Circuit Worship: 4 July 2021

Simon Blainey

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=PLc2KHyGgDaLueeDuWhL4OZKSBoAWu7eqW

Welcome and call to worship

Hello and welcome to the Oxford Circuit Service for Sunday 4th July.  I’m Simon Blainey, one of the local preachers on the circuit, and I’ll be leading today’s service.  Wherever and whenever you are listening to this service, it’s a privilege to be sharing in worship with you.  We’ll begin our service with a short to call to worship, which will be followed by a song of praise and thanksgiving.

Lord God, we come to worship you.

We come with our joys, with our concerns, and our fears, and we lay them all down before you.

We come to give you praise, and to thank you for the grace you offer to each one of us.

Song:

Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)

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

Prayers of Thanksgiving

We continue to thank God in prayer – let us pray.

Lord God, we thank you for your love, which has no beginning and knows no end.  The love which as we pray is alive and active in the world that you have made.

We thank you for the love which in Christ gave us new life, new hope and a new joy, for every moment when we are once more made aware of your irrepressible love and extravagant mercy.

We thank you for those who, by their words and deeds, have made Christ and his love real for us. For every opportunity you have given to us to speak of Christ and to name his name.

We thank you for those whose kindness, generosity and faithfulness have opened the door of faith and hope to others.

For those whose lives are light in the darkness, stillness in the storm, strength in weakness, joy in despair, and Christ to their neighbour.

For those who stand with the fallen, wait with the dying, comfort the grieving, enable the powerless to cope, and are Christ to those to whom you send them.

Lord God, we thank you, praise you and worship you, for you are our Saviour and our Lord, in whose name we bring our prayer.

Amen

(from David Clowes ‘500 More Prayers For All Occasions’)

Luke 4:14-21

14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19     to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”[f]

20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Reading

2 Corinthians 12:2-10

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Sermon

Song:

Go Forth And Tell (H&P 770)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywC6JRPVLkE

Prayers of Confession and Intercession

Lord God,

We confess that sometimes we find it hard to talk about our faith.

Hard to tell other people that we believe in your power.

Hard to share with other people that we have experienced your grace.

Hard to explain to them how it could transform their lives.

We confess too that there are times when we get things out of proportion.

When we are distracted from the most pressing issues which face your people and your creation,

And when we use the precious time and resources you have given us to argue amongst ourselves, rather than trying to lift others from despair and darkness.

And so Lord God, we ask that you will forgive us, and empower us through your grace to refocus our lives and our church on fulfilling the calling which Jesus gave us.

We can rejoice, for when we confess our failings you forgive us in an instant.  And so, safe in the knowledge of that forgiveness, for ourselves and for others, we bring you our prayers for other people and for your creation.

So let us pray for the church, the one church of Jesus Christ throughout the world,

The church that reaches all the way back through two thousand years and all across the world today.

Let us pray for guidance, encouragement and a genuine awareness of the immense privilege of belonging to the people of God.

Let us ask God to fill his church with the Holy Spirit, that we may be equipped to worship him in the way he deserves.

The Lord hears our prayer.

Thanks be to God.

Let us pray for the message of the church.

Let us thank God that we do have something to say, a message to declare, and good news to announce to the whole world.

Let us thank God for Jesus and that because of him and his life, death and resurrection, we have something good to share with our family and friends.

Let us ask God for the power of the Spirit, to enable us to share his love with those we meet at school, at work or in the world.

The Lord hears our prayer.

Thanks be to God.

Let us pray for the church, as it seeks to respond to the questions and problems of the world.

Let us ask for God’s wisdom and guidance, as we seek to speak in his name before a watching, waiting world.

Let us ask God to speak to us through his word, that by the power of the Holy Spirit we may be more fully equipped to answer the fears, worries and deep concerns of those around us.

The Lord hears our prayer.

Thanks be to God.

Let us pray for the witness of the church, and for its mission to the local community;

For our service to those in need of help, care and support;

For our plans for evangelism and for sharing the message of Christ with our neighbour.

Let us ask God to fill each of us with the Holy Spirit, that we may have the right words to offer the message of hope and love.

The Lord hears our prayer.

Thanks be to God.

Let us pray for those in need of the hope and joy of the good news we have to share;

For those who are lonely and those who are alone;

For those whose lives are filled with fear and frustration;

For those who are under pressure at home or at work, and for those who feel that they cannot cope any longer;

For those who are being crushed by the strain of living and for those whose lives are drifting further and further from God.

For all those who we know to be in special need at this time.

The Lord hears our prayer.

Thanks be to God.

And we bring all our prayers together as we say the Lord’s Prayer…

We come now to our final hymn – one which for me sums up so much of what the Methodist church is about – so please do sing along, wherever you are listening to this.  Born in Song – God’s people have always been singing.

Song:

Born in Song (STF21/H&P486)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VLLghU0_5I

Blessing

Tell the world, all power to Jesus is given.

Tell the world, he is with us always,

Spread the word, that all may receive him,

Every tongue confess and sing his praise.

So go out, confess his grace, and sing his praise – evangelise, for with God’s grace, none shall perish.

Amen.

Organ Voluntary

Organ voluntary: Prelude and Fugue in A minor, BWV 543 (J.S. Bach)

John Scott plays the Taylor and Boody organ of St Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York

https://youtu.be/GgBrZ39T8fs

Circuit Worship: 27 June 2021

Led by Simeon Mitchell.

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 belowhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGiy0uVUaK0&list=PLc2KHyGgDaLuRuejZhQeFsw2ULqrCi6Ah

Welcome and call to worship

Hello, and a very warm welcome to this act of worship from the Oxford Methodist Circuit.

My name’s Simeon Mitchell, and whoever you are, wherever you are, wherever you’re joining this service from, you are really welcome.

Some words to focus us as we come to worship:

Come among us, Healing God; we wait for you.
Come among us, Compassionate Christ; we hope in you.
Come among us, Restoring Spirit; for we wait and hope in you.

Hymn: God is Love, let heaven adore him (StF103)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-tZq0zR8IE

Prayers

Lets come before God in prayer.

We are here, God,
We have felt your touch in the sunlight,
seen your power in the waves of the sea.
We have wondered at your mystery in the stars 
and we marvel that you, the maker of the universe,
knows each of us by name.
We are here, God. We are here to praise and worship you. 

We are here, Jesus,
We know that you came to find us.
We have listened to your words 
and smiled at your stories.
We have felt the warmth of your love, 
and we thank you that you call us your friends.
We are here, Jesus. We are here to praise and worship you. 

We are here, Holy Spirit,
We are grateful for your presence.
Grateful for the way you bring us close, 
even when we are apart.
You comfort us and challenge us
and keep us right.
We are here, Holy Spirit. We are here to praise and worship you. 

While we are here, God,
in this moment, this space,
in the silence and knowledge of your love, 
we bring to you all the things that trouble us, 
that harm us, that need healing,
that make us feel ashamed or afraid.

God, have mercy on us.
Christ have mercy on us. 
God, have mercy on us.

Listen to the words of Jesus,
words we can trust:
Your sins are forgiven.
Your faith has made you well.
Come and follow me.

Thanks be to God.
Amen

Based on prayers by Ruth Burgess

Today our gospel reading offers us a story intertwined within another story, both about Jesus healing people and the power of touch.

The news headlines this weekend have underlined how touch has taken on a particular power and significance during the pandemic. We have spent much of the last year refraining from touching for fear of infecting one another. So we’re perhaps in a good position to empathise with the woman at the centre of one of these gospel stories with whom any physical contact was viewed as contaminating. 

Like with the story on our front pages, here a touch transgresses protocols and breaches boundaries. But in this case, that touch is ultimately healing and life-giving.

Reading: Mark 5:21-43

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

Reflection

Song: We cannot measure how you heal (CSB164/StF655)

Prayers of intercession

As we move into to a time of intercession, we recognise how much we and the whole world need the healing and restoration that Jesus offers in today’s Gospel.

As well as the needs known to each of us, we come seeking healing and restoration from the pandemic, healing and restoration from injustices, healing and restoration from the appalling ways humans treat other humans who are not like them. In all this, God is our hope.

Let us pray:

Loving God, we hold in your healing presence those who suffer pain and ill-health, with their families, friends, and those who care for them.
May they know the deep peace of Christ. 

As we reflect on today’s gospel, we pray particularly today for women who have been let down by the medical profession, whose problems have not been listened to, understood or cured. 

Loving God, we hold in your healing presence those who suffer in mind and spirit, and all who care for them.

Loving God, we hold in your healing presence the suffering people of our world, and the places where people are experiencing division, injustice and violence.
May they know the deep peace of Christ. 

Loving God, we hold in your healing presence those struggling to overcome addiction or abuse, those supporting and working with them, and all whose suffering has distanced them from those who love.

Loving God, we hold in your healing presence those facing bereavement. We also pray for those who have died.
May they know the deep peace of Christ. 

Give strength and wisdom to nurses, doctors, and those who work in every part of our Health Service and across the world.

Loving God, we give you thanks for health restored and prayers answered… for we know that the glory of God is a human being fully alive.
We hold in your healing presence and peace those whose needs are not known to us… 
And those whose names we do not know, but who are known to you, and for whom we have been asked to pray…
And we name in our hearts those who are close to us.
May they know the deep peace of Christ. 

On this Methodist Conference Sunday, we pray for the newly inducted President Sonia Hicks and Vice President Barbara Easton, and all those who are being ordained, that you will bless them in their ministries. We pray for the conference’s deliberations, for wisdom, love and discernment as significant decisions are made, and for all who will be affected by them.

God of compassion and love, we offer you all our needs, our suffering and our pain. Give us strength to bear our weakness, healing even when there is no cure, peace in the midst of turmoil and love to fill the spaces in our lives. 

Glory be to God, from who all love flows, 
glory to Jesus, who showed his love through suffering, 
and glory to the Holy Spirit, who brings light to the darkest places.

Amen. 

Iona Abbey Worship Book, adapted

Song: We shall go out with hope of resurrection (CSB166)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9nlTZXrZk4

Blessing

Go now, knowing the touch and the blessing of God
Go now, to share the never-ending love of the Healer of all.
Go now, with that faith which dares to touch the outcast,
and with hearts that break for the pain of others.
Go now, to share the compassion of the Friend of the broken.
Go now, carrying word and wonder to a weary world,
which waits for songs of hope to sing to all creation.
Go now, led by the Spirit, to live and work for God’s Kingdom of life.

Thom Shuman, adapted

Organ voluntary: Grand Choeur (Alexandre Guilmant)

Alexander Binns plays the organ of St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

https://youtu.be/u4lQ2bG2-3w

Circuit Worship: 20th June 2021

Peter Powers

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=PLc2KHyGgDaLubTzWeo3cStWYo5WKAWIxl

Welcome and call to worship

Jesus on the boat in the storm said: ‘Peace! Be still!’…and there was a great calm.
We come to God, just as we are.
Sometimes at ease.
Sometimes confused by life’s storms.
Let us trust God with our big questions, and listen for God’s still small word to restore us to a sense of peace.

Song: Now thank we all our God

Opening prayers

Loving and sometimes silent God,
we come into your presence,
thankful to quieten our hearts and to wait for you to speak.
We bring our joys, our challenges, and our questions.
We open our hearts honestly to you,
and we wait in that space beyond questions
to feel you hold us in compassion.

Eternal God,
we praise and adore you for all that you are:
for being bigger than even our biggest questions;
for caring more than we can fully comprehend.
We praise and adore you
for your strength and your silence;
for your power and your peace.
We praise and adore you
for being in control and yet not controlling;
for being in the storms and beyond them.
We praise and adore you,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
we praise you for ever.

God of our questions and our struggles,
when we too quickly mistake silence for indifference:
forgive and help us.When the voice of our own needs silences the voices of others:
forgive and help us.When we abandon others in their storm and watch safely from the shore:
forgive and help us.When we lose faith because things get tough:
forgive and help us.In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Lord Jesus,
you do not let us sink when our faith is going under.
You do not let our boats overturn when the seas of our life get rough.
You do not let our questions swamp us or our failures destroy us.
Rather, you forgive us, you save us,
you encourage, challenge and calm us –
and for this we are thankful. Amen.

Reading: Mark 5.35-41

Sermon

Eularia Clarke’s 
‘Storm Over the Lake’.

God of power and peace,
when the storm is raging:
You are there.
When our boats are sinking:
You are there.
When faith slips through our fingers:
You are there.
When our hearts sink and our courage fails:
You are there.
In the roar of the waves,
in the sound of the wind,
and in the silence:
You are there.
So, we praise you.
We thank you.
We worship you.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Listen to song: Can you hear me?

Prayers for others

In the light of the extension of restrictions,
we remember in prayer today:
those whose businesses are sinking…
those drowning in debt…
those going under with stress…

Faithful God, may they know you care.
Loving God, may they trust you’re there.
Saving God, hear our prayer.

We pray for those embroiled in stormy and violent relationships,
among and within nations, communities, and families…
those played out on the world’s stage…
those hidden behind closed doors…

Faithful God, may they know you care.
Loving God, may they trust you’re there.
Saving God, hear our prayer.

We pray for those whose cries go unheard,
especially those tortured and executed by brutal regimes…
for those whose questions go unanswered,
especially those searching for justice…
for those whose pleas go unheeded,
especially those on the edge unable to access mental health services…
for those whose needs go unmet,
especially in the Yemen, in Tigray, and in all places of poverty where the resources available are inadequate to feed the hungry and starving…

Faithful God, may they know you care.
Loving God, may they trust you’re there.
Saving God, hear our prayer.

We pray for the church as it seeks to address and answer big questions,
questions about life and death,
about gender and sexuality,
about faith and finance,
about race and responsibilities,
about integrity and healing…

Faithful God, may they know you care.
Loving God, may they trust you’re there.
Saving God, hear our prayer.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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.

Lead us not into temptation

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours

now and for ever.

Amen.

Song: In Christ is our salvation

Blessing

Go in peace.
May the whisper of God’s wisdom
go with you today
into all your relationships.

May God’s blessing be yours, Father, Son and Spirit.

Now and always.

Amen.

Organ voluntary: Pièce d’Orgue, also known as Fantasia in G, BWV 572 (J.S. Bach)

Phoebe Tak Man Chow plays the organ of All Saints’ Church, Orpington

Circuit Worship: 13 June 2021

Led by Prof. David R. Matthews

The service this week is integrated into a single video:

The readings this week are those set in the Lectionary:

Psalm 20

Mark 4, 26-34

Prayers:

Bless us 

Our brother Jesus, you set our feet upon the way and sometimes where you lead we do not like or understand. 

Bless us with courage where the way is fraught with dread or danger; 

bless us with graceful meetings where the way is lonely; 

bless us with good companions where the way demands a common cause; 

bless us with night vision where we travel in the dark, keen hearing where we have not sight, to hear the reassuring sounds of fellow travellers; 

bless us with humour — we cannot travel lightly weighed down with gravity; 

bless us with humility to learn from those around us; 

bless us with decisiveness where we must move with speed;

 bless us with lazy moments, to stretch and rest and savour; 

bless us with love, given and received; 

and bless us with your presence.

Bless us, lead us, love us, bring us home to you, bearing the Gospel of life. 

(Kathy Galloway – Iona Community)

The mustard seed

Loving God, we confess that we have failed, 
we have not been what you intend us to be, 
we have not been what we want to be.

We would touch the world with goodness, 
but we chase after our own salvation. 

We would care for your creation, 
but we squander it with little thought for those still to come. 

We would meet the needs of others,
but we find ourselves reluctant to share. 

We would stand for truth, 
but we remain silent in the face of evil.

We would live with love and compassion,
but we take on the values of this world. 

We would share our faith joyfully,
but we lack courage to trust in you. 

We need you, God,
if we are to become who you want us to be. 

Transform us by the power of your Spirit. 

Renew our faith day by day and make it like a mustard seed, 
full of promise and possibility, always growing.

So may we may live with courage and purpose 
and see the signs and parables 
you have for us in the world today. 

(Francis Brienen)

Intercessions

Lord of the universe, through power beyond our understanding you called our planet into being and sustain it in all its beauty and balance.

We grieve for the damage that has been done by human greed and human carelessness.

Inspire us again with your vision of a world where people live in harmony with their environment, where resources are fairly shared and where life in all its forms can flourish.

  • We pray for your blessing on all who are campaigning to raise awareness, particularly the young generations speaking up for their future 
  • We pray for struggling communities around the developing world who are seeing their fragile livelihoods devastated by changing weather patterns
  • We pray for those of us in the prosperous world whose lifestyles have caused so much harm.  Strengthen in us the will and the discipline to change our harmful habits. 

Lord of the powerful, from the earliest pages of scripture you have laid out a blueprint for earthly rulers based on justice and righteousness – calling those in power to respect and cherish all their people, and to live in peace with their neighbours.

We hold up to you now our political leaders, remembering especially those who have been meeting at the G7 summit. Grant them the wisdom to see that the crises which threaten the whole world can only be solved by setting aside self-interest and working together; stir up in them a proper sense of urgency and the determination to follow brave words with equally brave actions. 

Lord of the powerless, in the life of Jesus you chose to identify with the weak and vulnerable, the outcasts and misfits.  He shows us how you want human life to be lived – not by conventional standards of status and success, but with loving-kindness and compassion. 

We hold up to you now the powerless people of our world:

  • The helpless citizens of so many war-torn countries, living through endless cycles of violence and fear
  • Those languishing in refugee camps, or risking the dangers of the sea in a search for safety.
  • Those living on the edges of our own society and struggling to get by. 

Lord of the power-sharers, through the gift of the Holy Spirit you have chosen to make human agents and human activities the channels for your transforming power.  

 We ask your blessing now on all your power-sharers, of whatever race and creed:

  • all who are committed to building a fairer, greener world, 
  • all who work patiently to bring peace, 
  • all who stand up with courage for justice, 
  • all who give healing to the sick and comfort to the sad, 
  • all who offer new worth to the despised and new hope to the despairing.

May we remember that however helpless we feel, we do each have the power to make a difference – In our homes, our workplaces, our neighbourhoods, our churches, our world. So may we join gladly and with energy in the work of making your kingdom come. 

(Clare Matthews)

Organ Voluntary

Toccata in G (Théodore Dubois)
Roger Sayer plays the organ of the Temple Church, London
https://youtu.be/7YtzuqTqLwU

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