose to let go of the things that concern you and pause. Focus on God’s love and presence and ask to be filled again with the Holy Spirit. Read a psalm – Psalm 63 offers comfort and assurance. Offer a prayer of praise and choose to rejoice in God’s presence. Then turn your attention to praying for others and notice how God gives you the words to say. You may still not feel like you’re on fire, but you have been obedient to your calling and glorified God. You can rest assured that Jesus, who keeps his promises is with you. Our crucified, risen, ascended, glorified, Lord Jesus, who is seated at the right hand of the Father is present with you.
Jesus prayed for his disciples, including you and me and as he did so he said, ‘I have been glorified in them.’ (John 17:10). What an absolute joy to know that, as his obedient disciples, we are able to glorify Jesus. Today catch fire with the Holy Spirit and act in God’s eyes what in God’s eyes you are!
MP 1003 My Jesus, my Saviour https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqSQvoinDE4
Prayers: Give thanks for God’s presence and offer your own prayers of intercession in the name of Jesus.
The Lord’s Prayer
MP 426 Look ye saints the sight is glorious https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dJ3KmI4Oiw
Dedication: We praise You, our glorious Lord and Saviour and are forever glad that now there is in heaven one who prays for us. Though now we cannot ascend to where You are, still raise our hopes and hearts that our discipleship in this world may be touched with the glory of heaven and our lives be signs and promises of the fullness of the life to come. Amen
Prayers inspired by © David D Scott