Led by Peter Powers

If you would like to join this service of worship using just the videos playing one after another, you can visit our playlist on YouTube by following the link below:

YouTube playlist for 6th September worship

Welcome to Worship

Hello, and welcome to the Oxford Circuit online service for the beginning of September. The first week in September is the start of the church year for the Methodist Church. My name is Reverend Peter Powers and I’ve just arrived here to be the new Superintendent Minister, the senior minister of the Circuit, working together with you all in our work of Christ. It’s good to be with you and we begin our worship with a song.

Song

CSB107 May our worship be acceptable

Opening Prayers and Confession

I’ve chosen to take our prayers for this service entirely from the first service in the Methodist Worship Book, so if you happen to have one at home then you may want to look at that as we share prayers together. This is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it. We begin our time of prayer with silence. Holy God, holy and strong, holy and immortal, have mercy on us. Holy God, holy and strong, holy and immortal, have mercy on us. Eternal God, source of all blessing, help us to worship you with all our heart and mind and strength, for you alone, our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for ever and ever, Amen. Let us praise God. Praise be to you O God, the maker of the universe, by whose wisdom we are created and sustained. Praise be to you O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whose love we are redeemed and forgiven. Praise be to you O God, the source of all holiness, by whose spirit we are made whole and brought to perfection. Praise be to you O God, source of all being, eternal word and Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and shall be forever, Amen. And in the quietness now we confess our sins to God. Loving God, we have sinned against you in what we have thought, said, and done. We have not loved you with our whole heart. We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves. We are truly sorry and turn away from what is wrong. Forgive us for the sake of your son, Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. This is his gracious word: our sins are forgiven. Amen. Thanks be to God.

Old Testament reading: the story of Joseph

I’ve chosen a reading from the Old Testament for today’s service that tells us part of the story of Joseph, and this version of that story is called Joseph the Prisoner. When the traders took Joseph to Egypt they sold him to one of the king’s own soldiers, a man named Potiphar. He was kind and Joseph worked very hard for him, so hard in fact that Potiphar put Joseph in charge of all his other slaves. Potiphar’s wife, however, was evil and cruel. She told lies about Joseph and had him thrown in prison. Things looked bad for Joseph. It seemed as if his dreams would never be able to come true, but God was watching over him. One morning one of the prisoners said, “I had a dream last night, a strange dream. I dreamed I saw a grapevine with three branches. Suddenly bunches of grapes burst out of those branches, so I squeezed them into a cup and gave it to the king to drink. I wonder what it means”. Joseph listened to the dream. God listened too, then he whispered the dream’s meaning into Joseph’s ear. “I know what it means”, said Joseph. “Before you were sent to prison you served wine to the king. Well, in three days you’ll be set free and serve him wine once more”. That’s exactly what happened, and when the wine server was set free he promised to help Joseph to get out too. Two long years went by, then one morning the King of Egypt said, “I had a dream last night, a strange dream, and I can’t work out what it means”. “A dream”, said his wine server, “I know a man who can tell you all about your dreams”. And straight away Joseph was brought from the prison. “I was standing on the banks of the river”, the King told Joseph, “when I saw seven fat cows walk out of the water. They were chewing happily on the grass, when seven other cows joined them. These cows were boney and thin, and instead of eating the grass they ate the first seven cows, but they stayed as skinny as ever. What can it mean?” God whispered in Joseph’s ear. Joseph listened then he bowed and said, “Your Majesty, for the next seven years Egypt will grow many good crops and be as fat as those first cows, but after that for another seven years hardly any food at all will grow, so unless you want your people to look like those skinny cows you must store up food in the good years and use it wisely later”. The King was so impressed with Joseph’s answer that he not only let him stay out of prison, he put him in charge of storing and saving and serving out all Egypt’s food. Seven good years were followed by seven bad, and after the King, Joseph became the most important man in Egypt. It was like a dream come true…

Reading: John 6: 29-35

The Gospel reading that I’ve chosen for today comes from John’s Gospel, chapter 6, verses 29 to 35.

Jesus answered them, this is the work of God, that you believe in him who he has sent. So they said to him, what sign are you going to give us then so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, as it is written he gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said to them, very truly I tell you it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. They said to him, sir, give us this bread always. Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. May God bless us in his word. Amen.

Sermonette

Bread Church intro video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1AhcfIxdqA

Prayers

It’s good to hear music, and to sing together, even though we are far apart, because of geography and because of the current and ongoing situation. Let us now affirm our faith as we confess the faith of the church. We believe in God the Father who made the world. We believe in Jesus Christ his son, who redeemed humankind. We believe in the Holy Spirit who gives life to the people of God. And we continue as we offer our prayers of thanksgiving. We give thanks to God for the love of our Father the maker of all, the giver of all good things. Let us bless the Lord. Thanks be to God for the world’s beauty and the changing seasons and for the life that we have been given. Let us bless the Lord. Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ our saviour, who lived and worked among us. Let us bless the Lord. Thanks be to God for his suffering and death on the cross and his resurrection to new life. Let us bless the Lord. Thanks be to God for his rule over all things and his presence in the world. Let us bless the Lord. Thanks be to God for the Holy Spirit the giver of life, who teaches and guides us. Let us bless the Lord. Thanks be to God for the grace of the spirit in the work of the church and the life of the world. Let us bless the Lord. Thanks be to God.

And now we take time to pray for others and to seek God’s blessing upon our own needs as we share together in our prayers of intercession. Let us be still. Blessed are you eternal God to be praised and glorified forever. Hear us as we pray for your holy catholic church. Make us all one that the world may believe. Grant that every member of the church may truly and humbly serve you. That the life of Christ may be revealed in us. Strengthen all who minister in Christ’s name. Give them courage to proclaim your gospel. Inspire and lead those who hold authority in the nations of the world. Guide them and all people in the ways of justice and peace. Make us alive to the needs of our community. Help us to share each other’s joys and burdens. Look with kindness on our homes and families. Grant us that your love may grow in our hearts. Inspire us to have compassion on those who suffer from sickness, grief or trouble. In your presence may they find their strength. We remember those who have died. Father, into your hands we commend them. We praise you for all your saints who have entered your eternal glory. Bring us all to share in your heavenly kingdom. Heavenly father, you have promised to hear what we ask in the name of your son. We pray you to accept and answer our prayers, not as we ask in our ignorance, nor as we deserve in our sinfulness, but as you know and love us in your son Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

We say together the prayer that Jesus gave us. The Lord’s Prayer. Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from times of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever, Amen.

In these days we make our offering for the work of God through the life of the church and its ministries often in some way like standing orders or direct debits but whatever we bring to God, whether it’s money, our lives, our prayers, we do so now as we offer our gifts to God’s good blessing. God of all goodness and grace receive the gifts we offer and grant that our whole life may give you glory and praise through Christ our Lord, Amen. We hear and share together in a another song.

Song: Guide me O thou great Jehovah

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5uwi04ttjA

Blessing

We’re grateful to all those who have contributed to the preparations for this online time of worship, and we’re grateful too that you have joined us. We look forward to being with you again next week. Let us hear God’s blessing. May the love of God the Father enfold us, the wisdom of the Son enlighten us, the fire of the Spirit enflame us, and the blessing of God the Three in One be upon us and abide with us, now and forever, Amen. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. In the name of Christ, Amen.

Organ Voluntary

Prelude and Fugue in D, BWV 532 (J.S. Bach)

Monica Czausz plays the ‘Bach Organ’ of Christ the King Lutheran Church, Houston, Texas, USA

https://youtu.be/5YC4oV-lamk