Sunday 9th May: Sixth Sunday in Easter, Christian Aid Sunday
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:
Recent weeks have seen quite a debate underway about relative freedoms and responsibilities in the light of actual and possible Government announcements easing Covid restrictions – these will no doubt be continuing by the time you receive and read this. This positive tension is found in our readings for today which remind us that as disciples of The Lord Jesus Christ we face a constant series of decisions about how to live authentically as people of faith.
The first section of chapter 5 in the 1st letter of John the elder holds this together in a great declaration about what constitutes being a genuine disciple. The other – and probably better-known readings from John’s Gospel and Acts illustrate this well. John’s 1st letter was written to a church in trouble – a faction had advocated a view of Christ that made faith more a mystical experience that need not affect how believers lived out what they claimed to believe – rather like some contemporary secular commentators insisting faith is a private matter. John refutes this – and in that sense this passage is straight forward, but his writing is also difficult – because it’s plain and simple to see how far we have to go and grow! This leads John to assert three things:
1. New birth is the basis of the Christian life (5:1, 4). Echoing the encounter of Jesus and Nicodemus, John says, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God” this seems innocent enough, but it calls us to believe that the flesh and blood carpenter of Nazareth shows us who God is!
2. Faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, is a vital sign of the new birth (5:1, 4, 5). When Peter preached at the house of Cornelius a remarkable thing happened – people from a non-religious background came to faith and were filled with God’s Holy Spirit – in short, they were saved and changed. John explains to his readers: That Faith is the result of the new birth, not the cause of it (5:1). It’s not the greatness of our faith that forgives, heals and changes us, but the greatness of God’s faithfulness that works in us – we respond to receive that gift with as much (or little) trust as we have. Such faith has a clearly defined object (5:1, 5). Just as bungee jumpers have to trust the elastic rope round their ankles, so trusting in the self-sacrificial death and the rising of Jesus is what connects us to God in the household and family of faith as The Holy Spirit works in us. Our faith, then, has a clearly observable result which John calls “overcoming the world” (5:4, 5). The work of God in us changes us to want to do what God wants (Phil.2:12) so we are changed. When Billy Bray the reprobate Cornish tin miner came to faith, after hearing John Wesley preach, everyone saw the difference and he began describing himself as “The son of a King” – a complete transformation.
3. Love for God and His children is a vital sign of the new birth (5:1, 2, 3). As the love of Jesus takes root in our lives, God’s Spirit forms the character of Jesus in us – all well and good. But, here’s the rub, both John’s letter and Jesus in John’s Gospel say that love, self-giving love which expects no reward, love like Jesus shows is shown NOT in feelings or good (or daring) deeds, but an obedience which loves fellow believers as part of our witness (John 15:10,14,17).
We are called to become positively different from worldly standards; often when we’re different we’re seen as negative and judgemental, but when we’re positive we’re compromised and not very different.
Take time to sit quietly and ask, this week, for whom could the way you live and act show that your faith in Jesus who truly lived, died and rose reflect the reality of the life changing nature of your faith?
thought from the connexional resources during the pandemic this week by David Miller
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
Hope, Millie and Hannah created a Prayer of Confession this week for the Christian Aid service:
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)