• Rossendale Circuit

The Law Of Love - Sunday Service 25.10.20

With Revd. David Burrow


Video Audio Service


Scroll down to view the transcript and click to view directly in Youtube here.


Part 1


Hymns:


MP 528 'O worship the King, all glorious above'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dv2BqFgm6_M



Part 2


Hymns:


MP 1 'A New Commandment'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DopHQzNWDZ4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quWF6I7Qv8Q (virtual singing group)


MP 3 'Abba Father'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NZ4VNY6pvk


A different Abba Father song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vPVk95lTsw



Part 3


Hymns:


MP 495 'O for a heart to praise my God'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MWRgPxwtMs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=486J9FQPkxk (A cappella version)


And for something completely different, if you like Dolly Parton, that reminds us that Jesus is with us in difficult times.


'There Was Jesus' - Zach Williams and Dolly Parton

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TD-JCK5iybU&list=PLrD4FX4mPyrfxbVij47YfhQvoK9A9ItuS&index=5 (Live from the 2019 CMA Awards)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37wV6D49iEY (Full Music Video)



Part 4


Hymns:


MP 449 'Love divine all loves excelling'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hmfqe_8SEI


And if you want a wonderful worship experience, lost in wonder, love and praise, then close your eyes, lay back and listen to this one.


'Such an Awesome God' (feat. Maryanne J. George) - Maverick City | TRIBL

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JA0A3PA98zk&list=PLrD4FX4mPyrfxbVij47YfhQvoK9A9ItuS



The Law of Love -Transcript


*Not always exact to videos


Call to Worship: 


Praise the LORD, O my soul. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them, the LORD, who remains faithful. From Psalm 146


MP 528 'O worship the King, all glorious above'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dv2BqFgm6_M


Photo by Hush Naidoo via Unsplash


Prayer:


God of faith, hope, and love, we praise you. God of peace, reconciliation, and healing, we worship you. 

Forgive us, we pray, our lack of faith, our poverty of hope and our failure to love you and our neighbour with all our hearts soul and mind. Forgive us, that we might know your peace, be reconciled to you and our neighbour, and so find healing. Thank you for receiving our confession and showing us your mercy, that we might once again know the fullness of your grace and be filled with your Holy Spirit.


Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer


MP 1 'A New Commandment'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DopHQzNWDZ4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quWF6I7Qv8Q virtual singing group


MP 3 'Abba Father'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NZ4VNY6pvk


A different Abba Father song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vPVk95lTsw


Bible Reading: Matthew 22:34-40


Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

Love your neighbour as yourself.

Drop something. 

Why did it fall? Because of gravity. 

The ‘law of gravity’ doesn’t command it to fall; the law simply describes what happens. 


When you become part of God’s family, when you publicly announce, ‘I’m in, count me in’. When you give your life to serving God because the reality of God’s love has personally hit home, then another law begins to describe what happens to you. 

Not the law of gravity, but the Law of Love. 

If you step off the edge of a roof, I guarantee you will crash to the ground: if you give your life to God, and invite Jesus into your life, you will fall in love with God. 

For some people, it’s instantaneous - love at first sight. 

For others it’s a slower process, like two people meeting, becoming friends and eventually falling in love. 


Except with God of course, he loves you completely before you even know it – from when you were first conceived; that’s another story for another day, but it’s part of the reason why you fall in love with God.


To love God with all your HEART, SOUL & MIND is not a prescription, it is God’s PROMISE of what will happen when you give your life to God. 


As we fall in love with God we are transformed inwardly and that change becomes noticeable as we start to do things we previously thought difficult if not impossible, such as loving God and our neighbours – even the ones we don’t particularly like!


When people fall in love, they can’t hide it. It’s pretty much the same when people fall in love with God. 


We are keen to worship, we want to be with others who also love God, and if we can’t get to worship, we miss it and it grieves us; which is the case for so many people today who can’t get to church or don’t feel safe enough to do so.

We want to pray, and enjoy using our minds to read and study the Bible to learn more of God’s love who in Jesus died on the cross for us. And, of course, was raised to eternal life.


Why do we want to do all this?

Photo by Annie Spratt via Unsplash


Because to do so is to say to God, ‘I love you right back!’ And our love is turned into action.


I’m making this sound rather straightforward, as if it just happens naturally, but to love God with all our heart, soul and mind, like any relationship, takes effort. 

To choose to love someone when life is difficult, and things are falling apart is not easy. 


Being commanded to love God with all our heart, soul and mind, and to love our neighbour as ourselves when that neighbour may well not be following all the guidelines and rules sometimes feels a bit much. We would much rather not love God or our neighbour and blame them for everything that is going wrong in our lives and with the world.


When life is a challenge, too many people, instead of running to the one they love, run away, forgetting that, that person actually does love them back.

Rather, they blame their loved one for their problems and instead of reconciliation there is division. As the saying goes, We always hurt the ones we love.


In the light of Covid19 some people, understandably, are struggling with their faith. 

I, and perhaps you have too, have been asked, “Where is God in all this?” 


People of faith too often run away from God, blaming God for their situation instead of running to God where there is faith, hope and love. 

Running away from God only makes us feel guilty and I’m sure you know that feeling, which is hard to pin down, but it is when our soul is troubled. 


When our boys, we have 3 as many of you know, were little and cute, and got into trouble, they would try and hide. They didn’t want anything to do with me or their mum. Arms crossed a big frown on their faces – whatever it was wasn’t their fault and they certainly didn’t want a hug!


But we knew, that in the end, they would find themselves in our arms, weeping tears of guilt and remorse but also knowing that they were loved beyond measure and forgiveness was ultimately theirs to receive. It is the same with God and his children.

Do remember however, the Law of Love is not a magic wand where everything falls into place automatically. In all relationships there are times of difficulty and stress. 


What do we do when we would like to blame God for covid19 and all that it has given rise to? 


Firstly, we don’t run from God, rather, we keep working at our relationship with God and persist in loving even when we don’t feel like it. Difficult? Yes. A challenge? Certainly, but one that’s worth every ounce of effort and all of our time.


Frederick Douglass worked with others to abolish the slave trade in America. 

He said, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favour freedom yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without ploughing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. 

They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.”


The valuable things in life, including relationships have to be worked at. And this is true of faith.

A strong faith is sometimes hard won through times of struggle


God is not into writing his will, or his plans, in pink writing in the sky. He does reveal his purposes and even himself, but so often it seems he is somewhat obscured: 

God hidden in a baby in a manger, in a 12-year-old boy in Jerusalem; in the holy words of the Old Testament (Jesus is concealed in the OT and revealed in the NT).

Sadly, too often the Church plays its part in obscuring God.


God’s Kingdom, God’s rule, is discovered by searching for it, often in the face of adversity. I’m sure you remember Jesus’ story of a merchant looking for fine pearls who, when he found an exquisite pearl of great price, sold everything he had to buy it.  


And what about the man who, looking for treasure, found it buried in a field. He was so filled with joy he sold all he had and bought the field. (Matthew 13:44-46)

After the discovery, the treasure hunter wouldn’t have worried about all the digging he’d done – it would all have been worth it. 

And the merchant too, he would have forgotten his seemingly endless search thanks to the joy of his wonderful discovery.


When, in spite of God’s seeming silence and hiddenness, and our refusal to give up searching we will find God’s treasure. And when we have found it we too, thanks to our joy in the discovery, will not complain about the searching, the digging or the difficulties. Rather we will rejoice and our faith will grow and flourish.


When Jesus said, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind and, love your neighbour as yourself, he knew it isn’t easy. 

But he also knew that to experience God’s unconditional love, is worth the effort and the cost.


Our heartfelt love for God is our response to his love for us (1 John 4:19). 


Unlike the law of gravity, God’s Law of Love does not impose itself. 

Rather it enables us to work with God, through the power of his Holy Spirit within us, to bring the law to fruition in our love for God and our neighbour. 

And the wonderful thing is, the more we work at loving God with all our heart, soul and mind and our neighbour as ourselves, the more our love will grow. 

All of which means that when our faith is tested in the furnace of the world’s pain and suffering we will have the confidence to run to God, and like a child throw ourselves into his arms, knowing that in him there is forgiveness, reconciliation, faith, hope and, most important of all, love.


We know when the Law of Love has filled our soul because that is when our greatest desire is to do God’s will, and in fulfilling that desire we discover it is also our greatest joy!


After our next pieces of music, I will lead us in prayer, but this week the prayers are not mine. A couple of days ago I sent out an email asking people how they are finding themselves praying. What are they praying for? So our prayers today are based on the answers I have received so far, but first let’s praise God in song. 


MP 495 'O for a heart to praise my God'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MWRgPxwtMs


And for something completely different, if you like Dolly Parton, that reminds us that Jesus is with us in difficult times,


'There Was Jesus' - Zach Williams and Dolly Parton (Live from the 2019 CMA Awards)

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

CK5iybU&list=PLrD4FX4mPyrfxbVij47YfhQvoK9A9ItuS&index=5


Photo by Paolo Nicolello via Unsplash


Prayers of Intercession: Please feel free to add your own prayers when I’ve finished before moving to our last piece of music.


We pray for persecuted Christians and those who risk their lives to help them: for Open Doors and the Barnabas Fund. For our government leaders to stand against the persecution of Christians. And today we pray especially for Asia Bibi, for healing after the inhumane treatment she has suffered. 


Let's pray for all the Iranian asylum seekers who we have come to know and love over the last couple of years.


We pray for all people, of all ages who live alone and who have no family; and at these times are unable to see friends who help them. 


We bring to God the people who look after our animals, the Vets who take care of our animals who are our soulmates, the farmers who look after the land, animals and products at this harvest Season.


We pray for all who hide sadness and worry behind their masks and are unable to share their worries. For all who have mental health issues and not much light at the end of this long, long tunnel! For those who are just hanging on, counting our blessings, and trying to be positive knowing that God moves in mysterious ways and will be there for us if we can just hold fast.


We pray also for our members in care homes......who may be out of sight but they are never forgotten.


Praying for all those people who have built up businesses and worked hard at jobs, only to see them disappear overnight. Praying that there might be some kind of new start and new life for them and their families.


My recurring prayer concern at the moment is for the poorest people in our society. 


October 25th is Bible Sunday: and so a prayer from the Bible Society


Our Lord God, thank you for your guidance through the Scriptures. Help us to regularly search your word to gain more insight as to who you are and more understanding of your will for each one of us. Give us an increasing desire to read, obey, and find nourishment through the Bible. We offer all our prayers in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.


If you would like to add your prayers, please get in touch and let me know what your prayer concerns are – no names mentioned but we can bring anyone and any situation to God in prayer, no matter how big, or how small. God cares and he hears our prayer.


Blessing: The Spirit of truth lead us into all truth, give us grace to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, and to proclaim the word and works of God; and the blessing of God, Spirit, Son and Father, remain with us always. Amen.


MP 449 'Love divine all loves excelling'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hmfqe_8SEI


And if you want a wonderful worship experience, lost in wonder, love and praise, then close your eyes, lay back and listen to this one.


'Such an Awesome God' (feat. Maryanne J. George) - Maverick City | TRIBL

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JA0A3PA98zk&list=PLrD4FX4mPyrfxbVij47YfhQvoK9A9ItuS


God bless you

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Email us: rossendalemethodistcircuit@gmail.com