Church and Daily Worship
Sunday Services are normally held each Sunday morning at 10:45 at Trinity and once per month in the evening at Wesley.
Unfortnately all Services have been cancelled until further notice.
At a time when millions of people are facing real and unexpected difficulties and some are having to face the loss of family members and friends, Christians can have hope in the midst of it all. We plan to keep this website up-to-date with opportunities for you to share with others in worship and to link to sites that give hope and encouragement in midst of all the troubles.
Please click on the other headings for further helpful articles.
Below is a Service for Sunday, 29th March, by Dr Chris Slade. There are links (in red) to music. Click on the link to hear the music As you read trough the Service and listen to the music, may you be aware that others are sharing in the Service as well.
Call to worship Ps130:1-4
Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord; Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy. If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
Be still for the presence of the Lord
Prayers of Adoration and Confession
Father we love you and praise you the one true living God who fills the whole universe with life, love and meaning. We thank you for your tremendous love which flows to us and into our lives in the form of your son Jesus Christ.
Father it is your love that takes the people we are and makes it possible for us to be transformed into the people we are meant to be.
We praise you for your love that sets us free from everything that holds us back; from everything that squeezes real life out of us a love that will bring us out of darkness into the glorious light of your presence.
We love you for reaching out to us and bringing us home and for making us your sons and daughters; for the rest, refreshment and hope with which you promise to fill our hearts and our lives; for the assurance that we will share in the joyful celebration of your creative love and fill the universe with your glory.
We praise you here; we praise you now; we will praise you everywhere we go as long as we live and we will praise you eternally in ever increasing joy and worship because of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord in whose name we pray. Amen.
Compassionate God, we know we are sinners. We look to you for the forgiveness, which will release and renew our living. Forgive us that in our insecurity we often overstep the mark and claim you as our own, and fail to hear you calling all the peoples of the world your Beloved.
Forgive us that in our need for identity we overreach ourselves and reject those customs and traditions which are not our own.
Forgive us that in our need for affirmation we put others down, and fail to see you kneeling and lifting all people to the one true God.
Out of the modesty of your love forgive the arrogance we both clearly display and cunningly conceal. Father forgive us, for this we ask in the name of your precious son Jesus Christ. Amen.
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, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
Now the green blade rises from the buried grain
Reading Romans 8:6-11
6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life[a] because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of[b] his Spirit who lives in you.
Reading John 11:1-45
Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”
9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”
11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles[b] from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odour, for he has been there four days.”
40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.
I am a new creation
Raising Lazarus from the dead, that is difficult for us to comprehend these days because it is not something that we see very often, if ever. Someone saved from dying we hear about or see if we work in the right environment regularly, but someone brought back from the dead is rare. So what does it mean for us?
As with all of Jesus’ teaching there is more than one story that can be taken from this passage.
Our surface reading of this passage means that we need to go back to the beginning of the Bible.
Remember in the start of Genesis 2:7 “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being”
So Jesus has the power and the authority to do exactly as he did, raise someone from the dead because He is the source of life. He can breathe the breath of life into someone.
One of my favourite passages of the Bible is the opening to John’s Gospel “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
A little further on John say; “The true Light who gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God—children born not of blood, or of the desire or will of man, but born of God”
There is much in this opening to John’s Gospel I could talk about but not today, it is suffice to say that it shows that Jesus has the power and authority to give life.
So when Jesus was on the earth, he raised three people from the dead. He raised the widow’s son in the village of Nain (Luke 7:15). He raised the 12-year-old daughter of Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue (Mark 5:42) and as we have read He raised Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha in Bethany after he had been dead four days (John 11:44). (If you want to be picky you can argue that the number should be 4 as God raised Jesus from the dead but that is not the point I want to make.)
The fact that Jesus waited until Lazarus had been dead four days was to demonstrate that He had the authority over death. The belief of the day was that your spirit hung around your dead body for three days but by the fourth it would have gone. Jesus has the power and authority to reunite body and spirit.
Yet in the end we all die, even Lazarus and the other people Jesus raised from the dead, but one day we believe that we all will be raise from the dead to live eternally with Him. At that time our heavenly bodies, because we are all made in God’s image, will be reunited with our spirit and God’s Spirit within us for eternal life.
On this point, I give you this aside to think about, you may not agree with me but that is fine. I do believe that there will be a time when we are all resurrected and will face God to give an account of our time on earth. Jesus’ story of the talents and then there will be that moment of judgement, the separating of the sheep from the goats. For those who believe in Jesus He will be able to intercede for us. For those who do not then He cannot act, how can Jesus act for someone if they do not believe in His existence?
For them the separation from God will then become a reality and that pain of separation will be evident, there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Remember the pain of separation Jesus felt on the cross, you may also have felt the pain of losing someone close to you, a loved one, a family member or a close friend. I believe that for people who do not believe that pain will be greater and continuous. Think of the parable in Luke’s Gospel (Luke 16:19-31) which talks about another Lazarus and a rich man. The rich man, because of his life, is separated from God and is in great pain.
Why you may ask have I taken you down this troubling path? My reason is to be able to highlight the saving nature of Jesus Christ, especially for those people we know who have not accepted Jesus into their lives or who have walked away from Him because Jesus can turn their lives around but we may need to get involved and walk with them.
So this leads me to another element in the story which we heard today from John’s Gospel and it is this that Jesus has the power and authority to bring back to spiritual life those who have spiritually died or who are yet to be spiritually born. Think about the meeting between Jesus and Nicodemus, Jesus said to Nicodemus "I tell you the truth; no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”
Think of all the people that Jesus healed blind people, lame people, people suffering from leprosy, the woman who had bled for 12 years Jesus was not only involved in their healing but in their restoration.
All were healed physically and restored to their communities, something very important in Jesus’ time.
Do you see that Jesus’ ministry while on earth and the reason why we need to spread the Good News is that Jesus can and will restore people into a relationship with God, and with Himself but they have to make a commitment. Jesus will stand at the door and knock and to anyone who opens the door and invites Him in He will come and dine with them.
We see this message throughout the Bible; here are a few short extracts;
Jeremiah 24:7I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.
Jeremiah 29:13You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart
Isaiah 55:6-7“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
James 4:8Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
If we look for God He will find us and we cannot wander so far from Him that His arm is not longer enough to pick us up and guide us home.
Now Satan may be saying to you that you are not good enough to be God’s child because of all the things you have done or are doing in your life. Remember though that while we were still sinners Jesus died for us. So salvation has come to us before we needed to do anything, just by believing in Jesus Christ we are saved. Paul struggled with the way he lived his life. This is seen in the letter he wrote to the Romans, (Romans 7:15) For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate
Further on he asked who can save me and his response was Jesus Christ.
John Wesley’s ministry has been summed up by the “Four Alls”.
All need to be saved, all can be saved, all can know that they are saved and all can be saved completely.
Salvation is ours for the taking by putting our faith in Jesus Christ. By trusting in Him we know He will intercede for us on the day of Judgement and that we have been promised a life eternal with Him.
This is what Paul said in our reading today “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace”
So through these challenging days where there will be great sadness we need to, and we need to encourage others to, put our faith in Jesus. If we stay focussed on Him because He will bring us to an everlasting Kingdom where there will be no more sorrow and every tear will be wiped away.
We need to do our part in this though besides us staying focused on Jesus we need to pray for and encourage those who do not know Jesus or who have walked away from Him that there is, really, only one path to follow and that is the one that leads them to know the saviour of this world Jesus Christ. Amen
In Christ alone
Prayers of Intercession
Father we come in Christ to pray for the church and the world. We pray for all Christians everywhere, that they may come to you in the sure and simple way that Christ came to his Father’s house. Be there, we pray, for those who seek you with heart and soul and mind and strength and be with those who go in your name to love neighbours as themselves. Lord in your mercy Hear our Prayer
Father make us your witnesses. So fill us with your love and your truth that others will know we have been with Christ, We are so aware that many of those around us, many of those we meet are living small, cramped, empty lives. They are existing when you intended them to live; they are hanging on by the skin of their teeth when you are offering life in all its fullness. We pray that what we say and how we say it what we do and how we do it will enable those who do not know you and have never loved you to be caught up by the wonder of your love for them.
Lord in your mercy Hear our Prayer
Lord make us your servants. So touch our lives by your Holy Spirit that we may be equipped to care for the careless, love the unlovable and enable the ungrateful to give thanks. Lord call us to be your servants to those whom life treats harshly, those overwhelmed by grief and loss, those who are finding life hard to cope with, those who are crushed or defeated by the demands and expectation of others or themselves. We pray for those who are poor, hungry, homeless or lacking the skills necessary to live in our modern world. Save us from patronising others with our words and fill us with love that is genuine. Lord in your mercy Hear our Prayer
Lord make us your channels of hope and healing and wholeness to those who are broken and defeated by life. We pray for any we know personally to be in need of God’s healing touch. We think of those who are ill or who passed from us especially the families of anyone suffering from or who have lost someone to the coronavirus be with them we pray at this difficult time and in the following minutes of silence I urge you to lift to our Father those people you have on your hearts at this moment. Silence
Lord we continue to pray for those who are lonely, those who are dying and those who watch with them, those filled with regrets or remorse, those who do not know which way to turn those for whom the bottom has dropped out of their lives.
Fill us with your Holy Spirit we pray that the light of your mercy may reach into the darkest corners of life.
Lord in your mercy Hear our Prayer
Lord we pray for ourselves. Teach us new words to say so that we may talk to those who do not know you. Teach us new things to do so that we can demonstrate you love to those who are in need of loving. Give us new lives to live so that we may, by the power of your Holy Spirit be ever more open to your life-changing, world-transforming grace. Help us to realise all over again our uniqueness in your sight. Teach us once more that our value is measured only by the empty cross and the empty tomb. Lord in your mercy Hear our Prayer In the Name of Christ. Amen.
And can it be
Do not be discouraged, for you are not alone.
Do not lose heart, for Christ is in you.
Do not lose your way, for Christ is with you.
Do not lose strength, for you are filled with his Spirit.
But do not stay here, for Christ is sending you.
Go now, and live in him. Amen.