Sunday 4th October – 17th Sunday after Trinity


Welcome to our online service this Sunday. As usual, you will find a playlist which you can set going and the whole service will play. Otherwise, it is written out in full below.

Next week will be our online Harvest service here.

At ‘After Church’ time, 11.30 there will be our usual Zoom Coffee meeting. Log in details are in the weekly notice sheet. If you have problems, please phone Liz at the rectory, and she will guide you through accessing it.

YouTube Playlist

Service written out in full

Opening Hymn – O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder

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

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.


Let us take a moment to keep silence and reflect on the past week

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

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

Assurance of Forgiveness

May the God of love bring us back to himself,
forgive us our sins
and assure us of his eternal love.
In Jesus Christ our Lord

Blessed is the Lord,
for he has heard the voice of our prayer;
therefore shall our hearts dance for joy
and in our song will we praise our God.

Psalm 80: 9-17

   You brought a vine out of Egypt;  
you drove out the nations and planted it.

10  You made room around it,  
and when it had taken root, it filled the land.

11  The hills were covered with its shadow  
and the cedars of God by its boughs.

12  It stretched out its branches to the Sea  
and its tendrils to the River.

13  Why then have you broken down its wall,  
so that all who pass by pluck off its grapes?

14  The wild boar out of the wood tears it off,  
and all the insects of the field devour it.

15  Turn again, O God of hosts,  
look down from heaven and behold;

16  Cherish this vine which your right hand has planted,  
and the branch that you made so strong for yourself.

 17 Let those who burnt it with fire, who cut it down,  
perish at the rebuke of your countenance.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever.

Hymn – The Lord’s my Shepherd


Isaiah 5: 1-7

Matthew 21: 33-46

Sermon – Revd Stephen Pope

When I was in my mid teens, my father, a local lay preacher, would sometimes take me to one of the services he was taking. He might ask me to read the Bible passage that he had chosen. I still remember vividly the time he asked me to read from John chapter 15. You may remember it’s the chapter that starts “I am the vine and my father is the husbandman”. That first word,”I” I started in the treble clef and finished it in the bass clef. My voice had broken in a somewhat dramatic fashion.

So when I looked at today’s readings and I saw there were three readings about vineyards, I looked at them closely.

The story in our old Testament reading from Isaiah is a parable from God for the people of Israel.They were being likened to a vine producing bad grapes – wild grapes in some translations. The Hebrew word for “bad” here can also mean ‘stinking’. At the end of the reading we heard what stank. It was their justice system. It was leading to bloodshed, maybe literally, maybe in the form of corruption. Also, their sense of “righteousness” was awful, taking them off the pathway of good-neighbourly living as directed by God’s law.

The parable about a vineyard in our gospel reading is the second of two parables directed at the Chief Priests and Elders of the people who had been having a go at Jesus. Jesus was giving them a picture of how God saw their attitudes and behaviour.

But the parable in the Psalm we read together is a parable much more related to our situation today. Today’s reading was the middle section of the Psalm. If you have time later to read the whole Psalm through, you will find it starts with an appeal to “the Shepherd of Israel” to restore His people, symbolised here as a vine. They were unhappy in their present circumstances.They had been praying, but felt God was not responding to them. They felt cut off from Him

And immediately that resonated with our Covid situation.

We certainly feel cut off from most of our churches. We feel cut off by masks and social distancing requirements from each other when we can meet in church, though, thankfully we are not cut off from God – His Presence can still be found in them. And to varying degrees we are at least a bit cut off from our neighbours

And although it is not as bad as it was at the beginning of lockdown, visiting relatives, friends and neighbours is often more difficult than it was. We have a longing, a yearning, an on-going sort of restlessness inside that makes us feel we are not back to the ‘normal’ we knew where we were with. We can talk about it to ourselves, we can talk about with others, we talk about it with God, but it persists – the Covid rules persist, and so does the internal sense that all is not right. Moreover, although the doctors and scientists are working on treatments and vaccines, we don’t know how effective they will be, and many are getting a sense of ‘Where is God in all this?’

In the turmoil and wondering about where God is, it is easy to lose sight of where He is at work, easy to have difficulty hearing Him speaking, easy to lose that sense of His presence we were used to.

If you have looked ahead to today’s collect, you might have noticed that that prayer addresses this very problem. It describes our hearts as “restless” – restless until our hearts find their rest in God once more. Then the collect continues with a request from us to God – “pour your love into our hearts and draw us to yourself”.


I wonder how we recognise it when God is pouring love into our hearts. I’ve never heard a sermon about it. I can’t remember reading a book about it or discussing it with friends or at a house group or a Bible study. So let’s explore this a bit together.

Love being poured into our hearts

“Poured.” Not a few drops, but a tea pot full – well, that’s the picture it gives me. What picture or sense does it give you?

“Into our hearts.” That suggests it will be going deeper than a nice idea, rather something that will also connect to our peace of mind, our inner feelings, even how relaxed our bodies are.

To appreciate that, we need to give ourselves time and open our sense of awareness.

It is worth taking time to remind ourselves and time to become aware of the blessings we have had in the past, of the blessings we still have despite our restrictions and uncertainties. God has helped us in the past. He is still the same God, and He is doing something new, and new things, especially unexpected ones can be unsettling but as we have trusted Him in the past, it is still OK to trust Him now.

Awareness. This takes time too. I was in London recently, and noticed how packed the shopping streets were. Most people so busy with their mobiles or whatever else was occupying their minds, there was very little sense of social distancing, very little noticing or acknowledging the few courtesies there were.

This had me wondering how many of God’s ‘little’ things He does for us there are that we are not aware of, or we don’t always think of as coming from Him. What prompted someone to say that cheery word we needed just then? Or phoned us up just when we needed someone to talk to?

I’ve started looking out for those moments when God is at work in this way. I sometimes refer to them as ‘Answers to an unspoken prayer’ – in other words, if I had stopped to think to pray about something, that is just what I would have asked for.

And I see these little events as another sign of God expressing His love for me by letting someone else in on it. If someone else is involved, I will sometimes tell them they have been an answer to an unspoken prayer, so they can join in my joy and delight about what has happened.

God at work. Filling my life with His love.

There’s always other gifts like – well, these will differ from person to me. I love to stop and absorb the wonder of a rainbow arcing across a blue sky, a cherry tree or a magnolia in full blossom, the roar and acceleration of a plane doing a really fast take off, hearing a moving story or piece of music They are some of the things that feed something inside me. What feeds inside you?

God is at work. Filling our lives with His love

Despite all the not knowing and difficulties, yes and tragedies happening round the world just now, I will continue to look for those little signs, as well as the more obvious ones, that God is at work still loving, caring, and wanting us to have our inner peace. Can we look a bit more, look a bit deeper? Discover!

God is still at work. Pouring His love into all of our lives.

Affirmation of faith

Let us declare our faith in God.

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

Hymn – Put peace into each other’s hands


Living Lord, we come to you.

Still our hearts as we place into your hands those for whom we want to pray.

We pray for all who seek to bring the light of Christ to others, for Liz and Stephen, and all who speak to us of you. We long for a time when you are known and worshipped by all, and we name in our hearts those we know who do not know you, and all who feel separated from you and your love.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

We pray for your world; where there is so much suffering and pain. We lift to you
Those whose lives have collapsed around them,
those struggling for survival,
those who have lost their work and their homes,
those sleeping on the streets of our cities,
all who have lost hope.

We pray for the people whose decisions and actions affect the lives of so many people. Give wisdom and compassion we pray to all in positions of leadership.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

Thank you for our home; for all the gifts you give us and the love you pour into our hearts.
Thank you for the glorious autumn sunshine, for ripening fruits, and hedgerows filled with sloes.
We pray for all those whose lives are empty, all those who are sad, worried, lonely and fearful, those cut off from the outside world, and the isolation they experience. Father be with all those who seek to help them in acts of neighbourliness and kindness.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

We pray for those who care for others, for doctors and nurses and care workers. For those we know who are struggling with their increasing frailty, for those who are restless, not knowing which way to turn and facing the future with fear. We name now those who are in need of your healing.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

We pray for ourselves on our journey through life, and bring to you all that is concerning us. Give us a faith we pray that will transform our attitudes and empower the lives we live, so that others will see you working in us. Help us to see our utter dependence on you and to understand that your love is the thread that draws us to you and brings us your peace.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

Heavenly Father, may we live as those who believe and trust in the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins and the resurrection to life everlasting. Bring us we pray at the last to your heavenly kingdom where we will see you face to face. We pray for all those who have died in faith, remembering Elizabeth, Sheila and Andrew and all those we have loved, and we pray for all those whose hearts are filled with sadness as they grieve. O Comforter draw near to all those who mourn.

We lift these prayers in the name of your precious Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Collect

Almighty God,
you have made us for yourself,
and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you:
pour your love into our hearts and draw us to yourself,
and so bring us at last to your heavenly city
where we shall see you face to face;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Lord’s Prayer

Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us

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

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.

Hymn – Great is thy Faithfulness

Blessing and Sending Out

You are called and loved by God the Father
and kept safe by Jesus Christ.
Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance,
from God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

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

A Sung Blessing: The Lord Bless You and Keep You

Copyright Notices

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

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

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