Welcome – Autumn 2020

We are now having regular services in our church buildings. See the link above for details or else look on the notice sheet. If you do not receive the notice sheet, please contact Revd Liz using the details on the Contact page to find out more.

Not everyone is able to join us in church at the moment so I continue to welcome you here to this site, where we can hear the Word of God and worship in our own homes.

Some of our buildings are open for private prayer at the following times:
Coxwold – Church open daily
Crayke – Sunday 1pm to 4pm; Thursday 9am to 1pm
Husthwaite – Sunday 9am to 1pm; Wednesday 2pm to 6pm
Wass – currently closed for redecoration

Revd Liz

Sunday 25th October – Bible Sunday

Welcome to our family service for Bible Sunday.

If you are watching this service during the week, welcome and we hope you enjoy it.

If you are watching on Sunday we invite you to Zoom Coffee at 11.30. Contact Revd Liz for details of how to join.

You can either scroll down the page and play each video in turn or you can just hit play on the playlist immediately underneath this paragraph.

Click here for Bible Sunday worksheets.

YouTube Playlist

Service written out

During the last corona virus lockdown, like many of you I’m sure, I arranged my bookcases. I had an awful lot of Bibles, different sizes, colours and versions. it made me think about adults and children who don’t have a Bible in their homes. It is in the Bible that we have readings like the New Testament reading we have today, that teaches us how much God loves us and shows us how we should teach each other. Like our song, which is sung by people all over the world, the Bible unites us all as christians.

So let us begin our worship.

Welcome in the name of Christ
Gods grace, mercy and peace be with us all. Amen.

Hymn – Give me oil in my lamp keep me burning

Opening Prayer

Loving God, we have come to worship you.
Help us to pray to you in faith,
to sing your praise with gratitude,
and to listen to your word with eagerness;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for the Day (Collect) for 20th Sunday after Trinity

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

Confession

We confess to you our selfishness and lack
of love:
fill us with your spirit
Lord have mercy & fit us for your Kingdom.

We confess to you our fear and failure in
sharing our faith:
fill us with your spirit
Lord have mercy & fit us for your Kingdom.

We confess to you our stubbornness and
lack of trust:
fill us with your spirit
Lord have mercy & fit us for your Kingdom.

Assurance of forgiveness

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.

Hymn – Jesus put this song into our hearts

Reading based on Psalm 100

The whole world is singing a song, have you heard it?
The wind is whispering it in the trees.
The rain is dancing it on the rooftops.
The whole of creation is singing it out together:
“God loves us. He made us. He’s very pleased with us!”
It’s the song that’s been sung since the beginning;
the song God created everything in the world to sing.
It’s the song without words.
It’s the song you were created to sing too.
We forgot our song long ago when we turned and ran away from God, but Jesus has come to bring us home to God – and give us back our song.
So go on – sing your song!

Reading from Colossians 3 12-17 (The Message Bible)

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.

Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness.

Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

Talk

I loved the Colossians from “The Message Bible”, but I did get a little “nudge” when the word Wardrobe was mentioned! My lockdown clearing out and sorting has not included my wardrobe, or, should I say wardrobes.

My Mum was the same and I think it was her reaction to her childhood life,where money was scarce, and clothes few. My Grandma, her mother, wouldn’t go to Church as she had no smart clothes to wear. My Grandfather played the organ in Church and my Mum went Church with him, three or four times on a Sunday. Mum had to change her clothes from smart clothes to play clothes each time she came home! Thank goodness we are more relaxed about clothes these days.

One thing my Grandma was insistent upon was that all her grandchildren should wear a vest!(no matter what time of year)

Here is one of my old teddies, Clementine, who is wearing her vest. Lets see what she has in her wardrobe.

A Jacket, that will keep her warm, lets call it the jacket of COMPASSION, reminding all to help others less fortunate than ourselves.

A hat, ah! the hat of KINDNESS, actually being friendly and considerate to people.

A pair of gloves, the gloves of HUMILITY , not always thinking that we should be first, or best, but listening to others.

Clementines socks- QUIET STRENGTH? I think that means being firm in our Christian Faith and being strong in the knowledge God is with us, helping us to be the best that we can be.

DISCIPLINE is the next item in the wardrobe. I think Clementine can have a cape of DISCIPLINE, learning to follow Gods rules as best as we can, not doing just what we like.

The passage also talks about FORGIVENESS and being EVEN TEMPERED. FORGIVENESS is at the heart of our Christian Faith. As God has forgiven us when we say sorry to him, we must forgive others, too.

The short reading, five verses long, is teaching us how to be Christian people. And, the best thing we can wear from the wardrobe, is LOVE

(And a vest of course Grandma )

Our Affirmation of faith, this is what we believe

Do you believe and trust in God the Father,
source of all being and life,
the one for whom we exist?
We believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in God the Son,
who took our human nature,
died for us and rose again?
We believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the people of God
and makes Christ known in the world?
We believe and trust in him.

This is the faith of the Church.
This is our faith.
We believe and trust in one God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Hymn – How deep the Father’s love for us

Offertory Prayer

Gracious God, accept our gifts
and with them our lives
to be used in your service
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Prayer time – Five finger prayers

Let us pray:

Our thumb prayer:
Dear God, we give thanks and pray for those we love the most, for our families and friends on whom we rely so much.

Help us to be better at showing them that we love them and may they be confident in your love, knowing that you will always be by their side.

God of love
Hear our prayer

Our Pointer finger prayer:
Dear God, we pray for our teachers and all who work in our schools. We give thanks for the extra care and effort they are putting in at the moment. May their wisdom and their support for their pupils be grounded in love.

We give thanks for doctors, nurses, carers and all key workers. Be with them Lord; support, strengthen and uphold them in your boundless love.

We pray for Revd Liz and her family as they prepare to move to their new parishes. On this Bible Sunday, we give thanks for all Liz has done to share your Word and your love with us.

God of love
Hear our prayer

Our index finger prayer:
Dear God, give wisdom we pray to leaders in government around the world. As they strive to find a path for us through the pandemic, may their thoughts, words and actions be based on good common sense and be done in the name and with the grace of Jesus.

May your peace Lord, keep us all in step and in tune with one each other.

God of love
Hear our prayer

Our ring finger prayer:
Dear God, we lift to you anyone we are worried about; those who are ill, afraid, alone or bereaved. And we remember those who have died.

We pray for those who have turned and run away from you or who do not yet know you. Meet them, we pray, and bring them home to your comforting love.

God of love
Hear our prayer

Our little finger prayer:
Dear God, we pray for ourselves, that we will never forget that you love us. Encourage us to keep singing your song and to wear the garment of love always.

We pray that your kindness, compassion, humility and love will shine brightly through us.

God of love
Hear our prayer

We say together:
Your Word is the light we see,
a guide for our footsteps
to where you are found.

Your Word is the strength we find
when darkness threatens
to overwhelm.

Your Word is the power we need
to become servants
of a Heavenly King.

Your Word is the reason we live
in the sure knowledge
you are everything. Amen

The Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever. Amen.

Sending Out

God give us your love
Give us your joy
Give us your peace
That we may live life to the full
And in awareness of you and your love for us

God give us your guidance
Give us your protection
Give us your power
That we may travel in hope
And in awareness of you and your love for us

God give us your aid
Give us your strength
Give us your presence

That we may grow in faith
And in awareness of you and your love for us. Amen

Our last song is sung by people from all over the world and in different languages.
United by faith on Bible Sunday we sing Amazing Grace.

Hymn – Amazing Grace

Dismissal

Let us go in the light & peace of Christ
And shine with the light of his love.
Amen.

Click here for Bible Sunday worksheets.

Copyright Notices

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Common Worship, material from which is included in this service, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council.

Sunday 18th October 2020 – 19th Sunday after Trinity

Welcome

Welcome to our worship. If it is still Sunday morning where you are, I hope you will join us at Zoom coffee, which will be at 11.30am. Details, as usual, are on the emailed notice sheet. If you don’t receive this, please click up above on the Contact page and send an email to Carol, who will make sure you are added to the list.

The form of the service today is the first part of the communion service, finishing with the peace and the prayer of spiritual communion. I hope this gives you the opportunity to meditate and ponder as you pray.

You can either scroll down the page and play each video in turn or you can just hit play on the playlist immediately underneath this paragraph.

YouTube Playlist

Service written out in full

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.

Hymn – O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness

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

Introduction to Confession
God so loved the world
that he gave his only Son Jesus Christ
to save us from our sins,
to be our advocate in heaven,
and to bring us to eternal life.
Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith,
firmly resolved to keep God’s commandments
and to live in love and peace with all.

Silence

Confession

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.

Absolution

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

Gloria

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.
Amen.

Collect – Prayer for the week

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

New Testament Reading

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, read by Susannah from Brandsby

Psalm 96:1-9

Sing to the Lord a new song; ♦
sing to the Lord, all the earth.

Sing to the Lord and bless his name; ♦
tell out his salvation from day to day.

Declare his glory among the nations ♦
and his wonders among all peoples.

For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; ♦
he is more to be feared than all gods.

For all the gods of the nations are but idols; ♦
it is the Lord who made the heavens.

Honour and majesty are before him; ♦
power and splendour are in his sanctuary.

Ascribe to the Lord, you families of the peoples; ♦
ascribe to the Lord honour and strength.

Ascribe to the Lord the honour due to his name; ♦
bring offerings and come into his courts.

O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; ♦
let the whole earth tremble before him.

Hymn – Take my life

For the words to this hymn, click on the Closed Captions option.

Gospel:

Matthew 22:15-22 read by Michael from Brandsby
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew
Glory to you, O Lord.

This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.

Sermon

Within any group you quite often find a pressure to conform and, if you don’t fit in, it can be uncomfortable. Think about how you would feel if you were wearing the wrong football shirt to the match, or on boat race day when half your family are pale blue and half light blue and you don’t want to upset either.

Do you ever feel a conflict between being in wider society and being in church? Perhaps when your friends are planning exciting things on a Sunday morning and you know you want to be in church. Or having the strength to do the right thing even though it will cost you more money.

Sometimes, of course, people seem to want to catch us out. How often does the media interview Christians who have made mistakes and been found out and wave their faith against them as some kind of accusation?

It was no different for Jesus. The Pharisees (the strictest and most devout religious leaders of his day) had got rather fed up of being the target of Jesus’ stories (for examples of this go and listen again to the last few weeks of services) and they thought they had found a way of entrapping him with a political question.

Israel at the time was an occupied nation. The Romans were in charge and they tolerated the Jewish religion and customs to a certain extent, but there were limits. Anyone who spoke out against them was likely to be severely punished. There had been tax revolts previously that had ended with the Romans crucifying the revolutionaries. The Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus into saying something that could then be used against him.

The Pharisees asked Jesus: Is it lawful to pay taxes to the Emperor?

What were they hoping for? If he said ‘yes’, they could say he wasn’t being a faithful Jew by supporting the pagan overlords. If he said ‘no’, they could report him to the secular authorities as a troublemaker. Either answer would be problematic.

Jesus replies, not with yes or no, but with a question of his own, after asking to see the coin: “Whose head is this and whose title”? The coin was, of course a Roman coin with the head of Caesar on it. The Roman denarius wasn’t the only currency around at the time. The temple tax had to be paid in Jewish money which wouldn’t have any image on it, let alone Caesar, and certainly not an inscription round the edge proclaiming Caesar high priest and son of God.

Jesus rather neatly then solves the problem with that famous phrase – in the King James translation “Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” Or more prosaicly “give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s”.

Why were the Pharisees so impressed by that answer? You can read this answer at different levels. At face value, he could be saying just to pay your taxes. Or is it a dig at Caesar having brought occupation and oppression – is that what to give back?

Have we forgotten the other half of the reply though? Give to God what is God’s?

What belongs to God? What should be given to God? If you have a concordance at home, look up the word ‘belong’ – or go to the website Bible Gateway. In the Old testament, the heavens belong to God, the Israelites too. Wisdom, power, strength and victory belong to God. In the new Testament it is St Paul who talks most about belonging. Believers belong to God, we belong to Christ.

I have a vivid memory of the night I first really understood the depths of God’s love for me, for all of us. I remember walking home, well skipping almost because I was so happy. And I remember placing my whole life before God as a thankoffering and saying “here it is, everything I have and am is yours, God”. I have never regretted that, although it has taken me in some unexpected directions.

We give ourselves to God when we give him our time – in prayer, in worship, in loving our neighbours. We give ourselves to God when we commit to leadership roles in the Church – through being churchwardens or PCC members or home group leaders. We give ourselves to God when we have to compromise in other areas of life – not going off shopping on a Sunday morning, avoiding gossip and malicious talk, not stealing or lying or being cruel. All of this is our offering of ourselves.

But I am going to tread on dangerous ground for a little here because giving yourself to God also affects the money that you have in your wallet or bank account. When was the last time you looked at a bank statement? Were you happy with what was there? When was the last time you looked at your bank statement and prayed about it? Do you think God is happy with how you are using your money?

What about the money you give to the Church. Are you happy with what you have chosen to give? Consider all that God has given you – does your financial commitment to God through the Church match the thankfulness you feel inside? Do you think God is happy with what you offer him? Is your giving a reflection of wanting to give your whole self to God?

If you are a current giver to our churches, you will be getting a letter soon, explaining a little about our current financial situation and asking you to consider whether it is possible to give a little more.

People quite often talk about giving being the right thing to do, but giving can also be a joyful thing to do. It can make you feel better, it can be an act of praise and worship. It is a sign of belonging and being part of something bigger. Don’t give more to the Church than you can afford and if you aren’t sure how the Church uses the money on God’s behalf then ask me or your PCC members.

Jesus said “give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s”. We belong to God, so we should give ourselves to God, our whole selves. There are many ways to do this. How will you give yourself to God this week?

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.

Intercessions

Almighty God, ruler of the ends of the earth, we pray for those to whom you have entrusted power and responsibility.
We think first of our own country and those elected to office as Members of Parliament— those who serve in government, whether in cabinet office, junior posts or on backbench committees; those in opposition with their mandate to challenge and debate government policies and decisions; and especially we pray for our Prime Minister and the leaders of all other parties.

Almighty God, grant them wisdom, insight, patience, dedication, integrity, open-mindedness, and humility, that each may be equipped to honour the trust placed in them and lead us through this pandemic.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for those in local government, entrusted with representing the interests of local people in their communities, taking decisions which will directly influence their lives, wrestling with limited resources and numerous demands.

Give to them the qualities they need to serve faithfully, staying true to their convictions yet putting people before party.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for those in authority in other lands, leaders of nations large and small, super-powers and tiny states, shaping the lives of millions or relatively few.

Grant them also the guidance and the gifts they need to govern wisely, that they may work for the good of all their people, and strive to promote justice, freedom of speech and opportunity, inner harmony and international peace.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for those nations affected by an abuse of power, divided by rival factions,   oppressed by military dictatorships, exploited by corrupt regimes, suppressed by totalitarian authorities.

Support those who suffer under such government, and strengthen those who struggle to bring justice to those places, so that the time may come when truth and justice prevail.  

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for all people living in our parishes
those struggling with financial worries
those being crushed by the weight of loneliness and worry
those who want to help but don’t know how
those who are overworked
those who are tired and worn out
those living with terminal or chronic illness
those who are bereaved

Help them see a way forward, help them to know your peace and lead them into your love and help all of us to support each other in our turn.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We remember those who have gone before us in the peace of Christ, and we give you praise for all your faithful ones, with whom we rejoice in the communion of saints, remembering especially Sue, Jean and Mavis.

Merciful father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

These intercessions were written by Nick Fawcett, adapted by Rev. I. Scott McCarthy, and were found on the Starters for Sunday website from the Church of Scotland via Re:worship, then adapted again by the Revd Liz Hassall.

Offertory

Our giving is a response to God’s generosity to us, and enables us to fulfil God’s mission in our church. I and all the PCCs would like to encourage you to give by Standing Order or Direct Debit, which is the most reliable and sustainable form of regular giving, and is the most efficient and cost-effective method for us. Although for many of us, money is not abundant this year, if you are able to increase your giving at this time, we will have more resource to serve our community and channel into mission.

Thank you for all you are able to give.

God of abundance,
the author and giver
of all good things,
grant us a gracious
and humble heart,
that we may give you glory
through offering the
first fruits of our lives,
and grow more into the likeness
of our Lord and Saviour,
Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Peace

We are the body of Christ.
In the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.
Let us then pursue all that makes for peace
and builds up our common life.

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

Hymn

Today I will read the institution narrative from St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, then offer a time of silence, finishing with the prayer for spiritual communion and the Lord’s prayer.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (NIVUK)

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: the Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Thanks be to you, Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits you have given me,
for all the pains and insults you have borne for me.
Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally,
I ask you to come spiritually into my heart.
O most merciful redeemer,
friend and brother,
may I know you more clearly,
love you more dearly,
and follow you more nearly,
day by day.

Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Today, I am using the traditional language Lord’s prayer. Please pray in whichever language or version you prefer.

Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us

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.

Hymn – We have a gospel to proclaim

Blessing and Dismissal

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.

Copyright Notices

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Common Worship, material from which is included in this service, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council.

Sunday 11th October 2020 – Harvest Thanksgiving

Welcome to our online harvest festival, particularly if this is your first time here. Do get in touch or leave us a comment – we’d love to hear from you.

As usual, you can watch all the service automatically by clicking on the first embedded video, below. Or you can work your way down the page watching each one and reading the text with it.

YouTube playlist – click play and enjoy the whole service

Service written out in full

Welcome and Introduction

Hymn – Come Ye Thankful People Come

Prayers of praise

Loving God, for food so delicious, for taste and for flavour, for feeling hungry and the joy of eating,
We thank and praise you.

Loving God, for all in the food chain, from field to factory, seller to buyer, each one depending on the others,
We thank and praise you.

Loving God, for our beautiful countryside, for crops and animals, fruit and fish, for sunshine and rain,
We thank and praise you. Amen.

Setting the scene

I wonder what harvest means to you – maybe you automatically think of churches decorated with produce of all kinds. Maybe, for you, harvest is something that happens to other people.
But if you are a farmer, you probably think about harvest as a time of long days and hard work, of anxiety about the weather, about the responsibility to provide for your family.
Of course, this year our harvest celebrations have to include an acknowledgement that we are living through a pandemic, that the reasons for not gathering in church include the danger to others of gathering in large numbers. Life as we know it has been very different for the last six months. We are particularly aware of the essential contribution made by people we now know as keyworkers, including farmers and all who work in the food chain.

I’d like to invite you to think more deeply about harvest – both in the traditional sense and more widely. What is the harvest that you are celebrating?
In our garden, we grow things – a few potatoes, some onions, lettuces until they inevitably bolt away, and some fruit. I’m always very pleased when things do grow but, for me, it isn’t a disaster if they don’t – I can rely on the more successful harvests that others have grown.
When I get to the end of the year and think about what my harvest is, it is more likely to be about the people I have spent time with. In my work, the harvest looks like babies baptised, couples married and those who have died laid to rest. I might include things I have made or created and time spent learning new skills.
What is your harvest? How have you grown this year? Who are the people you have had an impact on this year?

Confession

We confess our sin, and the sins of our society, in the misuse of God’s creation.

God our Father, we are sorry for the times when we have used your gifts carelessly,
and acted ungratefully.
Hear our prayer, and in your mercy:
forgive us and help us.

We enjoy the fruits of the harvest,
but sometimes forget that you have given them to us.
Father, in your mercy:
forgive us and help us.

We belong to a people who are full and satisfied, but ignore the cry of the hungry.
Father, in your mercy:
forgive us and help us.

We are thoughtless, and do not care enough for the world you have made.
Father, in your mercy:
forgive us and help us.

We store up goods for ourselves alone,
as if there were no God and no heaven.
Father, in your mercy:
forgive us and help us.

Silence

May almighty God, who sent his Son into the world to save sinners, bring us his pardon and peace, now and for ever. Amen.

Reading:

2 Corinthians 9:6-end – read by Fiona from Crayke

Hymn – God is working his purpose out

Reading:

Luke 12:16-30 – read by Florence

Sermon – The Revd Liz Hassall

Harvest is a twofold activity – it is a celebration, and act of thanksgiving and worship, recognising the hard work that has gone into bringing home the harvest, and producing it in the first place, and thanking God for the blessings of sun, rain, fertility and safety. It is also a time of sharing, an act of joining together as a community, of thinking of those with less than ourselves.

There is a phrase – we are all in the same boat. It has been used this year to imply that everyone is being affected by worldwide events. However, it is more accurate to say that, while we are all facing the same storm, we are not all in the same boat. We have all experienced 2020 differently – whether our jobs are secure, whether our families are affected by illness, whether we have been furloughed or working extra hours, whether we are medically vulnerable, whether we are lonely or surrounded by people, whether we or our children have been home-schooled or at school.

I hope that, whatever your circumstances, you are able to give thanks for something today. I also hope that you do not have to be anxious about the future, but I know that some of you will be.

In our gospel reading, Jesus tells the story of someone who seemed to be succeeding in life. Someone who had grown so many crops that they had nowhere to store them. This person’s answer to the solution was to build bigger barns, which turns out to be the wrong thing to do. What did Jesus think they should have done instead? Well, the implication is that they should have given the surplus to God, presumably so it could then be passed on to those whose harvest was not so abundant.

When you have worked hard, whether in the fields, gardens and allotments, or in the office, factory or laboratory, the temptation to keep our ‘harvests’ for ourselves and those closest to us is strong. The ‘harvest’ this year may be good, but what about the lean years? We all need to have a little stored up in our barns for the times when the crops have failed, or a nest egg to cover the roof falling in, the children’s education, our retirement. However, Jesus warns us against this fear of failure to provide for our own.

Jesus encouraged us only to pray for our daily bread; when the Israelites wandered the wilderness, God provided Manna enough for each day. When we store up so much food we cut ourselves off from the rest of our community. If we have enough food in our barns to last a lifetime, we no longer need to work in the fields with the rest of our communities. We will not stand shoulder to shoulder as we bring in the harvest, we will not celebrate together at the end of the gathering in. There is no togetherness in the lean years or the fat years, because we have bunkered ourselves down with our abundant harvest isolated from the rest of our community. We become recluses of wealth.

We also become isolated from God: as we withdraw from a need for God’s provision, we find ourselves removed from a place in which we can receive God’s love too. This is not what God wishes for us, indeed this goes against God’s plan for humanity, for the whole of God’s creation.

Jesus says do not worry. You might want to say to him, “Not worry? All very well for you back in the day. Have you seen what we are going through this year?” Well yes, Jesus does indeed know what we are going through and, whatever you are going through this year, he would still say “do not worry”. Nothing has changed – there are people in the world whose lives are precarious, but the love of God surrounds them, surrounds us and that love which God has for us is stronger and more powerful and enduring than anything else we know.

God knows what we need and he knows our capacity to work for it. He knows when we need help from someone else, when the community needs to pull together to help those in need. He knows where the surplus needs to go of those with abundant harvests.

So harvest, which has been celebrated from the very beginning of creation, re-connects us with God in thanksgiving, even in the lean years, the years when the weather has been unfair, the work back breaking and the yield low, because we are still here, and God still loves us.; and harvest re-connects us with our neighbours, the communities we live in and those far away, as we look at whatever the harvests yielded this year, and choose to share it. Each of us has a choice to make – to hoard our ‘harvest’ or to celebrate and share it. For those of us who choose to share it though, we will discover that in the sharing we are enfolded in God’s love.

Declaration of faith

Do you believe and trust in God the Father,
source of all being and life,
the one for whom we exist?
We believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in God the Son,
who took our human nature,
died for us and rose again?
We believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the people of God
and makes Christ known in the world?
We believe and trust in him.

This is the faith of the Church.
This is our faith. We believe and trust in one God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Music – All things bright and beautiful

Prayers

The response to the prayers is:
Lord of all …
hear our prayer

Let us offer our prayers to God for the life of the world
and for all God’s people in their daily life and work.
God, the beginning and end of all things,
in your providence and care
you watch unceasingly over all creation;
we offer our prayers
that in us and in all your people your will may be done,
according to your wise and loving purpose in Christ our Lord.
Lord of all life:
hear our prayer.

We pray for all through whom we receive sustenance and life;
for farmers and agricultural workers,
for packers, distributors and company boards;
as you have so ordered our life that we depend upon each other,
enable us by your grace to seek the well-being of others before
our own.
Lord of all creation:
hear our prayer

We pray for all engaged in research to safeguard crops against disease,
and to produce abundant life among those who hunger
and whose lives are at risk.
Prosper the work of their hands
and the searching of their minds,
that their labour may be for the welfare of all.
Lord of all wisdom:
hear our prayer.

We pray for governments and aid agencies,
and those areas of the world where there is disaster, drought
and starvation and for all working to combat the threat of Covid-19.
By the grace of your Spirit,
touch our hearts
and the hearts of all who live in comfortable plenty,
and make us wise stewards of your gifts.
Lord of all justice:
hear our prayer.

We pray for those who are ill,
remembering those in hospital and nursing homes
and all who are known to us.
We pray for all who care for them.
Give skill and understanding
to all who work for their well-being.
Lord of all compassion:
hear our prayer.

We remember those who have died,
whom we entrust to your eternal love
in the hope of resurrection to new life.
We remember this week Sue, Mavis and Jean.
Lord of all peace:
hear our prayer.

We offer ourselves to your service,
asking that by the Spirit at work in us
others may receive a rich harvest of love and joy and peace.
Lord of all faithfulness:
hear our prayer.

God of grace,
as you are ever at work in your creation,
so fulfil your wise and loving purpose in us
and in all for whom we pray,
that with them and in all that you have made,
your glory may be revealed
and the whole earth give praise to you,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Eternal God,
you crown the year with your goodness
and you give us the fruits of the earth in their season:
grant that we may use them to your glory, for the relief of those in need and for our own well-being;
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.

The Lord’s Prayer

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.
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.

Hymn – We plough the fields

Sending out prayer

God of life and love,
we offer you our thanks and praise in this season of Harvest.
We thank you that you are Creator and Provider,
the source of all goodness.
We thank you for the sunshine and the rain,
for the land and the soil.
We thank you for the miracle of fertility and growth,
for the rhythm of nature and life.
We thank you for crops and livestock, farmers and growers.
We thank you for our calling to be co-creators with you
and we pray especially for all who share with you
in the task of growing and supplying the food we eat.
God of life and love,
we offer you our thanks and praise. Amen.

Blessing

God our creator, who clothes the lilies and feeds the birds of the air, bestow on you his care and increase the harvest of your righteousness and the blessing of God Almighty; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be among you now and always.
Amen

Freely you have received, freely give.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord
in the name of Christ. Amen.

Hymn – Now thank we all our God

Copyright Notices

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Common Worship, material from which is included in this service, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council.

Sunday 4th October – 17th Sunday after Trinity

Welcome

Welcome to our online service this Sunday. As usual, you will find a playlist which you can set going and the whole service will play. Otherwise, it is written out in full below.

Next week will be our online Harvest service here.

At ‘After Church’ time, 11.30 there will be our usual Zoom Coffee meeting. Log in details are in the weekly notice sheet. If you have problems, please phone Liz at the rectory, and she will guide you through accessing it.

YouTube Playlist

Service written out in full

Opening Hymn – O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder

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.

This is the day that the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

We have come together in the name of Christ
to offer our praise and thanksgiving,
to hear and receive God’s holy word,
to pray for the needs of the world,
and to seek the forgiveness of our sins,
that by the power of the Holy Spirit
we may give ourselves to the service of God.

Confession

Let us take a moment to keep silence and reflect on the past week

Jesus says, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’
So let us turn away from our sin and turn to Christ,
confessing our sins in penitence and faith.

Lord God,
we have sinned against you;
we have done evil in your sight.
We are sorry and repent.
Have mercy on us according to your love.
Wash away our wrongdoing and cleanse us from our sin.
Renew a right spirit within us
and restore us to the joy of your salvation;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Assurance of Forgiveness

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.

Blessed is the Lord,
for he has heard the voice of our prayer;
therefore shall our hearts dance for joy
and in our song will we praise our God.

Psalm 80: 9-17

   You brought a vine out of Egypt;  
you drove out the nations and planted it.

10  You made room around it,  
and when it had taken root, it filled the land.

11  The hills were covered with its shadow  
and the cedars of God by its boughs.

12  It stretched out its branches to the Sea  
and its tendrils to the River.

13  Why then have you broken down its wall,  
so that all who pass by pluck off its grapes?

14  The wild boar out of the wood tears it off,  
and all the insects of the field devour it.

15  Turn again, O God of hosts,  
look down from heaven and behold;

16  Cherish this vine which your right hand has planted,  
and the branch that you made so strong for yourself.

 17 Let those who burnt it with fire, who cut it down,  
perish at the rebuke of your countenance.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever.
Amen

Hymn – The Lord’s my Shepherd

Readings

Isaiah 5: 1-7

Matthew 21: 33-46

Sermon – Revd Stephen Pope

When I was in my mid teens, my father, a local lay preacher, would sometimes take me to one of the services he was taking. He might ask me to read the Bible passage that he had chosen. I still remember vividly the time he asked me to read from John chapter 15. You may remember it’s the chapter that starts “I am the vine and my father is the husbandman”. That first word,”I” I started in the treble clef and finished it in the bass clef. My voice had broken in a somewhat dramatic fashion.

So when I looked at today’s readings and I saw there were three readings about vineyards, I looked at them closely.

The story in our old Testament reading from Isaiah is a parable from God for the people of Israel.They were being likened to a vine producing bad grapes – wild grapes in some translations. The Hebrew word for “bad” here can also mean ‘stinking’. At the end of the reading we heard what stank. It was their justice system. It was leading to bloodshed, maybe literally, maybe in the form of corruption. Also, their sense of “righteousness” was awful, taking them off the pathway of good-neighbourly living as directed by God’s law.

The parable about a vineyard in our gospel reading is the second of two parables directed at the Chief Priests and Elders of the people who had been having a go at Jesus. Jesus was giving them a picture of how God saw their attitudes and behaviour.

But the parable in the Psalm we read together is a parable much more related to our situation today. Today’s reading was the middle section of the Psalm. If you have time later to read the whole Psalm through, you will find it starts with an appeal to “the Shepherd of Israel” to restore His people, symbolised here as a vine. They were unhappy in their present circumstances.They had been praying, but felt God was not responding to them. They felt cut off from Him

And immediately that resonated with our Covid situation.

We certainly feel cut off from most of our churches. We feel cut off by masks and social distancing requirements from each other when we can meet in church, though, thankfully we are not cut off from God – His Presence can still be found in them. And to varying degrees we are at least a bit cut off from our neighbours

And although it is not as bad as it was at the beginning of lockdown, visiting relatives, friends and neighbours is often more difficult than it was. We have a longing, a yearning, an on-going sort of restlessness inside that makes us feel we are not back to the ‘normal’ we knew where we were with. We can talk about it to ourselves, we can talk about with others, we talk about it with God, but it persists – the Covid rules persist, and so does the internal sense that all is not right. Moreover, although the doctors and scientists are working on treatments and vaccines, we don’t know how effective they will be, and many are getting a sense of ‘Where is God in all this?’

In the turmoil and wondering about where God is, it is easy to lose sight of where He is at work, easy to have difficulty hearing Him speaking, easy to lose that sense of His presence we were used to.

If you have looked ahead to today’s collect, you might have noticed that that prayer addresses this very problem. It describes our hearts as “restless” – restless until our hearts find their rest in God once more. Then the collect continues with a request from us to God – “pour your love into our hearts and draw us to yourself”.

Pour.

I wonder how we recognise it when God is pouring love into our hearts. I’ve never heard a sermon about it. I can’t remember reading a book about it or discussing it with friends or at a house group or a Bible study. So let’s explore this a bit together.

Love being poured into our hearts

“Poured.” Not a few drops, but a tea pot full – well, that’s the picture it gives me. What picture or sense does it give you?

“Into our hearts.” That suggests it will be going deeper than a nice idea, rather something that will also connect to our peace of mind, our inner feelings, even how relaxed our bodies are.

To appreciate that, we need to give ourselves time and open our sense of awareness.

It is worth taking time to remind ourselves and time to become aware of the blessings we have had in the past, of the blessings we still have despite our restrictions and uncertainties. God has helped us in the past. He is still the same God, and He is doing something new, and new things, especially unexpected ones can be unsettling but as we have trusted Him in the past, it is still OK to trust Him now.

Awareness. This takes time too. I was in London recently, and noticed how packed the shopping streets were. Most people so busy with their mobiles or whatever else was occupying their minds, there was very little sense of social distancing, very little noticing or acknowledging the few courtesies there were.

This had me wondering how many of God’s ‘little’ things He does for us there are that we are not aware of, or we don’t always think of as coming from Him. What prompted someone to say that cheery word we needed just then? Or phoned us up just when we needed someone to talk to?

I’ve started looking out for those moments when God is at work in this way. I sometimes refer to them as ‘Answers to an unspoken prayer’ – in other words, if I had stopped to think to pray about something, that is just what I would have asked for.

And I see these little events as another sign of God expressing His love for me by letting someone else in on it. If someone else is involved, I will sometimes tell them they have been an answer to an unspoken prayer, so they can join in my joy and delight about what has happened.

God at work. Filling my life with His love.

There’s always other gifts like – well, these will differ from person to me. I love to stop and absorb the wonder of a rainbow arcing across a blue sky, a cherry tree or a magnolia in full blossom, the roar and acceleration of a plane doing a really fast take off, hearing a moving story or piece of music They are some of the things that feed something inside me. What feeds inside you?

God is at work. Filling our lives with His love

Despite all the not knowing and difficulties, yes and tragedies happening round the world just now, I will continue to look for those little signs, as well as the more obvious ones, that God is at work still loving, caring, and wanting us to have our inner peace. Can we look a bit more, look a bit deeper? Discover!

God is still at work. Pouring His love into all of our lives.

Affirmation of faith

Let us declare our faith in God.

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
Amen.

Hymn – Put peace into each other’s hands

Intercessions

Living Lord, we come to you.

Still our hearts as we place into your hands those for whom we want to pray.

We pray for all who seek to bring the light of Christ to others, for Liz and Stephen, and all who speak to us of you. We long for a time when you are known and worshipped by all, and we name in our hearts those we know who do not know you, and all who feel separated from you and your love.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

We pray for your world; where there is so much suffering and pain. We lift to you
Those whose lives have collapsed around them,
those struggling for survival,
those who have lost their work and their homes,
those sleeping on the streets of our cities,
all who have lost hope.

We pray for the people whose decisions and actions affect the lives of so many people. Give wisdom and compassion we pray to all in positions of leadership.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

Thank you for our home; for all the gifts you give us and the love you pour into our hearts.
Thank you for the glorious autumn sunshine, for ripening fruits, and hedgerows filled with sloes.
We pray for all those whose lives are empty, all those who are sad, worried, lonely and fearful, those cut off from the outside world, and the isolation they experience. Father be with all those who seek to help them in acts of neighbourliness and kindness.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

We pray for those who care for others, for doctors and nurses and care workers. For those we know who are struggling with their increasing frailty, for those who are restless, not knowing which way to turn and facing the future with fear. We name now those who are in need of your healing.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

We pray for ourselves on our journey through life, and bring to you all that is concerning us. Give us a faith we pray that will transform our attitudes and empower the lives we live, so that others will see you working in us. Help us to see our utter dependence on you and to understand that your love is the thread that draws us to you and brings us your peace.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

Heavenly Father, may we live as those who believe and trust in the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins and the resurrection to life everlasting. Bring us we pray at the last to your heavenly kingdom where we will see you face to face. We pray for all those who have died in faith, remembering Elizabeth, Sheila and Andrew and all those we have loved, and we pray for all those whose hearts are filled with sadness as they grieve. O Comforter draw near to all those who mourn.

We lift these prayers in the name of your precious Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Collect

Almighty God,
you have made us for yourself,
and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you:
pour your love into our hearts and draw us to yourself,
and so bring us at last to your heavenly city
where we shall see you face to face;
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.

The Lord’s Prayer

Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us

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.

Offertory Prayer

Generous God, we thank you for all you have given us.
We thank you for all the ways that we can give to you in return.
We ask that through our gifts we will see your kingdom grow
in our hearts and our homes,
our neighbourhoods and our nation,
to the glory of your name.
Amen

Hymn – Great is thy Faithfulness

Blessing and Sending Out

You are called and loved by God the Father
and kept safe by Jesus Christ.
Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance,
from God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Amen

Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord
In the name of Christ, Amen.

A Sung Blessing: The Lord Bless You and Keep You

Copyright Notices

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Common Worship, material from which is included in this service, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council.

Sunday 27th September 2020 – 16th Sunday after Trinity

Welcome

We are so pleased that you are here watching today and joining with us in worship. Our service today is prepared and led by our lay worship team. If you click on the playlist immediately below, it should all play one after the other. If you would rather take it slowly and read the service to yourself, then scroll down further.

Zoom Coffee is at half past eleven on Sunday morning. The details are listed in our weekly notice sheet or you can contact Revd Liz (see contact details above) to find them.

YouTube Playlist

Service written out in full

Call to worship

Let us worship God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Amen.

The Lord be with you,
And also with you.

This is the day that the Lord has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Lord, direct our thoughts and teach us to pray.
Lift up our hearts to worship you in spirit and in truth,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Hymn – Lord Jesus Christ, you have come to us.

Reflection from Roy Collard

This morning’s epistle, which you will hear shortly, is from Paul’s letter to the Philippians. It was written by Paul when he was in prison in Rome and is thought to be one of the last letters he wrote. Paul composed the letter ten years or so after he had founded the church in Philippi, and he is anxious about it as he hadn’t heard from there recently. He’s concerned that pride and quarrels may be damaging this fledgling church and so he writes to share his joy with them – the joy that comes from knowing Jesus Christ. The passage we will hear this morning is renowned for a poem that Paul places in the letter, a poem that we all know well through the hymn At the name of Jesus. Liz will say more about this in her talk, but I would like to say something, not about the poem, but about the last two lines of this morning’s reading in which Paul exhorts the Philippians to carry on doing as he taught them – even though he is not with them. He reminds them that it doesn’t matter that he’s no longer there with them because it’s God himself who’s the one at work amongst them, not Paul.

During the pandemic, those of us who serve as churchwardens in the benefice have been meeting regularly online and not surprisingly one of our major topics of conversation has been how we will run our churches when Revd Liz moves on – until a new incumbent arrives. We have no idea how long that will be for, as the process of replacing Liz will not begin until the new year, once Liz has left us. It seems to me that Paul’s message to the Philippians could equally be one to us during the time of the vacancy next year.

A couple of weeks ago the wardens were fortunate to share our meeting with the archdeacon and, based on her experience of vacancies elsewhere, she reassured us that these times can engender growth in churches and in individuals, not least in bringing people within the benefice together. I hope that by doing God’s work we shall have the will and the energy to achieve all these things. A vacancy need not be a period of uncertainty, but it can be one of anticipation, and one of enlightenment as we learn more about co-operating with each other and supporting one another across our seven churches. Archdeacon Sam reminded us all that the best thing we can do at this time is to pray, – and I hope that we all can – pray that we will receive a pastor who can continue Liz’s wonderful work with us, pray that we can grow together during this time and pray for guidance in how we can all help lead our churches forward. It is, after all, as Paul reminds us, God who is at work amongst us, enabling us to do what pleases HIm.

Confession

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.

Assurance of Forgiveness

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.

Praise

Blessed is the Lord,
For he has heard the voice of our prayer;
therefore shall our hearts dance for joy,
and in our song we will praise our God.

The Collect

Lord of creation
whose glory is around and within us:
open our eyes to your wonders,
that we may serve you with reverence
and know your peace at our lives’ end,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Psalm 25 v 1-8

To you O Lord, I lift up my soul;
in you I trust, O my God.
Do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.

No-one whose hope is in you
will ever be put to shame,
but they will be put to shame
who are treacherous without excuse.

Show me your ways, O Lord
teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour,
and my hope is in you all day long.

Remember, O Lord, your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;

according to your love remember me,
for you are good, O Lord.
Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.

Hymn – Fight the good fight

Readings

Philippians 2:1-13

Matthew 21:23-32

Talk by Liz Crawshaw – Reader in Training

Two caterpillars were sitting on the branch of a tree just passing the time of day, when a beautiful butterfly flew overhead. One caterpillar turned to the other and said “You’ll never catch me going up in one of those!”

How often do we fail to see ourselves as we really are, or as the people we are meant to be?

We have just heard the verses from Matthew’s gospel where Jesus challenges the Chief priests and elders and tries to show them the people that they are meant to be. The leaders are questioning Jesus in an outright attack “By what authority are you doing these things?” They are trying to trip Jesus up. Jesus diffuses the situation by replying with a question “Did John’s baptism come from heaven or from men?” They can’t answer; whatever they say could be held against them, and so they say “We don’t know” Throughout the gospels Jesus’ opponents are good at setting traps, but also good at falling into them! The answers that Jesus gives avoid arguments, either by turning a question back on his attacker or by moving the discussion to another level; think about his meeting with the Samaritan woman at the well where each of her questions is answered by another question until she sees that Jesus knows everything about her. But he’s not just a skilful debater, this is not like the cut and thrust of Prime Minister’s question time with people trying to score points. This is Jesus acting as a servant, longing to bring people to a proper understanding of who he is and what he is offering. This is God’s son, speaking with all authority and showing compassion.

And so, he tells them a parable. Parables work by putting two things side by side as a comparison. Some parables like the parable of the sower need an explanation, and this is given. Some are really difficult to understand and are open to a number of interpretations. But there are others that stimulate us to think about what Jesus is saying, and I think that this is one of them. It brings us into the story so that we can make discoveries about ourselves.

The father in the story represents God. The first son, when asked by his father to go and work in the vineyard refuses but then changes his mind and does. The second son when asked says “I will sir”, outwardly very respectful, but he doesn’t go. Jesus asks which of the sons did what their father wanted. The religious leaders say “The first”; that is the one who said no to his father and then repented and did what he asked. Without realising, the religious leaders have identified that the first son is like the tax collectors and prostitutes, the outcasts in society who at first do not offer obedience, but have repented and said “yes” to God. Jesus points out to the religious leaders that they are like the second son; they show co-operation and willingness, they “talk the talk” as the saying goes. They are more intent on following the letter of the law, than on showing love and compassion. They do not repent; they are deaf to God’s message. I wonder if in hearing Jesus’ parable some of them did begin to reconsider their lives.

So why did Jesus bother with the leaders who were only trying to catch him out. I think that we find the answer in our Old Testament reading, where Ezekiel records “For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone declares the sovereign Lord, repent and live!” And again, in today’s psalm, the psalmist says “Show me your ways, teach me your paths. Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways, according to your love remember me, for you are good O God”

God is not willing that anyone should be lost. I believe that Jesus had not dismissed the religious leaders as a hopeless case, he wants them to repent and change their lives; he wants to show them a new way of living.

It’s really hard for us to follow the right path, in fact I would say it is impossible, unless we understand what it is that Jesus did for us and how we should in turn be with each other. So, let’s look at Paul’s letter to the Philippians and at the poem or hymn to which Roy has already referred. Paul tells the people of Philippi that they should have the same attitude as Christ, that they should show compassion and tenderness, looking to the needs of others rather than to their own needs because this is what Christ did on earth. Jesus did not just act as a servant; it is in becoming a servant that he revealed himself as God. In the emptied and humbled Christ, we encounter God and see God as he really is. It’s not that Jesus set aside his majesty and became a servant. His majesty is in his being a servant. Paul says “at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow……. and every tongue confess that Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” Being a servant is the very essence of Christ’s glory.

What does it mean to bow before Jesus? Recently many people have taken, or bent the knee in remembrance of George Floyd, a man who suffered. They bend the knee in respect for him, and in a broader sense are saying that they don’t accept that some people should be treated differently. As we in our hearts bow to Jesus, we are remembering his suffering, we are showing respect and worshipping him. We are saying that in following Jesus we will not accept that anyone should be treated differently. We are declaring how we should live together as Christ’s body here on earth.

If only we had two lives; the first in which to make all our mistakes and the second to learn from those mistakes and change. But this is no dress rehearsal. This is it. But the parable of the two sons shows us that we can repent, we can change, we can have life in all its fulness. Jesus came to save sinners, he came for everyone, and no-one was to be lost.

And as we move together into the vacancy we will grow together, pray together and stay together, knowing that it is God who is working amongst us. Let’s pray that in the process no-one is lost, that we show love and compassion to all, and that we ordinary caterpillars can grow into the beautiful butterflies that we are meant to be.

Affirmation of Faith

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 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.

Hymn – We turn to you, O God of every nation

Prayers

At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, every tongue confess him, King of glory now;

how we long and pray for this to be so in our world.

Lord Jesus, King of glory, we pray for the leaders of our world and in all walks of our life, that by living and working in your Name they will use their God given authority wisely, justly and with humble awareness of the responsibility it entails.

Lord Jesus, King of glory
Hear our prayer

Humbled for a season, to receive a name from the lips of sinners unto whom he came.

Lord Jesus, King of glory, you came into our world to save us all. How amazing that, through your grace, whatever misjudgements we make, you will always allow us to change our minds and be welcomed into your kingdom.
We pray for your help and guidance in spreading this wonderful message and in being better at Talking Jesus.

We pray for Liz as she prepares us for her leaving and prepares herself for moving on.

Be with our church leaders as they guide and support us through the process of vacancy and of finding a new incumbent.
We pray especially for Archdeacon Sam; for the clergy who will help us, especially for Stephen; for our churchwardens; and for all our lay leaders.

We pray that the vacancy will be a time of growth, in unity, as individuals and as your body in this place.
We pray and long for a new incumbent to join with us, to work with us and to grow with us.

Lord Jesus, King of glory
Hear our prayer

In your hearts enthrone him … Let His will enfold you in its light and power.

Lord Jesus, King of glory, be with us, we pray, as we try to grow in your image – in whose image we were made.
As you were servant to your Father, enfold us in your love that we in turn may be your servants in showing love to others.
Give us the grace to love our neighbours, even those we find it harder to love.

We pray for our family, friends and communities. We lift to you those who are unwell, afraid, struggling, grieving and we remember in our hearts those we know who need our prayers today; may they feel the embrace and comfort of your enfolding arms.

Lord Jesus, King of glory
Hear our prayer

Christians, this Lord Jesus shall return again…And our hearts confess Him King of glory now.

Lord Jesus, King of glory, as we wait for your sure and certain return, don’t let us forget that you are still here with us, working amongst us through your Holy Spirit.
Remind us, we pray, to hand over our concerns to you.
Remind us not to be too eager and to try and do everything by ourselves or for ourselves; but to pray and to ask for your help in the confidence that you are there working with us, together, in your Name.

Lord Jesus, at whose name every knee shall bow,
who from the beginning was the mighty Word;
your will enfolds us in its light and power
and our hearts confess you King of glory now.
Amen

The Lord’s Prayer

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.

Offertory Prayer

Generous God, we thank you for all you have given us.
We thank you for all the ways that we can give to you in return.
We ask that through our gifts we will see your Kingdom grow
in our hearts and in our homes,
in our neighbourhoods and our nations;
to the glory of your name.
Amen.

Hymn – At the name of Jesus

Blessing

May the love of the Lord Jesus draw us to himself,
the power of the Lord Jesus strengthen us in his service,
the joy of the Lord Jesus fill our hearts;
and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be among us and remain with us always. Amen

Sending Out

We go into the world in the name of Christ,
With the love of God and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
We go, but we do not go alone.
We go together and Christ goes with us.
Amen.

Copyright Notices

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Common Worship, material from which is included in this service, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council.

Sunday 20th September 2020 – 15th Sunday after Trinity

Welcome

Welcome to our worship. If it is still Sunday morning where you are, I hope you will join us at Zoom coffee at 11.30am. Details, as usual, are on the emailed notice sheet – the link is the same as it was last week.

If you are watching from somewhere other than the local area, or haven’t been regular worshippers in our churches before, we would love to hear from you so do leave a comment on the blogpost or get in touch via one of our Facebook pages: Crayke or Husthwaite

Today our service is a service of the word.

YouTube Playlist

Service written out in full

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.

Loving God, we have come to worship you.

Help us to pray to you in faith,
to sing your praise with gratitude,
and to listen to your word with eagerness;
through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Hymn

O Lord, open my lips
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
When we were still helpless
Christ died for the ungodly.
The proof of God’s amazing love is this:
while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Confession

Keep silence and reflect on the week

The grace of God has dawned upon the world
with healing for all.
Let us come to him, in sorrow for our sins,
seeking healing and salvation.

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 the Father of all mercies
cleanse us from our sins,
and restore us in his image
to the praise and glory of his name,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Old Testament reading

Jonah 3:10-4:11, read by Jacqui from Husthwaite

New Testament reading

Philippians 1:21-30, read by Alison from Brandsby

Hymn

Gospel

Matthew 20: 1-16

Sermon

I’m sure you are all familiar with the story of the reluctant prophet Jonah, who runs away from God when God tells him to go to preach to the people of Ninevah. This passage is from near the end of Jonah, after his antics with the great sea creature. God has brought him to Ninevah, despite Jonah’s objections, and Jonah has done his bit as a prophet, promising the people of Ninevah that in 40 days the city will be overthrown by God.

Let’s set aside any concerns about whether Jonah was really swallowed by a sea creature and look at this as a story. Stories are powerful and there must be a good reason why this really quite short story (only 4 chapters in total) is part of the canon of scripture.

We tell stories when there are important truths that we need to know and understand at a deeper level. We tell stories where the good guy wins out in the face of indescribable odds. We tell stories where the bad guy gets their comeuppance. When I say that Jonah is a story, it does not diminish it but rather raises up its significance.

When I was a curate, there was a stained glass window in one of my churches that was called the resurrection window. It has this quote written on it:
“As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
Now, I had never made this link before. It turns out that there are a lot more links that can be made between the book of Jonah and the Gospels so let’s have a look.
I will say that the suggestions I am going to make about the book of Jonah are not the only way to understand the story. You might disagree with some or all of it and that’s fine. However, the quote from the window is actually a quote from Matthew’s gospel chapter 12. This is Jesus making the link between himself and Jonah so it is definitely worth looking at.
Jesus describes the story of Jonah as a sign – something that points beyond itself. When we read the Old Testament, we are reading it with the benefit of knowing what happens next. We know the story of Jesus and we know how it all turns out. We know that, through Jesus, salvation will come to all people. Some people object to going back into the Old Testament and finding evidence of Jesus there, as if that is impossible. I am fairly sure that God can work beyond our understanding of time so I find it completely plausible that things that happened and stories that were told centuries earlier are able to help us to understand better what is going on in the New Testament.

Underneath this understanding is the principle that God always knew that Jesus was going to be born. Jesus isn’t a plan B which was needed because plan A failed. He was designed into the universe from the beginning, present in creation. As John’s gospel puts it: “In the beginning was the Word”. God has always known the pattern of scripture so we can find many breadcrumbs there that lead us to a greater understanding of Jesus. So, back to Jonah.

The big problem with Jonah is that he runs away from the purpose God has in mind for him. God said “go to Ninevah”. Jonah said, “not likely” and went as far and fast in the opposite direction as he could.

For the purposes of this story, let’s see Jonah as representing Israel: God’s chosen people. All the way through the Old Testament, we see Israel refusing to be faithful to God and heading as far away in the opposite direction as they can.

If Jonah represents Israel, then those around him could be all the other nations. At this point in the Old Testament, Israel has been conquered by two different empires: the Northern part by the Assyrians and the Southern part by the Babylonians. It isn’t too great a leap to see the great sea creature swallowing Jonah as a metaphor for the destruction of Israel.

The amazing thing, though, is that Israel came back from exile. After 70 years or so, the people of Israel were allowed to return to Jerusalem and rebuild. Having been swallowed up, they were regurgitated and given a second chance.
Things were going to be different though. The capture and exile had destroyed much that could not be recovered. The line of Kings from David and Solomon on down was broken and could no longer sustain the life of the Israelites. Here (and I wonder whether we are getting a bit tenuous, but I’m prepared to go along with this) we come to the strange plant that God makes to grow over Jonah. The whole organisation of Kings and temple, which had sustained Israel previously had withered away and they seemed somewhat lost. The shady plant of hierarchy and ritual was no longer giving them shade.

Jonah, at this point, is angry. He is angry because God told him to preach judgement on the people of Ninevah and, when they listened to him and changed their ways, God had mercy on them.

What happens next? Well, it is through the actions of Jonah that the 120 thousand people of Ninevah are saved. It is through the actions of Jesus, who comes out of Israel, that the whole world is saved. There are patterns in the way that God works: Jonah is thrown overboard to drown and is rescued, Israel is exiled and brought back, Jesus, the Israelite, is crucified and then resurrected. What seems like destruction becomes the seed for something far greater.

The story of Jonah can be seen as the story of Israel. The story of Jonah can be seen as the story of Jesus. The story of Jonah can be seen as our story too.

Jonah forgot that his purpose in life was to be faithful to God. Israel consistently forgot how God had asked them to live and went their own way. What about us? Is it possible that we stray from God’s way of life? Undoubtedly.

Jonah got angry when God had mercy on the city of Ninevah. Having finally got there and told them all of God’s judgement, he was furious that God showed them mercy.
What about us? Do those of us inside the Church ever judge those outside and think ourselves better than them? Do we ever resent that God is consistently forgiving and merciful to others as well as to us? Quite possibly.

The story of Jonah is the story of Israel, the story of Jesus and the story of you and me. The common thread in all of this is God: gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. A love that followed Jonah to the ends of the earth, a love that brought Israel out of exile, a love that reaches us in whatever dark places we find ourselves. Read the story of Jonah again and know that the steadfast, forgiving, love of God is offered to you, if you choose to accept it.

Affirmation of faith

Let us declare our faith in God.

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
Amen.

Hymn

Intercessions

Response:
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer

Almighty God, As we hear the story of ancient Ninevah, we pray for the people Mosul, Iraq, that they too may know the steadfast love of God. We pray also for the whole of the Middle East, for peace and reconciliation among the nations.

Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer

Merciful God, We pray for all involved in government across the world, especially those who have responsibility for making decisions about the pandemic. We pray for Boris Johnson and his government, for Kevin Hollinrake and for all those in local government. We pray too for those with responsibility for implementing those decisions, and especially for all NHS workers.

Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer

Loving God, we pray for our communities. Help us to see the needs of those around us and echo your love for us in our love for them. We pray for our schools and for all those who work there, particularly Miss Bennett and Mrs Jackson as they take such responsibility for the safety of the children.

Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer

Healing God, we pray for those who are sick and for those living in fear of illness. We pray that those suffering anxiety may find peace and that those approaching death may find release in your loving care. In a moment of silence, we pray for those we know who are suffering.

Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer

Eternal God, we thank you for your promises of salvation and we pray that those who have died may know your love and your rest. We hold before you particularly Elizabeth and Mavis, that they may discover the joy of eternal life.

Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer

The Collect

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

The Lord’s Prayer

In whichever version or language comes most naturally, as our Saviour taught us, so we pray.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.

Offertory Prayer

Generous God, we thank you for all you have given us. We thank you for all the ways that we can give to you in return. We ask that through our gifts we will see your kingdom grow in our hearts and our homes, our neighbourhoods and our nation, to the glory of your name.
Amen

Blessing and Sending Out

Go forth into the world in peace;
be of good courage;
hold fast that which is good;
render to no one evil for evil;
strengthen the fainthearted; support the weak;
help the afflicted; honour everyone;
love and serve the Lord,
rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit;
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
Thanks be to God.

Hymn

Copyright Notices

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Common Worship, material from which is included in this service, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council.

Sunday 13th September 2020 – 14th Sunday after Trinity

Welcome

Welcome to our worship. If it is still Sunday morning where you are, I hope you will join us at Zoom coffee, which will be a little later this week at 11.45am. Details, as usual, are on the emailed notice sheet. If you don’t receive this, please click up above on the Contact page and send an email to Carol, who will make sure you are added to the list.

This week would normally be our annual service at Byland Abbey. This year, we have our open air service in the churchyard at Coxwold but, for those who are unable to join us, we offer this service.

The form of the service today is the first part of the communion service, finishing with the peace and the prayer of spiritual communion. I hope this gives you the opportunity to meditate and ponder as you pray.

YouTube Playlist

Service written out in full

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.

Hymn – Hills of the North

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

Introduction to Confession
God so loved the world
that he gave his only Son Jesus Christ
to save us from our sins,
to be our advocate in heaven,
and to bring us to eternal life.
Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith,
firmly resolved to keep God’s commandments
and to live in love and peace with all.

Silence

Confession

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.

Absolution

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

Gloria

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.
Amen.

Collect – Prayer for the week

Almighty God,
whose only Son has opened for us
a new and living way into your presence:
give us pure hearts and steadfast wills
to worship you in spirit and in truth;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

New Testament Reading

Romans 14:1-12 read by Lucy Willshaw, our new children and youth worker.

Psalm 103: 8-13

The Lord is full of compassion and mercy, ♦
slow to anger and of great kindness.

He will not always accuse us, ♦
neither will he keep his anger for ever.

He has not dealt with us according to our sins, ♦
nor rewarded us according to our wickedness.

For as the heavens are high above the earth, ♦
so great is his mercy upon those who fear him.

As far as the east is from the west, ♦
so far has he set our sins from us.

As a father has compassion on his children, ♦
so is the Lord merciful towards those who fear him.

Hymn – Amazing Grace

Gospel:

Matthew 18:21-35 read by Roger Pearce from Brandsby
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew
Glory to you, O Lord.

This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.

Sermon

When we have our usual service at Byland Abbey, I’m always struck by the symbolism of meeting in a place where the physical bones of the Church have been ripped away. There is no roof, there are few walls, nature has reclaimed the floor. Yet, when we gather, there is the Church. A group of people coming together to proclaim the importance to them of Jesus Christ and pledging to live differently as a result.

This year has been an extended demonstration of this. Circumstances dictated that we stopped meeting in our church buildings. Did that stop us being Christ’s Church? No, it did not. We looked at what has been taken away from us and decided that it is not going to stop us expressing and carrying out our faith.

Did we all do this in the same way? No, we did not. Some embraced technology as a way to worship and stay in touch with people. Some chose not to, others were unable to. We each reacted to lockdown in different ways, but that is because we are all different.

I wonder how your faith has been nurtured this year. Have you returned to tried and trusted books from the past? Have you phoned the national prayer line? Has the weekly service on Radio 4 become your church?

I was overjoyed this week when someone told me that they had used their prayer book to read morning prayer every Sunday, using the readings from the Link, almost as a subversive act.

There are as many different ways to follow God as there are people choosing to follow him.

As we continue in our journey through the letter to the Romans, in our passage today we find St Paul grappling with this. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been part of some churches where there has seemed to be a very high standard of behaviour required before you can be considered to be a real Christian. You look around at the people there and feel that there is no way you can match up to their holiness.

There’s obviously something of this going on in the Roman church. Some of it has to do with choice of diet and some of it seems to have to do with how they spent their Sabbath day. Paul describes those choosing to eat only vegetables as weak in faith. Vegetarians the world over will now rise up in protest at this. There is nothing here about whether it is intrinsically good or bad to be vegetarian. This is about their motives for choosing a vegetable diet.

Eating only vegetables doesn’t make you more holy, neither does it make you less holy. Thinking you are a better person because you eat only vegetables is more of a problem.

Some people, in order to feel secure in their faith, need to restrict themselves and their lifestyle so they don’t go off the rails. They do feel that their faith is too weak to survive without that boundary round it.

I think there is something of the same here when dealing with alcoholism. An alcoholic cannot have even a small drink without grave consequences whereas someone who is not an alcoholic can enjoy a drink with no problems. The alcoholic knows their weakness and finds strength in the rule of abstinence.

One key thing here is the attitude to weakness. By calling someone weak, we are not writing them off. Rather, we are saying that they are precious and should be supported so they can take a full part in the community.

We are the body of Christ. We all have different gifts and different weaknesses.

Paul goes on to say that what matters is not so much what choices we make, but the attitude we have towards God once we have made that choice.

If you decide to be vegetarian, do it in a way that honours God. If you decide to eat meat, likewise, eat in a way that honours God. More importantly still, honour the decisions of each other. What does that look like? On a practical level, the meat eater should ensure there is something vegetarian at a feast, and vice versa. Both should have the well-being of those who produced the food in mind. Both should thank God for providing what is good.

The trouble is, we are all human, with all the intrinsic insecurities that goes along with that. It is so easy to slip into the trap of judging others because they are different. To write others off in the hope that this makes us look better in contrast.

We live in an individualist society. So much of what we worry about is to do with our own survival or success. Christianity cannot survive if people think that it is purely about the individual. It is not about my faith in Jesus or my choices about how I live. The Christian life is about us. All of us and the choices we make together.

I don’t know whether you have ever watched team time trial cycling. There’s often a stage at the Tour de France where the teams race against the clock, each rider in the team taking turns to battle against the wind at the front. The aim of the race is not to get a rider to the finish line first but to get the team there. In a team of 8 or 9 it might be the time that the 5th or 6th rider crosses the line. You can’t win a team time trial by focussing only on your own speed. You have to concentrate on the needs of the team around you.

You can’t live as a Christian by looking only at your own way of life. You have to look at the needs of the whole community. There’s no point getting up and praying for three hours every day if you ignore the phonecalls from someone down the road who needs your help.

God is concerned with all of us and trusts those who are stronger to bring along those who are weak. Not to judge them, not to look down on them, but to love them and recognise in them the face of God.

We are the Church, the body of Christ. We are in this together and we can’t manage without one another, each lifting the other up and supporting them at different times as needed.

As we go into an uncertain autumn and winter, it is the connections between the Christian community that will be most important. We can be the Church without walls and a roof, but we can’t be the Church without each other. The Lord says Every knee shall bow and every tongue give praise to God. Keep in mind the needs of the team and keep lifting up and supporting those who need it.

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.

Intercessions –

Everlasting God, Lord of compassion and gracious understanding, we come with an openness to express our concerns for the Church and the world, and to thank you, for your goodness.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer

Merciful God, we recognise that the work of helping people through life can leave church leaders vulnerable to spiritual attack.  We thank you for our church leaders and pray that they won’t allow criticism or negativity to blunt their ministry; that they will hear encouragement, and that they will always respond in love and forgiveness when difficulties arise. We pray for Archbishop Stephen, John, Bishop of Selby and Archdeacon Sam and all who minister in our local churches.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Creator God, we pray for our world, where through television, we see the misery and tragedy brought about by wrong choices and brought into our homes day by day. We pray for wisdom and compassion in all negotiations and decisions taken by our world and local leaders; and ask that there be humility in leadership and responsibility for right action shared by all and we particularly pray that this may apply to all things associated with the Pandemic.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Father God, help and guide our schools, colleges and universities as they return for a new educational year, especially with all their concerns about the Coronavirus and how they will cope with social distancing but still be with one another and learn with and from one another.  May their teachers inspire a love of learning for its own sake and kindle joy in all subjects and sports and help them to grow into caring and knowledgeable adults.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Gracious God, we raise before you those from our community who are ill, hospitalised or recuperating and for those we know within our families and circle of friends.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Merciful God, give us ears to hear and minds to understand the message of immortality for the children of your kingdom so that we may look forward with patience and confidence to that time when we will join you in the peace of eternity. And we especially pray for any we know who recently died and are on that journey to you.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Faithful God, forgive us for those times when we treat ourselves with less kindness than you do. We want to believe in ourselves the way you believe in us and so as we go out to live the coming week show us more of the life you have designed especially for us to live

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

Offertory Prayer

God of life, saviour of the poor,
receive with this money
gratitude for your goodness,
penitence for our pride
and dedication to your service
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Peace

We are the body of Christ.
In the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.
Let us then pursue all that makes for peace
and builds up our common life.

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

Hymn – I am the bread of life

Today I will read the institution narrative from St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, then offer a time of silence, finishing with the prayer for spiritual communion and the Lord’s prayer.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (NIVUK)

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: the Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Thanks be to you, Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits you have given me,
for all the pains and insults you have borne for me.
Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally,
I ask you to come spiritually into my heart.
O most merciful redeemer,
friend and brother,
may I know you more clearly,
love you more dearly,
and follow you more nearly,
day by day.

Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Today, I am using the traditional language Lord’s prayer. Please pray in whichever language or version you prefer.

Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us

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.

Hymn – At the name of Jesus

Blessing and Dismissal

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.

Copyright Notices

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Common Worship, material from which is included in this service, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council.

Sunday 6th September 2020 – Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity

Welcome to our worship. If it is still Sunday morning where you are, I hope you will join us at Zoom coffee at 11.30am. Details, as usual, are on the emailed notice sheet – the link is the same as it was last week.

Today our service is a service of the word and we continue our sermon series on St Paul’s letter to the Romans.

You can either play the YouTube playlist for the whole thing, or click through each part of the service in turn.

YouTube Playlist

Service written out

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.

This is the day that the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Hymn – And can it be?

We have come together in the name of Christ
to offer our praise and thanksgiving,
to hear and receive God’s holy word,
to pray for the needs of the world,
and to seek the forgiveness of our sins,
that by the power of the Holy Spirit
we may give ourselves to the service of God.

Confession

Keep silence and reflect on the week

Jesus says, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’
So let us turn away from our sin and turn to Christ,
confessing our sins in penitence and faith.

Lord God,
we have sinned against you;
we have done evil in your sight.
We are sorry and repent.
Have mercy on us according to your love.
Wash away our wrongdoing and cleanse us from our sin.
Renew a right spirit within us
and restore us to the joy of your salvation;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

May the Father of all mercies
cleanse you from your sins,
and restore you in his image
to the praise and glory of his name,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Blessed is the Lord,
for he has heard the voice of our prayer;

therefore shall our hearts dance for joy
and in our song will we praise our God.

Psalm 119:33-40

Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes  ♦
and I shall keep it to the end.

Give me understanding and I shall keep your law;  ♦
I shall keep it with my whole heart.

Lead me in the path of your commandments,  ♦
for therein is my delight.

Incline my heart to your testimonies  ♦
and not to unjust gain.

Turn away my eyes lest they gaze on vanities;  ♦
O give me life in your ways.

Confirm to your servant your promise,  ♦
which stands for all who fear you.

Turn away the reproach which I dread,  ♦
because your judgements are good.

Behold, I long for your commandments;  ♦
in your righteousness give me life.

New Testament Reading

Romans 13:8-14, read by Linda

Hymn – Lord of all hopefulness

Gospel Reading

Matthew 18:15-20, read by Lindsay

Sermon – The Revd Liz Hassall

Time is very strange at the moment. This year we have lost so many of the markers that help us orientate ourselves through the year. So many holidays cancelled, so few social events happening. It’s sometimes hard to remember what month it is, never mind what day of the week it is. I find myself frequently checking to make sure I haven’t missed appointments or arrangements. Although there are so many things that have been cancelled or re-arranged, there are still things that we have to look forward to.
Birthdays, of course, are significant days. I wonder whether you were the same as me when you were young? The anticipation of a birthday coming was extraordinary. The months and weeks were counted down and the hope of what might be grew to an intensity.
Then the day itself, which may or may not have lived up to the picture of it in my head. I was re-reading a Maeve Binchy novel this week where one of the main characters has been hoping for a beautiful pink velvet party dress and then has to swallow her disappointment when she is given a very sensible skirt and jumper instead.
In our progress through St Paul’s letter to the Romans, we come to one of the most poetic passages, where Paul impresses upon his readers the urgency of living well, living in harmony with others because the day is near.
What does he mean?
There are two levels to this:
Paul talks about behaving well as in the day. In a time where candles and oil lamps are the only illumination, they wouldn’t be wasted on lighting the streets. Moving about at night was therefore pitch black: perfect cover for all sorts of nefarious activities. Law-abiding people tended to stay home at night. It was criminals and law-breakers who were abroad in the darkness. Good deeds belonged to the day, evil to the night, so Paul urges the Romans to live as if in daylight. To live as in daylight is to live assuming people can see what you are doing, so therefore to do nothing that is not lawful, nothing that can hurt another.
But there is another layer of meaning concerning the day. The concept of The Day of The Lord is found in the Old Testament, most notably in Jeremiah. The Day of the Lord is when justice prevails and salvation is found. All wrongs are righted. This is the day that is coming, that we are to live in preparation for.
Jesus rising from the dead has brought the Day of the Lord near, but it isn’t fully here for us. Paul wrote so often with this sense of urgency that the day of the Lord, the day of salvation is right around the corner and you need to be ready.

I’m most familiar with these verses in a responsory that is used at morning prayer in Advent:

Now it is time to wake out of sleep
for the night is far spent and the day is at hand.
Now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed.
Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light,
put on the Lord Jesus Christ
and make no provision for the flesh.

What does it mean to put on the Lord Jesus Christ?
I think it is about living according to what Jesus taught, living as if you were Jesus, enveloping yourself in the attitudes and actions of Jesus. And this means loving people.

Love. This whole section of Romans has been about love – from the beginning of chapter 12. Paul briefly digressed at the beginning of this chapter into talking about our relationship with governing authorities but sadly the lectionary has skipped over that bit.

Paul tells his readers that the only obligation we should have is the obligation to love one another. When love of others is at the heart of how you are, you no longer need the specific commandments like the ones forbidding adultery or murder or theft. Love your neighbour as yourself renders all these obsolete. This doesn’t mean that we have freedom to sin in this way just that if we are truly living in love then none of the other rules will be necessary.

To live a Christian life is to live in anticipation of the Day to come, the Day of the Lord. All the things that Paul has emphasized: how to live well, not to take vengeance, resisting evil; all these things are necessary so that at the day of the Lord, we are ready to take our place in fulfilment of the promises of the Lord Jesus.

In effect, the whole of our lives is like waiting for a birthday, knowing it is going to be marvellous, but never quite figuring out how long it is to wait or quite what will happen. Our task as Christians is to live in such a way that we bring some of the promises forward, building communities truly based on love and care for everyone. In doing this we prepare for the coming day of salvation.

Think this week about how you could more fully love your neighbours. Is there something they need, something they are struggling with? Think back to the deepest lockdown – everyone seemed to be more aware of their neighbours then. Is there something practical you could say or do to help someone? Or if you are in need but no-one knows about it, maybe you could reach out to someone this week and ask. So often people are willing to help but just don’t know who needs it and are afraid to offend by asking.

Now it is time to wake out of sleep
for the night is far spent and the day is at hand.
Now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed.
Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light,
put on the Lord Jesus Christ
and make no provision for the flesh.

Affirmation of faith

Let us declare our faith in God.

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
Amen.

Hymn – If you believe and I believe

This hymn includes prayers of intercession.

The Collect

Almighty and everlasting God,
you are always more ready to hear than we to pray
and to give more than either we desire or deserve:
pour down upon us the abundance of your mercy,
forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid
and giving us those good things
which we are not worthy to ask
but through the merits and mediation
of 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

The Lord’s Prayer

As our Saviour has taught us, so we pray

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.

Offertory Prayer

Generous God, we thank you for all you have given us. We thank you for all the ways that we can give to you in return. We ask that through our gifts we will see your kingdom grow in our hearts and our homes, our neighbourhoods and our nation, to the glory of your name.
Amen

Blessing and Sending Out

The love of the Lord Jesus draw you to himself,
the power of the Lord Jesus strengthen you in his service,
the joy of the Lord Jesus fill your hearts;
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.

Hymn – Sent forth by God’s blessing

Copyright Notices

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Common Worship, material from which is included in this service, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council.

Sunday 30th August 2020 – 12th Sunday after Trinity

Welcome to our worship. If it is still Sunday morning where you are, I hope you will join us at Zoom coffee at 11.30am. Details, as usual, are on the emailed notice sheet – the link is the same as it was last week, or contact Revd Liz for details.

Those of you who joined us last week will know that Toby was then in hospital. He’s well on the mend now and recovering at home. Thank you for all your prayers and offers of help. We have felt truly supported by our church community.

I hope many of you will be receiving the Village Link magazine in the next few days. You will find details of our planned live services there although plans can of course change so you are advised to check with the wardens beforehand. Face-masks should now be worn in church unless you are exempt and we will be continuing to ask you to observe social distancing as well.

Today we are using a liturgy prepared by Stephen, with hymns chosen by Sian and prayers by Liz Crawshaw. Thank you for stepping up and helping in a week where my thoughts were mainly elsewhere.

YouTube Service Playlist

Service written out in full

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.

This is the day that the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Hymn – Let all the world in every corner sing

We have come together in the name of Christ
to offer our praise and thanksgiving,
to hear and receive God’s holy word,
to pray for the needs of the world,
and to seek the forgiveness of our sins,
that by the power of the Holy Spirit
we may give ourselves to the service of God.

Confession

Keep silence and reflect on the week

Jesus says, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’
So let us turn away from our sin and turn to Christ,
confessing our sins in penitence and faith.

Lord God,
we have sinned against you;
we have done evil in your sight.
We are sorry and repent.
Have mercy on us according to your love.
Wash away our wrongdoing and cleanse us from our sin.
Renew a right spirit within us
and restore us to the joy of your salvation;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

May the Father of all mercies
cleanse you from your sins,
and restore you in his image
to the praise and glory of his name,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Blessed is the Lord,
for he has heard the voice of our prayer;

therefore shall our hearts dance for joy
and in our song will we praise our God.

Psalm 26:1-8

Give judgement for me, O Lord,
    for I have walked with integrity;  ♦
I have trusted in the Lord and have not faltered.
Test me, O Lord, and try me;  ♦
examine my heart and my mind.
  
For your love is before my eyes;  ♦
I have walked in your truth.
I have not joined the company of the false,  ♦
nor consorted with the deceitful.
I hate the gathering of evildoers  ♦
and I will not sit down with the wicked.
I will wash my hands in innocence, O Lord,  ♦
that I may go about your altar,
To make heard the voice of thanksgiving  ♦
and tell of all your wonderful deeds.
Lord, I love the house of your habitation  ♦
and the place where your glory abides.

New Testament Reading

Romans 12:9-21, read by Anna

Hymn – Lift high the cross

Gospel Reading

Matthew 18:15-20, read by Euan

Sermon – The Revd Liz Hassall

Have you ever thought about making a list of all the people you care about? It is an interesting exercise. Easiest to figure out who the people are you care about most – often friends and close family – but then as the circles get wider, it is harder to remember everyone. Think of the people you know through church, but then there are bound to be people who you have vaguely seen in church at some point but don’t really know. There are the people who walk past your house each day – they should probably be on the list. You would definitely stop and help them if they fell and hurt themselves. Where do you draw the line? What about the people who you really dislike? Do you care about them too?

Last week I gave you a 30 second introduction to this part of the letter to the Romans. Let’s go into a bit more detail. The beginning of chapter 12 is very much a new section of the letter, with a different focus. Up until this point, Paul has been writing to the church in Rome and going very deep into theology, explaining to them how the gentile church and the Jewish church are to be connected and why that makes sense in the light of the old testament writings.

Paul, when he wrote this letter, hadn’t visited Rome yet, although he was planning to in the future. It was written about the year 57AD.

By this point the Jews had been under severe persecution in Rome and had been thrown out of the city. The Church in Rome, which, as far as we knew, had been founded by Jewish Christians, thus had all their leaders removed and only gentile Christians were left, who were thrust into leadership. By the time of this letter the Jews were beginning to be let back in to the city and so the Church was figuring out where they stood.

So, after writing to the Roman Christians that salvation was for both Jew and gentile, Paul comes to the point of talking about how they should live as a joined up community. This is advice which is applicable to any community.

Last week we heard that we are all one body, that we have different gifts which we should strive to use to the best of our ability. Now, Paul goes on to give some very necessary advice.

I could pick any one of the phrases from this section and talk just about that, but let’s take a quick overview.

Love is at the core of the Christian life and that is Paul’s focus here. But what does love mean?

Love begins with those closest to us. Love one another with a genuine love. You don’t need to be Christian to do that though. What is distinctive about Christian love is that it is rooted in our relationship with God. “Be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord”. It is also rooted in prayer – what effect does that have?

I remember in the past having had a really passionate argument with a friend. It had got out of hand and we both walked away feeling aggrieved and that we were definitely in the right. Turning to prayer a little later, a nudge of the spirit prompted me to look again at what I had done and said. Had I really been utterly reasonable from beginning to end? I was sure I had been. A few minutes later, not so sure. Finally, I came to the conclusion that I had indeed spoken out of turn and over-reacted. Ugh. That moment when you realise you have to go and apologise. We’ve all been there.

When we pray about our lives and those around us, God helps us to love them better.

Paul then throws the net of love wider. Contribute to the needs of the saints, extend hospitality to strangers. It’s easy to love those we care about and share our lives with. The Christian life means more than that – it means learning to love those who don’t seem to deserve it. As Paul puts it: “bless those who persecute you”, “never repay evil for evil”.

This is one of those bits of Christianity that I think about when people talk about religion being a crutch for weak people. They’ve obviously missed this aspect. Being constantly challenged by God to love people who have hurt you and make you want to swear loudly at them is not a crutch. It is a difficult road to take. Loving someone when they have done nothing to earn it is awful, really hard, profoundly challenging. Yet it is what we are called to do.

Paul ends this section, however, with an interesting point of view. It isn’t that people who do wrong will get away with it. It’s just that it isn’t our job to sort it out. We’ve probably all heard the phrase “vengeance is mine, says the Lord”. This is where it comes from. We can’t take vengeance without damaging ourselves. Paul says to leave room for God to work, to sort people out, because we can trust that he will sort everyone out in the end. The final picture Paul leaves is that, by being kind to your enemies, you will heap burning coals on their heads. Nice.

Living a Christian life is all about love. We know that. But love is not a wishy-washy emotion. Love is a choice that changes our lives.

I asked you at the beginning to think about making a list of all the people you care about. Maybe actually do this. Put a series of concentric circles on a piece of paper. Think of the kinds of people who would be in each level. Friends and families in the middle, neighbours and acquaintances further out. Then think about who is not in those circles. Who are the people you don’t care about? Who are the people you secretly despise? The call of the Christian life is to bring those into your circles of care and figure out how you can love them.

This, then, is our faith. To love, for God’s sake, where it is neither deserved nor desired.

Hymn – Put Peace Into Each Others’ Hands

Affirmation of faith

Let us declare our faith in God.

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
Amen.

Intercessions, prepared and read by Liz Crawshaw

Son of the living God, help us to live as your children; in harmony with each other and united in our love for you.

We come to you as your church in this place.

Make us joyful in hope,
patient in affliction, and
faithful in prayer.

Help us to bring the Good News of the Gospel to those who do not know you; give us the words we need, and help us to live lives that show that you are living in us.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

We pray for your world damaged by poverty and war and anger. We long for a time when your peace will fill your world. We pray for leaders who will overcome evil with good; for people who will share with those in need. We pray for a time when all people across the world will be treated with justice and equality. May your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

We bring to you our villages, all the places where we live. May our homes be places of peace and love, holiness and hospitality. May we learn to accept one another and to forgive, and may our villages be known for their kindness and generosity.

We bear your name, and feel your hand on us. Guide us, walk with us, share our lives we pray.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

We pray for those who are not at peace, those struggling with financial worries, those who feel isolated and alone. So many people who are living in fear, and do not know which way to turn. Those fearful for their health and all those who care for them in care homes, hospitals and at home.

We lift to you Toby Hassall and pray for his healing.

In a moment’s silence we name in our hearts all those for whom we have concerns; the sick and the failing.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

Your love dear Lord stretches throughout the universe. It is a love that has no end, and nothing can separate us from that love. We pray for all who have passed from life to death who now experience your love face to face. We pray for Andrew Sidders, and thank you for his life and for his faith that shone through him. We pray for Jane and all Andrew’s family. We bring to you all those we know who have died, and all those who mourn their death.

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

The Collect

Almighty and everlasting God,
you are always more ready to hear than we to pray
and to give more than either we desire or deserve:
pour down upon us the abundance of your mercy,
forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid
and giving us those good things
which we are not worthy to ask
but through the merits and mediation
of 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

The Lord’s Prayer

Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us

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.

Offertory Prayer

Generous God, we thank you for all you have given us. We thank you for all the ways that we can give to you in return. We ask that through our gifts we will see your kingdom grow in our hearts and our homes, our neighbourhoods and our nation, to the glory of your name.
Amen

Blessing and Sending Out

The love of the Lord Jesus draw you to himself,
the power of the Lord Jesus strengthen you in his service,
the joy of the Lord Jesus fill your hearts;
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.

Hymn – Come Down O Love Divine

Sorry – this one won’t embed onto the site. You will have to click to find it.

https://youtu.be/fIvKDgktutI

Copyright Notices

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Common Worship, material from which is included in this service, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council.