Sixth Sunday of Easter
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.
Almighty God, I am here to worship you.
I join with Christians all around the world,
and with all the company of heaven,
to offer you my praise.
Hymn StF 32: Meet and right it is to sing
Sing/ Read /pray /proclaim the words or listen to it here:
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:
The Promise of the Holy Spirit
15 “If you love me, you will obey my commandments. 16 I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, who will stay with you forever. 17 He is the Spirit, who reveals the truth about God. The world cannot receive him, because it cannot see him or know him. But you know him, because he remains with you and is[a] in you.
18 “When I go, you will not be left all alone; I will come back to you. 19 In a little while the world will see me no more, but you will see me; and because I live, you also will live. 20 When that day comes, you will know that I am in my Father and that you are in me, just as I am in you.
21 “Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. My Father will love those who love me; I too will love them and reveal myself to them.”
Today’s Epistle Reading: 1 Peter 3:13-22
Suffering for Doing Right
13 Who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for doing what is right, how happy you are! Do not be afraid of anyone, and do not worry. 15 But have reverence for Christ in your hearts, and honour him as Lord. Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you, 16 but do it with gentleness and respect. Keep your conscience clear, so that when you are insulted, those who speak evil of your good conduct as followers of Christ will become ashamed of what they say. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if this should be God’s will, than for doing evil. 18 For Christ died for sins once and for all, a good man on behalf of sinners, in order to lead you to God. He was put to death physically, but made alive spiritually, 19 and in his spiritual existence he went and preached to the imprisoned spirits. 20 These were the spirits of those who had not obeyed God when he waited patiently during the days that Noah was building his boat. The few people in the boat—eight in all—were saved by the water, 21 which was a symbol pointing to baptism, which now saves you. It is not the washing off of bodily dirt, but the promise made to God from a good conscience. It saves you through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone to heaven and is at the right side of God, ruling over all angels and heavenly authorities and powers.
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 the sixth Sunday of Easter 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…
Jesus and his disciples are at supper and Jesus has told them he is going to leave them. The disciples are, quite naturally, anxious and bewildered. Jesus speaks to them words of comfort and encouragement. He will ask the Father, who will give them another Helper, who will stay with them for ever.
The Greek word given as “Helper” in the Good News Bible is very hard to translate. Other versions use “Comforter”, “Advocate” or “Counsellor”. The meaning behind the original Greek is of someone who is called in to help in time of need.
Jesus is speaking of the Holy Spirit, whom he calls “another Helper”, because the Spirit will work in a different way from himself. Jesus has been physically present with his disciples. They could see him at work, and listen to his teaching. As a human being, Jesus has been subject to the constraints of time and place. The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, will be with Christ’s followers all the time, wherever they may be.
Jesus promises the Holy Spirit to all who love him and keep his commandments. They will not be left alone. Whether they are aware of it or not, the Spirit will be there to guide them and strengthen them.
Having told them the Father will send another Helper, who will be with them and in them, Jesus says that he himself will come back to his disciples. They will see him and he will be in them. After he was raised from the dead, he did indeed return for a while in a visible form, but when his appearances ceased, his followers knew they would never be alone, whatever befell them. God who had been present with them, incarnate, in Jesus Christ, would be present with them as Holy Spirit.
Wherever you may be now, be assured of the presence of the Spirit of the Living God. The Lord is here. His Spirit is with us.
Take a time to sit quietly
Hope and Millie’s Reflection
Hannah’s Creative Prayer
This week, use your hands to guide you through prayer.
Your thumb is the closest finger to your heard so pray for those closest to you.
Your pointer finger is used to give directions so pray for teachers, coaches, therapists, doctors and first responders.
Your middle finger is the tallest so pray for the leaders in government, businesses and churches.
The ring finger is the weakest. Pray for the sick, the poor and those in need.
The pinkie finger is the smallest. So pray for yourself and your own needs.
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. If you wish, follow this link to send a donation to Christian Aid using the e-envelope Rev John set up last week.
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 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 395: : Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me
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)
Original Materials by John Barnett