Sunday 2nd August: 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
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 and this week also a video all age talk by Local Preacher, Vanessa Purdy.
Hymn StF 153: Break thou the bread of life
you look deep inside us,
seeing not only our outer but our inner needs.
Have compassion on us, we pray.
Feed us today from your holy word,
and we will be filled.
Lord God of compassion and boundless blessings,
we are full of amazement
that you care so greatly for the needs of your people.
We worship and adore you for your generosity,
your love, and your power.
Lord Jesus, we are sorry for the times
we keep you to ourselves
and for not sharing your love with others.
Help us to share it with those around us.
As Jesus thanked you
for the baskets of food,
we thank you, God,
for the many things you give to us
from rootsontheweb prayers for today
Today’s Gospel Reading:
Jesus Feeds Five Thousand
13 When Jesus heard the news about John, he left there in a boat and went to a lonely place by himself. The people heard about it, and so they left their towns and followed him by land. 14 Jesus got out of the boat, and when he saw the large crowd, his heart was filled with pity for them, and he healed their sick.
15 That evening his disciples came to him and said, “It is already very late, and this is a lonely place. Send the people away and let them go to the villages to buy food for themselves.”
16 “They don’t have to leave,” answered Jesus. “You yourselves give them something to eat!”
17 “All we have here are five loaves and two fish,” they replied.
18 “Then bring them here to me,” Jesus said. 19 He ordered the people to sit down on the grass; then he took the five loaves and the two fish, looked up to heaven, and gave thanks to God. He broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 Everyone ate and had enough. Then the disciples took up twelve baskets full of what was left over. 21 The number of men who ate was about five thousand, not counting the women and children.
Today’s Epistle Reading:
God and His People
9 I am speaking the truth; I belong to Christ and I do not lie. My conscience, ruled by the Holy Spirit, also assures me that I am not lying 2 when I say how great is my sorrow, how endless the pain in my heart 3 for my people, my own flesh and blood! For their sake I could wish that I myself were under God’s curse and separated from Christ. 4 They are God’s people; he made them his children and revealed his glory to them; he made his covenants with them and gave them the Law; they have the true worship; they have received God’s promises; 5 they are descended from the famous Hebrew ancestors; and Christ, as a human being, belongs to their race. May God, who rules over all, be praised forever! Amen.
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!
As we continue to worship online, we have a pick and mix approach to this sermon slot. You can choose to listen to (1) Susan’s sermon as we have had through lockdown. Today you might also choose to listen to (2) an all age video talk by local preacher Vanessa Purdy or instead to read (3) the pdf sheet from Roots or (4) the Connexional reflection or otherwise to come (5) to the church garden to prayer walk the labyrinth or (6) to North Bondgate Car Park at 3pm today to the Drive in Service or if nothing else to stay home (7) and simply take time for yourself and reflect on the readings you have just read and heard.
1. If you would like to listen to a sermon for today by Local Preacher Susan Thorne, click on the file below
2. Or listen and watch an all age talk by local preacher Vanessa Purdy on the theme of the Feeding of the 5000
3. or you might choose to click on the image below to go to the pdf rootsontheweb adult sheet with further thoughts on these readings
4. or read the reflection from the Methodist Connexional Worship Resources for this week below (Susan and Vanessa have focussed on today’s New Testament lectionary passages, however this reflection concentrates on the Old Testament Reading from Genesis 32:22-31:
An enduring cliché from the world of movies is the portrayal of the happy ending in spaghetti-western movies, with the hero walking off into the sunset satisfied that order has been restored and everyone can now live in peace and harmony.
This was brilliantly parodied by John Sullivan in the Only Fools and Horses Christmas Special (1996) when the Trotters finally become millionaires: the episode ends with Del-Boy, Rodney and Uncle Albert walking off into the horizon as the sun sets. At the time, it was thought that this would be the final episode of the long-running and popular comedy, but as it turned out, the show not only returned, but so did the characters’ troubles. Their moment in the sun had turned out to be temporary and Sullivan captured the experience of many of us, that there are rarely easy answers to life’s struggles.
Today’s Old Testament reading ends, not with Jacob walking towards the sunset but towards the rising sun. It is not the story of a hard day’s work successfully completed, but of a night-time of wrestling that resolves some questions but leaves others still open. His opponent refuses to offer him easy answers so whilst there is blessing for Jacob, things are not neatly tied up.
Jacob, plans to spend the night alone preparing for his uncomfortable reunion with his brother, Esau. Given their history, we might expect that he was always going to have a disturbed night. Choices from long ago are still having an impact on his life and his family’s. After years of ducking and diving, Jacob seems to have come close to the end of his own resourcefulness but there is still something that wants to turn events to his advantage.
Into this scene walks the unexpected stranger. Later Jacob understands that he had been joined by God as he struggled with his past. What follows shows us that Jacob is not entirely ready to give up the fight and his mysterious opponent, seeing that Jacob is willing to fight to the end, delivers a decisive blow. It is at this point of vulnerability that Jacob opens up to a moment of unvarnished self-awareness and unexpected God-awareness.
Jacob demands a neat and tidy resolution which his companion refuses to give to him. Instead, from the struggle, Jacob is offered the opportunity of a new beginning. A new name, a new blessing (a blessing of his own and not one stolen from Esau) and a new insight to God’s presence and God’s nature of love.
So, for Jacob, there, with the rising sun, comes hope to follow a night of uncertain and painful struggle. But there is challenge too: he has to reconcile himself to the fact that some of the scars and wounds of a lifetime of wrestling will travel with him into the new day.
God has confronted him with his past and offered him a better future but his history will not be rewritten. He is offered a future shaped by God’s faithful provision (rather than his own manipulative gains) and reconciliation (rather than the uncertainty of unresolved conflict). He will limp towards the future less certain of his own strength and more aware of God’s presence.
The fantasy of walking off into the sunset is appealing because we would all like neat endings. Sometimes though, God challenges us to embrace new beginnings whilst carrying the memory of our tangled past. Facing up to our past in order to be ready for God’s future may involve some painful wrestling with uncomfortable truths, but in the struggle we can find God’s presence and God’s blessing. Our story, God’s story has not ended yet. May you see God’s face and live.
5. or take a walk to the church garden and pray as you walk around the labyrinth there, silently listening to God as you travel inwards to the cross at the centre and then back outwards again into the world
6. and/or join us this afternoon or 3pm any Sunday until the end of August at the BAFCC Drive-in Service at the Bondgate Car Park, although today’s service is fully booked in the car park, but you can listen online on BishopFM on 105.9FM in the comfort of your home. However plan and book your place for next week and following weeks!
7. and/or sit quietly and reflect on the prayers, readings and thoughts here and listen for what God might be saying to you through them
Take a time to sit quietly…
Hope and Millie’s Reflection Slides
Prayers of Intercession
Hannah’s Creative Prayer
This week, take a candle and…
…place it in front of a newspaper and pray for those in the news.
…Then place it in front of photos of people you know and pray for individual people.
…Then place it in front of a photo of your church, and pray for the church during this week.
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. Amen.
Hymn StF 628: Faithful One, so unchanging
From the YouTube channel of the Chet Valley Churches in Norfolk
By the end of the day, the crowds must have been exhausted.
They left with full stomachs and full hearts.
They had met with Jesus.
You have fed us this morning, Lord,
and we go out to live the lives you call us to.
May we be conscious of your perfect timing in our lives,
as we reach out to the outsiders as well as to our own.
Bless us, Lord.
from rootsontheweb prayers for today