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Service at Home – 10th January 2021

Service at Home on 10th January

for Bolton Road Methodist Church, Christ Church Ramsbottom and Edenfield Methodist Church

YouTube playlist: Service at Home 10-01-2021

As usual, the entire service can be followed on this YouTube playlist without the need to look at these sheets. However, you may want to use these sheets if you prefer to read the words.

Welcome and Introduction

Watch: Welcome and Introduction

Welcome to this Sunday’s Service at Home.  Today we look at the baptism of Jesus.  We discover how, through Jesus, we can live our lives in the certainty that we are God’s dearly loved children.

Watch: Hosanna (Praise is Rising)

Watch: Here is Love Vast as the Ocean

Opening prayers

Watch: Opening prayers

Loving God, help me to never lose sight of how vast your love is. Help me to never forget how deep and true it is. Help me to never close my eyes to your love in action, for you have so many surprises in store for those who follow you.

Lord God, when I think of your love, I realise that I don’t always behave in ways that are loving.  Sometimes I do and say things that hurt you and hurt others.  In a few moments of quiet, I remember the things I’ve done wrong…..

Lord, we know that if we’re truly sorry, you’re always ready to forgive us and I ask for your forgiveness now. Thank you, Lord, that because you love me so much, you forgive my sins through Jesus.  Amen.

And now say 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 that 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.

 

Watch: Light of the world

 

Prayers of intercession by Mike

Watch: Prayers of intercession

As we start this New Year, let us remember that the Lord knows every situation and exactly how we feel today. He wants to give us new hope, new joy & new peace from his mighty arms of Love. He has prepared the way for us and will guide us through every storm.

Ever-present God, be with us in our isolation, be close to us in our distancing, be healing in our sickness, be joy in our sadness, be light in our darkness, be wisdom in our confusion, be all that is familiar when all is unfamiliar, that when the doors reopen, we may with the zeal of Pentecost, inhabit our communities & speak of your goodness to an emerging world. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.

In our lives, dear Lord, we have battled stormy seas,

We remember the struggles when we alone were at the helm.

We thank you for the day we surrendered to you and you became Captain of our Salvation and steered us to your safety of your harbour of loving care.

God of all mercy and compassion, life and death are in your hands.

Hear our prayers in this time of illness and infection, of isolation, fear and uncertainty:

for the sick, and those weighed down by pain, distress, loneliness, & anxiety;

for all who care for them, conscious of the risks they bear;

and for those who have responsibility for public health & social order.

We pray for those afflicted with coronavirus; for those with other illnesses and conditions which leave them vulnerable; for those with poor mental health; for all who suffer; remembering especially those who are in our hearts today.

We pray for our communities: the elderly, confined to their homes & separated from family and support; for children, removed from school; for those who have lost their source of income; for those who fear for their home; for those who have no home; for those offering extraordinary kindness; for those in our hearts today.

We pray for the families of those who have died: for those taken suddenly; for those taken unexpectedly; for the families they leave behind; for their friends; for those who have died alone; and for those who have no one to remember them.

We pray for the world: for the leaders of the nations and their governments; for areas most besieged by the pandemic; for broken places where healthcare and resources are scarce, and the pandemic brings further suffering; especially for all the third world countries and those affected by earthquakes and bush fires.

O God, whose love we cannot measure, nor even number thy blessings: we bless and praise you Lord for all thy goodness, who in our weakness art our strength, in our darkness, light, in our sorrows, comfort and peace, from everlasting to everlasting art our God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, world without end.

Lord, you are in the midst of us: keep us fearless in proclaiming your Word and work; and make us to be lights in the darkness. Lord, may those who have waited for you and hoped in your word know your steadfast love face to face.  We offer up our hopes and fears, our joys and sorrows to God, our refuge and strength.

Lord, listen to our prayers, and hear the voice of our supplications, as we, who trust in your word, eagerly await your help: for you are the God of our salvation. Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Watch: Good Good Father

Bible readings and sermon

Watch: Bible readings and sermon

Bible readings

Acts 19:1-7

Mark 1:4-11

Sermon

Our reading from Mark’s Gospel recorded the start of Jesus’ public ministry.  The moment Jesus was revealed as the One for whose coming John had been preparing the people; the promised Messiah, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.  Jesus is revealed as God’s own Son.  The Father and the Holy Spirit bear witness to Him – the Spirit descends on Jesus like a dove and the Father affirms that Jesus is His beloved Son.

We heard that, ‘Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove’.  Jesus was conceived by the power of the Spirit, he is God’s Son, he is full of the Spirit of God right from the start of his life on earth.  Yet here at his baptism the Holy Spirit is seen descending on him – an extra affirmation from his heavenly Father which will help to sustain him in the tough ministry he’s about to begin.  A sign too to those watching that this is no ordinary man.  And then we read ‘a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’  This love is the bedrock of Jesus’ existence.  His whole ministry will be underpinned, supported and powered by that loving relationship he has with his Father. His life is an expression of God’s love.

‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’

The amazing news for you and for me is that those words of love, spoken by God the Father to Jesus the Son are for us as well.

Tom Wright puts it this way, ‘the whole Christian gospel could be summed up in this point: that when the living God looks at us, at every baptised and believing Christian, he says to us what he said to Jesus on that day.  He sees us, not as we are in ourselves, but as we are in Jesus Christ.’

How can this be?  Because Jesus lived, suffered and died to make it happen.  Through Jesus all our wrongdoing, all our shortcomings are taken away- he has paid for them all on the cross.  God now regards us as completely clean.  Through Jesus we are adopted into God’s family, we become his dearly loved sons and daughters.  St. John writes this about Jesus in the first chapter of his Gospel, ‘to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.’  And in the first letter of John we read the wonderful proclamation, ‘See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!’ 1 John 3: 1.

Because of Jesus sacrifice, everyone who puts their trust in Him is made clean in God’s sight and becomes part of God’s family – a cherished son or daughter.  Our baptism symbolises our being washed clean and clothed in Christ.  This doesn’t happen because we are good people or have done good things – nothing we can do could ever earn such a privilege.  It is God’s free gift to all those who put their trust in Jesus, turning away from doing wrong and deciding to live in God’s way with His help.  Gerald O’ Mahony writes, ‘I am loved, not because I am good, but because I am God’s.  There is no way I can ever earn a gift like that.  God loves me because God wants to, not for anything I have done in the past or will do in the future.’

If you want to accept this wonderful gift from God, you just need to ask God to forgive the things you’ve done wrong and start living in the way Jesus taught and showed us.  The Holy Spirit of God will live in you to help you live in His way.

Maybe you’ve been a baptised Christian for many years. If that’s the case, take this opportunity to reflect on and re-affirm the commitment to be a disciple of Jesus made at your baptism and confirmation. Keep in mind and put into practice the commitment you may have renewed at the Covenant service last Sunday.

Whether you’ve been following Jesus for many years or you’re a new Christian, hear this wonderful affirmation of God’s love for you right now.  In your mind, hear the words he spoke at Jesus’ baptism spoken to you – they apply to you as well now because of what Jesus has done for you – so put your name in front of them – ______________ you are my son (my daughter), whom I love; with you I am well pleased.

Gerald O’ Mahony reminds us, ‘The reply may be, ‘Yes, I am your beloved child; with me you are well pleased.’  This can be said with complete truth, anywhere, any time.’  It can be said because Jesus has taken our sins away.  Gerald continues, ‘Jesus shared his Spirit with us: we are at peace with God because now we know he is our constantly loving Father.’

The Spirit of God rested on Jesus at His baptism and Jesus is pleased to share His Spirit with us.  When we are baptised, we receive the Holy Spirit.  The third Person of the Trinity, God the Holy Spirit, actually comes and lives within us to help us live our lives as followers of Jesus.

In our first reading from the book of Acts we heard how a group of believers in Ephesus were baptised in the Name of Jesus and received the Holy Spirit.

This is what still happens when someone is baptised.  The water we use is just the outward symbol of the inner gift of the Holy Spirit – God himself is pleased to live in us and help us to live in His way.  Don’t disregard this precious gift of God.  Listen to the Spirit’s guiding, be open to the Spirit’s prompting, use the gifts and graces the Spirit has given you to be a follower of Jesus.

Through Jesus we have received all we need.  As forgiven people, dearly loved sons and daughters of God, filled with the Holy Spirit of God, let’s walk humbly in Jesus’ footsteps and share his good news right where we are, in the mission field he has given us, telling and showing the love of God to our family, neighbours, colleagues and friends.

Prayer

Father God, I thank you that because of Jesus I am adopted into your family.  Thank you that my wrongdoing is forgiven, that you look on me as if I was clean. We thank you that through Jesus I am your child, whom you love and that you are well pleased with me.

Help me never to neglect or ignore the guiding and gifts of the Holy Spirit in my life.

Held secure in your love, help me to reach out in the power of your Spirit to make your love known to others.

Amen.

 

 

Blessing

Loving God,

Whose hands hold all creation like a cradle,

Hold us in your love this day.

May your hands protect and guide us.

May your hands strengthen and enfold us,

That we may become your hands

Holding others with your love,

Knowing that you will never let us go.

Watch: No longer slaves to fear