Sunday 30th August 2020 – 12th Sunday after Trinity

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

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

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

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

YouTube Service Playlist

Service written out in full

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

Grace, mercy and peace
from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ
be with you
and also with you.

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

Hymn – Let all the world in every corner sing

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

Confession

Keep silence and reflect on the week

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 26:1-8

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

New Testament Reading

Romans 12:9-21, read by Anna

Hymn – Lift high the cross

Gospel Reading

Matthew 18:15-20, read by Euan

Sermon – The Revd Liz Hassall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hymn – Put Peace Into Each Others’ Hands

Affirmation of faith

Let us declare our faith in God.

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

Intercessions, prepared and read by Liz Crawshaw

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

We come to you as your church in this place.

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

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

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

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

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

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

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

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

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

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

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

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

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

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

The Collect

Almighty and everlasting God,
you are always more ready to hear than we to pray
and to give more than either we desire or deserve:
pour down upon us the abundance of your mercy,
forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid
and giving us those good things
which we are not worthy to ask
but through the merits and mediation
of Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

The Lord’s Prayer

Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us

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

Offertory Prayer

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

Blessing and Sending Out

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

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

Hymn – Come Down O Love Divine

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

https://youtu.be/fIvKDgktutI

Copyright Notices

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

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

Funeral of the late Andrew Sidders 26th August

Funeral of Andrew Sidders – 26th August at 3pm at Crayke Church

Government and Church guidelines currently restrict attendance at funerals to 30 people. If you would like to pay your respects to Andrew and are not among the 30 invited guests, you can view the service at the following link, live-streamed from around 2.45pm:

https://youtu.be/7Zu_dhLzCZU

If you are in Crayke, Jane would also like to invite you to line the street from the school up Westway and Church Hill before the service.

PLEASE MAINTAIN SOCIAL DISTANCING with anyone outside your household or bubble.

Sunday 23rd August 2020 – 11th 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 on the weekly emailed notice sheet or from Revd Liz – see the contact page on the main menu.

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 – Lord, for the years

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, you declare your almighty power
most chiefly in showing mercy and pity:
mercifully grant to us such a measure of your grace,
that we, running the way of your commandments,
may receive your gracious promises,
and be made partakers of your heavenly treasure;
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

Bible reading

Romans 12: 1-8, read by Sian

Psalm 138

I will give thanks to you, O Lord, with my whole heart;
before the gods will I sing praise to you.

I will bow down towards your holy temple and praise your name, because of your love and faithfulness;
for you have glorified your name and your word above all things.

In the day that I called to you, you answered me;
you put new strength in my soul.

All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O Lord,
for they have heard the words of your mouth.

They shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
that great is the glory of the Lord.

Though the Lord be high, he watches over the lowly;
as for the proud, he regards them from afar.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you will preserve me;
you will stretch forth your hand against the fury of my enemies; your right hand will save me.

The Lord shall make good his purpose for me;
your loving-kindness, O Lord, endures for ever;
forsake not the work of your hands.

Hymn – Jesus, where’er thy people meet

Gospel, read by Colin

Matthew 6:13-20

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

Sorry – no sermon this week. See the introductory video for the reason. I was going to talk about the Romans passage. Maybe you could go and read that again and think what it might mean for you to be the best version of yourself that you can be.

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 –

In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ,
let us pray to the Father.

O God, the creator and preserver of all,
we pray for people in every kind of need;
make your ways known on earth,
your saving health among all nations …
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for the good estate of the catholic Church;
guide and govern us by your good Spirit,
that all who profess and call themselves Christians
may be led into the way of truth,
and hold the faith in unity of spirit,
in the bond of peace and in righteousness of life …
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We commend to your fatherly goodness
all those who are any ways afflicted or distressed,
in mind, body or estate;
comfort and relieve them in their need,
give them patience in their sufferings,
and bring good out of all their afflictions …
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 …
All this we ask for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Merciful Father,
accept these prayers
for the sake of your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ.

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.

Hymn – One bread, one body

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 – Take my life and let it be.

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

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 16th August 2020 – 10th Sunday after Trinity

While our video-editor is away, we have a text and hymn only version of our local service. If you would prefer a video service, here is a link to the national Church of England service, which goes live at 9am on Sunday mornings.

Welcome

Welcome to our online service this Sunday.

Revd Liz is away and we are not able to put together our regular Sunday service in its normal format of printed words plus video clips of those taking part. Today we will simply have the words of the service, plus links to our hymns.

You may read the words of the service silently or out loud as you wish.If there are two or more of you, you might consider reading the Psalm antiphonally ie two people or groups reading one set of light or dark print lines alternately.

When we come to the Lord’s Prayer, it may be said in any alternative version or language you prefer.

At ‘After Church’ time, 11.30 there will be our usual Virtual Coffee by Zoom. Revd Stephen will be hosting it and you will find the link details for joining us on our Byland churches notice sheet. Any problems with getting on to Zoom please phone him – his phone number should be on the notice sheet too.

Opening Hymn – Praise, my Soul, the King of Heaven

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.

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

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

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

Psalm 67

1    God be gracious to us and bless us  
and make his face to shine upon us,

2    That your way may be known upon earth,  
your saving power among all nations.

3    Let the peoples praise you, O God;  
let all the peoples praise you.

4    O let the nations rejoice and be glad,  
for you will judge the peoples righteously
and govern the nations upon earth.

5    Let the peoples praise you, O God;  
let all the peoples praise you.

6    Then shall the earth bring forth her increase,  
and God, our own God, will bless us.

7    God will bless us,  
and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.

Old Testament Reading – Isaiah 56: 1, 6-8

 This is what the Lord says:

1 “Maintain justice
    and do what is right,
for my salvation is close at hand
    and my righteousness will soon be revealed.

6 And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord
    to minister to him,
to love the name of the Lord,
    and to be his servants,
all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it
    and who hold fast to my covenant—
these I will bring to my holy mountain
    and give them joy in my house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and sacrifices
    will be accepted on my altar;
for my house will be called
    a house of prayer for all nations.”
The Sovereign Lord declares—
    he who gathers the exiles of Israel:
“I will gather still others to them
    besides those already gathered.”

In our Psalm, we asked that God would let his face to shine upon us.

In our next hymn we are reminded of some of the different ‘faces of God’

Hymn – Meekness and Majesty

Gospel reading – Matthew 15: 21-28

21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

Sermon – Revd Stephen Pope

Do you have a family photograph album or two? Do you look through it occasionally, remembering how children (and adults) change over the years…all those different expressions on their faces?

As I’ve been preparing the services for these three Sundays while Rev Liz has been having a break, I’ve realised Jesus has been in some very different situations, and I’ve got a different impression of Him each time.

The first was his response to hearing the news that his relative, John the Baptist, the one who had baptised Him had been summarily executed on a whim of Herod. He looked like he needed catch up time to adjust fully to the shock, and escape to somewhere he can be alone.

Except he can’t, as he is seen setting off and is followed by thousands of people, many of whom are ill and want to be healed. I saw the compassion on his face as he breathed deeply and set about curing them. Then as it is getting late and a long way home for them he multiplies the bread and fish the disciples have tracked down. There is a bit of a weary sense about him.

Jesus sends off the disciples by boat and dismisses the crowd. I can see the relief in his face and in his posture!

Now he can go to somewhere quite solitary to pray…. to talk things through with his heavenly Father….to refocus.

It’s still dark and I can’t get a proper picture of him until catches up with disciples, struggling in the boat because of a strong headwind and a choppy sea. He tells them not to be afraid, and when Peter asks if he can walk on the water too, I hear him say “Come”. I also hear him say “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”, when Peter is distracted by the wind and starts to sink, and needs Jesus rescuing hand to save Him. I could hear the chiding, but also Jesus revealing the root cause of the smallness of his faith – he needs to stop the doubts taking him over in threatening situations and build up his faith.

In today’s gospel reading we find Jesus has taken his disciples to a place some 30 to 40 miles away. Tyre and Sidon are well away from Judea and Galilee, gentile country where they are unlikely to be hit on by Pharisees trying to make life difficult for him, or large crowds wanting healing miracles. Jesus looks a bit more energised again.

However, the picture is about to change again. A local woman has heard of Jesus and his reputation. She is a Canaanite woman whose daughter is demon-possessed. The Canaanites were the people who were occupying the country that the Jews took over as their Promised land after they left Egypt. Mark’s gospel account of this story tells us this woman also had Greek ancestry, and the ancient Greeks did believe in education. This woman was certainly well educated enough to know how to address Jesus when she came begging for help for her daughter – “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me”

It is the same appeal two blind men had made to Jesus on an earlier occasion (Matthew 9 verse 27). ‘Son of David’ has Messianic implications, ‘Have mercy on me’ regularly came into Jewish prayers. She calls out that her daughter is demon-possessed and is suffering terribly.

And Jesus doesn’t say a word.

I can’t read Jesus’ expression at the moment. Many people struggle with this, too. Having seen Jesus so compassionate to everyone up to now..( well, perhaps not the Pharisees and unjust judges)…how could He even consider ignoring her?

We know that Jesus has other priorities, but compassion still drew miracles out of him before – the woman with bleeding problem that was healed but delayed him while he was on his way to save a young girl’s life, the ‘extra mile’ of feeding the 5000 after healing so many of them, longing as he was to catch up with himself and his Father after the shock of hearing of John the Baptist’s sudden beheading.

The Canaanite woman is determined – her daughter is worth fighting for. She won’t stop crying out. The disciples have been trying to protect Jesus from being pestered, trying to turn her away but she will have none of it. In the end the disciples go to Jesus and ask him to send her away. The woman sees her opportunity and gets close to Jesus. He just says “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” It is true….. but where is the compassion?

The woman kneels at his feet, to say she acknowledges her position before him. She keeps it simple. “Lord, help me!” she says.

“It is not right to take the children’s bread and feed it to the dogs”, says Jesus.

[To explain this riddle: ‘Dogs’ is the insulting epithet Jews used to describe gentiles. Dogs in those days were scavengers, usually wild and generally unwelcome. But the Greek word here is not the generic word used for dogs in general. The word used here is the diminutive term for dogs, usually used for whelps or puppies. It could also be used for a fairly small dog.

These puppies or small house dogs might well be allowed in the house and wait under the table to be fed scraps that the children didn’t want to eat.]

“It is not right to take the children’s bread and feed it to the dogs”, Jesus had said.

It’s not a blunt “Go away”. It’s not a gentler “Sorry it would be better if you left now, I’m too tired”.

Jesus simply stands there, patiently, waiting to see how she will respond.

Jesus had said “It is not right to take the children’s bread and feed it to the dogs.” What was she to say?

“Yes it is, Lord”, she replies. “Even the dogs get to eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

The faith in him behind that reply is amazing.

Jesus responds:, with words and action. “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted”.

And her daughter was healed at that moment.

Had Jesus needed to hear her give that reply? Did the woman need to know she had the courage and right to say it? Did the disciples need to hear Jesus give this accolade in response to it……Peter, perhaps??

Either way, my last picture in this story is of Jesus looking out for an opportunity to be amazed by this woman, so he could give her the glory for it in addition to healing the daughter.

+ + + + +

Has looking at this story this way given you a different feeling about it?

We get a lot of pictures of God in the Old Testament, and because the Israelites were a stubborn and all-too-frequently rebellious people, regularly reaping God’s wrath, it is fairly easy to get an unbalanced picture of God, especially those of us with pessimistic tendencies. Sometimes, we need actively to look out for the places where God expresses his love for his people and how He loves to take delight in them. Today’s Psalm 67 would be one good place to start.

William Cowper, a fine English poet, who wrote our third hymn, was subject to depression, which may be why he wrote “ behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face”.

Please remember God is is not permanently frowning. I like to look out for that ‘smiling face’, remind myself that God is not looking out to condemn us but to rejoice in us.

I hope you look out for that ‘smiling face’ too.

And also smile back.

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.

This is the hymn by William Cowper that was quoted in the sermon. The tune is not a familiar one in our churches, but I found it set the words off very well.

Hymn – God moves in a mysterious way

Intercessions

Loving God,
We bring before you this morning all those
who have been given a mistaken impression of your character.
Give us a fuller picture of your love at work in our lives
That we may more easily share it with those we meet:

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

Loving God,
We thank you for the faith You have given us already.
We ask you teach us how to practise it that it may grow stronger
and the courage to put it into action,
that its fruit may be an increased usefulness to those around us

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

Loving God,
As the risks of Coronavirus are still present in our country and our planet
guide and guard our families and all we meet
keep us safe, guard our health carers
and guide our researchers looking for an effective treatment.

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

Loving God,
We pray for all those with disorders of the mind and spirit
and for those who care for them.
Give peace to their unquiet minds
And to their troubled spirits;

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

Loving God,

We pray too for those who are ill and struggling….

Take a moment to bring before God those you know of who are ill, those working to care for them, those near death, and those mourning the death of loved ones.

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

Finally, rejoicing in the fellowship of all your saints,
we commend ourselves and the whole of creation to your unfailing love.

Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer,
and make us one in heart and mind
to serve you with joy and courage for ever.
Amen.

The Collect

Let your merciful ears, O Lord,
be open to the prayers of your humble servants;
and that they may obtain their petitions
make them to ask such things as shall please 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.

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

There no choir singing, musicians and lyrics only with this video, the only one I could find with a familiar tune. It is up to you whether you join in or not.

Hymn – There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy

Blessing and Sending Out

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

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

A Sung Blessing – The Lord Bless You and Keep You

Words taken from today’s Psalm

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 9th August 2020 – 9th Sunday after Trinity

While our video-editor is away, we have a text and hymn only version of our local service. If you would prefer a video service, here is a link to the national Church of England service, which goes live at 9am on Sunday mornings.

Welcome

Welcome to our online service this Sunday.

Revd Liz is away and we are not able to put together our regular Sunday service in its normal format of printed words plus video clips of those taking part. Today we will simply have the words of the service, plus links to our hymns.

You may read the words of the service silently or out loud as you wish. If there are two or more of you, you might consider reading the Psalm antiphonally ie two people or groups reading one set of light or dark print lines alternately.

When we come to the Lord’s Prayer, it may be said in any alternative version or language you prefer.

At ‘After Church’ time, 11.30 there will be our usual Virtual Coffee by Zoom. Revd Stephen will be hosting it and you will find the link details for joining us on our Byland churches notice sheet. Any problems with getting on to Zoom please phone him – his phone number should be on the notice sheet too.

Opening Hymn – Christ is made the Sure Foundation

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

Keep silence and reflect on the week

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 85: 8-13

8   I will listen to what the Lord God will say,  
for he shall speak peace to his people and to the faithful,
that they turn not again to folly.

9   Truly, his salvation is near to those who fear him,  
that his glory may dwell in our land.

10 Mercy and truth are met together,  
righteousness and peace have kissed each other;

11 Truth shall spring up from the earth  
and righteousness look down from heaven.

12 The Lord will indeed give all that is good,  
and our land will yield its increase.

13 Righteousness shall go before him  
and direct his steps in the way.

Old Testament Reading – 1 Kings 19: 9-18

Context: After a death threat by Queen Jezebel ,Elijah has just travelled for 40 days and nights to reach Horeb, the mountain of God.

9 There he went into a cave and spent the night.
And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

15 The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”

Hymn – Now thank we all our God

Gospel reading – Matthew 14: 22-33

Context: Jesus has just been told of the death of John the Baptist, beheaded on the orders of Herod. Jesus headed for place to be alone, but was seen by the crowds, who followed Him. He healed their sick, followed by the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand.

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.  33 Then those who were in the boat worshipped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Sermon – Revd Stephen Pope

Last week’s gospel reading was the story we know of as The Feeding of the 5000. We looked at it as an example of the generosity of God.

In today’s gospel reading, we pick up the story from where it left off last week.

Jesus sends off his disciples in a boat to go ahead of him, while he dismisses the crowd. At last he is on his own, and can go up the mountain to be alone with God and talk to Him.

He must have been talking with his father for many hours before coming down the mountain and set off walking across the lake to catch up with his disciples in their boat.

It was shortly before dawn, the time when things feel at their worst because everyone is short of sleep, anxious about the weather and wondering about when the night will end, when, in the gloom, they see a figure walking on the lake. No wonder they are terrified. The disciples can only think it must be a ghost and cry out in fear.

Jesus promptly speaks to them. He says three things –

Take courage!

It is I.

Don’t be afraid.

First, He gives them something positive to do – ‘Take courage!’

Secondly, He identifies Himself – ‘It is I.’

Thirdly, He tells them to let go of their fear – ‘Be not afraid.

Peter, for once, doesn’t leap into action (and put his foot in it). As an ex-professional fisherman, his experience would tell him jumping into seriously choppy water is potentially seriously hazardous. For Peter, for once, wisdom comes first.

‘Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water’ he says.

Jesus simply responds ‘Come.’

Peter gets out of the boat. He is walking on the water! He is getting closer to Jesus. Then he is distracted by the wind, fear starts to take hold of him, and he starts to sink.

‘Lord save me’ he cries.

Immediately, Jesus reaches out and catches Peter by the hand. Having secured Peter’s safety, he identifies the root of what caused Peter to start sinking.

‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’

With the wind still blowing strongly, the two of them climb into the boat. Only when they are safely in the boat does the wind die down.

The disciples are all in awe. They have seen healing miracles aplenty before. But nothing like this. They worship Jesus.’ Truly you are the son of God,’ they say.

How does this event connect with where we are today?

Life has got to feel like very choppy waters in various ways for many of us. Coronavirus and Lockdown caused a lot of sudden changes in our routines. It has meant our churches closed – places where we would have gone to, to feel closer to God and at least some of our neighbours, and to be reminded that we are God’s children and He still loves us.

Lockdown was a big change, but we stayed in the same state for a few months, allowing us to catch up with ourselves and adjust to a new way of life.

Then the recent loosening up of lockdown has meant new changes, then some changes changed and others didn’t, making our lives much more unpredictable and so rather more stressful than simple lockdown was for many of us.

New changes to rules about going to church have been promised for this weekend. As I write this sermon, we haven’t yet heard what these latest changes will be. I don’t expect these changes will be the last for many a month. Vaccines are being developed, but we don’t know which ones will work yet, nor how long they will last for.

On the other hand, I don’t see God changing as in that He won’t stop loving us. But changes in community life will stay for some time, and we need to continue to find new ways of maintaining and growing our Christian faith.

Growing in faith.

That’s a phrase I used to hear fairly regularly when I was younger, and looking back now, I realise I used to muddle it a bit with growing in knowledge of the Bible. That, as I expect you have realised, is only half of the story. The other half is putting it into practice – actively living it, putting it into practice, day by day.

It can be easy enough to do, in the places and with the people we feel safe with. But when Jesus invites us to share a bit of how he helps us in our lives…. that can be a lot more challenging. Would it help to know that if Jesus is inviting us to go into a situation , it means He is there already? Jesus was already on the sea when He invited Peter to ‘Come’. And it means that as long as we keep trusting we will be fine. And if we realise we are starting to lose, we only have to think ‘Help’, and, like He did with Peter, He will put out His hand to rescue us.

Take courage.

Jesus is present.

Let go of your fear

Then we might even be surprised at how much God can do, just from us sharing a little bit of how God has helped us in the past. Like the disciples in the story, we might even find ourselves in awe!

+ + + + +

I thought this sermon was finished – then I discovered a PS needed adding.

I had, I thought, just finished typing the sermon up and so sat down with a cup of coffee. I opened my emails and found a letter from some friends I made when I worked in Central Australia for a bit. They were missionaries, working with some of the local Aboriginal tribes, and building up a little church group there. They are now based in New South Wales, but would normally visit Central Australia this time of year, but can’t because of Coronavirus.

They have heard from the local Aboriginal church leaders that, in their church, they have realised they have become too dependant on outside help, they need to trust God more and do a lot more things for themselves. This was really encouraging news for my friends.

As I read the letter, I realised that in some ways we will be like that aboriginal church come December, when Revd Liz moves on and we will have an interregnum. Perhaps some practice in learning to trust God more before December would be good for our benefice too.

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 – God is working His purpose out

Intercessions

Loving God,
We thank you for the gift of faith you have given us.
We ask that you will help us grow and cultivate it
that we may live lives of increasing fruitfulness for You
and Your Kingdom.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

Loving God,
We have been feeling the disruption of the storm of Coronavirus
in our country and in the world for months.
We pray for those affected by it –
those who have lost love ones to it,
those who miss their families and friends through it,
those are struggling financially because of it,
that You will bring us into Your Peace
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

Loving God,
As the disciples wondered where you were in their anxiety and distress,
and didn’t recognise Jesus at first when He came to them,
open our eyes that we may see you at work more clearly
and in our situations and distress
remember the good things that are happening too, and be thankful.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

Loving God,
We pray for those who are working so hard
to return us to a life where we can meet, work and socialise normally again.
We pray for our health workers, our scientists and researchers, our politicians
And those trying to keep our nations functioning.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

Loving God,
We pray for those who work to spread the good news of your Kingdom,
even in the face of lockdown:
for clergy and church workers,
for missionaries telling those yet to hear of Jesus and His love
and His offer of forgiveness and redemption to all who will turn to Him,
and the hope and joy He will bring.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

Loving God,
We pray too for those who are ill and struggling….
Take a moment to bring before God those you know of who are ill, those working to care for them, those near death, and those mourning the death of loved ones.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

Finally, rejoicing in the fellowship of all your saints,
we commend ourselves and the whole of creation to your unfailing love.
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer,
and make us one in heart and mind
to serve you with joy and courage for ever.
Amen.

The Collect

Almighty God,
who sent your Holy Spirit
to be the life and light of your Church:
open our hearts to the riches of your grace,
that we may bring forth the fruit of the Spirit
in love and joy and peace;
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

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 – Let us build a house

Blessing and Sending Out

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

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

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 2nd August 2020 – 8th Sunday after Trinity

While our video-editor is away, we have a text and hymn only version of our local service. If you would prefer a video service, here is a link to the national Church of England service, which goes live at 9am on Sunday mornings.

Welcome

Welcome to our online service this Sunday. As Revd Liz is having a well earned break for a few weeks, we are not able to put our normal service with video clips of those taking part, as well as having the printed to follow. Today we will simply have the words of the service plus links to our hymns.

You may read the words of the service silently or out loud as you wish. If there are two or more of you, you might consider reading the Psalm antiphonally ie two people or groups reading one set of light or dark print lines alternately.

When we come to the Lord’s Prayer, it may be said in any alternative version or language you prefer.

At ‘After Church’ time, 11.30 there will be our usual Virtual Coffee by Zoom. Revd Stephen will be hosting it and you will find the link details for joining us on our Byland churches notice sheet. Any problems with getting on to Zoom please phone me – my phone number should be on the notice sheet too.

Opening Hymn – God is our strength and refuge

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

Keep silence and reflect on the week

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 145: 8-9, 15-22

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

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

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

16  The eyes of all wait upon you, O Lord,
and you give them their food in due season.

17  You open wide your hand  
and fill all things living with plenty.

18  The Lord is righteous in all his ways  
and loving in all his works.

19  The Lord is near to those who call upon him, 
to all who call upon him faithfully.

20  He fulfils the desire of those who fear him;  
he hears their cry and saves them.

21  The Lord watches over those who love him,  
but all the wicked shall he destroy.

22  My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord,  
and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.

Old Testament Reading – Isaiah 55: 1-5

1 “Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.

2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
    and your labour on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
    and you will delight in the richest of fare.

3 Give ear and come to me;
    listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
    my faithful love promised to David.

4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
    a ruler and commander of the peoples.

5 Surely you will summon nations you know not,
    and nations you do not know will come running to you,
because of the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel,
    for he has endowed you with splendour.”

Hymn – Through all the changing scenes of life

Gospel reading Matthew 14: 13-21

Context: Jesus has just been told of the death of John the Baptist on the orders of Herod
13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns.  14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”

16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.

18 “Bring them here to me,” he said.  19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.  20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Sermon – Revd Stephen Pope

Today’s gospel reading will be very familiar to most if not not all of you – the story known as the ‘Feeding of the five thousand’. It is often used to teach or remind us how Jesus had compassion on a hungry crowd , a large hungry crowd. Matthew tells of 5,000 men, adding that there were women and children too, so it may well have been a few thousand more in total.

It can be told as the story of a miracle, or a story of Jesus’ compassion; it can also be told of how the generosity of a boy with a packed lunch of five loaves and two fish was miraculously transformed into enough food for over 5,000 people (and 12 baskets full of left-overs) and of how God can use what we may think of as our own small talents to do great things if we offer them to His service.

This way, it can also be looked as as being particularly relevant to us and to our churches in today’s situation. Let me explain.

In the gospel reading, you probably noticed that I mentioned the context of this story. John the Baptist had just been killed, beheaded on the orders of Herod as a favour to somebody else. Death is always at least a bit of a shock, and the closer you are to a person the more adjustment it takes. John was a relative of Jesus, and had baptised him at the start of Jesus public ministry.

Jesus wanted some quiet space, away from the crowds, to adjust to this shock. He set off by boat privately, but was seen, and the crowds followed by land.

Despite His own needs, Jesus had compassion on those who found him. He healed those who were sick. As the day drew on, the disciples, on the surface, out of compassion for the crowds, but possibly for Jesus as well, suggested sending the crowds away in time to gets to local shops for food before they closed.

However, Jesus wants to teach them something. “They don’t need to go away,” says Jesus, “You give them something to eat.”

Five small bread rolls and two dried sardines makes up the sum total of the food they have tracked down. It’s not much. Anyway, the disciples are told to bring the bread and fish to Jesus, and to tell the crowd to sit down.

Jesus gives thanks and the disciples distribute the food. 5000+ people served by 12 disciples means each disciples serving 400 plus people each. I think the people must have done a fair amount of passing the food, otherwise it would have been night by the time they were finished. For at the end, everyone has had a satisfying amount to eat and the disciples have time to pick up the leftovers.

So what is the link between that story and our churches today?

*Jesus was suffering a bereavement.

When lockdown started, our churches were locked up – we were bereaved, for weeks, in that we lost access to our regular places of worship, and contact with our church community except by phone or computer.

*Jesus became aware that a large crowd had come chasing after him because they needed him to heal.

Just a few weeks into lockdown, reports were coming in that, with the widespread take off of online services, a lot of people without regular church connections were watching them. I would think that some of those watching were people who would have been interested in church but were put off. Put off by the thought of going into a strange building, unfamiliar people, and the risk of feeling embarrassed by getting things wrong. I would also think that others would have been people furloughed from work who, with time on their hands, were becoming aware that there was more to life than working, eating, watching telly, sleeping and bringing up children; they discovered there was a spiritual side to them that they then wanted to explore.

For me, that was a picture of a large UNSEEN crowd that was gathered electronically, aware they needed something from Jesus.

*Jesus said to the disciples “You feed them”.

We, in the church wanted to do something, but we felt strongly disadvantaged. We did what we could to make a start. We could all pray, and I hope we all did and we still are. Many too were and still are involved with networking, to make sure no one was being neglected, and everyone was able to get food delivered where necessary. I know those who were on their own appreciated contact even if only by phone calls and the time for a bit of a natter at times.

Now easing of lockdown is under way, varying in its speed according to local circumstances. And, hallelujah, we are being allowed back into our church buildings at limited times and for limited service times and still necessitating social distancing. What we can do more to help those who are searching for God looks a very daunting challenge?

Then I was also challenged by reading a commentary on this passage by Jane Williams, the wife of Rowan Williams, the previous Archbishop of Canterbury, and a theologian in her own right. ‘“You feed them”is only daunting if you don’t trust in the generosity of God’, she wrote.

Do you remember the Old Testament reading from Isaiah 55.

That first , wonderfully paradoxical first verse –

Come, all you who are thirsty,come to the waters;
and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milkwithout money and without cost.

Come, buy….without money and without cost. What an offer!!

How can we look to the generosity of God in our situation? Here are three suggestions to get us started.

For some of us it might be in being generous in our time spent listening to God. I know there’s many an occasion when I’ve spent more time asking God about something that I’ve spent quietly listening afterwards to get a sense of what his reply is. I put it like that because the answer isn’t always in words – sometimes it can be as a picture, a memory, a feeling of some sort which might not be possible to put into words. I have also known about it happening through a dream. It doesn’t need to be in church. Out walking, in a quiet room – even over a coffee, as you might while having a conversation with a friend. If a conversation develops, I found making notes helpful – God will understand – God is very practical in these things, I have discovered. It is also important to do what you have been told to do already before expecting any next step to be revealed.

It is also worthwhile remembering to review how generous we are being in our financial giving to God. As I am sure our Church treasurers would like me to emphasise. What we can give will vary according to how our financial circumstances change, and while sometimes it will be less, at other times it could be more.

Some of us may be good at listening to and hearing from God, but need encouraging to be generous in sharing with others what we have heard from God. This might be in sharing more of our faith story. It might be sharing thoughts God gives us as to how the church might respond differently and more attractively to our current situation, then sharing our impressions with their churchwarden, or Liz or myself. I have known of church members coming together and only finding the full picture when different groups shared their different impressions of what God wanted. This won’t be possible in large groups yet, but any sharing can often stimulate or encourage others to pray and listen and share in turn.

After all, it would be good if we had a clearer picture of how God wants us to work together as individuals and as churches by the time our interregnum starts in December.

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 – O Thou who camest from above

Intercessions

Generous God
As we thank you for the many times we have seen your generosity in our lives,
We ask that you will increase our generosity towards You and towards our neighbours.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

Generous God
So many of us live in community where looking out for our neighbours is commonplace
and increased at the start of lockdown,
We pray that with the easing of lockdown, our increased neighbourliness may not be lost
but continue to be a source of blessing to all
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

Generous God,
We pray for those neighbourhoods and communities
where the spirit of generosity towards each other has been lost
or has never developed.
We ask that you send them such ministers and new residents as will inspire them
towards your ideals of love and generosity
that those living there already will find you and discover your redeeming love for themselves.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

Generous God,
We pray for our nation and our political leaders and ask that they will be guided by love for all our citizens in their decision making.
We pray too for our new Archbishop and all ministers and clergy spreading the good news of your kingdom and seeking to build up your church, despite the physical difficulties of the varying degrees of lockdown. Help us too, to play our part, cheerfully and peaceably as best we can.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

Generous God,
We pray for all world leaders, that they would be inspired to think of the world community as well as their own countries, the poor as well as the rich and those struggling as well as the self-sufficient.
May they see the advantages of generosity in their policy making.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

Generous God,
We pray for the worlds health workers. We thank you for those who have been so generous with their time and energy an love. We ask that they will receive the support they need, as they seek to support those with illnesses who need their support.
We pray too for those who are ill and struggling….

Take a moment to bring before God those you know of who are ill, those working to care for them, those near death, and those mourning the death of loved ones.

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

Generous God,
We have asked lot of you today, knowing that you are a generous God and thankful for it.
Now, rejoicing in the fellowship of all your saints,
we commend ourselves and the whole of creation to your unfailing love.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer,
and make us one in heart and mind
to serve you with joy and generosity for ever.
Amen.

The Collect here is the alternative collect for today, used because it fits better with today’s theme than the one you will find in the Notice Sheet. Either may be used in your daily prayers this week should you wish to do so.

The Collect

Lord God,
your Son left the riches of heaven
and became poor for our sake:
when we prosper save us from pride,
when we are needy save us from despair,
that we may trust in you alone;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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

Father God, in your generosity you have given us so much. In gratitude we have offered what we can. We thank you for the gifts that have been received electronically, and for monies put aside to be brought to church in due course. We ask that through them we will see your kingdom grow in our hearts, our families, our benefice and our land to the glory of your name.
Amen.

Hymn – O Breath of life come sweeping through us

Blessing and Sending Out

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

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

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.