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CHRIST CHURCH

2nd AUGUST 2020

 

Greetings

  • Good morning everybody.
  • I hope this morning finds you well and that all your families and friends are well too.
  • Today, like last week, we are meeting in church and at home. Wherever we are, we celebrate, as always, being God’s people, and part of his family. We come together, in our different places, to worship our amazing God – who never changes yesterday, today and tomorrow. Yet our unchanging God is the one who changes lives through his love and by his Holy Spirit.
  • Today, we celebrate Holy Communion together. Like last time, it will look a little different. For those at home, I am including the words that we will use in church, and which comes from one of the services that we frequently use for a Communion service when we are together. Especially, as we share the bread, wherever we are, we will hold each other in our hearts and prayers. 
  • And so, here at Christ Church, and in our own homes, we now bring ourselves into the presence of God, once again knowing that we are surrounded by a host of witnesses across time and space.

 

Call to Worship

We come together,

here in Church and in our homes,

to share in God’s love,
to lift our hearts and voices in praise and worship,
to seek, and find, God’s blessing

with a new and deep experience
of God’s power and generosity. Amen.

 

Hymn 383:  Let us build a house where all can dwell

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3Pb77ylz_Q

(To access – keep your finger on Ctrl and click on the mouse. If there is an advert just dismiss it!)

 

The Greeting

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father,

and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

And also with you.

 

Prayer of Preparation

We pray 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.

 

Prayers of Penitence

We bring ourselves quietly into God’s presence, as we say sorry.

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.

 

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 you from all our sins,

confirm and strengthen us in all goodness,

and keep us in life eternal;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Gloria in Excelsis

We say together. 

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.

 

Prayer for Today

Lord God,

Your Son left the riches of heaven

and became poor for our sake:

when we prosper save us from pride,

when we are needy save us from despair,

that we may trust in you alone;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

New Testament Reading:       Isaiah 55: 1-5

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters;
and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and

without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.
See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a ruler and commander of the peoples.
Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendour.”

 

Hymn 637:  The Lord’s my shepherd

  • We sing the song that we are singing through this period of lockdown, as a reminder of God who is with us, and in whom we put our trust week by week.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN4tPkX0MG0

(To access – keep your finger on Ctrl and click on the mouse. If there is an advert just dismiss it!)

 

Gospel Reading:   Matthew 14: 13-21

When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.’ Jesus replied, ‘They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.’ ‘We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish.’ they answered. ‘Bring them here to me,’ he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

 

Reflection

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

 

What strange times we continue to be in! At a time when we are unable to eat together, or gather together in large crowds, we hear this very familiar story. Jesus feeding thousands of people (on this occasion four thousand), outside, and eating with them.

 

I wonder if you can recall times when you were part of a large crowd? Why were you there? What did it feel like? What happened?

 

Were you there because you were going to see or listen to a particular person? Was it in a venue nearby, or did you have to travel? Some years ago now, I remember we would sometimes go to the summer concerts at Audley End. We would go armed with a picnic, meet up with others, have an exciting picnic, take crockery and chairs, and then listen to the selection of music playing on that particular evening, whether it was music from the films or classical pieces that were particularly evocative for a summer evening culminating in a grand firework display. Often such occasions are ones where we gather together and share in our love of something – whether it is music, a pop star or of God through songs or a famous preacher.

 

So let’s think about this event. If we were to describe some of the things that we heard from our Gospel reading, we would all recall different aspects. We might think of the tyrannical King Herod who had killed John the Baptist, who was a popular leader. Or Jesus, John’s cousin, who has been associated with the same movement – will he be next on Herod’s list? Or the crowd seeking Jesus out. But what do they want of him? What do we think they expect? Or Jesus. What does Jesus do for them? Then evening comes, and the people find themselves stuck in the desert with no shelter and, apparently, nothing to eat. Can we imagine what that was like? Does the disciples’ suggestion to send the crowd away seem sensible? Why did Jesus make an alternative suggestion? There is so much to think about. We could spend time following different trains of thought – thinking about the crowd, or John the Baptist, or Herod, or the disciples or Jesus. We will take a few moments to think about one or two of these.

 

So, let’s start with the crowd. We see people who are hungry. Initially there hunger was for God and to hear all that Jesus was saying to them. We see people who are longing to know more about what life is all about. They were keen to hear what this man, Jesus, was going to say. Did they recognise that inner longing and need that they had? Some did, no doubt; others were enjoying the day with lots of other people, being part of what was happening. Does this gathering of a crowd have anything to say to us now? If we see, or are with, people who are hungry or have nowhere to go, how should we respond? Indeed, what is there hunger? And, now that we are no longer able to gather in crowds, does that mean that we no longer need to notice what is happening in our world? In these very different times that we are living through let us take time to ponder on who we are, what are our needs, and how we can make a difference now. It is very easy to focus on the things that we are not able to do, but what can we do? Is there some way that we can make a difference? But let us do so with God’s perspective.

 

We are also invited to see how the disciples responded to the situation they found themselves in. Not one that they had expected that particular day. They were not prepared. However, the disciples had a solution: the people should buy their own food, they thought. It is a common suggestion when confronted by hungry people, even today. But Jesus shows us another way: asked to participate in a solution that says ‘buy’, Jesus says ‘give’ and ‘share’. How can we be part of a ‘Jesus solution’ to the problem of hungry people today, for example? Or indeed other problems that we see around us. How can our church show generosity and compassion to those who are hungry? What is the small difference we can offer? Even now?

 

Again these are questions that have been on our minds. We have supported the Peterborough Soup Kitchen, together and separately we will support the Food Bank. In ‘normal times’ we have a plan for what we can do and how we can do it.  But what about now?

 

Then there are the disciples. They saw a very big problem, and brought what little they could. They discovered that, sometimes, big things can happen from modest beginnings. It is such an important discovery. Thinking that a problem is too big to be solved, or that we will never have everything we need, can hold us back. It can make us give up, or never even start. There are so many ways that we can help or respond. We only have to think of all that Captain Tom Moore has achieved in recent months, and of many others who have raised money, for example, often large sums, daring to do something that was a challenge for them.

 

And then there is Jesus himself. Jesus was addressing an immediate need but Jesus’ actions also looked to the future: he will have many more meals centred where bread is shared, and where everyone is welcome. This is central to ‘being church’ – the sharing of bread in the Eucharist and in Holy Communion is a promise of the heavenly banquet to come. And this is something else that we have found difficult to do in recent weeks. Even now, our service of Holy Communion looks different from how we would normally gather and share. However, Jesus’ action also echoes that of prophets from the past: Elijah and Elisha both fed people miraculously, and Isaiah speaks of a time when people can buy, not just the basics, but even wine and milk without price. We too have become a part of that tradition – gathering together in anticipation of the kingdom, prophetic in bringing it about, welcoming everyone and helping to feed them in different ways.

 

In our reading from Isaiah, he asks his hearers why they spend money on that which is not essential, and work so hard for things that, so often, are transient or temporary. The question is as relevant for us today as it was then. As Jesus was sharing with the crowd and his disciples. How can we help others – and ourselves – to appreciate that the richest food is that which God gives?

 

Of course, at another level, from Jesus’ perspective, it could seem, from this passage, as though his mission is nearly over almost before it has begun? He has been rejected in Nazareth, and people are scandalised. John is beheaded, and instead of finding some breathing space, Jesus is beset by a needy and now hungry crowd. What we learn, as Jesus knew, God provides when our human resources appear exhausted. Matthew emphasises that this is the response to Jesus’ prayer. What needs can we see around us, and what is our prayer?

 

Jesus appears as the new Moses, feeding people as they had been fed on manna in the wilderness.  Moses had led his people, the Israelites out of Egypt and into the Promised Land, into freedom and into the ways of God.  But, seeking the military overthrow of Rome was not Jesus’ mission, even though many would have thought of the Messiah as someone who would repeat David’s slaying of Goliath. Matthew shows that Jesus is not leading an army against Herod who, we know, has just killed John the Baptist, but rather he is feeding his church – Matthew’s is the only Gospel to use the word – of men, women and children. In this way, Matthew allows us to see this story as representing a Eucharist through the words of verse 19, when Jesus looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves.

 

Jesus is inviting the crowd - the four thousand plus into his presence, into his family, into life, as he does with each of us today, and every day. We are invited to the banquet of life now and for ever. And the first step that we take is to respond to him, to his words, ‘Come’. Then we are called to gather together, as we do this morning, at church and at home, to meet with Jesus – in the bread and the wine, in our reading of the word and praying together. It is then that we can look out on our world and say, ‘Here I am, send me.’ Even in these strange and unprecedented times, he is alongside us, and it is then that we can look out on our world and respond in love and with love.

 

Let us pray.

Lord, a new week lies ahead of us.
We don’t really know what it will bring.

Help us to be aware of people around us.
May we be sensitive to their needs
and seek your wisdom as you come alongside us,

and invite us to come alongside others.

Help us to respond to your invitation to come.

Help us to be ready to be sent out, whatever that may mean at present, into our world. Amen.

 

Hymn 54:  Beauty for brokenness

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaMPE53uP38

(To access – keep your finger on Ctrl and click on the mouse. If there is an advert just dismiss it!)

 

Affirmation of Faith

Let us declare together 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.

 

Prayers of Intercession

  • This week, David brings us our prayers.

 

Heavenly Father, we thank you that you promised to hear us when we pray to you.

 

Thank you that you are a generous God who gives your people what we need for our bodies, our minds and our spirits. We thank you, too, that you ask us, your church, to work with you in making that provision.

We praise you for your church throughout the world and especially for all those whom you have called to lead your churches and provide that spiritual food just as Jesus did for the crowd. We pray for our Bishops, Stephen and Dagmar, for our Moderator Geoffrey, for our District Chair Helen and for those you have called to lead us in this area. We pray for Sarah and all the other local ministers. Give them strength to preach your Word, encourage them in the care of your flock and give them the assurance of your love and care for them as your people too.

Lord in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

 

We pray for the nations of the world, for those countries where coronavirus is having a huge impact and the health systems are not coping. We pray especially for India, South Africa and Iran and ask that leaders there would make good decisions led by your spirit for the wellbeing of their country. We pray for our own nation, for our government, for our local council, for all who have to make decisions about how best to steer our country through the pandemic and ask for wisdom for them and for strength to make the right decisions.

Lord in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

 

We pray for all those who live and work in our neighbourhood. Thank you for those who are keeping our shops and offices open. We thank you for you all who work in our schools and pray for them as they prepare for the new term. We pray for our neighbours and friends, for any we know who are worried, for those who feel worn out, for those who have family members who are ill. May they know that you love them, may they feel your compassion at work in them, may they meet you and find that, in turn, you meet their needs. And just as the disciples helped Jesus feed the crowds may we also help in your work.

Lord in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

 

Lord, you fed the crowd, you had compassion for them, and you also healed them. We pray now for all those we know who are sick. We name them before you in our hearts and ask for your healing for them. We thank you for all doctors, nurses and carers and for all that they do, sometimes at great cost to themselves. Lord be with them and may they know you with them today.

Lord in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

 

Father, we pray for any we know who are dying. We pray for them, their families, and their friends. We know that you have trodden that darkest path already. Comfort and strengthen them we pray and may we, with them, share in your eternal kingdom.

Lord in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

 

Merciful Father,

accept these prayers

for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ. 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 our Lord be always with you

and also with you.

 

We would, at this point, share the peace with one another. Of course, now, we are not able to do that. Instead, let us take a moment to think of one another across the Ortons. Peterborough, our country and the world. So,

The peace of our Lord be always with you.

And also with you.

 

Hymn 240:  Guide me, O thou great Redeemer

  • In English!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAN4EojeF0Y

(To access – keep your finger on Ctrl and click on the mouse. If there is an advert just dismiss it!)

 

The Eucharistic Prayer

The table is prepared and bread and wine are placed upon it.

 

The Lord is here.

His Spirit is with us.

Life up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give him thanks and praise.

 

It is right to praise you, Father, Lord of all creation;

in your love you made us for yourself.

 

When we turned away you did not reject us,

but came to meet us in your Son.

You embraced us as your children

and welcomed us to sit and eat with you.

 

In Christ you shared our life

that we might live in him and he in us.

He opened his arms of love upon the cross

and made for all the perfect sacrifice for sin.

 

On the night he was betrayed,

at supper with his friends

he took bread. and gave you thanks;

he broke it and gave it to them, saying:

Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;

do this in remembrance of me.

Father, we do this in remembrance of him:

his body is the bread of life.

 

At the end of supper, taking the cup of wine,

he gave you thanks, and said:

Drink this, all of you;

this is my blood of the new covenant,

which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins;

do this in remembrance of me.

Father we do this in remembrance of him;

his blood is shed for all.

 

As we proclaim his death

and celebrate his rising in glory,

send your Holy Spirit that this bread and this wine

may be to us the body and blood of your dear Son.

As we eat and drink these holy gifts

make us one in Christ, our risen Lord.

 

With your whole Church throughout the world

we offer you this sacrifice of praise

and lift our voice to join the eternal song of heaven.

Holy, holy, holy Lord,

God of power and might,

heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

 

The Lord’s Prayer

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray

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.

 

The Breaking of the Bread

We break this bread to share in the body of Christ.

Though we are many, we are one body,

because we all share in one bread.

 

The Giving of Communion

 

Prayer After Communion

Almighty God, we thank you for feeding us

with the body and blood of your Son Jesus Christ.

Through him we offer you our souls and bodies

to be a living sacrifice.

Send us out in the power of your Spirit

to live and work to your praise and glory. Amen.

 

Notices

  • I know I say it each week, and I will continue to say it… Do continue to remember each other, pray for one another, telephone and talk to one another.
  • Do join us on Zoom from about 11.00am, maybe slightly later today, if you would like to ‘Commune over Coffee’. Joining instructions are in this week’s Nuggets.
  • On Friday, there will be an opportunity to meet for Compline by Zoom from 8.00pm. Joining instructions are in Nuggets. 
  • Next Sunday, as there are a number of people away, including me, there will be no service in church. However, a service will be sent out today, if you have not already received it, for next week as we had been doing over the last few weeks, with the suggestion that we gather in our homes at 10.00am. There will still be a Zoom ‘Coffee and Chat’, as usual, after the service.
  • David and I will be away on Sunday 9th August but look forward to seeing you all again on Sunday 16th August.
  • Have a good week everyone, and may you know the joy, the love and the peace, of our Lord through this week. And keep well.

 

Hymn 499:  O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHqgQjJrxI8

(To access – keep your finger on Ctrl and click on the mouse. If there is an advert just dismiss it!)

 

The Blessing
We have met with Jesus and
You have fed us this morning Lord,
Now, we go out to live the lives you call us to.
Send us out to share all that we have with others.
And the blessing of God Almighty,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among us and remain with us always. Amen.

 

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord,

In the name of Christ. Amen.

 

Closing Music

Abide With Me

  • A suggestion – a song I love but David also tells me it is Cup Final Weekend!
  • Enjoy
  • Let us see, and hear, God in this week.
  • May you know God’s presence, power, love and peace this week.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IB-q8dO_svw

(To access – keep your finger on Ctrl and click on the mouse. If there is an advert just dismiss it!)