Revd Stephen Maunder and Siobhan Antoniou
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:
Welcome and gathering prayer
I offer you a welcome to the online Service for the Oxford Methodist Circuit on this Sunday before Advent. Today brings to a close our readings from Matthew as the main Gospel since last Advent, as we shall be moving to Mark for the year ahead.
I am very pleased to be sharing our service with Siobhan Antoniou who is a student minister within the United Reformed Church, and is on placement within our Circuit for the coming months. Siobhan will be reading the Gospel and leading our prayers for others.
As we worship together, let us pray together:
God of grace and love and hope, we gather to worship you. Open our hearts, our minds, our souls, to your word that we might find refreshment and renewal at this time. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
‘Be still’ Singing the Faith 20
Loving God, we give you thanks that at all times you are with us. We praise you for the wonder of this world in which we live, for the vastness of the universe, and worlds and stars beyond our knowing. In all of this we may find it hard to grasp that you care for us, and yet we know that you do indeed hold us in your embrace, and love us to the uttermost.
We thank you for that love shown through Jesus. For the Servant King whose ministry continues to inspire us, for his death and resurrection bringing us hope of life light in a time of darkness.
We thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit uniting us wherever we are, holding us together as your family, and renewing us day by day.
Forgive us we pray when we fail to see you in the faces of those in need. Help us to serve you more faithfully day-by-day with openness and generosity.
Renew us, we pray, that we might walk more closely with Christ.
Renew us, we pray, that we may have hope for this moment and for the future.
Renew us, we pray, so that we may praise you in all that we do.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer
Matthew 25:31-46 NIV
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Song – When I needed a neighbour
Creator and cherisher of all people, we pray for our world.
We give thanks for the food on our tables, for access to clean and safe water to drink, for warm clothing for winter, and for doctors and nurses when we are sick.
We know that not everyone in our community here in Oxford, or around the world, is able to have the things needed to thrive.
We pray to our Lord Jesus Christ for everyone who feels hungry today. For people whose crops have failed, for those facing benefits sanctions, and PIP assessments, and school holiday hunger. God who hungers with the hungry – hear our prayer
For those who are thirsty and living in places of drought especially in East Africa and the Middle East. We pray for water to flow again, for the building of dams and wells and for everyone working for climate justice. God who thirsts with the thirsty – hear our prayer
We pray for those who are experiencing homelessness, who face a cold winter without warm clothes as well as those who are exploited in sweatshops creating fast fashion garments. God who dwells in homeless shelters and sweatshops – hear our prayer
We pray for everyone affected by illness, especially during this pandemic, and all the healthcare staff working hard to care for others. We pray for everyone struggling with grief, loneliness and isolation at this time. God who sits with us when we are feeling lonely – hear our prayer
We pray for those in prison and in detention centres here in the UK and around the world, and for chaplains and visitors who support imprisoned people. God who sits with prisoners – hear our prayer
God help us to see your face in everyone we meet this week, and give us the strength and courage to serve you through our service to others.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, remain with us all evermore. Amen
Organ voluntary: Prelude in G, BWV 541 (J.S. Bach)
Abolade Olatunji plays the organ of the Cathedral Church of Christ, Lagos, Nigeria