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Prayer Column - December 2021

Is it tomorrow yet? Advent, and the church calendar countdown to Christmas 2021 is on. Some say, with a knowing tolerance, “Christmas is for the children”, ie, let them enjoy it while they still believe. And certainly childish excitement mounts as decorations appear in shops and streets and homes, and the air is filled with carols and stories about baby Jesus, donkeys, stables, innkeepers, angels and shepherds. A wonderland, crowned on the day by family gatherings, stockings and presents under the tree. Waiting! But Jesus said emphatically that we can only enter the kingdom of God if we receive it like a child (Lk 18:17), so Christmas really is for the children. We adults have to abandon superior attitudes and enter afresh the world of wonder with childlike eyes: accepting the Bible stories as true. God really did come to earth as a baby, born of Mary, cared for by Joseph, long-foretold by the prophets of old. And we are right to celebrate, marvelling at all God does, and lookin
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Virtual Worship - 28 November 2021

Advent 1 Service Sheet (pdf) Hello and welcome to this recorded service, presented by Bradford North Methodist Circuit. I am Martin Bashforth and I am a local preacher in the circuit. Today is Advent Sunday. It marks the beginning of a season when we contemplate the coming of Jesus into the world, to be its Saviour. It is hard for us, who know the full story of Jesus’ coming, his preaching and teaching, his crucifixion, resurrection and ascension, to imagine the expectancy with which his coming was awaited, and to fully appreciate the impact which his coming would have, on those who recognised him as God’s Son and accepted him into their lives. Nevertheless, it is important that we reflect on his coming and understand its relevance for us, living in the 21st Century. The coming of a Messiah had long been foretold by the prophets of the Old Testament. But he did not come in the way the people of Israel expected, as our first hymn tells us: Song STF 169/ HP 81 Come, Thou long-expected J

Virtual Worship - 21 November 2021

Service Sheet (pdf) Call to worship As we come into your presence, Loving God, open our ears to hear your call, our eyes to see those around us as you see them, and our hearts to receive and share out your love for us and our world. Song Singing the Faith 526 – Lord of all hopefulness Prayers Jesus, you just weren’t as meek and mild as we might think. You weren’t frightened to speak your mind, to get people thinking so they could understand better. We praise you, Lord. When we are in a spot and struggling to find answers, you are such a fantastic role model. We praise you, Lord. When our hearts are so hard that we almost feel the ice in them, you melt them, and make us truly human again. We praise you, Lord. You call us on to better ways, to the beauty of a relationship found only in you. You give us hearts to appreciate you and each other in so many different ways. You are a God of abundant riches and blessings. We praise you, Lord. Amen. Lord God, sometimes we find it so hard to com

Virtual Worship - 14 November 2021

Remembrance Sunday Service Sheet (pdf) Call to worship Jesus said: Blessed are the peacemakers; they shall be called the children of God. The peace of the Lord be with us all. We gather on screen, in homes, young and old, servicemen and women and their families, and those who have no connection to the armed forces, but who come to remember and give thanks for those who put themselves in the line of fire for the sake of the people of their country. We remember those who have given their lives in conflicts past and present; those who have sacrificed their physical and mental health; those who have lost loved ones and those who are in situations of war and fear. And as we remember, we commit ourselves to work for the goal of all people living together in peace, justice and freedom. Song:  O God, our help in ages past (StF 132/HP 358/MP 498/SF 415) Prayers of adoration and confession Lord our God, Lord over all, higher than we can imagine and closer than our very breath, we bring you our

Virtual Worship - 7 November 2021

Service Sheet (pdf) Welcome to worship this seventh day of November 2021 in Bradford North Circuit. We are meeting at the same time as the COP 26 conference in Glasgow that will decide whether this Earth has a future as a home for human beings. The Earth stands on a tipping point. There could not be a more significant time to pray, to inform ourselves, or to understand the plight of the poorest people on Earth and our dependence on them. Whoever you are, however you are feeling, whatever your sorrows at this time, you are welcome to come with us into the presence of God and listen to his word. Together, we can make this world a better place. Call to worship: In this climate crisis we have a Christian obligation to act. In this climate crisis we promise to use the brains that God has given us In this climate crisis we imitate Jesus to change our behaviour to protect the poor and weak. Song: Our first hymn is No 701 in Singing the Faith: Heaven shall not wait for the poor to lose

Prayer Column - November 2021

November 21 and COP 26 We’ve had a long build up to this climate change conference in Glasgow: multiple urgings for CO2 containment and reduction; political questions about who should make the most change and by when, and whether we’re ready for the implied lifestyle changes; and threats to agreement posed by the looming energy price crisis.  Even our own Circuit has been asking all preachers to address the topic on the first Sunday of each month.  For what then should we be praying? In the face of political wrangling, we might pray for harmony and mutual acceptance and respect. In the face of rising energy prices we might pray for compassion for the less well off. We might also ask that research may be blessed and fruitful, with results presented and discussed with transparent integrity. But in view of the (truly vast) world climate unknowns, we would do well to ask for guidance from God, who alone does know all – the future as well as the present. There is every reason to pray for th

Virtual Worship - 31 October 2021

Service sheet (pdf) Call to worship: Behold, I make all things new, beginning with you, and starting from today, Behold, I make all things new, my promise is true, for I am Christ the way. Song Hymn STF88/ HAP 16 Praise to the lord the almighty the king of creation Prayer of Adoration God of love, you are so much more than anything we could ever imagine. Abundant love flows from your very being. We know your love is the greatest of all. We bask now in that love, making our small offering in return. We love you with all our heart, all our understanding, and all our strength – and always will. Amen. A prayer of confession “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” Mark 12. 30-31 Lord God, we confess that we struggle to love others. Sometimes we don’t even recognise who our neighbour is, never mind knowing how to love them. Encourage us in your ways, O