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Sunday 9 August 2020

This short act of worship has been prepared for you to use whilst we are unable to use Methodist Church premises.  If you are well enough why not spend a few moments with God, knowing that other people are sharing this act of worship with you.


Opening Prayer

I come this day to worship You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Open my heart, to receive Your love, my soul to receive Your Spirit and my mind to know to Your truth. For Your glory. Amen.


Hymn: StF 51 Great is thy faithfulness

Sing/ Read /pray /proclaim the words or listen to it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTKIqmdfHSk

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father,

there is no shadow of turning with thee;

thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;

as thou hast been thou for ever wilt be:

Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see;

all I have needed thy hand hath provided.

Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.


Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,

sun, moon and stars in their courses above,

join with all nature in manifold witness

to thy great faithfulness, mercy and love:


Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,

thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;

strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,

blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Thomas O. Chisholm (1866-1960)


Let us pray together

God of grace, I praise You. I praise You for who You are: creator, faithful, rescuer, and holy. I praise that You even though I cannot be with others to worship You, I can feel that You are here in my heart.

I praise You, for all the blessings You have given me. For family, for friends, for a relationship with You. Help me not to take You for granted.

God of grace, as I worship You this morning, help me to be transformed by Your love, and in the power of Your Holy Spirit. Amen.


Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 14:22-33

Time to Reflect with material from Roots

Jesus, like Moses, goes alone to be with God on the mountain. The Old Testament reading emphasises the parallel with Elijah, who feels that his life is under threat – as Jesus must have done after the death of John the Baptist. Elijah feels that he isn’t known and understood, and after his experience at Nazareth (Matthew 13.54-58) Jesus must feel the same. However, we hear little about Jesus’ personal need. He is called to rescue his disciples.

Matthew constructs the story in ways that make this appear like a post-resurrection event. The disciples think Jesus is a ghost, they are afraid, Peter reaches out and touches Jesus’ hand, and the disciples say, ‘Truly, you are the Son of God.’ These details, post-resurrection or not, emphasise Jesus’ divinity.

While Jesus’ stilling of the storm is miraculous, Matthew adds to the drama by including this account of how Peter is saved from drowning. Is this one more instance of Peter telling a story of his failings against himself, to emphasise how much his salvation relies utterly on Jesus? He does nothing in his own strength but constantly needs to be rescued. His conversion isn’t a single event: Peter is ‘saved’ again and again in the Gospels and in Acts. 

Peter has doubts, but he is often considered (on the basis of his role in Acts) to be the greatest of ‘the twelve’. Does his question to Jesus help us to go on in faith despite our own doubts? His getting out of the boat is as symbolic as his leaving the life of a fisherman and going to become a disciple of Jesus. He leaves security behind. Can we? If we are always careful to stay within our comfort zone, do we avoid stepping out in faith?

An exploration of Jesus’ possible tone of voice may be helpful. How does he say ‘Come’ in verse 29? Is it an invitation or an order? How does he say, ‘Why did you doubt?’ Is it a rebuke, or does he take delight in the lesson he has taught? There isn’t just a single tone of voice in which God calls us.
The Early Church, especially in Rome, faced persecution at the time that the Gospels were being written, and these stories of a hostile sea, the danger of perishing, and indeed, Peter drowning, would strengthen the resolve of the Christian community. Today the story has resonances with refugees who risk everything by trusting themselves to the waves, in the Mediterranean, or the Channel. What are we risking as the possible opening up of churches is being considered?


Take a time to sit quietly

A time of prayer

Almighty God, I come now to pray for Your world. Your world which is full of brokenness, injustice, and inequality. I bring before You the rulers of the world, local or national, and pray that they would remember that all power comes from You.


Almighty God, I pray for your church. I pray that during these times we would unite in worship and service. I pray for my local church, and its ministers/pastors, that they would be strengthened by Your Spirit.


Almighty God, I pray for those known to me and name them before You. And, I pray for myself, that I would be transformed by Your Spirit, and live in the love which You have given me through Jesus.


In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father ……

Hymn: Listen to Jesus, Draw Me Ever Nearer by Keith & Kristyn Getty https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLr5Y_vW3wA

Chorus 1

May this journey bring a blessing

May I rise on wings of faith

And at the end of my heart's testing

With Your likeness let me wake

Verse 1

Jesus draw me ever nearer

As I labor thro' the storm

You have called me to this passage

And I'll follow tho' I'm worn

Verse 2

Jesus guide me thro' the tempest

Keep my spirit staid and sure

When the midnight meets the morning

Let me love You even more

Chorus 2

May this journey be a blessing

May I rise on wings of faith

And at the end of my heart's testing

With Your likeness let me wake

Verse 3

Let the treasures of the trial

Form within me as I go

And at the end of this long passage

Let me leave them at Your throne


Jesus draw me ever nearer

Jesus draw me ever nearer

Jesus draw me ever nearer to You

To You

A prayer of blessing

As this time of worship ends,

and I enter into the storms of life,

and the uncertainties which may come,

may I take heart that Jesus is present,

and ever live for His holy name.

And may the blessing of God,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

be with me, and those whom I cherish in my heart, now and always. Amen.

Original Materials by Matthew Ramsden, Local Preacher from Bolton Methodist Circuit

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