14th February 2021 Canvey Methodist Church Worship Services

Service for Canvey   14. 2.21  Sun before Lent

 

Complete Service Link:  https://youtu.be/8EqwPDiovR0

Introduction: This cannot be the Communion Service planned for today since I cannot now offer bread and wine. I will however include some prayers adapted from the Communion service and others offered by the Methodist Church for these restricted times.

 

Call to Worship: From Paul: (2 Cor. 4;6)  God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness”, has made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 

 

Prayer:  Loving God, in Christ you have made yourself our guest. Amid all our cares and concerns, make us attentive to Your voice and alert to Your presence. So may we know that it is your love that surpasses all else, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Hymn 134 Christ whose glory fills the skies.   https://youtu.be/u3hCQlUKXI0

 

Prayer: Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden:

Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,

That we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name;

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

God of mercy, your love for us is strong, but we confess our love for you is weak.  You call us to follow Jesus, but we are slow to obey. You care for all that you have made, but we ignore the needs of others and misuse your creation.

We are sorry for our sins. Forgive us, and help us to please you by the way we live; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

God is love. Jesus said, “Your sins are forgiven” Amen

Lord God, whose glory shines upon us in the face of Jesus Christ, and whose nature is made known to us in the mystery of the Cross, number us, we pray, among his faithful followers for whom nothing matters but the doing of your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

2 Kings 2; 1-12.  Hilary

Elijah Taken Up to Heaven

2 When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. 2 Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; the Lord had sent me to Bethel.”

But Elisha said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel.

 

3 The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and asked, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?”

“Yes, I know,” Elisha replied, “so be quiet.

4 Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here, Elisha; the Lord has sent me to Jericho.”

And he replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went to Jericho.

5 The company of the prophets at Jericho went up to Elisha and asked him, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?”

“Yes, I know,” he replied, “so be quiet.”

6 Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.”

And he replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them walked on.

7 Fifty men from the company of the prophets went and stood at a distance, facing the place where Elijah and Elisha had stopped at the Jordan. 8 Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it. The water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground.

9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?”

“Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied.

10 “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise, it will not.”

11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. 12 Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his garment and tore it in two.

Mark 9; 2-9.    Margaret 

The Transfiguration

2 After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. 3 His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. 4 And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 

5 Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 6 (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)

7 Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

8 Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.

In9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

 

Hymn 59 Lord the light of your love is shining

https://youtu.be/rce9UHYZwl4

 

Sermon

Sermon for Canvey  14th Feb. 2021  Transfiguration Sunday

 

I wonder if Graham Kendrick had the Transfiguration in mind when he wrote “Shine Jesus Shine”? No doubt Peter, James and John were thrilled to be specially chosen by Jesus to accompany him up the mountain, but were they ready for what they saw? Maybe another hymn we used to sing comes closer to the experience:

Eternal Light! Eternal Light!

How pure the soul must be,

When, placed within thy searching sight,

It shrinks not, but with calm delight

Can live and look on thee.

But “calm delight” was not what they felt. Far from it. They were bowled over by the experience and Peter was reduced to blabbering nonsense. We see only too clearly that there are two aspects to following Jesus. One, it is a wonderful privilege to be chosen. We know that for ourselves; it prompts us to sing, as Kendrick puts it, “shine on me, shine on me!” But, if we are serious, we also know that following Jesus will make some costly demands. God has always been like that. Think who Peter, James and John saw with Jesus on the mountain top; Moses and Elijah. Look at what their calling cost them! Demands laid upon both of them far in excess of ordinary human capacity! Our Old Testament reading told of how Elisha, having been earlier called from ploughing his field, was now being prepared for the demands about to be placed on him. A company of prophets was already expecting him to take Elijah’s place as their chief. He was going to need the extra blessing he could draw from Elijah’s cloak!

Peter will soon be expected to head the apostles as their chief when they are called to face the tasks soon to be laid upon them. Is he, are any of them, ready? They were no more ready than I guess you or I were ready for some of the tasks  the Lord has called us to in our time and still lie in front of us today. This is how the Lord works. What we see on the mount of transfiguration is Jesus at work preparing his apostles for the tremendous task they will soon have in front of them. As they come to the mountain there are so many false ideas in their minds that need to be sorted out.  A few days earlier Jesus had asked his disciples who they thought he was. Peter spoke up for them all; “You are the Messiah”. Jesus started to tell them what being the Messiah was to mean; THE SON OF MAN MUST SUFFER AND BE REJECTED AND PUT TO DEATH, AND AFTER THREE DAYS RISE AGAIN…  But Peter could not take that in at all; this was not part of any programme for the Messiah that he had heard of. He must put Jesus right. “No, Lord, we’d never let that happen to you”. He was trying to help. He was trying to be gentle. But he must have touched a raw nerve. Jesus snapped, GET BEHIND ME SATAN. Peter still had a lot to learn; (don’t we all ?) But for him the days were drawing close. Jesus needed to act swiftly. They needed to be prepared for what the coming days were to bring.

 

On the mountain top Jesus had at last got them where he wanted. He gave  them an experience of pure divinity, “Eternal Light”, as the hymn put it. They felt what Moses, Elijah and others felt in those times when they stood naked in the presence of God. (Remember the burning bush, Mount Sinai, the still small voice, all on the mountain?) There really are times when heaven itself bows to touch our earthly life. Up until then the disciples had known the human Jesus, God veiled in flesh, half-emptied of that pure, blinding brightness of the absolute holiness of God. They had been protected from that. Now, on this mountain top they were exposed to enough of the divine light to make them really feel the very presence of God himself. Here was a glory and a brilliance beyond anything earthly. Here was the voice from beyond the heavens: THIS IS MY OWN DEAR SON; LISTEN TO HIM. It was the voice Jesus had already heard three years before at his baptism; now it came again, not just for him but for them. They needed to be absolutely sure who their Master was so that when it came to the suffering, the rejection, the death, they would not see merely a man suffering the agony and  the cruelty, an innocent victim like so many others in the hands of powerful evil men.  Rather they would see their Lord and Master, the same they had seen on the mountain, transfigured with light and divinity, God’s own dear Son; and they would know then that it was not nails that held him to the Cross but love, love offered freely and voluntarily. There could be no other explanation because to God anything and everything is possible. He does not have to suffer this. It is only love’s choice could hold him there.  Only their understanding of that amazing truth will trigger the eruption of spirit that will inspire Peter and the others into action when God’s time has come.

So how does heaven’s love shine for us now? All I can say is, what I have seen today has helped me see more clearly the lengths the Lord will go to gently lead us on to greater understanding and truth. He helped Peter change a false view of what his Master had come for, to understand that love was at the centre of it all, and that the cost of love could mean even a Cross, and Jesus was ready to pay that price. That was a tremendous transformation for Peter. Can we let Him do the same for us?  Think of all those times we have complained, or perhaps wanted to, about some of the things God lets happen in his world.  How could he allow this or that? We see evildoers getting away with it, good people having such a hard time, natural disasters and acts of despots that mainly seem to hit the poor. Doesn’t God know, doesn’t He care? We express strong opinions about things we know little about. And when we have calmed down, what might we hear? Peter, the love you see I poured out for you upon the Cross is the love that still rules my world and the purpose I have for your life today. You may not understand but trust me, as Peter did, I am doing it for the best. If we can learn that, great is our understanding!

 

In a few days we enter the period of Lent. We shall find that Christian friends and leaders will offer many thoughts and devotions to guide us. Through them all God will continue to offer his best. He will be our guide as to what will prepare us best for the tasks that still lay before us. Thanks be to him.


 

Prayers of intercession and Lord’s Prayer: Sue Sandling

Prayer for others 14th February, 2021

Dear Lord, we come before you on this day when we think about the amazing miracle of your transfiguration and we ask that Your brilliant light may shine in our hearts and that it will fill us with the knowledge of your glory.

We pray for others who don’t know you yet and ask that they will come to know the power of your love and salvation. 

We thank you that nothing can separate us from your great and powerful love and we thank you for everything that you have blessed us with.  We thank you so much for answered prayer. That our dear friend was brought safely through an operation, and we thank you for the provision of other medical treatment that we heard of this week. We thank you for the answered pray for job that was found.  We also thank you that Anna had a smooth journey and arrived safely back in Beirut.  Please bless and protect her there and lead and guide her in everything she does for you. 

We bring Colin and Cathy before you.  We thank you for them and pray a special blessing on them and their family.

We pray now for our world.  God of all creation, you hold the world in your hands.  There are so many places that need you.  We think firstly of our country.  We pray for our leaders and everyone involved in big decision making for us, for our safety and our economy. We pray for all who are having financial difficulties and for those who have fallen through the net of being eligible to receive benefits or help. 

We pray for other countries too that you will lead and guide all governments and that the right decisions will be made for your world.

We ask you, in your great mercy and power, to bring an end to the Corona Virus and all the new strains that are spreading.  We know that nothing is impossible for you.  We thank you so much for the vaccine that’s been developed and for all the hard work of the NHS.

We pray for our Church family.  We thank you that we have a loving, praying fellowship who care about each other.  We pray that you will bless each one and may we all have a sense of your presence with us.  We pray especially for those who are lonely or not feeling good today.  Please fill us all with your grace and peace. 

We bring before you all who have asked for prayer for their loved ones.  We will just have a moments silence while we each pray in our hearts for those who need your special touch of healing and peace. 

You know all about the needs of these people and we lift each one individually before you for your blessing and to ask you to grant healing, health and peace. 

We also pray for all those who are mourning the loss of their loved ones.  Lord, we know that you heal the broken hearted and we ask you to support them and to bring them peace.  

Now Lord, we pray for ourselves.  May you bless each one of us and on this Transfiguration Sunday, may You fill our souls with Your wonderful light and love.

We thank you that you have heard our prayers.  We bring them before you in the strong and powerful name of our Lord Jesus Christ who intercedes for us. 

AMEN 

Lords Prayer

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, 

and the power, and the glory, 

for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Focus on Communion: We cannot share bread and wine at present but we cannot let that stop us from receiving those gifts God still wants to give us and is well able to give us in other ways. Let us draw near in spirit.

Holy God, you go on loving us, even when we cannot kneel at your table.  You sent your Son Jesus who healed those who were sick, wept with those who were sad, and forgave sinners. To show the world your love He died for all upon the Cross and you raised him up in glory.

Jesus our Brother, you brought life out of death. You have met us just where we are this day. Though we cannot receive you now together in bread and wine at your Table, we know your love is already there within our hearts.

Open our eyes to your sacred presence in each thing you have created and in every moment of the life you have given us.

May we all grow together in love and in richer fuller communion wherever we are. Make us one with You and with all who love you in every time and place. Help us to feel and know that we are united as members of your Body. With  all your people may we share your risen life as you renew all creation.

We offer ourselves to you in service for your use as our act of spiritual worship. Amen.

Hymn 564 O thou who camest from above 

https://youtu.be/PfDJL2CGQ9w

Prayer: Loving God be with us and all your people in these days of fear and aloneness. Bring us in our hope to that great day when we will gather at your heavenly banquet. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The blessing

And now may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of god and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all now and forevermore. Amen.