Here below we have an outline of our service for you to follow at home if you can’t be with us. Choose a quiet reflective space and to make it more meaningful have a cross, bible and candle to make your sacred space.
We are now back to near normal services in the cream books with singing, it seems a little different with masks, but it has really brought the service back to life. I asked if anyone would prefer not to wear masks once sitting and a small few would like that however the majority wanted them to stay. To try to accommodate everyone we will have a section of pews at the front left next to the vestry entrance for non-mask wearers. Masks will still be worn by everyone coming in and out and singing, (but may be removed while sitting in the pew in the specified area only). We will keep reviewing the situation over the coming weeks.
Today’s reflection is by Rev Carol who sent it before she went on holiday and we wish her a peaceful and refreshing break, the intercessions are by myself.
PRAYER OF PREPARATION
God is spirit. Let us worship him in spirit and truth
The Lord is with us. Let us praise his name together.
PRAYER OF PENITENCE
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.
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 sins of the world: have mercy upon 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.
Let your merciful ears, O Lord, be open to the prayers of your humble servants; and that they may obtain their petitions make them to ask such things as shall please you; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
THE OLD TESTAMENT READING
1 KINGS 19,4-8
But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.’ 5Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, ‘Get up and eat.’ 6He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again. 7The angel of the Lord came a second time, touched him, and said, ‘Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you.’ 8He got up, and ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food for forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God.
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God
THE NEW TESTAMENT READING
So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbours, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labour and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John. Glory to you O Lord.
JOHN 6. 35, 41-51
Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ They were saying, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, “I have come down from heaven”?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Do not complain among yourselves. No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, “And they shall all be taught by God.” Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’
This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.
Jesus comes along after feeding the 5,000 with a boy’s lunch… after referring to himself as the “bread of life” and “the living bread that came down from heaven” and says to those around him, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.”
We immediately run into some level of difficulty with these words, if – like some of Jesus’ Jewish contemporaries – we take them too literally. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” That was one of their questions.
John’s Gospel uses the saying ‘eat my flesh and drink my blood’ several times. In this reading, we hear Jesus repeat again what he has already said – he has been sent from heaven as the true nourishment, not like the manna which was sent from heaven to Moses and the Jews, which kept them alive for the day, but did not give them eternal life; if we ‘eat this bread’ and ‘feed’ on Jesus, then eternal life will be ours. The expressions are repeated again and again– so what did Jesus mean?
What happens to food and drink when we ‘ingest’ them? Our bodies produce substances which break down the food so that what we need from it can be absorbed by the body; so that the nutrition we need can be extracted and effectively become part of our bodies, producing energy, forming new cells/renewing and repairing our bodies. There is then no distinction between the nutrition and us because it has become part of us.
Food and drink are our means of staying alive. Without them, our bodies deteriorate, and death follows. But whilst ordinary food will keep the flesh going for a while, Jesus goes on to say that ‘the flesh is useless’. It is the spirit that gives life and Jesus’ words are spirit and life. If we take in his spiritual nutrition – the spiritual food and drink that Jesus provides, then he becomes part of us and we of him – we are inextricably part of each other – indwelling in each other – it is a spiritual union that has we recognise as The Eucharist, Holy Communion
When the sacrament of Holy Communion got established quite early in the Christian church, some accused proponents of the new faith of being cannibals, largely due to the “Body and Blood of Jesus” language.
“Eat my flesh” and “drink my blood”. What do these words mean?
All words are symbolic. These words are especially so. They point to a deep truth – a deep mystery, in fact – that when you and I “take in” … partake of Christ – we find what we are most looking for: life in the fullest, even eternal life – the imperishable food that endures.
This is one of the places where the Church uses sacramental language. A sacrament: an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as “sure and certain means by which we receive that grace.” The bread and wine – the outward and visible signs – become the Body and Blood of Christ – the inward and spiritual grace – given to his people, and “received by faith.” (BCP, p. 859)
That is the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. The word Eucharist means thanksgiving, and expression of gratitude for the gift received. And when we gather at the table to express our gratitude for the life we are being given, it is not just an isolated act that we carry out, it is the centre point of our lives because it symbolises the whole of our lives, a giving and receiving relationship with God filled with gratitude, mystery, celebration, and wonder. As people who live our lives as a sacred gift, we find our whole lives expressed, symbolised, and made holy here at this table.
We come because we have heard Christ’s call, because we want to abide in him, to rest in him, and to open ourselves to him so that he might abide in us. We come because we want to be intimately related to the one who gives us life, because we want to live our life in the same spirit that we receive bread and wine here. We come because we want to receive what we are, because we want to become what we receive. We come because the Word has become flesh, and through word and flesh we will find life in all its fullness.
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; 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.
PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION
Here we pray for the church, for the world, those in need and those who have died, you can follow your own prayers or these below on today’s theme.
Blessed are you, Lord our God, for you provided for your children. In the wilderness you gave us the bread of life. Lord, grant, as we make our journey towards the Promised Land, that we may put our hope and our trust in you. Blessed are you Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Father we give you thanks that you have called us to know you and to love you. You have drawn us to you with bands of love. Help us to listen and obey your word. We pray for all preachers and pastors, for ministers of the sacraments. We pray for all our clergy and lay ministry teams in Turton Moorland team. We pray for those who have lost their faith in themselves or in you.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer
Lord God, Creator of heaven and earth, we pray for the nations in the world. May they find a unity and a peace in you. We ask your blessing on the work of the United Nations and upon all peacekeeping forces. We pray for areas of the world where there is strife and division, where people are unable to trust each other, where people do not listen to each other. We remember displaced peoples and refugees.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer
We thank you for the love and protection of our homes. We ask your blessing upon our families and friends. We remember before you homes where there is division or distrust, where families are divided. We pray for all who have been betrayed or deserted. We remember also all who are leaving home for the first time.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
We give you thanks for our own well-being and for all that feeds our bodies, minds and spirits. We remember all who are struggling with doubt and despair, all who are having difficulty in their daily lives. We pray for all who are ill at home or in hospital, especially those who have no one to care for them. We especially pray today for Muriel Gerrard and Sue Roberts and others known to us.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer
We rejoice that you sustain us with the bread of life. Through our union with Jesus you offer us life eternal. As we celebrate our communion with the saints, we remember our friends and loved ones departed and from our book of remembrance, Tom Garwood, Ellen Pearce, Philip David Greenhalgh, Horace Council and Hilda Hester Hamer. We ask that they may rejoice in the fullness of eternal life.
Merciful Father, accept these prayers, for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. 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.
Now may the Lord of peace himself give us peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with us all and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be among us and remain with us always. Amen.