SUNDAY – 17th MAY 2020
Rev. Dr. Andy Lyons


This short Act of Worship has been prepared for you to use at home as we are still 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.





Almighty God, I am here to worship you.  I join with Christians all around the world, and with all the company of heaven, to offer you my praise.

HYMN:             Meet and right it is to sing      (Singing the Faith 32)

Meet and right it is to sing, in every time and place,
glory to our heavenly King, the God of truth and grace:
join we then with sweet accord, all in one thanksgiving join;
holy, holy, holy Lord, eternal praise be thine.

Thee the first-born sons of light, in choral symphonies,
praise by day, day without night, and never, never cease;
angels and archangels all praise the mystic Three in One,
sing, and stop, and gaze, and fall o'erwhelmed before thy throne.

Vying with that happy choir, who chant thy praise above,
we on eagles' wings aspire, the wings of faith and love:
thee they sing with glory crowned, we extol the slaughtered Lamb;
lower if our voices sound, our subject is the same.

Father, God, thy love we praise, which gave thy Son to die;
Jesus, full of truth and grace, alike we glorify;
Spirit, Comforter divine, praise by all to thee be given;
till we in full chorus join, and earth is turned to heaven.
                                                                                                                         Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

Loving God, we come, each of us just as we are, with hopes and fears, joys and sorrows, and lay them all before you Help me to know that you are with me now.  Grant me the assurance that, in your love, you receive me, accept me and forgive me.  Give me a thankful heart for all that you have done for me through your Son, Jesus Christ, and let your Holy Spirit guide me as I worship you.

Acts 17: 22-31

Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, ‘Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way.  For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship,  I found among them an altar with the inscription,  “To an unknown god.”  What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.  The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things.  From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us.  For “In him we live and move and have our being”; as even some of your own poets have said, “For we too are his offspring.”

Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.’

John 14: 15-21
‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever.  This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him.  You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

‘I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.   In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live.  On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.  They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.’


SERMON:  Revd Dr Andy Lyons

One of the problems of the English language is that the word you can refer to an individual or a group of people. In French they have two words – Tu and Vous and you can tell if it is a singular or a plural.  In the words spoken at the Eucharist – This is my body given for you – the word is a plural in its original Latin form.  The bread of life is given for all.  We ought to be able to see how you is used in the Gospel text today – the word is plural – Jesus promises the disciples – as a group – the Advocate/Helper/Comforter – The Holy Spirit.

Now it will be for many of you today you will be siting at home using this worship sheet on your own.  Others will be with family members.  But you are all with others.  You may be socially distanced but others who love God are today worshipping God in our circuit and in other local churches and in churches across our land and other lands.

In the text from Acts Paul speaks to a whole group of people in Athens.  He talks about God who is Lord of heaven and earth.  Since the time of the Reformation Protestant Churches have individualised the gospel message.  This, of course reflected the wider thinking in society as more people became literate and more people were given the vote and the rights of the individual was developed.  And, because of this movement, we became aware that each individual could have their own personal experience and knowledge of God.  Because John Wesley had his own moment of feeling ‘his heart strangely warmed’ he was keen to preach that every individual could know God.  But, however much this may be true, we should not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Any over-emphasis of individual faith removes the sense that God is Lord of All.  When Jesus gives the great commission in Matthew 28 vs 19 he states ‘make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.’ Paul wants to teach the Athenians all that Jesus is and has taught. He wants the whole city to live by the law of love of Jesus.

So, what does this mean for us.  We recognise that to make disciples who follow Jesus and who want to worship and serve alongside us we have to engage people in relevant evangelism.  But we also need to recognise that we can offer teaching and offer example about being human beings who live under the teaching od God to our communities, our city, our country – for as Paul says we all ‘live and move and have our being’ in God.  It seems to me that the current Covid-19 pandemic has revealed to us that we are all at risk of infection.  If we acknowledge that God creates us all, we cannot care just for ourselves, or our own kin, or our own church members.  And if we truly take the view that everyone is a child of God, made in the image of God, we also will recognise that some of God’s children are more susceptible to the virus because of the way our unequal and unfair society is organised. The death rate in care homes reveals not just that the elderly are vulnerable, but that the conditions in care homes are poor.  The death rate amongst BAME people does not tell us that they have different genetics, but that they are more likely to work in public service and cannot work from home via computer – and so on and so on with other groups of underprivileged people.  Covid-19 has revealed the injustices and inequalities of our society even if we had not seen this before.

When Jesus promises the Holy Spirit to the disciples – the Church – so that they had a guide just as they did when Jesus walked physically alongside them – they got a guide who wants to teach them and us the same things Jesus was teaching his disciples – the same message Paul gave to the Athenians.  God is God of heaven and earth – God is for all people – he allots us our time and we need to search for his Word today.  I think God wants to teach us to recognise the injustices of our world.  God wants us to see how much the environment has improved as we have stayed at home – and this asks us how we can protect the environment as we go forward. To do this we need to talk and pray together, seeking the guidance of God – what could be the new normal for the life and business and mission of the church?

Take a time to sit quietly and reflect on the sermon.

Ask God, our heavenly Father, to make the presence of the Holy Spirit real to you now. Invite the Holy Spirit to guide you as you pray. Remember before God your local church and all its people. Give thanks that its mission continues even if it cannot meet for worship at present. Pray that the Holy Spirit may direct its work and strengthen all its members in the tasks to which they are called.

Pray for the wider church that by word and action it may proclaim to the world God’s love in Jesus Christ.

Remember before God our world and its leaders. Pray for peace, for a just and sustainable use of its resources and for greater recognition of our responsibility to care for all creation.

Give thanks for those who work to combat disease; for scientists, doctors, nurses and all who care for the sick, the aged and the vulnerable. Ask God to bless and strengthen them.

Remember before God people you know who particularly need your prayers at this time: family members, friends, neighbours, fellow church members, people you would normally meet regularly but from whom you are now separated. Think of those who are ill, or anxious, or grieving. Pray that the presence and power of the Holy Spirit may surround and sustain them.

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how you can be part of the answer to your prayers. Christian Aid Week has just ended, and the work of Christian Aid among the poor of the world is as important as ever at this time. Perhaps you could send a donation, bearing in mind that much of their usual fundraising may not be possible this year. Maybe someone you have prayed for would love to receive a phone call from you. As God blesses you, so may you be a blessing to others in Jesus’ name.

The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father ……

HYMN:  Spirit of the Living God  (Singing the Faith 395)
Spirit of the living God,  fall afresh on me.
Spirit of the living God,  fall afresh on me.
Break me, melt me,  mould me, fill me.
Spirit of the living God,  fall afresh on me.
                                                                                        Daniel Iverson (1890-1977)

May God the Father bless us;
May Christ take care of us;
May the Holy Spirit enlighten us
all the days of our life.
The Lord be our Defender and
Keeper of body and soul,
both now and for ever,
to the ages of ages.   Amen.
                                                             (The Book of Cerne, 9th century)
Original Materials by John Barnett


‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever.  This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him.  You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.  ‘I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.  In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.  They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.’




Lambeth Mission & St Mary's 10:00 a.m. Lambeth Road, London SE1 7DQ 
Mostyn Road Methodist Church 11:00 a.m.  Cor Mostyn Road & St Lawrence SW9 6PH
Railton Road Methodist Church 11:00 a.m. 141 Railton Road, London SW24 0LT
Brixton Hill Methodist Church 11:00 a.m. Cor Elm Park & Brixton Hill, London SW2 2TX
Tulse Hill Methodist Church 10:30 a.m.  138 Christchurch Road, London SW2 3DQ
Streatham Methodist Church 10:30 a.m.  101 Riggindale Road, London SW16 1QH



Tue 11:00 - 14:00 Joint Bible Study - Railton Road & Mostyn Road Methodist Churches @ Railton Road Rev. Ali
Wed 14:00 - 16:00 Pop-In Club for Older People @ - Kings Acre Hall R. Burke
Thurs 5:30 - 7:00 Girl’s Brigade Explorers @ Kings Acre Hall K. Rennalls
Fri 11:00-1:00 Creative Card Making - 1st & 3rd Friday @ Kings Acre Hall J.  Stilman
Fri 18:45 Worship Team – Preparation for Sunday Worship  



Saturday 10:00-11:30 a.m. Cleaning the Church Brixton Hill Abigail Crabbe
Saturday 11:00-14:00 p.m. Cleaning the Church  Railton Road Victoria Odofin 


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