Junior Church

Gathering Song (chosen by John Winterbottom)

We like to add labels, categorize, both people and things. Find both description and meaning for events that happen to us. This Sunday is both the 7th Sunday of Easter, The Sunday in Ascensiontide and Aldersgate Sunday. 

Aldersgate Sunday, as we know, has been set to commemorate the moment when John Wesley found his heart “strangely warmed”,during a reading from Martin Luther’s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans. Part of the passage from Romans 5: 1-11, set for today is given below:  

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us  

I dont know whether John went on to interpret ‘strangely warmed’ as God’s love pouring into his heart through the Holy Spirit, or God’s Word coming alive in his very being. Or considered ‘strangely warmed’ a wholly sufficient description. But we do know that His grace, in which we stand, is sufficient, and our hope in Him does not disappoint. The verses of this song – for me – work to this end. Holy Spirit, living Breath of God, breath new life in us.

Welcome and Psalm 68 (for a recording, see below)

Welcome to this morning’s worship on what is the seventh Sunday of Easter, the Sunday in Ascensiontide and Aldersgate Sunday when we remember that on this day, 24th May in 1738, John Wesley attended a meeting in Aldersgate Street in London and felt his heart strangely warmed.

More on that later. But first let us come together in worship as we hear some words from Psalm 68, and then hear the hymn written by Charles Wesley, “And can it be”.

Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth; sing praises to the Lord
O rider in the heavens, the ancient heavens; listen, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.
Ascribe power to God, whose majesty is over Israel; and whose power is in the skies.
Awesome is God in his sanctuary, the God of Israel; he gives power and strength to his people.

Blessed be God!

Psalm 68:32-35, NRSV

Hymn

And can it be

Opening Prayer (for a recording, see below)

First set of prayers, taken from the United Methodist (USA) Book of Worship

Our heavenly Father, we your humble children invoke your blessing on us.
We adore you, whose name is love,
whose nature is compassion, whose presence is joy,
whose Word is truth, whose Spirit is goodness,
whose holiness is beauty, whose will is peace,
whose service is perfect freedom,
and in knowledge of whom stands our eternal life.

The Book of Worship 1944, alt.

O God, in mystery and silence you are present in our lives,
bringing new life out of destruction,
hope out of despair, growth out of difficulty.
We thank you that you do not leave us alone but labour to make us whole.
Help us to perceive your unseen hand in the unfolding of our lives,
and to attend to the gentleness of your Spirit,
that we may know the joy you give your people.
Amen

Ruth Duck, USA, b. 1947

O holy and merciful God,
we confess that we have not always taken upon ourselves the yoke of obedience,
nor been willing to see and to do your perfect will.
We have not loved you with all our heart and mind and soul and strength,
neither have we loved our neighbours as ourselves.
You have called to us in the need of our sisters and brothers
and we have passed unheeding on our way.
In the pride of our hearts and our unwillingness to repent,
we have turned away from the cross of Christ and have grieved your Holy Spirit.

If we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Thanks be to God. Amen.

Reading

Acts 1: 1–11

John 17: 1–11

Reflection (for a copy of the text, see below)

aldersgate-reflectionDownload

Hymn

Love Divine, all loves excelling

Prayers of Intercession (for a recording, see below)

A litany for the church and for the world from the Book of Worship, United Methodist Church (USA)

Let us pray for the Church and for the world

Grant, almighty God,
that all who confess your name may be united in your truth
live together in your love, and reveal your glory to the world.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Guide the people of this land, and of all the nations,
in the ways of justice and peace;
that we may honour one another and serve the common good.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Give us all a reverence for the earth as your own creation,
that we may use its resources rightly
in the service of other and to your honour and glory.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Bless all whose lives are closely linked with ours,
and grant that we may serve Christ in them,
and love one another as Christ loves us.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind and spirit;
give them courage and hope in their troubles,
and bring them the joy of your salvation.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We commend to your mercy all who have died,
that your will for them may be fulfilled;
and we pray that we may share with all your saints in your eternal kingdom.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We offer these prayers through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

We say together the prayer that Jesus gave us …

Hymn

O thou who camest from above

Final Prayer and Blessing (for a recording, see below)

Almighty God, in a time of great need
you raised up your servants John and Charles Wesley,
and by your Spirit inspired them to kindle a flame of sacred love
which leaped and ran, an inextinguishable blaze.
Grant that all those whose hearts have been warmed at these altar fires,
being continually refreshed by your grace, may be so devoted
to the increase of scriptural holiness throughout the land
that in this our time of great need,
your will may fully and effectively be done on earth as it is in heaven;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

(FRED D. GEALY, U.S.A., 20TH CENT., ALT.)

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:31

Amen

Organ Voluntary

Adagio in E, by Frank Bridge
John Scott (1956-2015), Organist of St Thomas Church, 5th Avenue, New York, and formerly of St Paul’s Cathedral, London, plays the organ of Our Lady of Refuge Church, Brooklyn, USA