Weekly Service and Bible Reading

North East Circuit of Independent Methodist Churches Devotional for Sunday 22nd November 2020 Prepared by Len Ogilvie

Introduction

This is the last Sunday of the church year before Advent starts. Recently it has been designated the feast of “Christ the King”. In the current situation that might sound a bit hollow but our bible reading encourages us to hold on to and respond to the faith in a God who can and does turn terrible situations around. Bible reading: Matthew 9. 34 – 10.1 So Jesus went round all the towns and villages, teaching in the synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every kind of illness and infirmity. The sight of the crowds moved him to pity; they were like sheep without a shepherd, harrassed and helpless. Then he said to his disciples, “The crop is heavy, but the labourers are too few; you must ask the owner to send labourers to bring in the harvest. Then he called his twelve disciples and gave them authority to drive out unclean spirits and and to cure every kind of illness and infirmity. I came across a picture recently depicting the two main characters of the Back to the Future films, Marty McFly and Doc Emmet Brown. Marty is sitting in the driver’s seat of the De Laurien and the Doc is saying earnestly, “Whatever you do, don’t set it for 2020.” As we progress through this terrible year I think most of us will have a certain empathy with those sentiments and just long for the time when somehow things will get turned round. What Matthew is trying to get across is that God is in the process of turning things around and this is going to be done through Jesus. He is the one with the authority to turn things on their head. Early in the gospel there was the Sermon on the Mount which systematically changed our perspective on the things we should really rejoice about: being poor in spirit, being mourners, being humble, being merciful, being pure, being peacemakers, and even being persecuted! Whatever the words mean to us now the people listening then were amazed at his teaching; unlike the religious leaders of the day, he taught with a note of authority (Matthew 7.29) But it wasn’t just words. Matthew then goes on to describe the miracles. Immediately, a leper approaches – definitely a “hands, face, space” case. Touching meant infection and ritual uncleanness. So what does Jesus do? – deliberately touches him but instead of Jesus being infected the leper is dis-infected. The normal expectations turned around. There follows a whole series of miracles which demonstrate the same thing: Peter’s mother-in-law in bed with a fever – definitely a case for self-isolation but not for Jesus; a paralysed man comes to terms with his sinful past and starts walking again; a woman with chronic internal bleeding who would render anyone she touched ritually unclean, but again the tables were turned; the dead twelve-year old daughter of a synagogue official – touching the dead brought ritual uncleanness but Jesus takes her by the hand and she’s no longer dead. You can read about them all in Matthew 8 and 9. No wonder the words of Isaiah sprang to Matthew’s lips: “He took away our illnesses from us and carried away our diseases.”(Isaiah 53.4). And what about the onlookers – the crowd: “the people were filled with awe at the sight and praised God for giving such authority to a human being.” (Matthew 9.8) But “hang on,” I hear you say. That was Jesus. I haven’t got the authority to march into a hospital and cure those suffering from Covid 19 even if they were my nearest and dearest. And you’d be right. But the world’s abilities to deal with health issues have never been as assured and as authoritave as they are today – just look at what has been learned so quickly over the last few months – take President Trump’s treatment for example and the astounding speed at which effective vaccines have been found. But what about the inequalities; what about the causes? We seem by the grace of God to be OK at trouble-shooting but not so hot at avoiding the trouble in the first place; not so good at identifying causes and dealing with the careless and malign attitudes that bring such suffering and devastation. Another poster I’ve seen recently: “Science should stop analysing animal behaviour and start studying human stupidity.” Well, that may or may not happen. But we know that someone who loves us more than we love ourselves, has already got a handle on the problem, who, indeed, knew about it before ever the world came into being. He came into the world to challenge and deal with it once and for all. The questions we have to ask of ourselves is how much do we want to be identified with that project; and can we be trusted with the authority he has promised for us to be able, like the Jesus we claim to follow, to challenge and be instrumental in turning the consequences of so-called “normality” around. Hymn: https://youtu.be/ceyyGuoMzf8 Restore, O Lord, the honour of your name! In words of sovreign power come shake the earth again that men may see and come with reverent fear to the Living God, whose kingdom shall outlast the years. Restore, O Lord, in all the earth Your fame, and in our time revive the Church that bears Your name and in Your anger, Lord remember mercy O Living God whose mercy shall outlast the years. Bend us, O Lord, where we are hard and cold, In Your refiner’s fire come purify the gold; though suffering comes, and evil crouches near still our Living God is reigning, He is reigning here. Graham Kendrick/Chris Rolinson Prayer: Lord God, help us to remember as we live and try to cope in a world which seems in such disorder, that you came to turn the world’s values and expectations upside down. We are sorry that often our attitudes and behaviours suggest that we condone the world’s false values and expectations. Forgive us, O Lord, as we look forward to celebrating the time when you quietly entered your world to challenge those norms. By the power of your Spirit, encourage us to worship and work more faithfully in serving your purposes. We pray especially for those who are involved and are suffering directly from this pandemic all over your world and we earnestly pray that those words, “He took away our illnesses from us and carried away our diseases” will be gloriously fulfilled as your Kingdom comes. In the name of Jesus we offer these prayers. Amen. The Lord’s Prayer

4th October

27th September

Blessed Assurance

17th July 2020

Because He Lives 

By The West Coast Choir

YouTube

God will make a way 

By Don Moen 

YouTube

 Jesus Be The Centre 

From Keswick Convention

YouTube

10 July 2020

14th June

Whenever Life’s burdens oppress you,

And trials are too much to face;

Remember God’s strength in your weakness

He’ll give you His power and His Grace. 

30th May

24th May

2nd May The Lord’s Supper

27th April

Sunday 19th April

Sunday 12th April

Easter Day

Friday 10th April

Good Friday

6th April

2nd April

A never-ending prayer chain has been formed around the world. to be included we are asked to pray the following short prayer between 10 and 10-15pm every night until this crisis is over.    ”Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon Your world.”


There is a candle of hope poster available on the following web-site, please download and display in your window. http://www.cte.org.uk/prayersofhope 

31st March

Father God in the mighty Name of Jesus! I pray, speak and declare healing all over the land! We are standing and trusting in Your promises! By Your stripes we are healed! Touch the minds and hearts of our leaders! I humbly ask that Your will be done! I pray a special blessing over the ones that are reading this prayer and passing it on to others! I declare and decree Victory in Jesus! Amen.

30th March

23rd March

16th March

In these testing times for all take time out to look after the elderly

9th March

Celebrating our 104th Women’s Auxillary weekend

2nd March

24th February

17th February

Just remember if you did not get a Valentines card or gift this past week

10th February

3rd February

27th January

20th January

13th January

6th January

The Leaders, Members and Congregation would like to wish you all a Blessed New Year

22nd December

The saviour is born

16th December

Remembering the real reason for Christmas

9th December

2nd December

18th November

11th November

28th October

21st October

14th October

16th September

9th September

2nd September

25th August

God never said that the journey would be easy, but He did say that the arrival would be worthwhile

19th August

12th August

Believe in Faith

“My faith didn’t remove the pain, but it got me through the pain. Trusting God didn’t diminish or vanquish the anguish, but it enabled me to endure it.” 

5th August

22nd July

15th July

8th July

23rd June

16th June

  • On this Fathers Day

9th June

2nd June

Footprints in the sand

20th May

13th May

6th May

30th April

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.'”