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METHODIST SERVICE ALDERSGATE SUNDAY 22ND MAY 2022

Join Us for Worship Sunday May 24th! – Avent Ferry United Methodist Church

THE GATHERING OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD

God declares: I will pour out my spirit on all flesh. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

HYMN

Let us pray together:

Come Holy Spirit,

fill the hearts of your faithful people,

and kindle in us the fire of your love,

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Let us confess our sins to God

Gracious and holy God

We confess that we have sinned

against you and against our neighbour.

Your spirit gives light but we have preferred darkness

Your spirit gives wisdom

but we have been foolish;

Your spirit gives power,

but we have trusted in our own strength

for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son,

forgive us our sins, and enable us by your spirit

to serve you in joyful obedience,

to the glory of your Name. Amen

There is now no condemnation for those

who live in union with Jesus Christ;

for the law of the Spirit of life

has set you free from the law of sin and death. Amen.

Thanks be to God.

COLLECT FOR SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

O God from whom all good things arise,
grant such grace to those who call on you,
that, by your inspiration,
we may ponder those things that are right
and, by your guidance, do them;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end. Amen

What is Aldersgate Day?

COLLECT FOR ALDERSGATE SUNDAY

Almighty God, you raised up your servants, John and Charles Wesley,

to proclaim anew the gift of redemption and the life of holiness.

Pour out your Spirit, and revive your work among us;

that inspired by the same faith,

and upheld by the same grace

in word and sacrament,

we and all your children

may be made one in the unity of your church on earth,

even as in heaven we are made one in you;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

THE GLORIA
sung by Dougie Byers

THE MINISTRY OF THE WORD.

FIRST READING
Acts 16:9–15

9 During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ 10 When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them. 11 We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. 13 On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. 14 A certain woman named Lydia, a worshipper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. 15 When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.’ And she prevailed upon us.

SECOND READING
Revelation 21:10, 22 – 22:5


10 In the spirit the angel carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. 22 I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25 Its gates will never be shut by day – and there will be no night there. 26 People will bring into it the glory and the honour of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. 1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 Nothing accursed will be found there anymore. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; 4 they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign for ever and ever.

Revelation 22:2 The tree of life and it's leaves shall be for the healing  of the nations. | Revelation bible, Revelation 22, Revelation

GRADUAL HYMN

GOSPEL READING
JOHN 5: 1-9

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St John chapter 5 beginning at verse 1

Glory to Christ our Saviour

After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. 3 In these lay many invalids – blind, lame, and paralysed. 5 One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’ 7 The sick man answered him, ‘Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.’ 8 Jesus said to him, ‘Stand up, take your mat and walk.’ 9 At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk. Now that day was a sabbath.

Give thanks to the Lord for his glorious gospel.

Praise to Christ our Lord

SERMON

Do you want to get well? Jesus asks this invalid man. Thirty-eight years is a long time to sit on your mat. Every day is the same. Waiting. Watching. Hoping. Not much change. Sitting on his mat has become a way of life for the man in today’s gospel. His life is stagnant. He’s unable to see that the deep well of life is within him. He’s convinced that life will bubble up outside of him, over there, in that magic pool of water. So, he sits on his mat waiting, watching, and hoping that things will change.

There was a belief that this pool of water called Beth-zatha had healing properties and that it could change one’s life. It was said that every now and then an angel would stir the water, the water would begin to bubble, and the first one in the water would be healed. The man in today’s gospel won’t get up off his mat until he sees the first bubble. He is living an “as soon as” life.

Life of Jesus Christ: Healings - Pool of Bethesda

“As soon as the water bubbles then I will get up off my mat. As soon as I get to the water my life will be better. As soon as I get into the water my problems will be fixed.” The pool of Beth-zatha is an illusion. It convinces us that our life is nothing more than our circumstances. It deceives us into believing that life is to be found outside ourselves. It tricks us into living an “as soon as” life. Most of us know what that is like. We say to ourselves or maybe even out loud to another, “As soon as this or that happens everything will be better. I’ll be happy. My problems will go away. I’ll be satisfied. All will be well.”

As soon as ….” You can fill in the blank with almost anything. The problem is there will always be another pool of Beth-zatha. Meanwhile life has been put on hold. The pause button has been pushed. We sit on our mat, self-imprisoned by the circumstances of our life.

David Do - John 5:1 14 (Do you want to be made whole?) - YouTube

The imprisonment is so great that when Jesus asks the man, “Do you want to be made well?” the man doesn’t even say, “Yes.” Instead, he offers circumstances and excuses. “I have no one to put me in the water. When the water bubbles others get there first. They take cuts.”

I’m not suggesting that the circumstances of our lives are irrelevant or have no effect. That’s just not true. They do affect us. We are, however, more than the circumstances of our life. Life is not to be found outside our various situations or circumstances but within them. To believe something other than this is to live constantly looking for the next pool of Beth-zatha.

Jesus does not help the man get into the water. He comes to him on his mat, the same mat and situation the man so wants to escape, and speaks words of life and resurrection. “Get up off your mat!” To quote Jesus a bit more accurately, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” The man does not leave his mat behind. It goes with him. His circumstances are real. The difference is he now carries them. They no longer carry him.

Jesus doesn’t change our outer circumstances. He changes us. He calls us into a new way of being, seeing, acting, speaking, thinking. When we stand and rise to that new life, we discover the circumstances have somehow changed. That doesn’t necessarily make life easy or mean we no longer have to deal with the circumstances of life. It makes our circumstances more manageable and we engage with them from a different place and position. The pool of Beth-zatha is drained of its power over us. There is freedom where there was once imprisonment. Inertia gives way to creativity. Once stagnant waters now bubble with new life.

The life Jesus offers does not happen “as soon as ….” It happens in this place, at this time, in these circumstances. Are you sitting on your mat? Are you looking for a pool of Bethzatha? “

“Do you want to be made well?” Do you want to experience life in all its abundance? Then, maybe you need to try a new approach. If you’re one, say, to blurt out what you think at the first drop of a hat, you might need to try holding back. Let someone else do the talking. On the other hand, if you’re one who never says a word, then you might need to speak out more. Let your voice be heard. The point is, dare to do things differently. Dare to alter your routine. Change your diet. Cultivate new friendships. Break old habits. Learn new techniques for relating to others more effectively. This can be an important first step toward experiencing a new and more abundant life.

Do You Want To Be Made Well? - YouTube

Do you want to be made well?” Because if you do, you may need to step out of your comfort zone and take a leap of faith and venture out into the unknown. Like Linus and his blanket, if you’re determined to hold on to what you have, you may well be closing the door to the possibilities God has in store for you.

Well, here’s the question Jesus is asking us today: “Do you want to be made well?” In the final analysis, it’s a question only you can answer. You can start by asking yourself, what do I need to be healed of? What’s my impediment? Is it self-imposed?

What’s standing in your way? What sort of things do you need to change about your life in order to be whole? Are there things you need to let go of? For example, are you holding on to anger, nursing some injustice or hurt from years back? Are you holding on to grief, looking back to something or someone you once held dear? Perhaps you’re holding on to a destructive habit, wanting to be healthy and whole, but not willing to stop smoking or drinking or eating your troubles away.

Well, the gospel lesson ends on a positive note. Jesus tells the man, “Arise, take up your mat, and walk.” Immediately, the man was made well, and took up his mat and walked. A new life and door had opened for him- a cause for much celebration.

Best 500+ Celebrate Pictures | Download Free Images on Unsplash

Speaking of celebration, today is an important day in the Methodist church it is Aldersgate Sunday. Aldersgate Sunday, focussing on John Wesley is as close to a saint’s day as we get in the Methodist Church. However, it is surely significant that 24th May does not commemorate a birth or a death, but a spiritual experience: what is often called the conversion experience of John Wesley, which took place on 24 May 1738. It is an inspiring story, and one worth retelling.

In our imaginations we need to go back 274 years, to the City of London, where we discover an anxious young clergyman called John Wesley, not long since returned from a two- year appointment as missionary in the American colony of Georgia. For various reasons this had ended as an embarrassing failure and caused John to question his vocation as a minister and indeed whether he was truly a Christian at all. He was struggling not like the man previously in our gospel reading with his physical health but rather with his spiritual health. However just as Jesus appeared unexpectantly into the life of the invalid man’s life, so he came unexpectedly into the life of John Wesley. This is what John Wesley says.

“In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation: and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”

The room where the society – what today we might call a house fellowship group – met disappeared in wartime bombing and the site is now covered by the Museum of London. But there is a large memorial next to the main entrance of the museum. It is in the shape of a flame, with those words from Wesley’s journal inscribed upon it. The flame reminds us of his experience of the warmed heart and also of the Holy Spirit, whose presence is within us and around us. New life and purpose through the Spirit were given to John Wesley. That day he felt God’s presence in a way he had never experienced before. Saving faith was given to him, and the assurance of sins forgiven.

John Wesley Quote: “I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in  Christ,

John was so excited by this turn of events that he felt he must share his news with his brother Charles. Charles was in bed, recovering from pleurisy, when John came round, late on the evening of 24 May, to relate all that had happened. What John didn’t know was that just three days previously, on Whit Sunday, Charles had had a very similar experience and he had written a hymn in which he talked of himself being “A brand plucked from eternal fire.”

We may not know how the invalid man lived out his life after his physical healing but we do know that after their spiritual healing the Wesley brothers were passionate in their sharing of the gospel with others. Today God is there for us. Whatever our physical, spiritual, mental or emotional need is, God can meet us, renew and revive us to do great works, to attempt great things for him and expect great things from him, all he asks is that we respond to his touch. Amen

Christ The Savior Lutheran Church

NICENE CREED

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one substance with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven;

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father.

With the Father and the Son,

he is worshipped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Let us Pray...July 2019 - YouTube

PRAYERS

Holy Spirit coming as wind and fire

free and irrepressible,

we pray today for all

who long for change but fear it.

Even Though India's Granaries Are Overflowing, The Number Of Starving  People Is Shocking! | Youth Ki Awaaz

We think of the poor and the hungry,

the homeless and the refugee,

the sick and unemployed,

the downtrodden and oppressed,

these and so many others,

who yearn for a new beginning,

an opportunity to start afresh.

May their prayers be answered and their dreams realised.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

We pray for those who see change as a threat,

a sweeping -away of everything that is tried and trusted,

and the imposition of unknown challenges

and an uncertain future.

May they rest secure in the knowledge,

that whatever else may change,

you will remain constant.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Holy Spirit coming gently as a dove,

we pray for all who long for peace,

and all who long for peace,

and all who have lost sight of what peace really means.

We think of those in homes racked by tensions,

families spilt by disputes and domestic abuse,

communities scarred by prejudice and intolerance

and countries torn apart by hostilities and war.

May dialogue triumph over confrontation,

and unity replaced division.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Photo peace free stock photos download (445 Free stock photos) for  commercial use. format: HD high resolution jpg images

We pray for those who long for new life

after a time of sickness, hospitalisation or injury.

May your Spirit touch them,

breathe healing into their weary bodies

renew and restore them

to their former strength and well- being.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

We pray for countries like Ukraine

where there is devastation of so many services.

We pray for vaccines, for good health care,

and we lift to you all doctors and nurses,

as they seek to bring healing and support to those in need.

We pray for those who have lost loved ones,

thinking especially of the children that are orphaned

and ask that they will find new families and homes.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Lord God you changed the lives of the Apostles

and of countless people through history.

Come now and change our world in all its need,

so that it may enjoy hope and peace,

healing and harmony,

and so that all may come to a saving knowledge

of Jesus Christ as Lord.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Gracious God, thank you for your hand

on the lives of your servants Charles and John Wesley.

We praise you for the assurance of faith they held

their fervour in sharing the gospel

and their passion in meeting

the practical needs of others.

Imbue us with this Spirit

that we might do all the works we can,

with whatever means we can.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Lord may our faith look up to you,

our footsteps walk in your way

and our hearts be filled

with your love and care,

as we encounter your people.

Merciful Father accept these prayers

for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord

who taught us to say together,

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.

Do not bring us to the time of trial

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.

HYMN

PRAYER

Let us pray

God of power,

May the boldness of your Spirit transform us,

may the gentleness of your Spirit lead us,

and may the gifts of your Spirit equip us

to serve and worship you, now and always. Amen.

Tax Free Blessing

BLESSING

The Spirit of truth lead you into all truth,

give you grace to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,

and to proclaim the word and works of God,

and the blessing of God,Spirit, Son and Father,

Remain with you always. Amen.

We go into the world in the power of the Spirit

to fulfil our high calling as servants of Christ.

Thanks be to God. Amen

11 Responses

  1. I just wondered if any of one on your church has Learning difficulties .

    They may find Prospects across Scotland .org.uk

    Helpful. There are zoom activities .
    Fortnightly and meet new friends all over Scotland in a Safeguarded place on zoom.

    Tho having our first Carol service since Covid started on Saturday on Bridge of Allan but will be on live via the Facebook
    Page Prospects across Scotland. 2:30 this Saturday the 4 th December .

    I am in another church in Dumfries.

    I
    Grew up in Ayr Episcopal church. ..as a child..

    The website is Prospects across Scotland .org.uk.

    If you know of anyone in your church
    with Learning difficulties
    They or their Carer could contact Ivy Blair for links
    and support the page on Facebook .
    And Pray for this work.

    I had a. Small group at home.
    and we later
    joined Prospects across Scotland officially aswell.
    and became part of the. Ist Zoom group .
    And it’s called Prescious Gems
    it’s is on Monthly
    .
    Most groups are held in churches all over Scotland.

    we started beginning of the Covid
    So been on. Zoom since. 2020.

    On various activities
    Music.etc.

    Anyway I just wondered if. Anyone in your church knew about Prospects.
    Or anyone with Learning difficulties.and there going to do more training in 2020. Re Autism aswell.

    Etc for churches to educate. Accessible ways to help churches to
    be inclusive
    for people with Learning difficulties .

  2. The prospect of Gordon or I getting to church to worship seems highly unlikely.
    On line we see and hear fellow worshipers and that is as near public worship as possible for us.
    I thank Janice and all who prepare on line worship.

    If we encounter any of our “church” friends outside , that is a total joy.
    I met with Heather at the wetlands where she serves.
    That was after nearly two years.

    Love to all at St John’s from Joan

  3. Thank you Janice for an excellent newsletter and virtual service. It is amazing that COVID came also just as social media blossomed (or not so amazing). in 2004, I was involved in the design and dedication of a memorial to the Royal Auxiliary Air Force at the National Memoriail Arboretum in Staffordshire, At the foot of the facing panel, I added the words `And they shall rise up with wings as eagles’ Memories came flooding back

  4. Hi Janice,

    Sorry to see the bruises on your face from the dental work. I hope you are not in too much pain. Enjoyed the Sunday service. I watched the recording.

  5. Finally found how to access St John’s online and thoroughly enjoyed it particularly your thought provoking sermon with lots of background information Thank you for looking after us in the pandemic Keep well Love Rosie and Terry

  6. I welcome this sermon and indeed the sermon I had best valued was one when the preacher ended his sermon :

    ” Do not have any expectations of me and I will not have any expectations of you”

    Welcome words to any members of a clergy family!
    Joan x

  7. Dear Janice,
    I’m ashamed to say that I’ve only just discovered the St John’s web site!! Thank you for all that you are doing and lovely images which give food for thought. I saw you on zoom at the retreat last week but then you disappeared – I hope you enjoyed it. On Sundays I’ve been watching the SEC eucharists on YouTube usually with lovely organ music.
    Blessings and love from Ann

  8. Hi Janice,
    I haven’t been coming to church because I am shielding my self as well as shielding my two very elderly parents, ( Mum is 94 years years old this December and Dad is 96 years old this coming March ) they are my main reason for not coming to church, but I get too come to our church on line of which I am greatly pleased, thank you for that wonderful service this morning God bless.

  9. We pray for Janice and hold her before His healing power.

    Thank Janice that we can worship on line , because for us at home “God does not live in houses made with hands” but on the airwaves

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