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 22nd November 2020 – Christ the King

Welcome

Welcome to our service this week. The service has been planned and recorded by a team of congregation members from across our churches.

Zoom Coffee is at 11.30am on Sunday and you will find the link on the email notice sheet, or contact Revd Liz via the contact page, above. Bring your coffee, have a chat, get to know some people from our churches.

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.

Collect

Eternal Father,
whose Son Jesus Christ ascended to the throne of heaven
that he might rule over all things as Lord and King:
keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit
and the bond of peace,
and bring the whole created order to worship at his feet;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Amen

Hymn – Rejoice the Lord is King

Confession

Lord, we confess that we pay lip-service to the values of your Kingdom.
We love those who love us,
but we find it impossible even to like our enemies.
Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.

We confess that too easily we accept the standards of the world
and not those of Christ.
Christ have mercy. Christ have mercy.

Forgive us, Lord, that our striving against temptation is so weak
and our struggle for what is right is so short-lived.
Forgive us, renew and empower us
to stand
and to strive
and to struggle
for Christ and the Kingdom.
Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.

Assurance of forgiveness

Almighty God,
who in Jesus Christ
has given us a kingdom
that can never be destroyed:
forgive us our sins,
open our eyes to God’s truth,
strengthen us to do God’s will
and give us the joy of
his kingdom 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 we will praise our God.

Psalm 95:1-7

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.

For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his and he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.

Come let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.

Hymn – The King of Love

Readings

Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24

Matthew 25:31-46

Talk (written by Roy Collard)

Sheep and goats – is that what it all comes down to? Is that what we are trying to achieve in our earthly life? To be a sheep not a goat, to live a good life not a bad one, to seek God’s favour rather than his condemnation? Sheep and goats, an expression so many of use all the time – it’s in common parlance, like so many phrases from the King James’ bible from 400 years ago, – used widely by English speakers, regardless of whether they know its origins or meaning.

The passage we heard today from the end of chapter 25 in the gospel of St. Matthew is the climax of Christ’ teaching on earth – following this, Matthew concentrates on the end of Christ’s mortal life. The entire gospel has been building up to these words – to the revelation that Christ will sit on God’s right hand on the throne of glory, “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion….not only in this age but in the age to come”. That’s how Paul describes Christ’s coming as the King of glory in the letter to the Ephesians that is today’s epistle. That’s why this last Sunday before Advent when the church year begins once again, is designated Christ the King – for this is the culmination of all that has gone before, the purpose of Christ’s mission on earth is revealed.

For us, this image of Christ enthroned is magnificent, proof that Christ is no ordinary man, – but, equally, the image is also disturbing. For here we see a King – who is also a Judge – with all the nations before Him, separating us into sheep and goats, dividing those who are invited to receive their rightful inheritance from those who are to be banished, not welcome in the divine kingdom. Over the previous weeks we have been warned – parables of the foolish virgins and the servant who hid his talent reveal their sins of omission – or acts of disobedience – the virgins punished for negligence, the servant punished for doing nothing and now the goats, punished for failing to notice the many opportunities that had been given to them for showing kindness. The sin of omission, the failure to do God’s will.

This would have been nothing new to the people of Israel to whom Christ was addressing his words. They would know the prophesies of Ezekiel and that passage we have heard today about the fat sheep and the lean sheep, between whom God promises to judge. Ezekiel addresses those “who pushed with flank and shoulder and butted all the weak with their horns to scatter them far and wide”, and he warns them of their fate. It’s like being in a busy supermarket at Christmas, pushed and shoved out of the way by those wielding a laden trolley, shoppers too self-absorbed to notice the old man gripping his basket with the few items he can afford or the struggling mother rifling through the reduced items to find something to feed her children. I often dwell on how we drive as a demonstration of a Christian life, – those fat sheep butting their neighbours are like the drivers who stick on your tail trying to push you to go faster, or those ones who treat roundabouts as grandprix circuits, attempting to gain an advantage on almost every other road user. I hold my hand up, neither my supermarket nor my road behaviour is exemplary – it’s too easy for us to fail, but it’s a greater failing when we know how we should behave.

And in case we don’t know how to behave, Christ spells it out in these verses of Matthew.

Whenever I pass though King’s Cross station, I am troubled. I see them wherever I look, at the top of the stairs to the underground, on the forecourt towards the Euston Road, or in the dark doorways of the surrounding streets – they’re huddled into dirty sleeping bags, the cold, hard pavement softened by cardboard, their eyes longing, their faces and bodies often emaciated, usually holding out a used paper coffee cup with a few coins in it. What do I do? Leave them to rely on the night-time soup kitchens, abide by the notices around the station that tell me that I shouldn’t give them money as they are catered for by the authorities? In them I see Christ, and if I ignore them am I ignoring Christ? That’s the sin of omission that Christ warns us of – not to shut our eyes to the spectacle of human misery or turn a deaf ear to the cries of our suffering fellow beings. For if we do, if we ignore the hungry, the thirsty, a stranger, the naked, the sick or the imprisoned we are shutting our minds to Him.

I sometimes think about why I have a social conscience, where my sense of social justice comes from? I was a child of the 1960s – a great time of change and of highlighting injustice – Martin Luther King, Bob Dylan, Trevor Huddleston, Rachel Carson – is that where it comes from? Or is it part of my DNA, my genetic make-up, always to champion the cause of the underdog – I am a West Ham fan, after all. Or is it something much bigger? Is it because I have accepted God’s will and am trying to fulfil it?

But it’s not just doing His will, it’s how we do it – unobtrusively, not – to use a modern idiom – by virtue signalling, but by doing good deeds without ulterior motive, and looking for no recognition. And with these thoughts comes a contradiction – is our motive in pursuing social justice simply to secure our own place in His divine kingdom? Isn’t that self-interest, a sin the goats are accused of? Saving ourselves, come what may? No. I don’t see it like that. I see it as allowing Christ’s quiet rule through us here and now on this earth in a world where the innocent are caught in the cross-fire, where they’re exploited for human lust or manipulated by the unscrupulous. He is present – suffering with those victims – and we are letting Him work though us to alleviate that pain.

Christ is the King – and today we celebrate His coming in glory on God’s right hand, with all nations gathered before Him – ready to judge the sheep and the goats. I believe it is for us to see his justice, his judgement in very positive terms – as we live out that sense of justice, social justice – or in other words, a human passion for justice that comes from God himself. And through loving our neighbour, our fellow sheep, we are living out his expectation for us.

Affirmation of Faith

We believe in God the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and 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 – When I needed a neighbour

Prayers – written by Guy Wilson

God our father and creator we pray to you and to your son, our Lord and Shepherd, Jesus Christ. These days are days of clouds and darkness for us. We, like sheep are frightened, uncertain, hesitant, lost. We cannot see an end to our troubles. We are scattered and lonely and hurting. Look kindly on us, guard us and rescue us, we pray. Aid the injured, strengthen the weak, and bring us back to the safe haven of your love.

Lord God, Lord Jesus, We put our trust in you

Lord Jesus, you know what it is to be human, you have shared our doubts and fears. Strengthen the leaders of your churches, we pray that they may show us your ways, teach us your paths, help us know you better and so guide us to your truth. And especially we pray for Stephen and Liz. They, too, like all of us are suffering in these dark days. Give them the strength to continue to guide us through faith and action to the light of your presence, the light that is never extinguished.

Lord God, Lord Jesus, We put our trust in you

God our father, a world turned upside down is not an easy place to govern. The maps are useless, the plans redundant, economies collapse, people suffer. Yet critical decisions with far reaching consequences must be made. And there is no guide, except you. Give strength and guidance to those who govern your world at this troubled time. Imbue them with your love and embolden them with the hope of a better tomorrow so that they may lead your world to greener pastures.

Lord God, Lord Jesus, We put our trust in you

Lord Jesus, today there are too many in pain and sickness, too many grieving and bereaved, too many gone too soon. Wrap the strong arms of your love around all of them, we pray. Comfort them, show them the light of eternal hope that you offer in this life and beyond, and bring all of them, and us in our time, safe home to you.

Lord God, Lord Jesus, We put our trust in you

Deliver us from our troubles, Oh Lord. Fill us with your eternal hope and send us out into the world refreshed and determined to offer help to friend and stranger alike. Give us the strength to rise above our own troubles and to worship you as you would have us do by helping each other and giving succour to those in greatest need. Give us the strength to do this for you, O Lord.

Lord God, Lord Jesus, We put our trust in you

The Lord’s Prayer (Guy)

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 forever.
Amen.

Offertory Prayer (Sian)

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

Hymn – The Servant King

Prayer

Today is Stir-up Sunday – time to make your Christmas puddings if you haven’t already!

Stir up, O Lord, the wills
of your faithful people;
that they, plenteously
bringing forth the fruit of
good works, may by you
be plenteously rewarded;
through Jesus Christ
our Lord.
Amen.

Blessing

Christ the Sun of Righteousness shine upon you,
scatter the darkness from before your path,
and make you ready to meet him when
he comes in glory;
and the blessing of God Almighty, Father,
Son and Holy Spirit, be with us all this day
and for evermore.
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 15th November 2020 – 2nd Sunday before Advent

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.

Here is the link to the Prayer for the nation leaflet .

As usual, either use the playlist to play the whole service without needing to press anything else. Or, you can scroll down the page to play each section individually.

YouTube Playlist

Service written out in full

In the cycle of the Church year, we are nearly at the end. Next week will be the feast of Christ the King, which marks the culmination of our story with Jesus enthroned at the right hand side of God before it all begins again with Advent Sunday. Today we look towards that feast and consider what we are waiting for.

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

Jesus Christ has made us a kingdom of priests
to serve his God and Father.
To God be glory and kingship for ever and ever.
Grace, mercy and peace be with you
and also with you.

God of our days and years,
we set this time apart for you.
Form us in the likeness of Christ
so that our lives may glorify you.
Amen.

Hymn – O Praise ye the Lord

O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
Your faithful servants bless you.
They make known the glory of your kingdom.

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 sin and turn to Christ,
confessing our sins in penitence and faith.

God of mercy,
we acknowledge that we are all sinners.
We turn from the wrong
that we have thought and said and done,
and are mindful of all that we have failed to do.
For the sake of Jesus, who died for us,
forgive us for all that is past,
and help us to live each day
in the light of Christ our Lord.

Amen.

May God who loved the world so much
that he sent his Son to be our Saviour
forgive us our sins
and make us holy to serve him in the world,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Psalm 90: 1-8, 12

Lord, you have been our refuge  ♦
from one generation to another.

Before the mountains were brought forth,
or the earth and the world were formed,  ♦
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You turn us back to dust and say:  ♦
‘Turn back, O children of earth.’

For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday,  ♦
which passes like a watch in the night.

You sweep them away like a dream;  ♦
they fade away suddenly like the grass.

In the morning it is green and flourishes;  ♦
in the evening it is dried up and withered.

For we consume away in your displeasure;  ♦
we are afraid at your wrathful indignation.

You have set our misdeeds before you  ♦
and our secret sins in the light of your countenance.

So teach us to number our days  ♦
that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.

New Testament reading

1 Thess 5:1-11

Hymn – Be thou my vision

Gospel reading

Matt 25:14-30

Sermon

Parables are a genre of literature that is pretty unique to Jesus. We know one when we hear it. It is a story told to make a point, but also to make the listener think. When you hear a parable, how should you approach it? There’s several things you can do.

First – have a look and see if it is one of the parables with a helpful explanation printed next to it. In this case, there is no explanation. This is quite exciting however, because we can spend time with it, looking at the story from different angles and seeing how our picture of God is broadened or deepened.

The next thing to do, and I would possibly do this even before looking for an explanation, is to look back in the passage to see why the parable is being told. You often have to go further back than where the reading began. Here, we go back to ch 24 verse 3 where Jesus has just spoken about the temple being destroyed and the disciples ask him when it will happen and what is the sign of Jesus coming and the end of the age. More immediately, at the beginning of chapter 25, Jesus starts the preceding parable of the ten bridesmaids by saying “the kingdom of heaven will be like this”. We can be certain that this parable is also about the kingdom of heaven and meant to help us understand it. Remember that Matthew always used the phrase ‘kingdom of heaven’ rather than ‘kingdom of God’ but they mean the same thing. The kingdom of heaven is what it is like when God is in charge and makes everything new.

I wonder whether you are sitting there thinking that you know this story, you know what it is all about, you have been told the meaning before and what can I possibly tell you that you haven’t heard a dozen times before. Well, you may have a point, but I wonder whether we can find a new angle to help you to understand this parable more fully.

The common meaning of the word talent has developed from this parable. However, in biblical times, a talent was initially a measure of weight and then a measure of currency – quite a large amount actually. The weight and value of a talent varied across the Biblical world. When the people in the parable are entrusted with 5 talents, that is an absolute fortune, not just a small sum of money. We are talking life changing amounts. In modern day terms, probably enough to buy a house and a car and see you settled for life.

If you are going to be very literal in understanding this parable, you can use it to justify putting your money to work rather than hoarding it away. I think there’s more going on than that though.

The interpretation of this story has affected the meaning of the word talent. Now, when we talk about talents, we mean what we are good at, our gifts and skills – often the idea is the things that we are naturally good at, our innate gifts. We are all familiar with thinking about making good use of our talents. If we are artistic to create, if we are sporty to run, if we are strong to lift things that need lifting, if we are logical to solve problems. And that’s another level at which we can read this parable.

The question is whether that meaning of the word talent is really what is intended by this story. Or at least, whether that is the only meaning that could be intended. I think there is more to discover.

What is the next aspect of the story to consider? It’s always worth looking at a parable and figuring out who God is. In this story, the obvious answer is that God is the one who entrusts the talents to the other people. What does this tell us about God? He entrusts his property to his slaves – not to free people. Again remember that this is not just a small amount that he is entrusting – it is ridiculously extravagant. He entrusts this to people who are not permitted in law to own property.

So, we have a generous God who gives freely to people who might be considered undeserving. The key to this story is not only in the initial giving but also in the reckoning at the end. The first two people return their talents having doubled them and are rewarded.

What about the final slave, who was so afraid of the master that he didn’t dare to risk losing anything of the single talent? The reaction of the master to this slave is rather troubling. He is punished for not using what he is given and then cast aside into darkness.

So we have a master who gave abundantly but with the expectation that gifts would be used.

This, then, is how we could view this parable. What are the gifts that God gives to his people? What are the good things we have that come from God? We have life and a world in which to live, we have people with us and the capacity for love, we have hope, we are surrounded by opportunities for enjoying beauty and laughter and song. Yes, we also have our material needs met but remember that the talents entrusted to the slaves were worth far more than basic material needs. Above all, God has given Jesus to the world.

Think about the life that Jesus lived. Although he was materially poor, his life was one of abundant generosity. He shared his life with his disciples, with the crowds, with his enemies; he rarely held back. He healed those who needed healing, told stories and parables to those who needed help understanding, he ate and drank and enjoyed life. If Jesus had kept all of that to himself, he could not have fulfilled his purpose.

Our lives are a generous gift from God and we are called to live those lives in such a way that the lives of others are enriched.

Really, what we are talking about here is the economy of love. What happens when you love the people around you and show it by doing loving things? Love grows – it inspires others to do the same. The more you invest in the people around you, the greater the love that is shared. No wonder those first two slaves received a 100% return on their investments.

The significance of this parable hangs on the return of the master and how he judges his slaves. We know that we will all face God’s judgement but don’t worry about this. If you have been living wholeheartedly, giving back to the community what you have been given, then you have nothing to worry about.

This year, having spent so long shut away in our houses, you might be wondering what it is that we can actually do. Don’t sit there fretting that you have so little opportunity to bless those around you. Start with the little things, like a daily phonecall to people who might be lonely, or a letter to a friend, or a commitment to prayer. Any of those things, and I am sure you have other ideas too, any of these ideas puts God’s gifts to work and they will grow.

The kingdom of heaven is like this: full of abundant riches for us to use and enjoy and grow. How will you use your talents this week?

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 – The Kingdom of God is justice and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Come, Lord, and open in us the gates of your kingdom.

Intercessions

Response:
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer

United in the company of all the faithful
and looking for the coming of the kingdom,
let us offer our prayers to God,
the source of all life and holiness.

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

Bless Stephen our archbishop, John, Bishop of Selby and all ministers of your Church,
that by faithful proclamation of your word
we may be built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets
into a holy temple in the Lord.
Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer.

Empower us by the gift of your holy and life-giving Spirit,
that we may be transformed into the likeness of Christ
from glory to glory.
Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer.

Give to the world and its peoples
the peace that comes from above,
that they may find Christ’s way of freedom and life.
Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer.

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

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

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

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

We give you thanks
for the whole company of your saints in glory,
with whom in fellowship we join our prayers and praises;
by your grace may we, like them, be made perfect in your love.
Amen

The Collect

Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son was revealed
to destroy the works of the devil
and to make us the children of God and heirs of eternal life:
grant that we, having this hope,
may purify ourselves even as he is pure;
that when he shall appear in power and great glory
we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom;
where he 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

Praise

There is one body, one Spirit, one hope in God’s call,
one Lord, one faith, one baptism.
There is one God, Father of all, over all and in all,
to whom Christ ascended on high.
And through his Spirit he gives us gifts:
some are apostles, some are his prophets.
Evangelists, pastors and teachers he gives us,
so we can minister together
to build up his body,
to be mature in the fullness of Christ.

Blessing and Sending Out

May God, who kindled the fire of his love in the hearts of the saints,
pour upon you the riches of his grace.
May he give you joy in their fellowship and a share in their praises.
May he strengthen you to follow them in the way of holiness
and to come to the full radiance of glory.
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 – Thou, whose almighty word

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 8th November 2020 – Remembrance

Welcome to the service for 8th November 2020 – Remembrance Sunday. There is no particular time for this service – watch it when you are ready. However, if you want to get to the silence for Remembrance exactly at 11am, you will want to start watching about eighteen minutes past ten. Don’t worry if you have missed this time – it is fine to watch it whenever you are ready.

To join Zoom coffee after the service at 11.30am, you will just need the link which can be found on our notice sheet. If you are not on the mailing list for the notices, please contact us using the links above.

YouTube Playlist

Hit ‘play’ on this first video for the whole service.

Service written out in full

Welcome & Introduction

Let us recall the words of the Lord our saviour. For Christ Jesus said: “This is my commandment, That ye love one another as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15: 12-13)

On this Remembrance Sunday we remember those who have died in war and conflict, recalling with gratitude the self-sacrifice of men, women and children who have laid down their own lives in the cause of freedom, justice, peace and mercy.

Lord of the nations, we remember before you with grateful hearts those who in the day of decision gave their all for the liberties we now enjoy. Help us to recognize the incalculable debt we owe them this day, that we may strive in our own time to maintain true freedom in our nation, and to safeguard the peace which was won at such great cost; through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.

In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn of another day has broken upon us.
It shines on those who dwell in the darkness of despair.

It brings healing to those under the shadow of death.
And guides our feet in the ways of forgiveness and peace.

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

Hymn – Dear Lord and Father of Mankind

As we do not have a collection in Church this week, I encourage you to donate individually to the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal

Confession

In life and in death we are with the Lord.
Let us turn to the Lord who is full of compassion and mercy,
and ask that he will forgive us our sins,
and extend his healing love upon our broken world.
Lord, you promise a place in paradise
to all who call to you in penitence and faith.

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Lord, you bring comfort to those who mourn
and have suffered loss.

Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

Lord, you speak your word of peace in times of conflict
and calm our fears.

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Absolution

May God who loved the world so much that he sent his Son to be our
Saviour, forgive us our sins, and make us holy to serve him in the
world, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Alcuin of York 804 AD)

Collect

Almighty Father,
whose will is to restore all things
in your beloved Son, the King of all:
govern the hearts and minds of those in authority,
and bring the families of the nations,
divided and torn apart by the ravages of sin,
to be subject to his just and gentle rule;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

Old Testament reading – Micah 4:1-5 (NRSV)

In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised up above the hills. Peoples shall stream to it, and many nations shall come and say: ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from erusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more; but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken. For all the peoples walk, each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.

This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

New Testament reading – John 15:9-17 (NRSV)

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

Hymn – Make me a channel

Sermon

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends, or perhaps you prefer the modern language: No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. The message is the same.

Jesus left his disciples with this command. To love one another, even to the point of death. We inherit that command and our life as Christians is to strive to live out the instruction to love.

In the worldwide conflicts of the twentieth century, when conscription meant little choice in whether you wanted to lay down your life, a horrific number of people went to war. For many, it will have been the thought of their friends or loved ones that kept them going through the horror and carnage which followed. When we hear the names of those who died read, we can imagine the parents, siblings, children and partners left at home. Each of those names conjures a family with an unfilled space at the table. These brave people did indeed give their lives, but not just for their friends. They gave their lives for the hope of a greater freedom for those they left behind at home, knowing that they may not return themselves to enjoy that freedom and that peace.

As we remember those people today, we pray with thankfulness for their sacrifice and for the continuing sacrifice of the armed forces today. We also pray for peace, that we may find a way to be a generation that can avoid war and conflict on a global scale; that, as the prophet Micah puts is, we may truly see a time when swords are beaten into ploughshares, or whatever the modern equivalent would be: tanks re-made as tractors perhaps? That world doesn’t seem very close at the moment. Often the path to peace lies through conflict and our peace and prosperity depends on the willingness of the armed forces to defend and to establish and maintain peace with force.

No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends

While it can be overwhelming to pray for the whole world, Christians are also called to pray for our nation, our villages and households and ourselves. We pray that we might become people of peace. The ability to live in peace with people requires that we understand their values and their motivations which may be very different to our own. Our most significant contribution to the global effort for peace may be to make the effort to befriend our neighbours who are very different to us, whether of different race or class or religion or politics. If we can try to understand each other and discover that our differences are not great enough to divide us, we will be playing our part in the global striving for peace.

No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends

This year, amidst a global pandemic, we have discovered new ways to love each other: by respecting a 2 metre distance, by wearing a face covering, by not singing, by staying at home. It goes against our usual way of life, when closeness and a hug and a sit down with a cup of tea is the natural way to respond to distress. But we know that it is us, ourselves, that are potentially the danger to other people’s health. In laying down, temporarily, some of the freedoms we enjoy, we show our love for our friends.

No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends

Our true motivator in the quest to love our friends and neighbours is Jesus, who showed us the way by willingly giving himself up to death for all of us. As we strive to live well in our situation, we hold Jesus as the example for Christian living, trusting that his promise of eternal life makes sense of the sacrifices we are asked to make in this life.

No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

May we all strive to live in that love, this year and every year.

Affirmation 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.

Hymn – Hope for the world’s despair

Prayers of Intercession

I am not sure of the source of these prayers.
Please get in touch if you own the copyright.

Bruised and black clouds shed heavy tears on the fields of Flanders;
fields become graveyards in which were buried the flower of a generation.
And God wept, for these were his children.

Bruised and black clouds shed heavy tears on the cities of Europe, of
Japan, cities shrouded in the dust of desolation, camps wreathed in
the smoke of human cremations, people in confusion whispering
“Please God, never again”.
And God wept, for these were his children.

Bruised and black clouds shroud cities, shopping streets, business
centres, refugee camps, and people gaze on devastation wrought by
evil on innocence.
And God weeps, for these are his children.

Bruised and black clouds shed tears over a whole world, bowed,
bloodied by battle, cowed and weary of war, her roads clogged by
refugees with nowhere but earth to call home.
And God weeps, for these are his children.

God of life, drawing life and death together in Yourself, uniting the
lost and the loving, be among us as we gather.
Guide our praying and loving, cherish our remembering God,
our God who forgets no-one.

From the rising of the sun until its setting –
God of peace, God of justice,
God of infinite mercy, remember your people.

From the bleakness of war to the lavish warmth of peace –
God of peace, God of justice,
God of infinite mercy, remember your people.

From the peace of eternity to the pain of the present moment –
God of peace, God of justice,
God of infinite mercy, remember your people.

We turn to you God, asking that you enfold our planet in your
justice, peace and truth. Enlighten the minds of those making
decisions, melt the hearts of those inflicting cruelty upon your
children and strengthen the resolve of all who pray for peace.
And may God bless us, and the peoples who share our planet –
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
And may God hold our world
and all its people in the palm of his hand.
Amen.

Lord, remember us in your kingdom,
as we pray in the words you gave 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.

ACT OF REMEMBRANCE

NIMROD by Edward Elgar
A time for personal reflection and remembrance.
.

Stand

Let us remember those from these parishes who made the supreme sacrifice.

The names of those remembered are read.

They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
We will remember them.

Last Post

2 minute silence as we remember

Reveille

Crosses of remembrance are laid at Coxwold on the graves of:

Private William Cornforth

Sub Lieutenant CH Jones

Bombadier William Whincup

Let us remember before God, and commend to his sure keeping: those who have died for their country in war and in conflict; those whom we knew, and whose memory we treasure; and all who have lived and died in the service of mankind.

The Wreath is laid upon the War Memorial

Almighty and eternal God, from whose love in Christ we cannot be parted, either by death or life; hear our prayers and thanksgivings for all those whom we remember this day; fulfil in them the purpose of your love; and bring us all, with them, to your eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Kohima Epitaph

When you go home, tell them of us and say, ‘For your tomorrow we gave our today’.

Hymn – Thine be the glory

Blessing

God grant to the living grace, to the departed rest,
to the Church, the Queen, the Commonwealth and all people,
unity, peace and concord,
and to us and all God’s servants, life everlasting;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit
be with you all and remain with you now and always.
Amen.

Go in the light and peace of Christ.
Thanks be to 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 1st November 2020 – All Saints Day

Welcome

Welcome to our worship for All Saints Day. You can click the first video immediately below this paragraph, which will play the whole service on a YouTube playlist. If you prefer, you can scroll down and click each section in turn.

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

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

Since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses,
let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely,
looking to Jesus in penitence and faith.

Silence

Confession

Lord, you are gracious and compassionate:
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

You are loving to all
and your mercy is over all your creation:
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

Your faithful servants bless your name
and speak of the glory of your kingdom:
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

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, you have knit together your elect
in one communion and fellowship
in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord:
grant us grace so to follow your blessed saints
in all virtuous and godly living
that we may come to those inexpressible joys
that you have prepared for those who truly love you;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

Readings

Revelation 7:9-17

Psalm 34:1-10

I will bless the Lord at all times; ♦
his praise shall ever be in my mouth.

My soul shall glory in the Lord; ♦
let the humble hear and be glad.

O magnify the Lord with me; ♦
let us exalt his name together.

I sought the Lord and he answered me ♦
and delivered me from all my fears.

Look upon him and be radiant ♦
and your faces shall not be ashamed.

This poor soul cried, and the Lord heard me ♦
and saved me from all my troubles.

The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him ♦
and delivers them.

O taste and see that the Lord is gracious; ♦
blessed is the one who trusts in him.

Fear the Lord, all you his holy ones, ♦
for those who fear him lack nothing.

Lions may lack and suffer hunger, ♦
but those who seek the Lord
lack nothing that is good.

Hymn

Gospel reading:

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.
Glory to you, O Lord.

Matthew 5:1-12

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

Sermon

Whenever you ask a child what they want to be when they grow up, you tend to get a very certain answer. I remember the first school service I went to as a parent. I think there was some peer pressure going on as all the girls wanted to be princesses and the boys wanted to be firefighters, except for one little boy who held out and said fisherman. Still, they all had an answer. It’s a question we ask our children every so often and I am usually intrigued by the answers.

Is it a question you have asked yourself recently? What do you want to be when you grow up? Some of you might protest that you have definitely grown up already. Even if you are long into your years of retirement, I still think it is a relevant question, although perhaps harder to answer as you get older. Maybe the question needs to change a little – what do you want to be at the end of your life?

If I am asking you this question, perhaps I should answer it first. When I grow up, I want to be a Christian. Some of you might be looking at me a bit funny and thinking that I really should be a Christian already. Of course, yes. I am already a Christian, as are most of you. When I look ahead several decades into the future, the thing that I care most about is that I am still a Christian and, hopefully, a Christian stronger in faith.

I know that each year I spend living this Christian life, I have the choice of growing closer to God or drifting away. I can choose to make following Jesus the centre of my life, or I can get distracted and turn to other things. It will be the same for you. It is worth it every so often to spend some time thinking about whether you are moving towards God or away from him.

Lets change the question again slightly. Where do you want to be at the end of your life? The answer to this for me is in the reading from Revelation chapter 7. I want to be in that glorious uncountable multitude gathered before the throne of God with all the Saints. Or, to put it another way, When the Saints go marching in, I want to be in that number.

The question that follows is then “how are you going to get there”? There are several answers to that and they are hidden in the liturgy we have used today. My first answer would be to look at the Beatitudes – the reading we heard from the Gospel of Matthew. Those famous lines – blessed are the meek, blessed are the merciful, blessed are the peacemakers – those lines give us some pointers for the types of people we should try to be.

Another way of figuring out how to reach the end of life and still be a Christian is to look at the people who have already made it – those recognised by the Church as exceptional people, the Saints, the holy ones of God. How do the Saints help us to head in the direction that they travelled?

Some branches of the Church spend a lot of time celebrating the Saints, while others ignore them almost entirely. I wonder whether we should spend a bit more time on them. Some of our churches, who are dedicated to one of the Saints, can concentrate on them. Cuthbert, Nicholas, Thomas, Mary and Michael are all interesting characters through whom we can discover more about how to be the Church. Today, we are giving thanks for All the Saints and, at All Saints Brandsby, thinking about what it means to be a Church with that dedication.

You might wonder if striving to be like the saints is a bit of a tall order. It is very unlikely that any of us would ever be recognised as an official Saint. Yet, that uncountable crowd of people before the throne of God will have thousands if not millions of people who were never recognised officially as saints, but who lived faithful lives and who God knew as a holy person. This is what we can aim for.

In our intercessions this morning, we will be praying that the example of the Saints can help us to grow into a royal priesthood and a holy nation. The idea is that the Church here on earth, although flawed and imperfect, should make every effort to become like the Church in God’s presence. We need to start now if we want to be ready at the end of our lives.

Notice that I have moved away from what I want to be to think more corporately. Being among that crowd before God is not something to aim for on your own. Being the Church is about growing together to the point where we can all be together in that crowd. We are all in this together. It is as if we were individual stitches in a knitted garment – our strength as Christians depends on those around us. Our journey to God is one which is inextricably linked to the journeys of those around us. We need each other in order to keep growing up into God’s people.

This is not something we can do without help. Later in the intercessions I will pray for God’s Spirit to empower us to be more Christlike and for us to be given inner peace so that we are able to find our way to Jesus. We need God’s help to get there.

Today we stand before God as a group of people offering ourselves for his work in this place, wherever we happen to be, and we take up the task of loving those around us so that they may discover the love of God through our own loving actions in the world. We need to be people who love others rather than just talking about it.

Here, then, is our pattern for being the Church in the light of the Saints: We need to start now, we need each other, we need God’s help and we need to love others.

My challenge for you this week is to find a Saint that you admire, look again at their story. It can be anyone – a biblical character like Thomas or Mary, someone from the early church like Nicholas, a famous Christian like Cuthbert or one of those anonymous Christians that you know well.

Once you have your saint, think about how you could shape your life after theirs and start making the little changes necessary in order to do that, in order to love the people around you more deeply in the name of Jesus.

The final part of the challenge may be the most difficult. Tell someone else about that saint and how inspiring you find them and how their story helps you to come closer to the way of Jesus. Do this in a letter or email or tweet if it doesn’t feel right face to face. Do this because you want to be in that crowd before the throne of God and you want to have more people there with you.

To be honest, I didn’t really need to preach today. I could just have got you all to read the Collect over and over again for ten minutes. I’ll pray it again here as we finish and I think you’ll see what I mean:

Almighty God, you have knit together your elect
in one communion and fellowship
in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord:
grant us grace so to follow your blessed saints
in all virtuous and godly living
that we may come to those inexpressible joys
that you have prepared for those who truly love you;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Nicene Creed

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

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

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

Intercessions

United in the company of all the faithful
and looking for the coming of the kingdom,
let us offer our prayers to God,
the source of all life and holiness.

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

Bless Stephen our archbishop, John Bishop of Selby and all ministers of your Church,
that by faithful proclamation of your word
we may be built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets
into a holy temple in the Lord.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Empower us by the gift of your holy and life-giving Spirit,
that we may be transformed into the likeness of Christ
from glory to glory.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Give to the world and its peoples
the peace that comes from above,
that they may find Christ’s way of freedom and life.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

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

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

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

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

We give you thanks
for the whole company of your saints in glory,
with whom in fellowship we join our prayers and praises;
by your grace may we, like them, be made perfect in your love.

Concluding prayer –

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

Amen.

Offertory Prayer

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 fellow-citizens with the saints and of the household of God,
through Christ our Lord, who came and preached peace
to those who were far off and those who were near.

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

Anthem

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

Ye watchers and ye holy ones,
bright seraphs, cherubim and thrones,
raise the glad strain, alleluia!
Cry out, dominions, princedoms, pow’rs,
virtues, archangels, angels’ choirs,

Refrain:
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia,
alleluia, alleluia!

Respond, ye souls in endless rest,
ye patriarchs and prophets blest,
alleluia! alleluia!
Ye holy twelve, ye martyrs strong,
all saints triumphant, raise the song: [Refrain]

O friends, in gladness let us sing,
supernal anthems echoing,
alleluia, alleluia.
To God the Father, God the Son
and God the Spirit, Three in One: [Refrain]

Words: Athelstan Riley (1858-1945)

Blessing and Dismissal

God, who has prepared for us a city with eternal foundations,
give you grace to share the inheritance of the saints in glory;
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 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.