Copy of Service for Sunday 19th April from Mark Smyth

Please click here and the Word document will download to your computer 

Reflection 'The Homecoming' 

for Sunday 19th April

from Mark Smyth

Please click here and the Word document will download to your computer 





                        Sunday Worship Reflections


April 5th Palm Sunday                                   Hymns: Give thanks to the Lord

                                                                                                     our God                                         

                                                                                                     Make way, make way

Reading – Matthew 21: 1-11                                            Ride on, Ride on in majesty




Today we begin the heightened drama of the walk through a week known as holy. Christmas we have traced the life of Jesus through his birth, childhood, Baptism and preparation in the wilder­ness, and touched on the main areas of his ministry; and now we come to that final week of his earthly life. All the Gospel writers move into noticeably greater detail in their narratives, with these events taking up a sizeable proportion of each Gospel. The words and events are carefully and thoroughly recorded, in keeping with the intense significance of these days which focus all of life before them and all that has happened since.


Quite deliberately, the readings and liturgy take us on a roller-coaster of spiritual experience. We stand with the ecstatic crowds waving palm branches and celebrating the entry into Jerusalem, the holy city, by Jesus the Messiah. There is great hope and expectation that final things are drawing to accomplishment. We are poignantly aware that Jesus is both acknowledging the crowd's excitement at his kingship and also trying to show them some­thing of the true nature of his kingship which has nothing to do with temporal power and wealth or narrow nationalism.


And then we are gripped by the detailed seriousness of all that led up to the crucifixion, like a profound family memory indelibly written on hearts and handed down with great care and reverence from generation to generation. We both cry out against what is happening and also know it to be necessary and inevitable. We both balk at the way people could treat Jesus, the Lord of life, and also know that we do it ourselves every day. We recognise the utter failure and futility of it all and also know it to be the strangest and most complete victory for the entire world.

Worship Resources

Worship Resources

Thought this might be of use for those with young ones.




(Rev Jo Brown)


Methodist Minister in the North Cheshire Circuit
Pastoral responsibility for Tarvin, Kelsall, Rowton, Christleton, Mickle Trafford, Oakmere & Bunbury with Tiverton



Begin forwarded message:

Subject: Free weekly resources during COVID-19 Pandemic

Hi Jo,

This email applies to our friends and community all around the world, but especially for those of us in the United States, where the reality of COVID-19 has really just hit in the past couple of days.

We know many of you are scrambling around today, trying to get ready for virtual/online worship. We know many others are trying to think through what they're going to do with schools and daycares closed. We here at Illustrated Ministry want to support you.

To that end, we've set up a page that you can share in your communities and with families and parishioners so they can receive FREE weekly resources from us.

  • If you're a teacher at a faith-based school, send the link to parents of your students so they can receive weekly resources.

  • If you're on staff at a church, include this link in the many emails you're sending about what church is going to look like in the immediate future.

  • If you're a college minister and your students have been sent home early for spring break (and aren't coming back to campus), send the link to them so they can have some meditative coloring pages from us amidst the stress of finishing the college year very differently than they had planned.

  • If you're a chaplain at a retirement community, share it with other staff at retirement communities and nursing homes, since many, if not most, are on lockdowns and aren't allowing any visitors. Your residents will love the simple devotions and coloring pages.

  • If you're a parent, and you are talking with other parents who are trying to figure out what life is going to look like over the next few weeks and months, share this link with them so they can have one more set of activities for their kids to do while at home.

Here is the link to share:

For our customers who are on staff at churches, rather than having the additional burden of sorting through materials, purchasing other items from us, or finding stuff online, you can send folx to this link, and they can sign up to get resources for ALL AGES sent to them each week. Emailing these resources out is the best/easiest way, and it avoids all of our customers having to figure out how to set up password-protected web pages to share our resources.

NOTE: Anyone who signs up on this link will NOT BE ADDED to our regular email list, and once we stop offering this service, we will DELETE all of the email addresses, unless someone decides they want to continue hearing from us and opts-in to our list.

We will have more details in Tuesday's email, but we wanted to make sure to get the link to you so you could share the link with those in your community. And we wanted to include resources for tomorrow, the Third Sunday of Lent, if you are still able to share those with your community.

The resources we have for this week include a children's worship bulletin, a devotional, and a coloring page. Thanks for your patience as we get everything put together for this offering. You can download the PDF for Lent, Week 3, by clicking below:



Finally, if you are looking for useful resources to send to families on how to talk about COVID-19, we recommend the podcast episode, "Coronavirus For Kids, And The Science Of Soap." You can listen to it here.

More information is coming on Tuesday - but blessings on all who are leading worship in new ways tomorrow.


Adam and the team at Illustrated Ministry

Worship Resources

                                 Sunday Worship Reflections

March 29th 2020 Lent 5                    Hymns: And can it be
Reading – John 11: 1-45                                       Christ the King before creation

                                                                                         I know that my redeemer lives


In today's Gospel reading we hear the whole narrative of Lazarus and his sisters, living through his dying and death, while the Lord of life is elsewhere. It is an evocative story, with Jesus portrayed at his most human, and many layers of meaning packed into the event. Why did Jesus delay? What about those conversations, first with Martha and then with Mary?

John, is wanting to tell us deep truths about Jesus' total humanity and divinity; if ever a story revealed the nature of Emmanuel - 'God-with-us' - then this is it. The practical, less emotional Martha is better able to grasp the logic of what it means for the Lord of life to be present, whereas Mary is simply devastated and feels wounded by Jesus' absence which doesn't make sense to her.

We may recognise this terrible sense of loss and distance when in our own lives we feel God ought to be there yet he seems not to be; and Jesus himself knew it on the cross: 'My God, why have you forsaken me?' But it is this raw grief in all its honesty and candour which tears Jesus' heart and shakes him with agonised weeping. With us, too, he is there at such times of raw pain, sharing our searing pain and grief and weeping with us.

Jesus, as the Lord of life, is God's voice speaking right into the darkness of death and drawing out life.

Begin by breathing in deeply, hold your breath while you count to twenty and then breathe out.

You will all have noticed how much we need that air. By the end of just twenty seconds we're getting desperate! Most of the time we breathe in and out without even thinking about it. Although it's such a vitally important thing to do, we're designed so that the breathing mostly goes on automatically so we can do lots of other things at the same time. Yet without that breathing we wouldn't be able to do any of those other things because we would be dead. That's how important breath is - it's a matter of life and death.

We have heard an amazing story of Jesus actually bringing someone back to life. It was his friend Lazarus, and when Jesus' voice, as the Lord of life, broke into the place of death, Lazarus heard his name being called and walked out into life again towards that voice.

Jesus calls each of us by name. He calls into the place we are, even if that place is full of darkness and sadness, or if the noise of unimportant things we like wasting our time on nearly drowns his voice, or if we're running as fast as we can away from God's way of living. Wherever we are, Jesus keeps calling because he wants to bring us out into new life. He knows his breath in us will transform our time in this life, and beyond that into the time after our physical death. As Jesus breathes his life into us it will make such a difference to us that we'll wish we'd gone for it ages ago!

When we let God breathe his life into us every minute of every day, we become much more our true selves, our life has a whole new dimension, and we are of more use to God in caring for the world he loves.

If you would like to get in touch you can

send a message here

Stay Safe Everyone

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