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.

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