During this time when Churches across the country are closed, the Methodist Church are live-streaming services so people can still feel in touch with their faith.
There are a number of services being streamed, some of which are highlighted below. Alternatively additional prayer resources can be found on the Methodist Church Website here.
Wesley's Chapel, London
Swan Bank Methodist Church in Burslem
Methodist Central Hall, Westminster
Sthie ('At home')
To join in a very different worship experience, try Sthie ('At home') from the Isle of Man
Join in live on Sundays by joining a Facebook group.
(You can watch previous live-streamed videos at www.youtube.com/andyfishburne)
Wesley House Cambridge
(Resources for following the prayers and readings are available at:
Wesley’s Chapel London
A Reflection by Revd. David Jenkins
PSALM 130 - A Psalm for our times
"Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplications!
If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you may be revered.
(New Revised Standard Version)
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is great power to redeem.
It is he who will redeem Israel from
all its iniquities."
It doesn't take much imagination to link the psalm with our own times.
The whole world is in danger of being stricken by a terrible disease. The actual disease itself, the fear of it, the economic repercussions of it and the isolation and loneliness of trying to avoid it, place us in a situation we've never been in. We can't even see our own families or friends. We can't worship in Church together; we can't act in many of the ways in which we usually choose to spend our time and energy.
We are "in the depths". And it's from the depths that we cry out for meaning, for a voice that will listen.
Our hope has to be bigger than simply being rooted in ourselves or in other people-after all, there are so many limits to our understanding of what we're up against. Perhaps there are limits to our trust, as well, regarding, not only people's competence, but their integrity. So we cry out to God-the Creator and Lover of the world.
When we cry out to God we discover that God is not far from us -God is in the depths too - all the depths of our experience are in God; God is in the very depths of our being. God is not remote and removed but powerfully palpable and present and personal.
According to another Psalm "The understanding of God is beyond measure", and according to this one, "There is forgiveness with you". Understanding and forgiveness go hand in hand. The Roman philosopher Seneca said, "To understand all is to forgive all"-and only God understands all and can forgive all. The God we meet in the depths is the God who is for us, knowing where we are, meeting us in our needs, and helping us through.
The Psalm speaks about waiting and watching and longing. We are in a waiting "lockdown" situation and none of us knows how long this is due to last- for 12 weeks? until schools re-open in September? for the foreseeable future? We just don't know. Another Psalm asks the question, "How long, O Lord?" but this one recognises the necessity of waiting, linking waiting, not with despair, but with hope. Hope is rooted in the character of the God we encounter in the depths of our lives.
God is described by three strong phrases-"there is forgiveness with you"; "with the Lord there is steadfast love" and "with him is great power to redeem".
In the situation we are facing we are not without hope, because, however isolated or lonely we may feel, we are not alone. God is with us.
Becoming aware of God's presence with us makes all the difference.
We are not alone, because, not only are we forgiven and presented with constantly fresh beginnings, not only are we loved with absolute consistency and unfailing commitment, but God has "great power to redeem", to turn situations around for the better, to lift, to improve, to transform.
While our hope is rooted in God and definitely not in ourselves, part of that hope is what God can do through human beings. In this present crisis people have not always acted wisely, selflessly or without panic; and yet we are also seeing courage, skill, unselfish dedication, wisdom and kindness in other people. God can and does work through us, but neither God's actions nor our hope are limited to human achievements.
In this crisis, as with any other, the attentive, forgiving, loving and redeeming God waits and watches with us-and that is the source of the greatest hope we could ever have.