Seventh Sunday of Easter falls this year on Aldersgate Sunday…
In the Methodist Church calendar, Aldersgate Sunday is the Sunday nearest to 24 May (traditionally known as ‘Wesley Day’) or the Sunday before it. It commemorates a life-changing moment in the Christian journey of John Wesley, the most prominent of the founders of Methodism.
Aldersgate – what changed for the Wesleys?
Aldersgate Sunday is a great opportunity to celebrate the work of God in our lives, and to reflect on how we should respond to everything that God has given us.
In May 1738, John unwillingly attended worship at a Moravian ‘Religious Society’ meeting on Aldersgate Street in London. It was during this service that he felt his “heart strangely warmed”, as he experienced God’s love in a most personal and life-giving way. Until then he had known God in his mind, but not in his heart. Now he understood the value of a personal experience of God that would bring assurance of salvation to the believer.
This short act of worship has been prepared for you to use if you are unable to attend church by the Methodist Connexion. If you are well enough why not spend a few moments with God, knowing that other people are sharing this act of worship with you. For Bishop Auckland Methodist Church, the slides and creative prayer from Hope, Hannah and Millie have been added as well as an audio sermon by Local Preacher, Susan Thorne.
Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides upon the clouds—his name is the Lord—be exultant before him. (Psalm 68)
As I come before you God, help me to praise your name.
Focus my mind on your presence with me
and remind me that I am joined together
with people around the world worshipping at home.
May your name be glorified in our worship. Amen.
Hymn StF 45: Earth’s Creator, Everyday God
Sing/ Read /pray /proclaim the words or listen to it here:
Let us pray together
We praise you that you are with us in every part of our lives and you never stop loving us.
We praise you for the world you created and the beautiful things we see around us.
We praise you that you came to earth in Jesus to show us in person how much you care about us and the world we live in. As we remember your ascension we thank you that you did not leave us alone but sent your Sprit so that we can always know you are with us.
You invite us to join in your work of loving people and the planet and we pray that you show us how we can share in your mission of love. In Jesus name we pray,
A Collect for Aldersgate Sunday
God of overwhelming grace,
you ignited the spark of your grace in John and Charles Wesley and a passion for holiness, justice and sharing your great love with others.
Warm our hearts that we may trust in you.
Renew our conviction and inspire us to embrace new opportunities even in difficulty.
Pour out your spirit on your people that we may be united in your love and ready to share hope with the world through Jesus who is one with you. Amen
Today’s Reading from the New Testament: Acts 1: 6-14
Jesus Is Taken Up to Heaven
6 When the apostles met together with Jesus, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time give the Kingdom back to Israel?”
7 Jesus said to them, “The times and occasions are set by my Father’s own authority, and it is not for you to know when they will be. 8 But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 After saying this, he was taken up to heaven as they watched him, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10 They still had their eyes fixed on the sky as he went away, when two men dressed in white suddenly stood beside them 11 and said, “Galileans, why are you standing there looking up at the sky? This Jesus, who was taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way that you saw him go to heaven.”
12 Then the apostles went back to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, which is about half a mile away from the city. 13 They entered the city and went up to the room where they were staying: Peter, John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Patriot, and Judas son of James. 14 They gathered frequently to pray as a group, together with the women and with Mary the mother of Jesus and with his brothers.
Today’s Gospel Reading: John 17: 1-11
Jesus Prays for His Disciples
17 After Jesus finished saying this, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your Son, so that the Son may give glory to you. 2 For you gave him authority over all people, so that he might give eternal life to all those you gave him. 3 And eternal life means to know you, the only true God, and to know Jesus Christ, whom you sent. 4 I have shown your glory on earth; I have finished the work you gave me to do. 5 Father! Give me glory in your presence now, the same glory I had with you before the world was made.
6 “I have made you known to those you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me. They have obeyed your word, 7 and now they know that everything you gave me comes from you. 8 I gave them the message that you gave me, and they received it; they know that it is true that I came from you, and they believe that you sent me.
9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those you gave me, for they belong to you. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine; and my glory is shown through them. 11 And now I am coming to you; I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world. Holy Father! Keep them safe by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one just as you and I are one.
Time to Reflect
Don’t forget that you can also tune into the website here every day of the week to listen to church friends sharing daily reflections, including Bible readings and inspiration… or get them on the telephone on 01388 436810… do join us!
If you would like to listen to a sermon for today by Local Preacher Susan Thorne, click on the file below
Click on the image below to go to the pdf rootsontheweb adult sheet with further thoughts on these readings
and/or read the reflection from the Connexional resources below here…
“Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven?”
They hadn’t really had a chance to think about it. Surely it’s the most human thing in the world to keep watching the space where someone was, to need to see to be able to believe and start to understand, to need some time to adjust to a huge change in the features of your everyday life?
There has started to be talk in the media about a “new normal”. Many of us had already started to experience the creeping realisation that things will not quickly or immediately go back to exactly how they were. Our lives are going to look different for a significant period of time, or for some of us forever if we too have lost people who made up the fabric of our lives.
Jesus’ disciples have a promise, of the Holy Spirit to help them, but they don’t know when. Like us they must adjust as best they can to the new circumstances of their lives.
I wonder what they understood of the ascension they had witnessed and the prayers they may have heard Jesus utter like the one we read in today’s Gospel.
In this Jesus asks that he be glorified, not for himself but for his followers. As Jesus ascends he brings all his human experience with him so that it is known within God. Remember that how ever you are feeling today God is with you.
Jesus asks that God will protect his followers so that they might be united, one as Jesus and the Father are one.
What might we learn about unity and fellowship from our experience of isolation?
Take a time to sit quietly
Hope and Millie’s Reflection Slides
Hannah’s Creative prayer:
Write down something that you are always thankful for and stick it somewhere that you see often (e.g. the fridge) Whenever you feel down about something, you can see some things that you are thankful for.
A Prayer for Aldersgate Sunday 2020
By the Revd Dr Martyn Atkins
Resourceful Holy Spirit of God,
We thank you for your servants, John and Charles Wesley.
That you fuelled their zeal
and tempered it with divine grace;
brought them through dark times,
enlightened and renewed.
That you warmed their needy hearts,
assured and shaped them by your active holiness.
That through their willingness,
you worked out Your purposes of hope, mercy, and justice.
Somewhat daunted, we stand today in their deep footsteps.
In a world of new challenges and old needs in a time like no other.
But undaunted, we humbly ask you to do in us,
what you did in and through them.
May we know both your infilling and outpouring,
that whatever our situation or condition,
we will serve and honour Christ,
and in these, our days, know and believe
that the best of all is, “God is with us.”
A Reflection on Aldersgate Sunday 2020
The President of the Methodist Conference the Revd Barbara Glasson reflects on Aldersgate Sunday 2020
A time of prayer
God our protector,
We come before you in prayer for your world, your children and ourselves.
We pray for the world that you have made.
We thank you for the renewal of creation springing up
as human activity has been restricted.
We pray that we will learn to value these gifts
and to live more gently in the future.
We pray for the leaders of nations
making impossible decisions on our behalf.
We pray that they will speak and act with integrity
and protect those who are most vulnerable.
We pray for our church communities.
We bring you our sadness at not being able to meet together
and we thank you for the people
finding it easier to explore faith at this time.
We pray that we will find new ways to reach out to the world.
We pray for the people we miss.
Our friends and families and those we long to see face to face.
We pray for safety and protection for our loved ones.
We pray for those who have lost someone they love
and haven’t been able to say goodbye.
We pray that they will know the comfort of your loving presence
and that you will show us how to reach out in love and friendship.
We pray for ourselves in these difficult days
shared by so many people
but also lived in isolation.
Help us to know your protecting love
and to live in the power of your Spirit.
In Jesus’ name we pray.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy name
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us
and lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom
The power and the glory
For ever and ever
Hymn StF 300: Hail the day that sees him rise
A prayer of blessing
be with me as I leave this time of worship.
May I know your presence in my everyday
and live your message of love and hope.
Original Materials by Alison Seren
If you wish to sing more Wesley hymns to mark Aldergate Sunday and read more about the history of the day, click here