Service for Trinity 10 2021

Morning Service for Trinity 10

HYMN Jesu the very thought of thee NEH 385 – St Botolph

1 Jesus, the very thought of thee

With sweetness fills my breast;

But sweeter far thy face to see,

And in thy presence rest.

2 Nor voice can sing, nor heart can frame,

Nor can the memory find,

A sweeter sound than thy blest name,

O Saviour of mankind!

3 O hope of every contrite heart,

O joy of all the meek,

To those who fall, how kind thou art!

How good to those who seek!

4 But what to those who find? Ah, this

Nor tongue nor pen can show;

The love of Jesus, what it is

None but his loved ones know.

5 Jesu, our only joy be thou,

As thou our prize wilt be;

Jesus, be thou our glory now,

And through eternity.

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


We recall our Lord’s command to love and in a moment of silence we confess 

the many ways we fail to keep his command:

Most merciful God, 

Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
we confess that we have sinned
in thought, word and deed.
We have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.
In your mercy forgive what we have been,
help us to amend what we are,
and direct what we shall be;
that we may do justly, love mercy,
and walk humbly with you, our God.  Amen

May the God of love and power
forgive us and free us from our sins,
heal and strengthen us by his Spirit,
and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.


Let your merciful ears, O Lord,

be open to the prayers of your humble servants;

and that they may obtain their petitions

make them to ask such things as shall please you;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord; Amen.

FIRST READING – 2 Samuel 18.5-9,15,31-33

The king ordered Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” And all the people heard when the king gave orders to all the commanders concerning Absalom.

So the army went out into the field against Israel; and the battle was fought in the forest of Ephraim. The men of Israel were defeated there by the servants of David, and the slaughter there was great on that day, twenty thousand men. The battle spread over the face of all the country; and the forest claimed more victims that day than the sword.

Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak. His head caught fast in the oak, and he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on.

And ten young men, Joab’s armour-bearers, surrounded Absalom and struck him, and killed him.

Now David was sitting between the two gates. The sentinel went up to the roof of the gate by the wall, and when he looked up, he saw a man running alone.

Then the Cushite came; and the Cushite said, “Good tidings for my lord the king! For the LORD has vindicated you this day, delivering you from the power of all who rose up against you.” The king said to the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” The Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up to do you harm, be like that young man.”

The king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”

HYMN Father hear the prayer we off NEH 357 – Sussex

1 Father, hear the prayer we offer:

Not for ease that prayer shall be,

But for strength that we may ever

Live our lives courageously.

2 Not for ever in green pastures

Do we ask our way to be;

But the steep and rugged pathway

May we tread rejoicingly.

3 Not for ever by still waters

Would we idly rest and stay;

But would smite the living fountains

From the rocks along our way.

4 Be our strength in hours of weakness,

In our wanderings be our guide;

Through endeavour, failure, danger,

Father, be thou at our side.

GOSPEL – John 6.35,41-51

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not complain among yourselves. No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”


So we continue the story of David and it is not for the faint-hearted. Still, at least the rape of Tamar has been missed out, as has the successful beginning of the coup d’état staged by David’s third son Absalom. David is forced to run and his cause seems lost. Only through the loyalty of his “old guard” and with much slaughter is the kingdom won back. But David cannot rejoice for his son is killed by the same ruthless commander that David used to have Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, eliminated. It’s all very tragic and we are left wondering whether David would rather have had his son than his kingdom. 

We continue as well with the narrative of St John’s Gospel, and there too a dark note is introduced, “the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” The message is clear, the bread, the sustenance, the sustaining life, that Jesus brings will be at a cost. A cost that he will bare himself. It was one of the prophecies of the coming of the Messiah that he would bring about a sign from heaven as Moses brought the manner from heaven. It was also a commonplace to talk about the Torah or law as feeding those who read it and kept it. By identifying himself as life-giving bread Jesus is declaring himself both as the answer to prophecy and the new Torah. The people react as we would, “who are you to claim so much?” Just like somebody growing up in a Hampshire village of yesteryear Jesus was known. They knew his home, they knew him to be one of them; and one of them could not be so special. Jesus replies that only through the eyes of faith, only through the gift of God, could they see him for who he was. 

It is a theme I repeat often, the difficulty of seeing the ordinary as extraordinary, and the dangers involved in failing to see the wonder in the everyday. It is sobering to think of those neighbours of Jesus through the 30 odd years before he began his public ministry, just seeing one such as they, caught up in the struggle to earn a living and provide for shelter and food. Is it any wonder that they could see no further?  Stubbornness of thought is a dangerous condition. The parallel with manna in the desert is a profound one. Manna means “what is it?” and it was the Israelites failure to understand that it was a gift of God’s providing that led them to perish in the desert and not to share in the promised land to come. They ate it but could not understand its significance, that is was a token of God’s love and faithfulness. There is a Hindu parallel in the form of a god being likened to a food – the Bhaktas see god as milky sugar cane, nectar, luscious fruit, the finest of delicacies.  Whereas for John, Christ is bread and water.  What the bhaktas desire is rapture, ecstasy, inevitably the province of the few devotees.  What John sees is Christ as the sustaining food of everyday – for every person.  This is what Jesus identified himself with.

So Jesus tells his neighbours and countrymen that new sustaining life has come from God. At this time of foreign occupation, and obsession with rebellion, when everything is about to fall to pieces, when famine and the sword will destroy Israel as a nation, and almost as a people, now at this turning point in their history God will feed them again, but this time he will feed them with ideas, hopes, and a new way to be his people – all proclaimed and mediated in and through Jesus. What was on offer was food for a hungry land, water for a parched desert. 

They rejected the offer and starved. But the offer is forever open.  To embrace Christ as way and truth and life is to grasp the bread and drink the cup. It is to walk the road of forgiveness – offered and received, and to follow the path of hope that turns all tragedies into possibilities.  It is to travel in faith – for faith is the hinge that opens the door of our hearts to God – but most of all it is to love as ‘Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.’ 

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

HYMN Bread of heaven, on thee we feed NEH 276 – Bread of heaven

1 Bread of heaven, on thee we feed,

for thou art our food indeed.

Ever may our souls be fed

with this true and living Bread,

day by day with strength supplied

through the life of Christ who died.

2 Vine of heaven, thy love supplies

this blest cup of sacrifice.

‘Tis thy wounds our healing give;

to thy cross we look and live.

Thou our life! O let us be

rooted, grafted, built on thee.


Jesus, you are the living bread that has come down from heaven.  Help us to feed from your bread; to never be hungry in spirit, or thirsty in belief, but to get sustenance from your teachings, energy from your words and succour from your wisdom.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray today for your worldwide church and for all those who suffer for their faith.  We pray for Christians in countries where they are persecuted and for all those whose faith is under attack by other forces who sometimes commit atrocities in the name of religion.  We think of the Taliban, once again on the attack in Afghanistan, and pray for peace, reconciliation and understanding.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for our benefice of Compton, Hursley and Otterbourne, for William and all those who preach in our three churches, for those who help in even the smallest way to keep our services running and for our congregations who have continued in their faith despite the difficulties of the last eighteen months.  Help us to grow from the inside and to attract new worshippers.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

As you send bread from heaven to feed our souls, may we not forget those who do not have enough to eat.  We remember the homeless in our country, those who may have lost livelihoods due to the Covid pandemic and we remember the starving displaced in Yemen and refugees everywhere, as well as those affected by disastrous floods, fires and storms.  Lord we pray for enlightenment in the fight against global warming.  Your world is a beautiful place.  Help us to keep it beautiful, to look after all creatures on this earth and to preserve it for future generations.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray today for all those who are suffering in body, mind and spirit and in a moment of silence we remember all those known to us personally, and those for whom our prayers have been asked… Please send relief from suffering, renewed health and wellbeing, and ease of mind.  Let us not forget those suffering mental anguish, perhaps in silence, and all those who are lonely, bereaved or on the brink of despair.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Merciful God, we commend into your hands those whom we have loved and see no more. We remember especially today Anne Bailey and Lindsay Dolphin. You gave them breath and loved and cared for them throughout their lives. Receive them now into your eternal kingdom and may they rest in peace.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

As we enter a new week, let us be sustained by your living bread, remember to feed those in need, and to live in love, faith and peace.

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

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.

The Lord bless you and keep you.

The Lord make his face to shine upon and be gracious unto you.

The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

The Lord God almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

the holy and undivided Trinity, guard you, save you,

and bring you to that heavenly city,

where he lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen

HYMN Come ye faithful raise the anthem NEH 351 – Neander

1 Come, ye faithful, raise the anthem,

Cleave the skies with shouts of praise;

Sing to him who found the ransom,

Ancient of eternal days,

God eternal, Word incarnate,

Whom the heaven of heaven obeys.

2 Ere he raised the lofty mountains,

Formed the sea, or built the sky,

Love eternal, free, and boundless,

Forced the Lord of life to die,

Lifted up the Prince of princes

On the throne of Calvary.

3 Now on those eternal mountains

Stands the sapphire throne, all bright,

With the ceaseless alleluias

Which they raise, the sons of light;

Sion’s people tell his praises,

Victor after hard-won fight.

4 Bring your harps, and bring your incense,

Sweep the string and pour the lay;

Let the earth proclaim his wonders,

King of that celestial day;

He the Lamb once slain is worthy,

Who was dead, and lives for ay.

5 Laud and honour to the Father,

Laud and honour to the Son,

Laud and honour to the Spirit,

Ever Three and ever One,

One in love, and One in splendour,

While unending ages run. Amen.

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