Sunday Worship – 5th July 2020 – 4th 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 – see the contact page on the main menu.

YouTube Playlist

Service written out in full

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.

Why are we still doing online worship when the government now allows it?

  • There are plenty of people still unable to join us in church.
  • We are still digesting the guidance on opening for worship. We will be, but we don’t know when. The wardens and I are meeting on zoom this week and I hope to have some news soon.

The form of the service today is the first part of the communion service, finishing with the peace and the prayer of spiritual communion that we used last at Pentecost.

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 – Praise to the Holiest in the height

This comes from the musicians at Hull minster.

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.

Our Lord Jesus Christ said:
The first commandment is this:
‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind,
and with all your strength.’
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’
There is no other commandment greater than these.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
All Amen. Lord, have mercy.

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, the protector of all who trust in you,
without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy:
increase and multiply upon us your mercy;
that with you as our ruler and guide
we may so pass through things temporal
that we lose not our hold on things eternal;
grant this, heavenly Father,
for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Psalm 145:8-15

The Lord is gracious and merciful,
long-suffering and of great goodness.

The Lord is loving to everyone
and his mercy is over all his creatures.

All your works praise you, O Lord,
and your faithful servants bless you.

They tell of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your mighty power,

To make known to all peoples your mighty acts
and the glorious splendour of your kingdom.

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom;
your dominion endures throughout all ages.

The Lord is sure in all his words
and faithful in all his deeds.

The Lord upholds all those who fall
and lifts up all those who are bowed down.

Hymn – I cannot tell

Gospel, read by Val 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

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

This week, the sermon is different, to take advantage of not being in a pulpit. We begin with a blank sheet of paper and the gospel passage.

A well known passage, which concludes:

‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (NRSV)

This is Jesus talking to the people closest to him, the ones he loves. We can take that encouragement and apply it to ourselves.

This week I was in an online sermon workshop and the theologian who was leading it said that people don’t want to hear this. They don’t want to hear that everything is going to be alright. I disagree. I think we do need to hear this, particularly at a time when everything is not alright. So, I thought I would concentrate on these verses and see where it takes me.

Start with a yoke – a piece of wood with a space for your shoulders and neck and a fastening underneath. A single yoke.

A pencil sketch of a yoke

How heavy does your yoke feel at the moment? For a lot of people at the moment, it feels as if we have weights strapped to the sides of the yoke. We all have a lot going on, but the weights we are carrying will be different. Children: carrying on with our school work without our friends. People at work trying to figure out how to go about our normal lives without the usual support networks, without being able to see people and give people a hug, without being able to sit next to someone and reach out to them in sympathy. For all of us there are things that we are carrying at the moment that make us feel as if we are weighed down. And so Jesus comes to us and says “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” I need to hear that and I think you probably do too. Just because Jesus is offering us his yoke, it doesn’t mean that these weights are suddenly going to disappear and be gone, it means that Jesus shares the load and the yoke that is for one person becomes instead a yoke for two people. This is the more common form of yoke when considering farm animals.

A pencil sketch of a double yoke, labelled for us and Jesus

NB – this picture looks more like a pair of sunglasses, so I have labelled it!

We have this picture then of the yoke with Jesus next to us, telling us that it isn’t too heavy to carry. For some of us we are going to disagree and say that it is too heavy to carry at the moment. It’s really heavy and I don’t know how I am going to carry it any further and so we have to trust that Jesus is here with us, yoked together with us so we can plough whatever field he has in mind for us.

One thing that occurred to me is that the animals don’t get to see what they have done. They don’t get to see the straightness of what they have done. They only see the lumpy ground that is yet to be broken. When they get to the end of the field and turn round, then they will see some of it, but they don’t get to appreciate it fully by standing at the end of the field and looking back because they are on to the next bit.

We are not actually oxen yoked together. We are children of Jesus. Jesus is telling us that we can stand back, at the end of a furrow, and look back and see the distance you have travelled, so perhaps that is a message for today. Stand back, look, see where we are and see where we have come from.

When you have bible verses like this, where you aren’t sure what God is really saying, one of the things I do is to look at several different translations. We’ve heard the NIV earlier and I used the NRSV a minute or two ago. Let’s hear from The Message translation now. It’s a modern paraphrase and it often gets to the point a lot more vividly than the traditional translations.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (The Message)

The phrase that stuck with me from this version is about grace. Grace comes from God, given without being earned. We all have the offer of loving grace from God. Where does the phrase “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace” take us? Imagine music:

A bar of music in common time with 4 crotchets in the first bar, all on the note G

Music has to be a certain number of beats to the bar, in a key. It is quite restrictive and boxed in. Music has to follow the rules. What would it look like to set the music free?

A stave of music. After the first bar, the lines of the stave spread across the page chaotically with notes and rests scattered.

(NB This makes no musical sense whatsoever) If we are forced into the rhythms of someone else, we will feel boxed in and confined. Jesus invites us out of the box so that the rhythms of your life can escape. They don’t have to fit the rules. They can be rhythms of freedom and grace, including rest. We are not stuck on a four beat endless cycle of tedium. When Jesus invites us into his world, his life, he offers us the freedom to find the rhythms that are suited to us, that are not too heavy or ill-fitting.

An ill-fitting yoke will give you blisters or sores and will cause pain when you try and carry it. Jesus offers freedom, a yoke that isn’t weighed down by the expectations of the world around us. He is offering this rhythm of grace that is unconfined and set free. This will look different for each of us. When you follow Jesus you discover who he wants you to be, not who he wants the person next to you to be. This image of the yoke doesn’t necessarily work for us as modern-day people – I could have drawn a tractor if I knew how. The furrow we pull doesn’t have to be straight , and identical to the furrow of the person next to us. Jesus calls each of us to find our own path and he promises that he will be with us. If the yoke does seem heavy, he is there, helping us and taking the weight off our shoulders.

He says “Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” That’s also something I need to hear at the moment. It’s a two way thing. We don’t get this without commitment on our side as well as on Jesus’. Keep company with me, he says.

Two boxes, one above the other. The upper box has Us inside and Jesus outside with no door to the box. The lower box has a door with Us and Jesus both inside.

We can’t go and sit safely in a little box with Jesus outside. We have to let him in: a box with a door, with Jesus inside too. If we try and go our own way and make a safe box for ourselves to be in, we aren’t going to get very far. It is only when we let Jesus near us that he can be with us, only when we keep company with him that we see this free grace-filled life.

How do you do this? You are already doing it by taking this time this morning. You are already doing it by showing up and spending time in the company of Jesus and in the company of those of us who are also trying to follow Jesus. If you try and follow Jesus on your own, you will probably end up back in that box with Jesus shut out. Instead, by spending time with others or by learning from other people who are following Jesus, we will learn more about what it means to be with him and to be his children.

Take a few moments today (mixing all these metaphors together). Imagine that you are carrying a yoke, making your way across the field of life. When you get to the end of a furrow, stop and, just for a little while, ask Jesus to lift that yoke off your shoulders so you can look back and see where he has brought you. You will probably find that your field is not a field of beautiful, straight, even furrows.

Lines indicating furrows on a ploughed field. Most lines are straight. The rightmost line is chaotic and swirling, winding in all directions.

You have reached here. You have reached this point with Jesus. As you stop and look back, I hope you can see that Jesus has been with you throughout this journey. When you were heading in the wrong direction, I wonder whether you felt a pull to come back towards him. Jesus is always there, encouraging us back onto the track that is the best way for us.

So you’ve got to the end of the field and have lifted the yoke off your shoulders just for a moment. Think about the next furrow. What are you going to do next? How are you going to show Jesus that you want him to be with you, to help take you in the direction that he knows will help give you the most rest and the most joy, that will help you to experience the most love? I don’t know the answer to that for you. I think for me it is about showing up day by day and discovering what Jesus is saying to me. This means opening a bible, shutting the door and telling the family that I really need to pray uninterrupted for a little while. It’s about finding the rhythms of grace on your life and allowing Jesus to bless you with them. One of the great gifts of the Christian life is that we don’t need to be weighed down by all the expectations that society gives us. We don’t need to carry the weight of what is expected and the definitions of success in this society. The yoke that Jesus gives us to carry is one that is light. The gift that he wants to give us is one of freedom.

I’ll read it again to finish:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (The Message)

Sketch summing up the whole of this section of the service. See captions on above sections for details.

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.

Hymn – Be still

Intercessions – written and led by Karen from Stearsby

The Bidding:

Look upon us, O Lord,
And let all the darkness of our souls vanish
before the beams of Thy brightness.
Fill us with holy love,
And open to us the treasures of Thy wisdom
and what Thy Spirit has awakened us to ask in prayer. (Saint Augustine)

Let us pray.

A Prayer for the Church ……….. at this time of preparation:

Infinite Lord and eternal God,
Rouse your Church in this land,
Restore your people’s sense of mission,
To revive your work in holiness and strength.
By your Spirit, help us to give our energy,
our time, our service and our prayer,
That your Kingdom may be advanced
Here and throughout the world:
In the name of Jesus Christ, our Saviour. (Church in Wales)

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Prayers for all people ……….. at this time of anxiety:

O Christ our Lord –
For those throughout the world
who govern the agencies of health and welfare,
We ask your guidance that, in all they do,
Human worth may be valued
And the service of human need fully resourced.
For all key workers and volunteers, ….. for those returning to work ……
For all who tend the sick,
counsel the distressed,
sit with the dying,
or develop medical research –
We ask your blessing.
We bring before you those whom we know – and others whose troubles we do not know –
in the silence you understand:
those who are ill ………..
those in distress ………..
the bereaved ………..
the lonely ………..
Lord Jesus Christ, Lover of all,
Bring healing, bring peace. (after John Bell, Iona Community)

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

A Prayer for ourselves, our families and friends ……….. at this time of uncertainty:

Circle us Lord
Keep protection near
And danger afar.
Circle us Lord
Keep hope within
Keep doubt without.
Circle us Lord
Keep light near
And darkness afar.
Circle us Lord
Keep peace within
Keep strife without. (after David Adam)

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Thanksgiving:

We thank you, O Lord –
for teaching us how to pray to you,
for hearing us when we call upon you.
We thank you
for saving us from our sorrows
and for directing all our ways.
Lead us ever onwards to yourself. (after Father John of the Russian Church)

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

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.

Offertory Prayer

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

The Peace

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

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

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.

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.

Hymn – Alleluia, sing to Jesus

Blessing and Dismissal

The peace of God, which passes all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds
in the knowledge and love of God,
and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord;

and the blessing of God Almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,

be with you and remain with you always.
Amen

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

Anthem – 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.

Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture quotations marked NRSV are from New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.