Services: Sermons and Prayers

1st Sunday of Advent – Sunday 27th November – Collect & Readings

Collect:

Almighty God,
give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light,
now in the time of this mortal life,
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day,
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

Readings:

Romans 13: 11 – 14
You must do this, because you know that the time has come for you to wake up from your sleep. For the moment when we will be saved is closer now than it was when we first believed. The night is nearly over, day is almost here. Let us stop doing the things that belong to the dark, and let us take up weapons for fighting in the light. Let us conduct ourselves properly, as people who live in the light of day — no orgies or drunkenness, no immorality or indecency, no fighting or jealousy. But take up the weapons of the Lord Jesus Christ, and stop paying attention to your sinful nature and satisfying its desires.
Matthew 24: 36 – 44
“No one knows, however, when that day and hour will come — neither the angels in heaven nor the Son; the Father alone knows. The coming of the Son of Man will be like what happened in the time of Noah. In the days before the flood people ate and drank, men and women married, up to the very day Noah went into the boat; yet they did not realize what was happening until the flood came and swept them all away. That is how it will be when the Son of Man comes. At that time two men will be working in a field: one will be taken away, the other will be left behind. Two women will be at a mill grinding meal: one will be taken away, the other will be left behind. “Be on your guard, then, because you do not know what day your Lord will come. If the owner of a house knew the time when the thief would come, you can be sure that he would stay awake and not let the thief break into his house. So then, you also must always be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you are not expecting him.

Sermon: 1st Sunday of Advent
Romans 13.11-end; Matthew 24. 36-44

Lord, we thank you for the gift of your Word and as we think on these things open our ears, our eyes, and our hearts that we may hear and receive your Word. Amen
How we prepare for a holiday or day trip out depends on our personalities. I wonder how many of you can relate to the preparation that involves planning weeks if not months in advance, the writing numerous of lists, the need to have everything printed out and despite being packed days before hand you still check before leaving the house convinced that you have forgot something. Ring a bell with anyone? It certainly does with me. Whereas, I am told, the other end of the spectrum is preparation means checking the details the night before, if not hours before travel, just put everything in a bag that you think you might need accepting that if you forget something it can be dealt with and have a very noticeable laid-back approach. Maybe this rings a bell for you or someone you know?
These are the two extreme of the spectrum and there are many variations in between, but the common factor that connects the spectrum is that everywhere we go we all need to do some type of preparation but it’s not just the physical things that are involved it also involves some mental attitude and thinking too. From experience of planning for a variety of trips and holidays, among the physical preparation, there is also the mental conversations about what to expect, what may happen and therefore what do I need – But these mental images all narrow down to what I hope for, cause until physically there I do not know certain things.
So, some of you may be thinking why I have got you to think about how you prepare. Well today, on this 1st day of Advent, we are encouraged through our readings and liturgy to think about how in preparation for Christmas we Watch and be ready with Hope. We all know Christmas is the central day to the festive holiday session, where preparation is needed beforehand, for the day to be celebrated in whatever way you choose. Again, planning will be personal to each of us but all use both physical and mental preparation. But within the physical perpetration as people of faith we are reminded today that we also need to remember to prepare for the reason of Christmas and prepare for the coming of Christ. A lot of this preparation as explored in our readings is that mental focus and acknowledgment of hope.
Our reading from Romans, talks about salvation being nearer following Jesus’ presence on earth. Romans was written after Jesus had come to earth to show people the way. He had walked alongside people in human form, taught them how to live a faithful life and taught them how to share God’s love and peace with all. This knowledge of salvation was nearer, as it had ever been seen and experienced. But Romans offers a further hope, a hope that all will not just be thankful for the salvation that has been but that all will continue to work for a better world, and that they will walk as Jesus did on earth to teach others the way.
The images of Hope for peace, hope for reconciliation, and hope for a better and safer world for all are images that speak through 2000 years past and very much for us too today. As Christians advent reminds us that our hope for Jesus’ Second coming is just as important today as it was when Jesus first came.
There is no getting away from the facts of the world. We live in a world that is divided, a world where nations fight against nations, where people live in poverty, where they are many places and homes that are not safe, and places where God is yet to be known. And we only need to look at the news to know times where there was stability no longer exists. Our need to hope is greater than it has ever been, a hope that includes Jesus’ presence.
Our Gospel reading talks about the need to be watchful in the hope of Jesus’ second coming. We are told that we don’t know when the day or hour will be, and therefore we need to keep awake, be ready for not just the celebration of Jesus’ first coming but be ready for Jesus second coming too. To hope yet again for a better world and for salvation to be restored.
Hope for Jesus’ second coming is a hope that all can have. This will be the greatest gift at Christmas, the hope for all to be saved and for peace and reconciliation on earth to reign again, both physically and spiritually. In both our readings we are encouraged to always keep the Christian hope at the forefront of our minds and in everything we do during this busy season, to not lose sight of the hope and share our hope with others. And with this we need to have time to stop and respond to God’s calling for each one of us. We need to be ready to follow his call wherever he will lead us. But to know, if we don’t find the time to prepare we will miss that call.
Today I invite us all, no matter how you prepare, to find the time to prepare this advent for Jesus’ coming. And you may be surprised to hear that this is a lot easier than preparing for that day trip or holiday. The hardest task will be making that promise to find the time, and not just the time now, this week or each Sunday morning, but to find daily time throughout advent to regularly stop and watch for Gods coming, to be ready by allowing space to listen through prayer and quiet times to think about your vision of hope that allows you to live out your Christians doings. Let’s all commit to WATCH, BE READY with that vision of HOPE not just this morning, but for the whole of Advent.

Intercessions First Sunday of Advent

We are to wake up and make sure we stay ready for the second coming.

Let us pray to the God of all time and space, in whose love we exist and by whose love we are saved.

As we prepare ourselves for the time when Christ comes again in glory, we pray for the grace and honesty to see what needs transforming in our lives as individuals and as members of the Church of God.

O come
Let us walk in the light of the Lord

May all church leaders, pastors and teachers be directed, inspired and upheld by the living Spirit of God, and may there be a deepening of love and commitment in all Christians the world over.

O come
Let us walk in the light of the Lord.

May the leaders of this nation and of all the nations be drawn increasingly to understand God’s ways of justice and righteousness and be filled with the longing to do what is right and honest and good.

O come
Let us walk in the light of the Lord

May all the families on earth be blessed with mutual love and caring consideration one of another; may arguments and misunderstandings be properly resolved and difficult relationships refreshed and healed.

O come
Let us walk in the light of the Lord

May those for whom the days and nights creep past in pain or sorrow be given comfort and hope;
May the frightened find reassurance and the anxious find peace of mind.

O come
Let us walk in the light of the Lord

May those who have reached the point of death be given the knowledge of God’s closeness on that last journey; and may those who have died know the eternal peace and joy of heaven.

O come
Let us walk in the light of the Lord

May we all be given a new enthusiasm for walking God’s way, clothed in the armour of light.

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

Christ the King – Sunday 20th November – Collect , Readings, Sermon from Kirsty & Prayers

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:

Colossians 1: 11 – 20
May you be made strong with all the strength which comes from his glorious power, so that you may be able to endure everything with patience. And with joy give thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to have your share of what God has reserved for his people in the kingdom of light. He rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us safe into the kingdom of his dear Son, by whom we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven. Christ is the visible likeness of the invisible God. He is the firstborn Son, superior to all created things. For through him God created everything in heaven and on earth, the seen and the unseen things, including spiritual powers, lords, rulers, and authorities. God created the whole universe through him and for him. Christ existed before all things, and in union with him all things have their proper place. He is the head of his body, the church; he is the source of the body’s life. He is the firstborn Son, who was raised from death, in order that he alone might have the first place in all things. For it was by God’s own decision that the Son has in himself the full nature of God. Through the Son, in order that he alone himself the full nature of God. Through the Son, then, God decided to bring the whole universe back to himself. God made peace through his Son’s blood on the cross and so brought back to himself all things, both on earth and in heaven.
Luke 23: 33 – 43
When they came to the place called “The Skull”, they crucified Jesus there, and the two criminals, one on his right and the other on his left. Jesus said, “Forgive them, Father! They don’t know what they are doing.” They divided his clothes among themselves by throwing dice. The people stood there watching while the Jewish leaders jeered at him: “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah whom God has chosen!” The soldiers also mocked him: they came up to him and offered him cheap wine, and said, “Save yourself if you are the king of the Jews!” Above him were written these words: “This is the King of the Jews.” One of the criminals hanging there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” The other one, however, rebuked him, saying, “Don’t you fear God? You received the same sentence he did. Ours, however, is only right, because we are getting what we deserve for what we did; but he has done no wrong.” And he said to Jesus, “Remember me, Jesus, when you come as King!” Jesus said to him, “I promise you that today you will be in Paradise with me.”

Christ the King Sunday Sermon – 20th November

May the words of my mouth and he meditations of all our hearts and minds, be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, our rock and our redeemer. Amen.

A reflection shared by a colleague – Rev’d Vanessa Cole
We come to the end of our year with Luke’s account of the gospel truth. We don’t finish on a glorious note, however, despite the church declaring that this Sunday is the Feast of Christ the King. Instead, we finish on the lowest moment in Jesus’ ministry, the most painful and despairing time as Jesus hangs from the cross in shame and agony for simply being himself.

All the hope that Jesus had inspired in his followers, fades away, as he labours over his final breaths. The soldiers cast lots gambling for his clothes, they mock him and offer him sour wine; the people stand by, watching, this horrific spectator sport; the leaders continue to scoff him, taunting him to save himself; and a sign above his head declares that he is the King of the Jews, a sign that no-one believes to be true.

One of the criminals hanging alongside him joins in with the taunting, wasting his breath in frustration, perhaps, that the ‘king’ is hanging alongside and has no power to save either of them. Another criminal, another ‘dead man hanging’ chooses to use his breath and his words differently. This man sees something different in Jesus, in his last moments of life and in his death. In his reflection he sees himself as the man rightly convicted of a crime and deserving his punishment, and yet he reaches out in hope, even at the eleventh hour. Jesus remember me when you come into your Kingdom.

We have the same choices to make today as did those who shared that space in history with Jesus. We can choose to gamble away all hope in Jesus, we can walk away in despair, we can mock him and taunt him, we can blame him for not rescuing us from the things we have done wrong. Or we can choose to reach out, recognizing that we have done wrong and deserved to be punished, but hoping instead for mercy

St Paul wrote to the church at Colossae urging them to remain strong in times of persecution, and that they are inheritors in Christ’s Kingdom. That they have been ‘redeemed’, had their sins forgiven just as the prisoner who hung from a cross next to Jesus, also found freedom and forgiveness.

And this is all lovely: a personal invitation to join the Kingdom of Christ, as renewed people, restored and forgiven and treated as royal family. Christ’s kingdom is so much more than a heavenly family, a regal crown; Christ’s kingdom is one which incorporates the whole of creation, is not divided by state boundaries, or overwhelmed by dominions or powers. Jesus is the king of all. It just doesn’t feel like it.

Often, we can feel more like the mocking criminal, if Jesus is the king of all why doesn’t he save us? Why doesn’t he return and retrieve his throne from corrupt and immoral leaders, why doesn’t he stake his claim over the dominions of sickness and evil?

When Jesus died, he didn’t just sleep for a few days before returning victorious. Jesus went into the depths of death and hallowed it. Jesus made even the darkest most fearful places holy and brought hope and life where none was ever expected again. Jesus won the war between life and death, but battles still rage on. We are invited to be a part of those final battles knowing that the ultimate war is over, and that we are on the winning side, we belong to the Kingdom that overcame death, we belong to Christ.

We are challenged, and these are indeed challenging times, to act like the second criminal who hung with Jesus, and not to speak out of anger or spite or fear, but to seek Christ’s kingdom, even when everything seems lost. And when we have times of sorrow, despair, or doubt, we can hang on to those words that Jesus spoke to his fellow condemned man, Truly today you will be with me in Paradise.

Prayers from John

Jesus our King, we praise you for all that have done for us. We thank you for your willingness to accept victory on a cross, for taking upon yourself the sins of the world and bringing salvation to the world.
As we celebrate your kingship, forgive us that we are so often reluctant to let you reign over us.
Help us to follow your examples of how we should live in your kingdom. As you washed your disciples feet, so give us strength to be servants of one another. As you challenged the religious and social conventions which made some people of less worth than others, help us to work to ensure that all your children are valued equally.
Give us strength to model our lives on your life and so may your kingdom come to earth as it is in heaven.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

We call to mind those people all over the world who are struggling with poverty, illness, grief or despair. We ask you to look after them, give them the sense of your caring presence to uphold and sustain them and show us the way to help support them. We pray for the work of all the aid agencies for giving support to the needy. We especially give thanks to Carol Hartley with support of Team 4 us, for enabling our shoeboxes to be delivered to children who are in need this Christmas.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

We remember Christians around the world who are persecuted because they worship and serve you as their King. May those in distress know that as they go through times of suffering that you are with them and hear our prayers

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

We pray for those who have died and whose memory we treasure.
May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace and rise to in glory

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

Remembrance Sunday – Sunday 13th November – Collect & Readings

Collect:

Heavenly Lord, you long for the world’s salvation:
stir us from apathy, restrain us from excess and revive in us new hope that all creation will one day be healed in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Readings:

Luke 21: 5 – 19
Some of the disciples were talking about the Temple, how beautiful it looked with its fine stones and the gifts offered to God. Jesus said, “All this you see — the time will come when not a single stone here will be left in its place; every one will be thrown down.” “Teacher,” they asked, “when will this be? And what will happen in order to show that the time has come for it to take place?” Jesus said, “Be on guard; don’t be deceived. Many men, claiming to speak for me, will come and say, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time has come!’ But don’t follow them. Don’t be afraid when you hear of wars and revolutions; such things must happen first, but they do not mean that the end is near.” He went on to say, “Countries will fight each other; kingdoms will attack one another. There will be terrible earthquakes, famines, and plagues everywhere; there will be strange and terrifying things coming from the sky. Before all these things take place, however, you will be arrested and persecuted; you will be handed over to be tried in synagogues and be put in prison; you will be brought before kings and rulers for my sake. This will be your chance to tell the Good News. Make up your minds beforehand not to worry about how you will defend yourselves, because I will give you such words and wisdom that none of your enemies will be able to refute or contradict what you say. You will be handed over by your parents, your brothers, your relatives, and your friends; and some of you will be put to death. Everyone will hate you because of me. But not a single hair from your heads will be lost. Stand firm, and you will save yourselves

Sermon 3rd Sunday before Advent & Remembrance: 8am St James
(2 Thessalonians 2.1-5, 13-17 & Luke 20.27-38)
Lord we thank you for the gift of your Word and as we think on these things open our ears, our eyes, and our hearts that we may hear and receive your Word. Amen
Are you one of those people that go around the supermarkets or shops and when you see a sample of food or drink you take a piece. I have to say I only do if cheese and sometimes other savory bits but Gareth well he’s up to trying anything. But, having the option to taste something before we commit to buying it is very helpful, isn’t it? It allows us to ask is this something we want to taste, does it look good, what’s are the ingredients. We can also try and ask ourselves do we like it? And if the answers is yes then, do we want to buy some? And so on.
Now, for our food options this is great, try before you buy, but would you be surprised if I told you our faith and the promise of eternal life at our death is very similar. Throughout the Bible, throughout our lives, God offers us glimmers of the promised eternal kingdom. We hear stories about what the eternal kingdom will look like, Jesus comes and teaches us about how we can be on the journey to that promises kingdom and we see glimmers of God’s presence with us now in creation and personal spiritual moments. However, what differs between the food options and faith is our understanding, acceptance and need to trust, and these levels will differ for each of us.
With our food tasting, it’s placed before us, we can see, touch, feel and taste it, therefore it must be true. However, with our faith, although visible and present we need to spot it, we need to ask deeper questions, we need to acknowledge it, we need to trust that God is within it and therefore believe. Let me show you want I mean….. We all know a caterpillar, which is green, small and let’s be honest has a life that’s limited and restricted then turns into a butterfly which is released and free, but how? We can’t see it happen because firstly it’s in the cocoon, and even on the rare occasion when taken purposely for show, the actual transformation is not seen, only the caterpillar cocooning, and butterfly emerging is. A mystery but one must trust creation. Another is our bodies living and processing every day, we rarely see the daily processes, but it happens. We know about how these things work and happen, only because those before us have told us this is what happens and we trust, but for some people the acceptance of the process will only be acknowledged once evidence is seen and proved.
I am sure you have all been asked the question at some point – Why are you a Christian? And even deeper how do you know that when you die you will go to a better place referring to the eternal kingdom. Well we have some aids we can use to tell people, the Bible, events that have happened in our own lives, sharing of stories from those before us, etc. But still each of these relies on someone trusting what is said, when shared or questions asked, but let’s be honest there is no actual evidence, unless you trust and believe. As part of being a Christian, we trust and believe that one day we will be reunited with God in the eternal kingdom. But do we trust that this place is better and do we recognize from our glimmers and questions today what this will look like? The response to this depends on our level of experience and understanding, for some of us a straight yes because we trust the words of Jesus, but for others well this is challenging as we here today in our Gospel reading.
At the time of our Gospel there were two groups of people. We have the Pharisees who believe what they had heard and saw and as a result were followers of Jesus. The other group were the Sadducees who did not believe because there was no evidence. The Sadducees had heard about the promised eternal kingdom; however, they couldn’t understand that what was happening on earth would be allowed in the kingdom of heaven. And I suppose on days like today and in the world that we live in, we too as humans ask the same questions. How can all, including those who have done wrong doings, be given a place in this promised kingdom. But Jesus’ message today is powerful, and one that we do need to trust in, do need to accept, because after all we are not all 100% perfect.
Jesus today reminds us that the eternal kingdom is nothing like that on earth. He tells us that all who believe in the kingdom become not husband, wife, sister, brother, but become children of God and become equal. And I accept that for those that have been on the receiving end of something hurtful, this is not easy to hear. But, part of today’s message is reminding us that God is with all of us in life and in death, in marriage and divorce, in fear and joy, in our lows and our ups, etc etc. God is with us in all things here now and forevermore; reminding us that he is not a God of the dead but a God of the living. And Jesus demonstrates this, when given a difficult question to answer, he responses in a way that is pastoral, that encourages and meets the women where she is in her understanding.
So, what can we take away from today? Well for us to stay on the path to the eternal kingdom we need to recognize in our lives today the glimmer of hope that God gives for us, to continue to believe and trust in our resting place, we need to trust that what we see is of God, acknowledging that this will be different for us all, and to accept that sometimes things are just so big for our imagination and current situations. Therefore, the answers we need to find and be responsive to, are to remind us that God is with us always and to understand this at our current pastoral, emotional and physical places, knowing that God will take care of us today and forever more if we believe that we are and will be Children of God, now and forevermore. Amen

Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity – Sunday 6th November – Collect & Readings

Collect:

Almighty God,
in whose service lies perfect freedom:
teach us to obey you
with loving hearts and steadfast wills;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Readings:

2 Thessalonians 2: 1-5, 13 – end
1 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to be with him: I beg you, my brothers and sisters, 2 not to be so easily confused in your thinking or upset by the claim that the Day of the Lord has come. Perhaps it is thought that we said this while prophesying or preaching, or that we wrote it in a letter. 3 Do not let anyone deceive you in any way. For the Day will not come until the final Rebellion takes place and the Wicked One appears, who is destined for hell. 4 He will oppose every so-called god or object of worship and will put himself above them all. He will even go in and sit down in God’s Temple and claim to be God. 5 Don’t you remember? I told you all this while I was with you. 13 We must thank God at all times for you, brothers and sisters, you whom the Lord loves. For God chose you as the first to be saved by the Spirit’s power to make you his holy people and by your faith in the truth. 14 God called you to this through the Good News we preached to you; he called you to possess your share of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, our brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold on to those truths which we taught you, both in our preaching and in our letter. 16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and in his grace gave us unfailing courage and a firm hope, 17 encourage you and strengthen you always to do and say what is good.
Luke 20: 27 – 38
27 Then some Sadducees, who say that people will not rise from death, came to Jesus and said, 28 “Teacher, Moses wrote this law for us: ‘If a man dies and leaves a wife but no children, that man’s brother must marry the widow so that they can have children who will be considered the dead man’s children.’ 29 Once there were seven brothers; the eldest got married and died without having children. 30 Then the second one married the woman, 31 and then the third. The same thing happened to all seven — they died without having children. 32 Last of all, the woman died. 33 Now, on the day when the dead rise to life, whose wife will she be? All seven of them had married her.” 34 Jesus answered them, “The men and women of this age marry, 35 but the men and women who are worthy to rise from death and live in the age to come will not then marry. 36 They will be like angels and cannot die. They are the children of God, because they have risen from death. 37 And Moses clearly proves that the dead are raised to life. In the passage about the burning bush he speaks of the Lord as ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38 He is the God of the living, not of the dead, for to him all are alive.”

Prayers –3rd before Advent.

Lord God you are the Father of all people and we come before you today with our prayers knowing that you will hear us, help us and guide us .Help us to pray simply, sincerely, unselfishly and gratefully as we remember the needs of others as well as our own.
Father we thank you that the way to your presence is always open through Jesus Christ and that you invite us to draw near in full assurance of faith. We thank you for your love which freely forgives and welcomes us into the family of your church.
We ask for your blessing to rest upon this place today, as we pray for all leaders of your church and for all who preach, teach and bring Gods word and love to others. Help us to see the kind of church needed in the world today and hold before us the vision of your kingdom, a kingdom of justice and mercy, truth and compassion.

Lord in your mercy – Hear our prayer

Let us pray for the beauty of the world around us
Dear God we want to praise and thank you for giving us so much to enjoy in the world. Open our eyes to see all the beauty of Autumn around us; help us to appreciate your greatness in giving us the different seasons, each fulfilling our needs. Help us to safeguard them so that our children and future generations will benefit from the natural beauty which you have created.

Lord in your mercy- Hear our prayer

Lord, we pray for the countries where there is war, random violence or only a fragile peace.
We pray especially today for the situation in Ukraine, and ask that peace be a priority in the hearts of all and that the ways of diplomacy, reason, acceptance and forgiveness will triumph over the gun and the bomb, and that the hearts of all those who have been darkened by violence discover a different light and a better way. We pray for Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and other countries where flooding is having a devastating impact. We remember all countries especially those in the Horn of Africa where many people are starving. We thank you for the work of aid organisations who are working on the ground in these areas and we pray that those who can ,give financial aid to support their work.

Lord in your mercy- Hear our prayer

We pray for those who are finding life hard at this time, for those with difficult decisions to make, problems to solve or difficult tasks to face, for those worried about paying their bills or knowing where their next meal will come from. In a time of political upheaval in our own country we pray our leaders act with integrity and compassion.
Father you know the fears and anxieties that fill our hearts, anchor our thoughts and minds in your great power and love that we may face the days ahead with peace in our hearts and with confidence in your fatherly care.

Lord in your mercy – Hear our prayer

Father we pray for those who are lonely, sad or sick, for those whose illness is long term and demands much patience to bear we ask you to strengthen with your presence all who suffer in body, mind or spirit and give them courage and hope. In your great mercy, comfort and relieve them according to their various needs and may they all draw strength that you are with them in all their troubles.
Father we remember those who have died, those known to us personally or those we hear about through the media. Today we think of those who lost their lives in the crush in South Korea, those who fell from a bridge in India. .We commend to your everlasting love and care those who have died and those who mourn.

Lord, in your mercy – Hear our prayer

Heavenly Father lastly we pray for ourselves, as we leave your church today and as we start the week ahead, we pray that in all we do, we may we walk more closely with you, aware that you are always at our side.

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

 

Twentieth Sunday after Trinity – Sunday 30th October – Collect & Readings

Collect:

God, the giver of life,
whose Holy Spirit wells up within your Church:
by the Spirit’s gifts equip us to live the gospel of Christ
and make us eager to do your will,
that we may share with the whole creation
the joys of eternal life;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

Readings:
2 Thessalonians 1
From Paul, Silas, and Timothy — To the people of the church in Thessalonica, who belong to God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: 2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. 3 Our brothers and sisters, we must thank God at all times for you. It is right for us to do so, because your faith is growing so much and the love each of you has for the others is becoming greater. 4 That is why we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God. We boast about the way you continue to endure and believe through all the persecutions and sufferings you are experiencing. 5 All of this proves that God’s judgement is just and as a result you will become worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering. 6God will do what is right: he will bring suffering on those who make you suffer, 7 and he will give relief to you who suffer and to us as well. He will do this when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven with his mighty angels, 8with a flaming fire, to punish those who reject God and who do not obey the Good News about our Lord Jesus. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, separated from the presence of the Lord and from his glorious might, 10when he comes on that Day to receive glory from all his people and honour from all who believe. You too will be among them, because you have believed the message that we told you. 11 That is why we always pray for you. We ask our God to make you worthy of the life he has called you to live. May he fulfil by his power all your desire for goodness and complete your work of faith. 12 In this way the name of our Lord Jesus will receive glory from you, and you from him, by the grace of our God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Luke 19: 1 – 10.
1 Jesus went on into Jericho and was passing through. 2 There was a chief tax collector there named Zacchaeus, who was rich. 3He was trying to see who Jesus was, but he was a little man and could not see Jesus because of the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead of the crowd and climbed a sycomore tree to see Jesus, who was going to pass that way. 5 When Jesus came to that place, he looked up and said to Zacchaeus, “Hurry down, Zacchaeus, because I must stay in your house today.” 6 Zacchaeus hurried down and welcomed him with great joy. 7 All the people who saw it started grumbling, “This man has gone as a guest to the home of a sinner!” 8 Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Listen, sir! I will give half my belongings to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone, I will pay back four times as much.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Salvation has come to this house today, for this man, also, is a descendant of Abraham. 10 The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Prayers from Ivor

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

Merciful Father, your love for us knows no limits
You provide relief to our sufferings from those who denigrate us and persecute our Christian family throughout the world.
Teach us not to seek revenge, but to trust in you to do what is right.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Merciful Father, we pray for peace to be achieved between countries in conflict throughout the world, and an end to be put to all the pain and suffering involved.
We pray for communities wrecked by violence and strife, that the perpetrators be brought to account.
May divisions be put aside so that we all can live in harmony with each other.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

We pray for all suffering hardship as a result of natural disasters and for those mourning the loss of loved ones, cruelly taken from them.
May they face their adversities with courage and help them to rebuild their lives.
We pray for those who are struggling financially in these uncertain times, and are frightened for what the future holds for them. Calm their worries, O Lord, to enable them to seek solutions to their problems.
May those under the influence of addictions admit their needs and so aid them to seek assistance and recovery.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Use us, O Lord, to offer comfort and fellowship to all who enter your House. And we welcome back Kirsty, as she resumes her ministry now that her maternity leave draws to a close.
We pray your Holy Spirit will guide her in her administrations.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

We pray for those who provide care for others in need.
Bless them and comfort them.

O Lord, console and provide solace to those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit. We pray the skill of doctors, nurses and all who provide care will bring relief and recovery wherever possible.
We bring before you anyone known to us personally who are in special need.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

We remember with sorrow those who have died recently …….

We pray for those who have departed this life may rest in peace and share in the gift and promise of eternal life.
Give comfort to those who are left to grieve a loved one and help us to share in each other’s sorrow.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

In your presence, O Lord, we bring to you our own personal concerns.

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

Bible Sunday – The Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity – Sunday 23rd October 2022 – Collect & Readings

Collect:

O God, forasmuch as without you
we are not able to please you;
mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit
may in all things direct and rule our hearts;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

Readings:
Romans 15: 1 – 6
1 We who are strong in the faith ought to help the weak to carry their burdens. We should not please ourselves. 2 Instead, we should all please our brothers and sisters for their own good, in order to build them up in the faith. 3For Christ did not please himself. Instead, as the scripture says, “The insults which are hurled at you have fallen on me.” 4Everything written in the Scriptures was written to teach us, in order that we might have hope through the patience and encouragement which the Scriptures give us. 5And may God, the source of patience and encouragement, enable you to have the same point of view among yourselves by following the example of Christ Jesus, 6so that all of you together may praise with one voice the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Luke 4: 16 – 24
16 Then Jesus went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath he went as usual to the synagogue. He stood up to read the Scriptures 17 and was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it is written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has chosen me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind;
to set free the oppressed
19 and announce that the time has come
when the Lord will save his people.”
20 Jesus rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. All the people in the synagogue had their eyes fixed on him, 21as he said to them, “This passage of scripture has come true today, as you heard it being read.” 22 They were all well impressed with him and marvelled at the eloquent words that he spoke. They said, “Isn’t he the son of Joseph?” 23 He said to them, “I am sure that you will quote this proverb to me, ‘Doctor, heal yourself.’ You will also tell me to do here in my home town the same things you heard were done in Capernaum. 24I tell you this,” Jesus added, “prophets are never welcomed in their home town.
Prayers from Denise

Everlasting God we thank you for your written Word in the Bible which continues to inspire us, showing us who you are, how you love us, how we should live. Thank you too for the way in which the Bible brings guidance, hope and health to people everywhere.

Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

Creator God, Lord of all, we pray for peace in the world bringing before you the troubles and dangers of people and nations, particularly Ukraine. We pray for the people of Pakistan, suffering the worst floods in their history, Also too, the people of Somalia and Ethiopia suffering from famine and draught. Shower your blessings on communities seeking to rebuild their lives in peace and hope; guide and protect refugees fleeing from war and persecution in their homelands and direct all rulers, governments and leaders of people to strive for justice, peace and fair shares of the rich bounty of their lands.

Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

Father God, we pray for ourselves., to be always sincerely aware of our own faults. Enable us to see likeable qualities in those we may not like, recognise the mistakes in what we thought was correct, and to accept those people as they are.

Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

We pray for the sick and suffering and all who care for them. We pray for those for whom this day will be long and hard, for those struggling with despair or depression, for those in hospital and at home. In your goodness and mercy grant them health of body, soundness of mind and peace of heart.
We especially pray for the elderly, confined to their homes and separated from family and support; for children, removed from school; for those who have lost their source of income; for those who fear for their home; for those who have no home, for the work of the local Foodbanks and for those who show everyday kindness to those less fortunate in these difficult and strange times.

Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

We remember in our prayers friends and loved ones who have enriched our lives and are now departed from us. We pray for those who have died in recent days. We also remember those whose anniversaries occur at this time.

May your light shine on them forever and our lives be richer because of their memory?

Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

Holy God, thank you for always hearing our prayers. We trust that you love us and are working all things together for good for those of us who love you. Guide each one of us in our prayers Lord through the power of the Holy Spirit. Help us to pray often so that we may make a lasting difference in other people’s lives through our intercession for them.

Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

Lord God, we all have a void in our lives that needs to be filled with love. Often human love falls short of filling this, but this void can be filled through the love of God. Help us to open our hearts to him today.
Faithful God as we go out into the world, help us to entrust the past to your mercy, the present to your love, and the future to your wisdom.

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

 

The Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity – Sunday 2nd October 2022 – Collect & Readings & Prayers
Collect:
Lord of creation,
whose glory is around and within us:
open our eyes to your wonders,
that we may serve you with reverence
and know your peace at our lives’ end,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Readings:
2 Timothy 1: 1 – 14
1 From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, sent to proclaim the promised life which we have in
union with Christ Jesus —
2 To Timothy, my dear son:
May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace.
3 I give thanks to God, whom I serve with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did. I thank him as I remember
you always in my prayers night and day. 4I remember your tears, and I want to see you very much, so that I
may be filled with joy. 5I remember the sincere faith you have, the kind of faith that your grandmother Lois and
your mother Eunice also had. I am sure that you have it also. 6For this reason I remind you to keep alive the
gift that God gave you when I laid my hands on you. 7For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us
timid; instead, his Spirit fills us with power, love, and self-control.
8 Do not be ashamed, then, of witnessing for our Lord; nor be ashamed of me, a prisoner for Christ’s sake.
Instead, take your part in suffering for the Good News, as God gives you the strength to do it. 9He saved us
and called us to be his own people, not because of what we have done, but because of his own purpose and
grace. He gave us this grace by means of Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10but now it has been
revealed to us through the coming of our Saviour, Christ Jesus. He has ended the power of death and through
the gospel has revealed immortal life.
11 God has appointed me as an apostle and teacher to proclaim the Good News, 12and it is for this reason
that I suffer these things. But I am still full of confidence, because I know whom I have trusted, and I am sure
that he is able to keep safe until that Day what he has entrusted to me. 13Hold firmly to the true words that I
taught you, as the example for you to follow, and remain in the faith and love that are ours in union with Christ
Jesus. 14Through the power of the Holy Spirit, who lives in us, keep the good things that have been entrusted
to you.
Luke17: 5 – 10
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Make our faith greater.”
6 The Lord answered, “If you had faith as big as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Pull
yourself up by the roots and plant yourself in the sea!’ and it would obey you. 7 “Suppose one of you has a
servant who is ploughing or looking after the sheep. When he comes in from the field, do you tell him to hurry
and eat his meal? 8 Of course not! Instead, you say to him, ‘Get my supper ready, then put on your apron and
wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may have your meal.’ 9 The servant does not deserve thanks
for obeying orders, does he? 10 It is the same with you; when you have done all you have been told to do, say,
‘We are ordinary servants; we have only done our duty.’ ”
Prayers from Tony

God sets his leaders apart to challenge prejudices and assumptions, and alert people to the truth.
Let us pray to the God who has loved us through our whole life.

Lord our God, broaden our vision of your nature and help us respond to your calling, whether it suits us or not, and whether it is convenient or not.

Lord God:

You are our hope.

May the whole Church reflect your light and beauty in the love for God and neighbour, displayed in corporate worship and individual godly living.

Lord God:

You are our hope.

May no corruption or injustice go unchallenged in any part of our world, however unpopular the challenging may be.
May our society protect the vulnerable and encourage mutual care and support.

Lord God:

You are our hope.

May our care of the very young and the elderly imitate the faithful and generous caring of our God; may we overcome our envies, jealousies and grievances ,so that in God’s love we can look at one another face to face, and practice the liberating work of forgiveness.

Lord God:

You are our hope.

May all whose bodies cause them pain or immobility be affirmed in value by loving encounter with Jesus and his followers; and may those who are spiritually crippled be set free to love and serve God.

Lord God:

You are our hope.

May those who have died in faith live for ever in the joy and peace of heaven as children of Promise; and may those who miss their company be comforted and supported.

Lord God;

You are our hope.

May our gratitude to the One who sets us free be shown each day in the way we live and speak.

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

 

The Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity – Sunday 25th September 2022 – Collect & Readings& Prayers

Collect:

God, who in generous mercy sent the Holy Spirit
upon your Church in the burning fire of your love:
grant that your people may be fervent
in the fellowship of the gospel
that, always abiding in you,
they may be found steadfast in faith and active in service;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

Readings:
1 Timothy 6: 6 – 19
Well, religion does make a person very rich, if he is satisfied with what he has. What did we bring into the world? Nothing! What can we take out of the world? Nothing! So then, if we have food and clothes, that should be enough for us. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and are caught in the trap of many foolish and harmful desires, which pull them down to ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a source of all kinds of evil. Some have been so eager to have it that they have wandered away from the faith and have broken their hearts with many sorrows. But you, man of God, avoid all these things. Strive for righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. Run your best in the race of faith, and win eternal life for yourself; for it was to this life that God called you when you firmly professed your faith before many witnesses. Before God, who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus, who firmly professed his faith before Pontius Pilate, I command you to obey your orders and keep them faithfully until the Day when our Lord Jesus Christ will appear. His appearing will be brought about at the right time by God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He alone is immortal; he lives in the light that no one can approach. No one has ever seen him; no one can ever see him. To him be honour and eternal dominion! Amen. Command those who are rich in the things of this life not to be proud, but to place their hope, not in such an uncertain thing as riches, but in God, who generously gives us everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share with others. In this way they will store up for themselves a treasure which will be a solid foundation for the future. And then they will be able to win the life which is true life.
Luke 16: 19 – end
“There was once a rich man who dressed in the most expensive clothes and lived in great luxury every day. There was also a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who used to be brought to the rich man’s door, hoping to eat the bits of food that fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs would come and lick his sores. “The poor man died and was carried by the angels to sit beside Abraham at the feast in heaven. The rich man died and was buried, and in Hades, where he was in great pain, he looked up and saw Abraham, far away, with Lazarus at his side. So he called out, ‘Father Abraham! Take pity on me, and send Lazarus to dip his finger in some water and cool my tongue, because I am in great pain in this fire!’ “But Abraham said, ‘Remember, my son, that in your lifetime you were given all the good things, while Lazarus got all the bad things. But now he is enjoying himself here, while you are in pain. Besides all that, there is a deep pit lying between us, so that those who want to cross over from here to you cannot do so, nor can anyone cross over to us from where you are.’ The rich man said, ‘Then I beg you, father Abraham, send Lazarus to my father’s house, where I have five brothers. Let him go and warn them so that they, at least, will not come to this place of pain.’ “Abraham said, ‘Your brothers have Moses and the prophets to warn them; your brothers should listen to what they say.’ The rich man answered, ‘That is not enough, father Abraham! But if someone were to rise from death and go to them, then they would turn from their sins.’ But Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone were to rise from death.’ ”
Prayers from Ivor

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

We thank you Lord for your blessings and love for us.
To seek contentment and not to yearn for the riches of this world that will bring us sorrow and regret.
Instead, guide our steps to follow your ways in faith.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

We pray for our new monarch, King Charles 111, that he will reign wisely and use his position, his influence and authority to promote the calls for tolerance, peace and justice.
Teach us also to live in harmony with others.
To seek peace with those we are in conflict with, so that, in our own small way, we may encourage peace on a wider scale, like ripples on water.
May those who pursue strife and power be brought down, enabling innocent lives to be saved and encouraging the seeds of peace to flourish.
We pray for all who are persecuted and ill-treated. May the power of your Holy Spirit strengthen them and their faith.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

We pray for communities and countries suffering hardship and loss of loved ones from the devastations caused by natural disasters.
We pray for those who have financial worries, are unemployed or homeless and feel helpless and unable to cope.
For those under the influence of addictions blighting their lives.
Be with them, through our prayers, to find help and support to get their lives back on track.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

We pray for children and students starting schools and universities. Help them as they experience new surroundings, which they may find daunting.
Encourage teachers to prepare their students to achieving their aspirations and goals.
Please use our churches to minister comfort and companionship to each other and to all with whom we come in contact with, as you would have us to.
We pray your Holy Spirit will lead us in our actions and words and guide our clergy and church leaders in their leadership and teachings.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

O Lord, comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit. Give strength and skill to all doctors, nurses, care workers and volunteers. We pray for those in our parish who are sick.
We pray for
We bring before you any other people in special need of your care and, in a moment of silence, we pray for anyone known personally to us

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

We sadly remember those who have died ……. May those for whom this earthly life is over, rest in peace and may they share in the gift and promise of eternal life.

Give strength to those who are left to grieve and help us to share in each other’s sorrow, in the knowledge that Jesus Christ is the light of the world, a light which no darkness can quench.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

In your presence, O Lord, we bring to you our own personal concerns.

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

The Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity – Sunday 18th September 2022 – Collect & Readings

Collect:

Al Merciful God,
your Son came to save us
and bore our sins on the cross:
may we trust in your mercy
and know your love,
rejoicing in the righteousness
that is ours through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Readings:
Luke 16: 1 – 13
Jesus said to his disciples, “There was once a rich man who had a servant who managed his property. The rich man was told that the manager was wasting his master’s money, so he called him in and said, ‘What is this I hear about you? Hand in a complete account of your handling of my property, because you cannot be my manager any longer. The servant said to himself, ‘My master is going to dismiss me from my job. What shall I do? I am not strong enough to dig ditches, and I am ashamed to beg. Now I know what I will do! Then when my job is gone, I shall have friends who will welcome me in their homes.’ “So he called in all the people who were in debt to his master. He asked the first one, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ ‘100 barrels of olive oil,’ he answered. ‘Here is your account,’ the manager told him; ‘sit down and write fifty.’ Then he asked another one, ‘And you — how much do you owe?’ ‘A thousand sacks of wheat,’ he answered. ‘Here is your account,’ the manager told him; ‘write 800.’ “As a result the master of this dishonest manager praised him for doing such a shrewd thing; because the people of this world are much more shrewd in handling their affairs than the people who belong to the light.” And Jesus went on to say, “And so I tell you: make friends for yourselves with worldly wealth, so that when it gives out, you will be welcomed in the eternal home. Whoever is faithful in small matters will be faithful in large ones; whoever is dishonest in small matters will be dishonest in large ones. If, then, you have not been faithful in handling worldly wealth, how can you be trusted with true wealth? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to someone else, who will give you what belongs to you? “No servant can be the slave of two masters; such a servant will hate one and love the other or will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

Prayers from Naomi

Prayers – All Age Worship

Lord God, you are always with me.
You are with me in the day and in the night.
You are with me when I’m happy and when I’m sad.
You are with me when I’m healthy and when I am ill.
You are with me when I am peaceful and when I am worried.
Help me to remember that you love me and are with me in everything.

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer

Dear God,

We remember Her Majesty the Queen and give thanks for her long life, and for all the ways she
loved and served those in her care.
We bring you our sadness for what we have lost;
Our gratitude for what we remember and cherish,
And our wondering about what is to yet to come.
Thank you for the comfort, peace and hope you bring us.

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer

We pray for all those who are unwell at home or in hospital,
We pray for you healing spirit to be with them at this time.

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer

We pray for all those who have died and now rest in your Eternal Kingdom,
We pray for their families and friends and ask that you send your comforting love to them at this difficult time.

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer

Merciful Father, Accept these prayers for the sake of you Son, Our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

 

The Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity – Sunday 11th September 2022 – Collect & Readings 

Almighty God, who called your Church to bear witness that you were in Christ reconciling the world to yourself: help us to proclaim the good news of your love, that all who hear it may be drawn to you; through him who was lifted up on the cross, and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

Readings:

1 Timothy 1: 12 – 17 I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength for my work. I thank him for considering me worthy and appointing me to serve him, even though in the past I spoke evil of him and persecuted and insulted him. But God was merciful to me because I did not yet have faith and so did not know what I was doing. And our Lord poured out his abundant grace on me and gave me the faith and love which are ours in union with Christ Jesus. This is a true saying, to be completely accepted and believed: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I am the worst of them, but God was merciful to me in order that Christ Jesus might show his full patience in dealing with me, the worst of sinners, as an example for all those who would later believe in him and receive eternal life. To the eternal King, immortal and invisible, the only God — to him be honour and glory for ever and ever! Amen.

Luke 15: 1 – 10 One day when many tax collectors and other outcasts came to listen to Jesus, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law started grumbling, “This man welcomes outcasts and even eats with them!” So Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them — what do you do? You leave the other 99 sheep in the pasture and go looking for the one that got lost until you find it. When you find it, you are so happy that you put it on your shoulders and carry it back home. Then you call your friends and neighbours together and say to them, ‘I am so happy I found my lost sheep. Let us celebrate!’ In the same way, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 respectable people who do not need to repent. “Or suppose a woman who has ten silver coins loses one of them — what does she do? She lights a lamp, sweeps her house, and looks carefully everywhere until she finds it. When she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbours together, and says to them, ‘I am so happy I found the coin I lost. Let us celebrate!’ In the same way, I tell you, the angels of God rejoice over one sinner who repents.

Prayers from John

Lord God, our prayers are with the Royal Family, as they mourn the loss of her Majesty the Queen, that you might reassure them of your continuing love and lift them the depths of grieve into the peace and light of your presence.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer.

Lord God, you are the father of all people and we bring our prayers knowing that you will hear us and help us.
Hear our prayer Lord for the whole family of your church. Grant that we, and all your people, may be built up in our faith, and always show in our lives the love we see in Jesus. Give courage to those who find it hard to follow you; to those who are finding it difficult to have faith because of a personal hardship or tragedy; to those who are made to suffer for their faith. Let your Holy Spirit support them. And may all Christians stand firm in the hope that your kingdom of love will come.
We pray for our country and the many freedoms which we enjoy. We pray for our King, His Majesty King Charles111 and for those who govern in his name, give them health and strength, wisdom and courage, so that they may carry out their many duties in the best interests of all our people.
We pray for one another. Help us to grow together in faith and love, rejoicing in your fatherhood, as we bring our prayers to you in the name of Christ Jesus.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Hear our prayer Lord for children and young people as they go about their learning.
At the start of a new academic year we think of children who are spending their first hours away from home in nursery or pre-school; those who are eager and active as they explore and welcome new experiences and relationships and those more shyly weighing up their first steps and for those children returning to school.
We think of young people who have accepted the opportunity of further and higher education, and those who are taking up apprenticeships. children who are returning to school to face new challenges to extend their learning.
We think of young people whose ability and circumstances allow them to accept the opportunity of further and higher education; those meeting college or university for the first time and finding their values tested and their horizons widened, those who are linking industry or commerce with education as they take up apprenticeships, and for those for whom education seems and end in itself yielding no clear direction for the future.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Hear our prayer Lord, as we thank you for giving us so much to enjoy in the world. Open our eyes to see all the beauty around us as Summer turns to Autumn;
We thank you for the touch of coolness in the air that gives us a new burst of energy,
for the colouring of trees that shows the creativity of the Divine Artist,
for the falling leaves that reveal the strength of branches,
for the harvest that brings us gratitude for the bounty of the land,
for the changing of the seasons that reveals the circle of life.
God of all seasons, as you transform us by your Spirit.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer

Hear our prayer Lord, for those whose lives have been shattered by natural disaster. We hold in our hearts the families forever changed by grief and loss. We ask for your blessing on all who have lost their homes, their livelihoods, their security and their hope and we pray for the work of the relief agencies and those providing emergency assistance.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Hear our prayer Lord, for people who are ill, in hospitals, at home, or wherever they may be. Give them courage, hope and peace, and the knowledge that you are present in their weakness, pain and suffering. May the skills and knowledge of those who care for the sick be fully used to help and to heal.
We pray especially for those who have no one to help them, that in their loneliness they may know that you are with them.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Lord, we remember before God those who have died. You turn our darkness into light in your light we see light.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

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

The Twelfth Sunday after Trinity – Sunday 4th September 2022 – Collect, Readings, Sermon from Irene and Prayers from Denise

Collect:

God of constant mercy,
who sent your Son to save us:
remind us of your goodness,
increase your grace within us,
that our thankfulness may grow,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Readings:
Philemon: 1 – 21
From Paul, a prisoner for the sake of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy — To our friend and fellow-worker Philemon, and the church that meets in your house, and our sister Apphia, and our fellow-soldier Archippus: May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Brother Philemon, every time I pray, I mention you and give thanks to my God. For I hear of your love for all God’s people and the faith you have in the Lord Jesus. My prayer is that our fellowship with you as believers will bring about a deeper understanding of every blessing which we have in our life in union with Christ. Your love, dear brother, has brought me great joy and much encouragement! You have cheered the hearts of all God’s people. For this reason I could be bold enough, as your brother in Christ, to order you to do what should be done. But because I love you, I make a request instead. I do this even though I am Paul, the ambassador of Christ Jesus, and at present also a prisoner for his sake. So I make a request to you on behalf of Onesimus, who is my own son in Christ; for while in prison I have become his spiritual father. At one time he was of no use to you, but now he is useful both to you and to me. I am sending him back to you now, and with him goes my heart. I would like to keep him here with me, while I am in prison for the gospel’s sake, so that he could help me in your place. However, I do not want to force you to help me; rather, I would like you to do it of your own free will. So I will not do anything unless you agree. It may be that Onesimus was away from you for a short time so that you might have him back for all time. And now he is not just a slave, but much more than a slave: he is a dear brother in Christ. How much he means to me! And how much more he will mean to you, both as a slave and as a brother in the Lord! So, if you think of me as your partner, welcome him back just as you would welcome me. If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to my account. Here, I will write this with my own hand: I, Paul, will pay you back. (I should not have to remind you, of course, that you owe your very self to me.) So, my brother, please do me this favour for the Lord’s sake; as a brother in Christ, cheer me up! I am sure, as I write this, that you will do what I ask — in fact I know that you will do even more.
Luke 14: 25 – 33
Once when large crowds of people were going along with Jesus, he turned and said to them, “Those who come to me cannot be my disciples unless they love me more than they love father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and themselves as well. Those who do not carry their own cross and come after me cannot be my disciples. “If one of you is planning to build a tower, you sit down first and work out what it will cost, to see if you have enough money to finish the job. If you don’t, you will not be able to finish the tower after laying the foundation; and all who see what happened will laugh at you. ‘This man began to build but can’t finish the job!’ they will say. “If a king goes out with 10,000 men to fight another king who comes against him with 20,000 men, he will sit down first and decide if he is strong enough to face that other king. If he isn’t, he will send messengers to meet the other king, to ask for terms of peace while he is still a long way off. In the same way,” concluded Jesus, “none of you can be my disciple unless you give up everything you have.

 

Prayers from Denise

Let us pray to the God who has watched our growing throughout our lives and loves us.

Lord, there is nothing hidden from you.
All our thoughts and plans and secret fears
Are open to you, even when we try to hide them.
Deal with the doubts and misgivings
And fears of your Church,
With the love and mercy which are part of your nature.

Lord in your mercy : Hear our prayer

Lord, you feel for the oppressed and the forgotten’
You understand the damage which can lead to violence,
The insecurity which can lead to defensiveness,
And the neglect which can lead to lack of control.
Heal the nations, restore what has been lost
And turn our hearts to understand your will.

Lord in your mercy : Hear our prayer

Lord, you see the point at which
Discussions turn into arguments
And preferences to selfishness
You know the love inside our hearts for one another
that sings and dances and aches and worries
Lord, work on us now in the depth of our being
And bless our loved ones with a sense of joy.

Lord in your mercy : Hear our prayer

Lord, you suffer with those who suffer
And weep with those who weep,
We too stand alongside them now
In whatever pain, distress or sorrow
Is engulfing them,
Longing for them to be comforted.

Lord in your mercy : Hear our prayer

We now pray for countries of the world, where disasters are happening.
Look in mercy on all to whom great sorrow has come through tragedy, especially the people of Pakistan, who have lost everything, family members, homes, hospitals, schools and even the will to live. Strengthen the members of the rescue and support services who are striving to help.
Console and protect those who have lost loved ones, give your light in the darkness to all who are in despair and assure them that you hold all souls in life.
We pray that the whole world will come together to give them support.

Lord in your mercy : Hear our prayer

Lord your death and resurrection
proclaim the message of hope
Amongst the tears of our grieving
For those who have died.
Welcome them into the eternal light of your kingdom.

Lord in your mercy : Hear our prayer

Lord, your way may be costly
But to whom else could we go.
For our alone have the words of eternal life,
And we offer you ourselves.

From the words of Isaiah:
You are mine, when you pass through the troubled waters.
I will be with you.
When you walk through the raging fire,
You will not be burned,
You are precious and honoured in my sight.
I love you.

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

Sermon from Irene

The title given to today’s gospel reading in the Good News Bible is
The Cost of being a Disciple.

The passage comes well into Jesus’ ministry as he travels his onward journey to Jerusalem. He’s made quite a reputation for himself, he was a powerful preacher, he performed many healing miracles, he demonstrated his power over nature by calming a fierce storm, he fed a multitude with a few loaves and a couple of fish.
This charismatic new teacher had become popular and large crowds were following him around. Besides being a powerful preacher Jesus was loving and compassionate and it’s only natural that people wanted to be with this miracle worker. You would think Jesus would want as many people as possible to follow him, but he was looking for the quality of his followers faith rather than the quantity of people he could attract.
For he knew the cost of real discipleship.
Jesus never tries to tempt us with promises of the good life in the worldly sense, he’s always honest and sincere and wouldn’t want to trick anyone into believing he was offering some sugar coated, ‘everything’s going to be ok’ lifestyle. His life wasn’t like that and he doesn’t want his followers to get the wrong idea. If they were following him because they wanted something from him, he was challenging them to think about what they were prepared to offer.
Jesus knew that the road to Jerusalem would be difficult, dangerous and would eventually lead him to the cross and he didn’t want to mislead people into thinking discipleship would be easy, it would be about priorities & commitment.
When we follow Jesus we can’t just do our own thing any more. There is a whole set of standards that he’s going to expect of us – which is going to mean we have to change things in our lives – we have to evaluate everything by his example, which can be very challenging.
If we really want to enter into this Christian life we have to accept that it’s not a spectator sport, but something you have to be completely committed to. We are all part of the ministry of the Church and baptism signifies this clearly because we enrol someone into the membership of the Church. With that membership comes responsibility to play our part. I guess most of us were baptised as children so the promises were made for us by others. But there comes a point in life when we have to take on that responsibility for ourselves.
So what does it mean to become a disciple? It means we become a loyal citizen of another kingdom, the Kingdom of God. What does that loyalty mean for our family commitments?
Let’s be clear – strong, loving families are vital to the Kingdom of God, but we have to be firm about our priorities. Jesus is the Son of God, he is the one who has the right to first place in our lives, and through our baptism we have agreed to give him that place.
But this is not a negative thing – on the contrary the more we open ourselves to the love of God the more his love fills us and in turn the depth of our love for others increases.
This is the best witness we have to offer. If others see our depth of commitment it will be far better an influence than any amount of preaching or argument we have to offer in defence of our faith.
The same applies to possessions. One of the first words children learn is “Mine”
It’s a word we have to grow out of as a Christian disciple, for the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. Selfishness has to go – generosity of spirit was Jesus’ example to us and he calls us to be the same. When it comes to obedience, Jesus is no dictator. He never calls us to do, be or live in a way that he himself hasn’t already done, been or lived.
The examples are there in the gospels for us to read, study and copy.
Commitment is not saying “Well, I’ll certainly include Jesus in my life, but he’ll have to compete with my other priorities on the same level”
Commitment is not saying “I’ll follow him as long as it doesn’t offend my family, or interfere with my weekend leisure activities, or significantly reduce my standard of living”
So quite a thought provoking gospel passage for us today about priorities and commitment.
We may feel inadequate to live up to the expectation of our Lord, but take heart my friends we are not the first to feel that way.

When Moses was called by God to lead his people out of Israel he said
“I’m nobody how can I go to the king of Egypt”
When Jeremiah was called to be a prophet He said
“I don’t know how to speak, I am too young”
When Jonah was called by God to go to Nineveh, he ran away.
Even our Lord himself on the night before he was crucified prayed
“Father, if you will, take this cup of suffering away from me.
Not my will, however, but your will be done.”

Yes we feel inadequate to live up to the life of a true committed Christian disciple,
but when did Jesus ever say? “get on with it on your own, do it in your own strength.”

Didn’t he say, “Whoever has me will obey my teaching – my father will love them and my father and I will come to them and live with them.
I will be with you always to the end of the age.
I am gentle & humble in spirit and you will find rest in me.”

He knows our weakness, our temptations, our daily struggles and if we will let him, he will guide and comfort, strengthen and support us in our discipleship.
We have God the Father – God the Son – God the Holy Spirit and the love and guidance of one another to help us on the way. What more could we need?

Prayer:
Loving God, We thank you that you have called us to faith in Christ,
to fellowship in your Church, to Christian discipleship.
Help us to hear your call, to accept your will, and to respond gladly.
In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

 

The Eleventh Sunday after Trinity – Sunday 28th August 2022 – Collect & Readings and Prayers from John

Collect:

O God, you declare your almighty power
most chiefly in showing mercy and pity:
mercifully grant to us such a measure of your grace,
that we, running the way of your commandments,
may receive your gracious promises,
and be made partakers of your heavenly treasure;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

Readings:
Hebrews 13: 1 – 8, 15,16
Keep on loving one another as Christian brothers and sisters. Remember to welcome strangers in your homes. There were some who did that and welcomed angels without knowing it. Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them. Remember those who are suffering, as though you were suffering as they are. Marriage is to be honoured by all, and husbands and wives must be faithful to each other. God will judge those who are immoral and those who commit adultery. Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never leave you; I will never abandon you.” Let us be bold, then, and say: “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?” Remember your former leaders, who spoke God’s message to you. Think back on how they lived and died, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and for ever. amp and share his shame. Let us, then, always offer praise to God as our sacrifice through Jesus, which is the offering presented by lips that confess him as Lord. Do not forget to do good and to help one another, because these are the sacrifices that please God.
Luke 14: 7 – 14
Jesus noticed how some of the guests were choosing the best places, so he told this parable to all of them: “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place. It could happen that someone more important than you has been invited, and your host, who invited both of you, would have to come and say to you, ‘Let him have this place.’ Then you would be embarrassed and have to sit in the lowest place. Instead, when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that your host will come to you and say, ‘Come on up, my friend, to a better place.’ This will bring you honour in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who make themselves great will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be made great.” Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your rich neighbours — for they will invite you back, and in this way you will be paid for what you did. When you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind; and you will be blessed, because they are not able to pay you back. God will repay you on the day the good people rise from death.”

Prayers from John

Let us bring our prayers to God trusting in his steadfast and his willingness always to hear us when we call on his name.

We pray for God’s church in the world that she may remain faithful to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and proclaim that Gospel to people of all nations. We pray for our own daily living out of our faith that we may be faithful witnesses to our faith in Jesus Christ

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

We pray for God’s world with all its needs and hurts and for ourselves that we may respond to those needs with compassion and generosity.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

We pray for all God’s children in our community. We pray that God’s steadfast love may be made known to them by the way in which we live and in the way in which we serve them. We pray that this summer may be a time of refreshment and enjoyment when they might know the love of friends and family.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

We pray for all who are in need of God’s healing and peace that they may know God’s presence surrounding them in their pain and distress. We pray for the bereaved that they might know God’s peace.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Lord God, our heavenly Father, we offer these prayers to you now. We ask that through them and prayers of all your people your will be done in the church, throughout the world, in our lives and in the lives of all we have prayed.

We ask this in the name of your Son, our saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen.

The Tenth Sunday after Trinity – Sunday 21st August 2022 – Collect & Readings & Sermon from Robert

Collect:

Let your merciful ears, O Lord,
be open to the prayers of your humble servants;
and that they may obtain their petitions
make them to ask such things as shall please you;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

Reading:
Family Service
One Sabbath Jesus was teaching in a synagogue. A woman there had an evil spirit that had made her ill for eighteen years; she was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called out to her, “Woman, you are free from your illness!” He placed his hands on her, and at once she straightened herself up and praised God. The official of the synagogue was angry that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, so he spoke up and said to the people, “There are six days in which we should work; so come during those days and be healed, but not on the Sabbath!” The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Any one of you would untie your ox or your donkey from the stall and take it out to give it water on the Sabbath. Now here is this descendant of Abraham whom Satan has kept bound up for eighteen years; should she not be released on the Sabbath?” His answer made his enemies ashamed of themselves, while the people rejoiced over all the wonderful things that he did.

Sermon from Robert

Psalm 71 , a lectionary passage for today says “In you , Lord, I have found refuge; let me never be put to shame … be to me a rock of refuge to which at all times I may come”.
Rock of refuge presents an image of firmness and reliability. It is a facility that is always there for every emergency in life. Here the psalmist presents us with a text to reflect upon giving a sense of reassurance and comfort.

Our Old Testament reading from Jeremiah describes his call to ministry It would be a daunting prospect. He would have to deal with the shock waves of the Babylonian invasion.
Jerusalem was built on a rock and was largely presented as a refuge that was firm and unassailable. It was described in the terms of Zion, the mount of God, the safe promised residence of the people of Israel under God’s protection. Conservative minded Jews today, still cling to that image as an integral part of their hope and aspirations. It seems that Jeremiah didn’t altogether ascribe to that belief, and in consequence was hardly a popular prophet. The people of Jeremiah’s time had good grounds for believing in the inviolability of Jerusalem. A century earlier the city had withstood the mass invasion of the Assyrian army which had conquered the neighbours to the north. Jerusalem, the Zion rock of refuge and the surrounding kingdom of Judah had remained firm when all around had collapsed. There was a strong feeling of security, despite the threat of yet another invasion of foreign forces , which this time came from Babylon.

And finally, from our gospel reading, it almost seems as though Jesus is fulfilling a true priestly function through his healing of the crippled woman in the synagogue on the Sabbath. The old covenant of the law was being touched by a new relationship, not quite fulfilled in time. That old law with all its facets and intricacies developed over past years, this old so called refuge was being questioned. Putting on one side Jesus’ response to the synagogues president, which constitute a strong reaction to the old law, but is of little consequence, his simple touching of the woman was in itself a bridge building act of God. This woman who was forbidden by the law to being in the inner sanctum of the synagogue was seen to matter in the heart and mind of Jesus. One wonders did she recognise just how close to God she was. Whatever she thought, she was transformed from longstanding despair to a new hope that was an unassailable rock of refuge. Perhaps she could affirm with the Psalmist.”in you Lord, I have found refuge “

It culminates in the question, how close do you feel you are to God?

The Ninth Sunday after Trinity – Sunday 14th August 2022 – Collect, Readings and Prayers

 Collect:

Gracious Father,
revive your Church in our day,
and make her holy, strong and faithful,
for your glory’s sake
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Readings:
Hebrews 11: 29 – 12.2
It was faith that made the Israelites able to cross the Red Sea as if on dry land; when the Egyptians tried to do it, the water swallowed them up. It was faith that made the walls of Jericho fall down after the Israelites had marched round them for seven days. It was faith that kept the prostitute Rahab from being killed with those who disobeyed God, for she gave the Israelite spies a friendly welcome. Should I go on? There isn’t enough time for me to speak of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. Through faith they fought whole countries and won. They did what was right and received what God had promised. They shut the mouths of lions, put out fierce fires, escaped being killed by the sword. They were weak, but became strong; they were mighty in battle and defeated the armies of foreigners. Through faith women received their dead relatives raised back to life. Others, refusing to accept freedom, died under torture in order to be raised to a better life. Some were mocked and whipped, and others were put in chains and taken off to prison. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword. They went round clothed in skins of sheep or goats — poor, persecuted, and ill-treated. The world was not good enough for them! They wandered like refugees in the deserts and hills, living in caves and holes in the ground. What a record all of these have won by their faith! Yet they did not receive what God had promised, because God had decided on an even better plan for us. His purpose was that only in company with us would they be made perfect. As for us, we have this large crowd of witnesses round us. So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. He did not give up because of the cross! On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for him, he thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and he is now seated at the right-hand side of God’s throne.
Luke 22: 49 – 56
“I came to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism to receive, and how distressed I am until it is over! Do you suppose that I came to bring peace to the world? No, not peace, but division. From now on a family of five will be divided, three against two and two against three. Fathers will be against their sons, and sons against their fathers; mothers will be against their daughters, and daughters against their mothers; mothers-in-law will be against their daughters-in-law, and daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law.” Jesus said also to the people, “When you see a cloud coming up in the west, at once you say that it is going to rain — and it does. And when you feel the south wind blowing, you say that it is going to get hot — and it does. Hypocrites! You can look at the earth and the sky and predict the weather; why, then, don’t you know the meaning of this present time?

Prayers

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

Lord, we come into your presence in faith and joy.
May your brightness search and test us
To cast away darkness from our souls
That we may display your likeness in our lives.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

We accept that your world is divisive, full of bitterness and hatred.
But we know there is also much love and goodness, which, with guidance of your Holy Spirit, is a force more powerful.
Teach us to keep our eyes on Jesus, that we may walk steadfast with him and so, in our small way, confound those who preach animosity.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Oh Lord, set free all who are persecuted and ill-treated, and for those suffering for their beliefs and fighting for justice. Keep their faith strong and enable them to come through their troubles with joy.
We pray for the poor and disorganised, unable to cope with the world. Guide them to where they may find succour and support to get their lives back on track.
We pray for communities suffering from natural disasters and for countries subject to poverty and famine, particularly for defenceless children.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

We pray our churches will provide comfort and companionship. That your Holy Spirit will lead us in our actions and words. Lighting the lives of those seeking a new way of life.
We pray your Holy Spirit will guide for our clergy and church leaders in their leadership and teachings.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

We give thanks, O Lord, for successes in discovering treatments and vaccines to treat illnesses and diseases.
We pray they will be shared fairly throughout the world, for we are all equal in your sight.
Lord, we request your comfort for all who are unwell. Give them courage and perseverance in managing their treatments and medication.

We pray especially, for a moment, for those personally known to each of us.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Lord, we pray to you for those who have died recently and for those whose anniversaries fall at this time.

May they bathe in the light of Christ which shines eternally.

We pray for

Lord we pray for all whose lives are saddened by the death of a loved one, be with them in their grief and may they cherish their loving memories

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

In your presence, O Lord, we bring to you our own personal concerns.

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

We pray especially, for a moment, for those personally known to each of us.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

 The Eighth Sunday after Trinity – Sunday 7th August 2022 – Collect,  Readings, Sermon and Prayers

Collect:
Almighty Lord and everlasting God,
we beseech you to direct, sanctify and govern
both our hearts and bodies
in the ways of your laws
and the works of your commandments;
that through your most mighty protection, both here and ever,
we may be preserved in body and soul;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen
Readings:
Hebrews 11: 1 – 3, 8 – 16
To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see. It was by their
faith that people of ancient times won God’s approval. It is by faith that we understand that the universe was
created by God’s word, so that what can be seen was made out of what cannot be seen. It was faith that made
Abraham obey when God called him to go out to a country which God had promised to give him. He left his
own country without knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as a foreigner in the country that God had
promised him. He lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who received the same promise from God. For
Abraham was waiting for the city which God has designed and built, the city with permanent foundations. It
was faith that made Abraham able to become a father, even though he was too old and Sarah herself could not
have children. He trusted God to keep his promise. Though Abraham was practically dead, from this one man
came as many descendants as there are stars in the sky, as many as the numberless grains of sand on the
seashore. It was in faith that all these persons died. They did not receive the things God had promised, but
from a long way off they saw them and welcomed them, and admitted openly that they were foreigners and
refugees on earth. Those who say such things make it clear that they are looking for a country of their own.
They did not keep thinking about the country they had left; if they had, they would have had the chance to
return. Instead, it was a better country they longed for, the heavenly country. And so God is not ashamed for
them to call him their God, because he has prepared a city for them.
Luke 12: 32 – 40
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom. Sell all your belongings and
give the money to the poor. Provide for yourselves purses that don’t wear out, and save your riches in heaven,
where they will never decrease, because no thief can get to them, and no moth can destroy them. For your
heart will always be where your riches are. “Be ready for whatever comes, dressed for action and with your
lamps lit, like servants who are waiting for their master to come back from a wedding feast. When he comes
and knocks, they will open the door for him at once. How happy are those servants whose master finds them
awake and ready when he returns! I tell you, he will take off his coat, ask them to sit down, and will wait on
them. How happy they are if he finds them ready, even if he should come at midnight or even later! And you
can be sure that if the owner of a house knew the time when the thief would come, he would not let the thief
break into his house. And you, too, must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you are
not expecting him.”

Sermon from Robert

It is August. A dangerous month. A month when normally sensible people go off the rails and do crazy things, or at least think them . Even if you’re stuck here instead of being away on holiday, you can feel it in the air. Dreams are allowed in August. In fact, you are supposed to dream dreams this month. It is what August is for, to take a step back and have a good look at your life from the perspective of freedom and see what it all looks like. And if there’s any dissatisfaction in you over any of it, any regret over the road not taken, any nagging possibility still on the horizon, this is the month to wallow in those things. This is the season of “ what if” . The dangerous month of “why not?”.
Today’s lectionary is a breeding ground for irresponsibility. “I’m tired of your sacrifices “ God says to the dutiful people of Judah. “Your Sabbaths, your religious gatherings, your summer rambles and Christmas fairs’ your stewardship drives and endless meetings, they are a burden to me. I’m bored.”
“Sell all your belongings “ Jesus says to his disciples. “Give everything away to the poor. Forget the mortgage. Forget the car payments. Forget the shopping trip for new shoes and new school uniforms. Forget the new boiler you reckoned you needed or the coat of paint you hoped to get on your house. Give it all up. Get yourself a purse that doesn’t wear out and start saving your riches in heaven “.
“ faith is putting our dreams ahead of what we can see,” says the writer to the Hebrews. “It is taking what we hope for and going for it”. The role model is Abraham. He left his home and his elderly parents and the n-laws too and took off, and for the rest of his life he lived in tents, he and his sons and their families with them. Because there was this dream, this promise. And it called to them from the future . And in the face of that dream , they knew that they were just putting in time here and now. Like refugees , waiting for God to build the city that would be their real home.
And if that wasn’t enough, back to Luke for a parable. It’s like servants who are so sure the future dream is real that they don’t even get undressed and go to bed at night. They stay dressed and ready , and they listen , listen for the knock at the door. Their master will come back. Just like that new city will be built. There’s more, it isn’t meant to be like this.
It isn’t just an August phenomenon, is it? More like a mid life crisis. Or at least a good mid-life itch. And thanks to the passage from Hebrews, you know you don’t even have to be in mid-life to experience it. Abraham was 75 years old when he left his home to follow God. One hundred years old when he started that new family, that new nation, numerous as the stars in the sky, as the grains of sand on the seashore.
This is an equal opportunity itch. And , according to the Bible, feeling it is part of being faithful. Feeling restless is part of belonging to God. Wanting to jack it all in for the sake of something better is a divine calling.
I wonder why they don’t have liability insurance for ministers? We don’t write this stuff, we only preach it, but think of the devastation it could wreak! Seventy five year olds going out to live in tents, staunch middle class families refusing to accumulate any more stuff . All to follow this haunting, promising God, this intuition that there has to be more to life than what we’ve known so far, this August itch that never entirely goes away.
I don’t carry insurance for the consequences of my sermons. All I can say is that we are in this together, if we’re ever bored with our prayers, there’s a good chance God is too. If with our August eyes we see hypocrisy in the gap between what we profess and the way we live’ the justice we proclaim and the compromises we make, be sure God has seen it long before.
Christianity is something people have died for. It is something even today that people are converted to.
Who am I to say that the message of scripture is too dangerous and too subversive to preach here ? Maybe there is something God is calling you to do , or me.
What is certain is this. There is a God-shaped space inside us. That’s part of what it means to be human. We fill it up with all sorts of things that are not God . For some reason that too is part of what it is to be human. Scripture says that God never gives up offering us the real thing . So maybe this August feeling isn’t just for holidays. Maybe it’s where we’re meant to live. Maybe we’re meant to do something about it, now
Amen

Prayers from Lesley

Almighty, Everlasting and Creator God –
We live in a world of wonders, of new discoveries and often surprises and yet in all our human endeavours we are still in need of guidance, inspiration and sometimes correction. And so in faith we pray for this your world and it’s peoples with all their needs, questions and longings.
Lord in Your mercy. – ‘Hear our prayer’
We pray for your world-wide Christian Church, especially we pray for those churches which meet together in difficult and often dangerous circumstances. Let them know and feel your all abiding presence to both uphold their courage and strengthen their faith.
We pray for those whose Christian faith is often challenged; whether in the workplace, on the street, at school or college and often by people who close their minds to anything spiritual. Help us in turn to be tolerant of other religions whilst firm and knowledgeable in our own faith
We pray for our own church here at St. John’s and for all who carry the work of witness and service forward in so many ways.
Lord in Your mercy. – ‘Hear our prayer’
The world that you have created Lord is still marred by selfishness and greed amongst the nations. We pray for a time when all will live in mutual respect and co-operation. We continue to pray for the people of Ukraine and we remember the struggles against oppression in North Africa and the Middle East and in particular the brutal situation in Syria and pray for an end to the violence. . We pray for the support given by neighbouring countries in accepting the thousands of refugees and for the aid agencies doing their best to cope with the overwhelming need for food, shelter and medical assistance.
We pray for the countries in Europe which are beset with financial difficulties and trying to reduce deficits whilst protecting the vulnerable. Lord, we cannot correct the mistakes of the past but we can pray for honesty and openness in our political leaders and a determination to work together at all levels to find equitable solutions.
Lord in Your mercy. – ‘Hear our prayer’
We pray for our own country and society, learning to live with a different economic outlook. We remember the thousands of young people who have left schools, colleges and Universities and are now looking for work in a highly competitive market. We pray that they will be helped and guided to find their place in society.

We pray for the various news media that pervade all aspects of our lives and that truth, honesty and dignity become the new editorial guidelines.
We pray for those whose ‘longed for’ holiday plans have been ruined by recent company failures and we remember all who are lucky enough to have been able to take a break from the routines of life to later return refreshed to take on the challenges of the day.
Lord in Your mercy. – ‘Hear our prayer’
And so we think now of those in most need in our own community, the elderly, the housebound and those in care homes, hospital and hospice and those undergoing treatment. We pray for the work and devotion of all Carers whose skill and compassion bring both material and spiritual comfort at times of need.
So now we share a moment of silence together as we bring before you those known only to ourselves and to you Lord who are in need at this time. Let them feel your presence in their lives as we name them in our hearts
(A short period of silence)
Lord in Your mercy. – ‘Hear our prayer’
We remember before God those who have died . We also pray for those who feel the pain of grief at the loss of a loved one whether recent or as each anniversary passes.

Today we remember: –
All those we have known and loved but see no more.

Lord in Your mercy. – ‘Hear our prayer’
A final prayer for ourselves: –
As life throws all sorts of challenges at us, often causing us to be overwhelmed with anxiety and doubt, help us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus so that we know what course to steer in order to reach our objective of serving Him in all that we do.
Amen.
Merciful Father, “Accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen”.

31st July 2022- Trinity 7 – Prayers, Collect and Readings

Prayers from Denise

Blessed are you Lord God of our Creation,
For all things come from you.
Your give us life
You give us love
You give us a world of plenty
That we may learn to share with our neighbour
and give generously to each other
As you give to us.

Blessed are you. Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer

Lord as you have called us to serve you,
Make us worthy of our calling.
Teach us to be generous and caring
To all who are in need,
Knowing that in giving we are enriched.
May your Church be a good steward of its gifts
And reach out to where it can use its talents.
We pray for all who give of themselves generously
To mission or in pastoral care,
All who work for little financial reward
In the service of others.

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer

We ask your blessing upon all who work
For fair trade and justice in our world,
Let us all realise that life cannot be bought or sold
Or measured by financial worth alone.
We pray for all who are used almost as slave labour
Abd those who do not get a fair day’s wage
For their work.
We remember those who live in slum dwellings
Or in Refugee camps and all who will be hungry today.

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer

Lord we give thanks for all that you have given us.
For your blessing upon our homes and families.
We give thanks for all who have taught us
And been our benefactors.
We remember homes that suffer through greed
And those who though they may have many possessions
Are poor in spirit.

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer

We ask your blessing upon the weary and the war-torn,
Upon the weak and those whose powers are waning
We pray for all who are ill
And especially those who are near to death,
Asking you to bless them and their loved ones with
Your presence and your peace.

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer

We give thanks for all who, though poor in the eyes of the world,
Are precious in your sight
We rejoice in the fellowship of all your saints
And we remember friends and loved ones who are departed from us
May we all share in your love and in your kingdom.

Father we give you our lives
As well as our words of praise
So that each moment from now on
Becomes an offering of love.

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

Collect:
Lord of all power and might,
the author and giver of all good things:
graft in our hearts the love of your name,
increase in us true religion,
nourish us with all goodness,
and of your great mercy keep us in the same;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen
Readings:
Colossians 3: 1 – 11
You have been raised to life with Christ, so set your hearts on the things that are in heaven, where Christ sits
on his throne at the right-hand side of God. Keep your minds fixed on things there, not on things here on earth.
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Your real life is Christ and when he appears, then
you too will appear with him and share his glory! You must put to death, then, the earthly desires at work in
you, such as sexual immorality, indecency, lust, evil passions, and greed (for greed is a form of idolatry).
Because of such things God’s anger will come upon those who do not obey him. At one time you yourselves
used to live according to such desires, when your life was dominated by them. But now you must get rid of all
these things: anger, passion, and hateful feelings. No insults or obscene talk must ever come from your lips.
Do not lie to one another, for you have taken off the old self with its habits and have put on the new self. This is
the new being which God, its Creator, is constantly renewing in his own image, in order to bring you to a full
knowledge of himself. As a result, there is no longer any distinction between Gentiles and Jews, circumcised
and uncircumcised, barbarians, savages, slaves, and free, but Christ is all, Christ is in all.
Luke 12: 13 – 21
A man in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide with me the property our father left us.”
Jesus answered him, “My friend, who gave me the right to judge or to divide the property between you two?”
And he went on to say to them all, “Watch out and guard yourselves from every kind of greed; because a
person’s true life is not made up of the things he owns, no matter how rich he may be.” Then Jesus told them
this parable: “There was once a rich man who had land which bore good crops. He began to think to himself, ‘I
haven’t anywhere to keep all my crops. What can I do? This is what I will do,’ he told himself; ‘I will tear down
my barns and build bigger ones, where I will store my corn and all my other goods. Then I will say to myself,
Lucky man! You have all the good things you need for many years. Take life easy, eat, drink, and enjoy
yourself!’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night you will have to give up your life; then who will get all
these things you have kept for yourself?’ ” And Jesus concluded, “This is how it is with those who pile up riches
for themselves but are not rich in God’s sight.”

 

Trinity Sunday – Sunday 12th June 2022 

Prayers from Tony

God has the authority and the desire to forgive our sins completely and set us free from guilt.

Knowing your love for us, Holy God, we have come before you to pray together.
We pray for all who have the care of souls, and are entrusted with helping others to repentance and
giving them good counsel. We pray for those called to speak God’s values, whatever the danger and
regardless of popularity.

Work in us Lord:
Work in us for good.

We pray for those who refuse to allow injustice or evil to go unchallenged; for all who are under
pressure to behave wrongly or keep quiet about something they know to be wrong.

Work in us Lord:
Work in us for good.

We pray for more loving forgiveness in all our relationships, for more self-knowledge, the grace to
recognise where we are in the wrong, and the courage to seek God’s forgiveness.

Work in us Lord:
Work in us for good.

We pray for all imprisoned by guilt, resentment, bitterness and self-pity, that they may come to
know the relief of being forgiven.
We pray for all innocent victims, that their scars may be completely healed.

Work in us Lord:
Work in us for good.
We pray for those who have died unprepared to meet you, and for all who have died in faith.
Have mercy on us all.

Work in us Lord:
Work in us for good.

Thank you, Lord God, for the wideness of your mercy and the completeness of your forgiveness,
which restores us to you in such joy.

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

Trinity Sunday – Sunday 12th June 2022 – Collect & Readings

Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God,
you have given us your servants grace,
by the confession of a true faith,
to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity
and in the power of the divine majesty to worship the Unity:
keep us steadfast in this faith,
that we may evermore be defended from all adversities;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen
Readings:

Romans 5: 1 – 5
Now that we have been put right with God through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. He has brought us by faith into this experience of God’s grace, in which we now live. And so we boast of the hope we have of sharing God’s glory! We also boast of our troubles, because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance brings God’s approval, and his approval creates hope. This hope does not disappoint us, for God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God’s gift to us.
John 16: 12 – 15
“I have much more to tell you, but now it would be too much for you to bear. When, however, the Spirit comes, who reveals the truth about God, he will lead you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own authority, but he will speak of what he hears, and will tell you of things to come. He will give me glory, because he will take what I say and tell it to you. All that my Father has is mine; that is why I said that the Spirit will take what I give him and tell it to you.

5th June – Sermon for Pentecost ( Whit Sunday)

G K Chesterton once said, “ How do I Know that the sun will rise again tomorrow? I don’t I rely on the fact that God saw it rise and said di it again “ What is it that makes the world go round? The grass to grow? The wine to flow? What was it that blew the froth of chaos and brought order to all creation? It was the breath of God, the Spirit of God.
The Spirit of God, like fire , keeps on smouldering in the hearts of people where oppression keeps them in chains ‘ where unemployment and poverty devalue their humanity and where hunger weakens the human spirit. The Spirit burns bright in the lives of politicians, economists and industrialists, and speaks in the words of teachers, writers, artists and actors, in priests, prophets and preachers.
The Spirit of God whispers into the ears of the downcast and the lonely and reminds them that they are loved and wanted and beautiful. It is that Spirit which brings a glint to the eye, a spring to the step and hope to human hearts. When everything is falling apart, there is fear on the streets, and crime fills the vacuum left behind when there is that deadly combination of inequality becoming more pronounced and morality loosing its grip, the Spirit goes on recreating the desire for justice, goodness and responsibility.

The Spirit of God keeps on blowing across the chaos of the earth, reminding its people that they can speak the same language, that the search for peace has the same urgency in any language, that faith can cross every barrier, that hope is at the heart of every nation and that love needs no language but its own.
When the Spirit of God comes no one is left out. All were filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and everyone heard in their own language. We are told elsewhere in Acts that “ He gave the Holy Spirit to them as well as us” Every gift at the disposal of the Church is a gift of the Spirit.
It is when we make such claims such as these and language such as this that we get different reactions. Some mock, saying they are filled with new wine; some simply do not understand; some hear and are glad; and some hear and think that they are the only ones who have done so.
But God does not confine the gift of his Spirit, it is freely available to all. It is seen in the church and beyond. We cannot keep it to ourselves, nor can we assume that we are the only ones to whom God has given it. But we can be sure that this Spirit which has given power to people, to churches, to communities and nations across the ages is still available to us if we will allow God to work in us and we are prepared to take the consequences.
Amen

Prayers from John

We pray for God to fill us with his Spirit.

Generous God,

we thank you for the power of your Holy Spirit.

We ask that we may be strengthened to serve you better.

Lord, come to bless us. and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the wisdom of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to make us wise to understand your will.

Lord, come bless us. and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the peace of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to keep us confident of your love, whenever you call us.

Lord, come to bless us. and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the healing of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to bring reconciliation and wholeness where there is division, sickness and sorrow.

Lord, come to bless us. and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the gifts of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to equip us for the work which you have given us.

Lord, come to bless us. and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the fruit of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to reveal in our lives the love of Jesus.

Lord, come to bless us. and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the breath of your Holy Spirit, given by the risen Lord.

We ask you to keep the whole Church, living and departed, in the joy of eternal life.

Lord, come to bless us. and fill us with your Spirit.

And now a prayer for the queen.

Gracious God, we give you thanks for the reign of your servant Elizabeth our Queen, and for the example of loving and faithful service which she has shown among us. Help us to follow her example of dedication and to commit our lives to you and one another, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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:

Collect for HM The Queen ‘s Platinum Jubilee
Gracious God, we give you thanks for the reign of your servant Elizabeth our Queen,
and for the example of loving and faithful service which she has shown among us.
Help us to follow her example of dedication and to commit our lives to you and to one another,
through Jesus Christ our Lord
Amen

O Lord, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, we give you thanks for your servant Elizabeth our Queen .
May she be ever provided with all she may need for her ministry among us, strengthened to meet every demand which her office may make, and in all things nourished by your word and example,
who with the Father and the Holy Spirit live and reign, world without end.
Amen
Readings:
5th June – Pentecost – Whit Sunday
Acts 2: 1 – 21
When the day of Pentecost came, all the believers were gathered together in one place. Suddenly there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire which spread out and touched each person there. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak. There were Jews living in Jerusalem, religious people who had come from every country in the world. When they heard this noise, a large crowd gathered. They were all excited, because each one of them heard the believers speaking in his or her own language. In amazement and wonder they exclaimed, “These people who are talking like this are Galileans! How is it, then, that all of us hear them speaking in our own native languages? We are from Parthia, Media, and Elam; from Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia; from Pontus and Asia, from Phrygia and Pamphylia, from Egypt and the regions of Libya near Cyrene. Some of us are from Rome, both Jews and Gentiles converted to Judaism, and some of us are from Crete and Arabia — yet all of us hear them speaking in our own languages about the great things that God has done!” Amazed and confused, they kept asking each other, “What does this mean?” But others made fun of the believers, saying, “These people are drunk!” Then Peter stood up with the other eleven apostles and in a loud voice began to speak to the crowd: “Fellow-Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, listen to me and let me tell you what this means. These people are not drunk, as you suppose; it is only nine o’clock in the morning. Instead, this is what the prophet Joel spoke about:
‘This is what I will do in the last days, God says:
I will pour out my Spirit on everyone.
Your sons and daughters will proclaim my message;
your young men will see visions,
and your old men will have dreams.
Yes, even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will proclaim my message.
I will perform miracles in the sky above
and wonders on the earth below.
There will be blood, fire, and thick smoke;
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will turn red as blood,
before the great and glorious Day of the Lord comes.
And then, whoever calls out to the Lord for help will be saved.’

John 14: 8 – 17
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father; that is all we need.” Jesus answered, “For a long time I have been with you all; yet you do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. Why, then, do you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe, Philip, that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I have spoken to you,” Jesus said to his disciples, “do not come from me. The Father, who remains in me, does his own work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. If not, believe because of the things I do. I am telling you the truth: those who believe in me will do what I do — yes, they will do even greater things, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask for in my name, so that the Father’s glory will be shown through the Son. If you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it. “If you love me, you will obey my commandments. I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, who will stay with you for ever. He is the Spirit who reveals the truth about God. The world cannot receive him, because it cannot see him or know him. But you know him, because he remains with you and is in you.
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.

7th Sunday of Easter – Sunday 29th May 2022 – Collect & Readings

Collect:

Risen, ascended Lord,
as we rejoice at your triumph,
fill your Church on earth with power and compassion,
that all who are estranged by sin
may find forgiveness and know your peace,
to the glory of God the Father. Amen

Readings:

Acts 16: 16 – 34
One day as we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a young servant woman who had an evil spirit that enabled her to predict the future. She earned a lot of money for her owners by telling fortunes. She followed Paul and us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God! They announce to you how you can be saved!” She did this for many days, until Paul became so upset that he turned round and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I order you to come out of her!” The spirit went out of her that very moment. When her owners realized that their chance of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them to the authorities in the public square. They brought them before the Roman officials and said, “These men are Jews, and they are causing trouble in our city. They are teaching customs that are against our law; we are Roman citizens, and we cannot accept these customs or practise them.” And the crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas. Then the officials tore the clothes off Paul and Silas and ordered them to be whipped. After a severe beating, they were thrown into jail, and the jailer was ordered to lock them up tight. Upon receiving this order, the jailer threw them into the inner cell and fastened their feet between heavy blocks of wood. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a violent earthquake, which shook the prison to its foundations. At once all the doors opened, and the chains fell off all the prisoners. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he thought that the prisoners had escaped; so he pulled out his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul shouted at the top of his voice, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for a light, rushed in, and fell trembling at the feet of Paul and Silas. Then he led them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your family.” Then they preached the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that very hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; and he and all his family were baptized at once. Then he took Paul and Silas up into his house and gave them some food to eat. He and his family were filled with joy, because they now believed in God.
John 14: 20 – 26
When that day comes, you will know that I am in my Father and that you are in me, just as I am in you. “Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. My Father will love those who love me; I too will love them and reveal myself to them.” Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “Lord, how can it be that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “Whoever loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and my Father and I will come to him and live with him. Whoever does not love me does not obey my teaching. And the teaching you have heard is not mine, but comes from the Father, who sent me. “I have told you this while I am still with you. The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you.
Prayers from Denise

Today, we pray for things happening very close to us but often
unseen, unnoticed and un-prayed for. In the face of this hidden
world, Lord, give us eyes to see and ears to hear.

Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

Somewhere near us, at this moment, someone is ill and struggling to stay alive,
Someone is struggling to keep their marriage together,
Someone is struggling to resist a deep, familiar temptation,
Some teenagers are struggling & anxiously revising for their forthcoming examinations.
Let’s pray for them all in their various struggles.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer

Somewhere near us, at this moment, children are playing their favourite sport,
A couple are enjoying their new baby
A family are planning for their holidays,
A man is getting his tools out for today’s DIY
Let’s pray for them in their relaxation.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer

Somewhere near us at this moment, the air is electric with a family argument,
A family is grieving the loss of a loved one,
A young person is planning their next drug use,
A man, woman or child with depression is crying quietly,
And a family is feeling overwhelmed at the thought of there being no food or money in the home and no jobs to go to on Monday morning.
Let’s pray for them all in their very dark place.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer

Somewhere near us at this moment, a family member is caring for an aged or sick relative.
Someone is working on a wood carving or other hobby.
Someone is learning lines for a play.
Someone is downloading digital photographs of their grandchildren.
Let’s pray for all them in their caring or creativity.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer

Somewhere near us, at this moment, God the Father is holding the world on course,
God the Son is pulling together the wonderful raw material of human lives
God the holy Spirit is energising his holy and unholy people alike
Somewhere near us, at this moment, and every moment until we’re here again next week, God will be lovingly present in what we do, in every part of his creation, and every person in it. And he’ll be struggling with us, and shaping us, he’ll be encouraging us and persuading us, he’ll be delighting in us and despairing over us. But he’ll never give up.
And because he’s inexhaustible, in the end, he’ll always succeed.
Father, help us to trust you with your world, for Jesus’ sake.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer

Let us now pray for the people of Ukraine
God of peace and justice,
we pray for the people of Ukraine today.
We pray for peace and the laying down of weapons.
We pray for all those who fear for tomorrow,
that your Spirit of comfort would draw near to them.
We pray for those with power over war or peace,
for wisdom, discernment and compassion to guide their decisions.
Above all, we pray for all your precious children, at risk and in fear,
that you would hold and protect them.
We pray in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

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

 

6th Sunday of Easter – Sunday 22nd May 2022 – Collect & Readings

Collect:

Risen Christ,
by the lakeside you renewed your call to your disciples:
help your Church to obey your command
and draw the nations to the fire of your love,
to the glory of God the Father. Amen

Readings:

Acts 16: 9 – 15
That night Paul had a vision in which he saw a Macedonian standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” As soon as Paul had this vision, we got ready to leave for Macedonia, because we decided that God had called us to preach the Good News to the people there. We left by ship from Troas and sailed straight across to Samothrace, and the next day to Neapolis. From there we went inland to Philippi, a city of the first district of Macedonia; it is also a Roman colony. We spent several days there. On the Sabbath we went out of the city to the riverside, where we thought there would be a place where Jews gathered for prayer. We sat down and talked to the women who gathered there. One of those who heard us was Lydia from Thyatira, who was a dealer in purple cloth. She was a woman who worshipped God, and the Lord opened her mind to pay attention to what Paul was saying. After she and the people of her house had been baptized, she invited us, “Come and stay in my house if you have decided that I am a true believer in the Lord.” And she persuaded us to go.
John 14: 23 – 29
Jesus answered him, “Whoever loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and my Father and I will come to him and live with him. Whoever does not love me does not obey my teaching. And the teaching you have heard is not mine, but comes from the Father, who sent me. “I have told you this while I am still with you. The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you. “Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am leaving, but I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father; for he is greater than I. I have told you this now before it all happens, so that when it does happen, you will believe. After Judas had left, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man’s glory is revealed; now God’s glory is revealed through him. And if God’s glory is revealed through him, then God will reveal the glory of the Son of Man in himself, and he will do so at once. My children, I shall not be with you very much longer. You will look for me; but I tell you now what I told the Jewish authorities, ‘You cannot go where I am going.’ And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.”

Prayers from Lesley

We name in your presence this morning Lord, people and situations that need our prayers.

We pray for the church throughout the world and in this country. We pray for our leaders and all who serve in this church in positions of authority, and all those who offer their services in various ways in the service of Christ.
Keep us always mindful of the greatness and richness of the fellowship to which we belong that we may share with those outside. This week we pray for St Thomas’ Kirkholt, a parish in our deanery which is asking for support to refresh the church and see a growth in its numbers

Lord, in your mercy – Hear our prayer.

Lord God, we pray for rulers and statesmen who are called to leadership in the affairs of the world. Give them vision to see far into the issues of their time; courage to uphold what is right; and integrity in their words and motives.
Lord, we all know that while we in this country have an abundance of good things, much of the world in is terrible want. Lord, give us the courage to face these things and to think more deeply about them. May thought lead to action in whatever way is in our power.

Lord, in your mercy – Hear our prayer.

Living God as Christian Aid week comes to a close we thank you for all who support their work, perhaps through giving their money, or their time And we thank them for all the ways that Christian Aid is helping to transform communities around the world, in countries like Zimbabwe. And encouraging those who can to support this valuable work.

Lord, in your mercy – Hear our prayer.

Heavenly Father, we thank you for our neighbours and for the people around us with whom we work and share our daily lives.
We pray for those who are old and lonely, those isolated because of ill-health and those who find it difficult to make friends. Show us what we can do to help, and teach us to be good neighbours.
We thank you, O Father, for all the joys and blessings of family life. Forgive us when we quarrel and make us ready to forgive one another.
We pray for those subjected to abuse and who live in constant fear. Strengthen the determination of all who seek to help them, and may peace rule in their homes.

Lord, in your mercy – Hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray for all who are desolate and in pain or sorrow this day. We pray especially for anyone known to us who is in trouble, need, sickness or adversity. We remember also those people we know through the media, those people affected by the invasion of Ukraine. We pray that your blessing be upon them, and those who try to help them, and we pray that they may find encouragement and hope, that their sorrow be transformed into comfort, and a way can be found to bring a lasting peace in the region.

Lord, in your mercy – Hear our prayer.

Heavenly Father, we thank you for those who have died in the faith of Christ. We thank you for allowing us to share our lives with them.
We pray for those who mourn, grant them the comfort of your presence.
We remember before God those who have died

Lord, in your mercy – Hear our prayer.

As we bring our prayers to a close, we would ask that you walk with us into the coming week, calm our fears, clear our confusion, guide us in all we might say or do.

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

5th Sunday of Easter – Sunday 15th May 2022 – Collect & Readings

Collect:

Risen Christ,
your wounds declare your love for the world
and the wonder of your risen life:
give us compassion and courage
to risk ourselves for those we serve,
to the glory of God the Father. Amen

Readings:

John 13: 31 – 35
After Judas had left, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man’s glory is revealed; now God’s glory is revealed through him. And if God’s glory is revealed through him, then God will reveal the glory of the Son of Man in himself, and he will do so at once. My children, I shall not be with you very much longer. You will look for me; but I tell you now what I told the Jewish authorities, ‘You cannot go where I am going.’ And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.”

Prayers from Naomi – All Age Worship

Lord God, you are always with me.
You are with me in the day and in the night.
You are with me when I’m happy and when I’m sad.
You are with me when I’m healthy and when I am ill.
You are with me when I am peaceful and when I am worried.
Help me to remember that you love me and are with me in everything.

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer

Father in heaven,
We thank you for the amazing, beautiful world you created.
Help us to care for it. We thank you for the wonderful, unique people you have made us to be.
Help us to care for one another.
We thank you for the incredible, tasty foods you have invented.
Help us remember and care for those who are hungry.
We thank you for the inspiring stories and teaching in the bible.
Help us to share this good news with people everywhere.

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer

We pray for all those who are unwell at home or in hospital,
We pray for you healing spirit to be with them at this time.

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer

We pray for all those who have died and now rest in your Eternal Kingdom,
We pray for their families and friends and ask that you send your comforting love to them at this difficult time.

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer

Merciful Father
Accept these prayers for the sake of you Son,
Our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Amen

4th Sunday of Easter – Sunday 8th May 2022 – Collect & Readings

Collect:
Almighty God,
whose Son Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life:
raise us, who trust in him,
from the death of sin to the life of righteousness,
that we may seek those things which are above,
where he reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

Readings:
Acts 9: 36 – 43
In Joppa there was a woman named Tabitha, who was a believer. (Her name in Greek is Dorcas,
meaning “a deer”.) She spent all her time doing good and helping the poor. At that time she became
ill and died. Her body was washed and laid in a room upstairs. Joppa was not very far from Lydda,
and when the believers in Joppa heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him with the
message, “Please hurry and come to us.” So Peter got ready and went with them. When he arrived,
he was taken to the room upstairs, where all the widows crowded round him, crying and showing him
all the shirts and coats that Dorcas had made while she was alive. Peter put them all out of the room,
and knelt down and prayed; then he turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up!” She opened her
eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. Peter reached over and helped her get up. Then he called
all the believers, including the widows, and presented her alive to them. The news about this spread
all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. Peter stayed on in Joppa for many days with a
tanner of leather named Simon.
John 10: 22 – 30
It was winter, and the Festival of the Dedication of the Temple was being celebrated in Jerusalem.
Jesus was walking in Solomon’s Porch in the Temple, when the people gathered round him and
asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? Tell us the plain truth: are you the
Messiah?” Jesus answered, “I have already told you, but you would not believe me. The things I do
by my Father’s authority speak on my behalf; but you will not believe, for you are not my sheep. My
sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall
never die. No one can snatch them away from me. What my Father has given me is greater than
everything, and no one can snatch them away from the Father’s care. The Father and I are one.”

Prayers from Christine

Let us by prayer and intercession with thanksgiving make our requests to God.

Gracious God, we pray for peace, justice and reconciliation throughout the world. We pray for the honouring of human rights, and for the relief of the oppressed. We give thanks for all that is gracious in the lives of men, women and children.

Lord in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

We pray for the renewal of the Church in faith, love and service. We pray for our bishop and for the life of this parish and team. We give thanks for the gift of your word, the grace of the sacraments and the fellowship of your people.

Lord in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

We pray for this local community and for all people in their daily life and work. We pray for the young and the elderly, for families, and all who are alone. We give thanks for human skill and creativity and all that reveals your loveliness.

Lord in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

We pray for those who are in need; for the sick, sorrowful and bereaved.

Especially praying for those in need. For those who have recently died. For those whose anniversary fall at this time. We pray for all who bring comfort, care and healing. We give thanks for human love and friendship and for all that enriches our daily lives.

Lord in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Let us commend ourselves, and all for whom we pray, to the mercy and protection of God.

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

 

3rd Sunday of Easter – 1st May 2022 – Sermon by Irene

In our gospel reading this morning we have gone full circle.
From Jesus calling Peter and those first disciples by the lake on a day when they had been out fishing all night and caught nothing. To this post resurrection meeting by the lake, again after another unsuccessful night’s fishing.
This wasn’t the first time since his resurrection that Jesus had appeared to the disciples, he had met with them in the upper room, but they were still reeling from recent events trying to make sense of it all and in their confusion turned, as we often do, to something familiar.

They knew no other trade, fishing had been their life until Jesus stepped in and had taken them on an adventure which hadn’t had the ending they had hoped .
He’d told them he would be killed but they hadn’t really understood, they’d had such hopes, but all seemed to have been lost when he was crucified.
Even now having seen him alive again it was all a bit too unreal, confusing and there must have been countless questions they wanted to ask.
You would have thought that these similar circumstances to Peter’s previous encounter with Jesus would have jogged his memory, the feeling we sometimes have that “I’ve been in this situation before” but that doesn’t seem to have been the case.

Who is this stranger on the beach telling these experienced fishermen where to fish? But whether to humour him, or in sheer desperation, they obey and are amazed at the enormous catch.

Doing things their way hadn’t been successful, but when they obeyed Jesus’ instructions they were successful beyond their expectations.
He is preparing them to live by faith in a world where Jesus will no longer be with them in human form.
It’s John who is first to recognise Jesus but It’s Peter, in his enthusiasm to be with his Lord, that jumps out of the boat and is first to make his way to the shore.

Jesus was already cooking fish, but he asked them to bring some of their catch and serves them with bread and fish.
I wonder if their minds went back to the time when Jesus fed the multitude with loaves and fishes, or to that last meal the night before he died when he had knelt before them and washed their feet?
Sitting around the charcoal fire did Peter remember sitting around the fire in the courtyard the night Jesus was arrested when he had denied him three times?

But Jesus meets us where we are and in whatever condition we are in, these men were weary, tired, probably hungry and so the first priority is to welcome them to the fireside to warm themselves and then give them something to eat.
We may be comforted in this instance of Christ’s care of his disciples; he has the ability to supply all our wants, and knows what things we have need of.
He kindly provided for those fishermen, when they came weary from their work;

When he has dealt with their physical needs Jesus has a conversation with Peter, who was probably dealing with feelings of guilt at having denied knowing Jesus at the time of his arrest.
Jesus sensitively deals with Peter’s guilt by asking him three times if Peter loves him, to erase the three times he had denied knowing Jesus.
Love of Jesus is the foundation of Christian discipleship. Our taking care of each other demonstrates that love in practical ways.
With guilt removed not only is their relationship restored Jesus then commissions Peter to “Take care of his sheep.”
Jesus who referred to himself as the good shepherd now entrusts the flock to Peter.

Peter together with James and John had experienced Jesus’ divinity at the transfiguration, his humility in the foot washing at the last supper, and his resurrection as they ate breakfast with him on the beach.

Those of you who were here last week will have heard Karen say that Easter is not about the empty tomb, but about a personal encounter with the risen Christ and a deepening of our relationship with him.
The cross and resurrection brings God and humanity into a relationship like no other.

Despite all their inadequacies these first disciples were welcomed by Jesus and given a commission to preach the gospel, not only by their words but by their lifestyle.

Like them we don’t have all the answers, like them we often wonder what the future holds for us, like them we often feel inadequate to live up to the beliefs of our faith, but of course Jesus knows that, so we don’t have to “go it alone” his helper comes to strengthen and to guide and in a few weeks we will celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

Until then:
May the truth of the resurrection inspire us with new hope.
May the victory of Christ fill us with new joy &
May the reality of his presence fill us with new faith.
Speak to us Lord through this joyful season and fill us with greater trust and deeper faith, so we may live every day as your Easter people.
Amen.

Prayers from Joan

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

Risen Lord, as we gather together in our churches, we ask that you would come among us to calm our doubts and fears, to strengthen us in our weakness and to inspire and guide us in all our endeavours. Bless our bishops, clergy and congregations in the many challenges they face in carrying out the work of the church in our complex world.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer

God of peace we pray for all people living with the threat of violence and persecution and whose freedoms have been destroyed.
We continue to pray for the people of Ukraine. We pray for those who have lost family members, their homes and their livelihoods. We pray for those living in underground bunkers, deprived of food and water and terrified for their safety.
We pray for the elderly, physically unable to escape from the horrific situation and for the children caught up in such acts of destruction caused by human beings whom they should be able to look up to.
We earnestly pray for peace and a change in the mindset of those intent on grabbing power at the expense of the death of innocent people and the destruction of thriving communities.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer

Lord, we pray for our communities where many people are struggling with the rising cost of living. We pray for those unable to pay their ever increasing bills and for people finding it difficult to feed their families on a very reduced budget.
We give thanks to all those who volunteer to help; giving donations and their time to those in need.
We pray that ways will be found to alleviate the difficulties of people whose lives are being seriously affected by the current financial situation.
Lord as the time for local elections approaches we pray that those chosen to represent the voters will work with honesty, respect and integrity for the good of the people they serve and will in turn be shown due tolerance and respect.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer

Loving God, we pray that you would comfort all those who are sick in body or suffering from mental illness. We pray for the lonely and those who are anxious or in despair. May they come to find you standing alongside them and draw strength from your healing presence. We take a moment of silence to remember those in need of our prayers.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer

God of compassion, we pray for those who have died in recent days and for those who are grieving the loss of someone they love. We ask that you would comfort and strengthen them in the pain of their sorrow and grant them the hope that comes from the resurrection. We hold in our hearts the memory of those that we have loved and see no more.

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:

Almighty Father,
who in your great mercy gladdened the disciples
with the sight of the risen Lord:
give us such knowledge of his presence with us,
that we may be strengthened and sustained by his risen life
and serve you continually in righteousness and truth;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen
Readings:
Acts 9: 1 – 6
1 In the meantime Saul kept up his violent threats of murder against the followers of the Lord. He went to the High Priest 2and asked for letters of introduction to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he should find there any followers of the Way of the Lord, he would be able to arrest them, both men and women, and bring them back to Jerusalem. 3 As Saul was coming near the city of Damascus, suddenly a light from the sky flashed round him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul! Why do you persecute me?” 5 “Who are you, Lord?” he asked. “I am Jesus, whom you persecute,” the voice said. 6 “But get up and go into the city, where you will be told what you must do.”
John 21: 1 – 19
After this, Jesus appeared once more to his disciples at Lake Tiberias. This is how it happened. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael (the one from Cana in Galilee), the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples of Jesus were all together. Simon Peter said to the others, “I am going fishing.” “We will come with you,” they told him. So they went out in a boat, but all that night they did not catch a thing. As the sun was rising, Jesus stood at the water’s edge, but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Then he asked them, “Young men, haven’t you caught anything?” “Not a thing,” they answered. He said to them, “Throw your net out on the right side of the boat, and you will catch some.” So they threw the net out and could not pull it back in, because they had caught so many fish. The disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Peter heard that it was the Lord, he wrapped his outer garment round him (for he had taken his clothes off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples came to shore in the boat, pulling the net full of fish. They were not very far from land, about a hundred metres away. When they stepped ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there with fish on it and some bread. Then Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net ashore full of big fish, 153 in all; even though there were so many, still the net did not tear. Jesus said to them, “Come and eat.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. So Jesus went over, took the bread, and gave it to them; he did the same with the fish. This, then, was the third time Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from death. After they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?” “Yes, Lord,” he answered, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Take care of my lambs.” A second time Jesus said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” he answered, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Take care of my sheep.” A third time Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was sad because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” so he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you!” Jesus said to him, “Take care of my sheep. I am telling you the truth: when you were young, you used to get ready and go anywhere you wanted to; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will bind you and take you where you don’t want to go.” (In saying this, Jesus was indicating the way in which Peter would die and bring glory to God.) Then Jesus said to him, “Follow me!”

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.

2nd Sunday of Easter – Sunday 24th April 2022 – Collect & Readings

Prayers by John

Heavenly Father, Lord of all creation, Lord of the empty tomb. We marvel at the work of your hands and often frustrated at the frailty of our own as we endeavour to put your will for us into action. So, we come before you to ask our prayers and petitions in the name of Him whom you sent for our Salvation even Jesus Christ.

We pray for your Church, constantly adapting to an ever changing world whilst holding on to and proclaiming what is timeless and universal. Let it never lose its vision of establishing your kingdom here on earth, that it may use every opportunity to speak boldly of the truth that is of a risen Lord and Saviour of all. And let it find unity in doing your will.
Bless the work of this Church and of St.Lukes and of our ministers, Kirsty, Irene and Robert and all who hold office in leadership, guidance and counselling roles. Bless the work of the many groups who meet here week by week that those who pass through our doors may discover a friendship and fellowship that only comes from the love of Christ.

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer.

We pray for peace in your world. As the bombings, kidnappings and murders in the Ukraine continue we can but pray for those who have political, religious or military influence that a way to a just and lasting peace can be found.

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer.

We pray for this our nation, especially for those both in national government and local councils faced with difficult decisions which affect us all. We pray that our elected leaders or appointed officials will always work together for the good of all sections of the community with wisdom, humility and justice.

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, comforter and healer to those in both physical, mental and spiritual need we bring before you those known to us personally who are in need at this time. We name them in our hearts in a moment of silence and are emboldened to ask that your healing touch may be felt in their lives (silence).
All those we hold up to you and commit to your living care.

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer.

We thank you Lord for the opportunities in the life of our church to offer support and comfort to the bereaved. And so we pray for those who face pain or grief at the loss of a loved one, we can boldly claim that Jesus Christ is the light of the World, a light which no darkness can quench.
A final prayer for ourselves:
Risen Lord as we go out into the world we ask no more than that you walk with us each day along our own Emmaus road and open our eyes to the vision you have for each one of us.
Let our faith in your resurrected glory be that of Thomas so that we too can declare my Lord and my God.

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 Father,
you have given your only Son to die for our sins
and to rise again for our justification:
grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness
that we may always serve you
in pureness of living and truth;
through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

Readings:
Acts 5: 27 – 32
27 They brought the apostles in, made them stand before the Council, and the High Priest questioned them. 28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in the name of this man,” he said; “but see what you have done! You have spread your teaching all over Jerusalem, and you want to make us responsible for his death!” 29 Peter and the other apostles replied, “We must obey God, not men. 30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from death, after you had killed him by nailing him to a cross. 31 God raised him to his right-hand side as Leader and Saviour, to give the people of Israel the opportunity to repent and have their sins forgiven. 32 We are witnesses to these things — we and the Holy Spirit, who is God’s gift to those who obey him.”
John 20: 19 – 31
19 It was late that Sunday evening, and the disciples were gathered together behind locked doors, because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities. Then Jesus came and stood among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 20After saying this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy at seeing the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I send you.” 22Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive people’s sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” 24 One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (called the Twin), was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” Thomas said to them, “Unless I see the scars of the nails in his hands and put my finger on those scars and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” 26 A week later the disciples were together again indoors, and Thomas was with them. The doors were locked, but Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands; then stretch out your hand and put it in my side. Stop your doubting, and believe!” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Do you believe because you see me? How happy are those who believe without seeing me!” 30 In his disciples’ presence Jesus performed many other miracles which are not written down in this book. 31 But these have been written in order that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through your faith in him you may have life.

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.

 

Collect:

Almighty Father,

you have given your only Son to die for our sins

and to rise again for our justification:

grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness

that we may always serve you

in pureness of living and truth;

through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever. Amen

 

 

Readings:

Acts 5: 27 – 32

27 They brought the apostles in, made them stand before the Council, and the High Priest questioned them. 28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in the name of this man,” he said; “but see what you have done! You have spread your teaching all over Jerusalem, and you want to make us responsible for his death!” 29 Peter and the other apostles replied, “We must obey God, not men. 30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from death, after you had killed him by nailing him to a cross. 31 God raised him to his right-hand side as Leader and Saviour, to give the people of Israel the opportunity to repent and have their sins forgiven. 32 We are witnesses to these things — we and the Holy Spirit, who is God’s gift to those who obey him.”

John 20: 19 – 31

19 It was late that Sunday evening, and the disciples were gathered together behind locked doors, because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities. Then Jesus came and stood among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 20After saying this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy at seeing the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I send you.” 22Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive people’s sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” 24 One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (called the Twin), was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” Thomas said to them, “Unless I see the scars of the nails in his hands and put my finger on those scars and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” 26 A week later the disciples were together again indoors, and Thomas was with them. The doors were locked, but Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands; then stretch out your hand and put it in my side. Stop your doubting, and believe!” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Do you believe because you see me? How happy are those who believe without seeing me!” 30 In his disciples’ presence Jesus performed many other miracles which are not written down in this book. 31 But these have been written in order that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through your faith in him you may have life.

 

Easter Day – Sunday 17th April 2022 – Collect & Readings

Collect:
Lord of all life and power,
who through the mighty resurrection of your Son
overcame the old order of sin and death
to make all things new in him:
grant that we, being dead to sin
and alive to you in Jesus Christ,
may reign with him in glory;
to whom with you and the Holy Spirit
be praise and honour, glory and might,
now and in all eternity. Amen

Readings:
John 20: 1 – 18
Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been taken away from the entrance. She went running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” Then Peter and the other disciple went to the tomb. The two of them were running, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and saw the linen wrappings, but he did not go in. Behind him came Simon Peter, and he went straight into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there and the cloth which had been round Jesus’ head. It was not lying with the linen wrappings but was rolled up by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in; he saw and believed. (They still did not understand the scripture which said that he must rise from death.) Then the disciples went back home. Mary stood crying outside the tomb. While she was still crying, she bent over and looked in the tomb and saw two angels there dressed in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head and the other at the feet. “Woman, why are you crying?” they asked her. She answered, “They have taken my Lord away, and I do not know where they have put him!” Then she turned round and saw Jesus standing there; but she did not know that it was Jesus. “Woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who is it that you are looking for?” She thought he was the gardener, so she said to him, “If you took him away, sir, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned towards him and said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (This means “Teacher”.) “Do not hold on to me,” Jesus told her, “because I have not yet gone back up to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them that I am returning to him who is my Father and their Father, my God and their God.” So Mary Magdalene went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and related to them what he had told her.

5th Sunday in Lent – Sunday 3rd April
Sermon by Rev. Irene

Today being the 5th Sunday in Lent is traditionally called Passion Sunday and marks the beginning of the church’s season known as Passiontide. This is the time from now until Easter Day.
In today’s gospel reading we have Jesus sharing a meal with his friends at the home of Lazarus, who he had raised from the dead. When along comes Mary and pours extremely expensive perfume over Jesus’ feet.
We are told that the perfume could have been sold for three hundred silver coins, which in those days would have been the equivalent of a whole years wages. So this was generosity to the point of extravagance. Such expensive perfume was normally kept for embalming a body before burial and it is this connection that Jesus mentions in verse 7.
Those at table with him are not aware of what lies ahead but Jesus knows that shortly there will be betrayal and death.
Not only does Mary wash his feet with the valuable perfume but she then proceeds to dry them with her hair. To understand the sacrifice she made by doing this we need to understand that in her day and generation Jewish women did not appear in the presence of men with their hair untied. In their society to appear with hair flowing loose was the sign of an immoral woman. So not only was she giving generously of her precious perfume but sacrificing her respectability, despite what others present might think of her. She had this one opportunity of demonstrating her love for Jesus and took that opportunity regardless of the consequences to her own reputation.

Like you I have probably heard this passage of scripture many times before, but it was only as I prepared this sermon that I saw a connection between Mary’s act of unselfish love and what Jesus did for his disciples on the night before he died, when the Son of God took a towel and a bowl and washed the disciples feet. On both occasions we have a practical expression of loving devotion shown by one person to another. A demonstration of how sacrificial true Christian love is.

Mary may never again have the chance to demonstrate her love and so she seized the opportunity when it came. How often do we let our opportunities to demonstrate the love we have for Jesus, by showing acts of kindness towards others, pass us by?

We are told that the sweet smell of the perfume filled the whole house. Mary’s actions were witnessed by all those present, and I’m sure they went out and told others what she had done and here we are today still reading about this loving gesture that happened all those years ago.
It would probably be one of the last acts of kindness shown to Jesus during his time on earth. For shortly many of those sitting around the table would desert him, and deny having known him and one would betray him.
I wonder if Jesus drew comfort from this gesture of love by Mary through the coming days of his trial, torture and cruel death? For often just one kind act can put faith back into human nature.
Isn’t it often the kindness of others that sustains us through the difficult times of life.

Judas’ reaction to Mary’s generosity that the perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor doesn’t seem on the surface to be unreasonable. After all Jesus had always taught that we should look to the needs of those less fortunate, but there was an ulterior motive to Judas’ objection. He was the one who looked after the “petty cash “ and from what we are told he was none too trustworthy. His sins of greed, covetousness and dishonesty underlie his pious words, but they did not fool Jesus, he knew there was an ulterior motive and he reacts with a rebuke, which does not contradict his teaching about looking after the poor, but is trying to take those present to a deeper level of understanding of what Mary has done. Their opportunities to help the poor will remain but Jesus will not, he will be taken from them. Mary’s loving gesture was to anoint him for his burial. The time had come to prepare for his arrival in Jerusalem which we will remember next Sunday and the events which follow during Holy Week, his last supper, his trial & crucifixion.
Mary took the most precious thing she possessed and gave lovingly and freely, which is what Jesus did for each one of us, he took his life and gave it lovingly on the cross. Just as the fragrance of Mary’s perfume filled the whole house, so the generosity of God’s love fills the whole world.
This story tells a great truth about life.
Some things we can do almost any time, but some things we will never do unless we grasp the opportunity when it comes. Mary took this opportunity to show her love for Jesus in this sudden outburst of selfless generosity. Judas was probably not the only one who thought her actions impulsive and wasteful, but had she not taken that opportunity the cross of Calvary would have denied her any future occasion. We must take our opportunities of service when they present themselves otherwise they may be lost forever.
Most of us will have lived through many Passiontides in our lifetime and we may think there will be many future opportunities to make more of an effort than we have in the past to enter into the events of this special time in our Christian calendar. We can if we are not careful become rather blasé about the Easter season, but the opportunity for us to approach this season in a more reverent, thoughtful and spiritual way is NOW!
Jesus invites us to journey with him, let’s not turn down that invitation, let’s seize this opportunity to deepen our relationship with him here and now, to strengthen our faith and serve one another in the name of Christ.
Prayer:
Lord Jesus, our friend and companion through life, show us where and how we can respond to your invitation during this holy season.
Give us the means, the will, the commitment and the love to reach out in the name of Christ offering something of ourselves, as Mary made her offering to you and as you offered your life for us, so in the power of your love, may we respond to the opportunities of service that life brings to us.
Amen.

Prayers by Christine

Let us pray to God, by who knows us so well and understands our needs.

Lord, in all the daily concerns of parish life, and in the great issues facing the whole Church, may we never lose sight of your priorities but see everything through the eyes of compassion with honesty and integrity. We Thank you for our bishops and for priests and lay ministers who are called through their different ministries to support and guide your will. Grant to all your people true repentance and the joy of knowing forgiveness for their sins, by blessing them as they work in your service and uphold them with your power.
Lord in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Lord, in the local issues of this community and in the difficulties and dilemmas on the world stage, may we look for the face of Christ and fix our attention on his underlying values of love justice and mercy. Lord, thank you for all peace initiatives and every genuine attempt at negotiation in conflict resolution. As we give thanks, we pray for the places and people who need and await that peace to come among them, praying that they may know something of your presence. We pray that those who govern be governed by your love, may those who lead be led by your directing and may the whole world come to know its need of you.
Lord in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Lord, in all the minor squabbles of major rifts of family life, may we know the assurance of your promise to be with us always, and your power to transform and renew. Thank you, Lord God, for our families and friends, those we meet each day and those we rarely see. Draw all our loved ones closer to you and search out those whose faith is fragile or fragmented. We ask that in the places we are sent you empower us to proclaim your love for us all and as Jesus as saviour, that your hope and love is accessible to all. Lord in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Lord, in the shock of sudden illness and pain, and in the wearing endurance of long-term weakness, give your peace and tranquillity, your healing and your hope. We pray also for those who feel lost or distant because of needs affecting body, mind and spirit. We pray especially for those who have asked for our prayers at this time and those known personally to us in a moments silence. ………May they be conscious of your presence and your love for them.
Lord in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Lord, through the journey of death and in the grieving of those who mourn, gather us up into the everlasting arms of love and comfort us, and bring us to life in all its fullness. We especially pray for those whose anniversaries fall at this time. Gather them into their true and eternal home and give comfort to those who morn.
Lord in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Lord, we thank you that we can trust you completely and you never let us down. Praying together 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:
Most merciful God,
who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ
delivered and saved the world:
grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross
we may triumph in the power of his victory;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

Readings:

Philippians 3: 4b – 14
4b If anyone thinks they can trust in external ceremonies, I have even more reason to feel that way. 5 I was circumcised when I was a week old. I am an Israelite by birth, of the tribe of Benjamin, a pure-blooded Hebrew. As far as keeping the Jewish Law is concerned, I was a Pharisee, 6and I was so zealous that I persecuted the church. As far as a person can be righteous by obeying the commands of the Law, I was without fault. 7 But all those things that I might count as profit I now reckon as loss for Christ’s sake. 8 Not only those things; I reckon everything as complete loss for the sake of what is so much more valuable, the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have thrown everything away; I consider it all as mere refuse, so that I may gain Christ 9 and be completely united with him. I no longer have a righteousness of my own, the kind that is gained by obeying the Law. I now have the righteousness that is given through faith in Christ, the righteousness that comes from God and is based on faith. 10 All I want is to know Christ and to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings and become like him in his death, 11 in the hope that I myself will be raised from death to life. 12 I do not claim that I have already succeeded or have already become perfect. I keep striving to win the prize for which Christ Jesus has already won me to himself. 13 Of course, my brothers and sisters, I really do not think that I have already won it; the one thing I do, however, is to forget what is behind me and do my best to reach what is ahead. 14 So I run straight towards the goal in order to win the prize, which is God’s call through Christ Jesus to the life above.

John 12: 1 – 8
1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus went to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, the man he had raised from death. 2 They prepared a dinner for him there, which Martha helped to serve; Lazarus was one of those who were sitting at the table with Jesus. 3Then Mary took half a litre of a very expensive perfume made of pure nard, poured it on Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The sweet smell of the perfume filled the whole house. 4One of Jesus’ disciples, Judas Iscariot — the one who was going to betray him — said, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold for 300 silver coins and the money given to the poor?” 6 He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief. He carried the money bag and would help himself from it.
7 But Jesus said, “Leave her alone! Let her keep what she has for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have poor people with you, but you will not always have me.”

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.

Mothering Sunday – Sunday 27th March 2022

Luke 2: 33 -35
The child’s father and mother were amazed at the things Simeon said about him. Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother, “This child is chosen by God for the destruction and the salvation of many in Israel. He will be a sign from God which many people will speak against and so reveal their secret thoughts. And sorrow, like a sharp sword, will break your own heart.”

Prayers by Naomi

Lord, thank you for all mothers. For the new ones, who endure sleepless nights with infants in arms. For the busy ones, who juggle the pressures of home and family life. For the steadfast ones, who nurture and care for our special vulnerable children. For the patient ones, who always seek to forgive and engage with their pre-teens. For the persistent ones, who cleverly find new ways to connect with their mini-adults. For the mother aunts, who step in to cradle and care for nieces and nephews. For all grandmas, who love and support their precious grandchildren. For the foster mums that are called to gather and cover the fragile ones. For the Sunday mums who care for our children and lead them in faith. For the mums who give far beyond their own resources, who overcome disability to cherish and love.

Lord in Your Mercy: Hear Our Prayer

Thank you Lord for all our beautiful mothers. Help us to support them and keep them in our prayers. May you bless them now on this their special day.

Lord in Your Mercy: Hear Our Prayer

Dear God, Thank you for my mum. She works so hard to take care of me. Help me to be more thoughtful of her, To notice when she is tired, and be kind and helpful. Help me to cheer her up with hugs and humour when she is down. To spend time with her, and to listen to her worries. To give to her, and to thank her each day. Help me to do nice things for her. She is a good mum. Please look after her, Help her at work. Help her to rest, And give her health and happiness every day.

Lord in Your Mercy: Hear Our Prayer

Lord, thank you that you are with us as we mother, For you know us, love us and care for us. May we learn to rest in your care, And to lean on you as we give out to our children. May we know your peace in the chaos, Your truth in the challenge, And your hope in the hardship.

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 of compassion,
whose Son Jesus Christ, the child of Mary,
shared the life of a home in Nazareth,
and on the cross drew the whole human family to himself:
strengthen us in our daily living
that in joy and in sorrow
we may know the power of your presence
to bind together and to heal;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

Reading:

Luke 2: 33 -35
The child’s father and mother were amazed at the things Simeon said about him. Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother, “This child is chosen by God for the destruction and the salvation of many in Israel. He will be a sign from God which many people will speak against and so reveal their secret thoughts. And sorrow, like a sharp sword, will break your own heart.”

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: 3rd Sunday in Lent
(1 Corinthians 10 1-13 & Luke 13: 1-9)

Lord, as we continue on this journey of lent may the words that I speak be your words and may our eyes and ears be open to your message and see the paths before us. By your power, and through your grace, Amen.
Before I leave you with this week’s sermon, I just wanted to take the opportunity to publicly thank each one of you. As you know I finish today for maternity leave, and it is an opportunity to reflect in general on ministry and life. I know I mentioned at the APCM meeting, but so as many of you can hear as possible, I want to thank each and one of you for all the support, kind words, and encouragement that you have given to me over last two- and a-bit years since arriving in Heywood. This support and encouragement has come, not just the core team, but from everyone of you sat in church today, or reading this sermon via e-mail or online.
The start of my first incumbency post was not as planned at interview. However I feel that despite the challenges and struggles of covid, there have been many positives to. They have included, just to name a few, to get to know you all quickly pastorally, as well as by name, to get to know the history of the churches which play a large part of who you are today, and to really understand priorities in each mission action plan and vision, resulting in, as many of you know, much work has happened, started, or is in the pipeline. Being called by God to be many roles – ordained, mum, wife, me, friends, etc, etc is sometimes hard to juggle, and at times that does mean that one, two or more make sacrifices for the others, hopefully though in equal measures across a period of time. However, this week marks one of those occasions when the role of mum prioritises the rest. So, as I step back from public ministry for a short while I want to assure you that you all will continue to be in my prayers and thoughts, that I am not disappearing and will be around, so please don’t think you cant stop and speak to me when you see me, and I look forward to by return with you all formally in November where I will return part time, before returning full time towards the end of January.
But first – let’s get back to those readings for today – and if we thought last week’s readings were a challenge, well they were easier compared to this week readings. And for the observant amongst you, this week we seem to be going backwards into Luke’s Gospel, not forwards – I had to triple check the readings were correct.
To add a little context to our bible reading and for you picture how big of a tree we are talking about today. Well, a fig tree is well known to be – the Trunk three feet in diameter, it can grow up to 30 feet tall and the spread of the branches can be 30 feet wide. But before the parable of the fig tree, the Gospel starts with people sharing with Jesus the story of the Galileans who died because it is thought that they did not repent therefore were perished. This type of conversation was probably a common subject of conversation in Jerusalem and we can believe that the people in the conversations never thought of their own ending to life. Yet it is just the same in this present day. How easy do we find it to talk about other people’s death, accidents and life’s sudden events – But, how easy is it to talk about your own death, to discuss what will happen after life in this place, in this world. It is not as easy is it – we may joke and may laugh about it, yet if you stopped and thought deeper about it I suspect it will be unnerving and upsetting knowing that you are leaving loved ones and friends behind.
Jesus reminds us that our own feelings and future situations should be our first concern in order to truly feel and share love and compassion for all others who suffer or need to hear God’s words. In this first section the Lord lays down the necessity of repentance. He firstly tells us look at home and reflect upon our own lives followed by telling us twice but unless you repent, you too will all perish – unless you repent, you too will all perish. One of the true foundations of Christianity is that we have all sinned and will sin again – part of human nature – but it is what we do after we have sinned that makes us Christian people. We must repent and we must believe in the Gospel. Without repentance towards God and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ no man can be saved. The nature of repentance is clearly laid down in Holy Scripture – It beings with the knowledge of sin, goes on to teach sorrow for sins, leading to Confession of sin before God. Repentance like this is the characteristics of all true Christians.
Jesus in the Gospel reading then goes on to explain the choice of repentance or perish in the parable of the Fig Tree. The vineyard owner represents God – he expects to see fruit on his trees and decides to destroy it when he finds no fruit growth for a third year. Three years was significant because for three years John the Baptist and Jesus had been preaching the message of Repentance through Israel for this amount of time, this was significant to the tree because the fruit of repentance were not forthcoming. John the Baptist had warned the people about the Messiah coming and told them to bring forth fruits of repentance because the axe was already laid at the root of the tree – but still no one came, the people of Israel had other ideas and said that they didn’t need to repent.
The Gardener who cares for the tree represents Jesus. Jesus is the one who waters and fertilises the trees bringing them to their peak of fruitfulness, he feeds his people and gives them living water. In the parable the gardener pleads with the owner for a little more time, more time to tender the tree encouraging the fruit to grow, with this plea the Owner of the vineyard – God – gives more time and responds with patience. But how much more time will he give.
Lastly the tree represents us as individuals, people to be shaped and bear fruit with the help of Gods will and Jesus’ tendering but we it is important to note that this message also highlights that we to need to do some work. Our first part is to think about our own lives and to be honest with ourselves about our lives. We need to learn how to accept our sins and repent them by asking for God’s forgiveness through actions by going out and putting it right if we can or through personal or group prayer. Secondly it is about being concerned and God loving to neighbours. But how much more time will he give?
Borrowed time does not last forever and God’s patience does have a limit. In the parable another year is granted in the same way God in his mercy grants us another day, another hour, another breath. Christ stands at everyone’s heart knocking to gain entrance and requiring repentance from sin. And if we chose to open the door of our hearts and repent from sin we will bear fruit on our tree saving ourselves from perishing. We all live on borrowed time and our judgment is near.
So, I just want to leave you with this short passage I have read and maybe offer it as our prayer of reflection today – We are very slow to remember that we are accountable to God for all we enjoy and that to whomsoever much is given, of them much will be required. Let us awake to a sense of these things. We are the most favoured nations upon earth. We are in the truest sense ‘a fig tree planted in a vineyard.’ We must look to our own hearts and never let us forget that God expects from us fruit. There is everything to encourage us to begin. Christ invites us. God’s willingness to receive us abounds throughout the word. There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repents. Therefore, let us arise and call upon God.

Prayers by Tony

We have God’s invitation to come and drink freely of his spirit, but if we keep refusing his offer it will eventually be withdrawn.
As we thirst for God in our lives, let us pray to him now.

Father, we thirst for your meaning and your guidance in all our work and worship and praise.
Fill us so full with your Spirit that those we meet are drawn to meet you.

Living Spirit of God: Quench our thirst.

Father, in all the corruption and double standards which damage and unnerve our world, we thirst for your Spirit of truth, purity and goodness.

Living Spirit of God: Quench our thirst.

Father, we thirst for your Spirit of love which notices needs, considers no job beneath itself, and delights in each person’s gifts.

Living Spirit of God: Quench our thirst.

Father, we thirst for your Spirit of compassion which binds up wounds, supports the nervous and frail, and visits the imprisoned and afraid.

Living Spirit of God: Quench our thirst.

Father, we thirst for your Spirit of life as we call to mind those who have come to the point of earthly death.
May they, and we in our turn, find eternal refreshment and peace with you.

Living Spirit of God: Quench our thirst.

Father, may we thank you with our lives as well as our lips for the constant outpouring of your Spirit to us throughout our lives.

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,
whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain,
and entered not into glory before he was crucified:
mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross,
may find it none other than the way of life and peace;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

Readings:

Reading 1: 1 Corinthians 10: 1 – 13

I want you to remember, my brothers and sisters, what happened to our ancestors who followed Moses. They were all under the protection of the cloud, and all passed safely through the Red Sea. In the cloud and in the sea they were all baptized as followers of Moses. All ate the same spiritual bread and drank the same spiritual drink. They drank from the spiritual rock that went with them; and that rock was Christ himself. But even then God was not pleased with most of them, and so their dead bodies were scattered over the desert. Now, all this is an example for us, to warn us not to desire evil things, as they did, nor to worship idols, as some of them did. As the scripture says, “The people sat down to a feast which turned into an orgy of drinking and sex.” We must not be guilty of sexual immorality, as some of them were — and in one day 23,000 of them fell dead. We must not put the Lord to the test, as some of them did — and they were killed by snakes. We must not complain, as some of them did — and they were destroyed by the Angel of Death. All these things happened to them as examples for others, and they were written down as a warning for us. For we live at a time when the end is about to come. Those who think they are standing firm had better be careful that they do not fall. Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally comes to people. But God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out.
Gospel Reading: Luke 13: 1 – 9
At that time some people were there who told Jesus about the Galileans whom Pilate had killed while they were offering sacrifices to God. Jesus answered them, “Because those Galileans were killed in that way, do you think it proves that they were worse sinners than all the other Galileans? No indeed! And I tell you that if you do not turn from your sins, you will all die as they did. What about those eighteen people in Siloam who were killed when the tower fell on them? Do you suppose this proves that they were worse than all the other people living in Jerusalem? No indeed! And I tell you that if you do not turn from your sins, you will all die as they did.” Then Jesus told them this parable: “There was once a man who had a fig tree growing in his vineyard. He went looking for figs on it but found none. So he said to his gardener, ‘Look, for three years I have been coming here looking for figs on this fig tree, and I haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it go on using up the soil?’ But the gardener answered, ‘Leave it alone, sir, just one more year; I will dig round it and put in some manure. Then if the tree bears figs next year, so much the better; if not, then you can have it cut down.’ ”
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: 2nd Sunday in Lent
(Philippians 3:17-4.1 & Luke 13:31-end)
Lord, as we continue on this journey of lent may the words that I speak be your words and may our eyes and ears be open to your message and see the paths before us. By your power, and through your grace, Amen.
You may be thinking, as I did when I first read the readings in preparation for today’s sermon– well what a cheery set of readings. Well, that’s because on the second Sunday of Lent it is traditional to enter into a place of lament. But dig a bit deeper into the readings and not only is there lament there is hope too. In our first Paul is lamenting over the persecution of the Philippian church, but in doing so finds the people of the church are encouraged by the hope of heaven and the examples of Jesus. Jesus in our Gospel reading is lamenting over a rebellious Jerusalem but offers hope, through his determination. A determination to finish his teaching and complete what lies before him in those final days of Holy Week and Easter. Despite being warned against Herod and the help that is offered to protect him. So where does this leave us.
I wounder are you one of those people who play along with TV quizzes at home. I want to highlight those occasions maybe lots, or in my case a small few, whereby you know the answer, but the person on TV is not listening or taking notice of you, and selects the wrong answer, oblivious to your offers of help. Now I wounder how many of us are honest enough to say our relationship with God may be the same at some points in our life. but the difference is we can hear God, he can hear us, but this time it is our choice to ignore him.
Jesus, as expressed in the Gospel reading, had so often longed to gather up the people of Jerusalem into his flock. However, he certainly wouldn’t force his love and help on anyone who refused it – Jesus often invited and supported those who chose to follow. Yet we know, from those who chose to follow lament is overtaken by the messages of hope, promises and resurrection.
By choosing to follow God we have our faith as an anchor. As a result, it means that we can live a life with hope even in the darkest of times, and during a time of lament even live a life of vulnerability. So how do we do this…
Well, this week readings for our services have been around prayer. And the reminder to Ask, Seek and Knock. Sometimes the Lord will answer our prayers just off the first condition – asking – and you do not have to go into any kind of seeking and/or knocking mode to get Him to answer the prayer. But then there will be other times that He will want us to go into some kind of seeking and/or knocking mode with Him before He will answer our prayers.

Experience and conversations tell me that as Christians we can walk away too soon from our prayer rooms with the Lord. We maybe ask the Lord once or twice for whatever it is we are wanting from Him – and when He does not answer our prayers off our initial request, we walk away thinking that He does not want to answer our prayer – not realizing that maybe the Lord was really wanting to answer our prayer in the first place, but that He was wanting us to go into some kind of seeking and/or knocking mode to get Him to release it to us. But what does this seeking and knocking look like.

Prayer is not just about asking and receiving, some prayer is about action to. And seeking means coming to the Lord as you pray and saying, “Lord, what can I do to be part of Your answer to my prayer? Lord, I want my heart to be surrendered to You, and I want my life to be obedient to You, so that You can do in me what You want to do.” That’s a hard thing to do sometimes because it means we need to listen.

Sometimes we have prayers that we constantly repeat, for weeks, months and maybe years. It is important to note and remember today that God is not hard of hearing. He could come to the door the instant you do that, or even before. But sometimes, and the point of Jesus’ teaching, is that in God’s wisdom, in His love, and in His grace, He leaves us…standing at the door, knocking. Jesus reminds us that if we keep on knocking, like he does with Jerusalem, then how much more will our Father in heaven, who loves us with all of the love of His heart, how much more will He answer us when we persist, and we endure, and we keep praying? So, as we enter this period of Lament let’s remember to pray with endurance, hold on to the promises and seek out the Hope that lies before us. Amen

Prayers by John

Let us pray in the power of the Holy Spirit who guides and enables the people of God.
Lord as your word has been revealed from the days of Abraham until this time make us faithful in our generation to believe your promises and follow the guidance of your Holy Spirit. During this period of Lent, give us a new awareness of your unique sacrifice on our behalf and teach us to be humble in acknowledging that all our gifts come from you for the service of people and the spread of your Kingdom. May you live in us so that in all our small acts of sacrifice the light of your resurrection may shine through and give them meaning.
Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer.

Lord, you walked on earth and told men to look around them to find God. And men saw the beauty and wonders of earth and sky, of flowers of field. When we look around we often see factories, offices, houses, cars and traffic and it is easy to forget that the world belongs to God, help us to recognise God’s presence in our modern world, in wonders of science, in discoveries man has made, in finding and using the resources of the earth. We pray that we may be careful stewards of all your bounteous gifts to us and that we may never cease to marvel in the wonder and mystery of your creation.

Lord, we pray for and give you thanks for our community, our neighbours, friends and for people around us with whom we work and share our daily lives. We pray for those who are old and lonely, those isolated because of ill-health, and those who find it difficult to be accepted. Show us all what we can do to help those around us and teach us to be good neighbours and true friends.
Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer

Lord, we acknowledge with shame and sorrow of all the sin, hatred and injustice which have led and still leads us to violence and war. We pray for the situation in Ukraine. We pray that the peace that is your will seems so far away, we pray that that nations and people everywhere may turn to you the Prince of Peace so that war and terror, cruelty and hatred may end in peace and justice, kindness and love may reign.
Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer.

We thank you Lord for your many miracles of healing and pray for all who administer to the sick and infirm. We bring before you in a moment of quietness those we know or love who are ill or in need at this time, we name them in our hearts. We especially pray for John Paul Bamford and Fred Spencer. We pray that your blessing be upon them and those who love and care for them, and we pray that they may find encouragement and peace, that their sorrows and concerns be transformed into comfort, and their loneliness into fellowship with you.
Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer.

Lord, we ask you to be with all those who are grieving today over the loss of a loved one. May their sorrow be lit with the brightness of the Resurrection. May they be assured that they will meet again those whom they have loved and lost for a while.
Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer.

Lord, as we go out into the world today we remember that your son was tempted by the forces of evil but chose faithfulness rather than popularity, service instead of fame, sacrifice instead of power. These temptations still come to us Lord and we are far weaker. We pray for the strength to shun them as he did so that we may be of use to God and to man. You have taught us to overcome our sins with prayer, fasting and generosity, we pray that you accept our Lenten disciplines and when we fall by our weakness raise us up by your unfailing mercy.

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, you show to those who are in error the light of your truth, that they may return to the way of righteousness: grant to all those who are admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s religion, that they may reject those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

Readings:
Reading 1: Philippians 3:17-4.1
Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!

Gospel Reading : Luke 13:31-end
At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.” He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem! “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
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.

 

The First Sunday of Lent – Sunday 6th March 2022
Sermon Luke 4:1-13

Today’s Gospel reading is the story of Jesus’ temptation, as told in Luke.
The main part of this story is the three specific temptations that Satan puts Jesus through, but don’t forget about what Jesus was doing before all of this happened. He was just coming out of a 40 day long fast in which he ate nothing. Satan tries to capitalise on this in his first temptation when he says”if you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread. Jesus is fasting because the Holy Spirit led him to. Fasting trains him to resist those appetites so that he can better fight temptation. The season of Lent was traditionally observed as a 40 day fast and we still see people giving up something for Lent as such a discipline.

Jesus’ second temptation is the one where Satan offers Jesus all the kingdoms of the world in exchange for a single act of devil worship.
A question that might come up in Jesus ‘ second temptation is Satan telling the truth when he says that all the authority and glory over the kingdoms of the world are his to give. He’s telling Jesus I’ll back out and turn everything over to you. No more sin, no more sorrow, nothing. All I want in return is for Jesus to bow down in submission.
But Jesus ‘ plan is to one day restore earth to its former state, before sin and Satan corrupted it.
It doesn’t take a theologian to remember that “ you shall worship the Lord your God and serve him only “

So Satan moves to his third and final temptation. He takes Jesus to the top of the temple in Jerusalem and tells him to throw himself down.”Surely if you are the Son of God then God will protect you ?”
Why did Jesus come here? It wasn’t to show us how to overcome temptation, it wasn’t even to call us to repentance. It was to die.it was to subject himself to the most brutal, painful execution imaginable.
Jesus stands firm against Satan’s temptation,because he knows that God’s plan is the only way.
And why was he facing that death? For us. The fasting, the temptation, the rejection ‘ betrayal and crucifixion, all of it was for us, to save us. For all the times we fail at what Jesus succeeded at, when we give in to temptation, Jesus died to save us from that. And he rose from the grave to save us all from the death that inevitably takes us, so we can say with confidence that just as Christ our Saviour rose from the dead, so too shall we rise.
We are Jesus ‘ mission. May the sheer reality of that statement sink in this week, and may we answer God’s call to repentance as we continue our journey through the Lenten season.

In Jesus ‘ name, Amen

Prayers by Denise

Our Lord God knows us and the temptations we face. In the power of the Holy Spirit and in union with our Lord Jesus Christ we come to pray

The response when you hear the words, lord of lent is-

Renew our lives Lord of lent Renew our lives

Lord as we begin our Lenten journey, we are mindful of the temptations and suffering that your son Jesus Christ endured in the wilderness. May your Holy Spirit remind us of what is important and what is not. May your Holy Spirit strengthen us when we find ourselves wandering away from you in that desert of human failings and sinfulness. May your spirit give us wisdom to know what we need to change in our lives, so that by Easter we are renewed and strengthened to serve you in our church.

Lord of Lent. Renew our lives

God our father, we pray for your church throughout the world and in particular the churches in our new deanery. May we all in one spirit, have the desire to work together through prayerful action, finding new ways in making known your name to our wider communities. Loving God encourage us to go forward together in justice and peace. May our witness lead to the unity of our churches, and in one voice call upon all humanity to be responsible for creation and for our neighbours throughout the world.

Lord of Lent Renew our lives.

Lord of Lent, we know your love reaches out to everyone, to both the rich and those in need. As we acknowledge our own blessings, we pray for all your people whoever they are, wherever they live and whatever their circumstances. We pray that in their joys and sorrows the knowledge of your presence may bring comfort, healing and hope. Lord open our hearts and minds to the needs of others. As we reflect on our blessings. May this time of Lent be a good opportunity for each one of us to help make a difference in the lives of our neighbours, not only in our towns and cities but to our neighbours throughout the world.

Lord of Lent. Renew our lives

Lord, guide and strengthen the leaders of our world. Give your wisdom to all who rule and in government. We pray for those who are involved with famine relief and those seeking to bring peace amongst nations. We pray for families who have been forced to flee from their homes and communities through famine, war and oppression. Lord protect them on their journeys and bring them to a place of safety. We pray for all people, adults, children and babies who are now separated from loved ones. We pray for those people who are now protecting their communities, and homes in Ukraine, from Russian occupation. We pray for the many countries doing their best to make all people and children welcome and cared for and in those neighbouring countries.

Lord of Lent. Renew our lives

God our father, we thank you for the joy of human love, for our families and our friends, for loved ones who worry us because of health issues and the many people struggling with the after effects of the coronavirus. We pray for many thousands of sick people on hospital waiting lists which is causing so much pain and stress, not only to them, but to families and friends and all our health workers.
We bring before you now, those we love who are in need of hope and healing, and we name them silently in your presence.

Today we pray for Fred spencer.

Lord may your blessing rest on each person we have named, and surround them with your all-powerful love.

Lord of Lent. Renew our lives

Merciful god, we pray for all who have died: especially those who, by the example of their lives encouraged us in their faith.
We bring before you the close relation we still miss, and the friend whose death will always sadden us.
Lord may they and we share in the everlasting joy of your presence and our lives be richer because of their memory.

Lord of Lent Renew our lives.

Gracious God, as we move into the coming week, help us to take with us all that we have heard during our time together. May those words be grafted onto our hearts and produce in us, the fruits of a good life, to the praise and honour of your holy name.

Lord of Lent Renew our lives

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,
whose Son Jesus Christ fasted forty days in the wilderness,
and was tempted as we are, yet without sin:
give us grace to discipline ourselves in obedience to your Spirit;
and, as you know our weakness,
so may we know your power to save;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen
Readings:

Romans 10: 8b – 13
“God’s message is near you, on your lips and in your heart” — that is, the message of faith that we preach. 9If you confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised him from death, you will be saved. 10For it is by our faith that we are put right with God; it is by our confession that we are saved. 11The scripture says, “Whoever believes in him will not be disappointed.” 12This includes everyone, because there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles; God is the same Lord of all and richly blesses all who call to him. 13As the scripture says, “Everyone who calls out to the Lord for help will be saved.”

Luke 4: 1 – 13
1 Jesus returned from the Jordan full of the Holy Spirit and was led by the Spirit into the desert, 2 where he was tempted by the Devil for forty days. In all that time he ate nothing, so that he was hungry when it was over. 3 The Devil said to him, “If you are God’s Son, order this stone to turn into bread.” 4 But Jesus answered, “The scripture says, ‘Human beings cannot live on bread alone.’ ” 5 Then the Devil took him up and showed him in a second all the kingdoms of the world. 6 “I will give you all this power and all this wealth,” the Devil told him. “It has all been handed over to me, and I can give it to anyone I choose. 7 All this will be yours, then, if you worship me.” 8 Jesus answered, “The scripture says, ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve only him!’ ” 9 Then the Devil took him to Jerusalem and set him on the highest point of the Temple, and said to him, “If you are God’s Son, throw yourself down from here. 10 For the scripture says, ‘God will order his angels to take good care of you.’ 11 It also says, ‘They will hold you up with their hands so that not even your feet will be hurt on the stones.’ ” 12 But Jesus answered, “The scripture says, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” 13 When the Devil finished tempting Jesus in every way, he left him for a while.
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.

 

Sunday before Lent: 27th February
(2 Corinthians 3: 12-4.2 & Luke 9: 28-36)

Lord, open our ears and hearts so that we listen to you call and respond with our actions. By your power, and through your grace, Amen.
Between the end of Epiphany and start of Lent next week, the church has had a couple of weeks of ordinary time (the green season in the church). Ordinary time is a chance for us to reflect on our faith. And this week, we are encouraged to look at our own personal faith and how it affects our own lives, with Lent on the horizon.
The Gospel reading from Luke comes just after Jesus has been telling his disciples about the necessary suffering and death that is going to occur before his coming in glory. It could be said that this experience prepares the disciples for what is about to come. Now Peter, James and John were disciples who asked Jesus on a number of occasions if he was the Messiah. Having accepted Jesus’ call to follow, they knew that something was special about him and had already seen a number of miracles and listened to his teaching. Yet they still needed confirmation of who Jesus really was. Peter, James and John, became close friends of Jesus’, and were the three who made the journey up the mountain with him. While on top of the mountain we hear Jesus’ glory being revealed by God. This is shown with a bright dazzling light and the appearance of two Old Testaments prophets Moses and Elijah. While on the mountain two things then occurred. Elijah and Mosses began to talk to Jesus, the first confirmation that Jesus was the messenger from God. The second thing to happen, seeing that the disciples were scared, was that God overshadows them and says – ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him! God for the second time, the first being Jesus baptism, declares that Jesus is in fact his son. This whole experience is known to many as the story of the transfiguration.
Now, none of us was there, but I suspect if we were, we would have wanted to come down that mountain and tell everyone what we had seen. To share that we had seen Moses and Elijah, people we had heard about, and that we had heard God declare Jesus as his son for the second time, and that Jesus was the Messiah. Yet, on the way down, Mark’s version notes Jesus instructs the disciples that they must not say anything until Jesus had been raised from the dead, today we hear they did keep silent. On reflection I suspect trying to tell people of this experience could be tricky. With the possibility of being laughed at or turning people away from faith, to the possibility of being put in prison for false proclamation. But at the same time, it was an experience that confirmed what they believed in and was possibly even a spirit filled experience that was hard to keep quiet about. So, what were they to do with this new experience and information?
Today, our reading from Pauls letter to the Corinthians, refers to the Old Testament reading from Exodus about Moses. In the old testament reading Moses learns the difference about being with God among other people and being with God alone. However, this lesson involves both costs and gifts. The cost is that when in front of others the cost of sharing our faith and gifts is one that can often hide our true self and costly as we put God’s doing first. Whereas when with God alone, we can be unveiled and our true self, both joys and struggles alike. What Paul is teaching from his understanding of this passage is that, as Christians we actually need to learn to live a life unveiled in all aspects, not just with God, or not just with others. However in order to do so, we need to truly know and understand ourselves with God and before God.
Paul often talks about the God revealing himself is only meaningful to those who believe and that the glory of God is not easy to see unless God shines his light into our lives and gives us understanding. For John, Peter and James, God has just revealed the glory of God to them, but the understanding is yet to come. And it is only at point of receiving the understanding that they can then proclaim the glory of God to others. Of course, this coming of understanding, is revealed at Easter in Jesus’ post resurrection. However, in the meantime the three disciples have time to process what has happened and reflect on their own personal relationships with God. in other words, reflection on being with God.
Today, we have the faith story to date (a lot more than the disciples) and an understanding of God’s glory post resurrection, but we too can only proclaim God’s glory if we ourselves have an understanding of it and have experiences to share with others. God sends to each of us a number of messages in a number of ways. But in order to explain them to others we need to first see the message and secondly spend time to explore what the message means. It is only then that we can then go and share these messages with others. Therefore, as encouraged in this season and in to lent let us all spend time to listen and to be open God’s messages. And when they have been revealed, let us spend time to reflect on them and deepen our own faith, understanding and relationship with God, before we go and share. Amen.

Intersessions

Holy God, we are all companions on a spiritual journey and so as we travel together, let us pray together.

Holy God, sometimes our lives are so full of worries that we forget how you look after us through every aspect of our lives. When our worries begin to spiral out of control, help us turn them into a conversation with you, confident that you will calm our anxiety and give us hope for the future.

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

Gracious God, we pray for your church, and the churches in our local community. We give you thanks for those who come up with fresh ways of making your name known to the wider community and pray that you will inspire us as a parish and give us vision and courage to step out of our comfort zones as we serve you.
Loving God, as we enter the Lenten season of penitence and discipline, help us to be alive to your Spirit, who searches all our hearts and renews our lives as we offer our faith and obedience.

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

Mighty God we pray for peace and tolerance in your world. We pray particularly at this time for the situation in Ukraine, we think of ordinary people like ourselves who are caught up in violence through no fault of their own.
We pray for all in government, recognising the difficulties and challenges they face as they make decisions to ease Covid restrictions.

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, help us to be more loving in our homes. Make us thoughtful for others and help us to think of kind things to do. Keep us from grumbling and ill-temper and help us to be cheerful when things go wrong and our plans are upset. May we learn to love and understand each other and think of others before ourselves.

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray for all who are lonely; children who are being bullied and dare not tell anyone; shy people who find it hard to make friends; those who feel rejected and isolated; those whose partner has died or left them; and elderly people who miss their families and old friends.
We pray for those for whom this day will seem long and hard, for those in hospital or ill at home, those struggling with despair or depression,
those waiting for a job, or important news, or a friend to call.
We name in our hearts any people in special need.
Especially praying for new parents Khatija and Ricco also baby their daughter Layana born at 22 weeks.
Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind or spirit;
Give them courage and hope in their troubles; and bring them the joy of your salvation

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

We remember with deep gratitude those who have left their mark on our lives by giving us love and laughter, but have now gone to be with Christ. We hold them in our hearts, knowing that you Lord hold them in yours.
Hear us as we remember those who have died in the faith of Christ; according to your promises, grant us with them a share in your eternal kingdom.

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

Everlasting God, we ask you to lead us into the coming week. Help us to believe that you are close by us, keep us from making mistakes and help us to never disappoint you through our words and actions.

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 Father,
whose Son was revealed in majesty
before he suffered death upon the cross:
give us grace to perceive his glory,
that we may be strengthened to suffer with him
and be changed into his likeness, from glory to glory;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

Readings:
2 Corinthians 3: 12-4.2
Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness, not like Moses, who put a veil over his face to keep the people of Israel from gazing at the end of the glory that] was being set aside. But their minds were hardened. Indeed, to this very day, when they hear the reading of the old covenant, that same veil is still there, since only in Christ is it set aside. Indeed, to this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds; but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.
Therefore, since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart. We have renounced the shameful things that one hides; we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God’s word; but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God

Luke 9: 28-36
Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen listen to him!” When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.

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: Second Sunday before Lent – All Age St John’s.
(Revelation 4 & Luke 8: 22-25)

Lord may our ears be opened to hear your words and our minds and hearts be challenged by the message you give. Amen.
Today in our Gospel reading, we hear the familiar story of Jesus calming the storm. Jesus is asleep as the storm comes, and the disciples begin to fear for their lives. They begin to panic and in doing so, they wake Jesus. In their panic, I am sure they didn’t quite know how Jesus was going to respond, but to their surprise Jesus calms the storm and then begins to teach them, asking – Where is your faith?
This story has lots of parallels to life today. For some of us, we might have found ourselves on board a ship during a storm. But for others storms will be – times in our lives where things are not going according to plan, or there is too much going on, that we feel like everything is against us. But my first question today is – how do you usually react at first, not after some thinking time, but how to we instantly react……? For me, it is usually panic, maybe sometimes a little cry, and then usually a long to do list so things are on paper rather than in my head to sort out where next.
How about you?
You may have noticed in my example, that prayer wasn’t listed, as it is usually only after I have calmed down that I suddenly think oh, lets ask God to take care of this. Think part of that is the human side over taking the faith side just like the disciples. But let’s look back to Jesus’ questions to his disciples and to us – where is your faith?

Activity: – 3 Helpers
– So here I have three containers:
o The first cup is ourselves as human beings (vinegar)
o The second is a representation of the storms in our lives – what could these be?…… (Baking Soda)
o The third is Jesus / God / our faith. (Oil)

– Now – this is going to get messy like our storms and we need to be quick so are you ready,
o So, there is us going about our everyday lives
o And along comes a storm – add in the baking soda
o Now instead of panicking, worrying, running away, we this time pray as faithful people for some help.
This experiment reminds us what Jesus teaches us in our reading today. When we pray, and when we ask for God’s help things become calmer in our lives.
I am sure we have all heard people say and maybe even used ourselves – Well all we can do now is pray! When in the storms of life, I ask where is our God? Is God their all the time or like do we panic and only reach out when in real need.
The disciples had to learn to trust God and they could learn to do this because they had first-hand experience of God’s love that allowed them to see, receive and believe. We to all have first-hand experience of God’s love for each of us, otherwise we wouldn’t be here today. Therefore, I invite you today to ask yourself, where is God in my life? He is they’re in our lifeboat and if he is, is he asleep or awake? By this I mean, is Jesus with us on our life journey all of the time? Or is he with us but only when we really need him – in the storms after we panic? Or do we open our lives and allow God to take the wheel of the boat – all of the time. Some of these may seem obvious, others a little scary and harder to do, but remember allowing our Faith to lead our lives results in a less stormy life and one that is full of calm, love, protection and all that faith brings with it. Amen

Intercessions for Second Sunday before Lent YC
Let us pray

‘He commands even the winds and the water and they obey him.’

In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ, let us pray to the Father. Almighty God, our heavenly Father, you promised through your Son Jesus Christ to hear us when we pray in faith.
Blessed are you, Lord our God, for you created the world out of chaos and when chaos seeks to overwhelm us you offer us your presence and your peace. You are ever with us in the storms of
life and we know you as our Saviour.

Silence

Master, you still the raging waters. Come to your Church and speak your words of peace
to disputes and fears. We remember all who are struggling with their faith, all who do not know
you or love you. May your Church bring to them the knowledge of your love and of your
Almighty Power.

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer.

Master, you bring calm to the storm. Come to your world and speak your words of justice to conflicts. We pray for the work of the United Nations and all peacekeeping forces.
We remember all who are caught up in the violence of war or tyranny. We ask your blessing upon
all who feel they cannot survive on their own.

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer.

Master, you bring people together in love. Come to our homes here in Heywood and speak your words of comfort and joy. Help us to reveal your peace in our dealings with our neighbours and
with our own families and loved ones. We ask your blessing on homes in our parish that are sinking into deep debt or where families are unable to cope with each other.

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer.

Master, you hear our cries of desperation. Come to us in all our weakness and speak your words of compassion and mercy. Today we have been asked to pray for:…..
And any others that are known only to us or to you Lord.
We pray for those who have chronic illness and have to live in constant pain.
We ask for God’s comfort and reassurance to support them.

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer.

Master, you delight our hope with visions of your heavenly glory. Come to our dying and speak
your words of salvation. Today we pray for:…… recently departed.

Along with:…… Whose Anniversary falls at this time.

We pray for friends and loved ones who have passed beyond the storms of life: may they rejoice
in the joy of your presence and in your everlasting peace.

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer.

Let us now take time to offer our own prayers to God our Father.

Silence

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer.

Master, as we trust in your unfailing love of God for all that he has made,
we offer our prayers and praise before him.

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,
you have created the heavens and the earth
and made us in your own image:
teach us to discern your hand in all your works
and your likeness in all your children;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who with you and the Holy Spirit reigns supreme over all things,
now and for ever. Amen

Readings:
Revelation 4
After this I looked, and there in heaven a door stood open! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the spirit, and there in heaven stood a throne, with one seated on the throne! 3 And the one seated there looks like jasper and carnelian, and around the throne is a rainbow that looks like an emerald. Around the throne are twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones are twenty-four elders, dressed in white robes, with golden crowns on their heads. Coming from the throne are flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and in front of the throne burn seven flaming torches, which are the seven spirits of God; and in front of the throne there is something like a sea of glass, like crystal.
Around the throne, and on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with a face like a human face, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and inside. Day and night without ceasing they sing,
“Holy, holy, holy,
the Lord God the Almighty,
who was and is and is to come.”
And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to the one who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall before the one who is seated on the throne and worship the one who lives forever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, singing,
“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.”

Luke 8: 22-25
One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they put out, and while they were sailing he fell asleep. A windstorm swept down on the lake, and the boat was filling with water, and they were in danger. They went to him and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he woke up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were afraid and amazed, and said to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?”
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: St John’s – 3rd Sunday before Lent
(1 Corinthians 15:12-20 & Luke 6: 17-26)

Lord, I pray open my mouth so that I can speak. Open our ears so that we can hear. And open our hearts so that we can change. By your power, and through your grace, Amen.

Over the last two years we have all become more aware about the pressures of money either for ourselves or for others. And I am sure many of us have already started to reflect and if needed prepare where possible for the months ahead, as outgoing cost increase, but income remains the same or becomes less for various of reasons. Although not a recession, we are all living in times of need and survival mode. But I wondered if I was to ask you to put on a piece of paper a value for your life today, would you just think about you as one individual, or would it include things you own. I ask this question because what is or what becomes visible in a time of need and survival, is not always money based but sometimes its material based. And I believe our readings today ask us some of the same questions and encourages us to evaluate our ways of living.

I don’t think, looking at past documents that I have shared this story before. If I have, I am sorry, but sometimes a repeated story fits perfectly into the message given. Professor John Hull was a lecturer at Queens, where I studied for ordination. He has sadly passed away now, but he always used to talk about a relationship between God and money and he gave many lectures on money having no value. Now, as someone who initially struggled with this, I ask you to bear with me a moment as I try to explain his thinking with some justice. He would take a note or coin and read all the information on it including the numbered figure, but then went on to describe it as only a piece of paper or a metal round shape. He describes money as a power object, something that we all use every day – we use our money in exchange of products, from a tin of veg to a house or a car, as promises in Cheques, I owe you’s or even in wills. However, the power we all use when using money is not always recognised, and John’s argument is based on this conclusion. Within exchanges of paper notes, metal shapes or promises – faith, trust and hope is present, things that as Christians we also spiritualty recognise in our Christian faith. The paper notes and coins have no true value, as we exchange them for items in faith, trust and hope that the note or coin will then be taken by another person in that same faith, trust and hope, and so on and so on. John believes that for this reason without faith, trust and hope, it would not be possible to have a successful monetary system. So, how does this thinking of money impact our faith and the readings we have heard today?

In our Gospel reading, we hear Luke’s version of Jesus’ sermon on the mount. And compared to Matthew’s version, Luke writes in very simple terms. Luke reminds us that it’s how we look and see things that makes us the people we are. In other words, if we see money as rich, take food for granted and live an expensive livelihood and want others to see our lives, in other words show off, we will not be spiritually rich or with God. However, if we see what we have as a gift, be thankful for what we get and don’t take any more than we need and reach out to those in need. Our lives will also be full for God and by being thankful for the things we do have, and by not wanting any more we will in fact be richer in spirit and in relationship with God.

This way of living is also encouraged in our reading from 1 Corinthians. Reminding us that our lives should be lived for and in God and how we live needs to be a representation of God’s love for all on earth, and God’s love and promises for those who follow and then die into the eternal kingdom.

We are today encouraged to reflect on our lives and on our attitudes towards value, greed and possession. And in doing this, you may be surprised that I am not going to tell you that following the service you need to go and give up your car, phone, ipads, best frock or even your holidays or day trips (I will save that for another day). No, in fact you will never hear me say that, because I understand the importance of things in people’s lives, and it’s back to John’s message about how an item is seen and used. However, today we ARE encouraged not to hide our needs and desires but to think them through and reflect on how we buy and use them and how we share with others our wealth and possessions.
Therefore, you might regularly want to ask yourself–
Do you see and use money as a greed, or do you gift or exchange in faith, trust and hope?
Do you store up the things you desire, or do you live using your possessions in order to share God with others?
Do you “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth”?

It is up to us to be mindful of our choices, choose to a person of woe – rich in processional treasure or be a person of blessing – be rich seeking God and being rich with God’s love. Amen

Let us pray

‘When two or three gather together in my name, I will be there with you.’
Let us ask God to listen now as we bring our needs before him in our prayers.

We pray for the Church and its entire people; that we may warmly welcome fellow Christians, in mutual love and respect. May we all grow in understanding and unity with each other. We pray for all who work to spread the Good News; that they may share the peace of Jesus Christ with everyone who makes them welcome.

Let us pray for the nations of our world and for their people, who long for justice, equality and an end to poverty; may we as Christians recognise the dignity and rights of our neighbours and do everything we can to satisfy and meet their needs.

In your name Father help them to maintain truth and righteousness throughout our world.

We pray for our town of Heywood, for any families who are suffering the pain of conflict; may they find comfort and support through the love and friendship of their neighbours and friends. We pray that you will bless all children everywhere and keep them safe from danger and harm. May parents, teachers, group leaders and all who care for children always do so with love and respect for them.

We pray for the sick and all who suffer; may the power of your healing love touch their lives and fill them with strength and hope. Let us now take time in silence to remember friends and family who are ill at this time. Especially praying for John Paul and Brenda Foxley.

Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind or spirit, give them courage and hope in their troubles and bring them the joy of your salvation.

Jesus suffered and died on the cross; let those who are dying find hope and peace as they prepare to pass from this life into the kingdom of paradise. Today we remember:

Maureen Barr recently departed

Lord Jesus, be with all her family and friends who morn her passing at this time.

Let us now take time in silence to remember our friends and loved ones now departed.

Silence

Grant us with them a share in your eternal kingdom.

God our Father, we ask you to hear our prayers.
Bless us with your love and compassion.
Send your Holy Spirit to set our hearts alight
with the flames of faith and love.

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,
who alone can bring order
to the unruly wills and passions of sinful humanity:
give your people grace
so to love what you command
and to desire what you promise,
that, among the many changes of this world,
our hearts may surely there be fixed
where true joys are to be found;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen
Readings:
1 Corinthians 15:12-20
Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ–whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.

Luke 6:17-26
He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them. Then he looked up at his disciples and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. “Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets. “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. “Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry. “Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep. “Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.”

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.

4th Sunday before Lent – 6th February 2022
(Luke ch.5 v1-v11)

Lord speak to us through your word and may our hearts respond in love.- for in your name we pray. Amen.

Picture the scene, Simon and his crew had been fishing all night unsuccessfully. They would be tired, ready for some sleep, possibly hungry and had just spent time mending their nets ready for their next fishing trip. Along comes Jesus and asks them to go out onto the lake again.
However, Jesus then goes one step further and instructs Simon to go into deeper water and let down their nets for a catch.
Simon explains they have fished all night and caught nothing.
He must have wondered what this carpenter by trade, now preacher, knew about fishing. His request didn’t make sense, the fish didn’t bite in daylight hours, they had just mended their nets, this would mean more work for the already exhausted crew, was this going to be a waste of time?
However, this is not Jesus’ first encounter with Simon for in chapter four we are told of Jesus healing Simon’s mother-in-law and this may well have been why he agreed for Jesus to use his boat as a floating pulpit, but this instruction to go fishing again was asking for a lot of faith on Simon’s part.
He had a choice to make, he could continue arguing his point of view as an experienced fisherman, or he could obey Jesus.
He makes the right choice, down go the nets and the miracle of the huge catch that filled not only Simon’s boat, but that of his partners, James & John, we are still reading about today.
What Simon and his crew had failed to achieve all night Jesus achieved over and above in a short time.
He had seen Jesus perform other miracles but this was different, this was meeting Simon where he was in his everyday life, earning his living as a fisherman.
Simon is caught by surprise. In the midst of his ordinary daily grind, and in fact, after a particularly lousy night at work, he is encountered by one who changes everything.
They are afraid their boats will sink, but Jesus reassures them and tells them not to be afraid.
Simon was no more sinful than any other human being but recognises his unworthiness in the presence of this miracle worker.
Jesus assures him from now on there will be opportunities for Simon to help others come to faith.
This text offers rich possibilities for reflecting on how God calls ordinary people like you and me to discipleship and mission.
Throughout Scripture we see that human sin, failure, and inadequacy are no obstacles to God’s call.
He comes to help us, to heal us, to lead us and support us.
But like Simon he does ask for our obedience – Simon had to turn from self-sufficiency to relying on God to guide: Simon obeyed: a miracle was performed: blessings resulted: not just for Simon but for his partners too.
Jesus will have much to teach these new disciples and the more time they spend with him, the more they will learn.
God calls them as they are and then works on shaping them into faithful servants.
All of us are called daily to align our priorities in keeping with God’s priorities, which may mean a change in our attitude and our behaviour.
We all are called by virtue of our baptism to participate in God’s mission to the world and to use the gifts God has given us in service to others, to share the good news of Christ in word and deed.
The need for the gospel in this broken world is urgent.
We are called right now — even in spite of our frailty, failures, and doubts, even in the midst of our ordinary, busy, complicated lives.
There is a cost to becoming a disciple but the results are well worth it.
The rewards far outweigh the cost. This is what Simon realized.
Jesus’ words to Simon are also words to us: “Do not be afraid.”
We trust that he will keep working with us and through us, “catching” others as he has caught us — in the deep, wide net of God’s mercy and love.
We trust, finally, that the catch is in God’s hands, and that God’s desire is for the nets to be bursting and the boats full.

Prayer:
Lord, time & time again you have chosen the humble, the insignificant, and worked out your purposes through them. You have shown your strength in what the world calls weakness.
Teach us what that means for us today – that you can use us beyond our imagining,
that you can take what seems unimportant and turn it into something wonderful,
that you can work among us in ways that exceed our wildest expectation.
Teach us to see life not merely from our own perspective but from yours,
and so may your strength be made perfect in our weakness.
Lord in your mercy – Hear our prayer.

Prayers from Joan:

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

Gracious God, we pray for the church, giving thanks for all who have been called to serve you in their own special ways. We pray for the clergy who often face the difficult challenges of ministering to more than one church. We offer grateful thanks to all who help in the running of the church and whose essential work often goes unseen. We pray for our PCC, members that they may be guided by Your Holy Spirit in the many decisions they have to make. We pray for our Sunday School teachers in their work with the younger members of our congregation. We pray for ourselves that we may find you calling us to serve you in whatever way we can.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer.

Lord God we pray for our world with all its many troubles. We especially pray for peace, thinking at this time of the people of Ukraine living with the threat of invasion. We pray that leaders will put aside their lust for power and come to see the futility and devastation of war.

We pray that all people in positions of power and authority will lead with decency and integrity, working for the benefit of all the people they are privileged to serve.

We pray for all living with the catastrophic effects of war in Afghanistan and Syria; the starving and the homeless. May they find help in their seemingly hopeless situation.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer.

Lord we pray for our communities, for all who are finding life difficult in these challenging times. We pray for those who are struggling to pay their bills as the cost of living continues to rise. We pray for the work of the food banks and give thanks for all those who volunteer to help people in need.

We pray for young people whose lives are blighted by the bad influences of social media and for those who are caught up in what is becoming the daily incidence of knife crime.

Lord in your mercy here our prayer.

Loving God, we ask for your healing presence to surround all those who are suffering from physical or mental illness. Comfort them Lord, in their pain, their fears and anxieties. We hold in our prayers John Paul Bamford and anyone known to us personally who is in need at this time.

We give thanks for all health care staff who work with such dedication in the face of so many relentless challenges and constraints.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer.

God of compassion, we bring before you those who have recently died, remembering Joan Prescott whose funeral was on Thursday and Lynn Power whose funeral takes place on Monday. Lord, comfort those who are grieving the painful loss of someone they love and grant them your strength and hope in the days to come.

We remember too those we have loved and whom we see no more but whose memories we treasure in our hearts.

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:
Lord of the hosts of heaven,
our salvation and our strength,
without you we are lost:
guard us from all that harms or hurts
and raise us when we fall;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen
Readings:
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you– unless you have come to believe in vain. For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them–though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe.

Luke 5:1-11
Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon CALLING OF THE APOSTLES PETER AND ANDREW, Lorenzo Veneziano, Staatliche Museen, Berlin, c. 1370. answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who are partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.
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 Notes (not a script) – St. Luke’s Heywood and St John’s, Hopwood – 30 January 2022 – “Candlemas” – Presentation of Christ in the Temple
Readings: Luke 2.22-40 and Hebrews 2.14-end

This a long-standing early church service of commemoration of what Luke calls the “purification” of Mary and the baby Jesus and the presentation of Jesus to the Lord, in the Temple a Jerusalem. In compliance with Jewish religious law after a birth (in Book of Leviticus). Involved dedication to the Lord Accompanied by a sacrifice of birds.
Then the extraordinary Simeon event. Revelation by the Holy Spirit. Man of faith. Promised by God that he would see the Messiah in his lifetime. Seemed to be waiting in the Temple for its fulfilment. He gave a blessing and used words handed down to us as the Nunc Dimittis (Song of Simeon), declaring:

• fulfilment of God’s promise to him
• Jesus is God’s salvation, i.e., coming from God
• It’s for all peoples (not just Jews)
• But will be to the “glory” of Israel, i.e., Jews will not be left out.

What does this event mean for us? What is the teaching?
The Nunc Dimittis enshrines the main elements of the Gospel itself.
God’s promises are true. He keeps them.
Jesus is our salvation – in himself, in his own body.
The salvation is for and open to acceptance by anyone and everyone.
He is a light (the light) for people who are outside the Hebrew religion or race, by which we can see God, who he is, what he is like and what he wants for and from us.
What can we learn from the passage?

• We need faith in God, in Jesus as Christ (the “anointed” one, the promised “Messiah”).
• We need to be steadfast in that faith, trusting in and patiently acting on it, as Simeon was and did.
• We should be alert to and listen for the promptings of the Holy Spirit – as presumably with Simeon, these can become apparent without miraculous happenings or appearances, but words or ideas that form in your mind or understanding, are good and in line with the character of Jesus and God, and perhaps also with things someone says to you unprompted.

Listen, Reflect, Pray, Act.

Intersessions

Loving Lord, as we recall the presentation of Jesus in the Temple, and the beginnings of a life of love and service to all men and women, we open our hearts and minds to Him and bring our cares and worries for your world and your people.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer

Our world is marked out by greed and selfishness and by the inhumanity which is so much part of our lives and those of every body around us. Help us learn how to put the needs of others more firmly before our own. May those who exercise power and authority in our communities use it wisely, and may we, and they, serve the Lord with gladness.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer

The world into which Jesus was born was like our own, divided by war and pestilence. We remember countries, known and unknown where fighting is part and parcel of daily life. We ask for peace in those places and that we may be peacemakers wherever we can.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer

We pray in the quietness of our minds for all known to us who we know have need of You.

Those who are sick, in hospital, those who are badly affected by the present financial trouble, those who are lonely or depressed, those who have no family help. Bless them and them comfort and assurance, and help.

Give your grace and strength to all whose life is built round caring for others.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer

May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace and rise in glory.

We pray for the life of Joan Prescott, whose funeral is held this Thursday.

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:
Almighty and ever-living God,
clothed in majesty,
whose beloved Son was this day presented in the Temple,
in substance of our flesh:
grant that we may be presented to you
with pure and clean hearts,
by your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen

Readings:
Hebrews 2:14-18
Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

Luke 2:22-40
When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed–and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was
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.

Epiphany 3 – 23rd January 2022
(1 Corinthians 12.12-31a & Luke 4.14-21)
Lord may our ears be opened to hear your words and our minds and hearts be challenged by the message you give. Amen.
Today I am going to concentrate on one section of today’s readings and that is – the word Spirit. This week whilst preparing and leading Holy Family’s Thursday’s Spiritual time I found my learning and speaking about Richard Rolle. Now this was mainly because his saints day fell on Thursday but interestingly his work also relates to our readings today.
So, in brief who was Richard Rolle: Richard Rolle was born in the North Riding of Yorkshire in 1305. The age in which he lived was one of change and worry with seemingly profound reasons for the success or failure of many communities and businesses. Richard started a degree at Oxford, but never completed it, choosing instead to live a life of solitary and settled close to some nuns at Hampole.
Richard wrote his most famous works: The Mending of Life, in the 1320s, and The Fire of Love, written about 1343. Three themes dominated Richard’s spirituality. Richard sought to encourage individuals to think of their personal journey towards God, rather than to see faith only as a communal activity. He stressed personal experience and regarded his experience as a justification of his own work and authority.
Richard based all his work around the experience and relationship with the Spirit. Richard saw no reason why an individual should not reach the highest level of spiritual life that can be attained on earth. He tried to communicate the unspeakable experience of God within himself to others and produced some of the most passionate writings about prayer.
So, what is the connection you might be asking? What is not obvious in each of our readings today is the spirit is mentioned at times of difficulty and become a teaching tool in each reading. In our Gospel reading we hear Jesus, who is filled with the Spirit himself, teaching to all who hear that the spirit is upon him and to all who hear the Spirit brings good news to all including the poor and oppressed. In our second reading from Pauls teaching he is reminding a broken church about the importance of working together in the spirit as Jesus previously taught. We today receive this same spirit as Jesus, Paul and Richard. Therefore, I ask whose spirit are we talking about, how do we receive it and what do we do with it.
Most people when the word spirit is mentioned makes an association with the Holy Spirit. But the spirit mentioned in the Gospel reading is told by Jesus himself, in our Old Testament there are lots of references to the Spirit pre-Jesus and only our Next Testament reading today is post Pentecost. Therefore, the Spirit mentioned, and the one I am talking about today is the spirit of God who calls and equips many people. In the Old Testament people are called to follow, in the Gospels called to acknowledge and learn and the New Testament called to act and do. This same message applies to us today.
How we acknowledge and receive God’s spirit is a subject that is so large today is just the edge of it. However, acknowledging it becomes a personal thing for each of us – my question is do you know when this is for you? It may be during worship, it may be the same time each week in another setting, or it may different each day or week, and comes as a surprise. However, it comes, it’s important that we recognise it in order to receive it.
Part of being a Christian and our calling is that once we acknowledge and receive, we then need to take-action. The learning from Richard is that once we have experienced the Spirit, we must allow it to affect what we do and have an impact on our growth and deepening of faith, in order to reach the highest level of spiritual life that can be attained on earth. In our readings today the message of the Spirit has been shared by example and telling of God’s message. We can all do this – As chosen people of God, we hear in Church God’s story and wonderfulness, and we need to share this with all those we meet and all that we do. Something we are reminded about regularly however something that can seem scary and difficult. But we are each chosen to receive the spirit and be part of the bigger body of Christ and we can do this by remembering one saying that was shared with me several times when exploring my ministry and I often remind myself of – and that is – God equips the chosen he doesn’t choose the equipped.
We may think we don’t have the skills to make big or little changes to others around us but with God’s spirit everything is possible. The spirit awaits and greets us, the spirit is sent to us by God and the spirit enables us to be God’s people.
Remember as Jesus said, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me, and he will provide. That’s because God equips the chosen, he doesn’t choose the equipped, and the chosen is, well each of us who come to church to receive his Spirit, and all who have a faith in God. Amen

Intersessions

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

O Lord, we give thanks for the miracles of your creation and for revealing ever more mysteries to marvel.
Use our curiosity to discover new remedies and therapies to enable us to live more fulfilling lives, physically and spiritually.
In reverence, teach us to care for all living creatures, plants and animals, for whom we have become responsible through our advances.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Lord, the effects of Covid have affected us all in one form or another, some more seriously than others. Help us to support each other through the problems we will face whether financially or physically.
While we may be weary of the restrictions we have had to take, please guard us against complacency and we pray for advances in treatments.
We pray for the homeless and destitute and for those who struggle with the complexities of life. May they realise their needs and seek assistance to put their life back on track.
May your Holy Spirit calm those who suffer from anxiety and depression.
For those whose lives have been blighted by violence find healing comfort that our Lord Jesus Christ came to bring good news to the poor and set free the oppressed.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Lord, we pray your authority will eventually overwhelm the evil acts of oppressors and bring release and peace.
Set free all who are suffering for their beliefs, whether they be Christian or otherwise, as we are all equal in your sight and are loved equally by You.
Lord, let us see the good in the each other and to pause when we are upset with someone.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

We pray that your Holy Spirit will fill for our churches with your love and compassion for all, lighting the lives of those struggling to find a new way of life.
We pray for our church leaders and clergy, that your Holy Spirit will guide them and lead us, as one body, to spread your Good News, in our own different ways.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Lord, we pray for all who are unwell, whether physically or mentally.
Comfort them in their anxieties and give them courage undergoing their treatments, which may be unpleasant.

We bring to you Jon Paul Bamford

We pray especially, for a moment, for those personally known to each of us.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Lord, we pray to you for those who have died recently and for those whose anniversaries fall at this time.
May they bathe in the light of Christ which shines eternally.

We pray for, Joan Prescott

Lord we pray for all whose lives are saddened by the death of a loved one, be with them in their grief and may they cherish their loving memories

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

In your presence, O Lord, we bring to you our own 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:
Almighty God,
whose Son revealed in signs and miracles
the wonder of your saving presence:
renew your people with your heavenly grace,
and in all our weakness
sustain us by your mighty power;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

Readings:
1 Corinthians 12 12-31a
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body– Jews or Greeks, slaves or free–and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God Reaching Out, Joining Hands, Carien Quiroga, Sherwood Recreational Center, Washington, DC has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But strive for the greater gifts.

Luke 4: 14-21
Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

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.

 

Epiphany 2 – Sunday 15th Jan 2022 – Wedding in Cana
Lord, as we continue to give thanks for your coming, allow our ears, eyes and hearts be opened to do your will and share in your joy, love and peace. Amen.
Since Christmas, we hear familiar stories in the Bible that are repeated not every three years, as most readings do, but every year. These stories are the start of Jesus’ ministry and him growing up from a Christmas day baby to an adult, who then goes on to minister to many and teaches many how to be disciples.
Our 1st reading today from 1 Corinthians starts to get us to think about our gifts. Now, I am sure we have all had experience of being asked, at some point in our lives, to list some of our skills and some areas of improvements. Now I am not sure about you, but the list of improvements is the one I find I start completing first, and the easier one to fill. It is only after a few attempts and with the help of others, that the skills list fills up. With this in mind, coming back to this thinking later on, I bring us to our Gospel reading. Here we hear about Jesus skills, and in fact his first miracle that is recorded to have been performed.
Our Gospel reading today tells us the story of the wedding in Cana where the host had given wine during their celebration, but this soon ran out. Jesus and his mother were at the wedding and having learnt that the wine had run out, Jesus mother ask Jesus to help with the situation. The disciples were instructed to do as they were told – they were told to fill 6 stone jars with water, but these weren’t little jars, each jar held 20 – 30 gallons. Jesus asks one of the disciples to take a cup from the jar and take it to the master of the banquet. Unknown too all, Jesus has turned the water into wine. Although, the wine is not any wine– the Master gives thanks to the bridegroom for saving the best till last. Now the wine has been referred to by other Disciples as being rich.
Jesus turned the water in to wine, not 2 – 3 weeks after the wedding, like a normal minimum process for wine making, but was instant, it was by a miracle. However, it is important to note that from this miracle his disciples saw what he had done and believed in him. And Jesus had not just made some wine, but in fact had stopped people from going without, by making enough to last for the time needed.
This story, and others similar, involve trust and belief in what God has asked people to do. The disciples trusted by doing as was asked and not knowing a miracle had occurred, took what they thought was water from the Jar and gave it to the master. How do you think they would have felt: nervous, worried, maybe even choosing who to take it? However, in return of trust wine was given – PHEW you might say.
This trust and belief in God, as experienced in the Gospel reading, is important when we think back to our skills and actions of everyday life. We are reminded in our Corinthians reading – there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.
If we had the Old Testament reading as well today, we would be reminded about the symbolism and importance of bread in our faith. Together, the two symbols of bread and wine, represent and remind us that Jesus died for us and gave his Body and Blood as a sacrifice so we can live our lives and live trusting that he will be with us each and every day. During a communion service when the prayer is prayed over the bread and wine these are blessed with the Holy Spirit becoming scared symbols of his Body and Blood.
The Holy Spirit is with all who have been baptised, and all who live out a live of discipleship. A life of discipleship is about recognising our God given gifts and using them in our lives. Being confident of what our skills are and being trusting that God is they’re in the form of the Spirit to guide and help us use them in ways that support and help others, as well as share the Gospel messages. Today’s being a reminder that God is there for everyone and will provide in abundance for our needs.
Today as we come to take communion, receive a blessing or just come and be in worship, we do so I hope, because we trust and believe in God and God’s promises, and with that we trust that the Spirit is at work within us. So, as we reflect this week, let’s ask ourselves, do we trust God every day and in everything that we do. When we truly trust God with our hearts and minds, we invite God to guide us, to help us and support us. So, let us allow God to make use our of skills, and be proud of them, allowing us to become the person God wants us to be, a person of true faith by trusting him always in not some, but all that we do. Amen

Prayers:

Drawn by God’s love and constant faithfulness to us, let us pray.

We pray for all those who would love to believe but cannot yet trust in the living God. We pray for those who have rejected God because of the unloving behavior of his followers. Fill us Lord: fill us to the brim.
We pray for all who give orders and have influence over other people. We pray that all peoples may be led justly and with sensitivity. Fill us Lord: fill us to the brim.
We pray for all our relationships which need your transforming love; we pray for those we irritate and upset and those who have hurt and upset us. Fill us Lord: fill us to the brim.
We pray for those whose lives feel empty and lacking real meaning. We pray for those whose frailty, pain or illness makes it difficulty to pray. In a moments silence we offer to God those whom we know need our prayer at this time, and those known only to God…………. Fill us Lord: fill us to the brim.
We pray for those who are dying and those who have completed their life on earth, that they may be brought to peace and everlasting joy. We especially pray for Lynne Power who passed this week and all whose anniversaries fall at this time. Fill us Lord: fill us to the brim.
We thank you for all the joys of loving relationships, all friendships we share, and the love we are enabled to give. 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,
in Christ you make all things new:
transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace,
and in the renewal of our lives
make known your heavenly glory;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

Readings:
Readings:
1 Corinthians 12: 1-11
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed and led astray to idols that could not speak. Therefore, I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says “Let Jesus be cursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.
John 2:1-11
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in 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.

Epiphany 1: Baptism of Christ – 9th January 2022
(Acts 8: 14-17 & Luke 3: 15-17,21-22)

Lord, open my mouth so that I can speak. Open our ears so that we can hear. Open our hearts so that we can change. By your power, and through your grace, Amen.

This morning I want to take you back to one of your memories – I want you to think about either your own baptism, the baptism of a family member or even a Baptism you have recently attended. Can you remember how you were feeling?
Before Jesus’ baptism the crowds of people saw him as one of them, just an ordinary human being. However, what we know today is that Jesus was not ordinary and in fact was sent by God to save human mankind. All Baptisms are special, but Jesus’ baptism was particularly special and at his baptism something happened that had never happened to anyone before. Our Gospel reading ends with that beautiful image of Jesus’ Father being very proud and expressing his love by tearing open heaven, sending down the Holy Spirit like a Dove and saying, ‘You are my Son, Whom I love; with you I am well pleased’.
This message was important, it showed everybody around that Jesus was in fact Gods Son, the one sent to save humankind, and God showed that the Holy Spirit – the dove – is a precious gift which is offered to every baptised person from that day on.
Jesus’ baptism was a way of God showing that he wants to have a loving relationship with everyone. And for those of us baptised at our baptism we entered into this loving relationship with God through the pouring of water and baptism blessing. This love, blessings and gift of the spirit is never ending and is given to sustain us today. God gives us the Holy Spirit at Baptism, and if baptised as a child this is then nurtured by parents and Godparents, but later in life it is something that, as we take on our own other aspects of living, we need to also to take on the care and acceptance that the Holy Spirit is also with us.
By acknowledging and making the most of its gifts we grow in relationship with God. Also, baptised or not, everyone who chooses to accept the gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives can share this gift through the lives in which we live. This is through the gifts of the fruits of the Spirit, which for a reminder are:
– Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control.
Jesus used all of these gifts in his teaching and daily life of ministry. Yes, sometimes challenging but each allowed a stronger relationship with God through the Holy Spirit which was within and around him at all times and also personal to him.
Jesus sets us an example of life and relationships with both God and Holy Spirit just as his Father had wanted. As disciples today, we are invited, as expressed in the readings today, through our Baptisms, or coming to faith, to start and / or flourish this relationship. Therefore, I invite us all this week to reflect upon our own Baptism’s remembering God is always with us to guide us whenever we need it. And to maybe take the time to also strengthen our relationship with God by considering how we share the fruits of the Spirit in our day to day lives?’ Amen
Prayers set for the Baptism of Christ Liturgy – at the ….. you are invited to add in your own concerns and prayers, or hold a short period of silence.

Jesus calls us out of darkness into his marvellous light.
Washed clean by the waters of baptism,
let us pray that we may live the life to which he has called us.
Lord Jesus, eternal Word,
proclaimed as the Christ by John the forerunner,
hear us as we pray for all who proclaim your word …

Lord of truth, hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, baptizing with the Spirit and with fire,
strengthen us to withstand all the trials of our faith ]

Lord of truth, hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, bringing forgiveness to all who repent,
teach your Church dependence on your grace …

Lord of truth, hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, fulfilment of the promises of old,
give hope to all who suffer or are ignored …

Lord of truth, hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, beloved Son of the Father,
anoint us with the gifts of your Holy Spirit …

Lord of truth, hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, bringer of hope,
share with all the faithful the riches of eternal life …

Lord of truth, hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus Christ,
in you the Father makes us and all things new.
Transform the poverty of our nature
by the riches of your grace,
and in the renewal of our lives
make known your heavenly glory.

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:
Heavenly Father,
at the Jordan you revealed Jesus as your Son:
may we recognize him as our Lord
and know ourselves to be your beloved children;
through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
Amen

Readings:
Readings:
Acts 8 14-17
Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. The two went down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit (for as yet the Spirit had not come upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus). Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

Luke 3: 15-17,21-22
As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

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 – Epiphany 2nd January
Ephesians 3. 1 – 12 / Matthew 2. 1 – 12

Lord, as we continue to give thanks for your coming, allow our ears, eyes and hearts be opened to do your will and share in your joy, love and peace. Amen.
Well, can you believe it’s a week since Christmas already and into the year 2022. Dare I ask – what will the year bring?
With Christmas and New Year comes the idea of a freshness, a starting again, a making changes, and our readings from Ephesians leads us to this message as well. But today as we think afresh, I also don’t want us to lose sight of the Christmas story too – as today we celebrate the arrival of the Kings. I may have mentioned it before, the arrival of the Kings having their own celebration is really important form a faith point of view. As if the Kings returned to Herod our faith would either be very different or non-existent today. Therefore, I thought the message I would take from our readings and celebration today is not about the gifts they bring, but about the journey they made.
If we think for a moment about journeys in our own lives, there are many varieties. Many of our day-to-day journeys are short and quick, such as, to get key jobs done, shopping, visiting near loved ones and general out and about to dos. But sometimes we have longer journey’s, maybe by car, train, plane or even boat. These tend to link to holidays. It is a journey that has an aim, but one that is exciting and one I hope no matter of it’s length the end goal is what keeps us journeying on. And then there is our life journey, much longer with some of the journey known and planned, much of it changes on route and can sometimes be unexpected. Our life journeys often become lots of smaller journeys put together. Journeys are very much integrated into our lives and our faith journey is no different.
I had never picked up, until reading a commentary the other day, and have checked, that the Kings were never told where Baby Jesus was. The angel’s told the shepherds where he could be found, but not the Kings. Therefore, their journey to Baby Jesus was one of mystery and one unknown. But interestingly once aware of his birth, they chose to go in search of what they were told – a king has been born. Now as they travelled from the East on an unknown journey, it makes sense that in looking for a King to stop at the palace as they pass. After all isn’t this where a new-born King would be. But to their surprise, and Herod’s, this is not the place. Yet, they don’t give up, instead they carried on searching but what were they now looking for. Of course, we know today what they were looking for, and know that the Kings did eventually find Jesus, offered him gifts that to Mary and Joseph may have seemed strange, but in the full story all make sense of what is to come.
Similar journeys of God’s mystery are noted in our New Testament to. As Paul awaits his conversation, God offers his blessing and guidance, but what the journey will look like and how it manifests itself is all a mystery yet to be revealed.
The journey for the Kings, seems to be one of challenge of God’s coming. In that God’s kingship is not what you might expect it to be, and his revelation is unpredictable. For Paul, it is the unknown of what is to come. However, in both stories, and hopefully recognisable in our own faith journeys so far, is the ability to recognise when the end of a particular journey section has been reached. The Kings leave presents and go home satisfied, and Paul becomes satisfied in his calling and conversion and lives this out in this future work.
As we continue to share and celebrate the blessings of Jesus’ first coming, and await his second, I invite you to become wrapped up in the mystery that surrounds our own and communal faith journeys’. That you are able to allow God to continue to bless and guide you to new places this year and as you journey you have lots of fresh experiences whereby you encounter God afresh and remembering that God is with you always both in the ordinary but also the most unexpected places too. Amen

Intersessions

God of yesterday, today and tomorrow, we give you thanks that you have walked with us through all that has happened to us through the events of
the past year. We thank you for all of the times when we have felt your presence with us as we faced difficult decisions or worrying situations.
We also thank you for those times when we felt fearful and alone, yet in spite of our frailty know that you have always been at our side.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

We are reminded this day of your deep love which guided travellers from foreign lands to worship at the birth place of our Saviour.
Give us open hearts and minds that we would be able to embrace those who are of different cultures and beliefs, and help us to appreciate how you work in the lives of people of other faiths, and people whose faith is known only to you.
Bless and protect all of those from other countries who live in fear for their safety in lands which are afflicted by political, religious or cultural intolerance.
We remember those who suffer from hatred and who live in fear and we are mindful of those who have fled their homes and seek safety in other countries
or in refugee camps. Give wisdom to world leaders as they seek to find ways to provide safety and shelter for those in need and may we always
appreciate the value of, and seek to protect each human life.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

At wintertime, we pray especially for the homeless, the elderly and housebound, and all those living alone. Help us to be good neighbours, looking out for those who may be in need this Winter and reaching out as individuals and as a church community to do what we can to relieve their misery and suffering.
Hear our prayer Lord, for people who are ill, in hospitals, at home, or wherever they may be. Give them courage, hope and peace, and the knowledge that you are present in their weakness, pain and suffering. May the skills and knowledge of those who care for the sick be fully used to help and to heal.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

We pray for those who have died, and for those whose hearts have been saddened by the death of someone close and dear to them. Give to them the strong comfort which no one else can give, and let them know the comforting power of the resurrection of Jesus.
At this time of year many of us have placed flowers or tokens of remembrance for those who have died and we remember those who will remain precious
to us throughout our lives. May those who have gone before us find peace in your presence and may those who mourn know the comfort of your eternal love.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

Help us to be living examples of your light in a darkened world, so that others would be drawn to you as surely as the Magi followed the star.
As we go forward into another year give us strength to continue to trust in your unfailing love for us and for all humankind.
Help us to be bold in the days ahead, to be willing to trust in you and to never be afraid of serving you in whatever situations
we may face.

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:
Creator of the heavens,
who led the Magi by a star
to worship the Christ-child:
guide and sustain us,
that we may find our journey’s end
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Readings:
Ephesians 3:1-12
This is the reason that I Paul am a prisoner for Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— for surely you have already heard of the commission of God’s grace that was given me for you, and how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I wrote above in a few words, a reading of which will enable you to perceive my understanding of the mystery of Christ. In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Of this gospel I have become a servant according to the gift of God’s grace that was given me by the working of his power. Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him.

Matthew 2: 1- 12
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’” Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

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.

 

 

Boxing Day / St Stephen’s Day Service – Collect, Readings, Sermon and Prayers
Collect:
Gracious Father,
who gave the first martyr Stephen
grace to pray for those who took up stones against him;
grant that in all our sufferings for the truth
we may learn to love even our enemies
and to seek forgiveness for those who desire our hurt,
looking up to heaven to him who was crucified for us,
Jesus Christ, our mediator and advocate,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit
one God, now and for ever. Amen
Readings:
Acts 7: 51-end
“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you are forever opposing the Holy Spirit,
just as your ancestors used to do. Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They
killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, and now you have become his betrayers
and murderers. You are the ones that received the law as ordained by angels, and yet you have not
kept it.”
When they heard these things, they became enraged and ground their teeth at Stephen. But filled
with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right
hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right
hand of God!” But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against
him. Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats
at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus,
receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against
them.” When he had said this, he died.
Matthew 10: 17-22
Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will
be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the
Gentiles. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say;
for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of
your Father speaking through you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and
children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of
my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Sermon from Rev’d Kirsty
(Acts 7: 51-end & Matthew 10: 17-22)
Lord, as we continue to give thanks for your coming, allow our ears, eyes and hearts be opened to do
your will and share in your joy, love and peace. Amen.
As Saint Stephen’s day falls on the 26th December it is often a saint that gets missed and not talked
about. So, having the opportunity today, it is only right that I share with you something of who Saint
Stephen was and is.
Saint Stephen was one of the first deacons of the Christian Church but in fact we know little about
him. What we do know is that he was the first Christian martyr, in other words the first one to be killed
for his faith post Jesus. Stephen is believed to have been a Greek Jew who converted to Christianity.
When the number of disciples increased, there was much confusion over the distribution of alms and
the serving of the poor. Stephen’s trustworthy character marked him out, and he was chosen as one
of the seven deacons who would perform these task.
An excellent and well trusted speaker, his preaching style was so effective that many Jews became
worried about his success. They accused him of blasphemy and he was sadly made to stand trial. At
his trail Stephen stood up for Jesus’ actions, blaming the Jew’s for killing Jesus, and not taking care
of God’s things. As a result, the Jew’s stoned him to death.
However, the work he did do in the very early church is not forgotten. As a deacon he distributed food
and charitable aid to poorer members of the community. He also performed various wonders and
signs. These would have included various charismatic gifts such as healing which belonged to
several followers of Christ. And when able he shared Jesus’ stories to all who would listen in the
temples.
For us today it may seem odd that a man we know little about is celebrated and remembered as a
Saint 2000+ years on. Yet, for us today, Stephen shows all believers they can have a powerful impact
for the kingdom, if even for a short period of time. And secondly, no matter where we come from, God
can use our past and present lives to shape our testimony and witness. Through Stephen’s example,
we can learn to speak boldly for our faith, and know that our lives here on earth cannot compare with
the joys we’ll experience in heaven.
Now speaking about our faith is sometimes easy, other times a little more challenging. But, finding
ourselves in the Christmas seasons, I find is one of the easier times to share our faith with others.
Many will pass on from Christmas tomorrow leaving it as a two-day celebration, but for the church, we
still have Christmas celebrations for a few weeks ahead. As I prepared this sermon there is a lot of
speculation of what will happen over and post-Christmas. However, lock down or not, we can, use
these next few days and weeks to keep Christmas stay alive. We can all be deacons by reaching out
to those in need, offering help to the lonely, the housebound, to anyone in need of a general pick up.
We can also continue to share that amongst the unknowns there is hope in Jesus’ coming at
Christmas and talk about all the joyous and hopefully messages that the Christmas story brought and
continues to bring. And we can be the ones who offer light to all, through our own faith and actions.
Just like Stephen, it does not have to be beyond our limits and means, it just needs to be done with
and through our faith, believe and trust of God’s presence with us all. Amen.
Intercessions by Phil G (St Lukes)
Let us pray
“Jesus’ perception and understanding of his purpose and work
begins to take shape throughout his childhood.”
In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ, let us pray to the Father. Almighty God, our
heavenly Father, you promised through your Son Jesus Christ to hear us when we pray in faith.
Lord of all power and might, let us not just suppose you to be in our company, but seek you out
until we find you and rejoice in your presence; through Jesus Christ our Saviour, who lives and
reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer.
We rejoice that we are created in your image, that we are called to be your sons and daughters.
May the church at all times reveal your glory and lead many to the glorious liberty that is for the
children of God. We pray for all who teach the faith and each of us as we are called to share the faith.
We pray for all who are seekers, all who long for you and for a glimpse of your glory.
Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer.
We pray for all young people in their search for truth and meaning, that they will not be led
astray or directed in wrong paths. Guide and direct all who influence the minds of young people
through broadcasting, music and publishing. We pray for young people who have left home
and for parents anxious for their well-being.
Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer.
We give thanks for our own homes and loved ones, for those who have sought us out when we have
gone astray, for those who accepted us even when we ignored their advice. We pray for all families in
our town of Heywood where there is tension and lack of trust, for all who are anxious about loved
ones at this time.
Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer.
We remember those who are ill at this time in body, mind or spirit; along with those who have
gone astray and cannot find their way back. Today we have been asked to pray for:…..
And any others that are known only to us or to you Lord.
We pray for any one in care at home or in hospital or any one who has lost a loved one this week.
Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer.
We rejoice that you will bring us home to your eternal kingdom where sorrow
and pain are no more. Today we pray for:….
Whose Anniversary falls at this time.
We pray for our loved ones now departed and with you Lord.
Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer.
Let us now take time to offer our own prayers to God our Father…..
Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer.
We give thanks and praise for God’s involvement in our lives
Merciful Father,
accept these prayers
for the sake of your Sun,
our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Amen.

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Christmas Day Service – Collect, Readings, Sermon and Prayers
Collect:
Almighty God,
you have given us your only-begotten Son
to take our nature upon him
and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin:
grant that we, who have been born again
and made your children by adoption and grace,
may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen
Readings:
Isaiah 52: 7-10
How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of the messenger who announces peace,
who brings good news,
who announces salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices,
together they sing for joy;
for in plain sight they see
the return of the LORD to Zion.
Break forth together into singing,
you ruins of Jerusalem;
for the LORD has comforted his people,
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
The LORD has bared his holy arm
before the eyes of all the nations;
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.
John 1: 1-14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the
beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into
being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light
shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the
light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He
came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who
believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of
the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a
father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
Sermon by Rev’d Kirsty
Lord, as we give thanks for your coming, allow our ears, eyes and hearts be opened to do your will
and share in your joy, love and peace. Amen.
Some of you may have heard the story I am about to share. Nevertheless, I re-share it as I believe it
speaks a lot into today’s Gospel Reading. For a number of years, I attended Taizé, a Christian
community in France. In the summer thousands of young people head to Taizé and spend a week
together in prayer, bible study and fellowship. Each week through the three services a day, Jesus’
story is retold and each Thursday – Sunday is the retelling of the Easter Story.
On the Thursday evening, each are given a candle, which part way through the service is lit.
However, having to also consider safety measures (due to the thousands of people present), these
candles extinguish themselves about ¾ of the way down. These candles are lit to remind of us of
Jesus’ presence, the presence of the Holy Spirit, and God’s love for each of us. Now the first time I
experienced this service was moving, mainly as a result of the lighted candle. I was so much in
prayer, holding silence for the 10 minutes that was included in each service, reflecting and admiring
my candle when suddenly the flame went out. For a moment I felt shocked, cold and sad, it was then
that I heard a younger child next to me, also note her candle had gone out. But the adult with her
shared these words – The candle has gone out in front of you, but not the candle in your heart.
Having also took on her words, within minutes I suddenly felt the warming of my inner self and a
warming of the heart, a reminder that God certainly hadn’t gone. Yet was also a big reminder that God
through our belief and the presence of the Holy Spirit is both around us and within us at all times. And
every time I hear the John reading, we have heard today, it takes me back to this memory and it’s
warmth but also gives me hope, a sense of rescue and being thankful.
There is something in what I have shared, and in Christmas story, which we are all familiar with,
about the powerfulness, incarnation and mystery of God’s presence and love for each one of us. In
connecting Christs coming as the light, the light of the Holy Spirit with us today and the mystery of
what lies ahead I want to reflect on the reading and Christmas story with the three themes of hope,
rescue and thankfulness.
Hope
Christmas is a hopeful time – we have hope as the year ends and we come almost to the beginning
of a new one but more importantly the story of Christ is a story of hope, both the hope of a heavenly
life to come and the hope of God fulfilled in the birth of his Son. John expresses this in his speech
about the light – ‘The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it’ – the hope
we have in Christ is that however bad things seem. However hard life gets, however overwhelmed we
may feel by the forces out of our control there is always hope to be found in various of forms. The
promise of the Christ child is that through faith we have hope, and have it in abundance, both in this
world and the next– whatever form that may take.
Rescue
Why did God send his Son to earth, why did God limit himself to being a human for a lifetime cut short
so brutally? There are so many words we could use to describe this act – an act of God who wants to
redeem his children, to rescue us from the temptation to sin that entraps us. John describes it like this
“to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God” The
Word, Jesus, God in human form came to earth and lived among us to rescue us – to show us the
way. The birth of that tiny baby, born to Mary and Joseph, ordinary parents, in a stable was the
beginning of God’s rescue plan, a plan to show us how to be children of God and to teach us the joy
that comes from knowing and believing in him. Just like the fresh reminder of God’s presence from my
lighting and dying of the candle flame – there is joy and saving to be found in knowing the Hope that is on
offer. But to remember and hear this hope is on offer for everyone and is always available, not just at
Christmas, or in Taizé, remembering that it was and is always God’s plan to Rescue us from Sin and
return us to him. I hope you too can recall moments of rescue and refreshment in your journey’s, or even find
some in part of this service, and / or celebrations of today.
Thankful
And lastly it is important for us all to be so Thankful. John expresses this in the language of Glory –
John’s expression is that ‘We have seen the Father’s Glory’ – the glory of the Christ child, God on
earth that we celebrate at Christmas we celebrate from a place of gratitude – we might be thankful for
lots of things at Christmas, for our families and friends, for all that we have, for the presents that we
are able to give and to receive and for many things besides. But in church we are forever thankful for
the Hope that is on offer for everyone, always because of God’s Rescue Plan, the fulfilment of which
begins with the birth of a Baby in Bethlehem and is celebrated today. Amen
Prayers of Intercessions
Let us pray to Jesus our Saviour.
Christ, born in a stable,
give courage to all who are homeless.
Jesus, Saviour, hear our prayer.
Christ, for whom the angels sang,
give the song of the kingdom to all who weep.
Jesus, Saviour, hear our prayer.
Christ, worshipped by the shepherds,
give peace on earth to all who are oppressed.
Jesus, Saviour, hear our prayer.
Christ, before whom the wise men knelt,
give humility and wisdom to all who govern.
Jesus, Saviour, hear our prayer.
Christ, whose radiance filled a lowly manger,
give the glory of your resurrection to all who rest in you.
Jesus, Saviour,
hear our prayer.
Jesus, Saviour, child of Mary,
you know us and love us,
you share our lives
and hear our prayer.
Glory to you for ever. Amen.

————————————————–
Christmas Midnight Service – Collect, Readings, Sermon and Prayers
Collect:
Eternal God,
who made this most holy night
to shine with the brightness of your one true light:
bring us, who have known the revelation of that light on earth,
to see the radiance of your heavenly glory;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen
Readings:
Isaiah 9: 2-7
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
on them light has shined.
You have multiplied the nation,
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as people exult when dividing plunder.
For the yoke of their burden,
and the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For all the boots of the tramping warriors
and all the garments rolled in blood
shall be burned as fuel for the fire.
For a child has been born for us,
a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
and he is named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His authority shall grow continually,
and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time onward and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
Luke 2: 1-14
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This
was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own
towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of
David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to
be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were
there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped
him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then
an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were
terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great
joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the
Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a
manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and
saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favours!”
Midnight Service Sermon – By Rev’d Ian Stamp
(Isaiah 9: 2-7 & Luke 2: 1-14)
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours.” Luke 2:14
Allow yourself a moment on this happy night to discover again the wonder of God’s creation. You may be too busy to
think about it unless you pause, stop even, and think of the goodness of God, the beauty of his creation, the wonder of
his presence.
It was the afternoon of Christmas Day. After a bright, clear day the sun was beginning to set. A small group of friends
climbed towards the summit of a hill which would give them a clear view of all the surrounding countryside. When they
reached the top, the sun was setting. In the far distance a flock of birds flew across the wintry sunset and appeared to
circle the vast horizon. The group watched in silence at the birds flying before the sunset.
Each person was struck with the beauty of the scene. The landscape eventually darkened as the sun finally set. The
friends walked back down the hill. “It’s experiences like this,” one of the group said, “that convinces me that there is a
creator.”
Most of us will have had such moments of revelation. Maybe not in the drama of the created world, perhaps in some
simple act of love in a crazy world
Most of us know someone whose life is so busy and complicated that they have lost a sense of wonder. – maybe it’s you.
Gathered together tonight, in these moments in the presence of the Lord, hearing again the joyous news of the birth of
Jesus, we may indeed fear that we have lost the sense of wonder ourselves. Tonight, is a night to restore it.
Each of us will be able to speak of a time when we have been so full of wonder and praise that we feel we have
experienced the very presence of God. At the time we may have been frightened. When the shepherds first saw the
angel of the Lord they were “terrified” though almost immediately they were reassured.
The Gospel speaks a great deal about the “wonder” experienced by all those who saw the child Jesus. We are told in St
Luke’s Gospel that, after seeing Jesus, “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and
seen, as it had been told them.” In the space of a few hours their lives had been completely transformed. They had been
specially chosen to see the Son of God.
The wonder of the creation and presence of God is revealed to us in many different ways. Christ will come into our
lives in ways that we don’t expect. He may come as we serve one another. Its not always a hilltop with Angel Host
experience. We may expect great drama and mistrust the simple but he will often come without fanfare in simple
experiences that represent service, friendship, gratitude, and love.
Christmas comes as we open our hearts and actively focus on the Saviour. So give Jesus some small parts of your day
tomorrow and he will fill it.
Tonight, we hear how Jesus first revealed himself to the world. The Gospel is full of moments of wonder: moments
when people’s eyes are opened and they glimpse the glory of God.
Our world gives us many opportunities to be amazed at God’s creation: landscapes, city-scapes, sunsets and the faces of
children on Christmas morning. And yes, all those quiet moments too. Quiet or dramatic these are moments when we
can echo the words of the heavenly host, “Glory to God in the highest” These moments help reveal to us the nature of
God’s relationship with us. He wants us to be close to him.
And when we experience this closeness in our lives, when we are able to say, “Glory to God”, then we can begin to
understand how the shepherds felt so many years ago.
The preparation for the feast of Christmas may have left us so tired that we find it difficult to be amazed or wonder at
the reactions of the shepherds. We may find very little to marvel at. Some of us may even be quite cynical about today’s
feast.
Like the shepherds we are called to see the Son of God in our world today. We are invited to open our hearts and
minds to wonder at his presence and his creation.
It doesn’t cost a fortune to experience the wonder of God. But we have to re-discover the simplicity and sense of
wonder of the shepherds.
It is only in darkness that we can appreciate the night star that is guiding us. Only when it’s silent can we hear the
glorious song of the angels.
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favours.”
Tomorrow, in the midst of all the frantic activity, take five minutes away from it all to be alone with God. Listen to
God’s voice, experience God’s closeness in silence and peace.
I was confirmed at 10 and I think I have probably been to over 50 midnight Eucharists – some of you will have been to
more but it never loses its magic – this pregnant night has never ceased to hold me in awe.
Even in all the busyness here is a stillness – there is still an acceptance of the most unimaginable which is beyond belief
yet true. God becomes – a human being – born of a human woman – Mary – incredible.
What a truth.
Take some time because its far too easy to move away from the true meaning of this festival. And to do so is to forget
God – to forget the wonderful outpouring of love that we celebrate tonight.
Out of nothing but love for us – for you and for me – Jesus was born in such a place on such a day to a woman called
Mary. Lets not be totally absorbed or distracted from the wonder by the fripperies.
Nothing in life or death is more real and vital than this birth. We must never risk losing sight of the humility of our God
as he stoops to kiss the world with his love – a kiss whose name is Jesus.
For we celebrate – Emmanuel – the wonderful fact – fact that God is with Us.
Like foolish folk of old I would not be,
Who had no room that night for Him and thee.
See, Mother Mary, here within my heart
I’ve made a little shrine for Him apart;
Swept it of sin, and cleansed it with all care;
Warmed it with love and scented it with prayer.
So, Mother, when the Christmas anthems start,
Please let me hold your baby – in my heart.
Prayers of Intercessions
In peace let us pray to the Lord.
Father, in this holy night your Son our Saviour
was born in human flesh.
Renew your Church as the Body of Christ.
Holy God hear our prayer.
In this holy night there was no room for your Son in the inn.
Protect with your love those who have no home
and all who live in poverty.
Holy God hear our prayer.
In this holy night Mary, in the pain of labour,
brought your Son to birth.
Hold in your hand all who are in pain or distress.
Holy God hear our prayer.
In this holy night your Christ came as a light shining in the darkness.
Bring comfort to all who suffer in the sadness of our world.
Holy God hear our prayer.
In this holy night the angels sang, ‘Peace to God’s people on earth.’
Strengthen those who work for peace and justice
in all the world.
Holy God hear our prayer.
In this holy night shepherds in the field heard good tidings of joy.
Give us grace to preach the gospel of Christ’s redemption.
Holy God hear our prayer.
In this holy night strangers found the Holy Family,
and saw the baby lying in the manger.
Bless our homes and all whom we love.
Holy God hear our prayer.
In this holy night heaven is come down to earth,
and earth is raised to heaven.
Hold in your hand all those who have passed through death
in the hope of your coming kingdom.
Holy God hear our prayer.
In this holy night Christians the world over celebrate Christ’s birth.
Open our hearts that he may be born in us today.
Holy God hear our prayer.
Father,
In this holy night angels and shepherds worshipped at
the manger throne.
Receive the worship we offer in fellowship with Mary,
Joseph and the saints
through him who is your Word made flesh,
our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Amen.

 

4th Sunday of Advent – (Ruth Chapter 4: 1-12)
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

The cost of Christmas

After the intense intimacy of chapter 3, we find ourselves in a very different scene to close the book. Compassionate and resolute, Boaz seeks to find Naomi’s closer relative and calls him to redeem her family. But this is about redemption not as a feeling or nice intent but a covenant commitment – and one that is costly. We have the heart-in-the-mouth moment when the nameless redeemer says he will indeed redeem and then the way Boaz steps up and explains what the cost that this involves. However, the redeemer then back tracks and notes its large costs which leads Boaz to then steps into the relatives’ shoes, literally, and takes upon himself that cost. The community witnesses then gather around and set this scene within the context of God’s promises to his people

As we look back and see from where we’ve come from, we realize just how astonishing a set of prayers it is. The ending of the chapter and book – which we haven’t heard today – is the story running forward and the spotlight falls not so much on the marriage of Ruth and Boaz but on the real redeemer –the remarkable final scene as the book comes full circle and we see the book’s main character, Naomi, with a ‘child’ in her arms – Baby Obed. The Lord has provided. The story ends taking us forward by tracking he line from Obed to David.

Reflecting on the book, as a whole, sees that the love-story of the book is not Ruth and Boaz, but much more so, Ruth’s love for Naomi – which in actual fact displays another love, the LORD’s love for Naomi. He provides a son just as he had provided food. The woman who was empty and alone now has her lap full once again – but unlike in chapters 2 & 3, this time it is not with grain and food, but with a child again. And this child will renew her life. The scope of this baby’s redemption here is great!

Yet, taking us back to the reading today all this comes at a cost. – the proposed redeemer of Naomi is told by Boaz that in acquiring Naomi’s land, you also acquire Ruth and all the care she needs, but also the expectation to maintain the name and line of Naomi’s dead husband. The implication is that they would get married, and then bare a son. For the redeemer this also meant, extra mouths to feed, the passing of the land to Naomi’s children, and the loss of the costly bank balance, pride and reputation. All this was too much, so he passed and we are back with Boaz.

The twist in the story doesn’t just make for more gripping story, but it highlights how costly redemption was and is. Boaz’s willingness to redeem suddenly becomes even more glorious in contrast to the other mans unwillingness. His sacrificial kindness shines all the brighter when set against the backstory of self-preservation and looking after number one.

Our culture today, also means that we sometimes miss this cost of redemption. An individual can redeem a voucher at the shops or even redeem themselves after a fault or mistakes. But in the Bible Redemption isn’t something we can do. True redemption is only given by God and it is about giving our whole self to God and being open enough to allow God to redeemer us for all that needs redeeming for, whatever the cost.
Therefore, I invite you to reflect on these questions this week:
– How do you compare with the un-named proposed redeemer that fled, and the redeemer Boaz?
– Do you freely give yourself to God for all that it costs, or do you have limits?
Prayer: Lord God, we give thanks for Jesus and all that he did to redeem us. We rejoice that our ordinary lives have been graciously caught up in the Lord’s story of redemption, regardless of our willing and unwillingness of cost. We pray that as we celebrate Christmas, we submit our ordinary lives afresh to you and display your kindness for all in the everyday. Amen

Prayers of intercessions – Advent Season

In joyful expectation of his coming to our aid we pray to Jesus.

Come to your Church as Lord and judge. We pray for all churches far and near this advent season, that they proclaim your message of love and hope. We pray for all who enter our churches this Advent and Christmas season asking that all feel your presence. We pray also for those who wish to entre but are unable to do so for many reasons. Help us to live in the light of your coming and give us a longing for your kingdom.

Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Come to your world as King of the nations. We pray that God may bring in his
kingdom justice and mercy. We pray for all places where war, conflict and risk of life
is the norm. We pray that these places become places of hope, peace and prosper
and for all who currently feel anxious and afraid due to the global pandemic. We
pray for those who have the power to make changes to do so and pray that all are
heard.

Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Come to the suffering as Saviour and comforter. We pray for all who are in need at
this time due to mental and physical illness. We especially prayer for….. and in a
moments silence prayer for those known only to us and only to God.
Break into our lives, where we struggle with sickness and distress, and set us free to
serve you for ever.

Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Come to us as shepherd and guardian of our souls. We remember all who are close
to death, those who have died and those whose anniversaries fall at this time.
Give us with all the faithful departed a share in your victory over evil and death.

Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Come, Lord Jesus, do not delay;
give new courage to your people,
who trust in your love.
By your coming, raise us to share in the joy of your kingdom
on earth as in heaven, where you live and reign with the Father and the Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.

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 God,
as Mary waited for the birth of your Son,
so we wait for his coming in glory;
bring us through the birth pangs of this present age
to see, with her, our great salvation
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Readings:
Ruth 4: 1 – 12
No sooner had Boaz gone up to the gate and sat down there than the next-of-kin, of whom Boaz had spoken, came passing by. So Boaz said, “Come over, friend; sit down here.” And he went over and sat down. Then Boaz took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, “Sit down here”; so they sat down. He then said to the next-of-kin, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, is selling the parcel of land that belonged to our kinsman Elimelech. So I thought I would tell you of it, and say: Buy it in the presence of those sitting here, and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if you will not, tell me, so that I may know; for there is no one prior to you to redeem it, and I come after you.” So he said, “I will redeem it.” Then Boaz said, “The day you acquire the field from the hand of Naomi, you are also acquiring Ruth the Moabite, the widow of the dead man, to maintain the dead man’s name on his inheritance.” At this, the next-of-kin said, “I cannot redeem it for myself without damaging my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption yourself, for I cannot redeem it.”
Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging: to confirm a transaction, the one took off a sandal and gave it to the other; this was the manner of attesting in Israel. So when the next-of-kin[e] said to Boaz, “Acquire it for yourself,” he took off his sandal. Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “Today you are witnesses that I have acquired from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and Mahlon. I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, the wife of Mahlon, to be my wife, to maintain the dead man’s name on his inheritance, in order that the name of the dead may not be cut off from his kindred and from the gate of his native place; today you are witnesses.” Then all the people who were at the gate, along with the elders, said, “We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman who is coming into your house like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you produce children in Ephrathah and bestow a name in Bethlehem; and, through the children that the LORD will give you by this young woman, may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.”

Luke 1: 39-45
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
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.

3rd Sunday of Advent – (Ruth Chapter 3)

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
Approaching the Redeemer – I will do it?
The book of Ruth is only a short book, so as we journey into the second half of Ruth, the spotlight falls upon an intimate encounter between Ruth and Boaz. All three of our main characters have a crucial involvement: Naomi shows bold faith to encourage Ruth to propose to Boaz; Ruth displays great love for Naomi and her family by putting herself forward to help ‘redeem’ them; Boaz shows his gracious willingness to be that redeemer. (Linking us to Jesus in the Christmas story).
In our reading today, there’s a real cycle of anticipation and then relief, followed by more anticipation as the chapter ends. This highlights the bold and audacious faith shown by the characters. Naomi tells Ruth to prepare as she does, and then as Ruth approaches Boaz and uses the very language he has used in our chapter last week – for example. wings/covering.
Ruth’s request today is so much more than asking Boaz to keep her warm. It’s a bold approach for Boaz to confirm that he is willing to be the Redeemer he has repeatedly suggested he is able to be. But Ruth’s confidence doesn’t lie in herself or the way Naomi has got her ‘all dressed up’. Instead it lies in a confidence in God’s own character, embodied in Boaz himself. We then see that such faith is well deserved as Boaz affirms his beautiful willingness to redeem: ”I will do it”. Words that again relate to Jesus’ coming and willingness to sacrifice himself for us. The chapter ends on the cliff-hanger of the news of a closer relative who has the right to redeem and yet this doesn’t take-away from the chapter’s focus on Ruth’s boldness and Boaz’s willingness.
I wonder if during this season in your preparation do you take risks. Maybe a rather unusual present choice which you weren’t quite sure would be received well? Perhaps a decision about which relatives to sit next to each other at the Christmas meal? Perhaps choosing who will be responsible for each element of the Christmas Day meal? But how do you feel about risks more generally? – I suspect you may be able to answer this more clearly after the past two years. Has this year felt risky?
But turning this to our Christian faith and linking back to our story and Ruth’s risk for asking Boaz, what is ‘risky’? Do you feel that prioritizing Jesus and his kingdom feels risky and what will grow real faith in you in the year ahead?
Therefore, I invite you to reflect on these questions this week:
– Thinking about the risk Jesus took – how does it feel to know that Jesus looked at them and said – I will do it.
– Do the risks you take in everyday life differ from risks you take in regard to your faith?

Prayer: Lord God, we give thanks for Jesus and the risks that he took for us all. We pray that we may be bold in the risks that we take, be more willing to say I will do it and not to be afraid knowing that our faith is stronger, and that Jesus is the redeemer for all. Amen

Let us pray now to our loving God who always keeps his promises and knows us and who values us all so very much.
Loving Father, keep your Church faithful in telling the good news, loving, justice and drawing many to freedom through the joy of your forgiveness.

When I say: Lord in your love, please respond with: Hear our prayer.

we pray for our world that there may be integrity in leadership, mercy and justice for rich and poor, strong and weak; that there may be peace among nations and respect for all. We ask your wisdom for those battling to solve economic problems in the Eurozone; for those seeking new ways ahead to deal with climate change and for those grappling with the continued violence in Afghanistan.
For our broken, fragile world that you love and seek to redeem.

Lord in your love Hear our prayer.

We pray for our community, our families and friends- for their hopes and fears. May the love of Christ be shown in what we do and how we speak. we remember now all those we know in special need -locked in physical and emotional pain, all weighed down with worry or despair. God of Advent hope, will you restore and replenish them, comfort and free them.
We pray in the silence of our hearts those known to us who are in need of our prayers.

Lord in your love Hear our prayer.

Finally, loving Father, we commend to your love those who have died. Loved ones we especially miss at this time – whose memory are treasure. May they, and we in our turn, experience for ever the joy of your eternity.

Today we remember the family and friends of ——.

You turn our darkness into light; in your light shall we see light.

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

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.