Welcome to our worship. If it is still Sunday morning where you are, I hope you will join us at Zoom coffee, which will be at 11.30am. Details, as usual, are on the emailed notice sheet. If you don’t receive this, please click up above on the Contact page and send an email to Carol, who will make sure you are added to the list.
The form of the service today is the first part of the communion service, finishing with the peace and the prayer of spiritual communion. I hope this gives you the opportunity to meditate and ponder as you pray.
You can either scroll down the page and play each video in turn or you can just hit play on the playlist immediately underneath this paragraph.
Service written out in full
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.
Hymn – O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness
Prayer of preparation
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Collect – Prayer for the week
O God, forasmuch as without you
we are not able to please you;
mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit
may in all things direct and rule our hearts;
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
New Testament Reading
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, read by Susannah from Brandsby
Sing to the Lord a new song; ♦
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord and bless his name; ♦
tell out his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations ♦
and his wonders among all peoples.
For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; ♦
he is more to be feared than all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are but idols; ♦
it is the Lord who made the heavens.
Honour and majesty are before him; ♦
power and splendour are in his sanctuary.
Ascribe to the Lord, you families of the peoples; ♦
ascribe to the Lord honour and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the honour due to his name; ♦
bring offerings and come into his courts.
O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; ♦
let the whole earth tremble before him.
Hymn – Take my life
For the words to this hymn, click on the Closed Captions option.
Matthew 22:15-22 read by Michael from Brandsby
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew
Glory to you, O Lord.
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.
Within any group you quite often find a pressure to conform and, if you don’t fit in, it can be uncomfortable. Think about how you would feel if you were wearing the wrong football shirt to the match, or on boat race day when half your family are pale blue and half light blue and you don’t want to upset either.
Do you ever feel a conflict between being in wider society and being in church? Perhaps when your friends are planning exciting things on a Sunday morning and you know you want to be in church. Or having the strength to do the right thing even though it will cost you more money.
Sometimes, of course, people seem to want to catch us out. How often does the media interview Christians who have made mistakes and been found out and wave their faith against them as some kind of accusation?
It was no different for Jesus. The Pharisees (the strictest and most devout religious leaders of his day) had got rather fed up of being the target of Jesus’ stories (for examples of this go and listen again to the last few weeks of services) and they thought they had found a way of entrapping him with a political question.
Israel at the time was an occupied nation. The Romans were in charge and they tolerated the Jewish religion and customs to a certain extent, but there were limits. Anyone who spoke out against them was likely to be severely punished. There had been tax revolts previously that had ended with the Romans crucifying the revolutionaries. The Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus into saying something that could then be used against him.
The Pharisees asked Jesus: Is it lawful to pay taxes to the Emperor?
What were they hoping for? If he said ‘yes’, they could say he wasn’t being a faithful Jew by supporting the pagan overlords. If he said ‘no’, they could report him to the secular authorities as a troublemaker. Either answer would be problematic.
Jesus replies, not with yes or no, but with a question of his own, after asking to see the coin: “Whose head is this and whose title”? The coin was, of course a Roman coin with the head of Caesar on it. The Roman denarius wasn’t the only currency around at the time. The temple tax had to be paid in Jewish money which wouldn’t have any image on it, let alone Caesar, and certainly not an inscription round the edge proclaiming Caesar high priest and son of God.
Jesus rather neatly then solves the problem with that famous phrase – in the King James translation “Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” Or more prosaicly “give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s”.
Why were the Pharisees so impressed by that answer? You can read this answer at different levels. At face value, he could be saying just to pay your taxes. Or is it a dig at Caesar having brought occupation and oppression – is that what to give back?
Have we forgotten the other half of the reply though? Give to God what is God’s?
What belongs to God? What should be given to God? If you have a concordance at home, look up the word ‘belong’ – or go to the website Bible Gateway. In the Old testament, the heavens belong to God, the Israelites too. Wisdom, power, strength and victory belong to God. In the new Testament it is St Paul who talks most about belonging. Believers belong to God, we belong to Christ.
I have a vivid memory of the night I first really understood the depths of God’s love for me, for all of us. I remember walking home, well skipping almost because I was so happy. And I remember placing my whole life before God as a thankoffering and saying “here it is, everything I have and am is yours, God”. I have never regretted that, although it has taken me in some unexpected directions.
We give ourselves to God when we give him our time – in prayer, in worship, in loving our neighbours. We give ourselves to God when we commit to leadership roles in the Church – through being churchwardens or PCC members or home group leaders. We give ourselves to God when we have to compromise in other areas of life – not going off shopping on a Sunday morning, avoiding gossip and malicious talk, not stealing or lying or being cruel. All of this is our offering of ourselves.
But I am going to tread on dangerous ground for a little here because giving yourself to God also affects the money that you have in your wallet or bank account. When was the last time you looked at a bank statement? Were you happy with what was there? When was the last time you looked at your bank statement and prayed about it? Do you think God is happy with how you are using your money?
What about the money you give to the Church. Are you happy with what you have chosen to give? Consider all that God has given you – does your financial commitment to God through the Church match the thankfulness you feel inside? Do you think God is happy with what you offer him? Is your giving a reflection of wanting to give your whole self to God?
If you are a current giver to our churches, you will be getting a letter soon, explaining a little about our current financial situation and asking you to consider whether it is possible to give a little more.
People quite often talk about giving being the right thing to do, but giving can also be a joyful thing to do. It can make you feel better, it can be an act of praise and worship. It is a sign of belonging and being part of something bigger. Don’t give more to the Church than you can afford and if you aren’t sure how the Church uses the money on God’s behalf then ask me or your PCC members.
Jesus said “give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s”. We belong to God, so we should give ourselves to God, our whole selves. There are many ways to do this. How will you give yourself to God this week?
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.
Almighty God, ruler of the ends of the earth, we pray for those to whom you have entrusted power and responsibility.
We think first of our own country and those elected to office as Members of Parliament— those who serve in government, whether in cabinet office, junior posts or on backbench committees; those in opposition with their mandate to challenge and debate government policies and decisions; and especially we pray for our Prime Minister and the leaders of all other parties.
Almighty God, grant them wisdom, insight, patience, dedication, integrity, open-mindedness, and humility, that each may be equipped to honour the trust placed in them and lead us through this pandemic.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
We pray for those in local government, entrusted with representing the interests of local people in their communities, taking decisions which will directly influence their lives, wrestling with limited resources and numerous demands.
Give to them the qualities they need to serve faithfully, staying true to their convictions yet putting people before party.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
We pray for those in authority in other lands, leaders of nations large and small, super-powers and tiny states, shaping the lives of millions or relatively few.
Grant them also the guidance and the gifts they need to govern wisely, that they may work for the good of all their people, and strive to promote justice, freedom of speech and opportunity, inner harmony and international peace.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
We pray for those nations affected by an abuse of power, divided by rival factions, oppressed by military dictatorships, exploited by corrupt regimes, suppressed by totalitarian authorities.
Support those who suffer under such government, and strengthen those who struggle to bring justice to those places, so that the time may come when truth and justice prevail.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
We pray for all people living in our parishes
those struggling with financial worries
those being crushed by the weight of loneliness and worry
those who want to help but don’t know how
those who are overworked
those who are tired and worn out
those living with terminal or chronic illness
those who are bereaved
Help them see a way forward, help them to know your peace and lead them into your love and help all of us to support each other in our turn.
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, remembering especially Sue, Jean and Mavis.
Merciful father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
These intercessions were written by Nick Fawcett, adapted by Rev. I. Scott McCarthy, and were found on the Starters for Sunday website from the Church of Scotland via Re:worship, then adapted again by the Revd Liz Hassall.
Our giving is a response to God’s generosity to us, and enables us to fulfil God’s mission in our church. I and all the PCCs would like to encourage you to give by Standing Order or Direct Debit, which is the most reliable and sustainable form of regular giving, and is the most efficient and cost-effective method for us. Although for many of us, money is not abundant this year, if you are able to increase your giving at this time, we will have more resource to serve our community and channel into mission.
Thank you for all you are able to give.
God of abundance,
the author and giver
of all good things,
grant us a gracious
and humble heart,
that we may give you glory
through offering the
first fruits of our lives,
and grow more into the likeness
of our Lord and Saviour,
Jesus Christ. Amen.
We are the body of Christ.
In the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.
Let us then pursue all that makes for peace
and builds up our common life.
The peace of the Lord be always with you
and also with you.
Today I will read the institution narrative from St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, then offer a time of silence, finishing with the prayer for spiritual communion 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.
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 – We have a gospel to proclaim
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 among you and remain with you always.
Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord
In the name of Christ, Amen.
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.