Morning Service for Trinity 2 2023


"Is anything impossible for God?"  Surely that’s the question. Was it impossible for Jesus’ disciples to "cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons"? Was it impossible for Abraham at over 100 and Sarah in her Nineties to have a son? Is it impossible for us to have the faith that Paul speaks of, a faith that gives us a hope that will not disappoint, a faith that God's love has really been poured into our hearts, a faith that God has proved his love for us because Christ died for us? 

Morning Service for Trinity 2 2023

HYMN King of glory, king of peace NEH 391/AMR 367 – Gwalchmai

1 King of glory, King of peace,

I will love thee;

And that love may never cease,

I will move thee.

Thou hast granted my request,

Thou hast heard me;

Thou didst note my working breast,

Thou hast spared me.

2 Wherefore with my utmost art

I will sing thee,

And the cream of all my heart

I will bring thee.

Though my sins against me cried,

Thou didst clear me;

And alone, when they replied,

Thou didst hear me.

3 Seven whole days, not one in seven,

I will praise thee;

In my heart, though not in heaven,

I can raise thee.

Small it is, in this poor sort

To enrol thee:

E’en eternity’s too short

To extol thee.

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.


Lord, you have taught us

that all our doings without love are nothing worth:

send your Holy Spirit

and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love,

the true bond of peace and of all virtues,

without which whoever lives is counted dead before you.

Grant this for your only Son Jesus Christ’s sake,  Amen.

FIRST READING – Genesis 18.1-15 [21.1-7]

The LORD appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. He said, “My lord, if I find favour with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.” Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

They said to him, “Where is your wife Sarah?” And he said, “There, in the tent.” Then one said, “I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?” The LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too wonderful for the LORD? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.” But Sarah denied, saying, “I did not laugh”; for she was afraid. He said, “Oh yes, you did laugh.”…..

The LORD dealt with Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah as he had promised. Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to his son whom Sarah bore him. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Now Sarah said, “God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.” And she said, “Who would ever have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

HYMN – Thou whose almighty word – NEH466 – Moscow 

1 THOU whose almighty word

Chaos and darkness heard,

And took their flight;

Hear us, we humbly pray,

And where the gospel day

Sheds not its glorious ray

Let there be light.

2 Thou who didst come to bring

On thy redeeming wing

Healing and sight,

Health to the sick in mind,

Sight to the inly blind,

O now to all mankind

Let there be light.

3 Spirit of truth and love,

Life-giving, holy Dove,

Speed forth thy flight;

Move on the water’s face,

Bearing the lamp of grace,

And in earth’s darkest place

Let there be light.

4 Blessèd and holy Three,

Glorious Trinity,

Wisdom, Love, Might,

Boundless as ocean’s tide

Rolling in fullest pride,

Through the world far and wide

Let there be light.

GOSPEL – Matthew 9.35 – 10.8
Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.”

Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.

These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.


“Is anything impossible for God?” 

Surely that’s the question. Was it impossible for Jesus’ disciples to “cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons”? Was it impossible for Abraham at over 100 and Sarah in her Nineties to have a son? Is it impossible for us to have the faith that Paul speaks of, a faith that gives us a hope that will not disappoint, a faith that God’s love has really been poured into our hearts, a faith that God has proved his love for us because Christ died for us? 

It is easy to say that anything is possible for God, easy to say but hard to believe, and perhaps harder to live with. Because such a faith has deeper consequences, both for us and for God. If nothing is impossible for God then why are things as they are? 

The story of Abraham and Sarah has gone through many crises since they first heard of God’s promise that Abraham would be the father of a nation and a blessing to all mankind. It has been the story of the heroic and the cowardly, a story of faith and disbelief, Abraham may have responded to God’s call to up sticks and move south, but since then he’s lived more by his own wits than any reliance on a promise by God. In the previous Chapter Abraham himself has laughed at the idea of he and Sarah conceiving a child, now its Sara’s turn. And why not? The writer of the story wants us to understand just how ridiculous this idea is, he is not trying to say that Abraham and Sarah were superhuman, he is not trying to say that they simply believed and it was so, he is not trying to say that they are giants among men and women. He is trying to say that they are just like you and me, expecting things to follow their normal reasonable pattern and for the world to remain consistent – women in their Nineties do not have babies. They, like us believe their God to exist, they are not without faith, Abraham has heard his voice, even trusted his fate to the bidding of that voice, and yet women in their Nineties just don’t have babies. 

Laughter is a subtle thing, it can be warm, inclusive, infectious, or it can be hard, cold, deriding, insulting – we’re not told what Sarah’s laugh, and before hers Abraham’s, was like, only that they laughed. But I rather think that if you laugh at somebody who promises you something, it’s more the latter sort of laugh – a laugh to be ashamed of, and before God, to be afraid of. 

Throughout the Old Testament you’ll find God defined as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and in this identification of their God, and the history of their faith in him, there is preserved this sneering, contemptuous, deriding laughter – because Isaac means ‘he laughs’. There as a charge, there as a sign not to underestimate the free will of God, not to underestimate or limit his ability to make good his promise – there is this statement of deriding faithlessness. 

The passage from St Matthew’s Gospel this morning includes the summoning of the 12 and the giving to them of authority and incredible power and responsibility. For what they will be able to do is no less, not one mite less than what Jesus himself can do. And they are warned that in sharing the authority and the power of Jesus they will also share in his fate. The passage is remarkable because Matthew must have written it down long after it was apparent that the disciples, on the whole, could not heal the sick, and raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. The experience of the early Church, and its success, was based not on the miracles performed by its members, but by their faith and commitment to one another and the Christ they served. So why this promise? Why this unbelievable taking up of Jesus’ powers and abilities? 

Perhaps because Matthew understood that that was what Jesus had intended, had expected, because Jesus had assumed that the community he left behind would be able to do more not less than him. 

So where does that leave us? Do we turn to the miraculous, expect the impossible, blame our lack of faith for the fact that the sick aren’t cured, lepers aren’t cleansed, the dead aren’t raised? I wish I knew – there are many sensible theological answers – but maybe they are just a fudge. I don’t know whether God wills us to have this power, this mountain moving power of faith, or whether he wills instead the natural order and faith is there to challenge and disturb, strengthen and encourage. 

But I for one admit to being more comfortable with the certainty of the natural order. Could I really handle a world where the power of God was so evident – where men were healed, lepers cleansed and the dead raised? Could you? Maybe that’s the problem… we can’t.

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 – O worship the king NEH433/AMR 167 – Hanover

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.

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.


As Jesus called his disciples to spread the good news, may we not be afraid to talk about our faith in an age of increasing secularism.  Help us as individuals and church communities to be beacon to others and to always be caring, welcoming and inclusive to all.

Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray today for William, Warwick, Keith and all those who preach and help with our worship.  We pray for everyone who helps in our churches because so many people do even the smallest thing which helps to keep us going.  We pray for all leaders and those to whom we look for advice.  With our politicians and leaders under such scrutiny at the moment, help them to make wise decisions, to be always truthful and to set a good example to us all.

Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

After a week of tragic news, we remember all those who have died and those left behind to mourn them.  We think especially of the Nottingham victims and those lost at sea in Greece and Egypt.  We pray for their families and friends left with the shock and horror of a sudden tragic loss.  May they find peace in their hearts and comfort in their suffering.

Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for all those who suffer:  the eyewitnesses and the hospitalised in Nottingham, the survivors in Greece and Egypt and the victims of natural disasters like the cyclone in India and the fires in Canada or man-made ones like the flooded lands of Ukraine.  Our thoughts are always with the war in Ukraine and all their displaced and injured citizens.  We also bring to mind anyone known to us personally … and pray that you will bring them comfort and ease their pain.

Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

As we head towards the season of fetes, festivals, garden parties and holidays, let us give thanks for the wonderful sunshine but also pray for rain which is desperately needed in our gardens.  Help us to remember that every small step we make can affect the environment we liv in and therefore the whole planet.

Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Through our prayer and faith may we be justified, at peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ and may we be ever grateful for the grace in which we live.  Let us go into the next week with hope, thankfulness and compassion for others.

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 All my hope on God is founded NEH 333 – Michael

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.


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.

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