Sunday Worship – 24th July 2022

Welcome to our Sunday Service, today shared on paper across our Circuit and with the congregation at Baildon Methodist Church, and led by Claire Nott, one of our Circuit Local Preachers..

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

Before the service video: (Graham Kendrick – Call the Seeker, StF 37)

Welcome to worship today which is being shared with Baildon Methodist Church. My name is Claire Nott and I’m currently approaching the halfway point of my local preaching training journey. A few weeks ago, I ran a series of discussion sessions linking to the content of modules 3 and 4. One of these prompted a conversation about services during the period when churches were closed due to Covid-19 and several of us confessed that we had ‘multitasked’ whilst watching the online services – perhaps doing the ironing or, more commonly, undertaking some craft projects. We felt that using our hands to do something that required little thought freed our brains up to focus on worship. As a result of this conversation, I committed to dedicating a knitting corner in my next service which is this one. Feel free to join in with some craft as we worship or not!

Our Call to Worship comes from Psalm 138, one of the set readings for today.

We thank you, Lord, with our whole hearts; we sing praise to you.

We praise your name because of your constant love and faithfulness.

You answer us when we call to you; with your strength, you strengthen each one of us.

Singing the Faith 21 – Born in song!

Prayers (from or inspired by Roots 24/7/22)

Almighty God, as we gather,
let us be quiet and find your presence.
We rejoice in the mystery of your loving justice.
Help us to understand what your love means,
and how we can share that love with others.
In Jesus’ name. 

Our Father in heaven,
we come to worship you.
We gather as your people.
We seek your kingdom and its outworking among us,
yearning for the world’s sufficiency,
searching for peace and harmony, justice and fairness.
To you, our God, we come.

In the silence, we think of times this week when we have not lived out what we know in our hearts to be the right way: we bring before you any thoughts, words, actions or inactions which we regret and seek your forgiveness.


Our words, dear God, are so often hollow and empty,
your word is full and forever,
your word promises to forgive us,
it assures us of our freedom from past sins, failings and falterings.
Let us hear now your word and be set free to live our lives for you.

Singing the Faith 62 – Our God is an awesome God

Reading 1: Colossians 2: 6-19 (The Message)

I’m currently reading a fascinating book, ‘A Life Less Throwaway – The Lost Art of Buying for Life’, found, rather ironically, in a charity shop. It contains lots of insight into how advertisements make us want to buy stuff we don’t really need and how status was linked to survival amongst early humans but is now responsible for us being obsessed with following trends. The book also contains some fascinating statistics: how many items do you think the average house contains? Does anyone want to suggest a total? How about 300 000? It sounds ridiculous at first but when I started to look around my house, at all the books just waiting for me to have time to read them, craft items saved ‘just in case’… then it suddenly seems scarily possible. I was going to show you a picture of my desk to illustrate the point then decided that the amount of clutter on it would be rather embarrassing! The satirist, Art Buchwald, quipped that ‘The best things in life aren’t things.’ That phrase struck me as a good summary of the Colossians passage we just read.

Paul wrote the letter when he was under house arrest in Rome. Despite undergoing tough times personally because of his faith, Paul heard that this new church planting in Colosse was struggling. He’d never personally been there but still felt moved to mentor them and help them refocus on what was important in their faith. There was much to celebrate in Colosse as people had come to know Christ and had been baptised. However, some felt that in order for this new, mainly Gentile, Christian community, to be authentic and credible that it needed to adopt a series of laws and rules, some from Jewish tradition, others from Eastern philosophy and even some from Pagan rituals. The Colossians were focused too much on societal values, standards and status rather than being ‘Jesus-shaped’. Paul starts listing some of the distractions they are clinging to: ‘circumcision?’ – nail it to the cross where it belongs! There is no longer any need for this practice as Jesus cut out the useless things in our lives when he died on the cross. Ritual sacrifice as penance for sin? – nail it to the cross! Literally, Jesus dying on the cross was the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. There is no need to keep following a long list of laws as Jesus freed us from that. In placing our trust in Jesus, our old life died and, just like Jesus, we have been raised from the dead. Paul urges the Colossians, and us, to focus on that initial trust we had in Jesus at the start of this new life. That is all we need to be complete. We can nail our consumer culture to the cross, our desire for fast fashion, for instant gratification, second homes,… what else would you nail to the cross? Instead, we need to focus on people rather than things. Loving God, loving our neighbour, loving ourselves is all Jesus requires of us. It can be scary to let go of everything else; we like having rules as we know where we are with them. Fortunately, John Wesley realised that in order for God’s transforming love to be communicated to us, there are things we can do, what he called the ‘means of grace’. These consist of ‘works of piety’, for example, bible study, communion, regular prayer and worship and ‘works of mercy’, for example, acts of giving and service to others – mainly actions linked to social justice. However, it’s important to realise that these means of grace have no power in themselves. We do them because Jesus tells us to do them, to seek God in this way, and through these means, God’s grace can reach us and change us. Wesley cautioned that while you are using all the means of grace, make sure you are only seeking God, not doing the activity for its own sake. Nothing except God can satisfy your soul. The means are ways not goals – don’t praise yourself for having done them! The Methodist Way of Life programme puts the means of grace into a practical way of discipleship. If we focus on the initial trust we placed in Jesus then we will be living ‘a life less throwaway’. We already know that the ‘the best things in are life are not things’ but instead the love God has for us and the Grace freely available to each and every one of us.

Singing the Faith 364 – O for a thousand tongues to sing

Key Question: Why do we pray? Take a few moments to think about this and, if there are other people with you, share your thoughts.

Let’s hear what Jesus told his disciples about prayer:

Reading 2: Luke 11: 1-13

The biggest surprise for me in the local preaching training so far has been the development in my understanding of prayer. I used to think of prayer as a little bit boring, monotonous – many of the prayers used in church as I was growing up were just words on a page, said out loud but I didn’t ‘own’ them. Over the past year, I’ve come to recognise that prayer is much more than this, it encompasses my personal relationship with God as well as all my interactions with the world. Learning about and using breath prayers has helped me to seek God in silence and to recognise the Spirit’s presence is as close as my next breath. I’ve just finished an excellent book, ‘Why Bother Praying’ by Richard Leonard, SJ (published 2013). It includes a section on the Lord’s Prayer and uses it as an example of how just a few sentences have changed history. It is possibly the only prayer that unites the entire Christian community – if all 2.38 billion people who say they are Christian1 acted out what they say in this prayer then just imagine the change we’d see in the world. 2 billion people behaving as though God’s Kingdom were here on earth, 2 billion people seeking to do God’s will, demonstrating forgiveness and living lives influenced by God. When we pray we are developing our relationship with Jesus and seeking the presence of the Holy Spirit to help us change the world for the better. Another book that has influenced me is ‘School of Prayer’ by Archbishop Anthony Bloom (published 1970). In it he recounts an experience he had as a young priest when a lady in her 90s came to see him after his first service and asked him for some advice. She had been praying the Jesus Prayer (“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me”) almost continually for 14 years and had never once perceived God’s presence. Bloom’s advice to the lady was to give God a chance to get a word in: she should go to her room after breakfast, put it right and then place her armchair in a strategic position so that she didn’t have to look into the dark corners into which things are pushed so as not to be seen. Then she should light her lamp before her icon, and first of all just sit and take stock of her room. Then she should take up her knitting and for fifteen minutes knit before the face of God but he forbid her to say a word of prayer during these 15 minutes. She should just knit and try to enjoy the peace of her room. Rather suspicious of this advice, the lady went away but a little later came back to say, “It works!”. She had her breakfast, tidied her room then sat down and, thinking it was nice to have 15 minutes in which she shouldn’t feel guilty about sitting and doing nothing, took the opportunity to look around her room. She noticed that it was a nice room and she enjoyed looking at the things she’d collected over the years. It felt peaceful with just a clock disturbing the silence; she took up her knitting and the clicking of the needles made her more and more aware of the silence. Then she perceived that the silence wasn’t just absence of noise but that it held a presence. The silence around her began to come and meet the silence within her and she realised that at the heart of the silence is God who is all stillness, all peace, all poise (summary of pages 60-61).

Singing the Faith 20 – Be still, for the presence of the Lord

Prayers of intercession and dedication of gifts

From ‘Liturgies for Daily Life’ by Dorothy McRae-McMahon (2004, P-63)

We pray that we will choose life, O God,
Your life which lifts our eyes to a cross
On the pathway to risen life for all people
And ourselves.

<silent reflection>

We pray today for all who long for freedom,
Who wait on the edges
Hoping that someone will see their pain,
And who reach out their hands to your cross in hope or faith.
These are the ones we have seen before us
And for whom we now pray in this silence

<silent prayer>

We pray for ourselves,
Your people of this day
Who look with awe at the task in front of us,
As did the disciples of long ago.
We pray that we may be filled with your energy
For transforming the world,
And your courage in facing all that life brings,
Whatever that may cost in sacrifice and love.

Give us all that we need to follow your cross in faithfulness.
We ask it in the name of Jesus Christ.

Generous God

Everything we have first came from you and we offer you our gifts of time and money and our talents. We ask you to use them as you will in our churches, our communities and the wider world. We pray for the amazing work undertaken by ‘Care for Kaleo’, Baildon Methodist Church’s nominated charity for July, and ask your blessing on all those involved in its projects as administrators, leaders or participants.

We dedicate our gifts in the name of Jesus Christ.


Lord’s Prayer (time of trial version)

Singing the Faith 254 – Seek ye first the kingdom of God

Prayer (from Roots 24/7/22)

Look at your hands (look at hands);
our hands are God’s hands.
Stamp your feet (stamp feet)
our feet are God’s feet.
Close your eyes (hands over eyes)
our eyes are God’s eyes.
Let us use our hands (wave hands)
our feet (stamp feet)
and our eyes (look round at everyone)
to do God’s work on earth. 

Let us share with one another the words of The Grace:

May the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all for ever more. Amen.

1 (accessed 14/7/22)

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