Sunday 13th September: 24th 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.
Come to the God who knows us,
to the God who created our being,
to the God who knows our frailty,
to the God who loves and cherishes us beyond measure.
Come as you are and worship God.
Hymn: With Contrite Steps
Teach us, O God, how to treat you,
how to know you, how to love you,
how to learn of you,
how to do as you would have us do.
Teach us, above all,
how to show those same things to those around us,
and those whose lives meet ours,
those who rub alongside us each day,
and those who flit briefly by.
more willing to forgive than often we are to confess,
help us to see our failings,
to see where we fall short,
to see where we deceive ourselves,
where we close our eyes and ears
to the ripples of our wrongdoing.
May we breathe in the reality of our actions,
the need to change, the depth of our unworthiness.
We come before you, seeking forgiveness. (keep silence)
Now let us breathe in the power of your forgiveness,
and breathe out the need to live and love
in the shadow of your forgiveness of us,
that we may forgive as you have forgiven us.
Prayer taken from the prayers for today on rootsontheweb.com
Hannah’s Creative Prayer
This week, think about your hopes and dreams for the future. What do you hope for in the future? What do you hope the world will be like? On a piece of paper, write your hopes and dreams for the future. Fold the four corners of the paper into the middle and put it in a tub of water. While watching it slowly unfold, ask God for his help and guidance in your hopes and dreams for the future.
Today’s Psalm: 103
8 The Lord is merciful and loving,
slow to become angry and full of constant love.
9 He does not keep on rebuking;
he is not angry forever.
10 He does not punish us as we deserve
or repay us according to our sins and wrongs.
11 As high as the sky is above the earth,
so great is his love for those who honor him.
12 As far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our sins from us.
13 As a father is kind to his children,
so the Lord is kind to those who honor him.
Today’s Gospel Reading:
The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, if my brother keeps on sinning against me, how many times do I have to forgive him? Seven times?”
22 “No, not seven times,” answered Jesus, “but seventy times seven,[a] 23 because the Kingdom of heaven is like this. Once there was a king who decided to check on his servants’ accounts. 24 He had just begun to do so when one of them was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. 25 The servant did not have enough to pay his debt, so the king ordered him to be sold as a slave, with his wife and his children and all that he had, in order to pay the debt. 26 The servant fell on his knees before the king. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay you everything!’ 27 The king felt sorry for him, so he forgave him the debt and let him go.
28 “Then the man went out and met one of his fellow servants who owed him a few dollars. He grabbed him and started choking him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he said. 29 His fellow servant fell down and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back!’ 30 But he refused; instead, he had him thrown into jail until he should pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were very upset and went to the king and told him everything. 32 So he called the servant in. ‘You worthless slave!’ he said. ‘I forgave you the whole amount you owed me, just because you asked me to. 33 You should have had mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you.’ 34 The king was very angry, and he sent the servant to jail to be punished until he should pay back the whole amount.”
35 And Jesus concluded, “That is how my Father in heaven will treat every one of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”
Today’s Epistle Reading:
Do Not Judge Others
14 Welcome those who are weak in faith, but do not argue with them about their personal opinions. 2 Some people’s faith allows them to eat anything, but the person who is weak in the faith eats only vegetables. 3 The person who will eat anything is not to despise the one who doesn’t; while the one who eats only vegetables is not to pass judgment on the one who will eat anything; for God has accepted that person. 4 Who are you to judge the servants of someone else? It is their own Master who will decide whether they succeed or fail. And they will succeed, because the Lord is able to make them succeed.
5 Some people think that a certain day is more important than other days, while others think that all days are the same. We each should firmly make up our own minds. 6 Those who think highly of a certain day do so in honor of the Lord; those who will eat anything do so in honor of the Lord, because they give thanks to God for the food. Those who refuse to eat certain things do so in honor of the Lord, and they give thanks to God. 7 We do not live for ourselves only, and we do not die for ourselves only. 8 If we live, it is for the Lord that we live, and if we die, it is for the Lord that we die. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For Christ died and rose to life in order to be the Lord of the living and of the dead. 10 You then, who eat only vegetables—why do you pass judgment on others? And you who eat anything—why do you despise other believers? All of us will stand before God to be judged by him. 11 For the scripture says,
“As surely as I am the living God, says the Lord,
everyone will kneel before me,
and everyone will confess that I am God.”
12 Every one of us, then, will have to give an account to God.
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) a video of the six young people starting this year’s Youth Worship Team which takes the place of our All Age Worship Video, or (5) the Connexional reflection or otherwise to come (6) to the church garden to prayer walk the labyrinth or 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
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 instead of an All age Talk this week, we have the video of the six young people on the Youth Worship Team this year:
5. or read the reflection from the Methodist Connexional Worship Resources for this week below:
Unlimited forgiveness, – how easy is it to forgive, – can we move on from the hurt we feel
In our gospel reading Peter wanted to know what he must do about forgiveness. We may find the word ‘sorry’, is easily said, often used and sometimes it is not really meant.
Peter thought he was being very generous by saying that a person should forgive 7 times. The number seven was thought to be the perfect number. Jesus answers Peter that this is not enough, and even seventy times seven would not be enough. Seventy times seven at that time was thought to be an infinite number.
What Jesus is guiding Peter and us to understand is about forgiveness that it is not a worldly thing, but something that is at the heart of His teaching. Jesus told Peter the parable of the King and his unmerciful servants to illustrate that his followers should be willing to forgive and the consequences if they do not. In parts of the world they find it is difficult for people to forgive because their honour is at stake. When someone is hurt, they want to hurt back. They want revenge for what has happened, but that is an endless route.
Revenge or retaliation is the way of the world and Jesus shows us that forgiveness starts from God. By accepting His forgiveness, we are transformed in His likeness so that we too should offer forgiveness to others in the same way.
To forgive someone when you have been hurt, or had your life affected is not easy. During this time of lock down, people will have been hurt, disappointed, and maybe angered by neighbours or people taking more food than they need. We need to let go of those feelings and embrace God’s love. It is said that when a victim forgives, it stops the bitterness hardening their heart and ruining their life, that by forgiving, a person is changed from being the victim into a survivor. The generosity of what the victim has done may touch the life of the offender, to the extent that in some cases; the act of forgiveness, has changed their ways and in some cases made them friends. Some people have been surprised by their neighbour’s help during the lock down, neighbours they have never spoken to.
In the reading from Genesis we heard how Joseph’s brothers were afraid. They were afraid of what Joseph would do to them. When they saw Joseph, they fell on their knees and said they were his slaves. Joseph is disturbed by their sadness and says the most amazing thing; “God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives”. By this statement Joseph showed that he had not allowed his hurt to corrupt him, he had taken his suffering and seen that through it God had led him to help others. Had he stayed with his brothers, Joseph would not have become such an important person, and would not have been able to help thousands of people from starving. God asks us to let go, and to lay all our burdens at His feet, this includes the hurt and suffering that we have received. By forgiving we are showing others God’s love.
thought from the connexional resources during the pandemic this week by Linda Ashworth
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 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 and forgiving God
We pray for our world today
As we bring the virus under control
Help and guide Prime ministers, Presidents, Kings and Queens,
all types of workers around the world
Parents and children
And all who have lost loved ones
may they feel your love this week
as they go about their work. Amen
Prayer taken from the prayers from the connexional resources during the pandemic
Hymn: StF 407 Let us build a house
Into a world of noise and confusion;
into a world that bewilders and even bemuses us at times;
into a world of delight and regret;
into a world of hope and fear;
into a world that is ever changing,
we go with the message of an unchanging God
who gave his all that we might live life to the best of our ability.
God of all, go with us and within us,
this and every day.
Prayer taken from the prayers for today on rootsontheweb.com