Bishop Street Methodist Church Sunday Stuff

Welcome

Sunday Stuff is a place to find on-line worship material shared by Bishop Street Methodist Church, Leicester

What is this?

At the moment Bishop Street Methodist Church can’t meet on Sundays but we remain a praying and worshiping community. The blog at the top of this site is a place where Sunday by Sunday we can share resources and link to other material.

However, there are lots of opportunities to experience Sunday Worship remotely, by national and local radio, by streaming from different Methodist Churches.

We’ve put together these links and resources, some from the Methodist Church and some ‘home grown’. Rev. Dr Helen Cameron (Chair of the Northampton District) has asked us to keep in pastoral contact week by week, with Pastoral Visitors forming a link between their group and our minister. We have a facebook group: Bishop Street Community

Worship for Sunday 29th March 2020

Image may contain: drawing
Colouring page for sharing taken from https://www.facebook.com/jacqui.grace.artist/photos/a.735762149856817/2384620581637624/?type=3&theater

Beneath is a full act of worship prepared by Rev. Fran Rhys. There is also a video from Lt. Faith Scales the Salvation Army Officer at Shiremoor. We are very grateful to her for giving us permission to share them with you.

Opening Prayer

As we come to worship you might like to have a time of silence and light a candle.

Then pray: Holy and Loving God I come to worship you, as I do I remember that I am a part of your church in my community and in the world, and I take comfort from the fact that I am not alone.

Come by your Holy Spirit and help me to worship you in spirit and in truth.

Amen[1]

Hymn: StF 370 Breathe on me breath of God

Sing/ Read /pray /proclaim the words or listen to it here

Reading John 11:1-45

Sermon

The chapter from the Gospel of John that we’ve read focuses on an unconventional
household. It is a household made up of one brother and two sisters, or these are the only members of the household that are named. They live in Bethany, which is just a couple of miles to the west of Jerusalem, along a road heading towards Jericho over the mountains. This ancient road is now blocked, since the Wall or Separation Barrier blocks the way completely. It is only possible to travel to Bethany from Jerusalem by a much more circuitous route. If you have a British Passport, that might not take you much longer. For Palestinians the journey is much more difficult than that. But back to 2,000 years ago, when the checkpoints were guarded by Roman soldiers to restrict the Jewish inhabitants…

In contrast to Jesus’ twelve disciples who are asked to become itinerant and abandon their homes and former livelihoods, the members of this household continue to be disciples from their home. That’s something most of us are being called to do in these strange times. The siblings have clearly become close followers and friends of Jesus, for we’re told that Jesus loved and wept for Lazarus, and Martha and Mary refer to Jesus as ‘the Teacher’. Jesus made a radical move in having women disciples, such as Mary and Martha. They appear to have been a wealthy household – perhaps that explains why none of them are described as married? Another possibility suggested by Methodist theologian, Professor Frances Young, is that the sisters cared for their brother, Lazarus who had learning disabilities.[2] She points out that in the text in John 11, Lazarus never speaks. (Nor does Lazarus, the poor man with sores in Luke 16.) Frances Young also wonders whether the Greek word for ‘sick’ which is repeated in almost each of the first 6 verses of chapter 11 had a particular kind of significance, perhaps hinting at what is now referred to as learning disabilities.[3] We know the household is relatively wealthy, because they were able to host a lot of mourners when Lazarus died. Lazarus’ tomb is also large, and Mary could afford expensive perfume to anoint Jesus’ feet in chapter 12.

So far, so good! Now we get to the challenging, miracle aspect to the story. Nowhere else in the Gospels do we hear of any cases of Jesus Christ bringing people back from the dead after 4 days, when there would have been decaying of the body and terrible smells. Martha, the ever practical one, points this out out in v.39, even though she has already made her strong profession of faith earlier in v.27, implying that Jesus as Messiah, as Son of God, as “the one coming into the world” can do anything. (Faith can seem to go two steps forward and one step back!) The other examples in the Gospels of Jesus bringing people back to life all happen when someone is thought to have just died, or possibly having been in a coma. In this story, Jesus states that the miracle will be enacted ‘for God’s glory.’ The Greek word used here for ‘glory’ means ‘revelation’, rather than ‘praise.’ Lazarus will be brought back to life, in order to reveal God, not in order to praise God. I find that a helpful difference in emphasis. It suggests that God is revealed through suffering, through working with suffering, rather that suggesting that God uses suffering to focus praise on God. Frances Young, whose son has profound learning disabilities, puts it like this: “Tragedy, then, is normally viewed in entirely negative terms, but what I want to suggest is that, contrary to expectation, it’s through tragedy that we discover what is most deeply life-giving, and that the clue is provided by the cross, along with lives like [my son] Arthur’s.”[4]

Many of us can probably think of examples of people we know, where a person’s suffering, however unjust, or however painful, can seem to mean that they point us all a bit more towards God. My father has entered the early stages of dementia and so far I mainly feel touched by the increased sense of closeness this has brought about between him and me. His vulnerable circumstances reveal new, gentler sides to his personality. We have shared some touching times of praying and singing hymns together.  I know this isn’t the experience of all who transition to dementia, and he is fortunate in being in a good care-home. I even suggest that in the restrictions and difficulties, the suffering and pain of the current partial-lockdown of society brought about by combating the Corona virus, revelation is received. We’re reminded, abruptly, of the need for more care and thoughtfulness towards each other. Despite some horror stories of alarmed panic-buying, there are many other stories of enhanced neighbourliness. This week nearly half a million people have answered the Government’s call to support through the NHS those in vulnerable circumstances with shopping, and phone calls.

Since God is revealed in Christ, then God can do anything through Christ, including defying the natural laws of life and death. In John’s Gospel this resurrection of Lazarus gets us ready for Jesus Christ’s own resurrection from death, even though each experiences a different kind of resurrection. This preparation starts as Jesus says in response to Martha’s statement of faith in Jesus Christ: “I am the resurrection and the life.”

In the midst of these worrying times, let us say with Martha: (v.27) “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.” This will help us find constructive meaning within the strangeness and fears of this time and always.

Prayers for others and for ourselves    

Let’s pray

Holy and Loving God we pray for your world, for the leaders who are making difficult decisions as every day brings new changes and challenges.

Lord of all, Lord for all

Hear our prayer

We pray for our nation, that decisions might be made with wisdom and care for the benefit of all.

Lord of all, Lord for all

Hear our prayer

We pray for our town/ city/ village. For all who live here that your peace might reign and that your perfect love might settle our fears.

Lord of all, Lord for all

Hear our prayer

We pray for frontline workers, doctors, nurses, carers, shop workers, refuse collectors, postal workers.

Lord of all, Lord for all

Hear our prayer

We pray for our loved ones, those we know who may be ill, those who are struggling, those who are confused and conflicted… ( you might like to name names here)

Lord of all, Lord for all

Hear our prayer

And finally we pray for ourselves, you know what is on our hearts and minds, and so we offer that to you (again you might like to name your own prayers and concerns)

Lord of all, Lord for all

Hear our prayer

AMEN[5]

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father ……

Hymn 403: God is love, his the care.

 Sing/ read /pray /proclaim the words or listen to it here:

   1    God is love: his the care,
        tending each, everywhere.
        God is love — all is there!
        Jesus came to show him,
        that we all might know him:
            Sing aloud, loud, loud!
            Sing aloud, loud, loud!
            God is good!
            God is truth!
            God is beauty!  Praise him!

   2    None can see God above;
        neighbours here we can love;
        thus may we Godward move,
        finding him in others,
        sisters all, and brothers:

   3    Jesus came, lived and died
        for our sake, crucified,
        rose again, glorified;
        he was born to save us
        by the truth he gave us:

   4    To our Lord praise we sing —
        light and life, friend and king,
        coming down love to bring,
        pattern for our duty,
        showing God in beauty:

Percy Dearmer (1867–1936)

Reproduced from Singing the Faith Electronic Words Edition, 403.

Video from Lt Faith Scales

On the theme of patience:

If you found this videos helpful there is daily video on their Facebook page which you can access even if you do not have a Facebook account https://www.facebook.com/ShiremoorSalvationArmy

[1] S. Coleman,  Worship from home service sheet for Sunday 29 March 2020 (Word doc) https://www.methodist.org.uk/our-faith/worship/singing-the-faith-plus/seasons-and-themes/worship-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/

[2] F. Young, Arthur’s Call, A Journey of Faith in the face of Severe Learning Disability, (London: SPCK, 2014), p.137

[3] Northampton Methodist District Retreat at Launde Abbey, Leicestershire with Professor Frances Young, 30.01.19

[4] F.Young, op.cit.p.98

[5] S. Coleman, op.cit.

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