Services: Sermons and Prayers

5th December – 2n Sunday of Advent
(Ruth Chapter 2: 1 – 13)
Advent Study based on the book of Ruth – Finding Hope under Bethlem Skies.
(Preaching through Ruth during Advent – That Happy Certainty)
Lord as we prepare ourselves for your coming may the Words given to us through
reflections and conversations, open our ears, our eyes, and our hearts so that we
are ready to see you and that we may hear and receive your Word. Amen
Love – Why is Jesus better than Santa?
For those not with us last week – I am going to start each week by putting some
context to our reading from Ruth, and then end with some questions for you to
reflect on, either with others around you through conversation or by yourself.
As we journey further into the story, this chapter makes crystal clear the stunning
hand of God providing for his people. As readers we are told that Naomi has a
relative in Bethlehem who may be able to provide for her & Ruth, but it’s only God’s
sovereign kindness that means Ruth stumbles into the field of this relative, Boaz.
And what a guy he turns out to be! The chapter focuses in on his extraordinary
generosity and protection for Ruth. Being overwhelmed by his kindness, we see that
it comes as Ruth has turned to the refuge/wings of the LORD. When Naomi finally
makes the connection and discovers this man is her relative, we see that she is
‘warming up’ to the kindness of God.
The gospel versus Santa! A couple of years ago, a video did the rounds on social
media of a boy getting warned by his dad that his bad behaviour might put him on
Santa’s naughty list. The lad responds with visible indignation: ‘Well, Father
Christmas isn’t being very nice to me!’ But often our understanding of God isn’t too
dissimilar to the popular portrayal of Santa as someone who we need to be on our
best behaviour around, in case he actually discovers that we’re rather more ‘naughty
than nice’. In today’s chapter, however, we see that the gospel – which reveals the
character of God – is much better than Santa!
Hope is on the horizon in Bethlehem as Naomi realizes who Boaz is. The fact that
she has wandered into his field is no chance, Of all the choices, God’s sovereign
kindness comes through and is one of the great themes of this book. And that
kindness is them embodied in the stunning generosity of Boaz. The center point of
the chapter is Ruth and Boaz’s interchange is in the final lines of our reading. Ruth
has encountered Boaz’s stunning generosity and it leads her to ask a question full of
humble disbelief. Often at Christmas-time we see that entitlement spill out of our
hearts into our lives and Christmas lists turn into Christmas demands and entitlement
can show up in how we relate to God. But not so with Ruth. And yet Boaz’s answer
is revealing too – he’s highlighting that Ruth has received blessings because she has
turned and trusted in the Lord. She has come to seek protection ‘under the wings’ of
the LORD.
In times of suffering, we can struggle to get our heads around God’s destiny. But
God is kind to his people – and he has ultimately shown that kindness in our Saviour.
It’s as if Boaz’s character here gives us an outline of that kindness – and then Jesus
Christ perfectly ‘colours it in’.
So, I invite you to discuss / reflect this week:
– Which story from our Gospel reminds you that Jesus is better than Santa’s?
– How does Jesus’ love help you in your day-to-day life?
Prayer: Lord God, as we bring before you our renewed love for Jesus Christ, may
we not loose his presence in the busyness of Christmas. But instead come to
God humbly turning and trusting in him in his mercy alone and that we find a safe
and secure place in him too. Amen

Intersessions

In the power of the Holy Spirit and in union with our lord Jesus Christ, let us pray to God our heavenly father.
Lord god, you are always there. You are with us in the sunshine and the storm. You are always there, in the light and in the dark. You are with us in times of trouble and in times of joy. Help us to know you and put our trust in you always.

We give thanks for all who have shared their faith with us and all who have come to you in times of trouble. We ask your blessing upon all who are struggling with their faith at this time, all who are caught up with doubt or who are giving way to despair. Lord may the light and love of Christ bring them new hope.
We bring before you all who are persecuted because of their faith. We pray for churches that are suffering from war, violence or vandalism. We pray for all these people who have lost their treasured place of worship.

Lord, you are our strength. And our salvation.

Lord, guide and strengthen the leaders of our world. Give your wisdom to all who rule and are in government. We pray for all who are involved with famine relief and those who seek to bring peace among nations. We pray for families who have been forced to flee from their homes and communities through war, oppression and poverty. Protect them on their journeys and bring them safely to the place where you would have them be. May each one of them feel welcomed and respected in the communities they join.

Lord, you are our strength And our salvation.

We give thanks for the shelter and security of our homes. We bring before you those homes where it is hard to be a Christian and where faith is discouraged. We pray for children who are not given any sense of faith or confidence in their future.
We pray for the needs of your children already known to you, and so with God given love we bring to mind those who are suffering physically, spiritually or emotionally, that they may find you besides them in these dark and painful times.

Lord, you are our strength. And our salvation.

We remember all lonely and uncared-for people,
May they know your love and your presence. We ask your blessing upon all who are ill and those who fear the future. We pray for those who are in care and for all who cannot cope on their own.

Lord, you are our strength. And our salvation.

We give thanks to all who have witnessed to your love even to death. We pray for all who have died because their faith in you and we remember in prayer our holy martyrs.
We ask your blessing upon loved ones departed from us, and loved ones whose anniversary of passing falls at this time
May we share with them in the joys of your eternal kingdom.

Lord, you are our strength. And our salvation

Lord God, the earth is yours and you have commanded the winds and the sea, help us to leave behind our consumer demand for plastics, and move towards behaviours that are environmentally healthy. Help us to follow your lead in caring for the world you love.

Lord you are our strength. And our salvation

Lord God, you sent John the Baptist to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: give us grace to take heed of his warnings and to turn away from our sinfulness so that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our redeemer.

Merciful father, accept these prayers for the sake of your son, our saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

ORDINARY TIME (Service for use at home)
Each week I will send out, the collect, readings and sermon for those who still wish to worship from home and those unable to yet join us in persons for various of reasons.

The Greeting

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, And of the Holy Spirit
Amen

Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you

and also with you.

Prayer of Preparation

Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Prayers of Penitence

My brothers and sisters,
as we prepare to celebrate the presence of Christ in word,
let us call to mind and confess our sins.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you
and against our neighbour
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry
and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us,
forgive us all that is past
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name. Amen.

May Almighty God,
who forgives all who truly repent,
have mercy upon us,
pardon and deliver us from all our sins,
confirm and strengthen us in all goodness,
and keep us in life eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Gloria

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.

Amen.

Collect:
Almighty God,
purify our hearts and minds,
that when your Son Jesus Christ comes again as
judge and saviour
we may be ready to receive him,
who is our Lord and our God. Amen
Readings:
Ruth 2: 1 – 13
Now Naomi had a kinsman on her husband’s side, a prominent rich man, of the family of Elimelech,
whose name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean
among the ears of grain, behind someone in whose sight I may find favor.” She said to her, “Go, my
daughter.” So she went. She came and gleaned in the field behind the reapers. As it happened, she
came to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech. Just then Boaz
came from Bethlehem. He said to the reapers, “The LORD be with you.” They answered,
“The LORD bless you.” Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, “To whom
does this young woman belong?” The servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, “She is
the Moabite who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. She said, ‘Please, let me glean
and gather among the sheaves behind the reapers.’ So she came, and she has been on her feet from
early this morning until now, without resting even for a moment.”
Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this
one, but keep close to my young women. Keep your eyes on the field that is being reaped, and follow
behind them. I have ordered the young men not to bother you. If you get thirsty, go to the vessels and
drink from what the young men have drawn.” Then she fell prostrate, with her face to the ground, and
said to him, “Why have I found favor in your sight, that you should take notice of me, when I am a
foreigner?” But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of
your husband has been fully told me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land
and came to a people that you did not know before. May the LORD reward you for your deeds, and
may you have a full reward from the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for
refuge!” Then she said, “May I continue to find favor in your sight, my lord, for you have comforted me
and spoken kindly to your servant, even though I am not one of your servants.”
Luke 3: 1-6
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and
Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler[b] of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and
Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came
to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming
a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the
prophet Isaiah,
“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth;
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”
Ruth 1: 1 – 10
In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a certain man of Bethlehem in
Judah went to live in the country of Moab, he and his wife and two sons. The name of the man was
Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion;
they were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained
there. But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took
Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. When they had lived
there about ten years, both Mahlon and Chilion also died, so that the woman was left without her two
sons and her husband.
Then she started to return with her daughters-in-law from the country of Moab, for she had heard in
the country of Moab that the LORD had considered his people and given them food. So she set out
from the place where she had been living, she and her two daughters-in-law, and they went on their
way to go back to the land of Judah.
Luke 21: 25-36
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations
confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what
is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of
Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand
up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you
can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things
taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass
away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass
away.
“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the
worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all
who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength
to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man”
Sermon – See above

Affirmation of Faith

Let us declare our faith in God.

We believe in God the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.

We believe in God the Son,
who lives in our hearts through faith, and fills us with his love.

We believe in God the Holy Spirit,
who strengthens us with power from on high.

We believe in one God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen

Intercessions – See above

The Lord’s Prayer

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever. Amen.

Peace

God is love, and those who live in love live in God and God lives in them.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.
and also with you.

The Blessing

The peace of God which passes all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God,
and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.

Amen

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

Thanks be to God. Alleluia, Alleluia.

1st Sunday of Advent (Ruth Chapter 1: 1 – 10)

Advent Study based on the book of Ruth – Finding Hope under Bethlem Skies. (Preaching through
Ruth during Advent – That Happy Certainty)
Lord as we prepare ourselves for your coming may the Words given to us through
reflections and conversations, open our ears, our eyes, and our hearts so that we
are ready to see you and that we may hear and receive your Word. Amen
Hope – What do you really need this Christmas?
I am going to start each week by putting some context to our reading from Ruth, and
then end with some questions for you to reflect on, either with others around you
through conversation or by yourself.
The book of Ruth invites us on a journey – a journey where we face up to life in the
real world – a journey that begins with tears and sadness, but where we discover
hope in the darkest of places. However, place this alongside the Christmas story as
a back story, it can make the real world more real, and shows that ultimately God’s
promises are for the real world both then and today.
Ruth begins in a time of crisis and famine, which is symptomatic of a people who
have turned away from God. Life was marked by death and tears for dear Naomi.
Naomi left the land of God’s blessing, Bethlehem for the land of her enemies, Moab,
as we hear in our reading today. And yet the chapter turns over the next few weeks,
is all about a journey home. Back home to Bethlehem. Back home to the LORD.
Back home to the kindness of God, embodied in the faithfulness of the foreign
woman God has brought into Naomi’s life.
The chapter encourages us to consider Naomi’s direction of travel – and so our own
direction of travel too. And we see that when we ‘turn’ back to the LORD, he is kind
and full of goodness. The story of Ruth, as we’ll see, is really the story of Naomi as
she encounters the kindness of God.
Which way is your life faced at present? Which way are you turned as you come into
this Christmas season? This has been another disorientating year. And
circumstances can do strange things to our hearts.
So, I invite you to discuss / reflect:
– What are your hopes and needs for Advent and Christmas this year?
– What is the one gift / wish you have for you this Christmas?
Prayer: Lord God, as we bring before you our hopes, needs and wishes, may you
allow each of us to rediscover ourselves. Allow us to prepare our hearts to turn to
and accept you afresh at Christmas and knowing that Christ is our source of
hope and rest. Amen

Intersessions – ADVENT SUNDAY-2021.

As we begin a new year in the life of the Church, let us pray together.

Lord, prepare us for your Advent coming. In our prayers today we try to come to you, and we pray for the grace and honesty to see what needs transforming in our lives as individuals and as members of your church.
Lord, prepare us for your coming in the Church. Open our church to the free flow of your refreshing Spirit. Give to this Church a new vision and hope. In particular Lord prepare us to meet the challenges soon to face us in the future of the churches in our area, give us the confidence to see it as new opportunities for growth, and prepare us to do your will.

LORD IN YOUR MERCY: HEAR OUR PRAYER.

Almighty God, it is your will that all nations should live in harmony and understanding with one another. We ask you to look mercifully upon the world of our day and heal the sorrows and sufferings of all mankind. Save the nations from the lust for power, from racial hatred and jealousy and from the worship of material things.
We pray too for our own political leaders, for the United Nations and all on whom rests great responsibility at the present time. Give them wisdom to make the right decisions, courage to fulfil them and perseverance to continue their efforts to establish peace and promote the welfare of all humanity.

LORD IN YOUR MERCY: HEAR OUR PRAYER.

Lord Jesus, you enjoyed the happiness and security of your home in Nazareth and in your ministry gave your blessing to little children. We ask that you would hold all the children of our churches and families in your love and protection. May they, through the guidance of families and of your church grow up to love and serve you. Help them in their days of dependency to learn how to share with others and so be ready to take their places in the world.
We ask too for your love and protection on all children who are unloved or unwanted, those who are abused in any way or have come under the influence of drugs, and we remember children of other lands who are recruited for war, taught to fight and encouraged to hate others.

LORD IN YOUR MERCY: HEAR OUR PRAYER.

Lord, prepare us for your coming to those in need. Those who are ill in hospital or at home, those suffering from depression or confusion, those dealing with multiple problems of old age, We pray that those hurt by injustice may know your support, and that the frail and timid may know your encouragement and reassurance. We pray for John Paul, and his family members, many of us were very moved by his mother’s poignant words here last week, and we pray that he gets the support and treatment he needs. We think of others known to us personally who are in need at this time.
Pour your living strength into their lives and give us the sensitivity to help them

LORD IN YOUR MERCY: HEAR OUR PRAYER.

Lord, we pray for all who have come to the end of their earthly life, we remember Joyce Holt whose funeral took place earlier this week, and others known only to us through the media, remembering especially those who died in the coach fire in Bulgaria, and the migrants who drowned in the English Channel. Give comfort to the bereaved, and to those whose lives feel empty without the people they have loved, and grant everlasting peace to all who rest in your love.

LORD IN YOUR MERCY: HEAR OUR PRAYER.

Advent Lord, come ever nearer. Come to rejuvenate our faith. Come to fortify our social conscience. Come to open our eyes of wonder. So that when the Saviour comes, he may steal into our hearts and find them ready. Come, Lord Jesus.

Merciful Father-accept these prayers for the sake of your son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

ORDINARY TIME (Service for use at home)
Each week I will send out, the collect, readings and sermon for those who still wish to worship from home and those unable to yet join us in persons for various of reasons.

The Greeting

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, And of the Holy Spirit
Amen

Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you

and also with you.

Prayer of Preparation

Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Prayers of Penitence

My brothers and sisters,
as we prepare to celebrate the presence of Christ in word,
let us call to mind and confess our sins.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you
and against our neighbour
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry
and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us,
forgive us all that is past
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name. Amen.

May Almighty God,
who forgives all who truly repent,
have mercy upon us,
pardon and deliver us from all our sins,
confirm and strengthen us in all goodness,
and keep us in life eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Gloria

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.

Amen.

Collect:
Almighty God,
as your kingdom dawns,
turn us from the darkness of sin to the
light of holiness,
that we may be ready to meet you
in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen

Readings:
Ruth 1: 1 – 10
In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a certain man of Bethlehem in
Judah went to live in the country of Moab, he and his wife and two sons. The name of the man was
Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion;
they were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained
there. But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took
Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. When they had lived
there about ten years, both Mahlon and Chilion also died, so that the woman was left without her two
sons and her husband.
Then she started to return with her daughters-in-law from the country of Moab, for she had heard in
the country of Moab that the LORD had considered his people and given them food. So she set out
from the place where she had been living, she and her two daughters-in-law, and they went on their
way to go back to the land of Judah.
Luke 21: 25-36
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations
confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what
is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of
Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand
up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you
can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things
taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass
away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass
away.
“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the
worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all
who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength
to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man”
Sermon – See above

Affirmation of Faith

Let us declare our faith in God.

We believe in God the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.

We believe in God the Son,
who lives in our hearts through faith, and fills us with his love.

We believe in God the Holy Spirit,
who strengthens us with power from on high.

We believe in one God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen

Intercessions – See above

The Lord’s Prayer

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever. Amen.

Peace

God is love, and those who live in love live in God and God lives in them.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.
and also with you.

The Blessing

The peace of God which passes all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God,
and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.

Amen

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

Thanks be to God. Alleluia, Alleluia.

Sermon – Christ of King – 21st November 2021
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of our hearts, be acceptable in your
sight O Lord, our strength, redeemer and King. Amen.
Today we meet on the last Sunday of the churches year to celebrate the feast of
Christ the King. We come to remember Jesus who has grown from the tiny
vulnerable Baby to remember him today as Christ, fully grown and who reigns with
God in glory. It is on this day we celebrate Christ in Glory as our king and our lord
and a day we reflect upon our lives thinking about the power and greatness within
our lives.
Kingship can be a big thing to think about and many don’t like thinking about it at all.
Our instant thoughts are about rulers telling us what to do, people who are bigger
than us, people who rule our world. But does using their powers wrongly, bring them
problems?
As we come to the end of the year, it is only natural that we look back and reflect,
and what a year to reflect back on. If we reflect back in relation to power and
kingships, there has been a range of examples set. As a whole nation we have been
ruled by government about what we can and can’t do and we have been ruled by the
illness and it’s consequences. As individuals I am sure we all have many examples
of being ruled by those who ruled above us, maybe even rules by friends and family
members to in life choices. We have been ruled by things physical and it be wrong if
I don’t mention the ruling of our changes in mental and spiritual health and
awareness too. Regardless of our experiences I am in no doubt that we all have
different views on whether these rulings were carried out rightly or wrongly, and you
may not be surprised to hear that our Bible has these mixed examples too. However,
rightly or wrongly consequences follow. The question is which is the best one to
follow and does power affect this.
We can read in the Bible about some Kings using their power in unhelpful and
overpowering ways. One well known to us all is at Christmas time when King Herod
instructs his men to go out and kill all new-born babies. This was because he was
afraid to lose his power over the kingdom of Judea to a small baby. He felt insecure
and used his power to protect himself. In doing this he forgot about the people he
should have been protecting and caused devastation to many new parents.
Another example, from later in the Gospels shows how Pontius Pilate also let power
rule his actions without considering others when he ordered Jesus to be crucified on
the cross. Pilate thought about his own feelings, he felt threatened by Jesus’s
popularity with the people. He used his power of authority along with the Jewish
religious leaders to give his army instructions to arrest and crucify Jesus. As a result,
he upset and rocked many people’s lives especially those who were close to Jesus
at this time.
Christ’s power of kingship makes Herod’s and Pilate’s look insignificant and shows
us the correct ways of kingship from a faith perspective. So, what about Christ’s way
of doing Kingship? He chooses to use his power in good and powerful ways which
resulted in many people changing their actions, words and views for the better.
Christ came to serve us as people and not to be served; he came so people could be
saved from sin and to make the world a better place. As the hymn The Servant King
reminds us – (From heaven you came, helpless babe, entered our world, your glory
veiled, not to be served but to serve, and give your life that we might live.). He gave
his life and used his power to set an example on how we might live. If we truly turn to
him and accept him as our King and Lord, then his values will come to rule our lives,
not because he forces them on us, but because their worth speaks for itself. Jesus’
values are, as Scripture tells us, designed to make it possible for all people, not just
some, to live in fullness of life.
In today’s Gospel reading we hear about Jesus explaining the type of the king he is
and questioning the kind of ruler Pilate is. Pilate asks Jesus how he could possibly
be a King if he allowed his own people to hand him over for crucifixion instead of
using his power to prevent it from happening. Jesus replied explaining that he is not
like other Kings, he uses his powers in other ways by putting trust in his father and
still doing everything for the benefit of others. Even during the time of his arrest, he
holds fast to his way of doing kingship. He offers support and advice to others
despite his own pain and suffering. He considers those who continue to follow him
from the moment he was arrested right though to his resurrection. During this testing
time he still reflected on how people felt, and he accepted what was happening
giving reassurance to those in need. Jesus did not once use his power to hurt others,
to make him feel big and important. And so, in this way, Jesus sets an example for
us to live by and teaches us how to use both our own power and the power of our
Christian faith.
As always, we have a choice, and maybe today as we reflect back, and look forward
to the new church year is an ideal time. We can either hide behind power, status,
money or career and forget who we really are, but we know deep down, these things
don’t last forever. Or we can follow Jesus’ example by learning, like he did, to put our
trust entirely in God, not in anything or anybody else, discovering who we really are –
precious loved children of God. Trusting we will opt for the second options I invite us
all to ask ourselves ‘do we, like Jesus, use what power and influence we have for the
good of everybody’ what would our honest answer be? If we do, that’s great – the
Holy Spirit will encourage us to carry on and be a blessing to others. If not, then it’s
never too late to make a new start. The power to pardon also lives with the King, and
Jesus giving up his life for us gives us the chance of a new start if we turn to him and
live our lives as he lived his. Amen

Intersessions

We pray to our Lord God, revealed to us by the birth of his only Son, Jesus Christ, our Saviour.

Lord, as we approach the coming of Christmas, let us pay due reverence, in our celebrations, to the birth of your son, our saviour Jesus Christ.
May Christ’s words and values find a place in our hearts.
We pray for those who find this a mournful period and respect those for whom Christmas has no meaning.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

We pray for the homeless and destitute. May they find relief from their sufferings so they can put their troubles behind them and find hope for the future.
For those who suffer from anxiety and depression, may they know the Lord’s healing power in their lives.
For people trying to rebuild their lives after the experience of abuse or violence and the betrayal of trust, that they may know the intimate love of God, on whom they can rely.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

We pray for our churches of St. John’s and St. Luke’s. We pray your Holy Spirit will fill us with love and compassion for each other and for those we come in contact with.
We pray for Luke today and give thanks for his baptism in our service. May he receive the warmth of your love.
May we bring hope to the many who feel lost in a complex world and help us to be of use and to serve the local community.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

All powerful Lord, please bring peace to nations at war and frustrate those who seek to promote violence and hatred.
We pray for communities destroyed and devastated by natural disasters.
May the human suffering and their sorrows be soon a distant memory for them.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Lord, we pray for the ill and injured and for the success of their operations and healing from their treatments,
We pray especially, for a moment, for those known personally to each of us.

We bring to you also

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Lord, we pray to you for those whose earthly life is now at an end. Receive their souls into your kingdom, that redeemed by grace, they may rest in peace and rise in glory.
We think of Joyce Holt whose funeral takes place this coming Thursday.
Be with those who are grieving. May they may find consolation from their fond memories.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

In your presence, O Lord, we give thanks for the peace of your comfort and reach out to you with our personal concerns.

Merciful Father, Accept these prayers, For the sake of your son, Our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

ORDINARY TIME (Service for use at home)
Each week I will send out, the collect, readings and sermon for those who still wish to worship from home and those unable to yet join us in persons for various of reasons.

The Greeting

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, And of the Holy Spirit
Amen

Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you

and also with you.

Prayer of Preparation

Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Prayers of Penitence

My brothers and sisters,
as we prepare to celebrate the presence of Christ in word,
let us call to mind and confess our sins.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you
and against our neighbour
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry
and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us,
forgive us all that is past
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name. Amen.

May Almighty God,
who forgives all who truly repent,
have mercy upon us,
pardon and deliver us from all our sins,
confirm and strengthen us in all goodness,
and keep us in life eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Gloria

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.

Amen.

Collect:
Eternal Father,
whose Son Jesus Christ ascended to the throne of heaven
that he might rule over all things as Lord and King:
keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit
and in the bond of peace,
and bring the whole created order to worship at his feet;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.
Readings:
Revelation 1: 4b – 8
Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail.
So it is to be. Amen.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.
John 18: 33-37
Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

Sermon – See above

Affirmation of Faith

Let us declare our faith in God.

We believe in God the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.

We believe in God the Son,
who lives in our hearts through faith, and fills us with his love.

We believe in God the Holy Spirit,
who strengthens us with power from on high.

We believe in one God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen

Intercessions – See above

The Lord’s Prayer

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever. Amen.

Peace

God is love, and those who live in love live in God and God lives in them.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.
and also with you.

The Blessing

The peace of God which passes all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God,
and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.

Amen

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

Thanks be to God. Alleluia, Alleluia.

Remembrance Sunday – 14th November 2021

Due to both churches having acts of Remembrance in place of the sermon slot this week please find below a reflection and prayers by Sunday School 

Lord, we are saddened at the thought of war,
of the soldiers who must fight
and all those people who are killed.
Today we remember their sacrifice with great sadness.
We thank them for what they did for us.

We also remember that they won for us a victory,
that without their bravery these wars may have been lost,
and our lives could have been so very different,
without the freedom we so much enjoy.
We thank them for what they did for us.

We are saddened at the thought of your suffering,
that you, too, had to be a great hero,
and walk to Jerusalem, be arrested, tried
and killed on that horrible cross.
We thank you for what you did for us.

We also remember that you won for us a victory,
that on Easter morning you rose again,
and helped us to overcome our human nature,
so that we might rise again with you.
We thank you for what you did for us.
Amen.

God, it’s difficult to see the point of wearing a poppy,
or what difference two minutes’ silence will make
when we could be shouting protests.
But we can recognise a broken life being valued,
a gift being given,
and taking two minutes to reflect on how much we have.
We look to the future, not to the past.
We cannot change what has been
but do not need to repeat its mistakes.
So as old and young come together before you,
take the very best of our lives;
bind us into one people of faith
and help us to share our common values,
love of Jesus and care for each other;
to build dreams,
and, with your Holy Spirit,
turn them into reality.
Amen.

God of justice and peace,
we pray for those who have been injured
or disabled through war.
For those who have lost homes
and security through conflict;
for those who have lost loved relatives in wars;
for those who face danger and take risks for peace;
for all those, especially children, caught up in current conflicts;
for refugees and all those in need of aid and other help.
God of encouragement
and Saviour of the despairing,
comfort those who remember past sacrifices
and guide us in building
a just and peaceful community for all.
Amen.

History can inspire or trap.
Walls can protect or divide.
Words can encourage or inflame.
Power can free or destroy.
Touch can comfort or violate.
Peace can be shared or withheld.
Gracious God, on this day,
when we remember past and present conflicts,
we pray for the divided peoples of the world,
that leaders, governments and each one of us
may use our resources,
our opportunities and our lives
in the service of reconciliation,
for the sake of future generations
and to the glory of your name.
Amen.

Remembrance – Sunday 14th November – Collect & Readings

Collect:
Lord of the nations,
Saviour and judge of all:
remove from human hearts all bitterness and hate,
grant to those who have died in war your mercy and forgiveness
and bring us all to the peace of your eternal Kingdom;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who suffered and died,
and now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end. Amen.

Readings:
Hebrews 10:11-14 & 19-25
And every priest stands day after day at his service, offering again and again the same sacrifices that can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, “he sat down at the right hand of God,” and since then has been waiting “until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet.” For by a single offering, he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
Therefore, my friends since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Mark 13: 1-8
As he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!” Then Jesus asked him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.”
When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?” Then Jesus began to say to them, “Beware that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.

Reflection

Due to both churches having acts of Remembrance in place of the sermon slot this week please find below a reflection that can be done at home, at a time to suit you.

Prayer:
We commit ourselves to work in penitence and faith
for reconciliation between the nations,
that all people may, together, live in freedom, justice and peace.
We pray for all who in bereavement, disability and pain
continue to suffer the consequences of fighting and terror.
We remember with thanksgiving and sorrow
those whose lives, in world wars and conflicts past and present,
have been given and taken away. Amen

Moments Silence to reflect

A Prayer of Commemoration

Almighty and eternal God, from whose love in Christ we cannot be parted,
either by death or life: hear our prayers and thanksgivings
for all whom we remember this day; fulfil in them the purpose of your love;
and bring us all, with them, to your eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
An Act of Commitment
Lord God our Father,
we pledge ourselves to serve you and all humankind,
in the cause of peace,
for the relief of want and suffering,
and for the praise of your name.
Guide us by your Spirit;
give us wisdom;
give us courage;
give us hope;
and keep us faithful now and always. Amen

 

3rd Sunday before Advent – Sunday 7th November 21

Lord, open my mouth so that I can speak. Open our ears and hearts so that we can
hear your call and change. By your power, and through your grace, Amen.
I wonder if you have ever stopped and thought about your journey from this world to
the next, and if so in this same thinking or on a separate note have you asked, what
do you want God to see in me?
As a church we find ourselves in a time of remembrance. Remembrance for the loss
of a loved one and those who have made an impact on our lives and remembrance
for those who fought to save our country. As church members, I also want to
acknowledge that I am very much aware that many of us individually mourn recent
losses and anniversaries at this time too, which makes this time of remembrance
even more significant. But I hope what I feel called to talk about today brings
something of some reflection for you and allows us all to move forward in the new
church year that lies ahead.
Often, I find with a time a remembrance comes a time of reflection on the past but
also looking ahead, an opportunity of natural thought processes on beginnings and
endings. As well as a time of remembrance the church comes to its calendar year
and in three weeks, we start a new year with our season of advent. But in these few
weeks we reflect on Jesus’ life in heaven and the promise of the second coming.
When we reflect and map out our lives, I wonder how much trust do we all have in
God? Our Hebrew’s reading starts by reminding us in its poetic language of Jesus’
death on the cross for all our sins, an act that is everlasting and for all and then goes
on to say – so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear
a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for
him.
Even as Christians and followers of Christ we are unsure of how we see the second
coming. We will either see Jesus in the eternal heaven following our death or Jesus
will appear on earth again at an unknown time and place. Which ever way it is for us
I ask the question I started with – What do you want God to see in you.
As we reflect on our lives and map out what the next steps will be, either through
remembrance or through the reflection of the new year, we have a choice as outlined
in our readings today.
We can either thank Jesus for what he has done and wait for our turn with the hope
that when the time comes Jesus will welcome us into heaven. In other words, if the
work of God is complete, ask why are we called to be disciples and lead people? Or
do we thank Jesus for what he has done and use our time of waiting on earth wisely
to inspire and save others – so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of
many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are
eagerly waiting for him.
Our Gospel reading is a great example of this with the first calling of Jesus’ disciples.
Jesus called and they didn’t refuse, question or doubt. They just laid down their nets,
left family members behind and followed Jesus to live a life that was filled with
spiritual nourishment and the feeding and coming alongside others too. These were
people who waited with eagerness, who when called put their whole lives into the
trusted hands of God and trusted that when their second coming reunion arose, they
would be seen for what they had done and accepted into the promises of the eternal
kingdom.
So, although emotions maybe high and remembrance a priority, I do just pray that as
the natural time comes for each of us to reflect, we do so with openness, honesty
and in with the two questions in mind:
– What do we honestly want God to see in us when we do meet again? and
– In our life planning – do we truly put all our trust in God in all that we do, our
life plans present and ahead.
Let us pray:
Heavenly Father we pray for ourselves and for all our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Give us the wisdom and determination to keep ourselves faithful to the love you
show to us in the life of Jesus, your son and our living Lord. Amen

Intersessions

In the power of the Holy Spirit and in union with our Lord, Jesus Christ, let us pray.

Heavenly Father, we pray for the church throughout the world as it faces the challenges of hostility, bigotry or indifference. Guide us and support us, Lord, as we seek to do your will and to bring glimpses of your kingdom here on earth. May people come to know our churches as places of welcome and kindness where they may find God’s love in action.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer.

Almighty God we marvel at the wonders of your creation but are all too aware that we have damaged so much of this amazing planet, either deliberately or unintentionally. We have plundered the earth, polluted the atmosphere and the seas and endangered a whole variety of wildlife. We have caused death and destruction in wars and senseless acts of terrorism. Now we are at crisis point and all too aware of what damage we have done. Loving God, we pray for all those of every nationality attending the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow that they will work together in harmony, cooperation and with determination to try to resolve the many issues that face the peoples of the world. Lord, give them integrity, courage and a strong resolve to put into action what needs to be done before it is too late.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer.

Loving Father, we pray for the thousands and thousands of children throughout the world whose lives are blighted by famine and hunger, the destruction and brutality of war and the lack of resources and medical care which are readily available to many of us. Lord, we ask you to bless the work of all those agencies who are trying to better the lives of children in desperate need. Lord, this morning we bring before you the work of the Shoebox Appeal which seeks to bring some love, warmth and happiness to those in need in eastern Europe and we ask your blessing on those who will receive these gifts and on those who generously give their time in making sure the gifts are delivered to those in need.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer.

Merciful God, we pray for all who are ill; for those undergoing operations, for the chronically sick, for those with life limiting conditions and those suffering from anxiety and depression. We pray for the elderly in care homes., the housebound and the lonely. We give heartfelt thanks to all who are involved in caring for the sick. Lord in a few moments of silence we bring before you those known to us who are ill. We hold……. in our prayers.

Lord, may they draw strength and comfort from your healing presence.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer.

God of compassion we pray for those who have died and for those who are feeling the aching loss of someone they love.

At this special time of remembrance we pray for those we have loved but see no more. Especially praying for Joyce Holt.  We give thanks for all that they have meant to us and cherish their memories in our hearts. Lord comfort the grieving and uplift them with your promise of eternal life. Lord in your mercy hear our prayer.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your son, our saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen

ORDINARY TIME (Service for use at home)
Each week I will send out, the collect, readings and sermon for those who still wish to worship from home and those unable to yet join us in persons for various of reasons.

The Greeting

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, And of the Holy Spirit
Amen

Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you

and also with you.

Prayer of Preparation

Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Prayers of Penitence

My brothers and sisters,
as we prepare to celebrate the presence of Christ in word,
let us call to mind and confess our sins.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you
and against our neighbour
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry
and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us,
forgive us all that is past
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name. Amen.

May Almighty God,
who forgives all who truly repent,
have mercy upon us,
pardon and deliver us from all our sins,
confirm and strengthen us in all goodness,
and keep us in life eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Gloria

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.

Amen.

Collect:
God, our refuge and strength,
bring near the day when wards shall cease
and poverty and pain shall end,
that earth may know the peace of heaven
through Jesus Christ our Lord
Amen

Readings:
Hebrews 9: 24-end
For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands, a mere copy of the true one, but he entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself again and again, as the high priest enters the Holy Place year after year with blood that is not his own; for then he would have had to suffer again and again since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to remove sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for mortals to die once, and after that the judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Mark 1: 14-20
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.

Sermon

See above

Affirmation of Faith

Let us declare our faith in God.

We believe in God the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.

We believe in God the Son,
who lives in our hearts through faith, and fills us with his love.

We believe in God the Holy Spirit,
who strengthens us with power from on high.

We believe in one God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen

Intercessions
See above

The Lord’s Prayer

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever. Amen.

Peace

God is love, and those who live in love live in God and God lives in them.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.
and also with you.

The Blessing

The peace of God which passes all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God,
and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.

Amen

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

Thanks be to God. Alleluia, Alleluia.

 

All Saints Sunday
(1 John 3: 1-3 & Matthew 5: 1-12)

Lord, as we explore your words, may our ears, eyes and hearts be open to your message, in Jesus name. Amen
As I was gathering thoughts for this sermon, I was in the process of having a theological conversation with a few people on facebook, some of you may have seen and read. Although theological to me, for those I was in conversation with, I suspect they did not see it this way and some yes made comments in their worlds – tongue in cheeck. Its public so you can go and read it afterwards if you wish. But it all began by someone responding to my post about remembrance asking me to pray for God to get rid of covid-19. As the conversation went on it got me thinking about perception, and if only that person knew they had inspired today’s sermon.
Perception for any faith in general I think is something more common than we acknowledge. The common perception I come across in the Christian faith is that– Pray to God and all will be well in a click of a finger. Now for some people this experience is the case, but for most instance responses don’t happen and the outcome is not the way they planned or even the outcome they wanted. Another one I come across often is the request for the prayer for healing. For many this prayer is an ask for wellness, for someone close to death to be revived and all to be well. However, healing for God, and again I do not want to dimension the occasions where revived life happens, but it is also sometimes about being peaceful, restful, surround in love, and making that journey to the promised eternal kingdom. All this got me thinking to today’s All Saints Day – Who do we say the Saint are?
Wikipedia tells me – A saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness or likeness or closeness to God.
The Dictionary tells me – A saint is a person acknowledged as holy or righteous and regarded in Christian faith as being in heaven after death.
With research I have conducted this week – some Children’s responses to What is a Saint include –
– A very important Christian in the Bible
– An important human being who died a long time ago
– A God – a Person – a Old person
– A person who is good – like doctors
And some that are almost there and probably are with some more explanation – a religious person and Jesus’ Disciples who teach about Jesus and how to believe and live a good life.
Now I am not sure about you, but the perception of a Saint, is someone who is has done great things, someone who has gone beyond the norm of human expectations, someone who is mighty and known by all, someone who is not me. But this perception is not correct in Gods and the Christian faith eyes.
Do you know the Bible’s definition of a Saint is…“saints” are the body of Christ, Christians, the church. All Christians are saints and at the same time are called to be saints. So, this means you and me, and all who believe are saints so how do we live up to this?
Well the first is to get rid of our perceptions and do not put pressure on ourselves. What we hear in our readings today it being saints is about living our normal lives but as one child did get it, living like and with God.
In our Gospel reading we hear the Beatitudes; all the statements begin with ’Blessed are’’ but in some Bible versions happy are. Jesus gave this message to his disciples when on the mountain side. During his teaching he spells out the kind of attitudes that they should have in order to fulfil a righteous and happy life resulting in them being seen and acknowledged as God’s saints. These are split into two sections.
The first – Blessed are the poor in spirit, ,Blessed are those who mourn, Blessed are the meek, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, Blessed are the merciful, Blessed are the pure in heart, Blessed are the peacemakers, Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness all have responses that relate to God’s giving in how we live. If we never see ourselves full of the spirit, mourn the things we do wrong, be meekly in our requests, thirst, and hunger for more faith, be peacemakers in places we are sent we will not be living the saintly life that God asks all disciples to be. Yet, these are things that are already present in our lives and things that are easy to do and maintain today.
The second section however, reminds us that at times things will be thrown in to distract us – Jesus goes on to say “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. However, he then goes on to encourage us to hold steadfast but saying – Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. In other words, when things are thrown our way, remember what is promised – if we live a saintly life on earth, we will be rewarded a saintly place in the eternal kingdom too.
Susan Sayers sum’s up John’s teaching, which we heard in our first readings, as – “to be Christlike is to see things as they really are, with our perception healed. And that takes us back to the saints in heaven, gazing on the lord they have been drawing close to throughout their lives, and who they now recognise clearly. That integrity of perception drenches then in the beauty of holiness and their eternity is filled with worship and praise.
So, today I invite us to first be honest and if needs be altar our perception of all aspects of faith, so they perceive to be the right ways, and especially those geared towards living and being a saint today. And I also want us all, not to be afraid of correcting other people’s perceptions to. It was a lot easier for me to not respond to the comments, but instead it is my calling to teach and show others the true works of God, which I opted to do. We can all do this by living our lives openly and not running away when challenged, and remember deep in our hearts that we are all called by God and therefore all have the right to live and gain that saintly life both on earth and in heaven. Amen

United in the company of all the faithful and to God, the source of all life and holiness.

Merciful Lord, strengthen all Christian people by your Holy Spirit, that we live as a royal priesthood and a holy nation to the praise of Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Lord, in your mercy Hear our prayer.

Bless our bishops, David and Mark and all ministers of your Church, that by faithful proclamation of your word we may be built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets into a holy temple in the Lord.

Lord, in your mercy Hear our prayer.

Empower us by the gift of your holy and life-giving Spirit, that we may transformed into the likeness of Christ from glory to glory.

Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer.

Give to the world and its peoples the peace that comes from above, that they may find Christ’s way of freedom and life.

Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer.

Hold in your embrace all who witness to your love in the service of the poor and needy; all who minister to the sick and dying; and all who bring light to those in darkness.

In a moment of quietness, we bring before you all known to us who are ill. We especially pray for Joyce Holt.

Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer.

Touch and heal all those whose lives are scarred by sin or disfigured by pain, that, raised from to life in Christ, their sorrow may be turned to eternal joy.

Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer.

Remember in your mercy all those gone before us who have been well-pleasing to you from eternity; preserve in your faith your servants on earth, guide us to your kingdom and grant us peace at all times.

Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer.

Hasten the day when many will come from east and west, from north and south, and sit at table in your kingdom.

Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer.

We give thanks for St. John, St. Luke, and for the whole company of your saints in glory, with whom in fellowship we join our prayers and praises; by your grace may we, like them, be made perfect in your love.
Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honour and power, be to our God for ever and ever. Amen.

Merciful Father,
accept these prayers
for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

ORDINARY TIME (Service for use at home)
As our liturgy is now set until October, please save this document.

Each week I will send out, the collect, readings and sermon for those who still wish to worship from home and those unable to yet join us in persons for various of reasons.

The Greeting

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, And of the Holy Spirit
Amen

Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you

and also with you.

Prayer of Preparation

Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Prayers of Penitence

My brothers and sisters,
as we prepare to celebrate the presence of Christ in word,
let us call to mind and confess our sins.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you
and against our neighbour
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry
and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us,
forgive us all that is past
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name. Amen.

May Almighty God,
who forgives all who truly repent,
have mercy upon us,
pardon and deliver us from all our sins,
confirm and strengthen us in all goodness,
and keep us in life eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Gloria

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.

Amen.
Collect:
God of holiness,
your glory is proclaimed in every age:
as we rejoice in the faith of your saints,
inspire us to follow their example
with boldness and joy;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

Readings:

Revelation 21: 1-6a
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”
And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.

John 11: 32-44
When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

Sermon

See above

Affirmation of Faith

Let us declare our faith in God.

We believe in God the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.

We believe in God the Son,
who lives in our hearts through faith, and fills us with his love.

We believe in God the Holy Spirit,
who strengthens us with power from on high.

We believe in one God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen

Intercessions
See above

The Lord’s Prayer

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever. Amen.

Peace

God is love, and those who live in love live in God and God lives in them.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.
and also with you.

The Blessing

The peace of God which passes all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God,
and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.

Amen

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

Thanks be to God. Alleluia, Alleluia.