Welcome to our Sunday Service, today shared on paper across our Circuit and with the congregation at Calverley Methodist Church, and led by Brian Gamble, one of our Circuit Local Preachers
Click on the blue links to follow them for Bible readings and associated links
We have come – from different homes and different situations
We have come – from the noise and busyness of the world to this place of peace and calm
We have come – united with one purpose – to worship God
We are well come.
So let’s prepare for worship as we remain seated and sing
Mission Praise 678/Singing the Faith 36 – There’s a quiet understanding
Psalm 25: 4&5
Show me your ways O Lord, teach me your paths
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
For you are God my saviour
And my hope is in you all day long.
Mission Praise 19/Singing the Faith 608 – All praise to our redeeming Lord
Prayers of Praise and thanks
Father, you are greater than anything we can ever imagine,
more wonderful than our deepest joy, more powerful than anything we have known.
Yours is the authority that always intended to create.
Yours is the sovereignty that holds all things in the palm of your hand.
Yours is the love that continually seeks to bring everyone, everywhere, into the joy of perfect fellowship with you.
Father we adore you.
We have come to lay our lives before you as we declare, we love you, our God.
Father we praise you for the demonstration of your authority, sovereignty and love in the life, death and resurrection of your son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lord, we never realised how small the world was until we saw pictures of the universe.
We never understood just how loving you are until you told us to love our enemies.
We never knew how real you are until you touched our lives, challenged our values and restored our hopes.
Lord we ask your forgiveness and thank you for Jesus who made it possible for us to be changed by his sacrifice on the cross.
It is generally accepted that the first five books of the Bible were written by Moses during the forty years when the tribes of Israel were wandering in the desert. In the fifteen centuries following as they were copied and rewritten by various scribes there were some alterations and additions. These five books tell of the developing relationship between God and his chosen people and in Deuteronomy the emphasis is on the love between God and his people. In our reading this morning Moses tells us that we don’t need to search for God’s truth because it is inherent in us, an essential part of our human nature. God’s spirit is inside us.
Hymns & Psalms 315/Singing the Faith 404 – God’s spirit is in my heart
Paul had never been to Colossi and was writing this letter from Rome, where he was under house arrest. Converts he had made during his time in Ephesus had carried the word there, especially Epaphras.
In this letter he emphasises the importance of sticking with the teaching they had received from Epaphras because he had heard that some of them had been led astray by heretical teachers. So at the beginning of his letter he encourages them by praising their faith, reminding them of the truth they have heard.
In our worship nowadays there is a tendency to dilute our faith, to make it more palatable for new seekers. Hell and the Devil are rarely mentioned. The majesty, power and omnipotence of God are sometimes included in our prayers.
Paul’s letter to Colossae is a reminder that it is vital to keep the biblical truth in our hearts.
Mission Praise 463/Singing the Faith 504 – May the mind of Christ my Saviour
The story of the Good Samaritan is familiar to all of us, perhaps so familiar that when we hear the first few words of introduction we tend to switch off because we know what’s coming. Like all the parables told by Jesus, when we really listen it can speak to us on many different levels.
Just one of the things that we can see in this story is that help came from an unexpected source. Not from the established church, not even from a close neighbour, but from someone of a different culture.
Here Jesus depicted the worst scenario. No doubt there would have been many Jews who would have stopped to help in a similar way but his emphasis was on neighbourliness.
The same things still happen today. We don’t want to get involved. We are too busy, don’t have time. I know there have been occasions when I have ignored the Big Issue seller or the guy at the traffic lights begging ‘because he’ll only spend it on alcohol’. Making judgements when I really don’t know what he’ll do with the money.
Sadly there is still a huge amount of need, locally as well as worldwide and the church, as well as many other organisations, recognise the need of care of the suffering. The Methodist Church has been at the forefront in providing care for the stranger, working in healthcare and education and to relieve poverty,
A hundred and fifty years ago a Methodist minister, the Rev Thomas Bowman Stephenson, working in London saw the poverty and danger faced by destitute children and was moved to action. He created a safe place for them to live in a converted stable in Waterloo.
His idea was seen by others and the movement spread until it became the National Children’s Home and Orphanage. Over the next hundred years the movement expanded until there were numerous homes covering the whole country. You may remember the one at Bramhope. The name became shortened to to National Children’s Home. In the 1970’s the emphasis changed from housing children to care in the community and the homes began to be closed. It is now known by the more appropriate name of Action for Children.
Action for Children is now a major provider of family support services in partnership with local authorities and works with vulnerable, disadvantaged and disabled children.
Just one example of seeing and responding to the needs of our neighbour.
The first children were admitted to the home on 9th July 1869 and that is why we remember Action for Children today, the second Sunday in July.
As Christians we would like to see the world as God’s wonderful creation where all is love. But we have a responsibility to see the dark side of our world where children are neglected and abused. In over a hundred countries there is concern about abuse of children from a variety of sources. But we should not think that abuse only happens in poorer countries. We should take a close look nearer home.
The city of Bradford has had a lot of criticism of the way we care for vulnerable children. For a number of years there have been critical reports and things were so bad that three years ago the department of education appointed a commissioner to oversee the service. Some improvement has been made but the latest report says there is still a long way to go.
Of course we are aware that the vast majority of children are nurtured in caring, loving homes. But in an increasing number of these homes they are living in poverty.
Today being Action for Children Sunday I have talked about children but similar abuse goes on amongst adults too.
What can we do about these seemingly insurmountable problems?
We can raise our prayers to God.
We can raise support for charities like Action for Children.
We can raise funds for food banks.
We can raise our concerns with councillors and M.P’s.
Each one of us is able to do something to fight the injustice which abounds in God’s world today.
Caring for those around us, hospitality and challenging injustice are included in ‘Our Calling, a Methodist Way of Life’. It’s not something extra, not an add on, it should be a natural part of daily living.
As we are part of God’s family everyone is our neighbour. We must become alert to the needs of our neighbour and we must respond to those needs in appropriate ways, always accepting that there will be some cost to ourselves.
Mission Praise 428/Singing the Faith 470 – Lord for the years
Prayers of intercession
Lord we pray for all those who are suffering and enslaved, especially for those who see no hope, no new beginning, no relief, no freedom.
For those suffering from oppression, persecution or imprisonment because of their faith in Jesus.
May the hope of Christ set them free.
We pray for all victims of violence, for all who are despised or rejected, for all who are diminished or frustrated by illness, pain, illiteracy or poverty, for all who are slaves to addiction.
May the power of Christ set them free.
We pray for relationships where there is a desire to dominate, for families where children receive too much discipline or no discipline at all, for those who are never allowed to find their full potential.
May the joy of Christ set them free.
We pray for Action for Children, for all children in their care, for all carers to be filled with love, compassion and understanding, for the organisation to receive sufficient funding to enable their vital work.
May the love of Christ set them free.
We pray for ourselves, for Jesus to touch our thoughts, words and dreams, that his love and truth will fill our lives with peace and understanding.
May the light of Christ set us free.
The Lord’s Prayer
Hymns & Psalms 804/Singing the Faith 415 – The Church of Christ in every age
Hymns & Psalms 277/Singing the Faith 67 – This, this is the God we adore