Home Worship - May 17 2020

6th Sunday of Easter - 17th May 2020              Worship material prepared by Rev John Barnett

This short act of worship has been prepared for you to use whilst we are unable to use Methodist Church premises. Spend a few moments with God, knowing that other people are sharing this act of worship with you.


Opening Prayer

Almighty God, I am here to worship you. I join with friends from my local church, with Christians all around the world, and with all the company of heaven, to offer you my praise.

Hymn: Meet and right it is to sing

(Singing the Faith 32)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8WQfugXk4A

Meet and right it is to sing, in every time and place,

glory to our heavenly King,

the God of truth and grace:

join we then with sweet accord,

all in one thanksgiving join;

holy, holy, holy Lord, eternal praise be thine.

Thee the first-born sons of light,

in choral symphonies,

praise by day, day without night,

and never, never cease;

angels and archangels all

praise the mystic Three in One,

sing, and stop, and gaze, and fall

o'erwhelmed before thy throne.

Vying with that happy choir,

who chant thy praise above,

we on eagles' wings aspire,

the wings of faith and love:

thee they sing with glory crowned,

we extol the slaughtered Lamb;

lower if our voices sound, our subject is the same.

Father, God, thy love we praise,

which gave thy Son to die;

Jesus, full of truth and grace,

alike we glorify;

Spirit, Comforter divine,

praise by all to thee be given;

till we in full chorus join,

and earth is turned to heaven.

Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

 

Let us pray together:

Loving God, we come, each of us just as we are,

with hopes and fears, joys and sorrows,

and lay them all before you.

Help me to know that you are with me now.

Grant me the assurance that, in your love,

you receive me, accept me and forgive me.

Give me a thankful heart for all that you have done for me through your Son, Jesus Christ,

and let your Holy Spirit guide me as I worship you.

 

Today’s Gospel Reading:          John 14:15-21

Jesus said:

‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

‘I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.’

 

Reflection by Rev Neil Stacey

These words of Jesus were spoken at ‘The Last Supper’ which he shared with his disciples on the night before his death on the cross.

It may be difficult for us to understand how confused and anxious the friends of Jesus were. If you go back to the middle of John chapter 13, and read all the way from there, you see how hard this must have been.  Jesus tells the disciples that one of them will betray him.  In John 13:25, they ask, “Lord, who is it?”  Then he tells them that he is going away, and that they cannot go with him. So in John 13:36-37 Simon Peter asks, “Lord, where are you going?” … “Lord, why can I not follow you now?”

In John 14:5, Thomas says, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”

In between all these questions, Jesus commands his followers to love one another, invites them to believe in God and in himself, and tells them that he is going to prepare a place for them.  But their questions show that they still had concerns.

It is against this background that Jesus now offers his friends encouragement.  He will ask God to send an Advocate, a Helper, to be with them forever. The word translated as ‘Advocate’ means someone who is called in to help in time of need.

Jesus goes on to talk about this Helper as the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of truth, who will guide them and not leave them orphaned.

Are we anxious?  Are we confused? 

Are we full of questions? 

Are we unsure about the days, weeks and months that lie ahead? 

Jesus makes the same promise to us as he did to those first friends of his.  We will never be left alone.  God’s Holy Spirit is always with us – to comfort, guide and strengthen us.

The Spirit of the living God is with us – today, tomorrow and always. 

May that Spirit help each one of us to rest in the promise of Jesus in John 14: 27 – “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. A peace that the world cannot give. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”

A time of prayer

Ask God, our heavenly Father, to make the presence of the Holy Spirit real to you now.

Invite the Holy Spirit to guide you as you pray.

Remember before God your local church and all its people. Give thanks that its mission continues even if it cannot meet for worship at present.

Pray that the Holy Spirit may direct its work and strengthen all its members in the tasks to which they are called.

Pray for the wider church that by word and action it may proclaim to the world God’s love in Jesus Christ.

Remember before God our world and its leaders.

Pray for peace, for a just and sustainable use of its resources and for greater recognition of our responsibility to care for all creation.

Give thanks for those who work to combat disease; for scientists, doctors, nurses and all who care for the sick, the aged and the vulnerable.

Ask God to bless and strengthen them.

Remember before God people you know who particularly need your prayers at this time: family members, friends, neighbours, fellow church members, people you would normally meet regularly but from whom you are now separated. Think of those who are ill, or anxious, or grieving.

Pray that the presence and power of the Holy Spirit may surround and sustain them.

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how you can be part of the answer to your prayers. Christian Aid Week has just ended, and the work of Christian Aid among the poor of the world is as important as ever at this time. Perhaps you could send a donation, bearing in mind that much of their usual fundraising may not be possible this year.

Maybe someone you have prayed for would love to receive a phone call from you. As God blesses you, so may you be a blessing to others in Jesus’ name.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father ……

Hymn: Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me

(Singing the Faith 395)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7jWOasypDU

Spirit of the living God,

fall afresh on me.

Spirit of the living God,

fall afresh on me.

Break me, melt me,

mould me, fill me.

Spirit of the living God,

fall afresh on me.

Daniel Iverson (1890-1977)

 

A prayer of blessing

May God the Father bless us;                                                                                  

May Christ take care of us;                                                                                       

May the Holy Spirit enlighten us

all the days of our life. 

The Lord be our Defender and Keeper of body and soul, both now and for ever, to the ages of ages.

Amen.       (The Book of Cerne, 9th century)