Sunday 6th September: 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
If you wish, you can listen to the service recorded for BishopFM 105.9 on Thursday, which will be repeated in the church today at 11am
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 also an all-age talk by Rev John.
Hymn: Loving God
Dear Lord Jesus,
we don’t have to see you
to know you are with us.
You bring us all together,
as a community,
in your love.
Thank you, Jesus.
In the higgledy-piggledy ways of life, Lord,
with challenges and changes pulling us this way and that,
we sometimes find it hard, in the heat of the moment,
to know what is right and what is wrong.
Forgive us for our failings and wrongdoings.
Forgive our insensitivities to the ways of others.
Forgive anything that cuts us off from each other or from you.
Lord God, we thank you that we are all
members of your family.
Thank you that together we can
build a strong community.
We can make a difference in our world.
Hannah’s Creative Prayer
One thing that makes me happy are flowers. Today, go somewhere that there is flowers and either look at them or pick one. While either looking or holding the flower, think about all the things God has given you that make you happy. Thank God for these things in you life that make you happy.
Today’s Old Testament Reading:
7 “Now, mortal man, I am making you a lookout for the nation of Israel. You must pass on to them the warnings I give you. 8 If I announce that an evil person is going to die but you do not warn him to change his ways so that he can save his life, then he will die, still a sinner, and I will hold you responsible for his death. 9 If you do warn an evil person and he doesn’t stop sinning, he will die, still a sinner, but your life will be spared.”
10 The Lord spoke to me. “Mortal man,” he said, “repeat to the Israelites what they are saying: ‘We are burdened with our sins and the wrongs we have done. We are wasting away. How can we live?’ 11 Tell them that as surely as I, the Sovereign Lord, am the living God, I do not enjoy seeing sinners die. I would rather see them stop sinning and live. Israel, stop the evil you are doing. Why do you want to die?
Today’s Gospel Reading:
When Someone Sins
15 “If your brother sins against you,[a] go to him and show him his fault. But do it privately, just between yourselves. If he listens to you, you have won your brother back. 16 But if he will not listen to you, take one or two other persons with you, so that ‘every accusation may be upheld by the testimony of two or more witnesses,’ as the scripture says. 17 And if he will not listen to them, then tell the whole thing to the church. Finally, if he will not listen to the church, treat him as though he were a pagan or a tax collector.
Prohibiting and Permitting
18 “And so I tell all of you: what you prohibit on earth will be prohibited in heaven, and what you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.
19 “And I tell you more: whenever two of you on earth agree about anything you pray for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three come together in my name, I am there with them.”
Today’s Epistle Reading:
Duties toward One Another
8 Be under obligation to no one—the only obligation you have is to love one another. Whoever does this has obeyed the Law. 9 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery; do not commit murder; do not steal; do not desire what belongs to someone else”—all these, and any others besides, are summed up in the one command, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” 10 If you love others, you will never do them wrong; to love, then, is to obey the whole Law.
11 You must do this, because you know that the time has come for you to wake up from your sleep. For the moment when we will be saved is closer now than it was when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over, day is almost here. Let us stop doing the things that belong to the dark, and let us take up weapons for fighting in the light. 13 Let us conduct ourselves properly, as people who live in the light of day—no orgies or drunkenness, no immorality or indecency, no fighting or jealousy. 14 But take up the weapons of the Lord Jesus Christ, and stop paying attention to your sinful nature and satisfying its desires.
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) 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 or if nothing else to stay home (6) 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
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:
At the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic – when as a ministries team we began producing these worship at home sheets, I thought they might be needed for a few weeks. Now, 5 months in, I realise how naïve I was!
I want to thank all those people who volunteered to draft one of these acts of worship. An offering made, each week, by leaders of worship both lay and ordained, from across the connexion in good faith and often written under pressure.
To begin people were grateful for the acts of worship. Then, quite quickly, a few people began to write in to offer us advice or to blatantly tell us what we were doing wrong! Can, I wonder, the worship of God be wrong? Of course, liturgically we can all do things that might not suit everyone, but if your heart and my heart are in the right place, surely God will accept what we offer. My general response was they are offered in good faith, by a brother or sister in Christ – adapt them as you will.
In the trauma of dealing with the pandemic we have moved the phase when we declared, “we are all in this together” to a more destructive phase. A time of disillusionment, where nothing anyone does seems to be quite good enough for anyone else.
Jesus (our God on earth) knew people all too well. The emotional roller coasters we travel in life. Which is why, I suggest, he recommended that if you have a problem with someone you should go to him or her directly, before dragging in the wider community (which today would include the online communities many of us belong to).
We all make mistakes. (For the mistakes we’ve made on these sheets I apologise). We will all need at some point to point a mistake out to another person, or to apologise for something we have done wrong. Let us do this graciously with love and care for another. As we move into this new Connexional year, let us all commit to reviewing not what might we do to please humankind but what we might do to the glory of God.
I pray may all our mistakes be made in good faith, and may our reprimands be smothered in the love of God. Amen
thought from the connexional resources during the pandemic this week by Rev Paul Wood
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
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
Prayers of Intercession
Loving God we hold before you today:
Those who began their period as a Probationary Minister today. Those ministers who have moved home this summer. Those preachers, who have not led worship for many months. For churches who are struggling to know when to re-open.
We pray for those we love:
For those who mourn…
For those who have been ill…
For frontline workers.
For those struggling to find work.
For those who have started or who are about to start school.
We pray for your world:
For those parts of the world devastated by COVID19.
For refuges and those living in fear.
We pray for ourselves – in a moment of quiet hold before God what is on your heart today. Binding all our prayers together we say:
Prayer taken from the prayers from the connexional resources during the pandemic
Hymn: StF 504 Love Divine
we go back into our communities;
the places around where we live,
where we learn to listen to you
and to each other
and act on what we hear.
Be with us, Lord.
Prayer taken from the prayers for today on rootsontheweb.com