Sunday 24 May 2020
Welcome to this week's new online service! It is the Sunday after Ascension Day.
Countdown to Pentecost next Sunday - the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Please watch the following videos from top to bottom. There is a chance to give to our online offering below.
We normally have some coffee and soft drinks on the go, and serious quantities of cake. You will need to get those organised yourself during lockdown! We or you can organise a Zoom group to worship together using this service if you wish.
By the way, since recording some of this I have had a huge crisis of doubt. Don't worry - not about the rightness of seeking to know God in the person of Jesus Christ. It is just that I talk about a blackbird in my words of welcome, and, unlike the great composer, Olivier Messiaen, whom I very much admire, I am not a great expert on birdsong. I have a hunch that the blackbird who wakes us every morning has driven up to Durham to be near his family or something, and that the opening song today is a thrush. Experts please let me know!
So gather round the screen again and join in!
Welcome and Notices
All I wanna do is praise your name!
A really lively song. If you play it a few times you will have it stuck on your brain for the rest of the week. Since it is about praising God, that isn't a bad thing, hey?
Why not have a go at doing the actions. In your garden - out of doors as part of your exercising! Make a video if you dare? But remember - keep your distance - no-one is above following the rules!
Sharing the peace of God
This is something we do when we are together in church. We really miss greeting the Lord in each other during Lockdown.
Kath and her family have a great idea for sharing the peace. Watch here to see her in her garden!
If you'd like to take part, download the artwork and print it by clicking here.
Here is one which has been finished today by Rachel Crossland.
Can't wait to see what you've come up with!
Here is a reading from the Acts of the Apostles. Acts is the book in the New Testament that comes straight after the four Gospels. We think it is a continuation of the Gospel of Luke, by the same author. It tells how the disciples went on from their time with Jesus to found the church.
Today's story ends with Jesus leaving the disciples - an amazing picture of him Ascending to be with God the Father. It is why we call this season The Ascension!
This version is from The Message, a great modern re-telling of the story. You could share in it at home by reading it out loud.
Acts 1.1-11 The Message (MSG). Dear Theophilus, in the first volume of this book I wrote on everything that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he said good-bye to the apostles, the ones he had chosen through the Holy Spirit, and was taken up to heaven. After his death, he presented himself alive to them in many different settings over a period of forty days. In face-to-face meetings, he talked to them about things concerning the kingdom of God. As they met and ate meals together, he told them that they were on no account to leave Jerusalem but “must wait for what the Father promised: the promise you heard from me. John baptized in water; you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit. And soon.”
When they were together for the last time they asked, “Master, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now? Is this the time?” He told them, “You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.”
These were his last words. As they watched, he was taken up and disappeared in a cloud. They stood there, staring into the empty sky. Suddenly two men appeared—in white robes! They said, “You Galileans!—why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come as certainly—and mysteriously—as he left.”
The picture on the right is a carving showing a rather whacky idea of the story, which is already quite a fanciful way of describing the return of the Lord to the Father. It may be whacky, but it contains an essential truth.
It was made in Rome in the 4th Century. How many years ago is that. I wonder if you can guess what it is made of? Hint - it can't be used today as it is illegal and risks the extinction of one of the most amazing animals.
Maybe you'd like to hear this story from the opening of the book of the Acts or the Apostles - here its is.
Acts 1.11 (The Message)
Listen and reflect as Kath Pickering leads us in a talk.
If you feel prompted to give towards our church ministry click on the Donate Here button below. The link opens in a new window.
We can make prayer together in our homes. Watch as Kath shows a way of thinking about everything for which we can be grateful to God. Keeping a Gratitude Diary is a great thing to do during Lockdown, and it helps to make prayer at home relevant, personal and fun. Listen, and give i a go.
Fr Richard offers God's blessing. Have a good week. See you next time. Send us a message.
Closing Worship Song
Lord I lift your name on high
- feel free to join in with this song of gratitude from Hillsong.
Thank you for worshipping with us!