• Rossendale Circuit

Sunday Service - 28th of June - Who Do You Welcome?

with Revd. David Burrow


Video Service


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


Part 1



Hymn:


MP 200 Great is thy faithfulness

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


Part 2



Hymns:


MP 1100 Open the eyes of my heart, Lord

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwqpKD-qBt4

MP 465 Meekness and majesty

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXggFYQQTJ0


Part 3



Hymns:


MP 1261 Brother, sister, let me serve you (the Servant song) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_ufwqwquqY

MP 463 May the mind of Christ my Saviour

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRTLocMzTvs with an extra verse!


Part 4




Hymns:


For a sung version of this blessing from the Lindisfarne community go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxUAeTDW3c0

Two choices to end with:

MP 954 We are marching in the light of God

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yn16ABWn20c

Mwamba Children's Choir sing in Xhosa

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1KZbMprW8U

MP 743 We’ll walk the land with hearts on fire

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




Written Service


Welcome!


Notices:


Latest developments regarding reopening:


The Government has announced that places of worship in England may re-open for worship from July 4th, 2020. The national Methodist Property Team is working on what Church Councils, the Managing Trustees will need to consider to re-open buildings.

There are already several documents with more than a few pages to read through – and the CLT are busy organising the practical things we will need to reopen – like signs, lots of hand gel and tape.


Please keep checking both the Methodist Church website and the Methodist Insurance website for updates.


The Methodist Church is also releasing a special service to celebrate a return to public worship.


Hopefully, I will see some of you on screen after the service for coffee at 11:45am on the Zoom call which Sam will be hosting. (28th of June 2020)


Please be patient when you click the link to join as you wait for Sam to let you into the meeting – being the first time it should be fun, as anything could probably happen.


Photo by Jan Tinneberg via Unsplash


Now, let’s worship God together; our theme today is that of Welcome. When you welcome a Christian disciple who else do you welcome?

We begin with our Call to Worship - the first two verses of Psalm 89


I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, for ever;     with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.

I declare that your steadfast love is established for ever;     your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.


Our first hymn echoes the words of the Psalmist – our God is always faithful:


MP 200 Great is thy faithfulness

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


Prayer


God of welcome, throughout history, you invite people to be a part of your larger story, the story of your love expressed in hospitality.

God of welcome, you have invited us to worship you today and we respond with joy.

Jesus Christ, you were invited to a wedding and you transformed the ordinary into the special.


You were invited into the homes of sinners and you brought freedom and rejoicing.

You were invited into the homes of friends and you offered blessing and grace.

Holy Spirit, you were welcomed by the prophets of old who testified in your power.

You were welcomed by the early church who witnessed in your power.

You were welcomed into every generation of the church who sought to live in your power.


Forgive us Father when we fail to welcome the other as you welcomed them.

Forgive us and open our hearts that we might be a people who celebrate hospitality and a gracious welcome.

God is full of grace and mercy; we receive his forgiveness and love.

Come Holy Spirit, we welcome you today into our worship, our hearts and our service.


Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer


Those of you who joined us for last week’s service will, I hope, remember the challenge Jesus left ringing in our ears: "Whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.


Jesus made it crystal clear to his disciples how hard it would be to follow him.

And it was: floggings, imprisonment, even death, but as Jesus’ disciples, they expected nothing less and even rejoiced when they were found worthy of suffering for their faith. What kept them going?


The indwelling power of the Holy Spirit and the knowledge that they were precious to God – remember the sparrows? – and then of course, the promise of eternal life and above all - Jesus had been willing to die for them!


But there was something else too and it doesn’t get mentioned often.

Jesus, having spoken of the cost of discipleship, then began to talk about the awesome privilege of being a disciple and rewards.


The reading continues from last week:


Matthew 10:40-42


Our next two songs pick up the themes of being open to God and that of humility in our service of others – just as Jesus was.


MP 1100 Open the eyes of my heart, Lord

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwqpKD-qBt4


MP 465 Meekness and majesty

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXggFYQQTJ0


How long is it since you welcomed someone into your home?


I have stood in many people’s gardens and yards during the past few months and without exception they’ve all said, ‘I wish I could invite you in.’


The desire to welcome people is a strong one and Jesus uses the Jewish practice of hospitality as a way into what he wants to say.


Hospitality in the Middle East, as in many places, has always been important.

When I visited anyone in Papua New Guinea there was always a warm welcome and the offer of a cup of tea, or a cold drink. It didn’t matter how poor the family might be, you were made welcome.


It was a humbling experience as it must have been for the disciples as they were invited into people’s homes and made welcome.


When they set out to proclaim the good news of God’s love and forgiveness, they knew they were representatives of Jesus and whenever anyone welcomed them, their host was also welcoming Jesus and the one who sent Jesus.

To welcome a disciple of Jesus is to welcome Jesus himself, and to welcome Jesus, is to welcome God!


It’s as if God himself enters the home with Jesus’ messengers. Just think about the implications of that for your own life as one of Jesus’ disciples.

Perhaps you need to take a moment to think about it? I do.


You are a disciple of Jesus and when you are welcomed into someone’s home it’s as if God himself enters the house. Wow!


And we could take this further: when you are welcomed on to the hospital ward, when you visit the sick, the housebound, the lonely, the poor, the rich and famous, and are welcomed by them, God is welcomed.


Please note that Jesus didn’t say that when you welcome the minister you welcome Jesus and his Father. He said it is true when you welcome any of his disciples. The dog collar is not important! You don’t need a dog collar or to be employed by the church to go with God – you just need to be a disciple.


And as a disciple is the follower of a teacher, so a Christian disciple is a person who follows the teachings of Jesus.

Which means it’s very important for a disciple to know about the teachings of the person they follow. Jesus’ disciples must always be willing to learn, and therefore always nagging those who have had the opportunity to study to offer them teaching in house groups and Bible studies!

We really do need more house groups and Bible study groups.


Anyone who welcomes you as a disciple of Jesus welcomes Jesus, and as they welcomes Jesus, they welcomes the one who sent Jesus and that is God!

God is welcomed through you!


Jesus expands this further to other servants of God, namely the prophet and the righteous person.

You may have a picture in your mind now of a hairy, bearded figure from the Old Testament. Perhaps an Elijah or an Isaiah. Prophets in the Old Testament were great charismatic figures who said things like, ‘Thus says the Lord’ and their writings, well they were treated with reverence and respect, as holy Scripture of course.


In the New Testament a prophet was also someone who spoke directly from God and this is still true today. Once again, we hear Jesus speak of those who offer a welcome:


If you welcome a prophet, you will receive a prophet’s reward.


Which means what?


Well, when you look at the rewards given by prophets in O.T. times you learn some amazing things.


During a famine a widow was down to her last drop of cooking oil and her last few grains of flour, and when the prophet Elijah asked her to make him some bread she did so knowing there would be nothing left for herself or her son.

But after the prophet had eaten there was still oil and flour left. And that jar of flour and that jug of oil didn’t run out until the famine was over. Plus, when the widow’s son died Elijah raised him back to life.

The widow had welcomed the prophet and she received her reward.

Next Jesus speaks of the righteous. Put simply, a righteous person is one who is in a right relationship with God. If you welcome a righteous person you recognise the importance of being in a right relationship with God and the need to work towards this for others.


Welcome a righteous person and you will be treated as righteous and will receive a reward befitting such a person.

Don’t forget, the prophet and the righteous person are God’s representatives.


Are you thirsty?


Disciples get thirsty like anyone else and Jesus’ reference to these little ones, is to the disciples. Matthew’s first readers no doubt recognised themselves as the thirsty, the hungry, the naked, the sick and those in prison (Matthew 25). Many had given up their families, friends and possessions to follow Jesus.

Their first-century world of terrible persecution is not our world although of course we can know something of their experience through that of todays persecuted church in places like Iran. And so, the call is to offer at least a cup of water to these ‘little ones’, to offer some a welcome through our hospitality.


I once came across a cartoon of a sceptic shouting up to the heavens, which went something like this:

‘God, if you’re there, tell us what we should do!’

Back came a voice: ‘Feed the hungry, house the homeless, establish justice.’

The sceptic looked surprised and somewhat alarmed. ‘Just testing,’ he said.

‘Me too,’ replied the voice.


Photo by Maria Teneva via Unsplash


In the world today there are 70 million refugees.


The number of potential modern slavery victims in the UK in 2019 reached 10,627, a rise of 52% over 2018. It was the first time since records began that it was more than 10,000. And all these men, women and children are especially vulnerable to Covid-19.

Here’s a cup of water, it’s the least I can do.


In Jesus’ day offering someone who was thirsty a cup of water was considered an essential act of courtesy and hospitality. Even this small insignificant service done for a disciple of Jesus is worthy of a reward says Jesus.

Why? Because God longs to give to us; God’s rewards go way beyond anything we ever deserve.


Sadly, there are those who refuse to welcome Jesus’ disciples and so reject Jesus and the one who sent him which means they miss out on all his promised gifts and rewards – some of which are: peace with God through Jesus Christ, the joy of experiencing the love of God, and don’t forget God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness and of course, eternal life


Those who welcome Jesus’ disciples, welcome Jesus himself and they welcome the one who sent him – the one who is God.

It’s a lot to ponder the next time you go visiting!


MP 1261 Brother, sister, let me serve you (the Servant song) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_ufwqwquqY

MP 463 May the mind of Christ my Saviour

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRTLocMzTvs with an extra verse!


Prayers of Intercession: taken from ‘The Vine at Home which is compiled and produced by twelvebaskets.


In this world where many are unwelcome – we think of the refugees and asylum seekers and the Black Lives Matter movement and we pray for change.


The Psalmist writes;

“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long?”

Sometimes we feel like that – for ourselves and for others around the world whose suffering seems endless.


In our prayers for others today we express something of that longing for things to change, using silence in which to lament all that is wrong and at the end of each silence we ask again, ‘How long O Lord?’


We hold in silent prayer the groaning of this world, the sense of hopelessness at the effects of pollution and climate change, of plastic waste and rising sea levels… [Silence]

How long, O Lord?


We hold in silent prayer the grief of so many around the world, mourning the loss of family and friends to incurable illness, to starvation and to war… [Silence]

How long, O Lord?


We hold in silent prayer the great needs of our own society, these islands, this city/town/village, our street, those who live around the church where we worship… [Silence]

How long, O Lord?


We hold in silent prayer our own families, knowing there are hurts we cannot heal, grievances we cannot solve, challenges we cannot answer…

[Silence]

How long, O Lord?


We hold in silent prayer our own needs, our fears and anxieties, our sins and selfishness, our desire to change and our failure to do so…

[Silence]

How long, O Lord?


In our longing and our lament, we hear again the words of the psalmist; ‘But I trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me’ and we offer our prayers in the name of the Creator God who brought light out of darkness, in the name of Jesus Christ who brought life out of death and in the name of the Holy Spirit who brought order out of chaos.


So today Lord, hear our prayer. We ask that you free us from all our sins, we ask that we clearly hear your words of grace, that our sins are forgiven. And today dear Lord we say here I am, use me that all might receive a welcome.


Amen.


Once again this week we are going to have the blessing before our final hymns: the blessing is a Celtic one and if you would like to hear a sung version from the Lindisfarne Community there is a link to follow.


Blessing:


May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever he may send you; may he guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm; may he bring you home rejoicing, at the wonders he has shown you; may he bring you home rejoicing, once again into our doors. Amen


For a sung version of this blessing from the Lindisfarne community go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxUAeTDW3c0


Two choices to end with:


MP 954 We are marching in the light of God

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yn16ABWn20c

Mwamba Children's Choir sing in Xhosa

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1KZbMprW8U


MP 743 We’ll walk the land with hearts on fire

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

© 2020 Rossendale Methodist Circuit

Email us: rossendalemethodistcircuit@gmail.com