Sunday Worship – 5th June 2022 – A Methodist Way of Life

This month’s commitment: we will help people in our communities and beyond

Welcome to our Pentecost and Methodist Way of Life service for June, today shared on paper across our Circuit and with the congregation at St Andrew’s Methodist Church, and led by Revd Christine Crabtree.

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

Call to worship
We come to worship you, Lord our God.
We look to your throne expecting to see a King in glory,
and we find you waiting with a bowl and towel.
Help us to learn your way of service.

Singing the Faith 499/Hymns & Psalms 500Great God, your love has called us here

Prayers of adoration and confession
Lord our God, your love surrounds us and calls us to you.
You reach out to us, coming to live with us in Jesus,
serving those you met and washing the feet of your friends.
You gave your whole self for us, dying to show us the depth of your love.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that you first loved us.
Your love does not focus on our actions, our standing, our mistakes,
but instead calls to our hearts, and gladly we respond.
We bring before you the times when we do not follow your example of love and service–
when we are in too much of a hurry to see the needs;
when we see them but think someone else will deal with them;
when we fix problems without truly seeing the person we are supposed to be helping.
Forgive us, and having forgiven us, help us to love one another as you first loved us.

Bible reading: Acts 2:1-18

Singing the Faith 385 – Holy Spirit we welcome you

Reflection 1–Pentecost and Jubilee

A Platinum Jubilee is a rare event–our Queen is our longest-serving monarch–and people want a souvenir of the occasion. Among the Jubilee memorabilia that have been produced, however, are more than 10,000 souvenir plates, cups and saucers where instead of ‘Jubilee’ the manufacturers have written ‘Jubbly’. These souvenirs were ordered from China and there seems to have been a mix-up in communication–something has got lost in translation. Unless you are bilingual, however fluent you are, there will always be difficulties when using a language not your own. It isn’t possible to translate some things and have all the nuances in the second language that they have in the first. And it’s harder work–I learned German in school and at university, and spoke to a high standard; but when I was on my year abroad in Heidelberg many years ago, there were times when I got tired of speaking German and simply wished people would just speak to me in my language!

The Bible tells the story of the Tower of Babel to show why there are different languages in the world, and at Pentecost the Spirit comes and gives the gift of other tongues to the disciples to reverse that division between peoples and nations. God speaks through the disciples in words that each person present in Jerusalem will know and understand, and they marvel at being able to hear God’s name being praised in their own languages. God speaks the language of our hearts, and no translation is needed. There is no barrier between his words and our hearts; nothing to study or achieve; we can simply receive. This new world where the Spirit is poured out on all people is a coming together of every person and a recognition that all are invited to come to God. The first Christian communities attracted attention because people mixed across social classes, men and women together and, in time, also across peoples and cultures in a new form of community where each person shared what they had so that everyone could have enough. Homes were opened to fellow believers and meals were eaten together in the name of Jesus.

In the light of Pentecost, what are we called to as we think of our Methodist Way of Life commitment to help people in our communities and beyond? What might that look like, 2000 years on from the first Pentecost?

Singing the Faith 611 – Brother, sister, let me serve you

Bible Reading: John 14:8-17, 25-27

Reflection 2–Community, Covid, Jubilee, beyond
Today will see many street parties and similar ventures up and down the country as we celebrate the Jubilee. Neighbours who may not normally see much of each other will come together and get to know one another a little better over shared food and drink on wobbly tables and chairs, perhaps even singing together as part of their celebration. This kind of thing happened also at the start of the pandemic, when lockdown saw people offer to help neighbours by bringing shopping, medication to those who couldn’t collect things for themselves, or who were shielding because of greater vulnerability to infection. We came together, stood at our doors and clapped for the NHS and other key workers; we sang together and entertained each other and remembered what community meant. Can today be a reminder of those times, a reminder to keep it up for the long haul, to do what we can to serve our communities and beyond? It’s good to provide spaces in our churches for different groups to meet, but can we come out from behind church walls to be a presence in our neighbourhoods? If we don’t have enough people to organise things ourselves, can we go to events that other people may do the work of organising, to offer our support to them and intentionally bring the Spirit of God with us into those places?

And what about the ‘beyond’ in our commitment today–what can we commit to do to help those beyond our communities–those suffering in war zones, those who go hungry day after day, children who live on the streets, those who need medical help and supplies, women and girls who have no sanitary products for when their period comes, or who have been raped by soldiers trying to destroy communities? Can we support one cause, one family, one school or hospital, and share God’s love in that practical way? What is the Spirit saying to the Church today about how we best demonstrate the presence of the Spirit, and the coming of the kingdom of God?

Singing the Faith 399 – When deep despair casts out all light

Prayers of intercession
Let us pray for the needs of the world around us.

God who has come to us in Jesus and in Spirit, in flames and wind and words,
in resurrection and in power, in humility and weakness,

God of Pentecost and Jubilee:
bring healing and hope, we pray.

Where the choice is between heating and eating and prices rise every day;
where the housebound see no-one all day but a carer in a hurry to fit yet more into the timesheet,

God of Pentecost and Jubilee:
bring healing and hope, we pray.

Where children are hungry and their parents are hungrier still;
Where there is only dirty water to drink and the nearest hospital is two days’ walk away,

God of Pentecost and Jubilee:
bring healing and hope, we pray.

Where fundraisers seek to capture imagination and turn it into hard cash;
where being cared for brings fresh impetus and new shoots break dry ground,

God of Pentecost and Jubilee:
bring healing and hope, we pray.

Where kindness is contagious and leads to greater things;
where we realise that in working together we are stronger and shine brighter,

God of Pentecost and Jubilee:
bring healing and hope, we pray.

Now bring your prayers before God …

God of Pentecost and Jubilee:
bring healing and hope, we pray.

We draw our prayers together as we say the Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father in heaven hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours,
now and for ever. Amen.

Singing the Faith 370 – Breathe on me. breath of God

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