Circuit Worship: 29 August 2021

Led by Ian Leck.

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=PLc2KHyGgDaLt5lu6tFpuPu7TbEqWZ-U1k

Welcome and call to worship

Hello, and welcome to this online service from the Oxford Methodist Circuit. I’m Ian Leck, a Local Preacher from Woodstock, and I look forward to sharing with you in this service. Whoever you are and wherever you are, you are most welcome, and I call you to worship. (Pause)

Come together as God’s people. Come together and be yourselves. Bring to God your joys and your struggles. Bring to God your hopes and your fears. Bring to God your beliefs and your doubts. Come together to be God’s people; and let us praise the living God as we hear the words of no. 28 in Singing the Faith – “Jesus calls us here to meet him as, through word and song and prayer, we affirm God’s promised presence where his people live and care.” I’ve chosen this hymn particularly because of its third verse, which reminds us of the inclusiveness which should characterise the Church.

Song:

“Jesus calls us here to meet him” (Singing the Faith 28)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvBGtFPd6TQ

Prayer for forgiveness

We now share in a prayer for forgiveness, which will include a time of silence in which to ask God’s forgiveness for whatever wrongdoing is most on our minds. Let us pray.

Loving God, you come to us in so many ways, but so often we fail to welcome you, or even to realise that you are there. Forgive us the weakness of our faith, the pride which makes us unable to learn your way and your truth, the complacency with which we view our own feeble efforts. Forgive our failures to welcome those companions on our “common search for truth” who differ from us. Forgive our abuse of your creation, and our failure to love you with all our being and our neighbours as ourselves. Forgive our failure to respond wholeheartedly to the call to follow Jesus …

God forgives us. God makes peace within us. We claim this healing, in faith and hope. Amen.

We now listen to the gospel and epistle readings appointed for today. We’ll then reflect on the epistle’s call to us to care for those in need, as the song “Brother, sister, let me serve you” is played.

Readings

Gospel – Mark 7: 1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Epistle – James 1: 17-27

Gospel: Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, ‘Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?’ He said to them, ‘Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, “This people honours me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.” You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.’

Then he called the crowd again and said to them, ‘Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.’

Epistle – James 1:17-27: Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.In fulfilment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.

But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing.

If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Song:

“Brother, sister, let me serve you” (Singing the Faith 611)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQaOErUUjm8

Reflection/Prayers

Prayers of concern:

We’ll now share in our prayers of concern. These again will include periods for silent prayer; and also, each time I say “We pray for faith”, I invite you all to join in the response “May we follow where you lead.” Let us pray.

We pray for faith. May we follow where you lead.

Creator God, we pray for the world in days when it is hard to believe that the hungry will be fed, that there will be justice and freedom throughout the world, and that damage to our environment will cease. We pray for people driven by war or intolerance or poverty to leave their homes, and for the leaders and peoples of the countries to which they go… We pray for the world even if we cannot see you within it. We pray for faith. May we follow where you lead.

We pray for humankind in days when it is hard to believe that love is stronger than hatred, that the sick will be made well, and that death has been destroyed. We pray for those suffering as a result of the Covid pandemic and other disorders, for all workers in the health and social services and in medical research, and for all those known to us who are passing through difficult times … We pray for humankind even if we cannot see you among us. We pray for faith. May we follow where you lead.

We pray for the Church in days when it is hard to believe that we have a message for the world, that our unity is greater than our division, and that we will ever serve you as we should. We pray for the many Methodist ministers and deacons who will be moving to new homes and churches this week, and for the communities to which they will minister… We pray for the Church even if we cannot see you at work within us. We pray for faith. May we follow where you lead.

Eternal God, increase our faith in the love made known to us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, and inspire us to follow him. Amen. (CRCL 1:140, altered)

And we join in the Lord’s Prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer.

Our closing song challenges us to love God by loving our neighbours – which is surely what it means to be doers of the word. It’s number 256 in Singing the Faith – “When I needed a neighbour, were you there, were you there?”

Song:

“When I needed a neighbour, were you there, were you there?” (Singing the Faith 256)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ym8yOdCFGPc

Sending out

Loving God, you have placed your word in our hearts. Send us out now to be not just hearers but doers of your word, to work as your agents with those of every creed and colour and name to make the world a better place. Amen.

Organ Voluntary

Organ voluntary: Ciacona in E minor (Dietrich Buxtehude)

Kimberly Marshall plays the Fritts organ of Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA

https://youtu.be/EV3yR_qDsmc

Circuit Worship: 22 August 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://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLc2KHyGgDaLvO94LBrOZmGySGKaGdgvmJ

Welcome and call to worship

Hello and welcome to the Oxford Circuit Service for Sunday 22nd August. 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, I’m delighted 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 hymn of praise and adoration.

Call to worship

Give thanks to God for he is good.

He loves every person in the world.

He loves you, and he loves me.

So let’s all praise him together.

Hymn:

Christ Triumphant, Ever Reigning (STF319)

Prayers of Praise

Lord, we praise you for bringing light into our darkness and joy into our sorrow;

For filling our lives when we feel empty and for guiding us when we are lost;

For restoring us when we are broken and for holding us when we are hurting;

For giving us life and for creating a world of such beauty and variety.

We praise you for every opportunity to experience something of the riches around us;

For giving us eyes to see the wonders you have made, ears to hear the music of life, and voices to give you the glory.

Lord, we praise you for the utter assurance of your total dependability.

We praise you that your love is for those who are lost, afraid and defeated by all that life throws against them.

We praise you for Christ who set his face like flint in his determination to face the conflict of life for us, and that through this life, death and resurrection he has shown us the full measure of your love that will never be defeated.

Amen

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

Reading

Ephesians 6:10-20

Our reading today comes from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, a letter which seems to have been written to allow Paul’s readers to better understand three things: firstly, the dimensions of God’s eternal purpose and grace, secondly, the goals he has set for individual Christians and the church, and finally, how these goals can be fulfilled. This culminates in the passage we’re going to hear now, which shows how the fulfilment of these goals also means victory over the evil one, the devil himself.

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Sermon

Hymn:

What A Friend We Have In Jesus (STF531/H&P559)

Prayers of Confession and Intercession

Lord God, we confess that there are times in our lives when we take the easy option rather than the right option.

When we focus on what is best for us today rather than what is best for your creation for eternity.

When we allow ourselves to be distracted from what we know we should do today, and put it off for a tomorrow that never comes.

When we feed our pride and self-centredness by focusing on other people’s deficiencies, rather than seeking out their strengths.

When we forget to bring our concerns, our troubles, and even our joys to you, but instead turn inward on ourselves.

And so Lord God we ask that you will forgive our shortcomings, the little things we do, or don’t do, that move us further away from you, and we ask that you will remind us how to use the equipment you’ve provided us with to allow us to live as true Christians, as hard-working members of your family here on earth.

We can rejoice, for when we truly repent God always forgives us, and he gives us all that we need to live our lives in his way, as Paul has showed us.

One of the greatest of the gifts given to us by God is prayer, and so we’ll now use the power of this gift to serve some of the many situations which concern us in the world at the moment.

And so, Lord God, we pray for all those affected by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

For those who have been bereaved, those whose health has been ruined, those who are struggling to recover, those who exhaust themselves in caring for the sick and the dying, those who are unable to see the people they love, those who are vulnerable and continue to have to cut themselves off from society, those who face a seemingly endless wait for a vaccine, those who have lost jobs, support networks, valued hobbies, the things that make life seem worthwhile.

We ask Lord that all these people will know your love and your comfort, and that you will strengthen the resolve of all those who work to bring an end to the pandemic.

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

We pray too for your world, for this planet Earth, which humanity has done so much to ravage and destroy. We pray that our church will have the strength, the will and the resolve to take a stand in working to limit climate change, to protect the natural world, and to find a way for our society to live lightly in your creation. We pray that our politicians and our leaders will have the courage to do what is right, rather than what is easy, to do what is best for future generations rather than what wins easy votes tomorrow, to set an example of how to live in harmony with the planet rather than using power and privilege as an excuse for behaviour which pushes our world closer to calamity. And we pray that each one of us will have the resolve to make real changes to our lives rather than just the easy changes, to live in a way which is sustainable rather than a way which is expedient.

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

We pray for every person in your world, that we and they might be alert to the temptations of the powers of evil. We pray that we will have the strength to resist the insidious whispers, the salami tactics, the little things which add up to move us further away from God. We pray that people will be able to find ways to work together to support each other, and that your church will help people live wisely and well, enabling them to become better followers of Jesus, rather than condemning them for the times when they fall short of your example. We pray that we will do all we can to use the tools you have given us to spread your Good News, to share your love, and to set an example of living selflessly in your service.

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

Lord God, each one of us will know of particular situations and particular people that are in desperate need of prayer at this moment, and so in this period of silence let us each raise up these situations and people to you.

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

And we bring all our prayers together as we say the prayer which Jesus gave us, in its traditional form:

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.

And so we come to our final hymn, which reminds us how God guides us, protects us, and sustains us, through all the challenges that life brings – Lord, you are the light of life to me.

Hymn:

Lord, You Are The Light Of Life To Me

Blessing

Lord God, you are the light of life to each one of us.

The rock on which we stand.

The truth that set us free.

And the king who ever reigns.

Help us in all we do to pursue your good and perfect will

So that all those we meet will see your love flowing through us, and join us in glorifying your name and working to build your kingdom here on Earth.

In the name of Christ.

Amen.

Organ Voluntary

Organ voluntary: Prelude and Fugue in C, BWV 545 (J.S. Bach)

Bart Jacobs plays the organ of St Bavo’s Church, Haarlem, the Netherlands

Circuit Worship 15 August 2021

Led by Mike Trinder

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 this link.

Call to Worship:

I would like to welcome everyone to worship.  My name is Mike Trinder, and I’m one of the Oxford Methodist Circuit’s Preachers.

The Lectionary Readings today are for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

We start with the Call to Worship.

Loving, Heavenly Father, we thank you for the world in which we live.  We thank you for your word through the Bible that we will be thinking about today. We would ask you to open our eyes and ears to your message of love and unity.

Amen

We continue our worship with the first hymn:

 Hymn No. 1: StF 655 “We cannot measure”.

Opening Prayers

Gracious God, give us the ears to hear your voice, and the eyes to see your glory, the hearts to know your love, and then the will to worship.

For you are God, we are your people and it is right that we offer you praise. Bless our time together and bless us as we go, that here and at home we know your ceaseless presence In the power of your spirit in the name of our living Lord Jesus Christ.

Lord of patterns and rhythms, you are present in the passion and peace of music, and the form and elegance of art. We praise you with our minds, our voices and our eyes.

Lord of movement and poise, you are present in sport and dance, in children’s play and gymnast’s balance. We praise you with our bodies and hearts.

Lord of stillness and vision you are present in work and relaxation, in solitary thought and energetic discussion, in quiet reflection and eager anticipation. We praise you with our lives and with our hope.

Lord of our lives, we praise you with all our being, Amen.

We join together in the Prayer that Jesus taught us:

Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be your name;

Your Kingdom Come,

Your will be done

on earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our Atrespasses

as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation;

But deliver us from evil.

For yours is the Kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.

Amen

Readings

1 Kings 2: 10-12, 3: 3-14

The Death of David

 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”

Reading 2:  John 6: 51-58

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.

The next hymn is StF 81

“Now thank we all our God”

Address

Prayers of  Thanksgiving and Intercession

In gladness and thanksgiving we recognise the glad news, that we bring forward your home and your delight to us. Help us, as Christian people, to make the earth and its people glad, that we may bring new singing to birth in your heart.

In gladness and thankfulness we recognise that the whole of our life is bound up in the mystery of faith, and the life of the Spirit. Our thankfulness reaches out to you in the confidence that you will continue to lead us, nudge us, cajole us and warm us. Help us as Christian women and men to be living witnesses to the life of the Spirit, within us and among the life and desires of the flesh.

Awaken our gratitude again to the wonder and enduring fullness of your passion and mercy. May the earthy, all-embracing nature of your good purposes flood over us, and incorporate our life of faith in that new world you bring into being.

In our prayers of intercession we think of those who are needy at this time.  With sadness we we acknowledge that the story of most of our history is of victory going to the strong, and suffering falling on the innocent and the weak. We ask you to be with those who need your loving kindness.

We pray for the broken hearted, the shocked, the ill, those suffering due to the pandemic at this time of stress in our world.

We pray for grace that we might ourselves with acts of love to everyone, not matter who they are.

Teach us, O Lord, to mingle our tears with your tears, that the trials and distress which accompany our living may become part of your saving love at this time of trial in our world.

It is to you, in the name of Jesus your Son, that we pray today

Amen.

Organ Voluntary

Organ voluntary: Sinfonia (Marcos Portugal)

Sérgio Silva, André Ferreira, João Santos, Margarida Oliveira, Diogo Pombo and Daniela Moreira play the six organs of the Basilica, Mafra, Portugal

https://youtu.be/J4UcDb186tU

Circuit Worship: 8 August 2021

The Lord who strengthens us

Led by Sizwe Mkwanazi

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 this link.

Call to Worship (Psalm 130)

Hymn: Christ be our light (STF 706)

Prayers of Thanksgiving

Reading: 1 Kings 19:4-8

Reading: John 6: 35, 41-51

Hymn: Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord (StF 89) https://youtu.be/-yLJfb34N50

Sermon

Prayers of Intercession: Led by Freda Cammack

The Lord’s Prayer

Hymn: Guide me, O thou great Jehovah (StF 465) https://youtu.be/VFZOOP9BXx8

Sending Out Prayer & Grace

Organ Voluntary

Exultemus, from Seven Sketches (Percy Whitlock)
Daniel Cook plays a Hauptwerk organ using the sampled sounds of Salisbury Cathedral
https://youtu.be/fNLxIObVlm8

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