A Shorter Communion Service for Trinity 11

HYMN - O worship the King - Hanover - NEH 433

1 O WORSHIP the King
All glorious above;
O gratefully sing
His power and his love:
Our Shield and Defender,
The Ancient of days,
Pavilioned in splendour,
And girded with praise.

2 O tell of his might,
O sing of his grace,
Whose robe is the light,
Whose canopy space.
His chariots of wrath
The deep thunder-clouds form,
And dark is his path
On the wings of the storm.

3 This earth, with its store
Of wonders untold,
Almighty, thy power
Hath founded of old:
Hath stablished it fast
By a changeless decree,
And round it hath cast,
Like a mantle, the sea.

4 *Thy bountiful care
What tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air,
It shines in the light;
It streams from the hills,
It descends to the plain,
And sweetly distils
In the dew and the rain.

5 *Frail children of dust,
And feeble as frail,
In thee do we trust,
Nor find thee to fail;
Thy mercies how tender!
How firm to the end!
Our Maker, Defender,
Redeemer, and Friend.

6 O measureless Might,
Ineffable Love,
While angels delight
To hymn thee above,
Thy humbler creation,
Though feeble their lays,
With true adoration
Shall sing to thy praise.

PRAYER OF PREPARATION
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
God the Father forgives us in Christ and heals us by the Holy Spirit.
Let us therefore put away all anger and bitterness, all slander and malice,
and confess our sins to God our redeemer.   cf. Ephesians 4.30,32
Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you
and against our neighbour,
through our own fault,
in thought, and word, and deed,
and in what we have left undone.
We are truly sorry
and repent of all our sins.
For your Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake,
forgive us all that is past;
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name. Amen.
May the God of love and power
forgive you and free you from your sins,
heal and strengthen you by his Spirit
and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen

THE COLLECT

O God, you declare your almighty power
most chiefly in showing mercy and pity:
mercifully grant to us such a measure of your grace,
that we, running the way of your commandments,
may receive your gracious promises,
and be made partakers of your heavenly treasure;
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.

FIRST READING - Exodus 1.8 - 2.10

Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. He said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” Therefore they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labor. They built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. The Egyptians became ruthless in imposing tasks on the Israelites, and made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar and brick and in every kind of field labor. They were ruthless in all the tasks that they imposed on them.

The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, “When you act as midwives to the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she shall live.” But the midwives feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live. So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and allowed the boys to live?” The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” So God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and became very strong. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every boy that is born to the Hebrews you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every girl live.”

Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him three months. When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.

The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him. “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,” she said. Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Yes.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, “because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”

HYMN - God moves in a mysterious way - London New - NEH 365

1 God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.

2 Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill
He treasures up his bright designs,
And works his sovereign will.

3 Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.

4 Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
5 His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

6 Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan his work in vain;
God is his own interpreter,

And he will make it plain.

GOSPEL - Matthew 16.13-20

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

SERMON

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God - what is good and acceptable and perfect.'

Caesarea Philippi is an interesting place, and a beautiful place with an impressive waterfall crashing from the rocks into a pool surrounded by trees. The waterfall lies at the head of the River Jordan and is apparently something to see. It such a beautiful place that it was long the centre of pagan worship, with temples to Pan and Augustus Caesar. 

So maybe it's significant that it's here that Jesus asks his disciples who they think he is. Peter's declaration of faith, his burst of revelation is a turning point in the whole gospel story. Because it is Jesus's identity that is the point the Gospel. It is in order to realise who Jesus is that is the reason for the disciples very presence with him. When Simon Peter declares him to be the son of the living God then the journey must be more than half over .

Christianity is often confused with a moral code , an ethical system of acceptable behaviour - but that rather misses the point. Christianity does have implications for how we live with one another but they only follow-on from what we understand God to be like, and what we understand God to be like is based upon what we know of him, from the life and death and resurrection of the man Jesus - whose followers died declaring that he was the Son of God. 

C S Lewis put the question of Christ's identity in his own forthright way. 

"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic-on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg--or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

Identity is important, how we regard ourselves and how we regard other people will inevitably have a considerable effect on what we say and do. The Pharaoh saw the Hebrews as a threat which needed to be dealt with - his daughter saw a Hebrew baby that needed to be cared for. 

Developing our understanding of God, our understanding of ourselves and our place in the world is where it all starts - and is surely a great deal of what this life is about. Not to give proper time and attention to those things is surely to miss at least some of the point of our existence.

Peter's confession of faith - his declaration of the place of Jesus in humanity's whole relationship with God - is the basis on which Jesus makes him the rock on whom the Church is to be built. No other defining characteristic, not purity of character, courage, steadfastness, loyalty, wisdom- nothing else he has said or done, or will say and do - is to the point. Peter's sole qualification was that he could recognise the activity and identity of God when he saw it. 

What builds the Church is knowing Jesus for who he is, this is to be the defining characteristic - with that we may open the gates of heaven - we may even be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH 

Let us declare our faith in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Christ died for our sins
in accordance with the scriptures;
he was buried;
he was raised to life on the third day
in accordance with the scriptures;
afterwards he appeared to his followers,
and to all the apostles:
this we have received,
and this we believe.  Amen.

1 Corinthians 15.3-7

INTERCESSIONS - Vera Oldham

We have come before you, Lord, to offer our praise and our prayers. You are God the creator, Christ the Saviour of the world, the Spirit of truth and love. Be near to us and hear us, today and every day.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray for your church throughout the world.  We pray for all those who because of this pandemic are still separated and isolated. Give them the reassurance that you are with them so that they may experience your peace.

We pray for all bishops and clergy at this time, and especially for the team here in our Benefice who continue to work hard to maintain strong and meaningful links for us all and who are constantly searching for new and innovative ideas to keep us altogether.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, we bring to you all leaders and their advisers at this uncertain time for the whole world. We pray today for the health and well-being of our nation, for Elizabeth, our Queen, and for all those who are guiding our nation at this difficult time and working hard to plan for the future.

We continue to pray for all those who serve us – all the key workers, from the delivery drivers and shelf stackers to those who work in the NHS and the care system. We pray too for the research scientists that through their skill and knowledge, a cure or a vaccine for this virus may be found. As they seek in their different ways to bring hope and healing, we ask that you will encourage and energise them as they go above and beyond on our behalf.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

As people return to work and as businesses open up again, we pray for all who are concerned about their job security and livelihoods and for all those who are still anxious and worried as life begins to take on some semblance of normality. 

We remember today all those students who have received their exam results recently. This has been an anxious and worrying time for both them and their families. Lord, we pray that you will be with them all to support and guide them as they try to plan for the next stage in their education.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We pray for all those who are unwell at home or in hospital and for all who are experiencing distress and anguish at the present time. We remember especially those on our Benefice prayer list and those known to us personally. We thank you for all the efforts made on their behalf and pray that they may all receive your peace and love.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Lord, we remember those who have died or who have lost a loved one recently. We pray that you are there at their side, Lord, and that they may feel your loving presence. Jesus is the light of the world: a light which shines eternally and which no darkness can extinguish. 

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Lord, as we begin to meet again with our families and friends, let us not forget that some people are still feeling very isolated. Life has not yet returned to normal and there are many who are still anxious and lonely. Thank you that your peace reaches out to us all today and every day, even in life’s most difficult times. May we all know that we are always held in the embrace of your love.

Merciful Father, 

accept these prayers, for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen


THE PEACE

The peace of the Lord be always with you

and also with you

HYMN - Alleluia sing to Jesus - Hyfrydol - NEH 271

1 Alleluia, sing to Jesus,
His the sceptre, his the throne;
Alleluia, his the triumph,
His the victory alone:
Hark the songs of peaceful Sion
Thunder like a mighty flood;
Jesus out of every nation,
Hath redeemed us by his blood.

2 Alleluia, not as orphans
Are we left in sorrow now;
Alleluia, he is near us,
Faith believes, nor questions how;
Though the cloud from sight received him
When the forty days were o'er,
Shall our hearts forget his promise,
'I am with you evermore'?

3 Alleluia, Bread of Angels,
Thou on earth our food, our stay;
Alleluia, here the sinful
Flee to thee from day to day;
Intercessor, Friend of sinners,
Earth's Redeemer, plead for me,
Where the songs of all the sinless
Sweep across the crystal sea.

4 Alleluia, King eternal,
Thee the Lord of lords we own;
Alleluia, born of Mary,
Earth thy footstool, heaven thy throne:
Thou within the veil hast entered,
Robed in flesh, our great High Priest;
Thou on earth both Priest and Victim
In the Eucharistic Feast.

The Preparation of the Table

Yours, Lord, is the greatness, the power,
the glory, the splendour, and the majesty;
for everything in heaven and on earth is yours.
All things come from you, 
and of your own do we give you.

Eucharistic Prayer H 

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 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.

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray:
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 for ever. Amen.

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.

Jesus, lamb of God: have mercy on us.
Jesus, bearer of our sins: have mercy on us
Jesus, redeemer of the world: grant us your peace.

All you who hunger and thirst 
for a better life,
for a deeper faith
for a better world,
here is the bread of life;
feed on it with gratitude.

[Please come to the table to receive the bread, respecting the necessary distance.]

Post Communion PRAYER

Lord of all mercy,
we your faithful people have celebrated that one true sacrifice
   which takes away our sins and brings pardon and peace:
by our communion
keep us firm on the foundation of the gospel
and preserve us from all sin;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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.

BLESSING
May you find in Christ crucified a guide in times of darkness,
a strength in times of weakness and the assurance that life is eternal;
and the blessing of God Almighty, 
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
be among you, and remain with you always.  Amen

HYMN - All my hope on God is founded - Michael - NEH333

1 All my hope on God is founded;
He doth still my trust renew.
Me through change and chance he guideth,
Only good and only true.
God unknown,
He alone
Calls my heart to be his own.
2 Pride of man and earthly glory,
Sword and crown betray his trust;
What with care and toil he buildeth,
Tower and temple, fall to dust
But God's power,
Hour by hour,
Is my temple and my tower.

3 God's great goodness aye endureth,
Deep his wisdom, passing thought:
Splendour, light and life attend him,
Beauty springeth out of naught.
Evermore
From his store
New-born worlds rise and adore.

4 Daily doth th'Almighty giver
Bounteous gifts on us bestow;
His desire our soul delighteth,
Pleasure leads us where we go.
Love doth stand
At his hand;
Joy doth wait on his command.

5 Still from man to God eternal
Sacrifice of praise be done,
High above all praises praising
For the gift of Christ his Son.
Christ doth call
One and all:
Ye who follow shall not fall.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord

In the name of Christ. Amen