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.
Good morning everyone, I hope you are well. We are increasing in numbers now in church and we are beginning to look at how we can accommodate everyone, we are still distancing so we will see how we go, but it is lovely to see so many of you coming back. We have now started the Wednesday family and children service at 6pm, so it’s great to be cautiously getting back to normal.
This coming week we have a PCC meeting so we are looking on ways to get back to our Little Church next week and Junior Church in the coming weeks, I will let you know what we decide but we are hoping to be back soon.
Keep the Christian Aid donations coming in for our team walk and I will give you an update next week to let you know how much we raised, it was a fabulous day and we met up with friends from other churches that we hadn’t seen since the lockdown. The organisers did a fabulous job and it all ran like clockwork, once again many thanks to all involved.
Our Mother’s Union are collecting NEW children’s underwear for the Afghan refugees here in our country; these can be brought into church or passed onto Mother’s Union members.
Our reflection toady is by Rev Peter and Intercessions by Joyce Armstrong. Many thanks to them.
PRAYER OF PREPARATION
As we rejoice in the gift of this new day, so may the light of your presence, O God, set our hearts on fire with love for you; now and forever. Amen.
PRAYER OF PENITENCE
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 neighbour 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.
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.
O Lord, we beseech you mercifully to hear the prayers of your people who call upon you; and grant that they may both perceive and know what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfil them; 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
JEREMIAH 11, 18-20
It was the Lord who made it known to me, and I knew; then you showed me their evil deeds. But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter. And I did not know it was against me that they devised schemes, saying, ‘Let us destroy the tree with its fruit, let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name will no longer be remembered!’ But you, O Lord of hosts, who judge righteously, who try the heart and the mind, let me see your retribution upon them, for to you I have committed my cause.
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
THE NEW TESTAMENT READING
JAMES 3, 13-4.3,7-8.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.
Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark. Glory to you, O Lord.
MARK 9, 30-37
They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, ‘The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.’ But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.
Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the way?’ But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.’ Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’
This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.
Last week the key question was: “who do you say Jesus is?” this week the question is “what are you arguing over?”
Both are powerful theological questions – even more so when we find the disciples were arguing over issues of status and recognition. As Jesus is trying to teach about self-sacrifice, and his own self-giving/ suffering the disciples are so far off his wavelength that they are arguing about importance; or maybe it was because they were so obsessed with importance and reward and recognition that they could not understand or make any sense of what Jesus was saying.
The passage doesn’t really need much commentary: are we wanting recognition and acclamation, or are we focused on God? Three times we will find this basic argument – in Mark chapters 8,9 and 10 – each time framed a bit differently, but each with the same fundamental challenge: do we understand, accept and follow a King who gives his life for others, who is the one who serves, who is the one who fights for the justice for others, or are we still wanting a God who will let us be important.
Status, recognition, acclamation are invidious and, like ivy, they can start as small but gradually wrap us round. Humans do work better when praised, when thanked, when appreciated, in fact most of us, without these, wither rather than flourish. We are called to do our best for God, we are to make the most of the gifts we have been given. There is a sense in which some of us have more gifts, or less gifts than others. We should accept thanks and praise when offered – we should hear God say “Well done good and faithful servant”. But we should also remember that we are all, all, equal in God’s sight, all children together, all heirs together of the same promises, all recipients of the one baptism, all in need of salvation, all offered salvation, all called to use the gifts given us as best we can. We are all gifted because we are all made in the image of God and therefore able to share that truth with others. Human “gifts” can easily obscure the image of God, especially when we try and draw attention to ours!
What do we argue over in church? What do we grumble about or who do we grumble about? If Jesus were to ask us, “what were you on about?” I wonder if we would be silently uncomfortable, or uncomfortably silent. Yes there are things that are not right- Jesus challenged injustice in the temple as well as in the street or the palace, but he reserved some of his sharpest criticism for those he called hypocrites, those who thought they were better than others.
Let us rejoice in our gifts for God has given them to us, but like the little child let us rejoice still more because God has welcomed us as his children, not because of what we are or even who we are, but simply because I, you, we are made in his image and special and precious to him.
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.
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.
Loving God, teach us to be still in your presence, to listen to your voice, to seek your will, and to respond to your guidance. Deepen our relationship with you through Christ, so that we may know your presence with us more fully each day and share your life more abundantly each moment. Amen
Loving God, we thank you for all the help and encouragement we are given from the Church – from its worship, teaching and fellowship; from it faithfulness in prayer. Bless and further all loving ministry in word and sacrament throughout the worldwide Church; inspire us all to want your will and to do it.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Loving God, we pray for the world, where the misery and tragedy of wrong choices grieves your heart of love. Let there be wisdom and compassion in all negotiations and decisions; let there be humility in leadership and responsibility for right action shared by all.
Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer.
Loving God, we bring to you the joys and worries, the frustrations and accomplishments of this week in the lives we have met and shared. As we pray, let your light shine into all these lives for fresh directing and lasting good.
Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer.
Loving God, we bring to you those we know who are ill or suffering in any way. Give them healing, restore them in body, mind and spirit, and provide them with peace of mind, protection and hope through your love.
Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer.
Loving God, we pray, week in, week out, that your kingdom will come and your will be done. It is easy to say the words, far harder to mean them, for they are concerned finally not just with you but with us. Help us to understand that your kingdom is not just in the future, but something that begins within us, here and now, and so help us to recognise our role in bringing it nearer, through the love we show, the care we display and the service we offer. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen
Rejoicing in the fellowship of St. Maxentius, and all your saints, we commend ourselves and the whole of your creation to your unfailing love
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.
The Lord bless us and watch over us, the Lord make his face shine upon us and be gracious to us, the Lord look kindly on us and give us peace and the blessing of God almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with us now and forever more. Amen.