Sunday 26th September: twenty-sixth in Ordinary
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 – 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 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 at home 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:
Time to Reflect
At this second feast, Esther reveals to her husband, King Ahasuerus, the wicked plot of Hamaan. Uprightness prevails and the gallows that Hamaan built to hang Esther’s Uncle Mordecai are now used to hang the King’s regent. Yet this justice is not the end because a decree for the destruction of the Jews has already gone out from the palace of this Persian king. A new decree is delivered throughout the land which now gives the Jews the right to defend themselves. Although Esther 9:5-10 does suggest an indiscriminate slaughter as some commentators suggest. Nevertheless, Esther 9:22, tells us that the Jews gained relief from their enemies and their sorrow was turned into gladness and their mourning into a holiday. What ensued was “days of feasting and gladness, days for sending gifts of food to one another and presents to the poor” (9:22).
Isn’t this what we have missed during Covid – meeting with family and friends where we can eat together, and join in days of gladness? If you are like me, we have done our best to safely visit one another – often by Zoom, Skype, or some other technical means. Even at our coffee times online, we have had to bring and make our own coffee. Our hugs have been virtual with blowing of kisses over a screen or through a window to our children and grandchildren.
To me it seems that spiritually our coronavirus has been hanged by a vaccine and now it is up to us to fight back and to gain relief from this enemy so that our time of mourning might be turned into time of joy. Many rejoice at the lifting of restrictions, but it has been a poignant reminder that we have been under enemy attack.
Esther’s story has served Judaism for many years and is a story of hope amid despair. Notice how the Jews send gifts to one another but they do not forget to give presents to the poor.
It is a lesson for us to remember those who have not fared as well as some of us. Rob Lacey in ‘the Word on the Street’ reminds the reader that “in the whole book of Esther God doesn’t even get a mention – not by name. But the sheer number of ‘coincidences’ make it obvious that he’s around, working things behind the scenes, protecting his people…” (Rob Lacey, The Word on the Street, Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2003, p.127).
In contrast to God’s name not being used in Esther, we find John criticising a man who used Jesus’ name to expel demons. Jesus says, “Don’t stop him. No one can use my name to do something good and powerful, and in the next breath cut me down. If he’s not an enemy, he’s an ally. Why, anyone by just giving you a cup of water in my name is on our side. Count on it that God will notice” (Peterson’s, The Message).
So, whether we use God’s name, or Jesus’ name, or whether we do acts of kindness without using either name, we can count on God noticing what is going on. Wherever believers in Jesus Christ are looking after the needs of others, especially the poor, then because we bear the name of Christ, we will receive our reward from Him (Mark 9:41).
Take a time to sit quietly
thought from the Connexional resources during the pandemic this week by Heather Wilson
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 garden is looking well as the Cultivate4life team are working on it on a Wednesday morning. You can even take a rest in the sunshine after your walk!
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
Youth Team Resources
Hope’s Images for the week
Hope, Millie and Hannah have now left the Youth Team to go to pastures new – see what they are up to by look at the Youth Worship Team page, and see what Connor, Abbie and Niamh are doing as they form this year’s continuing Youth Team. However, Hope has left us behind images for every Sunday of the 3-year lectionary cycle. See her images for this lectionary Sunday below:
3 years ago we visited the Baptist Church and Hope did not produce any files. the image below is the one Rev John has chosen for his service this week which takes the key verse “Listen! I, the Lord, am giving you a choice between the way that leads to life and the way that leads to death.”