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THEME: GOD, INTERRUPTING Call to worship: “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.
HYMN: “I, the Lord of sea and sky”
Reading: Matthew 9:18-25
Reflection – Jesus is interrupted
I hate being interrupted – but surprisingly Jesus doesn’t seem to mind! He was on his way to visit the home of Jarius, a leader of the synagogue.
Talk 1: This year, during lent – and especially during Holy week – one of the things that has touched me most is; The humanness of Jesus.
Although we can have no doubt that Jesus was truly divine and completely of God….
He was – at the same time – truly human.
In simplified term – which is good for me – because that’s how I work……….
Jesus was a real life – living – breathing - person.
Not merely someone at the centre of a story – or a character that we are happy to hear about from time to time
Is the resurrection true? That’s an interesting question. If we stood in front of Morrison’s down the road and asked people the same question, I wonder what their answers would be?
We know that once a person is dead that they can’t come back to life again – that’s a fact and certainty of life, so on that basis we could say that the resurrection is an impossibility. For many it is one of the stumbling blocks to faith – they believe that Jesus lived and died, that he was a good man but the resurrection is beyond them. For many it is the hardest thing about the Christian faith to believe because it goes against the laws of nature – it may be something we struggle with, if we’re honest.
This psalm contains many references and verses that are familiar to some of us. The references to the gates of righteousness link to the accounts in the New Testament of sheep going through the gate - a way of entering the kingdom - the way the righteous enter.
Biblical pictures of sheep on the hillside that resonate today - story of Wales.
The reference that Jesus uses to describe himself - the stone that the builders rejected is in fact the cornerstone that holds the whole thing up.
The reference to today Palm Sunday hundreds of years before the event - “Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord and the general emphasis of the psalm as one of giving thanks to the Lord for he is good.
Slide: Water My notes: What do you use water for? Series on villains, or baddies, of the Bible. Who can remember who we’ve already looked at? Herod.. Judas
This morning we’re thinking about Pontius Pilate, and one of the things he did was take a bowl of water and wash his hands. So, what have you used water for this morning?
We’re going to use water to baptise Emily….explain…..leading to
Baptism of Emily Claire Jackson
HYMN: “Shine, Jesus, shine” (Chosen by Tracey and Nathan) Introduced by The Minions (Hil to provide the link)
Slide: The story of Pilate (New Youth)
Don’t you just hate being ripped off, taken for a ride or cheated? A couple of years ago we received an email supposedly from our bank asking for certain information, which I was foolish enough to complete.
Days later we were horrified to find that a lot of expenditure was pending from our account – amounting to several thousand pounds, which we were supposed to have spent in shops and various places up and down the country. In my naivety I’d given information that allowed hackers into our bank account. Because we’d noticed it early enough – before the money had left our account, the bank was able to put a stop on the money going out. I learnt a valuable lesson but my overriding thought from that was anger, because someone had tried to defraud us and rip us off. How I hate being ripped off!
We’re here to worship God, to celebrate his faithfulness and to seek his presence so that our faith can grow and we can live more faithfully for him. Our Bible readings challenge us to reflect on our readiness to trust God And on the difference this trust/faith should make in our lives…
GENESIS 17:1-7 & ROMANS 4:13-25
What would “stepping out in faith” mean for you today?
Takes courage to do, risks failure but people might take a step of faith
• if motivated by love
• Wanting to do something for others
• Wanting to overcome something which is limiting their life
Matthew 9:35-38 and 1 Corinthians 1:10-18 (NIV): What sort of people do you see around here – in your street, near this church, in a supermarket or in the centre of Bolton?
In my neighbourhood I see young mothers looking tired and harassed - and perhaps feeling isolated and unloved.
I see people who are desperately trying to fulfil themselves with nice homes, cars and holidays – but are worried about the huge debts that they’re struggling to repay.
I see elderly people who are feeling vulnerable, lonely and frail - and perhaps scared about facing death.
When our youngest daughter, Jen lived with us she had a bedroom on the front of the manse. One evening as she was looking out of her bedroom window she shouted downstairs “Dad, come quick there’s a bright orange car coming up the road, its fantastic!” Dad didn’t go quick enough because the next excited shout was “Dad it’s stopping at our house!” And sure enough it was.My nephew had bought himself a bright orange, black and chrome Lamborghini, and came to show us. It was a very beautiful car, if you’re into that sort of thing. I have seen grown men stroke it lovingly! He didn’t get much change from £110k – and it wasn’t even new, and with 6 children in the family, it wasn’t very practical – but it was very nice.
CALL TO WORSHIP: John 2:13-16. It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money.
Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!”
Call to worship: Jesus said “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
HYMN: 20 “Be still”
Prayer Reading: Psalm 46
Les has always said that when I die on my grave stone it’s going to say “She cluttered!” I do clutter it’s quite true. I don’t like to throw things away and I’m the magpie that collects everything because you never know when it will come in useful! Everything can be turned into a sermon illustration!
A young man who had spent a long time looking for work finally got a job in a car dealership selling cars. He knew jobs were hard to come by and was really determined to make this one work. At the start he memorised all the information about the cars he would be selling. There was nothing about them he couldn’t tell you. Parts, mileage, efficiency, owner expectations, reviews, warranties; comparisons with other brands; you name it he knew it.
The day came for him to try and sell a car on his own. He was really excited. He got his first customer. He went into his rehearsed speech on all the virtues of the car. No matter what he said she still didn’t look convinced. Eventually she left without buying the car. Nothing he had said had changed her mind.
The Covenant service is a very special service that will be taking place in Methodist Churches all over the world today. While we’re encouraged in the media to give up smoking, drink less, lose weight or exercise more as we enter a new year, the Covenant service gives us an opportunity to think about our commitment to God, in the context of God’s commitment to us.
What does it mean to us to say that we are followers of Christ? What difference does it make being a Christian in our day to day lives? How do we live out our faith at work, within our streets, when we’re with our friends or even at a football match or walking the dog? What impact does my faith have on those around me?
We don’t have a biblical record of the route that Joseph and Mary travelled from Nazareth to Bethlehem or exactly how many days or nights it took them.
Apparently the distance is around 80 miles and that was the journey the couple had to make to fulfil their obligations. The emperor Caesar Augustus issued a royal order to conduct a census across the land. It meant all the men were required to go to their home town so they could raise much needed tax revenue.
Isn’t it funny but things that you’re looking forward to seem to take ages to come along – a holiday, a wedding, the birth of a baby, while things that you are dreading – a visit to the dentist, credit card statements, seem to arrive all too soon.
What sort of waiter are you? Not the sort who waits on tables, but a person who is waiting for something to happen. Are you patient or impatient? Ever had to wait in for a washing machine or freezer to be delivered?
Today’s gospel reading is about a wedding so let’s imagine we can watch a wedding somewhere in Palestine but 2,000 years ago.
The Sabbath Day would be sacrosanct and the other six days of the week would be for work so the wedding would take place after dark. The ceremony and banquet would be in the home of the groom who, with friends and family would first go to fetch his bride, maybe from the next village. It would be a noisy affair.
Matthew 7:24-27 - “So then, anyone who hears these words of mine, said Jesus, and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain poured down, the rivers flooded over, and the wind blew hard against that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on rock.
“But anyone who hears these words of mine and does not obey them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain poured down, the rivers flooded over, the wind blew hard against that house, and it fell. And what a terrible fall that was!”
Call to Worship:
We enter God’s holiness.
We are calmed by God’s peace.
We are warmed by God’s love.
Let us be challenged by God’s teaching.
As we draw together to worship let us remember that we are in the presence of a King not a King for whom we have to dress up and paint the building but a King who loves us and comes to us just as we are.
So come Holy Spirit.
When Jesus was a child the Romans introduced the census tax. It was so unpopular that a man called Judas – a good revolutionary name – led an uprising against it.
The Romans dealt ruthlessly with those who’d taken part in the uprising. The countryside was littered with the crosses bearing the bodies of dead or dying revolutionaries. It was a warning and a reminder to the people that paying tax was not optional, but compulsory. You have to wonder what effect this had on Jesus as a boy.
The generosity of God is the story written large across the whole of the Bible. It’s there on the very first page: ‘God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.”
So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good’ (Genesis 1:20-21).
The video we saw before the hymn was something that Sheila Richardson sent me and it really moved me. How do we use words, spoken or written, it’s incredibly important. Things came to mind recently about the power of words.
We’d gone to see Sarah Millican, the comedienne, in concert. She talked very poignantly of an event in her life that had a profound effect on her.
Sing Bless the Lord O My Soul (10,000 Reasons)
The Story of Jonah
Sing Our God is a Great Big God
Readings Psalm 145.1-9 read by Geoff Sutcliffe
Matthew 20:1-16 read by Anne and Peter Haslam
Sing H&P 215 Amazing Grace
Sing I the Lord of Sea and Sky
Prayers of Intercession by Brian Smith and Denis Kirkham
Sing Blessed Assurance
Sing Bless the Lord O My Soul (10,000 Reasons)
The day and date of Tuesday 11th September 2001 will stay in the minds of millions of people throughout the world.
Many remember where they were and the shock and horror they felt as we witnessed the planes slamming into the Twin Towers in New York. What many people are not aware of that it was also the day the world’s largest arms fair took place in London, which slipped quietly under the radar.
This event, the DSEI – Defence and Security Equipment International takes place in London every two years and it will do again this year, opening its doors on Tuesday for five days and expecting to attract over 34,000 delegates. The delegates include representatives from regimes accused of human rights abuses, and protests against it will take place every day during the event.
How did you choose what to wear today? Seemed the most suitable. Right for the weather, What was due for wearing. What others may think, What you like at the moment. Only thing clean! Other things need mending. Nothing else matches.
Young children are a bit different – wear what parents think they ought to wear (leave what they want to wear for another time). Older children have very fixed ideas!
Children don’t take many of our thoughts into consideration. A lot of this is not about what we actually like –it is more about other factors and about appearances. Living in an apartment block I can’t, for instance, wander around in my oldest clothes like I used to – what would people think!
On the other hand, how often have we squirmed in our new clothes or shoes just to look our best for the occasion.
We watched a film for children earlier in which the lesson of the story was identified as a moral one -to be a good neighbour is to help anyone and anything in trouble, person or cat.
We can give some time to think of two other aspects and unpack these
a) It may be obvious and this was unpacked slightly in the film earlier but
we should give some thought to the person who is other e.g. the Samaritan
b) Less obvious we come to that later.
A) A huge challenge and obscurity in the story is the level of divisiveness in the story. A big division in the identity of the hero—a Samaritan. The scandal of the story is lost if we fail to appreciate the deep animosity between the ‘people of Israel’ and Samaritans.
What's your favourite food? If you were stranded on a desert island what would you take with you?
Top 5 dishes put in order:
What would you do if the food you normally ate was taken away?
We are going to find out about a young man who faced that situation.
Call to Worship: Christ calls us to come to worship
To rest from the things that are troubling us
To learn what Christ can teach of life
To realise what we can offer to others
And so to return into the world to serve
Let us worship God
Sing the Faith 82 O Lord my God, When I in Awesome Wonder
Lord of Power and Creativity
Today we want to offer you our praise and thanksgiving
We praise you for the life you have given us
We thank you for the air we breathe
We praise you for the love you have shown us
We thank you for your Spirit who lives within us and moves among us.
When I looked at the readings for this morning the obvious place to start was with the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000. It’s a well-known and popular reading, perhaps too well-known, but as I prayed I kept being drawn to the opening verses of the passage “Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself.”
What had Jesus heard? What was it that made him get into a boat by himself and row away from his disciples and the vast crowds following him to be alone? If you read the passage before it ends this way “John was beheaded in prison and his head brought on a platter and given to the girl, who brought it to her mother. John’s disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went and told Jesus.”
Luke 13:1-9. I'm not sure what it is about summer, maybe its the warmer days, or the idea that less people are going to hear you preach because they are on holiday, but I like the idea of shacking of the set for readings for the day and preach on a theme or a big question.
Last summer I preached on John chapter 14 where Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth and the light. No one comes to the Father except through me."
Which means that Gandi, the peace making inspirational Hindu, who didn't know Jesus, must have gone to hell. I'm not sure that's where I ended up, but it is where we started.
And that made me think about some of the big questions in life .
Children and adults alike are drawn to superheroes because Spiderman can spin webs and climb tall buildings, Wolverine has his claws and Superman can do just about anything.
Children all over the world pretend to be superheroes as they play. A pair of underpants over their jeans, a towel for a cape and they’re away! A medical report was done on children who were taken into hospital after having accidents because they’d thought they were superheroes, “The children we saw have all had to contemplate on their way to hospital that they do not in fact possess superpowers.” and “The children were injured after initiating flight without having planned their landing strategies.”
Romans 6 v. 12 - 23; Matthew 10 v.40 - 42 - ‘Whoever welcomes you, welcomes me.’
A couple of weeks ago, there was a community cohesion event in Bolton, to remember and celebrate the life and work of the MP Jo Cox, who was murdered a year ago, and whose maiden speech in Parliament included the words ‘we are far more united and have far more in common than the things that divide us’’.
At the event, we also heard about the move to make Bolton a ‘City of Sanctuary’… part of a national movement committed to building a culture of hospitality and welcome, specially for those seeking sanctuary from war and persecution, committed to providing a strong network of support for the vulnerable, destitute and victims of hate crime.
Yesterday Christianity was declared illegal. The government finally passed legislation declaring Christians a dangerous and subversive group, banning any Christian from holding public office in any government organization including schools or armed forces or from holding public meetings or sharing their message.
Christians, they stated, have no respect for private property and spread a message that undermines the family, the government, and the economy. Christian priests and ministers will face prosecution and potentially imprisonment, and anyone refusing to sign a document denying the teachings of Christianity will face heavy fines.
This month’s hero isn’t a hero at all. In fact, he’s a bit of an “anti-hero” because his story starts badly and doesn’t really get any better. I think there is a little bit of Jonah in all of us, and probably a lot of Jonah in many of us.
His name is Jonah and he lived about 2800 years ago. At the beginning of the story he’s running away from God and at the end of the story he’s arguing with God. So not much of a hero.In fact, the only hero is the story is God! But we’re going to tell his story anyway, because Jonah’s story is our story too.
It’s a short story – 4 chapters, 1300 words – it’ll take you less than 15 minutes to read it.
A training college for ministers carried out an experiment. A group of students were told that they were to go to a certain church to deliver a sermon about the Good Samaritan. As part of the research, some of the students were told that they were running late and needed to hurry. Along the route to the church, the college had hired an actor to play the role of a victim of an attack.
Ninety percent of the “late” students ignored the person they thought had been attacked in their rush to get to the church. The final report said this “On several occasions, the student going to give their sermon on the parable of the Good Samaritan literally stepped over the victim as they hurried on their way!”
Sermon 30th April 2017: This month it is Bible Month and for four weeks it will be on the Letter of James week one Chap 1v.29- 27. The letter of James was written to the early Christians.
The joys and challenges of being a follower of Jesus expect to suffer as Christians. And this still goes on today throughout the world. Experience of unchanging Love of God as demonstrated supremely in Jesus. It offers practical guidance in putting Faith into Practice. In some things, it needs to be quick, in others better to be slow and it involves Patience.
Palm Sunday – day of mixed emotions – optional gospel readings – Praise & joy of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem and solemnity of Passion story.
In Kathmandu, at Catholic Church, worship outside & procession inside for Passion.
I grew up to regard Palm Sunday as a joyful day but (perhaps because we don't always give Good Friday its proper place), we now regard it as a day of both joy and sorrow – somewhat superficial joy and profound sorrow.
Palm crosses so appropriate.
The mayor of a small town in France had a problem. The town was running out of space. Not in housing, as you may expect, but in the cemetery. There was no room for any more graves. It was full to capacity. So the mayor tried to buy a piece of land that was next to the cemetery, but it wasn’t for sale.Having no space in the cemetery and unable to purchase more land the Mayor did what any politician would do… he passed a law. And he passed a law informing the residents of the town that they were no longer allowed to die. It read: "All persons not having a plot in the cemetery and wishing to be buried in this town are forbidden from dying in the parish…. Offenders will be severely punished."
Briefly share the story with the rest of us - just the key bits.
Can you find some detail in the story that you didn't already know or something you had forgotten?
How do you think the key people in the story feel?
Have you ever felt like that?
What does the story tell us about God?
The birth of Moses
Exodus 1: 1 - 2: 10
[John 3.1-17] After the reading of this story we sang, The Spirit lives to set us free, walk, walk in the light [Singing the Faith 397]
One day at half term I was walking with my grandson in the lakes. The moss and the lichens are at their best this time of year and I spotted a lovely clump on a stone wall. Out came my camera. Above the were two strands of barbed wire through which I could see the summit of the Old Man of Coniston. So, I bent down to frame just the right picture, focus it properly and get the exposure right.
An overweight man decided it was time to shed some pounds. He informed his colleagues at work that he was going on a diet and would no longer be bringing donuts into the office each day. He knew it would be hard to resist stopping at the bakery on the way to work, but he was determined to remain strong and resist temptation in order to lose some weight.
So his colleagues were surprised one morning to see him arrive at the office with a big box of donuts. When they reminded him of his diet, he just smiled.
I wonder if anyone has climbed Kilimanjaro or any other mountain? What’s it like when you get to the top of a mountain? The view, silence, tired etc.
In the story, we heard from Matthew’s Gospel we find Jesus going up a mountain with Peter, James and John. The thought is that this could have been Mount Tabor in Central Galilee or Mount Hermon near to Caesarea Philippi.
You can imagine the scene, a group of young men climbing the mountain laughing chatting. Maybe trying to be the first to the top, tired when they got there, flopping down completely out of breath.
Sermon: Matt. 5 v, 21-37. Deut. 30 v. 15-20‘What is truth?’ - Pilate asked Jesus, just before sentencing him to death. It’s a big question… are we talking about ‘my’ truth, or ‘your’ truth, or ‘alternative facts’…?
What’s wrong with basing our decisions on our own wishes or opinions? Why shouldn’t we ignore those ‘inconvenient truths’, and manipulate things to get what we want?
There was a lot of that going on as Pilate asked his question.
Are any of you fans of the television quiz show Pointless? If you’ve never watched it, then the aim of the game is to guess the most obscure correct answer to a question. So a question for you - which pointless favourite is the answer to this question?
Of which country was this said: "We live in constant fear of the adverse impacts of climate change. For a coral atoll nation, sea level rise and more severe weather events loom as a growing threat to our entire population. The threat is real and serious, and is no different to a slow and insidious form of terrorism against us."
Hymn: StF 495 – Dear Lord and Father of mankind.
I’m sure that I’m not alone in saying that I find the Covenant Service one of the hardest – if not THE hardest service of the year. There is a challenge in the Covenant Service that if we take seriously, what we are committing ourselves too, gives us a feeling of trepidation.
Discipline, self-denial and sacrifice are required to live in a covenant relationship with God, and if we are honest with ourselves we know that we are not completely up to the challenge, however good are intentions might be.
There are clear implications placed upon us, if we take the words of the Covenant Prayer (on the screen) seriously. Surrender and obedience in every aspect of our lives, choices and decisions made in prayerful reflection to discern the will of God for each of us.
Christ has many services to be done;
Some are easy, others are difficult;
Some bring honour, other bring reproach;
Some are suitable to our natural inclinations and material interests,
Others are contrary to both;
In some we may please Christ and please ourselves,
In others, we cannot please Christ except by denying ourselves,
Yet the power to do all these things is given to us in Christ who strengthens us.
Therefore let us make this covenant of God our own.
Let us give ourselves to him, trusting in his promises and relying on his grace.
Beloved in Christ, let us again claim for ourselves this covenant which God has made with his people, and take upon us the yoke of Christ.This means that we are content that he appoint us our place and work,
Christ has many services to be done:
Some are easy, others are difficult;
Some bring honour, others bring reproach;
Some are suitable to our natural inclinations and material interest, other contrary to both;
In some ways, we may please Christ and please ourselves;
In others, we cannot please Christ by denying ourselves,
Yet the power to do all these things is given to us in Christ, who strengthens us.
At Christmas time, one story you will hear many times is that of the Nativity. It all began with a girl called Mary who heard a WISPA, from an angel who told her that she would give birth to God's son. “But how can this be?” she thought, because she was not yet married to Joseph. To have a baby now would be real TOPIC of conversation in the village. But in a heavenly ECHO, Joseph also heard of God's plan and decided he had to go along with it, because he was a KINDER man.
Before the baby arrived, political events overtook them. Joseph had to return to Bethlehem for the census - it was miles away - a MARATHON of a journey, but Joseph thought the BREAK-A-WAY would do Mary good. They had to travel on a donkey simply because in those days they couldn’t get an AEROplane, a DOUBLE DECKER, or even a TAXI.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without songs like Chris Rea’s “Driving home for Christmas” and the millionth re-run of the movie “Home Alone” on the television.
It’s the story of a young 8-year-old boy called Kevin McCallister, who lives with his family in a large house in Chicago. For Christmas, the family is coming on holiday to Europe. As all the relatives show up, there is a lot of confusion in the house, and Kevin gets into trouble. When things get out of control, he is sent to the attic bedroom to sleep. In the middle of his tantrum, Kevin tells his mother that he hates her and that he wishes that he never has to see his family again.
A housewife was one day washing dishes in the kitchen sink. She looked at one particular plate. She stared at it for a long time and asked herself over and over again, “how many times have I washed this plate? How many times have I dried it? How many times will I wash and dry it again in the years to come?” She then set down the plate, took off her apron, packed a few of her belongings and left.
That night she called home to tell her husband that she was alright, but that she just couldn’t come home again. From time to time over the next few weeks she would call to just see how her husband was getting on. But she would never tell him where she was, or give into his pleas to come home.
We’ve been having a debate in our house for the past week or so. When is the right time to put your Christmas decorations up? Les would have them up by now. When I was a child we always had to wait until after 9th December, which was my Mum’s birthday and I’d much rather leave the tree until Les’s birthday which is 22nd December, but that always gets me a “bah humbug!”
Years ago when I worked at Whitakers (or Beales) I was surprised to walk into a room when they were sorting out Christmas stock to go onto the shop floor and it was only August! It seems that Christmas now begins straight after Halloween, and Advent doesn’t hit the majority of people’s radar at all, which is a pity.
I wonder if you can remember where you were, or what were you doing on 20 July 1969? Would it help if I said that was when Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon? (Isle of Man - school trip). What about 31 August 1997? That was when news filtered through that Diana, Princess of Wales, had been killed in a car crash in Paris? (Holiday at Benalmadena).
People often recall things surrounding what are seen as momentous occasions when ordinarily they wouldn’t. The writers of our lessons this morning share visions of memorable events, things that people would dwell on for a long time and through these they offer us a message of anticipation and hope at the start of this time of Advent.
Many of us have problems remembering things particularly as we grow older. We can remember things from years ago as clearly as if they happened yesterday, but remember where we have put our keys or glasses – well, that’s another thing.
I’m certain I’m not the only person who puts something away in a safe place, but then forget where the safe place is! Which may be fine, but my nephew drew quite a bit of money out of the bank several years ago to convert to dollars to go on holiday, then he forgot where he put it so they had to do the same thing all over again. And they only found the original money when they were moving house! He was in his 30’s at the time, so I’m not sure how he’ll be when he’s older!
The celebration of Christ the King Sunday has only been around since 1925. It came at a time when secularism was on the rise, when the political landscape of Europe was changing and many people doubted Christ’s authority and even His existence. It was hoped that the leaders of the nations would see that the Church had the right to freedom; that people would respect Christ and that the faithful would gain strength and courage from the celebration. Not much has changed has it?
But what kind of king is Jesus? What kind of king is this that we have gathered here this morning to celebrate?
A couple of months ago at St Andrew’s in one of our evening services we reflected on legacies. One of our members, who was also the Deacon of our circuit, Marion; had recently passed away. The evening was split into two sections: remembering Marion and other people who were near and dear to us, but also reflecting on legacies of people in history and who are alive. I got the second section – people then and now.
I decided to share some reflections on Martin Luther King and Desmond Tutu and the main point that I was trying to make in reflecting on these wonderful people from history is that it is one thing to remember a legacy and one thing to act upon a legacy, which came mainly from the life of Martin Luther King and the American society today.
Last week I was involved in a very difficult meeting. The morning after I was on my way to another meeting in Horwich. The sun was shining as I drove passed the lodges and as I did a formation of geese flew overhead, honking. It was a beautiful sight and one that gave me great encouragement.
When Les and I lived in Northwich we lived near the flashes and each winter thousands of Canadian geese would fly overhead as they congregated on their way south for the winter. It was always a breath taking sight to see hundreds of geese flying in formation and making the most horrendous racket.
The story of the ‘holy grail’ of Radford. Suddenly discovered something, which I should have known all along – when I finally got what I most wanted, it didn’t mean that much.
Richard III was a cruel and heartless man. At the famous battle at Bosworth in August 1485, the soldiers of Henry Tudor fought and defeated the much larger army of Richard III. Many of Richard’s soldiers sickened by his deceit, treachery and murder had deserted him. He had fought bravely in close combat, but his horse had been killed and horse-less in the midst of a battle field is not place to be for a king. Trying to make himself heard above the noise of the battle, according to Shakespeare, Richard shouted out “A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!”
Psalm 8: (read from ‘The Message’) I have for you today, a reflection on this Psalm.
What about this Psalm written by David? Is it possible? Can it really be true that God has time for you and for me? In the grand scheme of things, why should God be concerned about us? Why should God be bothered about our fate?
When we look at the sky and the vastness of the heavens; when we hear the sound of water running in a stream or washing upon the shore; when we smell newly cut grass or the perfume of so many different flowers; and when we touch tiny fingers and tiny toes. When we experience at the tapestry of creation what are we? The tiniest speck against the great backdrop of history and yet......!!
In 1669 the Dutch artist Rembrandt, painted “The return of the prodigal son”. It now hangs in the Hermitage in St Petersburg, Russia. Spend time looking at this painting and you will feel the weight of a sense of great tragedy. The contrast between the light and the dark, the two mysterious figures that appear dimly in the background, the woman behind the father, the stoic appearance of the man who stands on the side, and the dishevelled appearance of the younger brother, all add to this sense of tragedy.
Am actually preaching from the lectionary. The readings are connected to each other.
Was going to fly the flag for “Songs of Praise” as it on at the same time three consecutive Sundays but then the third time it started five minutes early.
Always complaining/ moaning but sometimes right, to speak sense and the truth.
Like 15 v.2 the Pharisees were well-known complainers and muttered this man (Jesus) welcomes sinners and eats with them.
Some facts about Raeya:
Readings: Jeremiah chapter 2 v 4 – 13; Hebrews chapter 12 v 1-2 and v12-13
Theme: I wish to use the two readings today to help us reflect a little on our identity as people of faith and how we define that identity -what’s involved
Context:The reading from Jeremiah refers to a time just before the fall of Judah. The people face looming despair. In the words of Private Fraser, “We’re doomed, all doomed”.
This people we’re God’s chosen people and yet they faced huge uncertainty. So what of their identity as God’s people? How do they begin to place understanding of their present experience?
I had no choice but to go to the supermarket because there was no food in the house and we were expecting visitors for tea. I had lots to do, I raced around the shop and came home with 9 bags of shopping – I counted them. I let myself in the front door and the family were happily watching the television. I made trip after trip from the car to the kitchen with the bags, but my sighs were ignored. My conversation with the cat about these heavy bags, were ignored.
My unpacking of the bags and the banging of putting the shopping away was ignored.
The disciples, having watched Jesus pray, asked him to teach them how to pray. They recognised how important it was in his life and knew that they too had a need to pray. An area of prayer that perhaps we do not consider very often is persistence in prayer. “Pester power” is a topic that comes up quite often on the news. It’s the name given to adverts – mainly on television, which encourage children to pester their parents for things they simply must have. Be it the latest computer game at Christmas or the newest brand of cereal on the supermarket shelves.
Beethoven, the great composer would quite often play to salon audiences. Sometimes if he guessed that they weren’t really interested in serious music he would play a trick on them. He would play a slow movement from one of his compositions for piano something gentle and beautiful that would lull his audience into thinking the world was a soft, cosy place where they could drift off and dream beautiful daydreams.
Then, just the final notes were dying away Beethoven would bring his fore arm crashing down on the keys and laugh at the shock he had caused.
For a nation seemingly obsessed with sport we don’t seem to have caught the excitement of the Olympic Games in Rio this year. Certainly nothing like London 4 years ago, and it may be that you’ve no interest in the Olympic Games at all, but I hope you’ll bear with me as I use the theme of the games for a few moments.
Today at the games you could be watching archery, boxing or table tennis. You can watch Mo Farah in 10,000m on Sunday 14th August if you’re prepared to get up at 1.25am and 5,000m the Sunday after at 1.30am in the morning or Usain Bolt in the final of 100m on Sunday 21st August at 10.25pm – but don’t fall asleep because you’ll miss it!
The old lady died - her nosy neighbour (knowing the will had been read) said to one of the relatives…
‘I don’t suppose she left a lot?’
‘Oh’ said the very wise relation, ‘She left everything’.
The young man who came to Jesus was most upset - not apparently because his dad had died - but because the inheritance laws meant the eldest brother got the lot, and it wasn‘t fair. He wanted this teacher he’d heard so much about to say so, and maybe shame his brother into sharing.
Bible readings: Jeremiah 29: 10-13, Luke 11: 1-13
Introduction: How did you journey to church today? Walk, car, bus, cycle, train, taxi? I wonder who has travelled the furthest? Did anyone use a sat-nav? Was your journey without incident? Did you get held up? My train journey on Thursday to Derby wasn’t without incident when I ended up getting on the wrong train in Sheffield!
Lesson 1 – My favourite things Would you like a smartie? Choir and children – watch as they select a particular colour.
You tube clip – my favourite things from “The sound of music”
Who likes the “Sound of music?” Is it your favourite musical? What is?
What are your favourite things?
Evening Service: Is there something for you that represents the busyness of your life? A diary, calendar, watch, mobile phone or computer for example. Something that you would be lost without, but sometimes wish you could lose even for a few days. Or be in an area where it is impossible to get a signal for your phone? Or a power cut or battery failure means you can’t use the computer?
A group of porters were once rushing through the jungle at a ridiculous pace set by a group of men who’d hired them. Eventually they got to a clearing and sat down. When the men tried desperately to get the porters back onto their feet and moving again the head porter refused saying “no, we’re not moving another inch. We’ve come so far and so fast that now we have to wait for our souls to catch up with us.”
I’m not going to suggest that you too should be out there going door to door among your neighbours to talk about Jesus, I’m not sure that knocking on doors is highly effective. But before you sit back in relief and relax, we need to think about what this passage does means for us. If it doesn’t mean that we should be going door-to-door, two-by-two, then what does it have to say to us today?
When Shirley and I were fortunate enough to be honeymooning in Hawaii, one of our most memorable evenings was attending a “lu’au.”
Now a lu’au is an evening of feasting and entertainment, with the main item of food being a pig which has been ‘slow-cooked’ for many hours in a pre-heated hole in the ground. That pulled pork was ample for the hundreds attending the lu’au.
[Photo: long team of oxen] Now the Old Testament reading we heard earlier talked about oxen - animals we are not very familiar with in this country nowadays - in fact, they disappeared here about the time that photography started in the 1840’s being replaced by horses.
Opening Prayers: Based on Psalm 103:8-13; Romans 8:15 and Ephesians 2:13-19
Lord God we thank you and praise you for you are compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. You do not always accuse or harbour anger forever; you do not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is your love for those who fear you; as far as the east is from the west, so far you remove our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, you have compassion on us.
It’s fascinating to see how many times Jesus uses a boat or is at the lakeside during his ministry, and of course we can all recall those amazing stories throughout the bible: we can start with Noah: we of course mustn’t forget Jonah, and all the superstitious sailors involved in that story!
And later in the new testament is that very descriptive passage in Acts 27:27ff - telling of how Paul and his companions were shipwrecked on Malta. But first we have this story; short in length but BIG in content.
Psalm 8, Romans 5 : 1 - 11, John 3 : 1 - 17
Despite it nearly being 10 years since I started local preaching there is still a certain nervousness when the preaching plan comes out. Please don't send me to Westhoughton - If I wanted to be a missionary in another country that's what I would have signed up for.
Please don't send me to Ainsworth on Remembrance Day - I've been 3 times already and I really can't think of a new angle to approach it.
I thought I'd let lucky being sent here - until I checked the lectionary - And then my heart sank when I found out it was Trinity Sunday.
John 14:8-17, (25-27): 14:8 Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied." 14:9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?
14:10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 14:11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.
14:12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.
John 13: 34 -35. 'A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.' Another translation puts it like this: 'It is by your love for one another that everyone will recognise you as my disciples.'
Powerful stuff. Don't you think?
I must have read or heard this passage read dozens of times but the impact of it has only really just struck home. Everyone should know we are Christians by our love – Love should make a difference to the way we live! It doesn't say they will know we are Christians because we go to Church! But because of how much love we show to other people.
A couple of weeks ago I preached about Thomas and the other disciples in the upper room after Jesus’ resurrection and about fear and failure. Many people after the service told me of occasions when they’d felt both those things. We all at times feel afraid or feel that we’ve failed at something – afraid of someone at school or that we had a test and we didn’t do very well.
When I got home, during the afternoon I went onto face book and someone had put up the following words:
Don’t tell your God how big your giants are, tell your giants how big your God is”
You may know the story of the little girl who asks her mother, “Mummy do all fairy stories end with “And they all lived happily ever after?” and her Mum replies “no dear, some end with “After I became a Christian all my problems disappeared.” We all know that being a Christian does not make our problems miraculously disappear.
However, the Easter season does bring us in touch with another fairy story. It’s the idea that everything was wonderful once Jesus had risen from the dead, but our passage this morning clearly shows that this was not the case.
Notes from Revd. Keith Jump's sermon: BASED ON LUKE 24 ; 1-12 ; 1 CORINTHIANS 15 : 12 - 22
FEELINGS ABOUT STATE OF WORLD FOLLOWING BRUSSELS ATTACKS. HAS THE WORLD GONE MAD? HOW DO WE RESPOND? PRAYERS FOR POLITICIANS. BUT WHAT ABOUT U
BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND/ WEATHER/REST FROM WORK/FORGET OUR WORRIES/GREAT BANK HOLIDAY LET'S GO THE SHOPS/BANK HOLIDAY BARGAIN
What gets you excited? We’re a mix of characters here this morning – some wildly enthusiastic, some terribly British and reserved.
Today, we’ve already heard about a crowd that went really wild, cheering Jesus on the day when he entered Jerusalem.
Are you naturally quiet and reserved or are you loud and in your face?
St. John Chapter 19: 31-35 (“The Message”): "Then the Jews, since it was the day of Sabbath preparation, and so the bodies wouldn’t stay on the crosses over the Sabbath… petitioned Pilate that their legs be broken to speed death, and the bodies taken down."
"So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man crucified with Jesus and then the other. When they got to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they didn’t break his legs.
I got up this morning and made some choices:-
Which shower gel would I use – Molton Brown or good old Imperial Leather?
What colour blouse would I wear today? If feels like a blue day.
What to have for breakfast? Blue Wheaties with granola on top or apple and cinnamon porridge?
We seem to live in very noisy times, modern life is full of sounds, it’s very rare to ‘hear’ absolute silence.
There are all sorts of sounds living in a large town like Bolton, from traffic, to the hubbub of voices to music to name but a few. Yet there are some sounds that we don’t hear very often. One of them is the sound of a cockerel crowing. Even living here on the border of town and countryside you’re unlikely to hear one.
Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews: 2000 years ago under the Roman Empire if you committed a crime they had a terrible way of dealing with you.
They would strip you of all your clothes, whip you, beat you, strap a huge piece of wood to your shoulders, put a sign around your neck – or have someone carry it for you saying what your crime was and parade you through the streets.
On this first Sunday in Lent we hear the account of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness.
Jesus has been baptised by John in the River Jordan and He is now on the threshold of His public ministry.
But Jesus is not led to the Temple or the synagogue, instead the Spirit leads Him into the wilderness.
My time as a minister in Chorley, on the whole is remembered with joy, expect for one instance. I had a member in one of my churches who was a bully.
He’d bullied my predecessors and he tried to bully me. I gather he had been no different in his working life either. He was very rude to people before and after services, church meetings were a minefield as you didn’t know what he was going to say or the tone of voice he was going to use, and generally he was a very difficult man.
Story: It was a dark and stormy night. Thunder echoed through the mountains. Lightning intermittently illuminated the tall turrets of Castle Corinth, perched precipitously on a forbidding cliff.
Somewhere, a wolf – or something – howled. Bats flapped through the gloom. Chains rattled, trees shivered, and even the wind seemed to moan over what was about to happen.
Sermon - Year C - 3rd in Ordinary Time Luke 4 v. 14-21; Nehemiah 8 - Selected verses; 1 Cor. 12 v. 12-31a
Two weeks ago I had one of those worship experiences that had me quaking at the knees… Like every church in the circuit we, at Harwood, have been encouraged to explore what makes churches and their congregations ‘fruitful’.
As Hilary has already said I am approaching the final stages of my journey into ordained ministry, having been stationed to serve in the Lancashire West Circuit.
It’s a journey that began in 2008 when I started my training as a local preacher, and will lead to my ordination in 2018. As many of you know, nothing happens quickly in Methodism !
Why are human beings so obsessed with numbers? They count everything -- wouldn't find self-respecting donkeys like us wasting all our time counting things. Life's too short for that. Humans, though - well!
Now let me see, what was I working up to? Oh, yes - the census. That’s how we came to be in the silly situation we're in now.