Morning Service for Trinity 5 2022


Poor old Martha - there she is working away, in her own home, trying to be the perfect hostess, and no one will lift a finger to help, not even her own sister. She makes a very reasonable appeal, ‘Lord don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’

Morning Service for Trinity 5 2022

HYMN Thou whose almighty word – NEH466/AMR 266 – 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.

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.


Almighty and everlasting God,

by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church

   is governed and sanctified:

hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people,

that in their vocation and ministry

they may serve you in holiness and truth

to the glory of your name;

through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,  Amen.

FIRST READING – Amos 8.1-12

This is what the Lord GOD showed me—a basket of summer fruit. He said, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then the LORD said to me, “The end has come upon my people Israel; I will never again pass them by. The songs of the temple shall become wailings in that day,” says the Lord GOD; “the dead bodies shall be many, cast out in every place. Be silent!” Hear this, you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land, saying, “When will the new moon be over so that we may sell grain; and the sabbath, so that we may offer wheat for sale? We will make the ephah small and the shekel great, and practice deceit with false balances, buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and selling the sweepings of the wheat.” The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob: Surely I will never forget any of their deeds. Shall not the land tremble on this account, and everyone mourn who lives in it, and all of it rise like the Nile, and be tossed about and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt? On that day, says the Lord GOD, I will make the sun go down at noon, and darken the earth in broad daylight. I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; I will bring sackcloth on all loins, and baldness on every head; I will make it like the mourning for an only son, and the end of it like a bitter day. The time is surely coming, says the Lord GOD, when I will send a famine on the land; not a famine of bread, or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the LORD, but they shall not find it.

HYMN My God how wonderful thou art  NEH410/ AMR 169 – Westminster

1 My God, how wonderful thou art,

Thy majesty how bright,

How beautiful thy mercy-seat,

In depths of burning light!

2 How dread are thine eternal years,

O everlasting Lord,

By prostrate spirits day and night

Incessantly adored!

3 How wonderful, how beautiful,

The sight of thee must be,

Thine endless wisdom, boundless power,

And awful purity!

4 O, how I fear thee, living God,

With deepest, tenderest fears,

And worship thee with trembling hope,

And penitential tears!

5 Yet I may love thee too, O Lord,

Almighty as thou art,

For thou hast stooped to ask of me

The love of my poor heart.

6 No earthly father loves like thee,

No mother, e’er so mild,

Bears and forbears as thou hast done

With me thy sinful child.

7 Father of Jesus, love’s reward,

What rapture will it be

Prostrate before thy throne to lie,

And gaze and gaze on thee.

GOSPEL – Luke 10.38-42
Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”


Poor old Martha – there she is working away, in her own home, trying to be the perfect hostess, and no one will lift a finger to help, not even her own sister. She makes a very reasonable appeal, ‘Lord don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’

I’ve always had my sympathies for Martha. My sense of equal work in the home is reflected more in principle than practice; so possibly out of guilt, I’ve considered her case to be a good one. After all’s said and done – its all very well discussing great spiritual truths but it won’t get the potatoes peeled or the table laid. But are my sympathies justified? If we look a little more critically at the detail of this story, something more sinister emerges. 

‘Lord don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’ What Martha tries to do is to use Jesus, to manipulate his authority to get her sister to do what she wants her to do. And not only that, she tries to shame him into doing it. ‘Lord don’t you care…’

This story of Mary and Martha is really all about Martha, its about someone who wishes to drag others into her anxiety and fear, who wishes to control even Jesus, to get her way, to draw even him into the vortex of her busy-ness. Mary is silent in the tale, she is merely a representative of the alternative way. A woman who knows when it is right to refrain from busy-ness, when she must just sit and listen, even if lunch spoils and the guests go hungry. Like so many stories in the Gospels, this is about priorities, right ones and wrong ones. It’s about recognising when something important is going on, when the kingdom of God is in your midst and then responding to it. 

It’s not just a dig against the practically minded, the doers of our world – the world would stop without them, we’d all starve and shiver with the cold. No, I think it has more to do with not missing the boat, not keeping the eye so close to the grindstone that we fail to see what’s really going on.

Our week used to have a built in safety valve, a day to rest and take a step back, to sit and think and ponder our daily living. A day in which it wasn’t acceptable to play sport, make a noise, go to the pub – or even fill your car with petrol. Ok, I don’t subscribe to the Lord’s Day Observance Society, but Sundays were a civilising force in an economy usually directed to making those further down the ladder work harder and longer. 

Of course, life now is so busy, family to lunch, kids to take to this and that, gardens to maintain, and work to be done, a wage to be earned. People need Sundays just for living and working, many have no choice, our Society has decreed that Sunday is just another day of the week. If your child wants to play a sport then he better not want to come to church as well, the two are now incompatible – most children’s sport happens on a Sunday now.

Amos was scandalised at the attitude of the rich merchants in the Israel of his day – ‘when will…. the Sabbath be over so that we may lay out the grain for selling’. The Sabbath, to them was no sacred opportunity for finding and hearing the will of God, but instead a tiresome irritation that got in the way of making money. Amos saw that only disaster could follow from this attitude. They would fall away from the demands of conscience and justice, consumed in self-serving greed. 

He had a point – Israel was wiped out not long afterwards. A people who lose their connection with what is other and divine and of the Spirit, is doomed. Doomed, not so much to the judgement of God, but the consequences of imbalance and a failure to recognise what is needed to be human. Too much Martha and not enough Mary leads to disaster – national, and personal. Basically, we lose our soul.

It’s bad enough that we don’t have a day in the week spare to give to rest and reflection, most of the population don’t even give an hour a week. And as for giving some time to the God we claim to believe in, that has long since passed into ancient memory. As has the value placed on membership of such a congregation as this. It is an integral part of the way of Christ that we should be one with fellow travellers along the way. There is a priority to owning the name of Christ – there is responsibility and demand, and its not in order to save our eternal soul, or to avoid 50 years in Purgatory, it is simply because it is good for us, very good, and sometimes we may need to let lunch spoil, or in our case miss breakfast and a lie-in, to feed that which matters more.

I said that the story was all about Martha, that, of course isn’t completely true, it’s also about Mary. But only a short phrase describes her, she was sitting and literally, ‘heard the word of him.’ Mary recognised that this was an extraordinary moment, for before her eyes sat he who was ‘all the fullness of God’ – the communication, the word of God to all mankind. 

Such recognition comes from sitting and hearing, from rest and the opportunity to seek again the presence and the will of God, a deep attention to the reality before her. To sit silently at his feet and listen to the words he might have for her.

I need this place and this time, we all need this place and time. To come and draw from the well of life, to replenish tired hearts and weary spirits, to kneel at the feet of him who would lift us up, refreshed and renewed to face the challenges and the trials, the joys and the glory, that is woven into the fabric of our lives. To put money in the bank of spiritual resources, to draw upon when need arises.

I have seen the effect this place, and this time can have on people, I know it to be needed, I know it can make all the difference – please give it the priority in your lives it deserves, and use it as fully as you can.

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 Let all mortal flesh keep silence  NEH 295/AMR 390 – Picardy

1 Let all mortal flesh keep silence

And with fear and trembling stand;

Ponder nothing earthly-minded,

For with blessing in his hand

Christ our God to earth descendeth,

Our full homage to demand.

2 King of kings, yet born of Mary,

As of old on earth he stood,

Lord of lords, in human vesture,

In the body and the blood:

He will give to all the faithful

His own self for heavenly food.

3 Rank on rank the host of heaven

Spreads its vanguard on the way,

As the Light of light descendeth

From the realms of endless day,

That the powers of hell may vanish

As the darkness clears away.

4 At his feet the six-winged seraph;

Cherubim with sleepless eye,

Veil their faces to the Presence,

As with ceaseless voice they cry,

Alleluya, Alleluya,

Alleluya, Lord most high!


Heavenly Father, we now think of the troubled parts of the world, where there is so much suffering. We pray for families who have fled from oppression within their own country, who are without homes and food, who are suffering from illness and disease and who are living in fear. We especially remember those in Ukraine, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. We pray for the survival of our world in this time of global warming and for the safety of those caught up in the wildfires in Turkey, Portugal and France. 

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer

We pray now for the whole family of the Church. We pray for those who lead us in our worship, especially for William. We rejoice that we are able to share our fellowship in his garden this afternoon and we thank you that so many people, both in the church and in the community, are prepared to give their time to help others. 

We think of our politicians, both local and national, may they use their power wisely for the good of others and to safeguard our future. May our new Prime Minister be someone who inspires respect and confidence and not someone who, as Amos says, would trample on the needy and bring ruin to the poor of the land.

We pray for all the teachers in our schools with whom we trust the next generation, may they remain caring, dedicated and inspirational. Keep them safe as they prepare for their summer holidays and let all those fearful of the transition from primary to secondary, to university or the world of work be reassured by your loving care. Guide and protect everyone contemplating any upheaval in their lives.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer

We pray for those in need, both within our own families and in the local community.

We pray for those who are ill, whether in their homes or in hospital, especially Peggy Bombey and Ron Emery. Bless them – may they know your love and in doing so receive courage and strength in their time of need.

We pray for the elderly, especially those unable to leave their homes. We pray that they will feel your presence and guiding hand.

We pray for marriages under stress; for children suffering from abuse or the loss of a parent; for those fighting the temptations of alcohol or drugs or struggling with debt.

We pray for those who mourn through recent bereavement remembering especially the family of Pamela Britton whose funeral was held in Compton on Friday.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer

God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the courage to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference. Let us live one day at a time; enjoy one moment at a time; and accept there will be hardships on the path to peace. Let us emulate Mary and never allow ourselves to be distracted from listening to you.

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 Jesu, lover of my soul NEH383/AMR 193 – Aberystwyth

1 Jesu, Lover of my soul,

Let me to thy bosom fly,

While the nearer waters roll,

While the tempest still is high:

Hide me, O my Saviour, hide

Till the storm of life is past;

Safe into the haven guide,

O receive my soul at last.

2 Other refuge have I none,

Hangs my helpless soul on thee;

Leave, ah, leave me not alone,

Still support and comfort me.

All my trust on thee is stayed,

All my help from thee I bring;

Cover my defenceless head

With the shadow of thy wing.

3 Thou, O Christ, art all I want,

More than all in thee I find:

Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,

Heal the sick, and lead the blind.

Just and holy is thy name,

I am all unrighteousness;

False and full of sin I am,

Thou art full of truth and grace.

4 Plenteous grace with thee is found,

Grace to cover all my sin;

Let the healing streams abound,

Make and keep me pure within.

Thou of life the fountain art,

Freely let me take of thee,

Spring thou up within my heart,

Rise to all eternity.

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