Services: Sermons and Prayers

Sermon: Sunday 20th June (Father’s Day)
(2 Corinthians 6: 1-13 & Mark 4:35-41)
Lord may our ears be opened to hear your words and our minds and hearts be
challenged by the message you give. Amen.
As many of you are aware today is Father’s Day, and I hope that across the course of
today we spend time to be thankful for those male figures that have helped us,
supported us and been a father, or father figure to us. But just like Mother’s Day, I want
to acknowledge that Father’s Day comes with a mixture of emotions and feelings which
are based on our experiences and current positions, as does all aspects of our life.
As a church today, we reflect on and give thanks for God. For all that is offered to us
and reflect on our relationship with God too. Sometimes God is like our father’s on earth
but other times the roles are unique only to God. And I share this, being really careful of
my language choice, because – over the past few weeks, and during the next few I have
been attending an online course called the F word. And if you have not guessed so, it is
all about looking at God, Scripture and language from a feminist perspective. Now the
reason for attending this course is because whether God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit is
gendered in language or not, is not a bug bear of mine, nor is it top of my theological
agenda. What is important though is that I learn about other people’s perspectives, and
I understand what I believe too. It is then important that, with understanding, I then learn
to use a range of references to be inclusive of all views, – he, she, Father, Mother,
Creator, maker, lover, almighty, idol, wholeness, the way, saviour, shepherd, truth, life,
and the list goes on.
The reason I share this with you today is our two Bible readings encourage us to
questions – Who is our God?
Taking our Gospel reading first, 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, to their surprise Jesus calms the storm
and then begins to teach them, asking – Do you not have a faith?
This story has lots of parallels to life today. 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,
where is our God? Is God their all the time, or like the disciples do we panic and only
reach out when in real need. I also ask what were the disciples fearful of, the storm,
God’s works, for their own lives? When we fear, what are we fearful of and is God’s
works or response part of that fear?
You may think that is a bit of a bizarre questions to ask – But Paul in this letter today is
talking to people who are being imprisoned, being beaten or involved in riots and are
going through a range of sufferings. He is also talking to people who put Jesus on the
cross. Remember Jesus died for us all, so that our sins can be forgiven. In his teaching
Paul acknowledge that people have reservations about faith, and about God’s ministry.
But goes on to say this is because God is so big, that being able to fully understand him
goes beyond all imagination. Yet, without full knowledge can we fully trust, maybe not
and that is why fear in God is OK.
Jane Williams in her commentary for today share some writings of Cardinal Hume. She
notes that for years Cardinal Hume saw God as a “kind of gigantic teacher or
policeman, who would know if you sneaked into the larder and took an apple and would
make sure you paid for it.” Later on, in life he writes – “I have an idea that God would
have said to the small boy – Take Two.
The disciples had to learn to trust God for who God is and not for what they would like.
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 too need to do the same. Part of this
process will be about coming across and living with our fears. It will mean that
sometimes things don’t go the way we want them to go. It will also mean we can accept
God for who he is in our eyes and learn to truly trust God in all aspects of our life. It will
also mean that we learn to live with, and recognise God in all aspects of our life,
regardless of reference.
Today, I know I have asked a lot of questions, and possibly offered little answers. But I
give no apology. Today we are encouraged to reflect on our own connections to God
and to get to know God through a language that speaks for us and enables us to
deepen our relationship. And to accept that although other’s visions, fears, responses to
the questions will be different, we are untied together in a love that is beyond all words,
all imagination and open for all. Amen
INTERCESSIONS – SUNDAY 20th JUNE 2021

When you hear the words, Lord calm our fears, please respond by saying,
And teach us your peace.

Calm our fears. And teach us your peace.

Let us now pray to God our loving creator.

Lord of all truth and goodness, we pray for all those in positions of authority in the church all over the world and in each gathered community, that in all storms we may be enabled to hear Gods calming voice and deepen our trust in him.
Lord we give thanks that you have called us to work for you.
We remember today all who are weary in their service and all who are in danger of losing faith. We pray for all clergy who are working in difficult areas, many with little support. We ask your blessing upon all who are seeking to share the burdens of those with great responsibilities. We pray for all carers and those giving support to others.
Lord we give our thanks for our Parish church, our clergy and all who give their time and talents in the daily running of St. Johns and supporting our parish community.

Calm our fears . And teach us your peace.

God our father, we thank you for the sound of music in your church, for hymns old and new, for their composers inspired to tell of your glory, and creation, inviting us to sing in every corner of the world about God our king. We give thanks for all our previous choirs and choir leaders who have gone before us and inspired our current leader Stuart Warrington and his choir members. We pray lord that our church congregation will soon be able to join our choir singing about our God and King.

Calm our fears. And teach us your peace.

God our creator, we ask you to bless and guide all who work for the conservation of the earth and for the care of each creature, especially those in danger of becoming extinct, we pray for all who seek to preserve the rainforests and their inhabitants. We give thanks and pray for all who are working to stop the pollution of land sea and air.
Merciful father, we pray for people who live in a hostile environment and those who are suffering from war or oppression, we ask your blessing upon all who seek to bring peace and healing to the divisions of our world and who strive to bring freedom and justice to nations and individuals. We acknowledge the work of the United Nations and amnesty international.
We pray for the many countries struggling to control the disastrous consequences that the coronavirus is causing. We pray for those countries that are able to offer support, especially through giving them the necessary vaccine and other medical assistance. Through our prayer, we acknowledge the awful situation they are experiencing. We all need to love and support each other.

Calm our fears. And teach us your peace

Lord of all healing, we pray for those whose hearts and minds are in turmoil, whose lives lurch from crisis to crisis, for those who find their lives shattered by illness or injury, and for peace in those threatening storms and a settling of all anxiety.
We now bring before you now in the silence of our hearts, loved ones in need of our prayer today. (Pause)
Today we pray for :- Joyce Holt, Doreen Rostron and Terence Hackney.

Lord calm our fears. And teach us your peace.

Lord of eternity, we thank you for your reassurance of life beyond our physical death. We pray for those who are dying alone, unnoticed or unprepared. We commend those who have died to Gods merciful forgiveness and eternal tranquillity. Today we pray for Bryan Warrington.

Lord calm our fears. And teach us your peace

Lord of creation, we are full of wonder at the story of your universe, spoken into existence and sustained with such love.

And one last prayer……….

Dear God, on this Father’s Day, we thank you for all the fathers and father-figures in this world including those who are no longer with us, and for the many ways you use them to lovingly guide their children towards their future. We ask that you would bless them and give them great joy and peace. May they see You and Know You in new ways, show them how much you love them and care about them. Guide their steps, and use them as a blessing to others, as they do their best to fulfil your will here on earth.

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 form 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.

The Collect:
Almighty God,
you have broken the tyranny of sin
and have sent the Spirit of your Son into our hearts
whereby we call you Father:
give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service,
that we and all creation may be brought
to the glorious liberty of the children of God;
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 Corinthians 6: 1-13
As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says,
“At an acceptable time I have listened to you,
and on a day of salvation I have helped you.”
See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. In return—I speak as to children—open wide your hearts also.

Mark 4: 35-41
On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith” And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey 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 & Lord’s Prayer
See weekly sheet

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.
In the name of Christ. Amen

Sermon: Sunday 13th June (stewardship / looking ahead) – St John’s
(2 Corinthians 5:6-10 & 14-17 & Mark 4:26-34)

Lord may our ears be opened to hear your words and our minds and hearts be
challenged by the message you give. Amen.
I want to take the opportunity this week, to talk about the current situation and changes
happening in the diocese and the church and about some plans for St John’s. In doing
so I want to encourage us all to think about our place within the church and our position
of stewardship. Not I am aware this word comes with unhelpful baggage, but I mean
stewardships from a point of our current faith position and to listen carefully to where we
feel God in calling us to as individuals and as a church.
So, the Diocese – the outline structure is all the CofE churches in Greater Manchester
are part of Manchester Diocese, lead by Bishop David, and assistant Bishops Mark
Davies, Bishop of Middleton, and Bishop Mark Ashcroft, Bishop of Bolton. We are
divided into four archdeaconries – Manchester, Bolton, Salford and ourselves Rochdale,
led by David Sharples (whom some of you met when I was on leave). Up to a week ago,
these four areas were split into 20 smaller deaneries’. As off last Sunday, we are not
only 7 deaneries’, (we are part of Rochdale), and are led by a full-time area dean.
Having a full-time area dean allows for more support and as part of their role, they will
be setting up Mission Communities. These Mission Communities are still being
developed, and each will look different based on context, resources, areas of need, etc.
But each will be formed using a number of lay and stipendiary roles and bring together a
number of local churches together to share resources, to allow people to use their skills
and to cater for local needs. As a Diocese we are working together on a 2030 vision of
being a church that is ‘a worshipping, growing and transforming Christian presence at
the heart of every community’.
So where are we up to as a Church – well as part of my interview process and upon my
arrival I was given a copy of St John’s own Mission Action Plan. Missional Action Plans
are working documents, and we cannot do everything in one go. The important thing is
that progress is made in manageable steps – so here are the first four areas listed, and
updated:
The first point was to appoint a vicar – well, I leave you to decide if to put a tick at the
side of that box.
The second point was to connect with our growing local community – this has been put
on hold due to Covid. However, in the background an Outreach team has been formed,
and a questionnaire is ready to go. Part of the questionnaire is to look at needs, to offer
some ready to go quick community ideas, but also to collect ideas of desires, etc. Also,
conversations have happened about re-opening community group and tiddlywinks, and
this will do as soon as restrictions allow. We have also been involved in the Churches
Together Advent and Easter project, and although not been able to have access. I have
been in contact with all our schools.
The third point was to look at the church building as a whole, looking at full access for
all, including disabled toilets, and paneling for the hall to create a more insulated and
safer space to be. This is something that needs architect help, finance and permissions,
but I will be taking to PCC this week several building considerations and beginning initial
talks for some of these projects.
Another item that has arisen, is yet to be added to the plan, but fits in with the second
point, is about a possible activity or service provision aimed more at families in the local
area.
So why do I share this update with you today – Well, today, we hear about the parable
of a mustard seed that we can look at in two ways. The first is God as the mustard seed
and secondly our faith as the mustard seeds.
Some of you may be aware but a mustard seed is as small as a pin head and in the
parable today it is described as the start of God’s Kingdom. This tiny seen can grow to a
tree 20 feet tall with a 20-foot spread. This tree, when formed, is described as a tree
that can give shelter, that allows birds and other things to perch on the branches, is a
tree that supports and gives food to the blossom of leaves. But like any other tree or
plant, to reach this point, the tiny seed needs to be planted, watered, cared for and in
return it will grow. Regarding God’s kingdom and in relation to God’s provision for us,
the process of planting, feeding and growth can be seen if we look at Jesus ministry.
Jesus was placed into the world as a tiny child, given by God. As he grew, he then
began to share God’s teaching and love with others. Jesus watered, so to speak,
another 12 seeds (the disciples) that God has planted within people’s hearts and mind.
Each of these 12 grew in personal faith and were then encouraged to go and water
other seeds God had planted. As the 12 grew to 24, to 48, then 96, etc, the Christian
faith became strong, became a place for people to find support and help with life,
became united together and became the body of Christ. God talks to us in prayer, in
worship and through others, allowing us to be watered and nurtured and as we learn
and explore, we then grow. But in this nurturing and growth, just like the disciples we
are also encouraged to share it with others.
An unknown author has described this same mustard seed as God’s seed of love which
encourages us to do more, be more and to hope more. Do more, Be more and to Hope
more. And I thought this was a good way to look at the mustard seed in relation to our
stewardship.
Do More – When we are born, each of us are given this mustard seed of God’s in our
hearts. At first, we needed others to enlighten us, to bring the seed to our knowledge
and begin its growth. We now need to do the same to others. To help someone find
their faith, grow and develop is about being with our faith on public display in all aspects
of our live.
Be More – Part of doing is also about being. Being churchy on a Sunday but not the rest
of the week doesn’t work in God’s kingdom. We are the gardeners that can water and
nurture other seeds to grow. It’s about being with Christ in all aspects of our lives. God
is very much part of us and part of the person we are. Therefore, we should not be
afraid to share us with him in all aspects of life.
Hope More – As people of faith we should be all hoping for a better world, a better place
for all, a hope for all to know and experience something of God’s love. A mission action
plan is a specific list of one places hopes – St John’s hopes, the Diocese hopes. All can
have a say in the plan, and all are responsible for changing these hopes to real life
actions. But as with most aspects of hope, in order for hope to become reality, there is
the much-needed commitment of time, money, prayer and support.
Stewardship as I mentioned comes with lots of luggage and it is usually tied into
finance, and I don’t for one minute want to lose this aspect, but also equally comes an
aspect of commitment of time, prayer and support too. It’s also about, from a churches
point of view, looking at succession planning and challenging us on our Christian living.
As a church St John’s is very blessed with people’s giving of finances, time and skills
and I don’t want to underestimate our gratefulness and fortunate position for these.
However, our income is not as it was 12 months ago, and I understand much if this is
out of our control, yet, bills still need to be paid, unexpected building repairs have
arisen, and other ways of bringing in income need to be sort. And currently we have a
number of key roles that need to be filled, and where they are filled planning around
succession needs to be considered.
What lies ahead is really exciting for St John’s, and I very much want to be part of this.
And part of our thinking needs to be both today’s church and the church that will be here
say in 5 or 10 years’ time, when this congregation will hopefully continue to be strong,
thriving and learning together.
So, I want to finish by firstly saying – Thank You to each and every one of you for all that
you do so far, for the time you give, finance commitment you make each week or
month, for the prayer and support you give to events, activities and links you have. It is
very much appreciated and goes a long way to maintaining our faith community today.
Secondly, I want to invite us all, to reflect on the areas explored – Do More, Be more
and Hope More in way that your calling, your skills and circumstances allow you to do
so. And to make a commitment to ourselves, to God and maybe if it helps to someone
sat around you or someone you trust who will follow you up to make change in each
category.
Do more, Be More and Hope More is one way in which we as individuals can grow with
God but are ways in which we together grow God’s kingdom turning that small seed into
something that offers support, shelter and life to many in this church, this community
and the wider world. Amen.

Prayers from Ivor

We pray to our Lord God, revealed to us by the birth of his only Son, Jesus Christ, our Saviour.
Lord, we are only seeds of your creation, but the love and teachings of your Son Jesus Christ enables us to grow and bear fruit and spread your promise to all.
During these times of change many feel abandoned and confused. Your message can bring hope and comfort for those seeking a direction to their lives.
Use us as guides in our actions and words.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Lord, life can appear depressing at times and although there is much sadness, teach us to be positive that you will work your will in the world.
That we may learn lessons to create a better future, a more harmonious humanity.
To disregard those who preach malice and division and bitterness, for there is so much goodness to harness in your world to your glory.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Lord, you have commanded us to love one another. Please give us grace to fulfil your wish.
We ask you for us to be gentle, thoughtful and forgiving to all whom we meet and live amongst.
To resist being judgemental, knowing that we too are not faultless.
We thank you for our friends and for their kindness to us. May we return that love fourfold.
May we stand together in times of trouble. To be ready to help, but not to interfere, and to be a dependable source of strength to those whom we love.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Lord, there are many who suffer injustice, prejudice and persecution for their beliefs.
We pray your Holy Spirit will the give them courage to see through their troubles and eventually find justness.
We pray our churches of St. John’s and St. Luke’s will also be filled with your Holy Spirit to serve our communities to your glory.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

We pray for those going through a difficult time of their lives, may it be drink, drugs, unemployment, financial or relationships. May they, in their anguish, come to recognise their needs and embrace a new way of life.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Lord, comfort those who are ill or suffering injuries. Help them to bear their pain and anxiety.

We bring to you Joyce Holt, Doreen Rostron

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Lord, we bring before you those whose earthly life is now at an end. Receive their souls into your kingdom, we pray, that redeemed by grace they may be forgiven for their sins, rest in peace and rise in glory.

We remember today Bryan Warrington

Be with the families and friends of those who have died. Comfort them in their sorrows and may they know your peace.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

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

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

St John’s Hopwood & St Luke’s Heywood
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 form 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.

The Collect
See weekly sheet

Readings
See weekly sheet

Sermon
See weekly sheet

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 & Lord’s Prayer
See weekly sheet

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.
In the name of Christ. Amen

 

6th June – 1st Sunday after Trinity

(2 Corinthians 4.13 – 5, Mark 3. 20 – 35)

Lord, 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.

If I was to ask you think about or draw a picture of your family what would it look like? I suspect it may included people such as your, parents, siblings, children, grandparents, aunties and uncles, nieces and nephews, and it may even include some very close friends. I suspect many would not include people you are currently sat, family and friends aside, around you, or people you see each week in church. Today Jesus is talking about family – but his emphases is not on his related family but in fact his church / follower family.

Jesus’ own family in today’s Gospel reading is getting angry that people are surrounding him meaning that they are missing out on time with Jesus. The people around Jesus are asking for healing and to be taught, they are surrounding and following him because of what they have seen, they are waiting for more to happen. Whereas, his family don’t seem to understand how special Jesus is and in fact think he’s a little crazy and just want family time. I am sure we all have people in our biological families that resemble with Jesus’ family. Maybe people who question our faith, who don’t see what we believe, who think that on a Sunday morning we can do lots more than sit in church and worship. When put on the spot Jesus chooses his followers as his family and he doesn’t disregard his biological family, but emphases that there is something different and special in the family of the church. In fact, Jesus was emphasising that there is something stronger in a spiritual connection than a biological connection.

This same difference applies to us today. Each one of us here this morning has decided to come and spend time with our church family. But it’s how we recognise this family connection that we need to look at – as I suspect as you entered church spending time with family members was not a thought that cross your mind – the reason for this is we often don’t talk about the links we have. (Covid restrictions aside)

We are all familiar I suspect with the saying “you can choose your friends but not you family” Well the original quote comes from Harper Lee in Killing the Mockingbird and the full quote says – “You can choose your friends but you sho’ can’t choose your family, an’ they’re still kin to you no matter whether you acknowledge ’em or not, and it makes you look right silly when you don’t.” if we take the whole quote – this applies to our church family too. Naming a truth, that some may find hard to hear, within each church group, there will be people we get along with, and people we struggle to connect with, there are some people that will do everything right, and people who annoy us, I am sure you get the gist. It’s a fact, not just in the church, but in the world around us – it is part of being human. All our Bible passages note this today too, as they remind us that life is not perfect, we ae not perfect as individuals, therefore as a church family we are not perfect. But Jesus in his teaching about being part of his family is whatever our views of each other, its about coming together and supporting each other through all aspects of life. Jesus is teaching us not to get bogged down with the don’t likes, but in fact lets feed, support and encourage each other through the shared spirit and love of God that brings us together. And part of this coming together is acknowledging the forgiveness of sins and about working to do God’s will on earth together.

Much of Jesus’ teaching is about showing people how to feel comfortable with each other and with God. And this teaching is not just by sitting and calling out instructions, but instead its by being and doing in action. As our New Testament readings started – But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—“I believed, and so I spoke”—we also believe, and so we speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

Each of us will have a different way of approaching family life, and therefore how we approach church family life will be different, but Jesus asks us today to keep in mind the spiritual connection that holds us together. The spiritual connection that forgives sins, that offers love to all, and that accepts all for who they are. The spiritual connection that allows us to apply todays bible passage to everyday life and support and encourage each other in our faith journeys, but to also to, through our being and doing together remind each other that we are connected, both to Jesus but also to each other as fellow members of Jesus spiritual family. Therefore, remember we are never alone in faith, and never alone in servicing our Lord here in Heywood. Amen

Prayers from Joan V

 

Lord God, we pray for your church, both here at home and around the world, that it may be a powerful force for good in a world that is beset by division, intolerance and hatred. May people come to know and to practise your message of love for you and for one another. Help each one of us to seek to share your love, care and compassion with those we meet in our day to day lives. We pray that the time will come soon when we can meet together in our social groups to be of service to you and to offer companionship and support to one another.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer

 

Creator God, we give thanks for the wonders of this planet, where there is so much to enjoy;  the infinite variety of plants and wildlife, the awe inspiring wonders of space and the magnificence of oceans and mountains. We are sorry that humans have inflicted so much damage on this fragile world and we pray that everyone will play their part in helping to put a stop to the relentless destruction. We pray that nations will join together in working to protect the planet for generations to come.

We pray for those parts of the world devastated by war and for the lives lost or ruined forever. We pray for peace, Lord wherever there is conflict and where hearts are filled with hate.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer

 

Loving God we give thanks for our families and friends and for the happiness we share. We pray for families where relationships may have broken down and where there is anxiety and hurt and a lack of forgiveness. We pray for the children who suffer as a consequence of family breakdown. We pray for children who have to go into care and whose future can be blighted as a result of the actions of some adults.

Lord, we ask your blessing on the work of all charities working to alleviate family problems.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer

 

God of healing we pray for all who are sick, remembering in our prayers, Joyce Holt and Doreen Rostron.

We pray for all who are suffering from anxiety and depression.

Show us Lord how we can be of help to those in need.

Lord, draw near to them by your Holy Spirit. Touch them through the compassion and skills of those who care for them.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer

 

God of compassion we hold in our hearts those who have died in recent days.

 

We cherish the memory of our family members whose anniversary of death falls at this time and remember all that they have meant to us.

Lord, comfort those who mourn, embrace them with your love and give them hope in their pain and confusion.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer

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

St John’s Hopwood St Luke’s Heywood

 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 form 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.

 

The Collect

See weekly sheet

Readings

See weekly sheet

Sermon

See weekly sheet

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 & Lord’s Prayer

See weekly sheet

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.

In the name of Christ. Amen

 

Trinity Sunday

(Copy of sermon preached in 2018 – due to being on leave and having visiting ministers in our churches).

 (Romans 8.12-17, John 3.1-17)

Lord, 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.

Having been brought up in the church from a young child, having attended a number of theological courses and spending three years in training for ordination and having now spent nearly two years in ministry, I am afraid to say, I still haven’t had a lesson on how to explain the trinity in 5 minutes using simple and easy to understand words. The question of God, as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three persons in one is not an easy one to unpack and therefore, Sorry to anyone who was hoping today to find that one-minute answer – I am not going to even attempt to unpack it. But what I have learnt, and therefore going to share with you, this that our ability to explain fully the trinity is not important in our faith. What is important is knowing that’s it’s about growing and gaining deeper understanding each day through our day to day living, our trust and our knowing.

As humans we have a tendency to accept something only if we understand it, or can trace its roots or can see it. But it not just us who struggle with this today, this need to understand seems to steam back to the time of Jesus if not before.

In our Gospel reading today we hear of Nicodemus’ struggles to understand.  Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews, approaches Jesus and starts asking questions about the signs he has seen Jesus preform. Nicodemus believes that only God can perform these signs and struggles to see Jesus as part of God. Jesus’ reply to Nicodemus (although hard to see on the surface) offers hope and direction by talking about rebirth. “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.”

Nicodemus, as an old man struggles to recognise the meaning of rebirth, so Jesus represents – “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit”. Jesus does not help with Nicodemus understanding, but talks about a relationship. Some may ask if Jesus himself struggles to explain the relationship but more likely Jesus challenges Nicodemus’ need to understanding rather than trust. The rebirth that Jesus is talking about is the rebirth that is understood to be part of baptism. When we are baptised we are cleansed of our sins and brought to new life in the spirit. We are washed with the water and the Holy Spirit is poured upon to walk with us on our faith journey. But this journey is not one way, we too need to make a commitment.

Nicodemus, not being able to understand what Jesus was talking about and struggling to understand living in the world as human and with the spirit, could not take a leap of faith and I wonder how many of us have experienced or are in similar situations. Are there parts of the bible that we cannot understand, do we struggle with the image of rebirth and / or do we struggle to explain our faith to others.

All or some of our faith can be a great mystery, the trinity being one for starters, but we need not give up. It is important that we question each other, it is important that we question what we see and hear, but it is less important to try and fully understand. Our reading from Romans encourages us to live by the Spirit and if we are led by the spirit we accept that we are children of God. By living by the spirit we are accepting the guidance of God, acknowledging Jesus death, and know that the spirit is presence and among us today, until the second coming.

We will never understand how all of this works but we do know if that if any of these three were not present our love from God would not be the same. God sent his son Jesus to earth to teach us about his father, and to teach people how to live and love each other in faith. God then put Jesus to death, in order to forgive all our sins, but also to show his great love for each one of us. Following the completion of the resurrection with Jesus ascension God sent down the Holy Spirit, which we celebrated just last week at Pentecost. God sent the spirit as a sign of his Love and willingness to guide us if we open our lives to him.

If any of the trinity was missing, Father, Son or Holy Spirit we would not know today about the Love that God has for us, and would not be able to live in faith. As we heard in the Gospel reading – For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

God does not ask us to fully understand, He only asks that we believe and live in faith and that we have trust. He asks us to share the gospel and our experience of his great love of all through our day to day living. BUT God today invites us to show people rather than explain it, therefore the only knowledge needed is the experience and awareness of his love.

To end, I leave you with this poem, the author is unknown, but I think the words speak so true about the world around us, the human things we feel but more importantly how much God’s love means in day to day life.

I Don’t Understand God Sometimes

I don’t understand God sometimes
In fact he almost fools me
Confuses me
Fakes me
Freaks me
Turns me around to the point where
I have no clue which way is up
I don’t understand God sometimes
I don’t get why babies die
From lack of love
And people die
from lack of rain
or from too much of it
I don’t understand why pastors get sick
Or parents die in plane crashes
Or why I can’t seem to beat the next level of my game
God, I just don’t understand you sometimes

But then there are the quiet times
When rain sings on old leaves
Or geese paint v’s across the clouds
Or the night sky comes out dressed in stars
And I hear you whispering softly to me
I don’t understand you sometimes God,
But there are the happy times,
The worship times,
When you are closer to me than even I am to me
And I hear your voice mingled with mine
When I see worship-joy in student eyes
And I hear truth-words fall from young mouths

I don’t understand you sometimes God,
But then there are the hard times
When it seems like all the world has run away
Or its all chasing me
Times when the ones that said that they
Liked me
Loved me
Cared for me
Hurt me
And tore open my heart
And I was left feeling lost
And exposed
And most especially
Alone

Until I felt your presence with me
Beside me
Comforting me
Completing me
And I don’t understand you God,
But I know you were there.
I don’t understand you God,
Your ways are not my ways
But I don’t have to understand you to know
Because I know that you are God
And I am loved
And that’s enough

Intersessions  from Lesley:

On this Trinity Sunday we have come before you Lord to offer our praise.

  • You are God the creator, giving us richly all things to enjoy.
  • You are Christ the Saviour of the world, made flesh to set us free.
  • You are the Spirit of truth and love, willing to dwell in us.
  • You are holy and blessed.
  • One god, eternal Trinity, be near to us as we bring to you our intercessions.

Lord we pray for your church throughout the world, for those that are thriving and those which have lost a sense of direction.
We give thanks for our church and its people, and gladly acknowledge all the gifts you have given us through its life, we ask you to open wide our hearts that we may welcome the stranger and share our faith with others, open wide our minds that we may receive new truth and understand your will, open wide our doors, that as we have come into worship so we may go out with you to the service of the world, open wide our lives that through discipline and prayer we may experience your power in daily living.

Lord, in your mercy. – ‘Hear our prayer’
We thank you for the part so many people play in the running of this church, we give thanks especially for Kirsty, Irene and Robert, the Churchwarden, and PCC. The sides men and women, the treasurer, and social committee and all who seek to serve you. Give them an insight into your purposes and a longing for the church to grow, giving to increase and the local community to be served.

Lord in Your mercy. – ‘Hear our prayer’

We pray for peace in so many parts of our troubled world where ethnic, tribal and religious differences continue to blight humanity’s potential for greater things. We pray especially for peace in Israel and Gaza.
We pray for countries where demands for individual freedoms and rights are crushed at every opportunity and where activists can disappear without trace.

We remember those in the hands of people-smugglers as they flee poverty or persecution and pray that the international community can find an equitable solution to what will be an ever increasing problem.

We pray for the work of all engaged in humanitarian work amongst the refugees and migrants in many parts of the world.

Lord in Your mercy. – ‘Hear our prayer’

Loving God we thank you for the beauty and wonder of your creation. Help us to love and respect all that you have made; to share your gifts with our brothers and sisters in need and to protect and nurture all that is fragile and vulnerable on this earth.

Loving God we thank you for the huge diversity of peoples who share this world. Help us to do what we can to bring peace into our own lives and to seek your ways of peace for the welfare of all your children.

Loving God we thank you for the love and fellowship of friends and families. Help us to be generous with our time, with our love and with ourselves to care for all who are lonely and in need of our support.

Lord in Your mercy. – ‘Hear our prayer’

Lord Jesus, comforter and healer to those in  physical, emotional and spiritual need, we bring before you those known to our congregation here, or to us personally, who are in need at this time. We name them in our hearts in a moment of quiet and  ask that your healing touch may be felt in their lives .

Lord in Your mercy. – ‘Hear our prayer’

We remember those who have died recently,

Strengthen and sustain those who know the sorrow of bereavement. May they experience the comfort of the Holy Spirit within them and the love and fellowship of the church family around them.

And so we pray for those in our midst and the wider community who face that pain of grief at the loss of a loved one.

Lord in Your mercy. – ‘Hear our prayer’

O God beyond us give us faith.

O Christ beside us, give us peace.

O Spirit within us, give us life.

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

St John’s Hopwood St Luke’s Heywood

Trinity Sunday

 30th May 2021 (At Home)

 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 confession and forgiveness                     

God the Father forgive us in Christ and heal us by the Holy Spirit.

Let us therefore put away all anger and bitterness,

and slander and malice,

and confess our sins to God our redeemer.

 

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 the God of love

bring us back to himself,

forgive us our sins,

and assure us of his eternal love

in 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.

 The Collect

Holy God,

Faithful and unchanging:

enlarge our mind with the knowledge if your truth,

and draw us more deeply into the mystery of your love,

that we may truly worship you,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Amen

 Romans 8. 12-17

So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!”  it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

 Gospel reading:  John 3: 1 – 17

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews.  He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”  Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?

“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

 Sermon (See Attached)

 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 & Lord’s Prayer

 

…..Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer

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

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

Peace to you from God our heavenly Father.

Peace from his Son Jesus Christ who is our peace.

Peace from the Holy Spirit, the life giver.

The peace of the triune God be always with you.

and also with you.

The Blessing

God the Holy Trinity make you strong in faith and love,

defend you on everyside,

and guide you in truth and pace

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.

In the name of Christ. Amen

 Pentecost Sunday 23rd May

(Acts 2. 1-21, John 15. 26 – 27; 16.4b – 15)

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

Happy Birthday to you all – No I haven’t lost it. Today, we celebrate Pentecost, and some refer to it as the birthday of the church. This is because we all today remember, give thanks and receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit afresh. The Holy Spirit was first given to the disciples over 2000 years ago but each person that turns to God today also receives part of God’s Holy Spirit, whether through baptism and / or through opening their hearts and minds to God’s presence among them. But what does this mean for our faith today.

When the disciples first received the Holy Spirit, what they imagined would happen was only a small fragment of what was actually felt, seen and received. Having seen Jesus ascend to his Father, leaving the promise that more was to come, the disciples were waiting for quite a while for what we now know was the Holy Spirit to come. When it arrived, the disciples were filled with the gift of ability. The ability to share in full the message of Jesus and God’s love. Up until this point the disciples, having turned to follow Jesus, have journeyed and learnt alongside Jesus. However, at Easter they had been left behind on earth, in what can be described as a confused and lost state, they were then joined again by Jesus post resurrection to teach them that although not physically present he was still with them, to now the receiving of the Spirit, that was something altogether different, but just as rewarding, comforting and enabling. Through the receiving of the Holy Spirit, the whole story and teaching about Jesus’ death also came into focus, became understood and was then able to be shared.

We today also receive this same Holy Spirit. A Spirit that opens up God’s love to us, and a spirit that guides us to places to minister and to share the good news of Jesus. A spirit that reminds us that all sins are forgiven, and we are all set free, a spirit that gives us Hope. However, this spirit only becomes alive and grows our faith if we follow the instructions given by Jesus in our Gospel reading. To go into the world and testify Jesus’ story and God’s love, go and share what you yourselves know, have seen and have experienced, and go to set others free. So how do we do this?

I mentioned last week the importance of prayer for self-sustaining and about knowing our true self and our identity before God. Because without knowing who we were with or for God, means we will struggle to help others. As disciple we are all called to lead, but in order to lead in the places that we are all sent, with the skills we are given, our faith in God needs to be rooted. I am sure we have many examples where we have tried to lead others but then got stuck because we ourselves found a lack of understanding or awareness.

We all have a responsibility in the receiving of the Holy Spirit to care for ourselves and to care for the rest of God’s flock. God’s flock is everyone who we come into contact with. But we can only care and teach others if we ourselves truly know who we are alongside God and in God and to know that we to are cared for too. We are reminded many times that we are loved by God. But how often do we stop and hear it. Today we are all told once more that God loves us, and actually in his love he cares and wants to protect us, guide us and free us by allowing us to receive the Holy Spirit either for the first time, or afresh into our lives. And it’s in this receiving, turning to God, reflecting on our own lives, that we can then go and serve others, free others and give hope to all.

God already guides us and opens up places in our lives for us to minister: our places of work, our social groups, our communities, our homes and the list goes on. God in his giving of the Holy Spirit, equips us by giving us the gifts to spread his word and set examples, he also encourages us to challenge and to make an impact in our actions. God is not asking that we go in search to use these gifts, God is asking that we use these gifts in the situations that he has sent us. Therefore, I challenge us all today, to re look at our lives, our weekly situations and places, to acknowledge and recognize our skills and lead together. It could be to say a hello and start a conversation to someone you see regularly but don’t know their names, it could be taking time to share a skill you have with someone else in order for them to develop and learn something new, it could be you talk to someone about your faith, but also spend the time to ask questions and listen to others about themselves. If we all make small changes, with the help and through the Holy Spirit, we together can be the individuals that come together to lead the church not just in these four walls but in the communities that we belong. I hope you do to, but I find that quiet exciting. So today let us all rejoice, give thanks, ensure we are firmly rooted and make an impact for us and all we encounter as we receive the Holy Spirit afresh and alive. Amen

INTERCESSIONS 

PENTECOST SUNDAY :   23rd MAY,2021

 

Christ be our light! Shine in our hearts. Shine through the darkness

Christ be our light! Shine in our church gathered today.

On this Pentecost Sunday. Let us pray……………….

Lord, we come again to this place where you are worshipped

We come to gather up all we have said and done and thought since we last met and bring it as part of our offering of thanks and praise. We have come to seek your truth, to praise your glory and to let the light of your love to drive the darkness out of our lives…….

For this is a day of celebration…on that first day of Pentecost, when people were full of the Holy Spirit, the church of Jesus Christ was born.

 

Fire of the Spirit. blaze away in the church and set us on fire for the gospel;

Words of the Spirit. Speak to us and through us that we may share the living word

Wind of the Spirit. Blow strongly through the Church and enliven us with the breath of God – a wind to freshen our faces and awaken us to the challenges of today.

Lord, may we bear the fruits of your Spirit;

Give us love, that boundless healing energy which transforms the world

Give us joy, because no darkness can overcome you

Give us peace, to quiet   our hearts

Give us patience to follow you even when the road is hard; Give us with kindness to the person who needs to be loved;

Give us goodness, to give with a generous heart…..

Spirit of God, fill our hearts with hope and comfort our lives with love..

Come to us now, in this time of Pentecost

The sparkling light of faith; the rushing wind of hope

That the joyful sound of praise may echo around the world. For you are a great God, your character is holy; your truth is absolute; your strength is unending; your discipline is fair…Your provisions are abundant for our needs; Your light is adequate for our path; your grace is sufficient for our sins; you are never early; never late; Your plan is perfect;

We are the body of Christ and there is no greater truth than this; we are HIS Unalterably He loves us undyingly…For NOTHING can separate us from  the love  of God……………………………..AMEN

 

St John’s Hopwood & St Luke’s Heywood

 Pentecost  23rd May 2021

(at Home)

The Greeting

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

Amen

The Lord be with you

and also with you.

Alleluia.  Christ is risen!

He is risen indeed.  Alleluia!

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

Christ our passover lamb has been sacrificed for us.

Let us therefore rejoice by putting away all malice and evil

and confessing our sins with a sincere and true heart.

 

Most merciful God,

Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

we confess that we have sinned

in thought, word and deed.

We have not loved you with our whole heart.

We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.

In your mercy

forgive what we have been,

help us to amend what we are,

and direct what we shall be;

that we may do justly,

love mercy,

and walk humbly with you, our God. 

Amen.

 

May, almighty God,

who forgives all who truly repent,

have mercy upon us,

pardon and deliver us from all your 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.

 

The Collect

Holy Spirit, sent by the Father,

ignite in us your holy fire;

strengthen your children with the gift of faith,

revive your Church with the breath of love,

and renew the face of the earth,

through Jesus Christ our Lord

Amen

Readings:

Acts 2: 1-21

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”

But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares,

that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,

and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,

and your young men shall see visions,

and your old men shall dream dreams.

Even upon my slaves, both men and women,

in those days I will pour out my Spirit;

and they shall prophesy.

And I will show portents in the heaven above

and signs on the earth below,

blood, and fire, and smoky mist.

The sun shall be turned to darkness

and the moon to blood,

before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.

Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

 John 15: 26-27, 16: 4b – 15

“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf.  You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.

“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because they do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

 Sermon (attached)

 The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God,

the Father, the Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is,

seen and unseen.

 We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one Being with the Father;

through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,

was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary

and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son,

who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,

who has spoken through the prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come.

Amen.

 

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 (Attached)

& 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 has made us one in Christ.

He has set his seal upon us and, as a pledge of what is to come,

has given the Spirit to dwell in our hearts. Alleluia.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

 

The Blessing

May the Spirit,

who hovered over the waters when the world was created,

breathe into you the life he gives.  Amen

 May the Spirit,

who overshadowed the Virgin when the eternal Son came among us,

make you joyful n the service of the Lord. Amen

 May the Spirit,

who set the Church on fire upon the Day of Pentecost,

bring the world alive with the love of the risen Christ. Amen

 

And the blessing of God almighty,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always. Amen

 Filled with the Spirit’s power, go in the light and peace of Christ. Alleluia, Alleluia.

Thanks be to God. Alleluia, Alleluia.

Sermon: 7th Sunday of Easter – (Acts 1:15-17, 21-26, & John 17: 6-19)

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.

So, we find ourselves today in a time between Accession Day and Pentecost. And I reminded people in my accession day sermon that the disciples themselves had this very similar encounter. This was a time between Jesus leaving and completing the resurrection to the sending down of the Holy Spirit to be with the disciples and all who follows on. However, in this gap the disciples are encouraged to reflect and spend time in preparation and with God so that when the Holy Spirit comes, they are ready to give thanks and go and serve in the communities to which they are sent. At the end of my sermon, I encouraged people to spend these few days the same, spending them in a time of listening, prayer and reflection because waiting and reflecting is just as important today for us as it was for the disciples. It is a key part of our faith journey; however, experience tells me we are not always brave enough to stop and do this. But it is important, so we keep alive and so in our busyness we are reminded of God’s control and call upon each of our lives.

This is why during this period we find ourselves in the middle of a national 10 days of prayer – with “Thy Kingdom Come”. Prayer encouraged during this time is about us communicating with God and allowing space for him to communicate with us. But I think it is important to note, and remind ourselves, that prayer is often something that we forget is a two-way process and more than a request for wants. I am just as guilty as everyone else, allowing prayer to become fixed on topics such as praying for the sick, those who have died, for worlds events, as well as my own wants and desires. Now, before I move on let me stress, praying for these things is correct and important and should not be dismissed. However, in addition to these I ask how often do we stop and give thanks, how often do we stop and pray for those who go out to work each day or do the ordinary things, how often do we pray for our families and friends just because, and how often do we stop and in prayer offer ourselves attentively to listen to God speaking to us.

On a leadership course I was once on, we looked at how we, as ordained, and those in our churches lead together. And some of these themes came up, the reminder of prayer to sustain us but also came the reminder that in order to support and encourage others, we ourselves needed to be aware and comfortably with our own true self and our identity before God. Because without knowing who we were with or for God, means we can’t help others.

We are reminded many times that we are loved by God. But again, how often do we stop and hear it. Today we are all told that God loves us, and actually in his love he cares and wants to protect us. I wonder how many of you heard this message and took it as a prayer for you – taking a slightly different version to the one first read – but same passage and message – Jesus prays to his Father – And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. 

This prayer is not just for those who he first prayed it to – this prayer if prayer for they / for them, that’s for you and me and for all who hear this scripture today. When he says he is coming to us Jesus is talking about his coming to each one of us the form of the Holy Spirit. To come and make each of us complete, so that we can each go to where God needs us to go, to share the message of his love with God’s whole flock. So, let’s ensure that we use these next few days to continue to pray to God, to give thanks for what we have already, but also to stop, listen and prepare ourselves to receive the Holy Spirit afresh next week during the Pentecost celebrations. Amen.

Prayers:

In joy and hope let us pray to the Father.

 

That our risen Saviour may fill us with the joy of his glorious and life giving resurrection.

When I say: we pray to the Father,

Please respond with: Hear our prayer.

 

That isolated and persecuted churches may find fresh strength in the good news of Easter.

We pray to the Father,

Hear our prayer.

 

That God may grant us humility to be subject to one another in Christian love.

We pray to the Father,

Hear our prayer.

That we may provide for those who lack food, work or shelter.

We pray to the Father,

Hear our prayer

 

That by his power war and famine may cease through the world, we pray for the peoples of Israel and Palestine, that their leaders would halt this bloody conflict.

We pray to the Father,

Hear our prayer.

 

That he may reveal the light of his presence to the sick, the weak and dying, to comfort and strengthen them.

We pray in the silence of our hearts those known to us who need our prayers today —

We have been especially asked to pray for Joyce Holt and Doreen Rostron.

We pray to the Father,

Hear our prayer.

 

That according to his promises, all who have died in the faith of the resurrection may be raised on the last day. We pray for the family and friends of Martyn Stephens, Lord help them in their grief.

We pray to the Father,

Hear our prayer.

 

That he may send the fire of the Holy Spirit upon his people so that we may bear faithful witness to his resurrection.

We pray to the Father,

Hear our prayer.

 

That we pray for Robert Mellor, whose baptism is to be held today.

 

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

St John’s Hopwood St Luke’s Heywood

7th Sunday of Easter – 16th May 2021

(at Home)

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

Amen

The Lord be with you

and also with you.

Alleluia.  Christ is risen!

He is risen indeed.  Alleluia!

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

Christ our passover lamb has been sacrificed for us.

Let us therefore rejoice by putting away all malice and evil

and confessing our sins with a sincere and true heart.

 Most merciful God,

Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

we confess that we have sinned

in thought, word and deed.

We have not loved you with our whole heart.

We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.

In your mercy

forgive what we have been,

help us to amend what we are,

and direct what we shall be;

that we may do justly,

love mercy,

and walk humbly with you, our God. 

Amen.

 May, almighty God,

who forgives all who truly repent,

have mercy upon us,

pardon and deliver us from all your 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.

 The 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 1. 15-17, 21- end

In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said, “Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus— for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.”

So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.” So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed and said, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.

 John 17. 6-19

“I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.

 Sermon (attached)

 The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God,

the Father, the Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is,

seen and unseen.

 We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one Being with the Father;

through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,

was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary

and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

 We believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son,

who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,

who has spoken through the prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come.

Amen.

 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 (Attached)

& 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

The risen Christ came and stood among his disciples and said:

‘Peace be with you’

Then were they glad when they saw the Lord. Alleluia.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

 The Blessing

May the God of peace,

who brough again from the dead our Lord Jesus,

that great shepherd of the sheep,

through the blood of the eternal covenant,

make us perfect in every good work to do his will,

working in us that which is well-pleasing in his sight;

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 the peace of Christ. Alleluia, Alleluia.
Thanks be to God. Alleluia, Alleluia.

 

Sermon: 6th Sunday of Easter (Acts 10. 44-end, & John 15. 9-17)

Through the written word, and the spoken word, may we know your Living Word
Jesus Christ our Savour, Amen.
I wonder how many of you would agree that proclaiming the good news to people
who come forward and ask questions and / or come to church is a lot easier than to
those who have no church connection and those whom we meet in different
contexts. As Christians we are told to go and proclaim the good news to all we meet.
How we approach and carry this our may vary, however our readings give us
guidance and examples to ensure that we are in fact proclaiming to all we meet.
Holding my hands ups, as someone who is ordained the thought of going into a nonchurch context and proclaiming the good news is not one I find easily. However,
knowing deep down that God is there with me and knowing of the potential outcome,
the need to do is real. Whilst at college we undertook as mission and evangelism
course and part of the course was to go into a new area and proclaim the good
news. Our team was given a local high street and following a visit to the area we
discovered that in fact there was little shops and cafes but instead was a key area for
bus changes. Carefully planning our action, we chose to meet people where they
were – at the bus stops. We carried around large prayer boards, offering people to
write prayers to God for things that were on their hearts and minds, and we also
offered out sweets, pens and prayer cards as people left. These cards offered a
prayer but also contacts for the local churches. Now at first, I was quite happy to
carry the basket of equipment and let my colleague do the talking. However, I knew I
needed to make connections and offer to people a glimpse of God’s Gospel. As we
went from stop to stop, I began to offer people the opportunity to pray and to my
surprise many people added prayers and engaged in short conversations. However,
there was one gentleman who began an in-depth conversation with me, he spoke
about how he used to go to church, but had left due to a number of reasons, but faith
was still part of his life, however he did not have the opportunity to discuss it with
others. This gentleman talked for 15 minutes (missing two of his buses). A few
weeks later he got in touch to say he had attended a church service and was looking
forward to getting back involved. Now I know this last story doesn’t happen in every
conversation, therefore I also need to remember that in the time we were out, we
spoke to around 50+ people, and actually around 30 of them engaged, listened, took
the opportunity to ask for prayer and heard a glimpse of the Gospel message. So
why do I think people engaged so well – well firstly we didn’t expect them to come to
us, instead we came to them, we didn’t jump straight in with a bible verse, but a
general hello, how are you today question, we didn’t force anything on them, but
gave people an opportunity. This approach is very familiar to that described and
encouraged in our Gospel reading today.
Jesus sets before us today the different between two relationships. The first a boss
and servant relationship he describes as being the boss instructing the servants
what to do and in what way. The second he describes as a friend and colleague
relationship, this being where one sets examples and then encouraging the other to
go and do using their own skills and support offered. Now Jesus when talking about
these relationships is talking about the relationships He and we can have. However,
in his teaching he is informing us that Jesus does not wish to work in a relationship
of Boss and servant but in fact as friend and colleague. Jesus is telling us that in
relationship with us, he wants to journey alongside us, for us together to take part in
mission and proclaiming the Gospel and in doing so to both take responsibility in
sharing the workload. Yet, he also tells us that, if Jesus and we uptake this
relationship, he also then wants us to model this same relationship with others.
Today we are reminded that in these relationships and proclamation we are to
remember the commandment to love one another. Love is a very big word, and often
the instinct is to associate it to processions and pleasure. However, the love that
Jesus is talking about is a love that is forgiving and is a love that practices and
shares a love that wants to see people free. Just like the love described in our Acts
reading. As Peter is proclaiming the Gospel of forgiveness, the Holy Spirit is poured
upon all who hears and the result is that Jesus’ love comes among each person and
the initial spark of a faith flame is enlightened.
As people, who I hope, wish to live and deepen a relationship with Jesus which is
like friend and colleague, we are encouraged to go and spread this message of
forgiving and life-giving love to everyone we have contact with. I found that fostering
the model of friendship had far better outcomes, but also feels much more doable.
Lighting the flame of love in people hearts is something that we are all called to do,
and when we see the results, it is not only life giving to the person we have given it
to, but it is also life giving to us. It may not always be easy and it maybe we need to
overcome some personal struggles, but to give the opportunity for all to experience
and come to Christ is what we commanded to do, as a fellow friends and colleagues
on a journey with Jesus Christ. So, I say, let’s let ourselves receive afresh the Holy
Spirit in our listening and then let’s take up the love out into the world, for all to see.
Amen.

INTERCESSIONS 9 MAY 2021 – 6th SUNDAY OF EASTER

Today we are asked to love one another as Jesus loves us.
When you hear the words “help us Lord” please respond by saying- to love one another.

Help us, lord: to love one another.

Knowing Gods love and affection for us, let us pray to him now.
Blessed are you, lord our god, for out of your love you have made all things. You come to us and give yourself to us. Help us to be aware of your love in our lives and to give ourselves to you in love through doing your will. We pray for your church wherever there is friction and conflict and for communities divided and weakened. Give us a greater longing for your healing and a deeper commitment to forgiving love. We ask your blessing upon all who are new to faith and pray for those who have been baptised and confirmed. We pray for all Christians persecuted for their faith or have to suffer scorn and mockery.

Help us lord: to love one another.

Lord, we bring before you the many places in our world where people are suffering from tyranny or lawlessness. We pray for all who are oppressed or used as cheap labour.
We pray for our world leaders where tangled political situations, seem impossible to solve, where conflicting interests threaten peace, where the ears of the powerful remain insulated against the cries of the oppressed. Lord give to all leaders, ears to hear your guidance.

Today we pray for, Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe, in prison in Iran accused of plotting against the government
We pray for Aung San Suu Kyi, detained through house arrest in Myanmar, a country where so many people have been shot dead or severely injured by the military as they seized control of the country, and finally Alexei Navalny, the Russian dissident challenging President Putin.
We pray for all their families and friends worried and affected by their detention.
We will now have a few moments of silent prayer bringing before our God of love and peace a situation in our world that gives us concern.

Help us Lord To love one another.

Loving father we pray for families who are struggling, where children are in danger in or need of help to catch up with school work during lock down due to coronavirus and where daily living conditions are damaging health and self- respect. Lord, let your kingdom come through the ongoing compassion and support of both Government, neighbours and the many charities during this pandemic. Lord, may our homes reflect the love we share. Keep us sensitive to the needs of each other.

Help us lord. To love one another.

Lord of light we ask your blessing upon all who are struggling with darkness and fear. We remember those who have been involved in accidents or acts of violence this week, we pray for all who have suddenly become ill and those who are in hospital. We pray for all who anxiously await the results of a medical examination, and those who are now undergoing treatment.
Lord, give them courage and hope in their troubles.

Help us lord. To love one another.

Lord Jesus. Be with all who are suffering at this time, especially because of the corona virus pandemic. Come as a light to all who walk in darkness, the despairing and the despondent. Come as joy to all who have lost confidence and to all who are depressed. Come as hope to all who are ill and fearful of their future.
We pray for Joyce Holt & Doreen Rostron and bring before you in the silence of hearts loved ones in need of our personal prayer today
Lord of life, we rejoice in the power of the resurrection and we remember before you all your saints and martyrs. We ask your blessing upon our loved ones and benefactors who have now departed from us. May we all abide in your presence and eternal love.

Today we pray for Mavis Chaplin, and her grieving family.

Help us lord. To love one another.

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

S t Joh n’ s H o p w o o d & S t Luk e’ s H e y w o o d
6 t h S u n d ay o f Ea s t e r
9t h M ay 2 0 2 1
( a t H o m e )

Th e Gr e e ti n g
In t h e n a m e of t h e Fat h er, a n d of t h e So n, And of t h e Holy S pirit
A m e n

The Lord b e with you
a n d al s o wit h yo u .
Alleluia. Christ is risen!
H e  i s  r i s e n  i n d e e d . All el u i a!

Pr ay er of Pr e p ar a ti o n
Al mi g h ty Go d,
t o w h o m all h e art s ar e o p e n ,
all d e s ir e s k n o w n ,
a n d fr o m w h o m n o s e cr e t s ar e h i d d e n:
c l e a n s e t h e t h o u g h t s of o u r h e ar t s
by t h e i n s p irati o n o f yo ur H o ly S p irit,
t h a t w e m a y p e rf e c tly l ov e yo u ,
a n d w ort h ily m a g n ify yo ur h o ly n a m e;
t hr o u g h C hri s t o ur Lord.
A m e n .

Pr ay er s of P e n i t e n c e
Ch rist ou r p a s sove r la m b h a s b e e n s ac rifice d for u s.
Let u s t h e r efor e r ejoice by p u t ting a w ay all m alice a n d evil
a n d confessing ou r sins wit h a sinc e r e a n d t r u e h e a r t.
M o s t m e r c if ul Go d,
Fat h er of o u r Lord Jes u s Chri s t,
w e c o n f e s s t h a t w e h av e s i n n e d
i n t h o u g h t, w or d a n d d e e d .
We h av e n o t l ov e d yo u wit h o u r w h o l e h e ar t.
We h av e n o t l ov e d o u r n e i g h b o ur s a s o u r s e lv e s .
I n yo ur m e r cy
f or giv e w h a t w e h av e b e e n ,
h e l p u s t o a m e n d w h a t w e ar e,
a n d dir e c t w h a t w e s h a ll b e;
t h a t w e m a y d o ju s tly,
l ov e m e r cy,
a n d w alk h u m b ly wit h yo u, o u r Go d.
A m e n .

M ay, al mighty God,
w ho forgives all w ho t r uly r e p e n t,
h ave m e r cy u po n u s,
p a r do n a n d d eliver u s fro m all you r sins,

confir m a n d st r e n g t h e n u s in all good n e s s,
a n d ke e p u s in life e t e r n al;
t h ro u g h Jesus Ch rist ou r Lord.
A m e n

Gl oria
Gl ory t o G o d i n t h e h i g h e s t ,
a n d p e a c e t o h i s p e o p l e o n e a r t h .
Lor d G o d , h e a v e n ly Ki n g ,
a l m i g h t y G o d a n d Fat h er,
w e w o r s h i p y o u , w e g i v e y o u t h a n k s ,
w e p r a i s e y o u f or y o u r g l o ry.
Lor d Je s u s C hri s t , o n ly S o n o f t h e Fat h er,
Lor d G o d , La m b o f G o d ,
y o u t a k e a w ay t h e s i n o f t h e w o rl d:
h a v e m e r c y o n u s;
y o u a r e s e a t e d a t t h e ri g h t h a n d o f t h e Fat h e r:
r e c e iv e o u r p r ay er.
For y o u a l o n e a r e t h e H o ly O n e ,
y o u a l o n e a r e t h e Lor d ,
y o u a l o n e a r e t h e M o s t H i g h , Je s u s C h ri s t,
w i t h t h e H o ly S p iri t,
i n t h e g l o ry o f G o d t h e Fat h er.
A m e n .

Th e Coll e c t
Ris e n C h ris t,
by t h e lak e sid e you r e n e w e d you r c all to you r disciple s:
h el p you r C h u r c h to o b ey you r co m m a n d
a n d d r a w t h e n a tio n s to t h e fire of you r love,
to t h e glo ry of God t h e Fa t h er. A m e n

R e a d i n g s:
A c t s 1 0: 4 4 – e n d
While Pet e r w a s s till s p e a king, t h e Holy S pirit fell u po n all w ho h e a r d t h e
wo r d. The circ u m cis e d b elieve rs w ho h a d co m e with Pet e r w e r e a s to u n d e d
t h a t t h e gift of t h e H oly S pirit h a d b e e n pou r e d out eve n on t h e Ge ntiles, for
t h ey h e a r d t h e m s p e a king in to n g u e s a n d extolling God. The n Pet e r s aid, “Ca n
a nyon e with hold t h e w a t e r for b a p tizing t h e s e p eo ple w ho h ave r e c eive d t h e
H oly S pirit just a s w e h ave?” So h e or d e r e d t h e m to b e b a p tize d in t h e n a m e
of Jesus Ch rist. The n t h ey invite d hi m to s t ay for s eve r al d ays.
Joh n 1 5: 9 – 1 7
As t h e Fat h e r h a s loved m e, so I h ave loved you; a bid e in my love. If you ke e p
my co m m a n d m e n t s, you will a bid e in my love, just a s I h ave ke p t my Fat h e r’s
co m m a n d m e n t s a n d a bid e in his love. I h ave s aid t h es e t hings to you so t h a t
my joy m ay b e in you, a n d t h a t you r joy m ay b e co m plet e.

“This is my co m m a n d m e n t, t h a t you love on e a not h e r a s I h ave love d you. N o
on e h a s g r e a t e r love t h a n t his, to lay do w n on e’s life for on e’s frien ds. You a r e
my frien ds if you do w h a t I co m m a n d you. I do not c all you s e rv a nt s a ny
long er, b ec a u s e t h e s e rva nt do e s not know w h a t t h e m a s t e r is doing; b u t I
h ave c alle d you frien d s, b e c a u s e I h ave m a d e know n to you eve rythin g t h a t I
h ave h e a r d fro m my Fat h er. You did not c hoos e m e b ut I chos e you. And I
a p point e d you to go a n d b e a r fruit, fruit t h a t will last, so t h a t t h e Fat h e r will
give you w h a t eve r you a sk hi m in my n a m e. I a m giving you t h es e co m m a n d s
so t h a t you m ay love on e a not h er.

Serm o n (attac h e d )

The Nice n e Creed
We b elieve in o n e God,
t h e Fa t h er, t h e Almig h ty,
m a k e r of h e av e n a n d e a r t h,
of all t h a t is,
s e e n a n d u n s e e n.
We b elieve in o n e Lor d, Jes u s C h ris t,
t h e o nly S o n of God,
e t e r n ally b e g o t t e n of t h e Fa t h er,
God fro m God, Lig h t fro m Lig h t,
t r u e Go d fro m t r u e Go d,
b e g o t t e n, n o t m a d e,
of o n e Bein g wit h t h e F at h e r;
t h r o u g h hi m all t hi n g s w e r e m a d e.
Fo r u s a n d for o u r s alva tio n h e c a m e d o w n fro m h e av e n,
w a s inc a r n a t e fro m t h e H oly S pirit a n d t h e Virgin M a ry
a n d w a s m a d e m a n.
Fo r o u r s a k e h e w a s c r u cifie d u n d e r Po ntiu s Pilat e;
h e s uffe r e d d e a t h a n d w a s b u ri e d.
O n t h e t hi r d d ay h e r o s e a g ai n
in a c c o r d a n c e wit h t h e S c ri pt u r e s;
h e a s c e n d e d into h e av e n
a n d is s e a t e d a t t h e ri g h t h a n d of t h e Fa t h er.
H e will co m e a g ai n in glo ry t o ju d g e t h e living a n d t h e d e a d,
a n d his kin g do m will h av e n o e n d.
We b elieve in t h e H oly S pi rit,
t h e Lor d, t h e give r of life,
w h o p r o c e e d s fro m t h e F a t h e r a n d t h e S o n,
w h o wit h t h e Fa t h e r a n d t h e S o n is w o r s hip p e d a n d glo rifie d,
w h o h a s s p ok e n t h r o u g h t h e p ro p h e t s.
We b elieve in o n e h oly c a t h olic a n d a p o s tolic C h u r c h.
We a c k no wl e d g e o n e b a p tis m for t h e for give n e s s of si n s.
We look for t h e r e s u r r e c tio n of t h e d e a d,
a n d t h e life of t h e w o rld t o co m e.
Am e n.

Affirmati o n of Faith
Let us declare our faith in God.
We believe in God the Fath er,
from who m every family in heave n and on earth is nam e d .
We believe in God the Son,
who lives in our hearts throu g h faith, and fills us with his love.
We believe in God the Holy Spirit,
who stren g t h e n s us with power from on high.
We believe in one God; Fath er, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen

Interc e s s i o n s (Attach e d )
& Lord’s Prayer
……
As ou r S aviou r t a u g h t u s, so w e p r ay
O ur Fat h er, w h o art i n h e av e n , h a ll o w e d b e t hy N a m e .
Thy Ki n g d o m c o m e .
Thy will b e d o n e , o n e art h a s it i s i n h e av e n .
Giv e u s t h i s d ay o u r d aily br e a d.
An d f or g iv e u s o u r tr e s p a s s e s ,
As w e f or giv e t h o s e w h o tr e s p a s s a g a i n s t u s .
An d l e a d u s n o t i n t o t e m p t a ti o n; b u t d e liv er u s fr o m e vil.
For t hi n e i s t h e ki n g d o m ,
Th e p o w er, a n d t h e g l ory,
For e v er a n d e v er. A m e n .
P e a c e
The ris e n Ch rist c a m e a n d stood a m o n g his disciples a n d s aid:
‘Peac e b e with you’
The n w e r e t h ey gla d w h e n t h ey s a w t h e Lord. Alleluia.
The p e a c e of t h e Lord b e alw ays with you.

Th e B l e s s i n g
M ay t h e God of p e a c e,
w ho b ro u g h a g ain fro m t h e d e a d ou r Lord Jes us,
t h a t g r e a t s h e p h e r d of t h e s h e e p,
t h ro u g h t h e blood of t h e e t e r n al cove n a n t,
m a k e us p e rfect in eve ry good work to do his will,
wo rking in u s t h a t w hich is w ell-ple asing in his sig ht;

a n d t h e blessing of God al mighty,
t h e Fat h er, t h e Son, a n d t h e Holy S pirit,
b e a m o n g you a n d r e m ain with you alw ays. A m e n
Go in t h e p e a c e of Ch rist. Alleluia, Alleluia.
Th a n k s b e t o God. All el u i a, All el ui a.

 

5th Sunday of Easter – 1John 4: 7-21, John 15: 1-8

The story of Philip on the road to Gaza is an extraordinary one. It is an exotic story. It is also intriguing.
The main character is a eunuch, a safe and unthreatening servant of the Queen of Ethiopia . He is riding in a chariot, and reading at the same time. That is no mean feat in itself. He was reading the Hebrew Scriptures. He was a believer in the God of the Jewish people, and had been to Jerusalem to worship in the temple. He must have been a thinker, a questioner, a seeker. Perhaps the passage he was reading had been part of the temple worship, and it was causing him concern. Certainly the story suggests that he wanted something deeper and more fulfilling in his life.

The other person in the story is Philip. He was one of the new group of deacons, commissioned to supplement the apostles work. He was prompted to go down the road from Jerusalem to Gaza and to go up to the eunuch just at the moment that was right. The eunuch was reading verses from it which tells of a servant who suffered and was humiliated, but somehow brought healing and new life.
What was it that intrigued him about this ? He confesses that he does not understand it, yet he is studying it, worrying at it. It might have been the promise of release from guilt, or the hope of healing ” it might have been the attraction of one who comes in God’s name so humbly. No pomp or status. No great claims or show of strength. Just the strong taking up of burdens, shame and humiliation so that others might find new possibilities. It was probably all the things that intrigued and attracted him.
Philip was the right person at the right moment. The eunuch can quickly see that Jesus comes in just this way. That is his story too. His life speaks of God coming humbly , and in a way that shares the experience of our life. Jesus’ life speaks of him taking up the burden we cannot bear ourselves and allowing us to walk tall, and grow in freedom. So the eunuch enters down into the waters and rises up renewed. His relationship with the God he worships has been transformed by accepting Jesus as the Christ, the fulfilment of the suffering servant of Isaiah.

The truth of this discovered by the eunuch that Philip met, is filled out by the other readings today. The relationship to which Christ invites us is expressed in the image of the vine. Christ is the whole vine, and we as individuals are branches of it. The image speaks of fruitfulness, of richness, of possibilities for abundant life. The image suggests an intimacy with God in Christ. We are part of him and he is part of us. The image expresses that our well being depends on this relationship. Without it we wither and die. Our need for this God is like the need of the branch for the vine on which it grew. Without it the eunuch still searched. Without it each one of us is impoverished. In the imagery of the Lord’s Supper , the fruit of the vine comes together with the suffering figure. This is my blood shed for you in the thanksgiving and the sharing of Communion we enter into that close and intimate relationship in which God humbly comes, bears the impossible burdens and speaks the words that no one else can.

The stories and images we have been thinking of invite us to look again at what our worship today can mean for us. Today God comes to us in Christ as the figure of one who is humble , even despised . Making no claims, exerting no pressure. He offers once again to bear the burdens we find intolerable , to bind up the wounds which will not heal. Today we are like branches of a vine. We are fed and nurtured by being in Christ and Christ in us . We have the real hope of a love growing between us which can dissolve all divisions. Because we share the life of Christ. Because he first loved us, before any response on our part.
And today ‘ if that love is in us , and only if, we surely and deeply know God.

Amen

Intersessions

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

Lord, we give thanks for the wonders of your creation.
For the beauty that lifts our spirit, for the sunshine that brings birth to
life and the rain that provides nourishment to us all.
Teach us to live in harmony and respect the world we live in.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Lord, whilst there is still great suffering throughout the world resulting
from the Corona virus, we give thanks for the increasing number of vaccines
that will hopefully restrict it’s deadly power.
We pray for greater collaboration amongst nations in fighting this deadly
disease.
While we celebrate the improving conditions in this country, let us be still
for a moment to remember those who have not been so fortunate and for their
grieving familes.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Lord, we pray for our friends and neighbours, for family and relatives.
Help us to maintain relationships at this difficult time. It has been
painful not to have the normal companionship we have enjoyed.
May we appreciate more our need for each other, to grow closer and
supportive.
To give help and comfort to others in need, as you have taught us to do.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

As the world grows smaller we pray that nations will learn to work together
as one united family to eradicate diseases, relieve poverty and famine.
As your children, O Lord, and need you to guide us. Teach us to be tolerant
with each other and to work for your glory.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

We pray for peace in the world.
Please frustrate those who promote division and hatred.
Who seek their own personal advancement at the expense of others.
Who prey on the weak and needy.
We pray for those who are persecuted for their beliefs
Bring them justice against their oppressors.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Lord, we pray for those who are in pain or distress, for the many who have
sufferings they keep to themselves. O Lord, may your love and compassion
be known in their lives and bring healing into their hearts.
We pray for those anxiously awaiting operations and for those recovering
from treatments.
Give them patience to bear their pain and discomfort.
We bring to you those we know who are ill or injured.

We pray for Joyce Holt, and Mavis Chaplain

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

O merciful Father we pray for those who have died recently and also for
those whose anniversaries fall due at this time.
May they rest in your peace and rise in glory.

We remember today Cyril Lunn

Lord we pray also for  the victims of Jewish pilgrimage stampede this last week.

Please comfort family and friends who have lost loved ones recently and may they know your peace.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

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

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

St John’s Hopwood & St Luke’s Heywood
4th Sunday of Easter
25th April 2021
(at Home Service printed after intersessions)

Sermon: 4th – Sunday of Easter 25th April
(Acts 4: 5-12 & John 10: 11-18)

Through the written word, and the spoken word, may we know your Living Word Jesus Christ our Savour, Amen.

Today our Gospel reading gives us that very familiar image of Jesus as the shepherd
and we as his sheep. Due to its regular use and the image speaking 1000 words
itself, what to preach on can often be challenging. So, whilst doing some deeper
reflection and reading, I came across three themes that Jane Williams pulls out from
our readings today. These are Love, Cost and Purpose. So, I am going to use these
words today, to help us reflect on what it means to be a sheep in Jesus’ flock.
Love: love is often connected to something that you know and know well. Love is
something that you have experienced. Love is something that you can express and
received through words and actions. The love in our reading today is shown through
the image that Jesus gives. That he is the shepherd, and we are his sheep.
Shepherd’s and sheep have tight loving bonds. The love the shepherd has for the
sheep is that he or she provides the sheep with food and rest and the shepherd
keeps the sheep free and out of harms way. The love the sheep has for the shepherd
is in following when called, in staying together and in knowing who their leader is by
putting their whole trust in them. The image that Jesus gives reminds us that he
loves each one of us, and in order to keep us safe and well, he will do anything that
is needed, including dying on the cross. This image also reminds us of the love that
God had for Jesus, and the love God has for us. The image given in the reading also
includes the message that if we do go astray, he will come, find us and take us back
to be part of that wider flock. And that flock is us, us as a gathered church, us as
gathered Christians across the world. We are all part of the same flock, and
therefore between each of us, there is a unique godly love that binds us all together.
Yet, that coming together costs through the sacrifices that we all make, shepherd
and sheep.
I have already noted the cost of life that Jesus gives, in giving up his life on the
cross. But there is the also the cost of going out to search for us, the cost of keeping
us safe and feed, and this cost comes in the form of the Holy Spirit. Jesus never
adds a value to what he gives to each of us. However, what he does give, which we
will be reminded of in a few weeks at Pentecost, is the never-ending gift of the Holy
Spirit to be with us and within us abundantly. But the cost is not Jesus’ alone. We to
have to make sacrifices, and although you may think extreme, an example of this is
in our Acts reading. Peter and John are placed in prison for carrying out work in
Jesus’ name. However, for Peter and John, they don’t see this as, we need to stop
what we are doing, instead they turn it into an opportunity to talk about Jesus’ life, to
share their experiences and to proclaim Jesus love for all. However, in the
imprisonment they have paid a cost of their own, and in proclaiming, not knowing
what will happen, also risk more cost. I suppose the questions to ask ourselves is –
How far are we willing to go in proclaiming our faith? Do we have a set price we are
willing to sacrifice before giving up and turning away? Or are we open for our faith to
be of any cost to us, just like Jesus, Peter and John did?
Reflecting on these questions brings us to our third word – purpose. In our other
reading set for today, from 1 John, it says – Let us love not in word or speech but in
truth and action. I hope that being someone of faith, who loves our God and all that
he gives, we are willing to give up as much as we need to. However, in doing so we
need to become purposeful in what we are doing. By this, Jane means, no choosing
where God fits in each day, or doing faith things half heartly, or because we feel we
have to. But to do everything we do with God alongside, with the mindset that this is
to show others how I love God, and God loves me. In a way that allows other to see
God at work in my life, and how he might work in their lives too. To show everyone
that God is there for whoever wishes to follow. As Christians we are encouraged to
show what our faith means to us. To implement our faith into everything that we do.
To do whatever we need to do, in order to stay part of God’s flock and to know,
experience and grow in his love.
Today we are encouraged to remember that we are loved and remind ourselves what
that love between us and God feels like. To remember that we are not alone, and
that we journey with others too. Today we are encouraged to acknowledge that this
love does come with a cost, but God’s cost for us is far greater. And today we are
encouraged to bring that love and cost together by living a life with purpose the
whole time. And to reflect on this I want to leave you with these words from a poem
titled Sands of Time – author is unknown.
Sands of Time… (author unknown – Girlguiding UK – Senses Reflections)
If you had a bank account that credited your account each morning with £86,000,
that carried no balance from day to day – allowed you to keep no cash in your
account – and every evening cancelled whatever part of the amount you had failed
to use during the day, what would you do? Draw out every penny every day and use
it to your advantage?
Well, you have such bank, and its name is TIME. Every morning is credits you with
86, 000 seconds. Every night, it rules off as lost whatever of this you have failed to
invest to good purpose. It carriers over no balances, it allows no overdrafts. If you fail
to use the days deposits, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no
drawing against ‘tomorrow’. It is up to each of us to invest in this precious fund of
hours, minutes and seconds in service to the Lord and to get from it the utmost in
health, happiness and success.

Intersessions

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

Lord God, we ask that you would bless us here in this church. Pour upon us your Holy Spirit and guide us as we seek to minister to one another and to the people of our community. Grant your blessing on all who are unable to meet together in church at present. Be with us as we look forward to the time when we can actively join together in the kind of worship and fellowship we once enjoyed.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord we pray for our world, especially where people live in fear and suffering. We pray for the situation in India where the Covid virus is running out of control and hospitals are struggling to cope.
We pray for people deprived of their freedoms because of oppressive regimes and power hungry leaders; for people treated with injustice and violence and for political prisoners around the world.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Loving Father we pray for the people of our communities. We pray for those who feel lonely and forgotten, for young people who are struggling to find work, for those whose education has been severely disrupted by the pandemic and for those who drift into a life of crime and addiction. We pray that they might find guidance, strength and hope as they face the future.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Loving shepherd of the sheep, we pray for your tender care and protection on all who are sick or anxious about their own health or that of those they love. We bring before you, Lord, Joyce Holt and those others known personally to us who are ill at this time and in a few moments of silence we remember them now.
May they find consolation in your healing presence.
We give heartfelt thanks for all the medical staff who have worked tirelessly through the pandemic this last year and pray that they will have the strength to continue with their vital work.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of compassion, we pray for all who have died in recent days and for those who are feeling the intense pain and emptiness of losing someone they love. We pray for Cyril Lunn and for his family. Lord, may they be comforted by your loving presence and by the treasured memories of their loved ones.
We pray for the Queen at this sad and painful time for her. May she draw comfort strength and hope from her strong faith and from the love of her family.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

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

St John’s Hopwood & St Luke’s Heywood
4th Sunday of Easter
25th April 2021
(at Home Service) 

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

The Lord be with you
and also with you.

Alleluia. Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

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
Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed for us.
Let us therefore rejoice by putting away all malice and evil
and confessing our sins with a sincere and true heart.

Most merciful God,
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
we confess that we have sinned
in thought, word and deed.
We have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.
In your mercy
forgive what we have been,
help us to amend what we are,
and direct what we shall be;
that we may do justly,
love mercy,
and walk humbly with you, our God.
Amen.

May, almighty God,
who forgives all who truly repent,
have mercy upon us,
pardon and deliver us from all your 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.

The Collect
Almighty God,
whose Son Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life;
raise us, who trust in him,
from 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 forever,
Amen

Readings:
Acts 4: 5-12
The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. When they had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. This Jesus is
‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders;
it has become the cornerstone.’
There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.”

John 10: 11-18
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”

Sermon (attached)

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is,
seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.
Amen.

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 (Attached)
& 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
The risen Christ came and stood among his disciples and said:
‘Peace be with you’
Then were they glad when they saw the Lord. Alleluia.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

The Blessing
May the God of peace,
who brough again from the dead our Lord Jesus,
that great shepherd of the sheep,
through the blood of the eternal covenant,
make us perfect in every good work to do his will,
working in us that which is well-pleasing in his sight;
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 the peace of Christ. Alleluia, Alleluia.
Thanks be to God. Alleluia, Alleluia.