Good morning everybody, how are you doing with the lifting of restrictions, we are being very cautious at church due to the present high numbers but have made some changes to try to suit most people. We are keeping masks and distancing for the time being as Bolton rates are high, however we will be introducing singing again ( with masks) and going back to the full service in the cream book, however communion will be bread only. We will assess the situation over the next few weeks and gradually and safely change things as needed. If there is anything you are uncomfortable with please let us know.
As the schools are now on holiday we wish you all a restful and enjoyable family time with your loved ones and hope you are all well and enjoying the change in routine.
The Intercessions today are by Joyce Armstrong and the reflection is 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
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
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.
Almighty Lord and everlasting God, we beseech you to direct, sanctify and govern both our hearts and bodies in the ways of your laws and the works of your commandments; that through your most mighty protection, both here and ever, we may be preserved in body and soul; 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 OLD TESTAMENT READING – 2 Kings 4:42-44
A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing food from the first fruits to the man of God: twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. Elisha said, “Give it to the people and let them eat.” But his servant said, “How can I set this before a hundred people?” So he repeated, “Give it to the people and let them eat, for thus says the LORD, ‘They shall eat and have some left.'” He set it before them, they ate, and had some left, according to the word of the LORD.
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God
THE NEW TESTAMENT READING – Ephesians 3:14-21
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
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.
After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming towards him, Jesus said to Philip, ‘Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?’ He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, ‘Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, ‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?’ Jesus said, ‘Make the people sit down.’ Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, ‘Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.’ So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, ‘This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.’
When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, got into a boat, and started across the lake to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The lake became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the lake and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’ Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land towards which they were going.
This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you O Christ.
We have all heard this well-known gospel story since our childhoods and wondered at it and I suppose searched for a meaning. Obviously it is Jesus demonstrating that he is the Messiah and is doing God’s work the fact that he could do miracles was proof to a questioning people that this is true.
In the Old Testament reading from Kings we have a similar story about a man from Baal-Shalishah who brings 20 loaves and sacks of grain to where Elisha is. He is told to feed a hundred people and of course that seems impossible but is told to give it to the people and that there will be some left. In the feeding of the five thousand Jesus takes the loaves gives thanks and gives it to the people to share and again more than enough food is there.
In both cases it might be asked, did people knowingly bring food with them and guilty conscience made them share what they had? It doesn’t matter how the food multiplied and lots were left over it is the fact that Jesus and Elisha knew and had the faith that God would provide, a message that Jesus was always repeating to his disciples. It is always amazing when God’s work affects us and we wonder at the way he does it, in answer to prayers or in our lives when he calls us to do his work.
There is another comparison to be made which we follow through in our services today, that is the link with the Eucharist. Jesus took the bread gave thanks broke it and shared it and we were asked to do the same.
Do you ever wonder about the boy who had 5 loaves and 2 fish, who was he? How did the disciples know what he carried? Was he a relative of one of the disciples? Was it that he was a very outgoing young man? What a tale he could go and tell, a young boy meeting Jesus witnessing a miracle, no prejudices or politics involved and also he would be spreading the message of Jesus and God’s word.
It must have been very tiring and stressful for Jesus and his disciples after the event, they took a boat to cross the lake to Capernaum but Jesus wasn’t with them, they became afraid when a storm and the winds got up and Jesus walked on the water to them. Surprisingly they were afraid perhaps they didn’t realise it was Jesus and as he reached them they were immediately on dry land. Another lesson to them about their faith.
This comes into our lives constantly, do we trust in God? Do we keep our faith? We are all tested at some point in our lives and I hope that we have found solace and comfort in our faith or that we can help others who are finding it hard. Especially now at this point with the Covid changes, when public places are opening up and we are anxious and not yet ready. Take care and you know we are here to help if we can. God bless.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lord God, we thank you that you make yourself known to us in numerous ways, not just when we gather to worship you, but often in times and places we least expect. Teach us to be still in your presence, to listen to your voice, to seek your will and to respond to your guidance. You reach out with unfailing love: help us to respond in faith. Amen.
We pray for leaders in the Church – ministers, bishops, deacons, all those entrusted to teach the faith through word and deed. Grant them vision and discernment, a living knowledge of your presence, and a daily sense of your guidance.
Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer
We pray for all the nations of the world in these uncertain times. We pray that the resources to help defeat this terrible virus may be shared by all mankind. We pray for the work of all aid agencies as they struggle to bring relief in the most desperate circumstances.
Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer
We pray for harmony and understanding in our own homes and in our relationships with our parents, partners, brothers, sisters, children and friends. For the willingness to both give and receive, for the generosity of forgiving love.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer
We pray for those who are suffering – battling against illness, physical disability, enduring long term physical or emotional pain, and for those who have suffered through isolation during this pandemic. We ask Lord that you renew their strength and refresh their spirits.
Lord in your mercy hear our prayer
We pray for those called through death, into eternal life and freedom from pain and suffering and from our Book of Remembrance we think especially of Enid Burgess, Edith Wood, Dr Janet M Bisset, William Botterill, Christine Scholes, James L Wood. We pray also for those coming to terms with their loss; and ask that you reach out to them, sharing their pain and giving them the assurance that those who mourn shall be comforted.
Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer
Lord, take our faith, flawed though it is, our love poor though it may be, and our commitment, for all its imperfections. Help us to understand that you are with us not just here but everywhere, not just now but always and use us to make known your purpose through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Rejoicing in the fellowship of 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.
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.