Circuit Worship: 2nd May 2021

Led by Rev Miriam Moul

If you would like to join this service of worship using just the videos playing one after another, you can visit our playlist on Youtube by following the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLc2KHyGgDaLuBJX_WUUlpebmeMT4oumIP

Welcome and call to worship

A very warm welcome to this service of worship from the Oxford Methodist Circuit. My name is Reverend Miriam Moul and I am one of the Ministers of the Circuit serving Cowley Road Methodist Church and as Methodist Chaplain at Oxford Brookes University. Whoever you are and from wherever you are joining us today, we are delighted that you are here.

Would you join me in prayer as we gather together?

Call to Worship

Come among us loving God,

You, who cast the planets into space

and cradled the sparrow in her nest.

Come, loving God and meet us here.

Come among us loving God,

You, who bless the poor and the broken

and stand by the sad and the strong.

Come, loving God and meet us here.

Come among us loving God,

You, who dance in the silence

and shine in the darkness.

Come, loving God and meet us here.

Amen.

Song:

Singing the Faith 3           Eternal God, your love’s tremendous glory

Opening Prayers

Holy God, ever creating and transforming; we come in awe and wonder this day to praise and worship you. In the beginning, you created and designed all there is – you are the architect of the universe. Creating stars that blaze, oceans that roar, light in all its glory, darkness, land in all its diversity, sea and sky. Holy God for the inspiration and spark of your creative power, for the beauty of all your creation, we bring you our praise.

Tender and nurturing God, like a mother and father you draw us to yourself and hold us. Knowing and loving each one of us, excited as you saw the people we would become, the people we are yet to become. Even before we were born, before we took our first breath, you knew us, knitting us together, our personalities, our futures, our hopes and dreams. Tender God, for your relentless love, for your excitement and plans for our lives we bring you our praise.

God of presence, we thank you that you are present in all times and places, in darkness and light, in joy and despair, in the valley of the shadow of death and the face of evil, in hope and disappointment, in life and death. Help us your people to earnestly and urgently seek you in all things, that we may acknowledge your presence in the everyday, ordinary things of our lives made extraordinary by your Spirit’s presence in us and surrounding us. May we continue to be transformed as we encounter you powerfully in the places where we least expect to. God, present in all things, we bring you our praise.

God of love victorious, of the Cross and empty tomb, of the road to Emmaus and a breakfast barbecue on the beach, help us to recognise your voice speaking to us, calling us as Mary did in the garden, to follow the one who knows us intimately, and loves us beyond the horizon of our imagination. Each one of us is held and precious and valued beyond measure. God of love victorious, we bring you our praise.

God of Trinity, you invite us to join in the dance of community. You are ever moving and interweaving together. Knit us together as the community of Christ, help us to dance together in praise and worship. God of Trinity we bring you our praise.

So, holy, creating, tender, present, loving, transforming, leading God, we bring you our heartfelt praise this day.

In a moment of quiet we offer before you those things that we wish to ask forgiveness for this day.

(Silence)

Gracious God, we give you thanks for the forgiveness that is offered through your Son Jesus Christ. May we live as your forgiven people this day and all our days to come. In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen.

Reading 1

1 John 4: 7-21

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgement, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

Reading 2

John 15:1-8

‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

Song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QO92Lw9v8PE

Singing the Faith 611                       Brother, sister, let me serve you

Reflection:

Prayers of Intercession and The Lord’s Prayer

Loving, Living, Listening and Waiting God, we come before you this day with our prayers knowing that you hear us and that you listen. We praise and worship you for your care for us.

Living God, we pray today for your Church, carrying a gospel of forgiveness and freedom which is so much needed in our world. Give us the courage and the willingness to be your witnesses in ways that are generous and respectful, and which come from the overflow of our love and delight in you. Your kingdom come, your will be done.

Listening God, we pray for countries where there is war, random violence or only fragile peace. May hearts which have been darkened by violence discover a different light and a better way. We pray particularly for the people of Myanmar at this time. We pray for peacemakers struggling to end hostility and violence across the nations. We pray especially for areas ravaged by Covid-19, for the people of India, Brazil and other nations facing huge surges in cases and deaths. We pray for places devastated by natural disasters, particularly remembering today St Vincent and its residents. Your kingdom come, your will be done.

Waiting God, we remember before you those in need of hope. Those who feel that their cries for help are not heard by you or by the people around them. For the lonely, isolated, disenfranchised, hurting, homeless, shunned. We pray for those for whom this day has seemed long and hard, for those in hospital or ill at home, those struggling with depression, mental illness, those waiting for a job. Loving God, give your courage and hope to those in trouble. Your kingdom come, your will be done.

God of love, we remember with deep gratitude those who have left their mark on our lives by giving us love and laughter but have now gone before us to be with Christ. We hold them in our hearts, knowing that you, Lord, hold them in yours. Your kingdom come, your will be done.

Faithful God, we remember before you our families, friends and the communities we represent here. In a moment of quiet we bring before God the concerns of our hearts and minds…Your kingdom come, your will be done.

So ever-loving and listening God, may we be a people who wait and listen for your word to us. People who act when you call us to and stand back when you require it. May we be agents of change in your world, offering not only our prayers to you but our lives and actions. May we be a people that ‘keep watch to see what you will say to us’ and be ready to serve you in all we do.

We offer our prayers in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

We say together the prayer that Jesus taught us…

Our Father, who art in heaven

Hallowed be thy name,

Thy kingdom come,

Thy will be done

On earth as it is in heaven

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us

And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil

For thine is the kingdom

The power and the glory

For ever and ever. Amen.

Song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pqPlXLj_HI

Singing the Faith 615                      Let love be real

Blessing:

May God our maker, bless us and wrap us round in love and tenderness. May our brother Jesus bless us and ask us the questions that lead us to do justice. May the Holy Spirit bless us and fill our lives with her courage and wisdom. May we live bravely in the love of God all our nights and days. May almighty God bless us, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, now and for ever. Amen.

Organ Voluntary

Organ voluntary: Sonata in G, BWV 530 (J.S. Bach)

Reitze Smits plays the Schnitger organ of Uithuizen, the Netherlands

https://youtu.be/slfSTazbYhE

This three-movement work lasts just over 12 minutes. Come back at your leisure, after Zoom coffee perhaps, for the Adagio (4′ 20″) and the final Allegro (8′ 45″)

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