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CHRIST CHURCH

20TH SEPTEMBER 2020

 

Greetings

  • Good morning everybody.
  • I hope this morning finds you well and that all your families and friends are well too.
  • Today, 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.
  • Today, we celebrate Holy Communion together in the way that is currently customary! 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

The Lord our God is great and to be highly praised.
We come to worship.
The Lord our God is great beyond our understanding.
We come to worship.
The Lord our God is loving and full of mercy.
We come to worship. Amen.

 

Hymn 345: Jesus is the name we honour

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POmIxtEr9Rk

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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 Confession

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.

And there is a response.

When I say, Dear Lord, the response is forgive us.

Dear Lord: forgive us.

 

For the times when we have not lived in a manner
worthy of the gospel of Christ,

Dear Lord: forgive us.

For the times when we have not stood firm
to your kingdom values,

Dear Lord: forgive us.

For the times when we have not united in the Spirit,
Dear Lord: forgive us.

For the times we have heard your call
but turned away from you,

Dear Lord: forgive us.

For the times we have not celebrated your goodness

and love,
Dear Lord: forgive us.

We are sorry that we do not always listen,
do not always hear, do not always obey;
and we ask for discernment,
courage and strength to be faithful to 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.

 

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, who in generous mercy sent the Holy Spirit upon your Church in the burning fire of your love:

grant that your people may be fervent

in the fellowship of the gospel

that, always abiding in you,

they may be found steadfast in faith and active in service; through Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord. Amen.

 

Old Testament Reading:        Jonah 3: 10 – 4: 11

When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.

But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, ‘Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.’ But the Lord replied, ‘Is it right for you to be angry?’ Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, ‘It would be better for me to die than to live.’ But God said to Jonah, ‘Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?’ ‘It is,’ he said. ‘And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.’ But the Lord said, ‘You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left – and also many animals?’

 

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

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Gospel Reading:   Matthew 20: 1-16

Jesus said, ‘For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’ When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.’

 

Reflection

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

 

When we were in Scotland, we saw several rainbows, or glimmers of them. And I am reminded me of another occasion a few years ago when I saw a rainbow. Some of you may have heard me mention it before.

 

A few years ago now, David had planned a surprise trip for my birthday in a small light aircraft. We lived near Stapleford Abbots at the time. David had picked me up from work and presented me with an odd assortment of clothes to change into when we arrived at the airfield. I then set out across the grass with the instructor to a small plane and we took off into some black clouds. The plan had been to go south over the Thames but the weather was too uncertain so we went north instead towards the Blackwater estuary. Some among you would probably know this but to me it was a complete surprise – in the sky ahead of us was a rainbow, but not the usual rainbow shape. It was circular and it looked as if we were going through the middle of the circle, through the rainbow with arches of colour above and below us. For me, an amazing sight and the thought that if we see something from another angle it can often look quite different.

 

Naturally, we do so often see things from our own perspective. I think that the passages before us challenge us to look at our world from a different perspective – from God’s perspective; from the standpoint of others.

 

I wonder how you react when you hear the parable of the landowner. Jesus is challenging his hearers’ perception. Indeed, if you were one of the workers that day it seems that you could have either come away quite disgruntled or very happy; delighted that you and your family were going to eat when you had thought that you would receive no work and no money. Of course, in reality, none of the workers should have been dissatisfied because the landowner honoured all the agreements made that morning, and during the day.

 

Jesus was talking to his disciples addressing questions that had been asked in the previous chapter, ‘Look, we have left everything to follow you. What will be our reward in heaven?’ Peter had said. Jesus’ replied, ‘the first shall be last and last first.’ He was beginning to show them that to follow him meant having a different perspective on life, on what happens, on how we treat one another. They, and we, have joined his family to be welcomed by our loving heavenly Father and embraced by him, whether we come to that family early in life, as a young child, during the course of our lives, or in life’s final moments. We are all welcomed equally. God loves each one of us and receives us with open arms. He welcomes us not because we have achieved great things in our lives but because by his grace he loves us and yearns for us to be part of his family.

 

So often our perspective is not that. It is often limited to our own perception. We are much more inclined to think that things are not fair; that we should be treated the same as others, or perhaps even better than others. We probably do not consciously think that but there is an expectation that life should turn out how we would like it to.

 

I have rather a soft spot for Jonah, perhaps because he is really so like us; except that he is almost a caricature of himself – being extremely pleased one minute when everything begins to go his way, but being terribly cross the next because God has decided that something else should happen. He did not want to warn the Ninevites that they would be destroyed if they did not mend their ways and he went to great lengths to avoid doing so. He always had a sneaky suspicion that God was going to let them off and be kind to them. He did not want to be the one to say one thing and then for God to do something else; even if that was as a result of them listening to him, and, more importantly, to God. The Ninevites were a people that suddenly began to view their own situation from a different perspective; to see it in God’s way, to take that metaphorical ride into the skies and to see the rainbow above and below them; to be challenged by a new vision of themselves and of God. A challenge with which we too are presented – that we allow ourselves to see things differently, to see beyond ourselves to our God and to our world – even in these strange times! God eagerly and enthusiastically shares his perspective with us, if we are willing and ready to listen to him, helping us to see the wonder and beauty of the world around us, helping us to see all that he has freely given to us by his grace, helping us to see others as he sees them.

 

A few years ago David and I hired a boat to motor along the Caledonian Canal in the Scottish Highlands from Inverness to Fort William. Leaving the canal from Inverness we were then set loose on Loch Ness. We stopped for the first night nearby in Drumnadrochit and started out the next morning. Loch Ness is quite wide with mountains both sides and is about 22 miles long. Travelling along at water level, low down on the boat with all those miles of water in front of us, I was struck, on that occasion, by how we could see the curve of the earth. Although we know the world is round, I had never expected to see its curvature. Again, a different perspective and our view and our understanding is changed; this time not from looking from above but, at a time when we felt at one with the loch, in the middle of it. Sometimes our outlook on our world is changed and broadened by stepping back and seeing the broader picture. On other occasions it is as we live with and alongside others, amidst the brokenness and joy of our world.

 

This is what Jesus is encouraging the disciples to do – to see things differently from God’s point of view, beyond themselves. 

 

In the parable, we recognise that Jesus is equating the landowner with God. It has been suggested, in fact, that the amount that the landowner paid the labourers was a generous daily wage. Those listening would have been very familiar with the way that people were hired for work: in the market square waiting to be selected by those who sought workers. Can you remember the times, at school, when teams were selected? You wanted to be chosen unless you did not like playing that game. Although sometimes people just chose their friends, mostly they chose the people they thought were most likely to help them to win the game. So it was for the landowners, they wanted those who could work well and do the most work, so those left at the end were generally those who were not able to work so well for whatever reason. The landowner had a different perspective. He employs new workers throughout the day and asks those he approaches in late afternoon why they have not been working all day. ‘Because no one has hired us,’ is their reply. Where others ignore these seemingly unwanted people, this landowner cares, whenever they come to work for him, they are all welcome equally, as God welcomes each of us.

 

It is what we too are called to do. To live our lives from God’s perspective, caring for those for whom life is not fair, who suffer tragedies. We are called to live alongside others, to love them and to seek truth and justice for the world around us. We are called to see the perspective of those who are ignored by the rest of society, who wait to be seen and cared for. We do so as we respond to God’s love and to his amazing grace.

 

As we seek to see our world, those around us, from God’s perspective, our vision becomes enlarged – we see things differently and are surprised. We see beyond ourselves to the love and generosity of a God who welcomes and embraces us as his children. We see too a God who understands suffering, injustice and unfairness. We see a vision of a future where injustice and suffering will be no more. It is a vision we are called to share because we are loved by a God of grace who gives and keeps on giving, because we are loved by a God of grace who cares for us making us his children and welcomes us wholeheartedly to be a part of his family.

 

Hymn 18:  All I once held dear

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09CzdMszUos

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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.

 

Dear heavenly Father, we thank you that you always hear us when we pray to you in faith.

 

We thank you for all the grace and love you show to us. We thank you for our family, our friends, the people we work with and those we worship with. We thank you that you have given us a place to live and to be, that you have called us to follow you and given us the Holy Spirit to help us. And we thank you today for the work you have given us to do whatever that work may be.

 

We pray for all those you have called to be priests and leaders of your people. Thank you for their faithfulness and their example. We pray that they would know that you love them and be strengthened to do the task to which you have called them. We ask this for our Bishops, Stephen and Dagmar, our Moderator Geoffrey, our District Chair Helen and especially for Sarah here in our parish.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

 

We pray for all those whose work means leading our country through the pandemic. We pray for wisdom to discern the right thing to do and the courage and determination to carry it out. Guide the leaders of our nations and our city, we pray, so that people have confidence in what they are doing.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

 

We pray for all those whose work means serving others, caring for others and helping their community during the pandemic. We thank you for doctors, nurses and carers and ask that they would know they are appreciated but also that they would have the necessary equipment for what they have to face each day.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

 

We pray for all those whose work involves looking after our children. For teachers and teaching assistants, for carers and social workers, for mothers and fathers. You have called them all to their role, Lord, please give them the strength to continue to do it. When they feel tired may they know your encouragement and your peace.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

 

We pray for all whose work involves finding cures and devising tests. Please inspire them Lord to be successful very soon.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

We pray for all who cannot do their work because of illness and we ask for healing for them and the knowledge that they are loved by you. We pray for all we know who are sick and bring them before you now.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

 

And we pray for all we know those whose work is done and whose time on earth is over. May they find your eternal peace. We pray for those who mourn them and ask that they would know your comfort at this time.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

 

Merciful Father,

accept these prayers,

for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

 

The Peace

Christ is our peace.

He has reconciled us to God in one body by the Cross.

We meet in his name, and share his peace.

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 38:  Ascribe greatness to our God, the Rock

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXomlNaDl0E

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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

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 the last edition of Nuggets.
  • On Friday, we meet for Compline by Zoom from 8.00pm. Joining instructions will be in Nuggets. 
  • Next Sunday, there will be a service in church at 10.00am. This will be a service to celebrate Harvest. We will approach bringing food for Harvest slightly differently. People are encouraged to give food to the Food Bank in shops, as many of you may already do. We are also going to have a box on that day if people would like to bring food for people who are known to us – for our Iranian friends in particular.
  • This will also be sent out as usual in advance of Sunday morning with the suggestion that we gather in our homes at 10.00am, if you are not able to get to church. There will still be a Zoom ‘Coffee and Chat’, as usual, after the service.
  • Also next Sunday, we have an evening service of Healing Prayers at 6.00pm on Zoom. Joining instructions will be sent out in Nuggets during the week.
  • We were not able to hold our AGM in April, and plan to have one during our service on the 4th October.
  • 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 660: Thine be the glory

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

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The Blessing
Lord, send us into this week to work in your vineyard,
renewed and strengthened in faith,
ready to serve you.
Lord, lead us in, and through, all that this week holds.
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

He’s got the whole world in his hands

  • Let us remember that we are part of God’s family, today, tomorrow and always, and God is holding us all.
  • Let us see, and hear God in this week, and sing a new song with him.
  • May you know God’s presence, power, love and peace this week.

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

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