Aldersgate Sunday - 24th May 2020 - 10:30 am

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Andrew Pilling

   Welcome!  Let us worship the King of Kings by joining in Hymn 175 in Singing the Faith  (and on YouTube),


Light of the World
You stepped down into darkness
Open my eyes. let me see
Beauty that made this heart adore You
Hope of a life spent with You


So  here I am to worship
Here I am to bow down
Here I am to say that You're my God
You're altogether lovely
Altogether worthy
Altogether wonderful to me


King of all days oh, so highly exalted ,
Glorious in Heaven above.
Humbly You came to the earth You created
All for love's sake became poor.


So here I am to worship
Here I am to bow down
Here I am to say that You're my God
You're altogether lovely
Altogether worthy
Altogether wonderful to me


And I'll never know how much it cost
To see my sin upon that cross
I'll never know how much it cost
To see my sin upon that cross
I'll never know how much it cost
To see my sin upon that cross

 So here I am to worship 

Here I am to bow down 

Here I am to say that You're my God 

You're altogether lovely 

Altogether worthy 

Altogether wonderful to me 


Tim Hughes

Particularly notice the chorus, 

“So here I am to worship, here I am to bow down, here I am to say that you’re my God”. 

*


Be still for the Presence of the Lord the Holy One is here

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 It is good to come to worship together even though we may be far apart. It is good to spend time in His closer presence and to be still before God, so let us sing Hymn 20 in Singing the Faith  (and on YouTube),

“Be still for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One is here”, wherever we are, the Lord is here! 

“We stand on Holy ground”.

*

Let us pray together, Lord, we thank you  that we are in the presence of the risen and ascended Jesus. You are omnipresent and omnipotent and we praise you! 

We ask that you. accept our worship..

We ask your forgiveness when we so often fall short of what you expect of us. Give us the strength to turn from our sin, repent and seek to live for you. 

We praise and thank you for our many blessings . You are the giver of life. Continue with us through this service by your Holy Spirit as we take time to concentrate on YOU. 

*

As we think about the life and ministry of your servant John Wesley. Enable us to hear and learn from YOU. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

*

Let us share the Lord’s Prayer:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen


           

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This year “ Wesley Day” falls on ALDERSGATE SUNDAY

John Wesley was born on 29 June 1703; he died on 2 March 1791. He was educated at Charterhouse School and Oxford University; following in his father’s footsteps and became an Anglican priest, At Oxford John joined a society , founded by his brother Charles, known as “the Holy Club”. The members vowed to lead holy lives, taking weekly communion . They prayed daily and visited prisoners. They spent THREE hours every afternoon studying the Bible and other devotional material.In 1735 John set sail for America where he was to be the priest to the British colonists in Savannah, Georgia. During the voyage the weather became very stormy and the ship was in danger of sinking. John Wesley, who was the ship’s chaplain , feared for his life. Also on board were some German Moravian Christians who were on their way to preach to the Native Americans;John noticed that they appeared unafraid. They were singing hymns and songs during the storm. When the ship eventually reached America, John asked the German leader about their apparent calm. The man replied with a question, “Do you have faith in Christ?”  Wesley replied that he did, but he later reflected; “I fear they were vain words”. Much later, on his return from America and after speaking to another German Christian, John concluded “that he lacked this saving faith”. He fought continually but felt that he did not succeed in conquering his doubts. 282 years ago today (24 May 1738) everything  changed for John Wesley. He described the event in his journal,

“In the evening, I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the letter to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”  Enough of the potted history. 

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"In Christ alone my hope is found"

 *Let us worship God again as we sing  Hymn 351 in Singing the Faith  (and on YouTube),

"In Christ alone my hope is found"   

Notice the last three lines of the second verse ,

“the wrath of God was satisfied 

for every sin on Him was laid; 

here in the death of Christ I live”.

*

I feel sure that John Wesley would have echoed those words and also the words in that great hymn written by John Newton (Hymn  440 in Singing the Faith), 

“Amazing grace - how sweet the sound - 

that saved a wretch like me! 

I once was lost but now am found, 

was blind but now I see”. 


 

Gospel Reading John Chapter 3. Verses 16 TO 21

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Paul's letter to the Romans Chap. 3 vv 21 to 30 .

*Why is John Wesley and why is Aldersgate Sunday  relevant to us today? What do they say to us in 2020? What can we learn from our gospel reading and from the passage from Romans? Firstly, John 3 vs 16 and 17 makes clear God’s unconditional love for everyone. This was always God’s plan for salvation. God gives everyone the opportunity of a free gift, that of eternal life. Jesus says that the Light (himself) has come into the world but many will love the darkness because their deeds are evil. If you enter a dark room and light a candle or switch on the light, what happens? The darkness disappears and the light shines all around and into every corner. We have the free will, if we want the darkness to return, we extinguish the light source. So it is with Jesus - we can accept Him, or reject Him. Romans 3 v 21 says that righteousness (light) from God has been made known, as was prophesied in Isaiah 46 v 13- “I am bringing my righteousness near. It is not far away! My salvation will not be delayed”. 

Romans 1 v 17 and 3 v22 says, 

“for in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith. Faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. I believe that last phrase is so important! If we have that belief we can say, as did John Wesley, 

“I have never known more than fifteen minutes of anxiety or fear, (remember the storm). Whenever I feel fearful emotions overtaking me, I just close my eyes and thank God that he is still on the throne reigning over everything and I take comfort in His control over my life.” 

Another, quite humorous quotation of John Wesley's seems to put the present time into perspective, 

“Do you know why that cow looks over the wall? She looks over it because she cannot see through it! That is what you (we) must do with your (our) troubles ……. Look over and above them.”

Today we too can take comfort and courage from this with all the uncertainties and difficulties of the pandemic: 

God is still on the throne and he is still in control !

*

There is  so much more we can learn from John Wesley’s experiences. In “Rules for Preachers and Helpers”, probably the most important he says is,

 “you have nothing to do but save souls. Therefore spend and be spent in this work”

We are not all preachers but we should all be helpers. There is a world out there that desperately needs to know this same Jesus and I believe that it is our responsibility to speak about Jesus to those who need Him. At present we hear a great deal about the “R” or Reproduction Number in connection with the virus and it is good to hear that this number is falling. We all want to see the number of cases reduce, something which will be included in our prayers later. Can I suggest that the church (not just in Torrisholme) could use a reverse “R” number system? If Christians share Jesus with just one person then the growth rate of God’s kingdom will be one, and if we grasp the opportunities to speak to more people (family, friends and strangers) then the growth rate would be amazing! 

Remember John Wesley’s instructions mentioned earlier?

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PRAYERS for others:

 *Father God, we bring our prayers for others: 

  • We pray for those who are suffering from this awful virus, asking that they may know your comfort and your love.
  • We pray for healing and full restoration. 
  • We pray for all those who are looking after those who are sick: nurses, doctors, ambulance crews, cleaners and everyone on the front line. Give them strength Lord in their need. 
  • We pray for those who are suffering from mental health issues. We ask that they will receive the care they need and that they will know of your presence in their plight. 
  • We also pray for those who are involved with helplines and other such organisations who try to help those with these problems.
  • We also pray that you will encourage your Church to reach out to others with whom we come in contact. Enable us to share the love of Jesus so that we might see many coming to know you as Lord and Saviour. 

We bring our prayers in the wonderful name of Jesus. Amen

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“Lord the light of your love is shining,

We close our service today  as we sing  Hymn 59 in Singing the Faith  (and on YouTube),

 “Lord the light of your love is shining, 

in the midst of the darkness shining.” 

The last two lines of the final verse say,

 “mirrored here, may our lives tell the story” 

and the chorus sums up everything we have shared today: Shine, Jesus, shine Fill this land with the Father's glory Blaze, Spirit, blaze Set our hearts on fire 

Flow, river, flow, flood the nations with grace and mercy Send forth your word Lord, and let there be light 



 BENEDICTION

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As a benediction we will share part of our covenant service instituted by John Wesley:

Lord, I am no longer my own, but yours. Put me to what You will, rank me with whom You will. Let me be employed by You or laid aside for You, exalted for You or brought low for You. Let me have all things, let me have nothing, I freely and heartily yield all things to Your pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, You are mine and I am yours. So be it. Amen .   

SUNDAY SERVICES AT 10:30 AM

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SUNDAY SERVICES AT 10:30 AM

 

Susan Wilson has kindly organised a "rota" of preachers for 11 forthcoming Sundays until  Pentecost. Each week designated preachers will provide materials for us to use at home. I hope, if we are able to use these at the same time that we will feel that we have worshiped together, we will sense fellowship and a shared experience. These will be published on both Wesley & Torrisholme's websites to which the there are links from the Circuit website.

We are not able to print the hymns in full, you might like to "google" them and listen to the music, alternatively you might find them in a book that you have, or read the text on line. This is a developing project, it won't be perfect, but please let me have feedback; we'll work on it together!

Please remember that there would customarily have been a collection at a point in the service. Please set aside your offering as part of your worship, to be brought to Church when we re-open .It might even give us a sense of continuity.

 Perhaps you have a candle, or flowers which will help you worship and, of course, a comfortable chair 


***

                3rd May Torrisholme's Anniversary Rev Leslie Newton 

10th May Susan Wilson (Susan is standing in for  Keith Tattersall, We send Keith our best wishes for a speedy recovery and looking forward to hearing from him when he is feeling stronger. Please remember Keith & Viv in your prayers)                                    

                 17th May Sister Vivien                                        

                24th May Andrew Pilling                                    

31st May Pentecost. Bernard Vause 

   
June Rota
June 7th Rev David Philo
June 14th Janine Swinburn

June 21st Sister Vivien       
          June 28th Rev David Philo            

Sunday Morning Service- 17th May 10:30 am

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Sister Vivien Ward


Call to worship

Come, let us worship the living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit our living God who is One. 

HYMN 400 - Singing the Faith

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I quote the first lines of each verse

"Wind of God, dynamic Spirit breathe upon our hearts today 

that we may Your power inherit, hear us, Spirit, as we pray"

*  

 “Voice of God, prophetic Spirit, speak to every heart today to encourage or prohibit, urging action or delay:”

*

“Fire of God, volcanic Spirit, burn within our hearts today: cleanse our sin – may we exhibit holiness in every way:”

* 

(Note from Sue: I have been unable to find a recording on the internet. You can sing this to the tune Calon Lan or Hyfrydol, " I will sing the wondrous story")

*

Wind of God, dynamic Spirit,
breathe upon our hearts today;
that we may your power inherit
hear us, Spirit, as we pray:
fill the vacuum that enslaves us
emptiness of heart and soul;
and, through Jesus Christ who saves us,
give us life and make us whole.


Voice of God, prophetic Spirit,
speak to every heart today
to encourage or prohibit
urging action or delay:
clear the vagueness which impedes us
come, enlighten mind and soul;
and, through Jesus Christ who leads us,
teach the truth that makes us whole.


Fire of God, volcanic Spirit,
burn within our hearts today;
cleanse our sin may we exhibit
holiness in every way:
purge the squalidness that shames us,
soils the body, taints the soul;
and through Jesus Christ who claims us,
purify us, make us whole.

*

— Copyright © Michael Saward/Jubilate Hymns Ltd.


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For Children

When I was stationed to the Birmingham Central Hall, I was to be the chaplain to the Boys Brigade, so, I popped along to see what was what. I was made welcome and asked if I would teach the new recruits to march. “Oh” I thought, “that’s not too bad” so I joined the little boys in the hall; there were about eight of them. I asked them to walk round the hall, Yes, that was fine. Then I said I wanted them to do it together, in step with each other. No! that wasn’t fine. They went all peculiar. They tried. There was much shuffling and arguing but as some changed their step to be in step with others, the others changed their step to be in step with them. 

It was mayhem. “OK” I said “Now, when I say left you all put your left foot forward and when I say right you all put your right foot forward”. It was then I discovered that some didn’t know their left from their right and that some of them moved their left foot and their left arm at the same time and then their right foot and right arm together. To my mind they resembled a group of penguins. I shut my eyes tight took a deep breath and began again.

*

I like to watch the  Trouping the Colour and I can get quite emotional when I see members of our armed forces marching and responding to the commands given.. They are disciplined to obey their commands. Discipline  is necessary in conflict and has saved many a life. 

In our gospel reading Jesus says to His disciples “If you love Me, you will obey what I command” 

*

But God is not a Sergeant Major shouting out His commands or an officer demanding you do this, this and this. Yes, Jesus has His instructions for you and He puts it / them into your mind – but you have many things in your mind about all sorts of thing, how do you know that Jesus is speaking to you ? I think God is a bit of a nag really because He keeps putting the same thought into your mind over and over and over again. The test is ...  if it’s of Christ it will be of His word and works, it will be of Him, like Him, akin to Him, resembling Him something that He would do and be like. 

Sometimes He may want you to become ..  . to change  ... to alter ... to be transformed, It becomes the itch you will have to scratch, or do you ? We don’t have to obey, we can choose not to. But Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will obey what I command” Your choice!

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PRAYERS

Adoration

Creator God of all that is seen and unseen we adore You. The reality of Your presence, Your love and care, Your interest in us, the teachings of Jesus amaze us. The fact that we can call upon You at all times no matter what we feel or think just amazes us.

*

Confession

We know that we often let You, others and ourselves down. Sometimes we’re deliberately sinful but mostly we just make mistakes. We’re sorry that this happens and ask You to help us live the reality of Your ever-present forgiveness.

*

Thanksgiving

Your love is amazing! We thank You for Your love. As You live in us, so help us to live in You, to the Father’s glory.

*

Supplication

Holy Spirit of God be our helper, our comforter, our advocate, our

strengthener, our counsellor, our pleader, our guide, our encourager, our supporter, our enabler, our teacher - be to each one of us life itself.

Amen

Reading from St. John’s Gospel chapter 14 : 15 – 21

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SERMON 

This may seem to be a strange Gospel reading for today. We are into the Easter season and not yet at Pentecost, yet this reading is about the Holy Spirit. When we celebrate the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, we have to remember that the Holy Spirit is not a ‘one day wonder’ but ‘an every moment of every hour of every day wonder’. He is 24/7. 

*

Jesus has entered Jerusalem to the cheers  of the crowds but all was not as it seemed on the surface; there is an undercurrent of loathing by the religious authorities that  is growing into a swell of active hatred.

*

At the feast of The Passover Jesus washes His disciples’ feet; He predicts His betrayal and Peter’s denial. The atmosphere is charged;into this atmosphere He announces that He is to leave them. This reading is part of what is known as ‘the farewell discourse’. Yes. He is to leave them BUT He promises them another helper. Well! I say helper but the word, ‘parakletos’ in New Testament Greek. (I understand, from those who know) is untranslatable because it has so many meanings. Depending upon the translation of your Bible you could find it translated as helper / comforter / advocate / strengthener / counsellor / teacher / guide /  pleader / encourager /  enabler / supporter. We know  the parakletos as the Holy Spirit and these interpretations only go to show the His riches. What the word means is ... "someone who is called in as ........" 

A parakletos might be called in to:

  •  give witness in a court of law
  • might be an expert called in to give their expertise on ... caronavirus for example
  • give encouragement to a deflated football team 
  • comfort those in grief
  • give help in time of need or trouble
  • give advice in some difficult situation
  • support in times of depression
  • teach the truth about a situation.  

The parakletos helps us cope and cope well with situations in which we find ourselves. He takes away our despair, our  hopelessness and despondency. 

*

You may be at your wits’ end with this lockdown or bored or fed-up to the back teeth - not coping very well- world-weary       - cheesed off – disgruntled whatever term you may wish to use. Lockdown may be eating at your mental state, your family welfare or your economic circumstances

*.

You may be finding this lockdown is a time to catch up on the jobs you should have done ages ago, catching up with people, the garden, the house, hobbies and doing the things you’ve always wanted to do. It makes no difference. Whatever your situation and circumstances remember the ‘parakletos’ - the Holy Spirit is what you need Him to be -comforter, helper, strengthener, encourager, enabler, supporter. He won’t bamboozle His way into your life.  He wants you to invite Him with open arms and an open heart and an open mind at any time,

 “Come, Holy Spirit, come and be to me my life”.

Remember:

  • the Holy Spirit is not ‘a one day wonder’ that we celebrate at Pentecost
  • He is ‘an every moment of every hour of every day wonder’
  • He is 24/7


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Prayers of intercession

 Lord of life:

  • We pray that Your Church may be alive with Your risen life refreshed and revived by the breath of Your Spirit.
  • We pray for those who have to make important decisions that will affect the future everyone in this country from the youngest to the oldest.
  • Those who have to make decisions that will have an effect on the people of the world, especially the poorest in the poorest countries.

Breathe Your Spirit of wisdom into their hearts and minds.

*

  • We pray for places of work and workers and especially those who have lost their jobs and whose future is so very uncertain, for their families struggling to make ends meet

Breathe Your Spirit of hope into their hearts and minds.

*

  • We pray for those people who are lost- who are drowning in feelings of despondency, misery, irrelevancy, hopelessness,  depression, gloom and joylessness. 
  • We pray for those who are anxious and fearful. 

Breathe Your Spirit of saving power into their hearts and minds.

*

  • We pray for those in hospitals and care homes and for the thousands who care for them and for the thousands whose work supports them. For the difficulties they encounter, for the many hours they work,

Breathe Your Spirit of strength and encourage into their lives

*

  • We pray for families knowing their work is with a deadly disease that has claimed many lives. 

Breathe Your Spirit of comfort and calm into their lives

*

  • We pray for those who have worked during the lockdown that has made our lives liveable

Breathe Your Spirit of appreciation and encouragement into their lives.

*

At the time of writing 32,000 have died from coronavirus

  • We pray for those who have died and commend them to Your keeping for ever
  • we pray for the many thousands who mourn their passing who feel dissatisfied because only few have been able to attend the funeral.  

Breathe Your Spirit of comfort and support upon them.

AMEN


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The Lord's Prayer

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come.

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen

Hymn 654- Singing the Faith

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I QUOTE THE FIRST 2 LINES OF 3 VERSEs

The peace of God comes close 

to those caught in the storm”.

*

“The joy of God comes close 

where faith encounters fears”.

*

“The grace of God comes close 

to those whose grace is spent”

*

. (Note from Sue: there is a recording on the YouTube. You can sing this to the tune Gopsal, " Rejoice the Lord is King") 

*

 . The love of God comes close 

where stands an open door,
to let the stranger in,
to mingle rich and poor.

Chorus: The love of God is here to stay,
embracing those who walk the Way;
the love of God is here to stay.

2. The peace of God comes close
to those caught in the storm,
forgoing lives of ease
to ease the lives forlorn.

 Chorus: The peace of God is here to stay....... 


3. The joy of God comes close
where faith encounters fears,
where heights and depths of life
are found through smiles and tears.

 Chorus: The joy of God is here to stay..........

4. The grace of God comes close
to those whose grace is spent,
when hearts are tired or sore
and hope is bruised and bent.

 Chorus: The grace of God is here to stay.....

5. The Son of God comes close
where people praise his name,
where bread and wine are blest
and shared as when he came.

 Chorus: The Son of God is here to stay.......

*
John L. Bell (b.1949) & Graham Maule (b.1958)

Benediction

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The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is with us now and forever.

Amen