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For the texts for each Sunday see the relevant notice sheet

Reflection for 4th Sunday After Trinity 5th July 2020

Matthew Chapter 11 verses 25-30.

Our ability to make a healthy and right relationship with family members and friends forms the basis of many sociological and psychological studies. 

Our Gospel reading this morning speaks to us of the intimacy of Jesus’ relationship with God. He calls God his Father and praises God for His wise plan of redemption. “Lord of heaven and earth”, Jesus says, a title that acknowledges the sovereignty of God over the whole universe.

Jesus praises his father because he has hidden “these things” from the wise and the learned and revealed them to children. These “things” as Jesus calls them are the good news of the presence of the kingdom of heaven which requires humble eyes of faith to see God’s hand at work. God has shared the mysteries of knowledge about Himself and His grace in a way that opens them up to the unlearned, the immature and those of faith.

In speaking of the wise and the learned, Jesus was not referring to the academic specialists, many of whom we have today. He was speaking of those who stubbornly refused to repent and learn from Jesus’ teaching, and his works, about the true way to God.

The little children refers to those who innocently - but not in naivety – receive Jesus’ revelations about the Father, and from the Father. Jesus is contrasting those whose pride and feelings of self-sufficiency have caused them to reject his message. Such persons are compared to those whose humility and their recognition of their own neediness, allow them to be open and accepting of God’s care, which Jesus has declared with the arrival of God’s kingdom.

In all his works and his teachings, especially in the use of parables, Jesus will be testing the hearts of the people. Those who respond spiritually will learn even more about God and His kingdom, but those who refuse to listen and repent will have their hearts and ears closed.
It is God’s will that we receive His care as humble and repentant children. We can then acknowledge our weaknesses and need for the love and strength of God. No matter what we think we have gained or achieved in the sight of humans it will not serve or preserve us into eternity. Without God we can do nothing.

Jesus describes his relationship with his Father as quite a unique one. Jesus has this profound consciousness of the relationship because He too is divine. Jesus wants to reveal this knowledge to us so that, through knowing him, we too can know the Father. This gives us the faith to turn to God, through Jesus, in thanks and praise for all that He has given us – not least His only Son. In times of trouble we definitely know that He is there caring for us and carrying us through.

Jesus rounds this off by offering the wonderful gift of resting in his love. There are no more elegant, winsome, nourishing words in all of scripture. What are we being offered? Well God and Jesus His Son are offering us total compassion. Jesus asks us to take his yoke upon ourselves and learn from him. I have read about a legend that Jesus, in his father Joseph’s carpenter shop, made the best yokes in all Galilee. 

The yoke fastened two oxen together so they could work as a team in pulling the heavy plough. Each animal was comfortable as each yoke was tailor made to fit a particular ox. Jesus is telling us to fasten ourselves to himself. In so doing his task for us is shared with him and so made easy. Our burdens will be lighter. He understands that many people are exhausted by the sheer struggle to stay alive. Don’t give up He says; let me share it with you. “Come to me” is still the invitation our Lord extends to each of us. Why do we chase after things that can never satisfy? The pay increase that means working such long hours you don’t have the time to rest and spend it. We need to turn to Jesus in our exhaustion and weariness.

Jesus says he is gentle and humble in heart. With him we will find rest for our souls. I see how hard it is to resist the demands of the 21st century children for the latest electrical gadget or game which will be discarded within a month. I have struggled with seeing little children with their own personal mobile phones. They never go anywhere without an adult relative and they are not allowed to use them in class. What’s the point? All of us long for some meaning that transcends our work, each success, and life itself. Our Lord invites us to find in him the energizing, vital meaning that life with him offers.

That discovery begins when we come to him, acknowledging that we are exhausted and empty from spiritual wanderlust that has taken us to shopping places rather than to a person. Our Lord promises rest for the restless. We are a generation that longs for answers, solutions, neat formulas for success. When life implodes on us as this virus has done, when death robs us of a loved one or disappointment snatches a friendship from our future, when even faith seems weak and answerless, our Lord offers rest for our souls.

Think about it: if you have answers but no rest, what do you have but a string of words? God in Christ offers us a much better gift. But how? I love the story of the footprints in the sand. Of Jesus walking beside me to comfort me, before me to lead me on the right path, behind me to catch me when I stumble, but above all, to pick me up and carry me when the going gets too tough. Amen.

PRAYERS FOR 4th SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY – 5th July 2020

Gracious Father, by the obedience of Jesus you brought salvation to our wayward world: draw us into harmony with your will,  that we may find all things restored in him, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Loving Father, we pray for your church throughout the world that it may thrive in times of both hardship and prosperity.  We pray for all those who have leadership roles, clergy and laity, that they may take us forward to achieve your goals and bring your people to fulfil the promises made at their baptism.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Father, we pray for peace in the world; for an end to conflict within and between nations, communities and families.  We pray that violence will be replaced by dialogue in resolving problems.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray all who live in the parish and for our local communities; for community leaders, those who provide our local services and for those who are lonely or anxious, hungry or homeless.  May the help they need find them and bring them relief.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Healing Lord, we pray for all who are ill in body mind or spirit.  We give thanks for all who care for them, and at this time of pandemic, we pray for all those endeavouring to keep us safe and to halt the spread of the virus.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.


We pray for those who have departed this life; those who have died recently and those whose anniversaries occur at this time.  May they rest in peace and rise in glory.
Merciful Father:

 Accept these prayers for the sake of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

Blessing

There are many things in life we cannot understand,
But we must trust God’s judgement and be guided by his hand.
And all who have God’s blessing can rest safely in his care,
For he promises safe passage on the wings of faith and prayer.
Amen.

        Helen Steiner Rice

 

Reflection for 28th June 2020 – Third Sunday after Trinity
Matthew Chapter 10 verses 40 to 42.

A major part of our faith is our unwavering belief that Jesus loves us and the work we do in his name is all important. In this short reading, Jesus continues to speak directly to his disciples and apostles and comes to the end of his talk to them with some very comforting words. This reading gives us a direct railway line from ourselves to God.

Jesus connects up the dots by telling the disciples that, as they go about their ministry, whoever receives them is in fact receiving Jesus himself. The person receiving the messenger, that is the one who offers the hospitality, is doing a service to Jesus by receiving him in the body of the disciples. Furthermore, whoever receives Jesus is receiving God who sent Jesus. This message to the twelve is also a message to disciples of the future, all the way along to ourselves today, as we all become the one offering the welcome and the first link in the chain.

In carrying out the mission that Jesus has given them, the disciples were accepted in love by many but utterly rejected by others. Jesus’ warning about tearing families apart was absolutely spot on and remains so today, as some of our members who have converted from another faith can testify.

In our own individual and personal way,  we live our lives as disciples with a lifelong ministry of expressing our mission as children of God. We are sent by Jesus with His authority and with His message of love to humankind. Wherever we are received, or whoever we receive in Jesus name, it is the same as receiving Jesus himself.

Most of us won’t see ourselves as a “prophet” who is one who speaks for God. We can feel righteousness of the kingdom which comes from obeying Jesus. In other countries around the world our brothers and sisters become the “little ones” who have sacrificed their lives or endured persecution for living a life of faith and mission. These become the little ones as they don’t have the esteemed positions of the more senior and well-known disciples. Some authors have suggested Jesus is actually criticising the Church for showing partiality to the rich in the church whilst dishonouring the poor (James 2 v 1). Certainly, Jesus is highlighting his command to love one another as he has loved us and the need to have special care for the most vulnerable among us who are like children requiring special treatment.

Jesus tells us there is a reward for receiving and helping in his name. This is not an earthly reward but a heavenly one in the form of salvation. The thought of the cup of cold water was like nectar last Wednesday as the whole country sweltered in the heat. But the water, in the form of assistance, needs to be provided in Jesus’ name. There is to be no concern for personal acclamation or personal gain. Such a kind of “generosity” can be very short lived, open to abuse or misdirection and can leave a sense of dissatisfaction with the reward achieved.

Many people have reached out to those in need during this pandemic. To many, such as the health care workers, and those who served in some form of essential service, such as the public transport workers, it was not a case of doing what was demanded.  It was no longer just a job. These were and are unselfish acts of love for fellow human beings in their time of need. Many knew they were putting their own lives at risk and have paid the ultimate price. They have accepted Jesus’ command to love one another, heedless of the inequalities put in place by some of the decision makers.

Many have served compassionately in the love of Christ. Their acts of welcoming, caring and mercy will have been entered into the book of life. God is intimately involved in the mission right down to the cup of cold water. He will have sustained the missionary and He will reward those who have given hospitality. We are all God’s children. Anyone responding to one of God’s children will actually be responding to God. Our change in behaviour will be obvious to others. Our attitude and outlook will be open and available to good rather than fear and self-absorption.

In all that we say and do, don’t forget or disregard the power of prayer. Many of us can’t go out there and give of ourselves. We can all come before God in our bedchamber. We can give God thanks for the gifts from others and we can humbly pray for his blessings on those in need.

Amen.

Intercessions for Sunday 28th June 2020 – Third Sunday after Trinity

As Christ's disciples we are no longer slaves to sin, but available for righteousness.
Holy God, you are the focus of our love and worship, because you alone are the Lord who has made us and rescued us. May we not return to the slavery of sin but live in your freedom, serving you with joy.

Heal us Lord: and use us to your glory.    

Holy God, though the world may often reject you, you never fail to believe in us and love us.  We pray for all areas of conflict, deceit, mismanagement and greed, and for all who are drawn into the chaos of evil.

Heal us Lord: and use us to your glory.   

Holy God, our daily lives provide rich ground for acts of loving kindness, self-discipline and courage.  Show us the opportunities, and strengthen us to use them.

Heal us Lord: and use us to your glory.    

Holy God, we thank you for all who lovingly look after those in nursing homes, care homes, hospitals, nurseries and prisons or in their own homes, and we pray for all who need such care and rely on others. 

Heal us Lord: and use us to your glory.   

Holy God, we call to mind all those who have died, and thank you for each act of goodness in their lives.  Have mercy on them and forgive their failings, so that they may share the joy of heaven for ever.

Heal us Lord: and use us to your glory.    

Holy God, we thank you for our human potential for good, and for your gift of grace that makes such goodness a real possibility. 

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

Amen.


Blessing

Lord, be with us this day,
Within us to purify us;
Above us to draw us up;
Beneath us to sustain us;
Before us to lead us;
Behind us to restrain us;
Around us to protect us.

Amen.

St Patrick

 

Reflection on Matthew Chapter 10 v 26 – 32

2nd Sunday After Trinity 21 June 2020

Our full Gospel reading for today is Matthew 10 verses 24 to 39 but, for our reflection, I would like to concentrate on the middle section.

Jesus is continuing to teach his disciples about the depth and breadth of the ministry of being a disciple. In previous verses Jesus gave them authority to preach, teach and heal in his name. But Jesus warns them that in the same way that the Pharisees were accusing Jesus of miracles by means of demonic powers then the disciples would be accused also.
Jesus tells his disciples to be unafraid. The charges against them are false and have no foundation so they will not stand up to scrutiny. Jesus reassures the disciples with the fact that God sees everything. One can feel reassured and comforted in the knowledge that God is watching over us at all times – even when we are asleep. This might be less comforting if we know we are neglecting our calling, whether it be “in thought, word and deed, or in what we have failed to do”.

The truth about Jesus’ ministry would, and has, become known. The secret plots of the religious leaders soon became public knowledge. All the devious opposition to Jesus which was conducted in secret night time meetings was soon laid bare for the whole community to see. Up till then Jesus had told his disciples to keep his identity and mission a secret. The crowd would get carried away as they try to push Jesus into opposition against their Roman rulers. The religious leaders saw Jesus’ ministry as a threat to their privileged position from the outset and would work harder to silence him.

Being caught out in lies and secret plots is an everyday hazard for some of our leaders today. It should at least tell us to be more discerning in our choices in the future. We need to listen carefully to what is being said and, equally important, to what is not said. Where are the plans and the actions to go with the glib, wishful words? Or are they hoping it will soon be forgotten and we can go back to blithely drifting through each day in our own cocoon of peace and security. Jesus insists we should not be afraid of the truth. The truth sets us free to do God’s will in all things.

Jesus reassures us we should not be afraid for our lives because our eternal destiny is secure. Unlike a number of non-Christian majority countries, we are able to worship and do mission knowing our personal safety is assured. We will not be killed for professing our faith. Somehow this does not always make us more ambitious or adventurous in our endeavours.

Jesus calls his disciples to be courageous in their ministry. Those who oppose them can kill the body but not the soul, so the work becomes more important than all else. There is a limit to the harm one human can do to another. Death is final for us but not for God. Having taken another’s life wrongly, there is torment for the one who took that life. Jesus gives eternal solace and joy to the life that is taken in his name. God cares for the little sparrow that is worth half of the coin of the lowest denomination. How much more will he care for us his children who suffer in his name?

Understanding and grasping our place in the love of God and his kingdom is so affirming that we are able to publicly declare him our Lord. At the end of earthly time, Jesus will affirm us to the Father as we take our place in heaven.

Amen.

Intercessions Sunday 21st June 2020

Almighty God, as we pray together in hope and in faith, we ask you to fill the hearts of your faithful people and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Holy God, we pray for our church leaders, that they will be guided in their ministry to bring your words to all people.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

At this time of a common enemy attacking people throughout the world, bring comfort and courage to those afflicted, and strength and fortitude to those treating and caring for all sick and vulnerable people, everywhere, however they are suffering.  Bring your peace and calm to us all in whatever way we have been affected by covid19.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We give thanks for the communications available to us – the phone calls, the electronic means of keeping in touch with family and friends whilst other ways are restricted. We give thanks to those who have made this technology a means of sharing Your Word at this time.  We are grateful that having been forced to live our lives in a different way, many of us have been enabled to slow down and reflect on the glories of the world around us.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

As we continue to pass through these extraordinary times, help us to help each other. Bring support to all of us whose lives will be changing again; to some, having been confined to their homes for months and will have to make a worrying move back into the outside world; to others returning to work, or facing the reality of no work; to the youngsters returning to school; changing school; or moving on from school, all will need your love and guidance.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray especially for the people who succumbed to the virus and all who have died during this time. We think of their loved ones and the different and difficult ways they are coping with their loss.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Dear Lord, strengthen us in our daily living that in joy and sorrow we may know the power of your presence.                   

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of Your Son, our saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Blessing

Dear God, bless all my family, as I tell you each name;
And please bless each one differently for no one’s quite the same.
Especially God, bless Gran through the sunlit day.
God bless Gran through the starlit night.
God bless Gran when we are together.
God bless Gran when we are out of sight.

Amen.

 

Sunday 14th June 2020 - First Sunday after Trinity

Reflection on Matthew Chapter 9 verse 35 to Chapter 10 verse 8.
Compassion And The Calling of the twelve .


The first two verses in our Gospel reading today highlight Jesus’ ministry of compassion to those in need. Jesus teaches, preaches and heals. He teaches and preaches the wonderful news of the kingdom of God which is now embodied by his presence here on earth. This kingdom message calls on us to make a decision on how we live our lives in this world. It is the people of God living by the will of God.

Jesus’ compassion for the crowds of people shines through as he heals them of their physical and mental diseases. Then he looks into their hearts and souls and sees they are harassed and helpless. Jesus sees them as sheep without a shepherd. The image of sheep leaderless or with good or bad shepherds is found throughout the bible. Moses pleaded with God to lead the people lest they become as sheep without a shepherd. The prophet Micah saw Israel scattered as sheep without a shepherd. 

Jesus felt compassion for the Jews made weary and bewildered by the array of religious demands placed on them, particularly by the Pharisees. These religious leaders did not discharge their responsibility to guide and protect the people as good shepherds should. They caused suffering instead of showing spiritual rest in God. Turning to his disciples, one can hear the love in Jesus’ voice as he declares the breadth of work to be done. The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few. So Jesus prays to God the Father to send more labourers.

The people of Israel have a great spiritual need. They themselves recognise their need for physical and mental healing but they lack the insight to their own spiritual needs. The situation is compounded by the numerous petty and complex demands of their religious leaders. We are required to have faith and place our every need, identified or not, into the hands of God. God sees all and knows all. He will supply our every need even when it was not really what we thought we wanted.

Our world today is in desperate spiritual need. We see the physical needs of our communities ravaged by a disease that attacks the most vulnerable sectors in particular. Many are stricken at heart by the loss of loved ones. Others are beaten down by the loneliness of isolation and confinement for their own safety. Many people are struggling to survive the financial hardship. Nearly everyone fears the unseen and therefore the unknown threat that waits outside the door.

What has lifted the spirits of so many is the ability to help and serve others who are in greater need. We have become good neighbours to others who do not live next door. We are able to give help to persons who we simply recognise as humans in need. Showing love and compassion to others in need has supplied peace, calm and solace for our own troubled spirits. The harvest at this time is indeed bountiful but the workers are insufficient to fulfil the need. For anyone confined to home there is something you can do. Pray as Jesus did for more workers to assist in the task. Prayer is a powerful tool and God hears it all.
Jesus calls his first twelve disciples to assist in the work. In their travels with him so far, they have witnessed the pattern they are now meant to follow in their mission and evangelism work. Jesus gives them the power to do the work. They would be able to heal all kinds of physical and mental illnesses. They would be able to cast out unclean spirits as these also caused spiritual, physical and mental ill health.

There were twelve disciples initially, which echoed the twelve tribes of Israel as descended from Jacob. They were to be the new people of God, later called the Church, and we now refer to ourselves as the body of Christ. The amazing thing was that these were ordinary men from the communities to which Jesus ministered. There were a variety of personalities from all backgrounds.

Peter was there from the outset acting as leader and speaker for the group. Some were fishermen; Philip was a scholar; Matthew was a tax collector and therefore hated by his fellow Jews; another Simon was a Canaanite which made him a bit of a nationalist. Some scholars think that Judas Iscariot was not even from Galilee. There were three sets of brothers amongst the twelve.

Now we know that at various points in their travels with Jesus these men would have little disagreements, the worst being when they started arguing over their place of prominence in heaven. At this point, Jesus has chosen them and will send them out to preach and heal. Such a difference in backgrounds and personalities would have been doomed to failure but for one thing. They were united in their love of Jesus and their common commitment to him and the work to be done.

This is an important lesson for the church of today. Yes, we have different backgrounds and types of churchmanship. We may have slightly different perspectives on some of the ideas and teachings of the Church.

But what we must be consistently united on is our love of Jesus, our love for his children who are our fellow humans - and our commitment to the ministry and mission Jesus has given us which is to love God, to love one another and to feed his sheep.

Amen.        

Prayers

Lord of all truth and goodness, we pray for our bishops, deacons and clergy all over the world whatever colour, creed or ethnicity at this time of great worry and threat from the pandemic around us. We thank them for their ability and technical knowledge they are using to provide us with whatever kind of service on-line it is possible for them to give us.  We will never forget, Lord, that even though churches are shut your door is always open.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer

At this moment, Lord, your world is in great turmoil with famine, racist warfare and now this virus. Please God we pray that you will do your best to make peace amongst nations and wellbeing for us all – thankyou. We pray for all scientists, doctors, nurses, carers and frontline workers who are doing their best to keep us all safe; empower them with the knowledge and expertise they require at this difficult time.

Lord in our mercy hear our prayer

We pray, Lord, for all who have departed this life, be it the many who have fallen to the corona virus or some other illness and those whose anniversary falls at this time. Please be with all their bereaved families and let them know of the strong comfort only you can give in the eternal life in your kingdom.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer

We pray for the community of Fairweather Green especially the parishioners of St Saviours. Please, Lord, be with everyone and help us all to do our best to keep friends, families and ourselves safe. Please be with the isolated and vulnerable at this time and let them know they are not alone.  We pray that in the near future we can all be together again and sing your praise in churches throughout the world.

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

 

Blessing

May God’s love surround us,
God’s joy fill our lives,
God’s peace be in our hearts,
And God’s blessing be with us this day and for always.
Amen.

 

ALL SERVICES AND EVENTS ARE CANCELLED DURING THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS

A link to all servcies in our area which are being streamed can be found on the Diocesan website

View a copy of the weekly service sheet here

First Sunday:

10.00 a.m. Said Communion (when a major church festival there will be a full communion service)

Other Sundays

10.00 a.m. Holy Communion

11.00 a.m. Refreshments in hall

 

Wednesdays 9.30 a.m.

Said Communion - Common Worship order one.

Only the services on the 2nd & 4th Wednesdays of the month will be at St. Saviour's. The services on the 1st, 3rd & 5th Wednesdays will be at St. James's, Thornton.

Thursdays 9.30 a.m.

Morning Prayer