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Sunday 25th July

 

CHRIST CHURCH

 

 

Greetings

  • Good morning everybody.
  • I hope this morning finds you well and that all your families and friends are well too.
  • We meet in church and at home. 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.
  • Today, we celebrate Holy Communion together in our now usual way.
  • We welcome Barrie and June Swingler and their family as they renew their vows, this morning, celebrating forty years of marriage.
  • This morning, still with our choir, we will all also be singing again, albeit with masks…. but singing nevertheless. Hurrah. 
  • So, we 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

Let us bring ourselves to God,
whatever our age and gifts.
Let us prepare to share in worship,
giving thanks for all that God shares with us.
Let us open our hearts and minds
to know more of God’s unconditional love and care,
and be ready to share it with others.

 

Hymn 240:  Guide me, O thou great Redeemer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ofp6rdAgRrY

(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.

 

A Gathering Prayer

Lord of all creation, giver of life,
we offer ourselves to you.
Teach us how to give ourselves to others,
generously and wholeheartedly,
sharing who we are and what we have.
May we learn to share all the world’s resources,
so that everyone has enough
of the good things that you provide.
May we all rejoice in your goodness. Amen.

 

A Prayer of Approach
God, our generous provider,
as the young boy offered all he had to Jesus –
five loaves and two small fish –
we come today offering you everything we have:
a pocketful of faith, a bit of time,
ourselves, our gifts, our talents.
And we know that, however small our gift or offering,
you will do amazing things with it,
far more than we can ever hope, believe or imagine.
Thank you, awesome God. Amen.

 

A Prayer of Adoration

Hospitable God,
extravagant provider,
we worship you because we can.
You take our inadequacies, our limitations,
and pour out your blessings upon us.
We stand in awe of you,
sensing your presence among us.
Overwhelmed by your kindness,
we fall at your feet. Amen.

 

A Prayer of Confession

We come before God to say sorry for all that we have done wrong. 

With our time and with our money:
forgive us, Lord, when we have not been generous.
In helping others, and being hospitable:
forgive us, Lord, when we have not been generous.
When we have been blessed with so much:
forgive us, Lord, when we have not been generous.

When we could have gone the extra mile

and shared what we have:

forgive us, Lord, when we have not been generous.
In using our resources, gifts and talents:
forgive us, Lord, when we have not been generous.
Most generous God,
help us to be more like you. 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.

 

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

Thank you, Lord, that you go ahead of us

into our communities;

you are there pouring out your generosity

and your hospitality in our neighbourhood.
Thank you that as you are transforming our homes,

our streets, our schools, our places of work,

you are transforming us so we can play our part.
Thank you that we can come together as one,
sharing all that you have given us.
Thank you, Lord. 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:       Ephesians 3: 14-21

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

 

Hymn 637:  The Lord’s my shepherd

  • We sing the song that we are singing since the beginning of the first lockdown and during the pandemic, 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:      John 6: 1-21

Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing those who were ill. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near. When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming towards him, he said to Philip, ‘Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?’ He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, ‘It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!’ Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, ‘Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?’ Jesus said, ‘Make the people sit down.’ There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, ‘Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.’ So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, ‘Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.’ 

Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. But he said to them, ‘It is I; don’t be afraid.’ Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

 

 

Reflection

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

 

I wonder how many of you enjoy going on picnics? I am sure, like me, there will be different ones that you recall – for me, those on holiday when we were in France with friends, comprising a baguette or two with French cheeses and some fresh peaches and a little something to drink. Or the picnics we had many years ago when going to Audley End to listen to one of their summer concerts. Or the picnics that happen unexpectedly. Or those that are invitations to celebrations. Or those in a motorway service station whilst travelling, recently because of Covid-19. I am sure you can all call to mind different occasions.

 

Sometimes just the family, or they would have included one or two additional people, or maybe there was more of a crowd. Perhaps they were in someone’s garden, or in the countryside with picnic rugs on the ground, or at a picnic table found in a layby or a picturesque location.

 

But how many of us have been to a picnic with at least five thousand people? The people – the crowd – in our Gospel reading were all together because they had been following Jesus. We can imagine, can’t we – someone spots Jesus. This is the person they had heard so much about, perhaps they had already listened themselves to what he had to say. Then people start following. The crowd gathers and grows. The crowd wants to hear what else Jesus has to say. They have seen Jesus perform signs and miracles. Will that happen again; will he do more. Or, perhaps, some in the crowd came from the group of people – the Pharisees – who were opposing Jesus. Howsoever, people were following. They were listening.

 

Then we see that Jesus has compassion on them. They have been listening to him for hours. Yet, the crowd seems to stay – the long to hear more. Nobody seems to be drifting back home. The people need to be fed. And it is at this point – in this time of need – they we learn something more about Jesus and about God. We see Jesus acknowledging the needs of the people. They were being filled with spiritual food, something for them to digest over the coming days and weeks. But Jesus also recognised their immediate need – to be fed.

 

We have the wonderful scenario playing out before us. We are so familiar with the story but let us take a moment to ponder it afresh. Imagine that you are the little boy in the crowd, feeling too young and insignificant to really expect to be noticed… yet itching to help, holding the cloth bag with lunch in it, moving it round in your hands, seeing the crowd, hearing Jesus asking his disciples how they’ll feed everyone.  And he asks: ‘What can I do?’

 

Imagine being Andrew, the little boy tugging your sleeve, holding up his bag – can I seriously take this to Jesus? Andrew, the hesitant disciple wondering why he had opened his mouth to say, ‘Let’s feed all these with this little’? But he said it anyway. 

 

Imagine being the other disciples seeing this play out before your eyes – a small boy, one of your own – this preposterous notion that so little could go so far. Imagine a mounting sense of awe as Jesus takes the boy’s lunch that he’s offered and turns it into a feast for so many.

 

I wonder, what in our life can we offer to God that he can take and use? Perhaps we feel too awkward or too embarrassed to offer to be involved. But remember Andrew who suggested those few morsels would feed a crowd! We don’t need the answers to ‘how’, rather we are invited and called to have faith that what we bring, God will use and multiply.

 

Among other things this account illustrates how God wants to receive whatever we bring to him. It shows us that everyone can make a contribution, because nothing is too little to offer. Even our smallest effort will be multiplied by God so that all can receive and be satisfied. Imagine what that would mean to work alongside God in this way.

 

During lockdown we have heard so many stories of how people have made a difference. Perhaps by giving food to others – individually or through a food bank. Remember, on a hill in Galilee, a boy offered his lunch. What miracles might have happened through the food that we have given. Perhaps we have the opportunity to deliver food? Huge numbers of ordinary people, like us, have pulled together so that everyone was looked after. Many did jobs out of their normal experience. Footballers delivered food parcels. An airline pilot drove a van. Office workers helped on the shop floor. Children earned sponsorship money. Captain Tom Moore, a man of a hundred years, raised millions to help other people.

 

Of course, to give all that we have, wholeheartedly, requires faith that we will still have what we need. When we trust God for our daily bread, every day, we can be generous with today’s bread. God will, in his generous love, provide for tomorrow. And in this passage we see an abundance of generosity and giving and sharing.

 

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians testifies too to the generosity of God. He assures the Ephesians that if they are rooted in his love then they will be ‘filled with all the fullness of God’. It is about much more than just the bread. 

 

Jesus gave thanks, then gave food. When we are consciously thankful for what we have, we realise more and more how richly abundant are our lives and how we are liberated, and invited, to share more freely. Giving in God’s economy is not by some financial calculation but from the spontaneous desire to let God multiply it so all may receive enough. On those occasions when we are on the receiving end of another’s giving, we can also acknowledge God’s blessing with gratitude?

 

Paul is encouraging the Ephesians, and us, to see that our identity is found in God. He prays that the Spirit works on us, from the inside out, to help us recognise who we are in God. As Jesus could feed a crowd of thousands, we see too that God accomplishes within us more than we can ask or imagine. There is always more to discover. The all-embracing vision of God’s love draws us into a sense of God’s universal abundance.

 

Today, this week, we too are drawn into God’s abundant love and provision. We are invited to partake of his extraordinary generosity – and to share it. As we thought about the boy or Andrew or the other disciples, we see that together they have expanded our knowledge and understanding of God, and that happens reading an account of something that happened to Jesus two thousand years ago. God is still very present, very active and very generous. He wants to overwhelm us with his generosity and abundance and fullness of life. So let us step forward to not only be partakers of the most amazing picnic here on earth but also to respond to God’s incredible invitation to join him at his heavenly feast for ever.

 

Hymn 373:  Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGsvbqErM2A

(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.

 

 

Renewal of Vows

Barrie and June Swingler

 

Prayers of Intercession

  • This week, Jenny brings us our prayers.

 

Confident that our Lord will hear us, we pray in faith.

 

Lord, you have called each of us to serve you in your world and in your Church equip us by your Spirit to recognise your call knowing that you will be with us.

 

We thank you for supplying all our needs and offer you the love of our hearts as we pray for our Church here in Orton Goldhay and Orton Malborne. We bring all who minister enlarging and enriching our understanding and how to respond and share your love. We pray for Bishop Stephen and Bishop Dagmar, Geoffrey our Moderator, Helen our District Chair, for Sarah, Alexandra and Lynessa and ask for your blessing on all of them as they continue to serve you.

Lord in your mercy: 

Hear our prayer.

 

We pray for the needs of the world and that with your help we will be diligent in prayer and generous in giving  to elevate the suffering of all those in the world who are starving and do not know when they will get their next meal,  for those who have this week used a food bank for the first time in order to feed themselves or their families, those who will rely on the soup kitchen this evening, those living in a countries where there is famine, and lack of clean drinking water.

Lord in your mercy: 

Hear our prayer.

 

Lord you care for the entire world and ordinary people everywhere. We pray for those picking their way through situations of potential conflict and danger, for those who are guiding our nation at this critical time in the pandemic and shaping national policies that they may make wise decisions. We bring to you the political issues, the moral dilemmas and the dreams of peace that concern our world and all who share its resources. We pray that the leaders of all nations and those who govern that they will see your vision and be guided along the right paths.

We pray for Elizabeth our Queen that her devotion to duty continues to be a shining example to others.

Lord in your mercy: 

Hear our prayer.

 

Lord, we pray for our families, friends and neighbours and those around us with whom we share our daily lives. Today we pray especially for June and Barrie as they renew their wedding vows and ask for your blessing on them. We thank you for all the joys and blessings of marriage and family life. Help us when we quarrel or fall out to quickly put things right and forgive one another. We pray for the community of which we are part, for those who share with us in its activities, for all who serve its varied needs, for the children now enjoying the school holidays; keep them safe Lord. Help us, to make our own contribution to the community and to learn to be good neighbours at all times.

Lord in your mercy: 

Hear our prayer.

 

Loving God we place in your hands those who are sick. We ask that you ease their pain, and heal the damage they are suffering in body, mind, or spirit. Be present with them through the support of friends and in the care of doctors and nurses. We remember the Iranian members of our church family and Bahador anxious about their future and the continuing separation from their families still in Iran. We name those known to us either silently in our hearts or name allowed.

Lord in your mercy: 

Hear our prayer.

 

We pray for all who have died at this time or whose anniversary we recall. May they live for ever in the joy and peace of heaven and may all those who miss their company be comforted and supported.

Lord in your mercy: 

Hear our prayer.

 

Faithful God, through these prayers we offer afresh our lives as well as our words. As we go into next week send us out into the world determined that each moment from now on becomes an offering of love for you.

Merciful Father,

accept these prayers

for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

The Peace

May you know the love of Christ in your lives,

that surpasses all knowledge,

and so be filled with love and fullness of God.

The peace of the 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 the Lord be always with you.

And also with you.

 

Hymn 66:  Bind us together, Lord

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHJJzD46-qU

(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.

Lift 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

 

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 we say it each week, and we will continue to say it... Do continue to remember each other, pray for one another, telephone and talk to one another.
  • Do join us for coffee as for coffee afterwards – on Zoom, in the unlikely event that we are not able to meet after the service at church. Joining instructions are in the latest edition of Nuggets.
  • On Friday, there is a short service of Compline at 8.00pm on Zoom. The joining instructions are in Nuggets.
  • For the next two Sundays, we have one services – both services of Morning Worship at 10.00am when we look forward to welcoming Maggie Kirkbride from the United Reformed Church and Nigel Lightfoot from the Methodist Church. Both services will be followed by Coffee or Communing over Coffee.
  • Looking ahead we will have Coffee Connect on Friday 13th August at 2.00pm on Zoom.
  • There is also a barbecue at Christ Church House on Sunday 15th August for lunch and following the service. We will bring meat and if people are able to bring salads or desserts that would be great.
  • We will be away from later today for the next two weeks, and I look forward to seeing you all on our return.
  • Have a great couple of weeks, everyone, and may you know the joy, the love, the hope and the peace, of our Lord through this week. And keep well.

 

Hymn:   Hallelu, hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pbNBKK2jA0

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A Sending Out Prayer

Lord, help us to remain thankful

for even the simple things.
Keep us focused on your loving, generous nature,
so that we can freely share what we have

and who we are.
Let us be cheerful givers and humble receivers,
that all may have enough and be satisfied. Amen.

 

The Blessing
Now to our great God,

who is able to accomplish in us

far more than we ask or can even imagine,

to him be glory for ever and ever;

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

El Shaddai

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clt8BoHb0JE

  • A song all about God sung by Amy Grant.
  • May you know God’s presence, power, love, hope, courage and peace this week.

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