Canvey Methodist Church Service Sunday 15th November 2020

Canvey Methodist Church Sunday 15th November 2020


Dear Friends 


I hope that you are all well. Over the last few weeks at church we have been exploring the conversations that Jesus had with his disciples about the end of time and how Christians should live and prepare themselves in the light of this future event. (Matthew chapters 24 and 25). This week we continue to develop this theme as we hear the thoughts of the prophets of old and from Jesus himself as he tells the story of some servants who were trusted with talents which they were then expected to use wisely whilst their master was away on a trip. 

When drawing back the curtain on this mystery of the second coming of Christ, we inevitably encounter the apocalyptic language that Bible writers used to describe these dramatic events. As I read these accounts I am reminded of the words of the late, great, Christian apologist and story writer, C.S. Lewis, when he described the “Christ-like” figure of “Aslan” in the story book, “The Lion, The Witch, and the wardrobe”. 

In this engaging tale, when the children, who had entered into the kingdom of Narnia enquired of a talking Beaver if Aslan the lion was “Safe”, the reply they received was as follows:

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs Beaver tells you! Who said anything about safe!” Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good, He’s the King, I tell you.”

And that friends, is the truth about “God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”.

God is Good, God is loving, but God is also totally Holy and completely Just and fair. Thus anything that is not Good, or Holy, or Fair dramatically falls short of, and is in conflict with God’s  expectations. It is like oil and water, and cannot exist together. Such a clash between pure holiness and anything that is less is therefore “not safe”. And that clash of kingdoms is what the prophets foresaw in our readings today. However, as we turn the page once again on this important theme, please keep in mind that God in His love and mercy sent Jesus, His only son, to put things right; to be a remedy for sin, to take our well deserved “tariff for sin” upon himself, and then to wrap all who turn to Him with His wonderful righteousness and grace and usher us, fully justified and accepted into relationship and His closer presence. 


Today’s service has been produced in two ways; 

1) As a single continuous YouTube link, (below)

2) As a document containing individual YouTube links to both music and spoken sections.  The music in the continuous YouTube link is via keyboard/organ accompaniment and set to the hymn words shown, whilst in the attached document the music is via links to established sung worship song sites. 

May God Bless us all as we offer our worship to Him. 


God Bless


Pastor Colin Turner


Complete Service


1) Welcome and Notices

Good Morning. Welcome to this service from Canvey Island Methodist Church on Sunday the 15th November 2020. This is the second Sunday of lockdown 2 and we again are meeting virtually rather than physically in our building in Waarden Road Canvey Island. Although this now all seems to have a certain air of normality about it, the world and life in general is anything but normal with people socially isolating, too many still getting ill with Covid 19 and some sadly dying from its effects. National life has again slowed down with businesses having to shut, people being furloughed, others being made redundant and the unemployment rate rising. In a week in which we have remembered the sacrifices made by many of our forebears in two world wars, continuing conflicts, sacrifices and unrest in various nations across the globe remind us that there is still much to be done to bring about and maintain peace with justice amongst peoples. As Christians we are part of this process by our witness and our prayers. The age of God's grace has not yet ended. 

This Sunday, our Bible readings look to a future time when this will change and God will intervene directly to bring all evil, injustice and self inflicted trouble in the world “to book” in what the prophets call “the day of the Lord”. 

May God encourage and envision us as we serve Him now in today’s world. 

One of the advantages of worshipping God at home in lockdown 2 is that we can actually sing hymns as they should be sung. Our first hymn is STF545, Be Thou My Vision o Lord of my heart.


2. STF545-Be thou my vision    CCl Licence No: 425086


Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart, be all else but naught to me, save that thou art; be thou my best thought in the day and the night, both waking and sleeping, thy presence my light.


Be thou my wisdom, be thou my true word, be thou ever with me, and I with thee, Lord; be thou my great Father, thy child let me be; be thou in me dwelling, and I one with thee.


Be thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight; be thou my whole armour, be thou my true might; be thou my soul's shelter, be thou my strong tower: O raise thou me heavenward, great Power of my power.


Riches I heed not, nor earth's empty praise: be thou mine inheritance now and always; be thou and thou only the first in my heart: O Sovereign of heaven, my treasure thou art.


High King of heaven, thou heaven's bright Sun, O grant me its joys after victory is won; Great Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, still be thou my vision, O Ruler of all.


Irish, 8th century translated by Mary Elizabeth Byrne (1880-1931) versified by Eleanor Henrietta Hull (1860-1935) (alt.)


3. Prayer of Praise Lord's Prayer


Almighty God, we lift our hearts and voices to you in praise. You are with us in this new time of lockdown. Your love always keeps us company, your Grace assures us of a life with you now, as well as a life with you in the future. We praise you Lord for your presence in the world; for your kindling of kindness and charity in the hearts of many, and for encouraging selfless acts of friendship from many that we meet during the week. We offer you praise and thanks for news of progress in the creation of an effective vaccine against Coronavirus. Thankyou Lord God for granting wisdom, intelligence and patience to those who have researched and worked towards this noble end. We also give thanks and praise for all who have offered themselves as test subjects for the essential validation program of these new treatments. 

Loving God we offer thanks for home, family, Church and friends, for those who serve in our nation and communities, for those who work faithfully in medical and support services and for the many who enable life to continue even in these restricted times of lockdown.

Almighty God, forgive us for when our trust in you has wavered, for when we have acted hastily or from wrong motives and for when we have relied upon ourselves rather than upon you alone. Thankyou for your grace and forgiveness that is ours through the love, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ your beloved son. 

Inspire our praise this morning, we pray; grant us understanding of your word and fill us afresh with your Holy Spirit and the assurance that you have our lives and times in your great hands. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.


The Lord's 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.


4. Introduction to the Old Testament Reading.


Six hundred years before the birth of Jesus, the prophet Zephaniah looked out over his world in Judah and, what he saw, filled him with dismay.  The Judaen king, Manasseh was encouraging Asherah and Baal Worship and practises forbidden by Yahweh such as sorcery and child sacrifice. The ordinary Judeans too were, either “hedging their bets” and worshipping both the Ammonite god Molech as well as Yahweh or had rejected seeking Yahweh altogether. As he prayed, Zephaniah saw a future in which Almighty God would bring about a day of reckoning and he wrote his vision down as a warning to future generations. 

Sue reads this to us now.


5. OT Reading- Zephaniah 1:7,12-18 h.   New International Version


7 Be silent before the Sovereign Lord, for the day of the Lord is near. The Lord has prepared a sacrifice; he has consecrated those he has invited. 12 At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who are complacent, who are like wine left on its dregs, who think, ‘The Lord will do nothing, either good or bad.’13 Their wealth will be plundered, their houses demolished. Though they build houses, they will not live in them; though they plant vineyards, they will not drink the wine.”

14 The great day of the Lord is near— near and coming quickly.The cry on the day of the Lord is bitter; the Mighty Warrior shouts his battle cry.15 That day will be a day of wrath— a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin,

a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness—16  a day of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the corner towers. 17 “I will bring such distress on all people that they will grope about like those who are blind, because they have sinned against the Lord. Their blood will be poured out like dust and their entrails like dung. 18 Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the Lord’s wrath.” In the fire of his jealousy the whole earth will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live on the earth.


6. Introduction to Hymn SofF1047.

Other prophets saw God's intervention in human affairs. Elijah was one of these and our next hymn captures his vision of “The day of the Lord”.


7. SofF1047.These are the days of Elijah  CCl Licence No: 425086


These are the days of Elijah, Declaring the Word of the Lord

And these are the days of your servant Moses, Righteousness being restored And though these are days of great trials, Of famine and darkness and sword, Still we are the voice in the desert crying, Prepare ye the way of the Lord!


Behold He comes! Riding on the clouds!Shining like the sun! At the trumpet call, Lift your voice! It's the year of Jubilee!, And out of Zion's hill salvation comes!


And these are the days of Ezekiel, The dry bones becoming as flesh

And these are the days of your servant David, Rebuilding a temple of praise

And these are the days of the harvest, The fields are as white in the world

And we are the labourers in your vineyard, Declaring the word of the Lord!


Behold He comes! Riding on the clouds!,Shining like the sun! At the trumpet call, Lift your voice! It's the year of Jubilee!, And out of Zion's hill salvation comes!


Don Marsh.  Robin Mark 


8. Introduction:  New Testament readings

The New Testament readings today, foresee the “day of the Lord” as the time when Jesus will return to draw history to a close. In preparation for this,  St Paul encourages the Christians in Thessalonica (and indeed us today) to stay alert, to practice both faith and love and to maintain hope in Jesus. In Matthew 25;14-30, Jesus encourages the people of God to practice and use their gifts for Him. 


9. Epistle: 1Thessalonians5:1-11; N.I.V. The Day of the Lord


5 Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.


10. Gospel: Matthew 25:14-30.  N.I.V.


The Parable of the Bags of Gold.

14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,[a] each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Footnotes. a. Matthew 25:15 Greek five talents … two talents … one talent; also throughout this parable; a talent was worth about 20 years of a day laborer’s wage.


11. Thanks and Introduction

Our thanks to Sue, Ade and Cathy for bringing our readings to us today. Our next Hymn STF16, introduces a sense of awe, expectation and rejoicing for God's people as Jesus returns.


12. STF15: The Splendour of the king.      CCl Licence No: 425086 


The splendour of the King, clothed in majesty; let all the earth rejoice, all the earth rejoice. He wraps himself in light and darkness tries to hide, and trembles at his voice, and trembles at his voice.


How great is our God, sing with me: how great is our God. And all will see how great, how great is our God.


And age to age He stands, and time is in His hands; beginning and the end, beginning and the end. The Godhead, Three in One,

Father, Spirit, Son, the Lion and the Lamb, the Lion and the Lamb,


How great is our God…


Name above all names, worthy of all praise; my heart will sing: how great is our God. How great is our God… x2


How great is our God…


Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, Jesse Reeves


13a. Intro to Prayers . 

Our grateful thanks to Sue Sandling for bringing us our prayers for others week by week.


13. Prayers for others


Let us pray – some words from Psalm 39
1 You have searched me, Lord and you know me. 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
Almighty God it is amazing to us to realise that you know all about us and you love us all completely.  We know that we can never go beyond the reach of your love
and we thank you Lord, for this comforting message.   And in that knowledge and  promise, we bring our prayer requests before you.
We thank you for all the answered prayer that we have received and we rejoice and thank you for everything you have blessed us with this week.  We also thank you for the lovely weather we have enjoyed over the last few days. 
We pray for our church family and we bring before you all who have asked for prayer.    Dear Lord, you know all about these prayer requests and the people involved.  We place these dear people before you, into your hands.  May your peace surround them and your loving arms heal them.
We thank you for each one of our church family and we are grateful for the fellowship and love we share.  Please be with us Lord and help us through this difficult time of lockdown and we ask for your blessing.
We bring Colin and Cathy before you and ask you to continue to lead them and protect them and we pray for a special blessing on them and all their family.
Thank you that Anna arrived home safely.  We pray for Beirut and the Lebanon. We pray that you will continue to bring healing to the children and parents affected by the explosion and that you will provide for their needs.  We pray that the churches that New Heights are working with will be able to build good relationships with the families and that the team will be strengthened and given many opportunities to bless those families through you.
We pray for Apolina, Romania, and pray that you will have Pastor Attila in your care.
We pray for the USA and the change of government. We pray for the new president and ask that the rifts that have occurred will be healed. 
We pray for our country and ask for your guidance for those in positions of leadership in government, who are making great decisions for the good of our health and our financial situations.
We pray also for those in leadership in our community and in the churches, and for  those with the responsibility for caring for the hungry, the starving, those with no hope and no homes.
We remember before you all the Doctors and nurses, health workers and key workers and the Medical researchers who are working to bring a stop to the virus. Please give them your protection, help and blessing.
We pray for all those known to us who have caught COVID-19 or are suffering from the symptoms.  We ask you to have them in your care and to heal them. We ask you to bring an end to this virus.
We pray for all who are suffering the terrible grief of mourning.  Please have these dear people in your care and surround them with the comfort and strength that only you can give. 
Thank you for hearing all our prayers -  and we rejoice and are thankful for your great love and care. 
We bring all these prayers to you in the great and powerful name of Jesus Christ and all that His name stands for.

14. Sermon.

The Day of the Lord, this dramatic day when the final events of history, the ultimate destiny of humankind is drawn to a close, is not a new thought. It is also one that, since the last century has become quite a popular subject for cinematic attention.  I searched on-line the terms “Disaster and Apocalyptic Dystopian films” and then stood back as the results flooded in. You would probably never guess how many there are. I counted and there are at least 322 Disaster Apocalyptic Dystopian Films that have been made across the world, ranging from the “War of the worlds in 1953”  through to “The day of the triffids in 1962”, the “Terminator movies starting in 1984”, Independence Day in 1996 , the matrix in 1999 and Armageddon in 1998. And there are of course many more. Sorry if I have missed out any of your favourites. 

However, in the Bible's view of eschatology, or in other words, the final events of history, when God decides “enough is enough”, not even Bruce Willis will, in the end, be able to stop the process of final judgement. Zephaniah was not the only prophet to see all this coming though; before him there was the prophet Amos and after him there were the prophets Isaiah, Ezekiel, Joel and Zacariah. Between them they foresaw a time when God would intervene in the world's affairs to judge not only Israel but also all the other nations as well punish their sin and brutalities. These venerable prophets saw such events as coming through invasion, natural disaster and locust infestation. However, all such lesser interventions would come to a final and dramatic head in the actual coming of the Lord himself when all who truly repent will be saved. (Joel 2:28-32). In the New Testament, Jesus also speaks of this Day of the Lord as his second coming. In fact the phrase “the day of Jesus Christ” or an equivalent occurs across its pages in 1Corinthians1:8, Phillipians1:6 and 10, Philipians2:16, and 2Thessalonians 2:2. St Paul, in our epistle reading today, in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, tells us that not only will Jesus return again but when He does so, it will be sudden, unexpected and unannounced, like a thief breaking into a property during the night. Nobody will know when it will happen, but happen, it will.  Whilst we do not often hear “the day of the Lord” preached from our pulpits, it is frequently mentioned in our communion services when we say that “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again” and it was even the subject of a popular pop song in the 1960’s, “O Sinner man, where you gonna run to”.

The second coming of Jesus is part of what we believe. Whilst this will definitely be a day of reckoning for many, Christ’s return will be a day of Salvation and justification for all who have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. 

Many thought Jesus would return in St. Paul’s day. He did not. Some have predicted that Jesus would return in the last Century. He did not. Some think he will return soon. We don’t know. However, what we do know is that whilst we are all waiting to see our Saviour Jesus, there is some good advice to be found from Jesus ( in Matthew 25:14-30) and from St Paul( in 1Thessalonians 5:1-11) to help us to be “packed and ready to go”. Jesus told the story of the Master who was going away on a trip. Before he went, the Master dished out cash to his household team, according to their abilities, so that they could keep the family business going until he returned. Most of them invested the money well and were congratulated by the Master upon his return. Not so, the one who played safe with his masters money by burying it out of harm's way.  

The implication of this parable of Jesus, is that all the gifts and abilities that we have been blessed with, the things that we are good at, are ALL to be offered as part of our offering of worship to Him. These talents are to be given freely and intentionally, to be used and developed in the service of his kingdom.  

And from St Paul comes the exhortation that as “children who live in the light, we too are to remain alert for his coming, putting on''faith”and''love” as a breastplate and ‘hope' as a helmet on our heads. In the church at Thessalonica,  many in St Paul’s congregation there were retired military people who were very familiar with the various items that went to make up Roman Army Uniforms. However, even though we don’t wear breastplates and helmets at Canvey Methodist Church, we know what St Paul was trying to say. That our hearts are protected when we exercise faith and practise love and that our minds are protected when we hope in Jesus for the future. 

Living in faith, love and hope will keep us on our toes and sensitive to his call. Living in faith, love and hope will also energise our witness to those who have yet to trust in Jesus for themselves. God’s purpose is still salvation, not wrath. How do we know? Because the verb “appoint”, in v.9 of 1 Thessalonians 5 is significant. In using “appoint,” Paul is saying that God did not intend wrath for his creation. Moreover, “To receive” implies that people must accept God’s salvation for themselves. All have the choice to accept this wonderful, free and undeserved gift of salvation and to be in a living relationship with Almighty God. 

So the signs of his coming may be gathering, but we are waiting still for Christ’s return, and we do so in faith, love and hope . Amen.

We sing our final hymn, H&P770- Go forth and tell


15. H&P770: Go Forth and Tell.    CCl Licence No: 425086


1 Go forth and tell! O church of God, awake! God's saving news to all the nations take;  proclaim Christ Jesus, saviour, Lord, and king,  that all the world his worthy praise may sing.

2 Go forth and tell! God's love embraces all;  he will in grace respond to all who call:  how shall they call if they have never heard. the gracious invitation of his word?

3 Go forth and tell where still the darkness lies;  in wealth or want, the sinner surely dies:  give us, O Lord, concern of heart and mind, a love like yours which cares for all mankind.

4 Go forth and tell! The doors are open wide: share God's good gifts let no one be denied; live out your life as Christ your Lord shall choose,  your ransomed powers for his sole glory use.

5 Go forth and tell! O church of God, arise go in the strength which Christ your Lord supplies; go till all nations his great name adore and serve him, Lord and king for evermore


James Seddon (1915 - 1983)


16. Benediction


Almighty God be with us through these Covid days of isolation . Help us to be strong in our faith, generous in love, joyful in hope and ever alert for the coming of Jesus.

In Jesus name we pray.  Amen.

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 for evermore. Amen.


In Christian Love




Canvey Methodist Church Sunday 15th November 2020:
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