Sunday 20th March: Third Sunday in Lent
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
5. or listen to ‘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
Why do we suffer? People used to call life ‘this vale of tears’, and you can understand why. Life in was often hard and short. And for many people, in this country and elsewhere, it still is.
Why do we suffer? Part of the Biblical answer seems to be – because we do. We’re here because we’re here because we’re here because we’re here.
Some people came to Jesus with a question – were the Galileans Pilate murdered in the temple worse sinners than all the other Galileans? Jesus reminds them of another incident as well – a tower that collapsed in Siloam, in Jerusalem, killing 18 people. Were those victims worse sinners than everybody else? Did they deserve it? Or the women in Haiti at a prayer meeting in a church which collapsed during the earthquake of January 2010? They were all killed. Were they worse sinners than everyone else who survived?
Humans have always looked for patterns. We look for the pattern of a face, and we see it in the moon. Or we see the pattern of an England batting collapse after Joe Root is out. We look to a pattern of rewards and punishments. We expect justice. We expect the world to be fair. But it’s not.
In the book of Job, Job suffers terribly. Job’s three friends keep telling him that he must have done something to deserve his suffering. But Job declares his innocence. It’s an idea that continues into the present day – that bad things are God’s punishment. It’s almost as if we want a world where you can look at suffering and say, ‘they deserve it’. Though, if that were the case, would we have the courage to say, ‘we deserve it’?
But Jesus is clear – do not look at things in that way. Suffering happens – it’s the way of the world. Sometimes suffering is inflicted by others – by Pilate killing pilgrims, or someone attacking worshippers at a mosque with assault weapons. Sometimes by accident – a tower collapsing, or a cyclone wreaking devastation, or cancer cutting short a life. Jesus says very clearly, not their sin. Not your sin. There may well be blame, we’ve all done stupid things that have brought down a pile of brick on our heads. But it still isn’t God’s judgement. And there are plenty of examples of people ‘getting away with it’. But (there’s always a ‘but’). But what Jesus does say, very clearly, is, turn to God. Turn to God – repent, in other words.
If the idea of turning to God makes us uneasy – and it should – remember the second part of the gospel reading. The landowner wants to rip out the fig tree, but Jesus has the gardener give the fig tree one more go – and he’s going to give it every chance, by digging around it and giving it some proper manure. The tree will bear fruit. We will bear fruit. And what fruit will we bear? The fruits of the spirit – love, joy peace patience kindness goodness, faithfulness and self-control. So:
1) Don’t judge. Things happen in life – and to assume they are God’s judgement is wrong.
2) Give people a break, including yourself. The gardener does so in Luke, giving the tree another chance and taking responsibility for it.
3) Remember that we bear fruit – the fruits of the spirit. Allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives.
Take a time to sit quietly
thought from the Connexional resources during the pandemic this week by Richard Parkes
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 autumnal as our local biodiversity gardening group (come and join them on a Wednesday morning) along with Cultivate4life team are working on it on a Wednesday morning. The daffodils are coming through and look well in the evening sunlight in this picture.
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
Niamh’s hymn for this week
StF 434: Rock of Ages
Rebekah’s image of the week
Rebekah is a member of Sunday@3 and enjoys photography… She is offering her photos to help us reflect each week: