Sunday Worship 14th June 2020 – First Sunday after Trinity

Welcome to worship today. As usual, there is a playlist set up at the top to play the whole service, including hymns. Or you can go down the page and play each video separately, or read the words if you prefer.

If you are reading this before Sunday morning at 11.30am, please join us at our Zoom Coffee. Details available from Revd Liz.

Service written out

Hymn

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

The Lord be with you
And also with you

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.
Amen.

Confession

Keep silence and reflect on the week

Your love gives us life.
We fail to live as your children.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

You call us to do good.
We seek our own good.

Christ, have mercy. Christ have mercy.

You hear us when we cry for help.
We ignore the cries of others.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy

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

The Collect

O God,
the strength of all those who put their trust in you,
mercifully accept our prayers
and, because through the weakness of our mortal nature
we can do no good thing without you,
grant us the help of your grace,
that in the keeping of your commandments
we may please you both in will and deed;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Reading – Psalm 100

Read in your own bible or click below to hear it read.
https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/suchet/nivuk/Ps.100

Hymn

Gospel reading

Matthew 9:35 – 10:8

Sermon – Revd Dr Stephen Pope

As most of you know, the Anglican church likes to think in terms of Ordinary Time and Seasonal Time. Seasonal Time is those periods when we concentrate on special times in the Christian Calendar. There is the Advent and Christmas season. We have just spent about three months in the run of the seasons of Ash Wednesday and Lent through Easter and leading up to Pentecost, finally capping it with Trinity Sunday, which was last week.

Now in the church we are back to Ordinary Time – but it’s not Ordinary Time as we know it. We can’t go inside our church buildings to worship – not on our own, nor as a community. And in the wider world we are in lockdown, which we were sort of getting used to, but now it is being slowly lifted and so routines are changing again. Many of us are longing to be able to see friends and families again, especially the grandchildren. The current racial tensions are not helping either.

And because of all this, and more, somewhere inside of us, and in all sorts of ways, including missing church, we feel lost.

Lost and confused, not knowing when we be able to worship together again. Not being able to join in with our communities in singing God’s praises, with confessing together and hearing the words of forgiveness and absolution together. Not able to receive Holy Communion together. Not able to share news and gossip after the services, no tea, no coffee, no biscuits, not even a special dispensation for Welsh cakes .

Lost, confused, half helpless, knowing something just isn’t right.

What do we do?

To start with, did you notice the parallel with what Jesus noticed about the crowds following Him in our gospel reading?

Matthew records that they were ‘harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd’? What does that mean? It means they were cut off from how they were supposed to live happy and harmonious lives as individuals, as families, as towns and villages and as a nation because the equivalent of a virus had got into the teaching of many of their religious leaders, because those leaders had misunderstood God’s priorities when they interpreted God’s laws.

Like, it was more important to keep the Sabbath than to rescue your animals from danger or accidents. Like it was more important to spend time tithing their garden herbs than to spend time and energy making sure the poor had their rights under the law upheld.

Jesus’ teaching was radically different. People recognised this and were thirsty for more. They noticed Jesus had authority over physical illnesses, and unclean spirits as well, which the lawyers and Pharisees didn’t.

Jesus could see that they were like a sheep without a shepherd. But then, why did he change metaphor and tell the disciples they should ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into his harvest?

I find it helpful to remember that to the Jews, David, their first King true to God, was also a shepherd, and the harvest is that of people coming into, not so much David’s kingdom, but people coming into God’s kingdom, where they will obey His laws with Love as their priority.

So when Jesus told the disciples they needed to ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into the harvest, he was saying there needed to be more people doing what He was doing – sharing the good news of God’s kingdom, one that was linked with healing.

Jesus also wanted the disciples to pray and told them to do just that…..pray so that their prayers would touch God’s heart….. and ultimately this would touch their hearts too.

How do we know this? Because Matthew tells us Jesus had compassion for those in the crowds. He recognised that they were feeling harassed and that they were feeling helpless. And it is when we have felt harassed and/or helpless ourselves that we are most likely to recognise it in others and therefore, being aware of it, be able to pray compassionately to God for them.

Compassion may mean being moved greatly. A dramatic example would be the story of the raising of Lazarus. It was not after the theological discussion Jesus had with Martha but seeing Mary weeping that moved Jesus to tears too, and that led to the raising of Lazarus.

Compassion doesn’t always lead to tears – sometimes it means hard graft at making friends with someone despite initially being ignored or rejected. Sometimes it means persistence, patience and gentleness. Sometimes it means doing something that is not our preferred way, purely out of love, so that others can see that Christianity is for real life, not for running away from it.

There are reports people are exploring church in a way they haven’t been doing before, partly because there is so much of it online with our church building being shut up. When we are allowed back into the church buildings for services again, is there scope for making attractiveness for newcomers a higher priority.

There are often no quick or easy answers to these questions. But how we need to look for them.

In our gospel reading, we were told that Jesus told his disciples to pray.

In these strange days, when we are feeling lost about all sorts of things, this is a clue as to where would be a good place to start – spending time praying. It’s not only about praying for others – first we need to know, or sense, God’s compassion for ourselves. Then we can share in His compassion for others, which makes it easier to recognise how we can help ourselves and our neighbours to walk more closely with Him. Remembering that Prayer is Conversation, and so leaving time at the end to listen is also good. I’ve even known having a good argument with God lead me to an aspect of Him I hadn’t been aware of before, and so to an improved relationship with Him.

Finally, however fast or slowly things happen, we can still rejoice as we remember that God wants His Kingdom to grow – and He wants us to share in the work and the glory of it.

Amen.

Affirmation of faith

Let us declare our faith in God.

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

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

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

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

Hymn

Intercessions

We pray that Christ may be seen in the life of the Church.

Jesus, Lord of the Church,
in your mercy, hear us.

You have called us into the family of those who are
the children of God.
May our love for our brothers and sisters
be strengthened by your grace.

Jesus, Lord of the Church,
in your mercy, hear us.

You have called us to be a temple
where the Holy Spirit can dwell.
Give us clean hands and pure hearts,
so that our lives will reflect your holiness.

Jesus, Lord of the Church,
in your mercy, hear us.

You have called us to be a light to the world,
so that those in darkness come to you.
May our lives shine
as a witness to the saving grace you have given for all.

Jesus, Lord of the Church,
in your mercy, hear us.

You have called us to be members of your body,
so that when one suffers, all suffer together.
We ask for your comfort and healing power
to bring hope to those in distress.

Jesus, Lord of the Church,
in your mercy, hear us.

You have called us to be the Bride,
where you, Lord, are the Bridegroom.
Prepare us for the wedding feast,
where we will be united with you for ever.

Jesus, Lord of the Church,
hear our prayer,
and make us one in heart and mind
to serve you with joy for ever.
Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us

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

Offertory Prayer

Holy Spirit, we thank you for coming upon the Church and inhabiting the lives of Christian disciples. We offer you these financial gifts in gratitude and to express our desire for all your gifts to us to bear fruit in our lives. Amen

Blessing and Sending Out

May Christ’s holy, healing and enabling Spirit
be with you and guide you on your way
at every change and turn;
and the blessing of God Almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.
Amen

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

Hymn

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.