• Rossendale Circuit

Sunday Service - 2nd of August - Jesus Sends No one Away

Video Service


Scroll down to view the written transcript (not exact to the videos) and click here to view directly in youtube.


Part 1


Hymns:


MP 783 Ye holy angels bright

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAwTDwbVM3o


MP 1078 Jesus is Lord – the cry that echoes through creation by Stuart Townend & Keith Getty

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


Part 2


Hymns:


MP 64 Break Thou the bread of life

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPGiVA731lM


MP 1085 Let the weak say I am strong

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7X0nRyaef_I


Part 3


Hymns:


MP 275 I heard the voice of Jesus say, Come unto me and rest’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74kyfROS4q8 Celtic version


MP 1079 Jesus, hope of the nations, Jesus, comfort for all who mourn, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37NYEIo7sEI


Part 4


Hymns:


MP 445 Lord the light of your love is shining

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAFcwns4uHc

Graham Kendrick performs his own song


MP 1117 There is a voice that must be heard

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8l7_7A9i1EQ

if you like things a bit more rock n roll!



Written Service


Please note, the video does divert from these exact words at times.


Call to worship: Psalm 145


Matthew 14:13-21 Jesus does not send people away!


MP 783 Ye holy angels bright

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAwTDwbVM3o


MP 1078 Jesus is Lord – the cry that echoes through creation by Stuart Townend & Keith Getty


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


Opening Prayers:


Lord of compassion, thank you for your love which sustains us and your grace that restores us.

Forgive us the times we have failed those in need and have sent them away to be someone else’s problem. Too often we fall short in our love. May we stand on your promises and fall only on your grace.

Thank you, that when we ask, our sins are forgiven.

Fill us, we pray, with your Spirit and that same compassion for others that you showed to all in need. Make us more like you every day. Father of all, the whole of creation witnesses to your great works and rejoices in who you are. You are worthy of our adoration and we join our voices to bring you our praise.

To you belongs all glory and splendour and we praise your holy name. Amen


The Lord’s Prayer


And so, to our Gospel reading.

Matthew has just told the story of John the Baptist’s execution by Herod Antipas, he is the Herod who later rejected Jesus to his face when Pilate sent Jesus to him.

As we know, Jesus and John were related and John baptised Jesus in the river Jordan, a wonderful shared experience that marked the ending of John’s ministry and the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Matthew takes up the story some time later:


Read: Matthew 14:13-21 The feeding of the 5000


Photo by Bruno Thethe via Unsplash


MP 64 Break Thou the bread of life

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPGiVA731lM


MP 1085 Let the weak say I am strong

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7X0nRyaef_I


As I record this we have, overnight, been told that households are no longer allowed to meet inside or in gardens. The only thing that seems to be certain at the moment is that everything is uncertain.

So, in these strange times how is the feeding of the 5000 relevant to us today?

What does this story have to say to a world where some people are in various stages of lock down while others are living almost normal lives again?

With locust swarms in East Africa, the ongoing war in Yemen, severe flooding in eastern China and north-eastern India, the never ending crisis faced by refugees around the world and, of course the Covid-19 pandemic with over 16 million confirmed cases and over 660,000 deaths, we have to ask, what is God saying to us through Jesus’ feeding of the 5000, the only story that appears in all 4 gospels?


Jesus, having been told by John’s disciples of John’s death, needed space to grieve so he withdrew from the crowds and the pressures of everyday life.

How often, I wonder, have we wanted to withdraw from work, from family, from life in general?


Perhaps at times when we, like Jesus, experienced grief because of the death of a loved one. Other life changing occasions might have been an unexpected redundancy or the break- up of a relationship. And during this pandemic I can honestly say that there have been days when I would have loved to withdraw, even if it was to just hide under the bedclothes for a day or so.

It’s good to know that Jesus also had those moments.

Times when he needed to withdraw and spend time in quietness with his heavenly Father. How precious those times are.


This time, however, it was not to be.

As the boat approached land everyone on board would have seen the crowd, perhaps over 15,000 in total – Matthew typically only counts the men, but we need to add in the women and children as everyone was important to Jesus.

Just as an aside please note that there was no social distancing on this shoreline!


Jesus could, I’m sure, have turned the boat around and headed somewhere else, but he didn’t. He could have been irritated at this interruption to his plans, and yet it seems he wasn’t.


Rather he looked at the crowds and had compassion on them; he healed the sick and Mark’s account adds that he taught them while Luke mentions both!


Jesus spent time with the people. So much time, in fact, that the day quickly passed, and before they knew it, it was time for the evening meal.


Concerned that the people were getting hungry, the disciples thought the only solution to the problem was to send them away.

But the disciples should have known, Jesus does not send people away! People may choose to turn away from Jesus, but his invitation is always to stay and work through the issues you face in life.


As a nation our response to refugees and asylum seekers, to the Windrush generation, seems, sadly to have been, ‘to send them away.’

It’s as if the lives of these people don’t matter as much as the lives of those born in the UK. If only the invitation was to stay and work out the issues people face?

Before we pass judgement though we need to look at ourselves and ask, how often, because we’re overwhelmed or not sure what to do, has our first instinct been to send away people who are in need, and hope that someone else will sort out the problem?


There have been times, throughout my life, as a teacher in Carlisle & in PNG and as a minister when I have been faced by people with all kinds of needs that I don’t have immediate answers to.

And my first thought has sometimes been to send them away. Thankfully, as a Christian, I’m not in a position to do that. Often, I have to call on other people to help as I don’t have the resources or skills the person needs, but how wonderful to be used by God to show compassion to others.

Jesus provided his disciples with just this experience as he commissioned them and empowered them to act with his authority and play their part in feeding the hungry and showing compassion.

Jesus, the man, could not serve so many people by himself; even he needed helpers.

But first he said to the disciples, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” Jesus does not send people away.


All the disciples had to offer was 5 loaves and 2 fish, but undeterred Jesus took the loaves and fish, blessed God for the food, broke the bread and the disciples gave it out.

‘Take’, ‘bless’, ‘break’ and ‘give’; four words that occur in all six accounts of the two miraculous feedings and in that of the Emmaus meal, but also in all four accounts of the Last Supper (including 1 Corinthians 11:23-24). This language reminds us of the great feast that Jesus will one day host for the people of every race who accept his gracious invitation.


Jesus does not send people away.


So, back to my original questions? How is the story relevant to us today? What is God saying to us through Jesus’ feeding of the 5000?


I hope we’ve recognised that Jesus’ Church must act with compassion as Jesus did, and never send anyone away.

Also, that Jesus chooses to work alongside us, and he blesses us so that we might be empowered with his Spirit and authority to bless others as we meet their spiritual and physical needs.


All through the lockdown we have tried as a church to meet people’s spiritual and physical needs so that no one has been turned away.

We have shared, through the website, emails, telephone calls, letters and cards, many acts of worship, words of encouragement and information on how and where to find practical help. Thank you to everyone who has been involved in all this and hopefully, no one has felt that they have, in effect, been sent away.


And now as we plan to return to two of our buildings, although after last nights announcements we may have to think again about the timing, we will continue to make sure that everyone continues to be included.

No one must be left feeling that they have missed out on worship because they are afraid to return. We will continue to produce all the printed and online material.

Jesus’ words, “There is no need to send them away, you feed them” must stay with us.

Here is a question to ponder and take action on:


Who do you want to ensure isn’t lost from your church? What steps will you take to help them feel that they have not been sent away?


Back on the lakeside, Matthew ends the story of the feeding of the 5000 / 15,000 by telling us that ‘all ate and were filled and there was food left over’.


Is this a picture of God’s grace? There is always more than enough to go round even after we have all received.

My prayer is that we will continue to work with Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to make sure that no one will ever feel that they have been sent away.

Rather they will know that they have been welcomed and enabled to experience God’s presence today as well as being offered a foretaste of all that is to come throughout eternity.

We have a God whom we can trust, a God who longs to bless us with his love and grace and he longs for us to share that love and grace with others. Offer an invitation to someone to meet with Jesus, safe in the knowledge, that Jesus does not send people away! Amen


MP 275 I heard the voice of Jesus say, Come unto me and rest’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74kyfROS4q8 Celtic version


MP 1079 Jesus, hope of the nations, Jesus, comfort for all who mourn, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37NYEIo7sEI


Photo by Benjamin Davies via Unsplash


Prayers of Intercession: we are going to begin this week by praying for yourself and then work outwards to family and friends, your church, our community, the nation, and finally to those issues in the world which you feel God is asking you to pray about. Thank God that Jesus never sent people away. Pray that all will accept his invitation to be his disciple.

Let us pray.


God of all grace, we bring you ourselves. We bring you our lives. As usual Father our lives are a mixture of joy and sorrow, things that are broken and things that we are grateful for and which we celebrate. Where we are struggling, remind us to look to you and seek your presence and strength. And when we rejoice remind us to thank you.

We pray for our families and friends, especially those who are finding life difficult, and with the new restrictions remind us to always keep in touch and show our love in practical action.


Lord Jesus: May we follow in your way.


God of all grace, we pray for the churches in the Rossendale Valley, caught in this strange ‘in between’ time. As we reflect on the challenge of lockdown, show us how we can best serve our communities and our world in the weeks and months ahead. May we grieve with those who grieve and help them to find healing and wholeness. May our church communities be places once more to meet with you and be transformed by your grace.


Lord Jesus: May we follow in your way.


God of all grace, we bring to you our communities and our nation. This year has been a difficult year, not only because of Coronavirus, but it has also been a year where we have discovered much underlying injustice and pain. We pray for all who have been working overtime to see us through this time of crisis, and all who will need to work overtime as we seek to rebuild our communities, our economy, our relationships and our livelihoods. We pray for our leaders and all who must face difficult decisions or face up to inadequacies in our systems exposed by the process of lockdown and pandemic. Show us how to be a people of grace.


Lord Jesus: May we follow in your way.


God of all grace, we pray for our world. As we look out on the global pandemic, we see a world which has gone backwards in tackling poverty and reaching those most in need, the most vulnerable in our world more than many of us. We think especially today of the people of East Africa, Yemen and the Middle East, the flood victims in India and China and the indigenous people of South America.

As our leaders try to rebuild communities and economies, show us all how to play our part in building a world in which every person’s needs are provided for. A world where every person’s potential is fulfilled.

Use us, O God, to build your kingdom: a kingdom of peace, justice, joy and love where all are welcome, no one is sent away, and all can rejoice in your gift of grace.


Lord Jesus: May we follow in your way.


Lord Jesus: Show me what is mine to do. May I follow in your way.


We bring this, and all our prayers, in Jesus’ name, Amen.


Blessing:

Guide us, O Lord, as we seek to respond to your love to us. Help us be a shining example of love in a world crying out in need. May we be Christ’s hands and feet, by the power of your Spirit. Amen.


MP 445 Lord the light of your love is shining

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAFcwns4uHc

Graham Kendrick performs his own song


MP 1117 There is a voice that must be heard

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8l7_7A9i1EQ

if you like things a bit more rock n roll!


© 2020 Rossendale Methodist Circuit