Sunday Worship – 14th January 2024

(All our songs this morning are from Singing the Faith (StF) numbers will be given where available)

Welcome to our Sunday Service, today shared on paper across our circuit and with the congregation at Baildon Methodist Church and led by Mervyn Flecknoe one of our Circuit Local Preachers and a Lay Pastor at Baildon. This is part of of the Jesus Shaped People (JSP) program that is happening at Baildon.

Click on the blue links to follow them for bible readings and associated links


Welcome to this Sunday worship, in which we renew our commitment, first made in 2014, to become more shaped by the life and teaching of Jesus as individuals and as a Church.  We wish to be shaped by Jesus so that our lives take on the shape of the life of Jesus.  Our shorthand for this is “Jesus-Shaped People”.  There are so many groups of people using the title “Christian” to promote violence, to exert power over others, to try to establish national primacy, that it is good to return to the life, teaching, and example of Jesus, to the essence of his message.  We realise that much of what our parents held dear was nothing to do with Jesus.  Divisive issues of sexuality and birth control had no place in His teaching.  Let us examine the life, teaching, and example of Jesus more closely to determine how we might best live. 

Song – StF 28 Jesus calls us here to meet him

An introduction to JSP

Our aim is to emulate the values that Jesus lived, preached, and demonstrated.  We use five:

  1. Jesus lived on the streets and talked to people there, he asked them what their needs were, most were people on the edge of life; either through poverty, illness, or some existential crisis of faith.  He worked with them, there.
  2. Jesus taught using the common language, using examples, making people laugh at familiar but improbable situations.  He taught us to unlearn much of what we have been taught, in favour of His laws of love.
  3. Jesus called people to work together, he formed teams, of 12, of 72, he trusted them, set them tasks, listened to their feedback.  Should we look at people for their potential and should we be handing over preciously guarded jobs?
  4. Jesus frequently retired in prayer.  The gospel writers could not have known what he said when he was alone, but we gain the impression that he was seeking guidance, was he on the right track?  Should we be reflecting and reviewing ourselves and our work more frequently?
  5. Jesus was not afraid to call out those in power when they acted unjustly or unlovingly.  This eventually led to his death on the cross.  Do we need to conform less and become more bold?

Today’s theme is that Jesus worked with people on the streets, on the edge of society.

Collect for the Day

God of the dispossessed, Your time on Earth was spent on the streets, on the edge, responding to real needs;  I am your presence on Earth now, help me to continue your work. Amen

Our second hymn is about you and me;  our contribution to the thinking and impact of our church;  our importance as individuals to God.  The writer is Fred Kaan who was brought up in a household, in the WW2 Holand, a part of the underground railway helping Jewish people escape the Nazis.  He knew the value of each individual, and he put his own life on the line to secure their freedom.

Song – StF 535 God, when I came into this life you called me by my name


Scripture:  two readings from the earliest Gospel, written by St Mark, to bring us closer to the work that Jesus did on the streets.

Mark 3:7-12 

Jesus went off with his disciples to the sea to get away.  But a huge crowd from Galilee trailed after them—also from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, across the Jordan, and around Tyre and Sidon—swarms of people who had heard the reports and had come to see for themselves.  He told his disciples to get a boat ready so he wouldn’t be trampled by the crowd.  He had healed many people, and now everyone who had something wrong was pushing and shoving to get near and touch him. 


This reading reveals that Jesus spent his life amongst those whom he could help, those who needed his help.  One can only imagine how few personal possessions he carried, how little time he devoted to managing his household, taxing his car, mowing his lawn, or taking his children to dance classes.  We sometimes forget how different, how much more dedicated, was his life than ours. 

Our next reading will tell the story of one encounter “on the street”:

Mark 10:46-52 

They spent some time in Jericho.  As Jesus was leaving town, trailed by his disciples & a parade of people, a blind beggar by the name of Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus, was sitting alongside the road.  When he heard that Jesus the Nazarene was passing by, he began to cry out, “Son of David, Jesus! Mercy, have mercy on me!” Many tried to hush him up, but he yelled all the louder, “Son of David! Mercy, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stopped in his tracks. “Call him over.”

They called him. “It’s your lucky day! Get up! He’s calling you to come!” Throwing off his coat, he was on his feet at once and came to Jesus.

Jesus said, “What can I do for you?”


Jesus allowed this beggar to interrupt his schedule, Jesus prioritised the need that Bartimaeus had over his own.  This is something I have great difficulty with.  I am sorry that I so often identify with the priest and the Levite in the story of the Good Samaritan;  my schedule comes first, unless I am concentrating on my Christian duty very hard.  Jesus did not assume that he knew the needs that Bartimaeus felt most keenly, he was courteous enough to ask.  Christian courtesy demands that we allow everyone a voice:  children, seniors, refugees, and even with those who do not speak our language:  birds, bees, mammals, insects, meadow flowers.  To be dedicated to the work Jesus began, we need to appreciate how much of his life was shared, and how much of our life is private.

Song Our next hymn is not in Singing the Faith or Hymns and Psalms.  It was much valued by the Congregational minister who founded the Holiday Fellowship in 1919, now HF Holidays. This version is from the 1937 Unitarian hymn book called “School Praise”

l I LEARNED it in the meadow path, I learned it on the mountain stairs, The best things any mortal hath Are those which every mortal shares.   2 The air we breathe, the sky, the breeze, The light without us and within, Life with its unlocked treasuries, God’s riches are for all to win.   3 The grass is softer to my tread Because it rests unnumbered feet; Sweeter to me the wild rose red, Because she makes the whole world sweet.4 Wealth won by other’s poverty- Not such be mine! let me be blest Only in what they share with me, And what I share with all the rest.   5 And up the radiant peopled way That opens into worlds unknown It will be life’s delight to say, ‘Heaven is not heaven for me alone.’   Lucy Larcom (I826-1893) Tune StF 634 Duke Street  

Jesus ministered to people on the edge of life,

People in poverty, people in sickness, people with mental illness, people who were ostracised, women and children ignored by those in power, soldiers worried about how to conduct themselves, sometimes, even rich people who did not know whether they were doing right.

Most of these people had arrived where they were because others were keen to hang on to “what belongs to me”.

John Wesley emphasised that we should make as much money as we could but not by making other people poor or sick.

Most of the litter that I pick up each week as part of Litter-Free Baildon, comprises containers of snack food eaten in the street.  No-one needs it, it is not good for our health but lots of money is made from selling it to poor people.

Research has shown that, in countries with a more even distribution of wealth than we have, people are healthier and happier.

Many people with mental illnesses are suffering from the endemic cruelty in society which does not allow them to keep their minds healthy.

Those with power in any society are keen to keep it, even if it means marginalising other people and depriving them of agency to manage their own lives and families.

We may be proud and defensive of our homes, but we all know that however much we love our homes, our own sitting room and bedroom, that we are much enriched when we are working in some joint enterprise in Wesleys.

Why do so many people come to Well-Being at Wesleys? To Table Tennis? To Man Talk? To See&Know? To choirs and to play ukulele? To organise uniformed organisations? To all the other joint activities that happen here?  Why do 80 volunteers work in Wesleys Café?  Why did we sell 180 turkey butties on 3rd December?  Why do people want to gather to enjoy sharing?

Not Mine, but Ours. 

In the church, we could not have achieved the progress of the last ten years if we had kept our wealth to ourselves; not my wealth but our wealth.
In a choir, we listen to others, not my voice but our voices.
In table tennis;  not my skill with a bat but also my opponent’s skills that make a good game.
In a discussion group like Man Talk; it’s not just my opinions that are important but yours too. 

If we enjoy wealth only by defend it against those who have none, what sort of wealth is that?  If we were all equally wealthy, would there be the same fear of theft and robbery? 
How can we, as a nation, enjoy a high standard of living if we are constantly frightened by those seeking asylum for a safer, or wealthier, life for themselves and their families?
The life of Jesus shows us that sharing is better than just owning.  Not mine but ours.  Can we change ourselves? 
Can we work together to protect our planet from climate change, or shall we protect our own preferred lifestyle?  This planet, even the bit that we own, its not mine but ours
Can we work together to protect endangered species, or shall we continue our addiction to palm oil, plastics, and petrol? 
Can we work together to ensure that the poorest on Earth have space and air to breathe and to live healthy lives?
Our choice.  Not mine, but ours.
The Christian message is not mine, it is ours.
When we share our lives with those who have fallen to the bottom of the well of life, we are enriched.

Say Prayers for

All who eat free food here or who use our community pantry
All who, in Bradford, are homeless
All who are refugees from war and famine
All who flee domestic violence, or who suffer in silence
All who see no alternative but to travel in small boats in dangerous waters to a better place
All who work together for good.

Song – StF 663 – I, The Lord of sea and sky

Daniel L Schutte From Wisconsin is an American Jesuit with three doctorates who is probably the foremost world hymn composer of whom we have never heard.

Children return and tell their story

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, you are holy,
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us when we do wrong things, as we forgive those who do wrong things to us.
Help us resist temptation and keep us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever.

Song –  StF 409 – Let us build a house where love can dwell

The Blessing

Come with us, Lord Jesus;
Fill us with your Spirit;
Shape us to your likeness;
Use us to enfold with love our needy world.

Let us bless each other with the words of the Grace

The Grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ
The Love of God
The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit
Be with us all, evermore.

Not mine, but ours

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