Sunday 2nd May: Fifth Sunday in Easter, with Rev John
Listen to the service as a radio broadcast on 105.9 BishopFM just after the 11am Sunday morning news, or stream it at 11am on the website through YouTube [and join in with hymn-singing for 15 minutes beforehand] – See below…
Below you can find the radio podcast if you can’t listen on 105.9 BishopFM and also the YouTube video stream, which will go live at 11am on Sunday. You will also see the regular extras including the video of Susan’s sermon.
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Radio podcast for 105.9BishopFM
This Week’s YouTube broadcast
(live at 11am, at the same time as the radio broadcast, and available here after that, with 15 minutes of hymns to join in with beforehand)
If you haven’t listened to the audio or video services above, and wish to read the lectionary readings before considering these further worship resources for this week follow or this link to biblegateway.com for this week’s Bible readings for Palm Sunday from:
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 look at (2) the pdf sheet from Roots or (3) the pdf sheet The Vine, or (4) the District Worship at Home resources or (5) watch ‘Politics in the Pulpit’ a resource from JPIT, or read (6) the Connexional reflection; or otherwise to come (7) to the church garden to prayer walk the labyrinth or or if nothing else to stay home (8) and simply take time for yourself and reflect on the readings for the day.
1. If you would like to listen to a sermon for today by Local Preacher Susan Thorne click on the video below.
2. or you might choose to click on the image below to go to the pdf rootsontheweb at home sheet
3. or read the VINE worship sheet which MWiB are supporting this year
4. or consider the Darlington Methodist District’s Worship at Home resource page:
5. or watch ‘Politics in the Pulpit’, a resource from JPIT (Joint Public Issues Team) looking at how issues in politics today can be considered in the light of today’s lectionary passages:
6. or read the reflection from the Methodist Connexional Worship Resources for this week below:
Let me start by saying that I am no gardener. I enjoy doings things in the garden, but I am mostly clueless. This is particularly evident when it comes to pruning and cutting back. I tend to pussy foot around and snip round the edges of my plants. Take my hedge. It is always untidy with a sort of Dennis the Menace messy haircut look to it, in stark contrast to my next-door neighbour whose own hedge is a thing of beauty, shaped and manicured tightly.
I remember the first winter in my last house, when I was horrified by what the council workers did to the beautiful oak trees lining the Crescent where I lived. It looked devastated, like a nuclear bomb had gone off nearby. I nearly wrote in to complain. I needn’t have worried, of course – they did know what they were doing and by the end of that summer the trees were back, only better, with more strength and shape from the new growth.
Pruning and cutting back is essential to the process of growth. Particularly to fruit bearing plants like the vine. Jesus knew it, hence the wonderful image of John 15 v1-8, which has much to say to us this Vocations Sunday.
In the Old Testament the vine is a symbol of Israel, but it is usually mentioned in the context of having been allowed to run wild, for example in Isaiah 5. Vines in the Middle East were (and still are) fast growing and if left unchecked would grow in all directions, with lots of branches, meaning that the fruit bearing branches produced lots of small, poor quality fruit. Quite simply, to produce a good crop, there needed to be regular ruthless pruning, particularly in its early years. Jesus says that he is the true vine, the true Israel if you like and he exhorts his disciples to abide in him, to allow God who is the gardener to prune back those useless and tangled branches, so that good fruit will be produced.
Many of us in the Church (and I include myself too) could learn from this. We take on too many jobs, have too many roles and hats to wear and consider ourselves indispensable. Who else would do it, if not me? The place would fall apart without me, we say. Well maybe we should just try it. Step back. If you do have 3 roles, give up 2 and give your all to the one remaining role. I am not necessarily the best person to invoke garden wisdom, but even I have noticed that you create a space in the garden something else will soon grow there. Perhaps by hanging on to those 2 extra roles we not only reduce the quality of the fruit we produce, but we are preventing others exercising their calling and ministry.
On this Vocations Sunday, when we are asked to reflect on the part we play in the ministry of God’s Church, we should consider what needs pruning in our lives, so that the Vine produces abundant, sweet fruit. Sometimes less is more. And if you find this message hard, no sour grapes, please!
Take a time to sit quietly
thought from the connexional resources during the pandemic this week by John Hay
7. 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. The daffodil cross may be past blooming now, but other parts of the garden are looking well as the cultivate4life team are working on it on a Wednesday morning. There is even the new bench to take a rest on afterwards.
8. 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
(if you haven’t found them before and are interested for yourself, your children or grandchildren, have a look at the Children’s Page where Millie posts for Young Church every Sunday at 10.30am and there are links to Bishop Auckland Parish and CAFOD children’s worship.
Youth Team Resources
Millie and Hope’s Reflection
Hannah’s Creative Prayer
John 15:5 says, “Apart from me you can do nothing”.
“Apart from me” can mean ‘without my help’ and ‘disconnected from me’.
Is there any time in your life where you disconnected yourself from God,
how did you feel at the time?
How does it feel when you are connected with God?
Great 50 Days
Series of Readings for the days
between Easter and Pentecost
Easter Sunday marks the beginning of the period traditionally called the great 50 days. On the first day we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, on the 50th day we remember the day of Pentecost, sometimes called the birthday of the church. It is a time of hope and celebration.
We hope that you have now received copies of Mark The Great 50 Days and that these have been distributed ready for use from Sunday. There are further ways to share this resource and to join in the conversation:
· You can receive the reflection for each day by email each morning. If you are not already registered to receive The Great 50 Days emails you can register here.
· You can follow the reflections on Facebook (Search for TheGreat50Days)