• Rossendale Circuit

With God There Are No Boundaries - Sunday Service 05.09.21

with Revd. David Burrow


Video Service

or watch on youtube here.


Hymns and Songs:


MP 631 'Tell out my soul'

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


'My soul cries out with a joyful shout'

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


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


'We seek your Kingdom'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Lp2mMpSa1E


MP 155 'For this purpose Christ was revealed'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_L3m5C7VONM


MP 110 'Darkness like a shroud covers the earth'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqIKFM0YoAY


MP 515 'O love that wilt not let me go'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmk9sfX_QPY


MP 33 'And can it be'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29myH7xXI4M


Vertical Worship - Faithful Now (with lyrics)

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


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



Other Links


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Our Website: https://www.rossendalemethodistcircuit.co.uk/


Our Email Address: rossendalemethodistcircuit@gmail.com



Transcript


Psalm 146


MP 631 'Tell out my soul'

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


'My soul cries out with a joyful shout'

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


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


Prayer: Lord, we praise you. Your awesome presence fills the universe and your grace filled touch transforms our days.


We thank you for your guidance when the way is unsure and for your Holy Spirit who fills us with the strength we need to follow you.


Our praises ring out. We cannot keep them in and as we worship your fire burns within us.


You have blessed us beyond our imaginings, and we bring the worship of our whole lives to your throne of grace.

Receive our praises, accept our thanksgiving for all your goodness and enable us to go on singing your praises every day of our lives.


Father, you made us to be one in Jesus that we might be a family.


Forgive us when we build barriers instead of bridges, when we set boundaries defining who is in and who is out, when we reject others instead of welcoming them.


Forgive our selfishness and our reluctance to show your grace in action.

Forgive our quickness to judge people and how hard we find it in our hearts to forgive.

Come, Lord Jesus, come, cleanse, renew, and reclaim us and set our hearts ablaze once more with your love. For we ask it in Jesus’ name.


The Lord hears our prayer and forgives our sin. Thanks be to God. Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer


'We seek your Kingdom'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Lp2mMpSa1E


MP 155 'For this purpose Christ was revealed'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_L3m5C7VONM


Photo by Jan Canty via Unsplash


Read Mark 7:24-37


Jesus was in gentile territory. Gentiles were people who were not Jewish and Jesus had travelled a fair distance in order to find a place where he might be anonymous.

The towns of Tyre and Sidon were north of Israel on the Mediterranean coast. They were proud and wealthy Canaanite cities while the Decapolis was a group of 10 Greek cities to the east of the river Jordan where people were traditionally hostile to the Jews.

It is safe to say that in these two stories that Jesus was not amongst his own people.


The story of the Syrophoenician woman presents us with a challenge. It seems to paint a different picture of Jesus to the one we are used to elsewhere in the New Testament.

Where’s the welcoming Jesus, the compassionate Jesus, the Jesus who is always ready to reach out to people in need?


Here we have a Jesus who tells us he has boundaries to his work and worse still a Jesus who appears to call a foreign woman a dog, who calls all gentiles dogs!

We need to look below the surface.


A gentile woman of Syrophoenician origin actively sought Jesus out to ask for help. Her daughter was possessed by an unclean spirit, and she must have been at her wits end.


To dare to approach a Jew of Jesus’ fame was an act of courage, but she was determined to get to him and when she found him she bowed down at his feet and begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter.

Jesus’ response is a difficult one: “let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs.”


What did he mean?


“Let the children be fed first,” meant the children of Israel, God’s chosen people, and Jesus’ mission was to them first. After his crucifixion and resurrection things would be very different, but first the Jews, who had been called by God to share his love with others must be given the opportunity to hear what God was saying to them through Jesus. The woman was a gentile and so, must wait.

Or so, at first, we are led to believe.


To call people dogs was an insult and to us it sounds harsh.

It was probably what Jesus’ host and disciples would have expected him to say, especially as he really didn’t want anyone to know he was staying there.

So, is that why Jesus said it, to reflect the views of his listeners back to them, to make it clear to them that was how they were thinking? And that he knew what they were thinking?

They wanted him to reject the woman, because their first reaction, like ours, was to send her on her way. She was, at best an unwelcome interruption and at worst she was someone who wasn’t one of their people. Prejudice is nothing new.


How often do we hear people say that charity begins at home as an excuse to turn away those who are different, who come from another place?

Jesus reminded his listeners, and he reminds us, that too often we think this way.

Everyone knew the phrase but how did Jesus say it? What was the tone of his voice and what non-verbal signals was he giving?


Did Jesus say it in such a way as to show that he didn’t believe it to be true?

Did Jesus, in a way, feed the woman his line so that she could come back at him with her punchline?

Did Jesus have a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his lips, that only she could see, to give her the opportunity to show her wisdom and her faith?

I think so.

She certainly responded quickly and very effectively: “Sir even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs”.

We all know children can be messy eaters. I often found myself on my hands and knees picking up the crumbs under the table when our boys were in their highchairs and beyond!

Now of course, it is no longer necessary as anything that hits the floor belongs to the dogs and our meal isn’t interrupted!

The woman was happy with the leftovers because she knew that even God’s leftovers are full of power and Jesus’ mission to the children of Israel didn’t need to be interrupted for very long – Jesus only had to say the word!


The woman had faith.

As a gentile she knew she had no claim on the God of Israel, but she knew that God’s love is so deep, wide and high that there was hope, even for a gentile and she was right, because Jesus said to her. "For saying that, you may go, the demon has left your daughter."

So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

I wonder if Jesus’ followers suddenly got rather embarrassed at their prejudice as they realised what Jesus had done. He had praised the woman and shown that in His kingdom there are no boundaries.


This story spoke powerfully to the early Jewish Christians of God’s love for all people, and the story that follows of the healing of the man who was deaf and had a speech impediment and who also lived in a gentile area showed the early church what it should be busy doing.

The Church’s calling was to go out into the world to preach the good news of Jesus Christ, to heal and make disciples, and a person’s nationality, the colour of their skin, their language, their culture, their gender, their wealth, their position in society should make no difference. Everyone needed to hear about the death and resurrection of Christ. All are equal before God and in Christ there are no boundaries.

As we welcome Afghan refugees and other asylum seekers into the country we do well to remember Jesus’ example of reaching out to all who are in need.

We thank God that Jesus was willing to minister to, and heal those who were not Jews, and that he died on the cross not just for his own people but for the whole of humanity:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. "Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:16


Once again God’s Word reminds us of the unlimited love and mercy of God.

God’s love reaches out to us who are not worthy to even gather the crumbs under his table. Unconditional, unlimited love.

With God there are no boundaries, which means that this should also be true of His people, the Church.

The Church, the people of the risen Lord Jesus Christ, has a wonderful calling:

To love as God loves.

To show mercy as God shows mercy.

To offer the healing and sustaining power of Christ to the world and, in so doing to show in word and deed that with God, in His kingdom, there are no boundaries!

And, by the way, to do it cheerfully with a sense of humour!


MP 110 'Darkness like a shroud covers the earth'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqIKFM0YoAY


MP 515 'O love that wilt not let me go'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmk9sfX_QPY


Prayers of Intercession


Father, open our minds that we may see your world as you see it and grasp again the amazing plan that we should be one people.

Set nations and their leaders free from selfish boundaries that we may, by grace, reach out with the love of Jesus. Father, fill us with your love, and make us channels of your peace.


Father, open our eyes to see your creation anew. Help us to see your fingerprints in every part of your world. Release the nations from their greed as they plunder the earth and destroy creation. Help us to understand the damage we cause by our unwillingness to live more sparingly.


Father, fill us with your love, and make us channels of your peace.

Father, open our ears to the voice that speaks of all your creatures and teach us to value every man, woman, and child as you do. Challenge the nations that keep hold of too much of the earth’s riches, that we may all hear and respond to the cries of the poor.


Father, fill us with your love, and make us channels of your peace.

Father, open our hands that all who are in desperate need may be welcomed, helped, and found a safe and secure home. We pray continue to pray for the people of Afghanistan, for the work of Refugee Action, the UNHCR, the Refugee Council and all the churches which are in cities and towns receiving refugees. We pray too for Ethiopia as war brings famine and as fires continue to rage and floods keep on rising, we pray for the people of Haiti, the United States and Spain.


Father, fill us with your love, and make us channels of your peace.

Father, open our hearts to recognise and know your presence. Flood our lives with your joy and free us from any sense of duty or drudgery in serving you. May the sheer wonder and privilege of being your children lift any burden we feel.

Father, fill us with your love, and make us channels of your peace.


Father, open our lips to offer you the worship of hearts set on fire with your love and open our lives to the power of your Holy Spirit to transform who we are so that our lives may speak to all of our love of you.


In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen


MP 33 'And can it be'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29myH7xXI4M


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.


Blessing: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, now and for evermore. Amen


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