Sunday 26th July 2020 – 7th Sunday after Trinity

Welcome to worship, which is led today by the Crayke family service team plus a few others. As usual, there is a playlist set up at the top to play the whole service, including hymns. Or you can go down the page and play each video separately, or read the words if you prefer.

If you are reading this before Sunday morning at 11.30am, please join us at our Zoom Coffee. Details available from Revd Stephen – see the contact page on the main menu.

YouTube Playlist

Service written out

Welcome & Greeting from Ann

Hello and welcome to everyone wherever you are.

I must say I have enjoyed watching the Byland Church Services on different days, at different times and from different places too. If you are watching on Sunday morning then don’t forget the zoom coffee after the service at half past 11.

Whoever you are, whenever you view this service, you will find it typical of Crayke Family Services. At St Cuthberts Church, family services are usually the first Sunday of each month and you would be welcome if you bring a child or not!

At the end of the service there will be links to a wordsearch, a crossword and a colouring all to do with the story today.

And so lets begin-

Welcome in the name of Christ.
God’s grace, mercy and peace be with us all. Amen

Hymn – Praise my Soul the King of Heaven

Prayer of Preparation

Lord, direct our thoughts,
and teach us to pray.
Lift up our hearts to worship you in spirit and in truth,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Collect for Seventh Sunday after Trinity

Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things
graft in our hearts the love of your name,
increase in us true religion,
nourish us with all goodness,
and of your great mercy keep us in the same;
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.

Confession

We confess to you our selfishness and lack
of love:
fill us with your spirit
Lord have mercy & fit us for your Kingdom.

We confess to you our fear and failure in
sharing our faith:
fill us with your spirit
Lord have mercy & fit us for your Kingdom.

We confess to you our stubbornness and
lack of trust:
fill us with your spirit
Lord have mercy & fit us for your Kingdom.

Absolution

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. Amen.

Hymn – You are the vine

Psalm 119 v129-136 from The Message Bible.

Every word you give me is a miracle word—
    how could I help but obey?
Break open your words, let the light shine out,    let ordinary people see the meaning.
Mouth open and panting,
    I wanted your commands more than anything.
Turn my way, look kindly on me,    as you always do to those who personally love you.
Steady my steps with your Word of promise
    so nothing malign gets the better of me.
Rescue me from the grip of bad men and women    so I can live life your way.Smile on me, your servant;
    teach me the right way to live.
I cry rivers of tears    because nobody’s living by your book!

This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

Gospel reading Matthew 13 v31-33,44-52 NIV

This is the Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you O Christ

Story of the Mustard Seed & Talk – led by Ann Chappell

I have enjoyed being in my garden during the last 4 months of ‘lockdown’. The birds have been a delight. We have watched baby black birds, blue tits, long tailed tits, goldfinch, house martins, robins and many others too. In the sunshine among the birds, flowers and trees it has truly been a heavenly place. It has made us so thankful that we have Gods handiwork right here. So many people lead very different lives and the have little. In our bible reading today we heard how Jesus described the Kingdom of Heaven to the people around him. Jesus told parables to enable people to understand his teachings.This is the parable of the mustard seed.

“This is what the kingdom of Heaven is like” said Jesus. “Its like a mustard seed.” And he went on to say something like this:

“A mustard seed isn’t just a small seed. It isn’t even a very little seed. You couldn’t even call it a tiny seed. It’s a teensy, weensy, itsy, bitsy hardly-visible-at-all seed – that’s the mustard seed.
But when you plant it, and water it, and weed it, and wait for it to grow, it springs up into a bush.
Not a big bush. Not a large bush. Not a huge bush. But a great enormous gigantic bushy bush – that’s the mustard bush.
It grows so big, in fact, that the birds of the air find a home in it’s branches.
The tiny little hummingbirds.
The slightly bigger sparrows.
The roosters. The rooks. The parrots.
The hawks. The doves. The geese. The ducks. And the great big golden eagles.
All of them are welcome, all find a home in the mustard bush. Grown from the tiny mustard seed.
That’s what the kingdom of heaven is like.”

What a wonderful place heaven must be – a place for everyone. God cares for us so much, there will be a place for you and me. A tiny bit of faith can grow and grow, just as the tiny mustard seed grew.

A new window has been installed at St Cuthbert’s Church and it is a picture of St Cuthbert. He is surrounded by creatures. See how many birds you can count in the window the next time you enter the Church.

Hymn – For I’m building a people of power

Our Affirmation of faith, this is what we believe

Do you believe and trust in God the Father,
source of all being and life,
the one for whom we exist?
We believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in God the Son,
who took our human nature,
died for us and rose again?
We believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the people of God
and makes Christ known in the world?
We believe and trust in him.

This is the faith of the Church.
This is our faith.
We believe and trust in one God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Offertory Prayer

Gracious God, accept our gifts
and with them our lives
to be used in your service
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Five finger prayers

We start the five-finger prayer with our thumbs and pray for those closest to us:

Hold in your loving hands Lord, our families, our friends and our neighbours.
As we ease out of lockdown, enfold in your endless love all those who are anxious about the future; who are still isolated; who are still unable to see or hug their family.
Help us, as the communities of the Byland Churches, to share your love with those around us. Make us one Lord, in your body, in the kingdom of your Son.

Lord, your kingdom come
Your will be done

With our pointer fingers we pray for those who point us in the right direction;

Hold in your supportive hands Lord, our church leaders and our teachers.
As our church buildings begin to re-open and we consider the best ways to worship and serve you in the future, we pray for Liz, for Stephen and for our lay leaders.
We pray for the teachers in our schools working hard in these difficult times to keep learning going and to keep our children safe.
May they all know your unfailing support and wisdom.
Make us strong Lord, join our hearts Lord, through your Son

Lord, your kingdom come
Your will be done

With our index fingers we pray for our leaders:

Hold in your guiding hands Lord, the leaders of the world.
As we continue to navigate this pandemic, we pray for governments, for scientists and for all in positions of authority.
We pray that nations will learn and look forward together, changing what needs to be changed and working for justice and for peace.
May they look to you for direction and guidance.
Make us one Lord, in your body, in the kingdom of your Son.

Lord, your kingdom come
Your will be done

With our ring fingers we pray for those who are struggling:

Hold in your comforting hands Lord, all those who are unwell, in trouble or suffering in any way. At this time of separation from others, we pray for those who feel separated from you.
Help us to help them, we pray.
We lift to you anyone we know who needs our prayers today.
May they feel your reassuring comfort.
Make us strong Lord, join our hearts Lord, through your Son

Lord, your kingdom come
Your will be done

With our little fingers we pray for ourselves:

Hold us in your all enveloping hands Lord, we pray.
At this time of upheaval, help us to take time to pray, to listen and to learn from you.
Help us each to use our talents to grow your kingdom here on earth;
to become people of praise and to glorify your precious name.
Make us one Lord, in your body, in the kingdom of your Son

Lord, your kingdom come
Your will be done. Amen

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever. Amen.

Sending Out

We go into the world in the name of Christ,
with the love of God
and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
We go, but we do not go alone.
We go together and Christ goes with us. Amen

Hymn – He’s got the whole world in his hands

Dismissal & Blessing

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

Links to resources

Colouring Sheet

Crossword

Wordsearch

Decoder

Five finger prayer sheet download

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 Worship 19th July 2020 – 6th Sunday after Trinity

Welcome

Welcome to worship today. As usual, there is a playlist set up at the top to play the whole service, including hymns. Or you can go down the page and play each video separately, or read the words if you prefer.

If you are reading this before Sunday morning at 11.30am, please join us at our Zoom Coffee. Details available from Revd Liz – see the contact page on the main menu.

YouTube Playlist

Here is another short video to watch, which is a 3 minute reflection from our new archbishop.

Service written out

Hymn – O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness

Gathering

Greeting

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

The Lord be with you
and also with you.

The Spirit of God hovered over the water
and brought life to all creation.

Come, Holy Spirit
and renew the face of the earth.

Silence is kept.

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

Prayer of Penitence

Human sin disfigures the whole creation,
which groans with eager longing for God’s redemption.
We confess our sin in penitence and faith.

We confess to you
our lack of care for the world you have given us.
Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

We confess to you
our selfishness in not sharing the earth’s bounty fairly.
Christ have mercy.
Christ have mercy.

We confess to you
our failure to protect resources for others.
Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

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.

Gloria in Excelsis

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.

The Collect

Merciful God,
you have prepared for those who love you
such good things as pass our understanding:
pour into our hearts such love toward you
that we, loving you in all things and above all things,
may obtain your promises,
which exceed all that we can desire;
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.

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 44: 6-8

This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Psalm 86: 11-17

Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth;
knit my heart to you, that I may fear your name.

I will thank you, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
and glorify your name for evermore;

For great is your steadfast love towards me,
for you have delivered my soul from the depths of the grave.

O God, the proud rise up against me
and a ruthless horde seek after my life;
they have not set you before their eyes.

But you, Lord, are gracious and full of compassion,
slow to anger and full of kindness and truth.

Turn to me and have mercy upon me;
give your strength to your servant
and save the child of your handmaid.

Show me a token of your favour,
that those who hate me may see it and be ashamed;
because you, O Lord, have helped and comforted me.

HYMN – King of Glory, King of peace

Gospel Reading: Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43

Alleluia, alleluia.
You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honour and power,
for you created all things.
Alleluia.

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.
Glory to you, O Lord.

At the end

This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.

Sermon

Last week Stephen introduced us to the parable of the sower, this week we have the parable of the weeds. Again, this is one of the very few parables that has an explanation of what it means.

There is a field with the intended harvest and the pesky invading weeds. The good seed is the people of the kingdom and the weeds are everyone else.

It is a story that any gardener will find familiar. It tells of the difficulty of telling apart young plants because they look the same. A question I have often asked (and often got wrong) is “Is this a weed”?

Let’s find out more about these weeds in the gospel story.

The weeds that Jesus was probably speaking about at the time were the bane of existence for farmers. They were bearded darnel or LOLIUM TEMULENTUM. In the early stages of growth it looks just like wheat and is difficult to distinguish until it’s grown bigger, by which time the roots of both plants would be intertwined. Bearded darnel is slightly poisonous, causing dizziness and sickness and has a bitter taste. Definitely not something you want in your wheat by the time it goes to be ground into flour.

The question for me is what do we do about this story? How are we meant to react in response to it. We are all people of the kingdom – so what are we meant to do about the weeds?

The message I take away from this story is to leave the weeds to God. How much time do people spend judging one another? How much time do we spend figuring out whether someone is a true Christian or a good person or not? That is a waste of time. It is not the job of the harvest to sort out the weeds – that task belongs to the farmer.

The picture of wheat and weeds is not perfect. For a seed, it is already pre-determined which plant it will be. We are different. We can make choices about how we live our lives and whether we turn more towards the way of Jesus, or away. A plant cannot turn itself into a weed, a weed cannot turn itself into a plant. Yet every day we can move closer to Jesus or further away.

It is only God and Jesus and the Spirit, who know us well enough to see whether we are wheat or a weed.

Sometimes, it is very obvious that we are surrounded by weeds: people who damage those around them with their lack of love. We all know that we don’t live in a perfect world, that there are people in the world who are cruel, manipulative, crooked or spiteful. We also know that sometimes we can have these traits.

While it is not our place to judge, it is our responsibility to call out to God our despair at the strength of the weeds and to call on him to help. The answer is to pray. When you see problems in the world, pray about them. Cry out to God in rage, showing him the damage that is being done by the enemy. He will tell you when it is your job to take action about something. Otherwise, concentrate on growing up as a good seed, ready for harvest.

We need help to grow well and, elsewhere in the gospels, Jesus explains to his disciples what that help will be: the Spirit is given to help those who are listening.

A few weeks ago, I got together online with some people I was in a choir with 25 years ago. I leave you with Jesus’ words to the disciples as set by Thomas Tallis.

If ye love me, keep my commandment and I will pray the Father and he shall give you another comforter. That he may bide with you forever. Even the spirit of truth.

ANTHEM – If ye love me

Affirmation of Faith

We say together in faith

Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come.

We believe in God the Father,
who created all things:

for by his will they were created
and have their being.

We believe in God the Son,
who was slain:

for with his blood,
he purchased us for God,
from every tribe and language,
from every people and nation.

We believe in God the Holy Spirit:

the Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come!’
Even so come, Lord Jesus!
Amen.

Hymn – All over the world

Intercessions – prepared by Guy

Creator God, we are your children so we call you on you as our Father. Father you know the whole world is groaning, the whole world is afflicted with pain and loss caused by the Corona Virus. Give us all, whoever we are, wherever we are, patience to endure and strength to overcome these present troubles. Hold our hands father and hug us as we would hug each other if we could. And in your great love deliver us from the depths and darkness of our present and fill us with the light and comfort of your presence.

Abba, father, so we pray

Father, we pray for those who minister your word and teach your way, and especially we pray for Liz and Stephen. You have asked much of them recently- to guide us from afar, to hold our hand when they cannot be near, to be with us when we must all be apart. We thank them for all they have done and will yet do, and we thank you Lord for the strength and comfort you have brought to them in their recent ministry. We ask that you stay by their side so they can stay by ours.

Abba, father, so we pray

Father, you have made this earth and all its nations. Cast your wisdom upon those who rule your world, upon those who have to make impossible decisions, upon those who must chart a course through all the perils of unknown regions. Help them to bring the ship of your creation safe home. And give us all the wisdom of magnanimity. Take from them and take from us our anger and our keenness to blame so that we all may play our part and help us all reach calm waters

Abba, father, so we pray

Father, you are the first and last, our only hope, our only God. Look with loving kindness on all those who are trembling and afraid, whether for themselves or for others. Deliver them from their depths, fill them with the knowledge of your faithfulness and give them hope to light their darkness. And for those whose earthly end has come, grant them safe passage to the light and warmth of your presence and peace and happiness for all eternity.

Abba, father, so we pray

Father, we are your children, and we ask for your support and your guidance through the dark and uncharted seas in which we find ourselves. Throughout the world your whole people is groaning. Still our fears and heal our hearts. Fill us with your love so that we may wait patiently for calmer, sunlit waters. Stay close to us on our journey. Help us to be no longer children but to grow up into Christ. And help us to follow him, rejoicing.

Abba, father, so we pray

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

Peace to you from God who is our Father.
Peace from Jesus Christ who is our peace.
Peace from the Holy Spirit who gives us life.
The peace of the triune God be always with you
and also with you.

Spiritual communion

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)

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: the Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 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.’ 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.’ 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

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.

Prayer

Silence is kept.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe,
creator of light and giver of life,
to you be glory and praise for ever.
In Jesus your light has shone out;
and you have given your Holy Spirit
as a mighty stream of life-giving water
to refresh and renew the face of the earth.
Let your light shine in us
that we may be beacons of justice
and bearers of hope.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.

Hymn – Thou whose almighty word

Blessing

May God
who clothes the lilies and feeds the birds of the sky,
who leads the lambs to pasture and the deer to water,
who multiplied loaves and fishes and changed water into wine,
lead us, feed us, multiply us,
and change us to reflect the glory of our Creator
now and through all eternity;
and the blessing …

The Dismissal

Go in the light and peace of Christ.
Thanks be to God

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 Worship – 12th July 2020 – 5th Sunday after Trinity

Welcome and Zoom coffee notice

Welcome to worship today. As usual, there is a playlist set up at the top to play the whole service, including hymns. Or you can go down the page and play each video separately, or read the words if you prefer.

If you are reading this before Sunday morning at 11.30am, please join us at our Zoom Coffee. Details available from Revd Liz – see the contact page on the main menu.

YouTube Playlist

Service written out

Opening Hymn:

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 65: 8-13

You visit the earth and water it;  
you make it very plenteous.
The river of God is full of water;  
you prepare grain for your people,
for so you provide for the earth.

You drench the furrows and smooth out the ridges;  
you soften the ground with showers and bless its increase.
You crown the year with your goodness,  
and your paths overflow with plenty.

May the pastures of the wilderness flow with goodness  
and the hills be girded with joy.
May the meadows be clothed with flocks of sheep  
and the valleys stand so thick with corn
that they shall laugh and sing.

Reading –

Isaiah 55: 10-13

Hymn –

Gospel reading

Matthew 13: 1-9, 18-23

Sermon – Revd Stephen Pope

While I was doing my ministry training college year, I bought a copy of the Africa Bible Commentary. Perhaps this was not surprising, as both my sisters and an uncle had been missionaries in Africa as well as two aunts who were missionaries running a school for blind and handicapped children in the country now called Zambia.

This African commentary includes a retelling of today’s gospel reading, the Parable of the Sower, in terms that would be more familiar in rural Zambia, where Bemba is the commonest of the local languages. I enjoyed the fresh look at a very familiar story and I wanted to share it with you.

In Zambian terms the four types of soil described by Jesus translate as:

*Pa lubansa: This is Bemba for the area around the house, or a courtyard, so suggesting a limited area round the house. It will get swept at least once a day, and over time any topsoil will be brushed away, leaving hard earth that is no use for planting. No seeds would germinate, and even if seeds were scattered there, the chickens and other birds would soon find them and eat them.

I wonder if you ever find yourself picturing Bible stories. I found the picture I got of the chickens scratting about eating the seed stuck in my mind much more clearly than any picture of ‘the birds of the air came and ate it up’ has ever done.

Jesus, explaining this part of the parable to his disciples, told them ‘When anyone hears the words of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in the heart’.

How does that happen? One way it happens is when we are in a perpetual hurry – there is no time to stop and be aware of what we are doing, doing to our relationships with ourselves, our neighbour, our planet or God. It’s when we are thinking more of the next task before we have completed what we are doing now. There is no time to reflect as we are doing it. If there is no time to let awareness sink in, it can be snatched away, like chickens do to seeds that haven’t sunk in to the soil.

Carl Jung is quoted as saying ‘Hurry is not OF the devil. Hurry IS the devil.’ There is a lot of truth in that. It is one reason why God created the Sabbath, as the last part of Creation, so people could stop and take stock of what they were doing and look to see in what direction it was taking them – closer to Him, or away from Him.

Six months ago I would have moved to the next point now, but with lockdown, I’ve become aware of something connected to this. There has been a widespread change in how people have been using their time. Some of us have more free time on our hands. Others, such as front line and laboratory workers in the NHS, for example, have had even more hectic lives. I suspect that the rise in the numbers of people watching online services is partly because they have had time to realise they have a hunger for God they hadn’t had time to recognise before. Maybe we could be praying for those people – as well as for the sanity and health of those who are busier than ever.

*Ulupili: This means the side of a hill, a place where there will be a thin scraping of top soil on top of hard rock, and, as in Jesus story, where the seeds can germinate but will not grow much because of a lack of depth for any roots. They look good to start with, but only until the ground dries out.

Have you ever, like me, started something with lots of enthusiasm, only to find the energy petering out and the project is given up long before it’s completed? I wonder how many of these we’ve rediscovered in corners of cupboards or garages in these recent weeks!

*Pa chisonso: This is the area where rubbish is dumped. All sorts of rubbish. It would include stuff the gardeners among us would have put on the compost heap, like remains of mangos and pumpkins. But there would be plenty of non-compostable stuff too.
There, the seeds might start germinating, but it would be alongside strong weeds. As no one ever weeded this area, any good seed that got into this area was unlikely to survive for being crowded out or choked.

Jesus talks of worries and the deceit of wealth as choking up our ability to put God’s word into practice in our lives. One thing they suggest to me is that anxieties and the fear of not having enough to be totally independent of anyone else mean our priorities in life need refocussing – on how God does and will provide for us when we trust Him.

*Ubuluka: This is a freshly prepared garden area. The Bemba do this by burning tree branches and digging in the ash before seeding the ground with millet – their staple crop. Such gardens are often very fruitful and can be so for up to three planting seasons.
Ubuluka can also be translated as ‘Thrive’. I found this a really helpful way of thinking about ‘good soil’, the phrase Jesus used in this context. A ‘good soil’ is one in which seeds will thrive, just as a ‘good relationship’ is one in which all members thrive.

Jesus explains what thriving is in terms of someone who Listens to His (or God’s) words, takes the trouble to understand them, and then ‘produces a crop’ – in other words puts those words into Practice. When we do this, our relationships with Him and with our neighbours will thrive too.

Some people call this ‘Holy Living’ Others may talk about Trusting and Obeying. Others again, Following Jesus. Whatever you call it, this is the way to be fruitful in God’s eyes. Thirtyfold? Sixtyfold? A hundredfold? Whichever. It is all fruitfulness, a gift that will give God great joy as He sees His kingdom growing in numbers and in maturity amongst us – not just in rural Zambia but in rural Yorkshire 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:

Intercessions

Let us pray to God, through whose Word our words are given life.

Father God,
we are glad to know that you are a God who calls forth Songs of Joy.
We ask you so to increase our awareness of your presence day by day
that we may better sense Your joy in our lives,
and so be better able to share it with those we meet and talk to.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

Father God,
as our church buildings are starting to open up again,
we ask your blessing on them and those who visit them.
We ask that they do not become places where disease is spread.
May they continue to be places of worship, prayer and blessing to us.
May new visitors find them places where they feel welcome
and free to talk and listen to You.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

Father God,
we rejoice that more people have been looking towards You during lockdown.
We pray that they will continue to look towards You as lockdown is is lifted
and work restarts or while they seek new work.
Encourage them, we pray, to continue seeking and learn more of You,
and discover the joys of worship and prayer, and of peace and your abiding love.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

Father God,
as the world has changed,
so may we seek until we have found whatever new role you may have for us.
Grant that we do not become so busy
that our relationship with you gets choked by the thorns of overbusyness.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

Father God,
we pray for all world leaders, national and local leaders and their advisers
as they wrestle with the problems caused by Coronavirus.
Give them a sense of the true priorities of all the members of the communities they administer that the world community may benefit as a whole.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

Father God,
we pray for those grieving for loved ones lost,
be it to Coronavirus or other diseases.
Comfort them and may they know your love for them is ever present.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

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 for ever.
Amen.

The Collect

Almighty and everlasting God,
by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church
is governed and sanctified;
hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people,
that in their vocation and ministry
they may serve you in holiness and truth
to the glory of your name;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
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

Father God, you have done so much for us, and we thank you that we can give to you in return. We thank you for the gifts that have been received through standing orders, and for monies put aside to be brought to church in due course. We offer you our financial gifts in gratitude, and ask that you will grant us the joy of seeing your kingdom grow in the coming days. 
Amen.

Hymn:

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 Worship – 5th July 2020 – 4th Sunday after Trinity

Welcome to worship today. As usual, there is a playlist set up at the top to play the whole service, including hymns. Or you can go down the page and play each video separately, or read the words if you prefer.

If you are reading this before Sunday morning at 11.30am, please join us at our Zoom Coffee. Details available from Revd Liz – see the contact page on the main menu.

YouTube Playlist

Service written out in full

Welcome to our worship. If it is still Sunday morning where you are, I hope you will join us at Zoom coffee at 11.30am. Details, as usual, are on the emailed notice sheet.

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

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

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

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

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

Hymn – Praise to the Holiest in the height

This comes from the musicians at Hull minster.

Prayer of preparation

Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

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

Prayers of Penitence

Introduction to Confession
God so loved the world
that he gave his only Son Jesus Christ
to save us from our sins,
to be our advocate in heaven,
and to bring us to eternal life.
Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith,
firmly resolved to keep God’s commandments
and to live in love and peace with all.

Silence

Confession

Almighty God, our heavenly Father
we have sinned against you
and against our neighbour
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault
We are truly sorry
and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us,
forgive us all that is past
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name.
Amen.

Absolution

Almighty God, who forgives all who truly repent,
have mercy upon us,
pardon and deliver us from all our sins,
confirm and strengthen us in all goodness,
and keep us in life eternal;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Gloria

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.
Amen.

Collect – Prayer for the week

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

Psalm 145:8-15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hymn – I cannot tell

Gospel, read by Val from Brandsby

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew
Glory to you, O Lord.

This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.

Sermon

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

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

A well known passage, which concludes:

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

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

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

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

A pencil sketch of a yoke

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll read it again to finish:

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

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

Creed

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth, of all that is,
seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God, begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge
the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is
worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.
Amen.

Hymn – Be still

Intercessions – written and led by Karen from Stearsby

The Bidding:

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

Let us pray.

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

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

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

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

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

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

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

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

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Thanksgiving:

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

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

Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Today, I am using the traditional language Lord’s prayer. Please pray in whichever language or version you prefer.

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

Offertory Prayer

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

The Peace

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

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

Today I will read the institution narrative from St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, then offer a time of silence, finishing with the prayer for spiritual communion.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (NIVUK)

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: the Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Thanks be to you, Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits you have given me,
for all the pains and insults you have borne for me.
Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally,
I ask you to come spiritually into my heart.
O most merciful redeemer,
friend and brother,
may I know you more clearly,
love you more dearly,
and follow you more nearly,
day by day.

Amen.

Hymn – Alleluia, sing to Jesus

Blessing and Dismissal

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

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

be with you and remain with you always.
Amen

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

Anthem – The Lord Bless You and Keep You

Copyright Notices

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

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

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

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

Welcome – Summer 2020

The first services in our church buildings are taking place on Sunday 12th July. Please see the notice sheet for details. If you do not receive the notice sheet, please contact Revd Liz using the details on the Contact page to find out more.

Not everyone is able to join us in church at the moment so I continue to welcome you here to this site, where we can hear the Word of God and worship in our own homes.

Some of our buildings are open for private prayer at the following times:
Brandsby – Saturday 11.30am to 12.30pm
Coxwold – Church open daily
Crayke – Sunday 1pm to 4pm; Thursday 9am to 1pm
Husthwaite – Sunday 9am to 1pm; Wednesday 2pm to 6pm
Wass – currently closed for redecoration

Revd Liz

Sunday worship – 28th June 2020 – 3rd Sunday after Trinity

Welcome to worship today, which has been planned and led by our lay worship planning team. The service is led by Liz Crawshaw, who is currently training to be a reader. As usual, there is a playlist set up at the top to play the whole service, including hymns. Or you can go down the page and play each video separately, or read the words if you prefer.

If you are reading this before Sunday morning at 11.30am, please join us at our Zoom Coffee. Details available from Revd Liz – see the contact page on the main menu.

YouTube Playlist

Service written out in full

CALL TO WORSHIP

Let us worship God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Amen

The Lord be with you,
And also with you.

This is the day that the Lord has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Lord, direct our thoughts and teach us to pray.
Lift up our hearts to worship you in spirit and in truth,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Hymn

Reflection from Sian

Today is the first lay-led service since the announcement that Revd Liz will be leaving the Byland Churches later in the year. Deep down I wasn’t surprised. We have been privileged to benefit from Liz’s calling and her talents which have guided and taught us and grown us in faith – and we kind of knew that she would eventually have to be shared; that we couldn’t keep her for always.

So we’re sad and feeling somewhat vulnerable with a vacancy looming – how will we cope without our leader?

It strikes me that this is remarkably similar to how the disciples must have been feeling as Jesus prepared them for His departure – as we’ve been hearing in Matthews Gospel Chapter 10 over the last two weeks and concluding today.

We too have been well prepared (in our case by Revd Liz) and are now being called to continue without her; to continue learning how to be the sent church in our communities and to be Jesus’ disciples here and now.

Daunting as that task is, I am hugely reassured by the words in our Gospel reading today. In the version from The Message Bible, Jesus says “Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty … the smallest action of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice”. How great is that? – whatever we are able to do, however small it might seem, Jesus says that we all do have something to offer. And of course we aren’t really alone – the Holy Spirit will guide us, as it did those first disciples.

And we have each other: working and praying together, with God’s help there is potential to turn this vacancy from something we really wish wasn’t going to happen, into an opportunity to grow our Byland Churches together – in faith , in service and, who knows, even in numbers.

Confession and assurance of forgiveness

Most merciful God,
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
We confess that we have sinned
In thought, word and deed.
We have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.
In your mercy
forgive what we have been,
help us to amend what we are,
and direct what we shall be;
that we may do justly,
love mercy,
and walk humbly with you, our God.
Amen.

Almighty God,
who in Jesus Christ
has given us a kingdom
that cannot be destroyed,
forgive us our sins,
open our eyes to God’s truth,
strengthen us to do God’s will
and give us the joy
of his kingdom,
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 we will praise our God.

Prayer for the week – Collect

Almighty God,
you have broken the tyranny of sin
and have sent the Spirit of your Son into our hearts
whereby we call you Father:
give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service,
that we and all creation may be brought
to the glorious liberty of the children of God;
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 forever.
Amen.

Hymn

Readings

Romans 6:12-23

This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Matthew 10:40-42

This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Sermon – Roy Collard, Recognised Parish Assistant

Are you someone who responds well to a challenge? Or, to put it another way, have you needed challenges in your life to help you to develop or grow?

Perhaps running a marathon has been something to inspire you, or rebuilding a house or a car from scratch or even climbing every Munro in Scotland. I’m in awe of people who set themselves such challenges, people like Nick Bailey, the Salisbury policemen whose story was on TV a couple of weeks ago, who set himself the challenge of running a marathon as part of his recovery from being poisoned. I can’t say that physical challenges have ever motivated me – nowadays, reading a long Victorian novel, or mastering the two types of subjunctive in German grammar are the sort of challenges that provoke me.

Twelve years ago, we attended the memorial service in St Paul’s for Chad Varah, the founder of the Samaritans, and a gauntlet was thrown down to us all – “You’re here today to celebrate the life of a great Brit – now what are you going to do to continue his work?” I really didn’t think I could do it – talk to strangers in the middle of the night who could be suicidal, pick up a phone not knowing what depth of despair a caller might have reached. I responded to the challenge, and I’m glad I did. It’s made me realise just how vital that action of taking up a challenge is to us all. Not only does it provide motivation and a sense of achievement when you’ve conquered it, but I find it gives a greater understanding of myself and my own weakness – an insight into human nature if you like. Responding to a challenge is neither easy nor painless, but it can make us more innovative, more creative and test us to a particular limit.

Why do I say all this about challenges? Simply because it seems to me that the two readings this morning, from Matthew’s gospel and Paul’s letter to the Romans have something in common – a reminder to us all of the challenges we are set in being a Christian. And two of the greatest challenges of our Christian life are letting God work through us and maintaining our discipline in our Christian journey.

The three verses from Matthew come at the end of more than a chapter of instructions that Christ gives to his first disciples, the body of which we have studied over the last two Sundays. Christ tells the disciples their task of spreading His word will not be easy, and in these last three verses He summarises how they will be received and treated, and how they will be rewarded. Through this, there is of course the challenge for us, for we are the inheritors of those disciples. Christ tells us of the opportunities we are given to meet and serve our maker and by talking about the potential rewards, there is – by implication – the alternative if we don’t take these opportunities. It’s our choice, how do we respond? Are we obedient? Do we follow because we have to or because we want to? The challenge here is to let God work through us and to do His work, just as those twelve disciples did two thousand years ago.

In writing to the Romans, Paul develops further what is meant by this challenge of obedience in a Christian life. He understands the weakness of our humanity and how, even after we have chosen a Christian life as opposed to the life of a sinner, it is all too easy to slide back into the temptations of the old life, or as he puts it – to the life of impurity and wickedness. We walk a tightrope of temptation between vice and virtue. But our challenge is to accept the grace of God and to let God work though us. To impress upon us the importance of this teaching, Paul uses graphic images – of slavery. And perhaps this may shock us. It’s not difficult to understand what he means by being a slave to sin. But being a slave to righteousness seems at first sight to be contradictory, but perhaps that’s because of our twenty first century response to anything that uses the word slave or slavery. Two thousand years ago such an image was a part of everyday life. Being a slave to righteousness is obeying God, is accepting the teaching of the gospels and accepting that our life of sin is behind us. This life demands a discipline from us, a self-discipline that keeps us on a road to eternal life through following God’s will.

Our challenges, as Christians, then, are to let God work through us and to discipline ourselves to a life of righteousness.

During the past few months we have all been provided with challenges, some of them pretty daunting – not being able to grieve with friends and family, not being able to be with grandchildren, parents, family or friends, coping with loneliness, feeling confined and restrained, our freedoms curtailed, living in fear or anxiety of contracting the virus, for both ourselves and our loved ones and of fearing for the future. We’ve had to respond in the same way we do as human beings to all challenges – by persevering, by relying on our inner strength and as Christians by prayer and by reminding ourselves that God is with us in our struggles and adversity as much as He is in times of joy. By accepting God’s grace, we know that we pursue His teaching, we know that we accept the discipline of loving Him and of loving our neighbour as ourselves. We have all experienced the love of neighbours, near and far, we have all given and we have all received. Through telephone, Zoom, Skype and FaceTime we have maintained connections and given and received succour, through sharing words of encouragement and concern with fellow villagers as we meet them on our walks, through collecting or receiving prescriptions, sharing food deliveries, clapping together on Thursday evenings, simply offering or receiving a hand or an act of kindness whenever and wherever we can. I have heard of so many examples of individuals diligently making scrubs for medics, masks for friends and neighbours, and headbands for nurses and doctors to ease the stress of wearing masks and shields. No act of kindness will go unnoticed in God’s kingdom, as Jesus reminds his disciples – “whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones ………none of these will lose their reward.”

For me, a greater challenge lies ahead – as I’m sure it does for all of us. How will we as Christians respond after the lockdown has eased further and life has returned to something more normal? Will we maintain the discipline of obedience by continuing the acts of kindness that have cemented our communities? By continuing to remember friends and family with whom we have re-established connections? Will we continue to be loyal customers to the small local businesses and individuals who have adapted so well to the economic crisis by making deliveries to us – the farm shops, the meal providers, the local grocery deliveries – or will we slide back to supermarkets? How will we respond to those around us – and in the country as a whole – who are going to be affected by the economic and social hardship that will inevitably come? How can we reach out to those most in peril as food banks are relied on more and more and unemployment has its inevitable toll?

I guess the answer to all these questions is by letting God work through us, by responding to those challenges that Jesus gives His disciples, by following the discipline to righteousness that Paul spells out to the Romans.

For as Christ reminds us, every act of kindness will be rewarded. And as Paul concludes, whilst the wages of sin is death, the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Affirmation of faith

We believe in God the Father,
From whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.

We believe in God the Son,
Who lives in our hearts through faith, and fills us with love.

We believe in God the Holy Spirit,
Who strengthens us with power from on high.
We believe in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Amen

Prayers

We pray for wholeness in the body of Christ across our world – for justice, peace, and healing. Bind up fractures within the Church we pray; humble the proud and lift up the lowly.
We pray for Stephen Cottrell as he prepares to take up the role of Archbishop of York. May your Holy Spirit guide and support him through all the hope and expectation that his ministry will entail.

Lord of our world: Send us your peace

We give thanks for your wonderful universe – for the song of the birds, the light of the stars, the majesty of the mountains, the beauty and productivity of the fields.
Mould us into stewards of your creation. We pray that concern and care for our world may remain high on our agenda as we come out of the trials of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Lord of our world: Send us your peace

We pray for peacemakers around the world and for those with position and authority to implement necessary change.
We pray for your continued presence and power to inspire and lead them – that they will hear Your voice.
We pray for an end to violence, for restoration of broken communities and for love for all our neighbours regardless of who they are.
May the forgotten, the lost and the hungry know you are with them and feel your comfort.
Reign with justice and peace in all the corners of your world, we pray.
Give us courage and selflessness as we learn how to emerge from lockdown and we pray for your guidance and wisdom in this and all things.

Lord of our world: Send us your peace

We lift to you everyone in our immediate world – our villages and communities, our friends and family – those we see often, those we haven’t been able to see for too long.
We pray for those who are finding it hard to hear you at the moment. Give us all strength and fortitude in this challenging and time.
We remember in our hearts all those we know who are unwell or suffering and need our prayers today…

Lord of our world: Send us your peace

We pray for Liz and Phil, Toby and Jenny as they prepare for new horizons. We give thanks for them as a family and for what they have given to us.
We pray for ourselves as the Byland Churches. As we begin to plan for the vacancy; deepen our faith, expand our discipleship and guide us forward together. Unite us in your love and commitment to share your Good News.
We give thanks for the wonderful variety of gifts and talents across the fellowship of our Churches and pray that, with the help of your Holy Spirit, we will put these to good use together.

Lord of our world: Send us your peace

O Lord, the help of the helpless,
the hope of the hopeless,
the saviour of the storm-tossed,
the harbour of voyagers, the physician of the sick;
we pray to you.
O Lord, you know each of us and our petitions;
you know each house and its needs;
receive us all into your kingdom;
make us children of light,
and bestow your peace and love upon us.
Amen

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
As we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power
And the glory are yours, now and forever.
Amen

Offering

Gracious God accept our
gifts and, with them, our lives
to be used in your service.
Amen.

Blessing

May the power of
Christ heal us,
the eyes of Christ
gaze upon us,
and the peace of Christ
shine through us,
today and evermore;
and may the blessing
of God Almighty,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
be amongst us and
remain with us always.
Amen.

Sending out

We go into the world in the name of Christ,
with the love of God
And in the power of the Spirit.
We go, but we do not go alone.
We go together and Christ goes with us.
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 Worship 21st June – 2nd Sunday after Trinity

Welcome to worship today. As usual, there is a playlist set up at the top to play the whole service, including hymns. Or you can go down the page and play each video separately, or read the words if you prefer.

If you are reading this before Sunday morning at 11.30am, please join us at our Zoom Coffee. Details available from Revd Liz.

YouTube Playlist

Service written out

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

Prayer of preparation

Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Our Lord Jesus Christ said:
The first commandment is this:
‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind,
and with all your strength.’

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’
There is no other commandment greater than these.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Amen. Lord, have mercy.

Prayers of Penitence

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

Most merciful God,
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
we confess that we have sinned
in thought, word and deed.
We have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.
In your mercy
forgive what we have been,
help us to amend what we are,
and direct what we shall be;
that we may do justly, love mercy,
and walk humbly with you, our God.
Amen.

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.

The Collect – Prayer for the week

Lord, you have taught us
that all our doings without love are nothing worth:
send your Holy Spirit
and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love,
the true bond of peace and of all virtues,
without which whoever lives is counted dead before you.
Grant this for your only Son Jesus Christ’s sake,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

Bible reading

Jeremiah 20: 7-13

Psalm 69: 8-11, 18-20

We haven’t often used the psalms in our worship unless in Book of Common Prayer services. I am taking the opportunity this summer to include them again. The great richness of the psalms is in the variety of emotions that they show. Truly we can bring anything that we are feeling to God.

For your sake have I suffered reproach;
shame has covered my face.

I have become a stranger to my kindred,
an alien to my mother’s children.

Zeal for your house has eaten me up;
the scorn of those who scorn you has fallen upon me.

I humbled myself with fasting,
but that was turned to my reproach.

Answer me, Lord, for your loving-kindness is good;
turn to me in the multitude of your mercies.

Hide not your face from your servant;
be swift to answer me, for I am in trouble.

Draw near to my soul and redeem me;
deliver me because of my enemies.

Hymn

Gospel Reading

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew
Glory to you, O Lord.

Matthew 10: 24-39

This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.

Sermon – the Revd Liz Hassall

I’d like you to start by bringing to mind a person. Someone you know well and respect. Now imagine that they have said something completely out of character. Maybe they’ve suddenly sworn at you or said something blatantly racist, or made a mean comment about someone else.

How do you feel?

It shakes you, doesn’t it? Suddenly, that person isn’t the one you thought they were and it makes you re-evaluate who they are and how much respect you should have for them.

The gospel passage is a bit like that for me. Suddenly, Jesus seems to be acting out of character. This is not the lovely friendly Jesus that we tend to imagine. This is the Jesus who had a difficult message to bring to his followers, which they didn’t want to hear and we don’t really like to hear either.

This, however, is the real Jesus. What’s the point of knowing someone only on the surface? We can all be polite to each other but it is only when we let down our guard that we really know each other, warts and all.

When you look at a passage from the gospels, the first thing to do is figure out who is speaking. Here, it’s Jesus. Then, you need to see who they are speaking to. Is it the crowds? Or the Pharisees? Here, it is the disciples – the closest followers of Jesus, the ones who knew him best. He’s getting ready to send the disciples out on mission as healers and preachers in their own right. They’ve learnt enough from him and now it is time to go and see what they can manage without his constant presence.

I’m guessing that the disciples were going into this without any real idea of what was going to happen. Jesus is trying to explain to them, but they won’t really understand until they have gone and discovered how much people will reject them and what sacrifice they are being called to make.

The whole point of this passage is to prepare the disciples for an unfriendly welcome and the potential danger of working in mission. They may very well be in danger, but Jesus reassures them of the love that God has for each of them. He reassures them of the value that they have to God as people and there is a reminder of the promise of eternal life, which can’t be harmed by any earthly foe.

So far, so good. Then Jesus makes that unusual statement:

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

Hang on, you might say – isn’t Jesus called the Prince of Peace? Now he’s saying he isn’t coming to bring peace.

Jesus then goes onto talking about a household. In that culture it was usual for a bride to move to live with her groom and in-laws. So, the three comparisons: turning a man against his father, a daughter against her mother and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – these could all be within a single household. The household was the most important unit in Jewish life. Your family ties were the most important ties.

The sword that Jesus is bringing is a sword that will cut through those ties because what Jesus is asking is for a commitment to him that is deeper and more important even than the ties to family.

When Jesus says “I have not come to bring peace”, I think he is talking about that superficial peace that you strive for among family members, that papers over the cracks and allows you to keep sharing a house amicably despite differences of politics or religion. It may come to the point where you have to stand up for the Jesus way at the expense of a peaceful and quiet life. It may come to the point when you have to challenge a parent or child on their life-choices because you can’t keep your integrity before Jesus unless you do. That is the sword that can divide us from our families.

This is radical stuff, challenging and not for the faint-hearted.

What it comes down to is this – for us as well as for the first disciples – when we acknowledge that Jesus is Lord, we have to recognise that our loyalty to him is the most fundamental tie we have, above all ties of family or friendship.

Perhaps when you hear that, you think “well that’s going a bit too far, isn’t it”? That’s a fair comment. It is a hugely demanding call and one which is not easy to follow wholeheartedly. Still, if Jesus really is the Son of God and the Saviour of All, can there be anything more important than that?

It is unlikely for each of us that Jesus will call us completely away from our families, but we may well have to stand up to them for what is right and for the sake of the things that Jesus taught.

Jesus goes on, saying “anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me”

It is not a mistake that Jesus picked out the ties between parent and child for a demonstration of how we are to relate to him. Parents are hard-wired to love their children. When you have a small baby or child you have a biological imperative to do anything to protect them. Jesus did not say: do not love your children or love your children less than you do now. He said love him more. That is the challenge to live up to. We are to strive to give God a place in our lives equal or higher to the place we give our families.

So how do you feel about Jesus now, in the light of this passage? Have you learned something more about him? Is it something shocking enough to change your view of him, or can you still follow him?

In all of this we need to remind ourselves who Jesus is. Any normal human who came and demanded this kind of sacrifice would be a tyrant and utterly unreasonable. Jesus can demand our full lives because he offers so much in return. Yes, he asks for our full capitulation to his Lordship, but he is Lord. He is God. Through him we gain access to the overwhelming saving love of God. That same God who counts the hairs on our heads and values even the sparrows. No matter how much we love Jesus, he will always love us more.

So, are you willing to try and answer that call of Jesus to be a disciple? Are you willing to sacrifice your wishes and go where God would have you go? Can you trust God to love your household, can you love God enough to stand up for what is right even when your closest loved ones disagree?

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to need help with that. So I’m going back to the Collect for today to ask God to dwell within us and give us the strength to love him more.

Lord, send your Holy Spirit
and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love,
the true bond of peace and of all virtues.
Amen.

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth, of all that is,
seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God, begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge
the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is
worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.
Amen.

Hymn

Intercessions

As faithful disciples, let us pray to our Lord and Master for the Church and for the world.

The response to the prayers is Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for wisdom for all our church leaders, praying especially for Paul, bishop of Whitby as he leads the diocese at the moment and for Bishop Stephen as he prepares to become our next archbishop. We pray for all church leaders struggling to discern how to balance accessibility of church buildings with keeping people safe.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray that the Word of God will be heard in the dark places where people have not known the power of redeeming love. Have mercy on the weak and vulnerable who are precious in your sight and save them when they are oppressed. We pray for all those in ethnic minorities whose lives are made more difficult by the the colour of their skin. Help us all to be aware of our own privilege and to use that privilege for the good of those who are persecuted.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for our families and for all who live and work nearby. We pray for business owners making difficult decisions and for workers who have been made redundant. Keep our eyes open to the needs of our communities and show us how we can help.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for everyone whose faith is being challenged at the moment, who are finding the burden of the cross too heavy to carry. Give them courage and show us who needs our support.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for all those who are sick, especially those suffering with Covid-19. We pray for those whose treatment has been postponed and those struggling with pain or illness.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for those who took up their cross and followed Jesus in this life and have now passed to eternal life with him. May the light of heaven shine upon them as they rise in glory.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, you show us what life could be.
Help us to plant seeds of hope in places where life is tough,
So that people can find your love and your way.
We offer this small prayer, like a mustard seed,
For your Kingdom to come among us.

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

The Lord’s Prayer

Today, I am using the traditional language Lord’s prayer. Please pray in whichever language or version you prefer.

Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us

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

Offertory Prayer

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

The Peace

God is love and those who live in love live in God
and God lives in them.

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

Hymn

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 Worship 14th June 2020 – First Sunday after Trinity

Welcome to worship today. As usual, there is a playlist set up at the top to play the whole service, including hymns. Or you can go down the page and play each video separately, or read the words if you prefer.

If you are reading this before Sunday morning at 11.30am, please join us at our Zoom Coffee. Details available from Revd Liz.

Service written out

Hymn

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

The Lord be with you
And also with you

Lord, direct our thoughts, and teach us to pray.
Lift up our hearts to worship you in spirit and in truth,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Confession

Keep silence and reflect on the week

Your love gives us life.
We fail to live as your children.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

You call us to do good.
We seek our own good.

Christ, have mercy. Christ have mercy.

You hear us when we cry for help.
We ignore the cries of others.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy

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

The Collect

O God,
the strength of all those who put their trust in you,
mercifully accept our prayers
and, because through the weakness of our mortal nature
we can do no good thing without you,
grant us the help of your grace,
that in the keeping of your commandments
we may please you both in will and deed;
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.

Reading – Psalm 100

Read in your own bible or click below to hear it read.
https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/suchet/nivuk/Ps.100

Hymn

Gospel reading

Matthew 9:35 – 10:8

Sermon – Revd Dr Stephen Pope

As most of you know, the Anglican church likes to think in terms of Ordinary Time and Seasonal Time. Seasonal Time is those periods when we concentrate on special times in the Christian Calendar. There is the Advent and Christmas season. We have just spent about three months in the run of the seasons of Ash Wednesday and Lent through Easter and leading up to Pentecost, finally capping it with Trinity Sunday, which was last week.

Now in the church we are back to Ordinary Time – but it’s not Ordinary Time as we know it. We can’t go inside our church buildings to worship – not on our own, nor as a community. And in the wider world we are in lockdown, which we were sort of getting used to, but now it is being slowly lifted and so routines are changing again. Many of us are longing to be able to see friends and families again, especially the grandchildren. The current racial tensions are not helping either.

And because of all this, and more, somewhere inside of us, and in all sorts of ways, including missing church, we feel lost.

Lost and confused, not knowing when we be able to worship together again. Not being able to join in with our communities in singing God’s praises, with confessing together and hearing the words of forgiveness and absolution together. Not able to receive Holy Communion together. Not able to share news and gossip after the services, no tea, no coffee, no biscuits, not even a special dispensation for Welsh cakes .

Lost, confused, half helpless, knowing something just isn’t right.

What do we do?

To start with, did you notice the parallel with what Jesus noticed about the crowds following Him in our gospel reading?

Matthew records that they were ‘harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd’? What does that mean? It means they were cut off from how they were supposed to live happy and harmonious lives as individuals, as families, as towns and villages and as a nation because the equivalent of a virus had got into the teaching of many of their religious leaders, because those leaders had misunderstood God’s priorities when they interpreted God’s laws.

Like, it was more important to keep the Sabbath than to rescue your animals from danger or accidents. Like it was more important to spend time tithing their garden herbs than to spend time and energy making sure the poor had their rights under the law upheld.

Jesus’ teaching was radically different. People recognised this and were thirsty for more. They noticed Jesus had authority over physical illnesses, and unclean spirits as well, which the lawyers and Pharisees didn’t.

Jesus could see that they were like a sheep without a shepherd. But then, why did he change metaphor and tell the disciples they should ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into his harvest?

I find it helpful to remember that to the Jews, David, their first King true to God, was also a shepherd, and the harvest is that of people coming into, not so much David’s kingdom, but people coming into God’s kingdom, where they will obey His laws with Love as their priority.

So when Jesus told the disciples they needed to ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into the harvest, he was saying there needed to be more people doing what He was doing – sharing the good news of God’s kingdom, one that was linked with healing.

Jesus also wanted the disciples to pray and told them to do just that…..pray so that their prayers would touch God’s heart….. and ultimately this would touch their hearts too.

How do we know this? Because Matthew tells us Jesus had compassion for those in the crowds. He recognised that they were feeling harassed and that they were feeling helpless. And it is when we have felt harassed and/or helpless ourselves that we are most likely to recognise it in others and therefore, being aware of it, be able to pray compassionately to God for them.

Compassion may mean being moved greatly. A dramatic example would be the story of the raising of Lazarus. It was not after the theological discussion Jesus had with Martha but seeing Mary weeping that moved Jesus to tears too, and that led to the raising of Lazarus.

Compassion doesn’t always lead to tears – sometimes it means hard graft at making friends with someone despite initially being ignored or rejected. Sometimes it means persistence, patience and gentleness. Sometimes it means doing something that is not our preferred way, purely out of love, so that others can see that Christianity is for real life, not for running away from it.

There are reports people are exploring church in a way they haven’t been doing before, partly because there is so much of it online with our church building being shut up. When we are allowed back into the church buildings for services again, is there scope for making attractiveness for newcomers a higher priority.

There are often no quick or easy answers to these questions. But how we need to look for them.

In our gospel reading, we were told that Jesus told his disciples to pray.

In these strange days, when we are feeling lost about all sorts of things, this is a clue as to where would be a good place to start – spending time praying. It’s not only about praying for others – first we need to know, or sense, God’s compassion for ourselves. Then we can share in His compassion for others, which makes it easier to recognise how we can help ourselves and our neighbours to walk more closely with Him. Remembering that Prayer is Conversation, and so leaving time at the end to listen is also good. I’ve even known having a good argument with God lead me to an aspect of Him I hadn’t been aware of before, and so to an improved relationship with Him.

Finally, however fast or slowly things happen, we can still rejoice as we remember that God wants His Kingdom to grow – and He wants us to share in the work and the glory of it.

Amen.

Affirmation of faith

Let us declare our faith in God.

We believe in God the Father,
from whom every family
in heaven and on earth is named.

We believe in God the Son,
who lives in our hearts through faith,
and fills us with his love.

We believe in God the Holy Spirit,
who strengthens us with power from on high.

We believe in one God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Hymn

Intercessions

We pray that Christ may be seen in the life of the Church.

Jesus, Lord of the Church,
in your mercy, hear us.

You have called us into the family of those who are
the children of God.
May our love for our brothers and sisters
be strengthened by your grace.

Jesus, Lord of the Church,
in your mercy, hear us.

You have called us to be a temple
where the Holy Spirit can dwell.
Give us clean hands and pure hearts,
so that our lives will reflect your holiness.

Jesus, Lord of the Church,
in your mercy, hear us.

You have called us to be a light to the world,
so that those in darkness come to you.
May our lives shine
as a witness to the saving grace you have given for all.

Jesus, Lord of the Church,
in your mercy, hear us.

You have called us to be members of your body,
so that when one suffers, all suffer together.
We ask for your comfort and healing power
to bring hope to those in distress.

Jesus, Lord of the Church,
in your mercy, hear us.

You have called us to be the Bride,
where you, Lord, are the Bridegroom.
Prepare us for the wedding feast,
where we will be united with you for ever.

Jesus, Lord of the Church,
hear our prayer,
and make us one in heart and mind
to serve you with joy 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

Holy Spirit, we thank you for coming upon the Church and inhabiting the lives of Christian disciples. We offer you these financial gifts in gratitude and to express our desire for all your gifts to us to bear fruit in our lives. Amen

Blessing and Sending Out

May Christ’s holy, healing and enabling Spirit
be with you and guide you on your way
at every change and turn;
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

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 Worship 7th June 2020 – Trinity Sunday

Welcome to worship today. As usual, there is a playlist set up at the top to play the whole service, including hymns. Or you can go down the page and play each video separately, or read the words if you prefer.

If you are reading this before Sunday morning at 11.30am, please join us at our Zoom Coffee. Details available from Revd Liz.

Service written out

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.

Prayer of preparation

Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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

Prayers of Penitence

God the Father forgives us in Christ and heals us by the Holy Spirit.
Let us therefore put away all anger and bitterness,
all slander and malice,
and confess our sins to God our redeemer.

Silence

Most merciful God,
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
we confess that we have sinned
in thought, word and deed.
We have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.
In your mercy
forgive what we have been,
help us to amend what we are,
and direct what we shall be;
that we may do justly, love mercy,
and walk humbly with you, our God.
Amen.

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

Collect – Prayer for the week

Almighty and everlasting God,
you have given us your servants grace,
by the confession of a true faith,
to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity
and in the power of the divine majesty to worship the Unity:
keep us steadfast in this faith,
that we may evermore be defended from all adversities;
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

Isaiah 40: 12-17,

Isaiah 40: 27-31

Hymn

Take my life – not the tune I am most familiar with, but I really like it and if you want to see the words you will need to select Closed captioning

Gospel

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew
Glory to you, O Lord.

Matthew 28: 16-20

This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.

Sermon – The Revd Liz Hassall

When I say the word God, I wonder what it makes you think of. God. What image is in your mind right now? If we were in church I would be asking you to respond aloud and share it because I can guarantee that whatever image is in your mind would be different to that of other people. When we talk about God we bring a whole bundle of memories and stories and concepts to the table.

We can talk of God the creator, who made all things, Father God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, The God who put the rainbow in the sky over Noah’s ark, the God who guided David to defeat Goliath. The God who appeared to the abandoned woman Hagar and saved her and her son Ishmael, the God who is the still small voice.

We can talk of God the redeemer. Jesus, who lived on earth, growing from infant to adult, a radical teacher who cut through niceties to speak against injustice, who challenged the religious leaders of the day and spent time with those cast out from society, who died and rose again, who gave himself up so our sins can be forgiven.

We can talk about God the Holy Spirit, who we celebrated last week with tongues of flame, who appears as a Dove showing us the way to peace, who whispers in our minds and draws us closer to the way God would have us follow.

All these ideas and stories come together in that one word. God. God is more than we can imagine, God is a celebration in diversity, God is for everyone and we are all made in the image of God. Today is Trinity Sunday and we celebrate the unity of God seen in the trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Trinity is not just an obscure doctrine. It tells us more about God, and helps us to see how God relates to us.

This week, we have all seen some of the consequences of racism, which have been evident following the killing of George Floyd in America. Now I can’t speak about the impact of racism – it isn’t my place to do that. As a white person, however, it is my place to speak up and say that racism is fundamentally wrong and fundamentally opposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ which we follow and we have to do something about it.

The passage from the Gospel of Matthew which we heard today is the very end of the Gospel. The final words. It is Jesus’ last message to his disciples and it is uncompromising in its inclusivity.

The word ALL is there four times. Jesus is given ALL authority. The disciples are told to make disciples of ALL nations, baptising them and teaching them ALL the things commanded by Jesus and Jesus will be with us for ALL the days. Some translations reword it, but it’s clear in the original language.

What does this inclusivity mean? It means that Jesus is for everyone, always, everywhere. His good news is good news for everyone, always, everywhere. The invitation to baptism is for everyone always, everywhere.

But it is not enough just to say that. It is easy to say that Church is for everyone but, unless we listen to the people who are excluded, and act to include them, those are just empty words.

We are all made in the image of God. When we look around at a group of people, each person there is made in the image of God and, as we piece together our knowledge of those people, we get closer to understanding what it means to be in the image of God. Any time that we exclude or drive away a person or group of people, we are missing the gift of God which is in them.

But that makes it sound as if the tragedy of racism is all about what we miss out on, which it isn’t. Racism is about a society which is unfair, unjust, and cruel. We are part of a system where the colour of your skin affects your life expectancy as well as many other aspects of life. As a white person, my life is easier, and I have done nothing to deserve that.

So what are we meant to do about it? First we are meant to listen – listen to the stories of those who experience racism and understand that it isn’t just happening over on the other side of the world but here too and not just in the cities either but out here in our villages.

Second, we should pray, and in doing so learn more of the abundant love of God, Father Son and Holy Spirit, for all of God’s children. Ask God to show us where we are complicit in a racist society and change it.

Thirdly, we should be brave enough to work against injustice, to build a Church and a society in our own communities that is actively anti-racist. This week our archbishops stated that “racism is an affront to God. It is born out of ignorance and must be eradicated. We all bear the responsibility and must play our part to eliminate this scourge on humanity.

At the very simplest level, it is not allowing racist remarks from family and friends to go unchallenged, but we can do much more. I will leave you to think about what that might be.

And in all this we have to be prepared to be told repeatedly that we aren’t getting it right and we have to take that with good grace and not be discouraged.

I started by talking about God. About all the different ways we can meet God and know God. And when we know God, we then have responsibility in joining in with the work of His body on earth, His Church. We are the inheritors of Jesus’ promises to his disciples. We have the responsibility to teach all that Jesus commanded to all nations: to teach that gospel of love and inclusion for the outcast and abandoned, and that gospel of challenge to those in positions of power and privilege. And in all that we can be confident that Jesus will be with us always, to the very end of the age.

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 – led by Sian

Response: God of love, hear our prayer

Closing prayer –
O God beyond us, give us faith.
O God, beside us, give us peace.

O God within us, give us life.
Ever One, Sacred Three, Holy God the Trinity. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Today, I am using the traditional language Lord’s prayer. Please pray in whichever language or version you prefer.

Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us

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

Offertory Prayer

Almighty God, we worship in the name of the one to whom all authority is given – Jesus Christ.  As we offer you this money, you ask us to renew our commitment to be your faith-filled disciples.  May our lifestyles reflect a desire to be in mission for others.  In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we pray.  Amen.

The Peace

Peace to you from God our heavenly Father.
Peace from his Son Jesus Christ who is our peace.
Peace from the Holy Spirit, the life-giver.
The peace of the triune God be always with you
and also with you.

If we were in Church today, I would be making an announcement. I know many of you will already have heard this from the notice sheet, but I thought I would say it here too.

Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, is pleased to announce the
appointment of the Revd Liz Hassall as Priest-in-Charge of the York
City Centre Group, comprising St Olave with St Giles, St Denys, St
Helen Stonegate with St Martin Coney Street, and All Saints
Pavement with St Crux and St Michael Spurriergate. This is fully
endorsed by the Representatives of these parishes.
Liz is currently Rector of Coxwold with Husthwaite, and Crayke with
Brandsby and Yearsley, having been ordained deacon and priest in
this Diocese.
Liz writes, “I am delighted to have been offered the post of Priest-in- Charge at the City Centre Group and I am looking forward to taking
up this new challenge, trusting in the Spirit to lead us all in our
worship and mission in the City of York.”
Subject to any public health restrictions, Liz will be licensed to her
new role in the days leading up to Christmas 2020.

That’s the end of the statement. I know for many of you, this will have come as a shock. We have been so happy here in these villages and it will be a real wrench to leave here. However, as I followed God’s calling in coming more than seven years ago, so I am also following in leaving. I am excited and looking forward to new things, but there are still six months until we leave and I hope in that time to be able to work hard here in discovering what our church communities will look like following the pandemic. I’m really grateful for all the messages of support that I have received. There will be time for goodbyes later. In the mean-time please pray for us as a family of churches, for our family and for the City Centre.

Blessing and Dismissal

God the Holy Trinity make you strong in faith and love,
defend you on every side,
and guide you in truth and peace;
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 Worship 31st May 2020 – Pentecost

Today’s service begins with a hymn from Thy Kingdom Come. Play that first – I think you will recognise the tune – and then play the Youtube playlist underneath. If you prefer to go through the service and play each individually, you will find them all below.

Don’t forget that Zoom Coffee is at 11.30am on Sunday morning. All welcome. Do call the Rectory if you have any problems connecting. The number is on the contact page – link above.

Service written out separately

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.

Alleluia. Christ is risen.
He is risen indeed. Alleluia.

Introduction

Jesus Christ, whom we worship, is our crucified, risen and ascended Lord and we have walked with him through his journey of love. We have faced the agony of his suffering and death on a cross. We have rejoiced at his bursting free from the bonds of death. We have enjoyed his risen presence with us and his revelation of himself through the breaking of bread. We have seen his return to the throne before which every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that this Jesus is Lord.

And now, with the followers of his own time, we await the coming of the promised Holy Spirit, his gift to his people, through whom we make Christ known to the world.

As we wait in silence,
fill us with your Spirit.

As we listen to your word,
fill us with your Spirit.

As we worship you in majesty,
fill us with your Spirit.

As we long for your refreshing,
fill us with your Spirit.

As we long for your renewing,
fill us with your Spirit.

As we long for your equipping,
fill us with your Spirit.

As we long for your empowering,
fill us with your Spirit.

Prayers of Penitence

Jesus says, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’

Silence

Lord have mercy upon us,
forgive us where we have gone wrong and sinned and help us to walk from now on in your way. Amen

May the God of love and power bring us back to himself, forgive us and free us from our sins,
and restore us to newness of life by his Spirit.

Collect – Prayer for the week

Holy Spirit, sent by the Father,
ignite in us your holy fire;
strengthen your children with the gift of faith,
revive your Church with the breath of love,
and renew the face of the earth,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Bible reading – Acts 2

Hymn – Come Down O Love Divine

Gospel

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John
Glory to you, O Lord.

This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God

Sermon

This year, we have all been thinking a lot more about what is safe. Things that we used to do without thinking are suddenly dangerous and either banned or frowned upon. Last year we thought nothing of gathering in great crowds. Now we are all aware of the distance between us. Last year, going in a shop and pushing through a crowd to get to what you needed was rude, but not dangerous.

We are locked down now, for our safety and for the safety of others. Does safe mean boring? Well that rather depends on who you are locked down with. There is rarely a dull moment in our house, thanks to the younger members of the family, but we do have to work harder to find the high points of the week, especially on the weeks where every day is the same.

When you have always lived in a safe environment, you don’t notice it. Safe is certainly something I don’t appreciate until it is gone. Safe doesn’t mean the same for everyone. There are people for whom their own four walls are not safe places, those who are afraid of those they live with. For them, safety is in freedom and being elsewhere.

How do you relate God and safety? What images come to mind? The first thing for me is a hymn – an old one: Rock of Ages, Cleft for me. Let me hide myself in thee. Is God a place of safety, a refuge? There is something in that – God is ever present and his love is something that you can utterly rely on. But there is more to it than that.

At Pentecost, the disciples felt they were safe, gathered together in a house. Jesus had been resurrected for 50 days, he’d disappeared and ascended a few days earlier. They were waiting for what happened next. Jesus had promised them his Spirit and then suddenly it happened.

Tongues of flame and the gift of speaking in new languages. These frightened disciples, all huddled together in safety are thrust out into the crowds, given boldness to speak and spread the news that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ.

What was the difference? It was the real presence of the living God. They had got used to Jesus being among them, challenging them and leading them. Now he was gone and a new way of being began.

Pentecost is often called the birthday of the Church. It’s the day when the disciples stopped hiding away and came out in numbers and preached with boldness. The Church began with a great opening of the message of Jesus. People from all nations were gathered in Jerusalem and people from all nations could hear and understand and join in with that love which was made known in Jesus. It was the power of the Holy Spirit – God: alive and active and working in the world.

The experience of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was many things – but I am not sure whether it would have felt safe.

Do you remember that bit in CS Lewis’s The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe when the children realise what Aslan is?

Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Our experience of the Holy Spirit doesn’t have to be dramatic. The promptings of the Spirit can be subtle – a nudge in the back of your mind that you find it hard to ignore. A bible verse that suddenly catches your eye and it seems as if it was written specifically for you. Finding yourself in a beautiful place and feeling overwhelmed with wanting to worship the God who created it. The Spirit reaches us in many ways.

I don’t know whether you have ever been put on the spot and asked to talk about your faith. For me, standing up to preach the good news of Jesus the first few dozen times didn’t feel at all safe. I was terrified but, over time, I grew to recognise that the Spirit was with me and would help me to find the words as I needed them. It was an adrenaline rush – it happens still when I realise I am talking to someone who is on the verge of committing to Jesus and just needs the right words to push them in that direction. The Holy Spirit doesn’t make me feel safe, but does feel like an encourager to take risks for God.

A lot of people are worried or fearful of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit can feel unpredictable, elusive, surprising, perhaps uncomfortable. How do we reconcile that with our image of God as a safe rock to rely on?

Think about it like this. A toddler stepping out away from their parents’ arms across a park – they have the confidence to go and explore, knowing that their parent is always there to go back to if there is a problem.

Charles Wesley describes the Holy Spirit as Love Divine – Divine Love. For me, following Jesus has been a series of exercises in stepping out in faith, knowing that the love of God through the Holy Spirit is with me as I obey God’s calling and step forward into unknown territory.

So my prayer for us all today is that we may grow to recognise more and more what it feels like when the Holy Spirit is prompting us, whether that is subtly or with power, that we may know the depth of God’s love for us and have the courage to speak with boldness to those who do not yet know the good news of Jesus. And in all this that we will have the courage to pray the ancient prayer of the Church at Pentecost: Veni Sancte Spiritus. Come, Holy Spirit.

Affirmation of faith

Do you believe and trust in God the Father, source of all being and life, the one for whom we exist?
We believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in God the Son, who took our human nature, died for us and rose again?
We believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the people of God and makes Christ known in the world?
We believe and trust in him.

This is the faith of the Church.
This is our faith. We believe and trust in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Hymn – Love Divine, all loves excelling

Intercessions

We pray for God to fill us with his Spirit.

Generous God,
we thank you for the power of your Holy Spirit.
We ask that we may be strengthened to serve you better.

Lord, bless your world
and fill us with Your Spirit.

We thank you for the wisdom of your Holy Spirit.
We ask you to make us wise to understand your will.

Lord, bless your world
and fill us with Your Spirit.

We thank you for the peace of your Holy Spirit.
We ask you to keep us confident of your love wherever you call us.

Lord, bless your world
and fill us with Your Spirit.

We thank you for the healing of your Holy Spirit.
We ask you to bring reconciliation and wholeness
where there is division, sickness and sorrow.

Lord, bless your world
and fill us with Your Spirit.

We thank you for the gifts of your Holy Spirit.
We ask you to equip us for the work which you have given us.

Lord, bless your world
and fill us with Your Spirit.

We thank you for the fruit of your Holy Spirit.
We ask you to reveal in our lives the love of Jesus.

Lord, bless your world
and fill us with Your Spirit.

We thank you for the breath of your Holy Spirit,
given us by the risen Lord.
We ask you to keep the whole Church, living and departed, in the joy of eternal life.

Lord, bless your world
and fill us with Your Spirit.

Generous God,
you sent your Holy Spirit upon your Messiah at the river Jordan,
and upon the disciples in the upper room:
in your mercy fill us with your Spirit,
hear our prayer,
and make us one in heart and mind
to serve you with joy for ever. Amen.

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

The Peace

God has made us one in Christ.
He has set His seal upon us and, as a pledge of what is to come, has given the Spirit to dwell in our hearts. Alleluia.

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

Offertory Prayer

Holy Spirit, we thank you for coming upon the Church and inhabiting the lives of Christian disciples. We offer you these financial gifts in gratitude and to express our desire for all your gifts to us to bear fruit in our lives. Amen

Thinking and praying about Communion

For me, the Eucharist is always more than bread and wine. Communion is with God and with the people wherever we gather. Until we can be restored to our places of worship and gather together once more, I will not celebrate the Eucharist. If you cannot receive with me, it does not feel right for me that I should. That does not mean, however, that we cannot have communion with God. 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, we are using the contemporary language Lord’s prayer. Please pray in whichever language or version you prefer.

Filled with the power of the Spirit,
As our Saviour taught us, so we pray.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.

Prayer

Faithful God,
who fulfilled the promises of Easter
by sending us Your Holy Spirit
and opening to every race and nation
the way of life eternal:
open our lips by Your Spirit,
that every tongue may tell of Your glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Come Holy Spirit, to all baptised in Your Name,
that we may turn to good whatever lies ahead.
Give us passion, give us fire;
make us transform the world from what it is,
to what You have created it to be. Amen.

Hymn – O Breath of Life

Commission

For fifty days we have celebrated the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ over the powers of sin and death. We have proclaimed God’s mighty acts and we have prayed that the power that was at work when God raised Jesus from the dead might be at work in us.

As part of God’s Church here, I call upon you to live out what you proclaim.

Empowered by the Holy Spirit, will you dare to walk into God’s future, trusting him to be your guide?
By the Spirit’s power, we will.

Will you dare to love each other and grow together?
We will.

Will you dare to share your riches in common and minister to each other in need?
We will.

Will you dare to pray for each other until your hearts beat with the longings of God?
We will.

Will you dare to carry the light of Christ into the world’s dark places?
We will.

Blessing and Dismissal

May the Spirit,
who hovered over the waters when the world was created,
breathe into you the life he gives.
Amen.

May the Spirit,
who overshadowed the Virgin when the eternal Son
came among us,
make you joyful in the service of the Lord.
Amen.

May the Spirit,
who set the Church on fire upon the Day of Pentecost,
bring the world alive with the love of the risen Christ.
Amen.

And the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.
Amen.

Filled with the Spirit’s power,
go in the light and peace of Christ. Alleluia, alleluia!
Thanks be to God. Alleluia, alleluia!

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.