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  • Seniors Minister

19th April

Greetings to all who are reading this,

We hope that you have been able to find some help and comfort from these weekly services as we continue in these unsettling times.

Thank you to those who have been in touch and given your encouragement.

How have you been getting on singing the hymns!?

Please let me know if you would like to have a copy of a ‘sing a long’ CD containing the hymns we will be using. I can also provide a CD player if needed.

Please also contact me if you would like to contribute a hymn or prayer request.

This week I have included the hymn ‘Abide with me’. I know that this hymn is often sung at funerals and I hope that including it here will not cause more emotions to trouble you.

However, I feel as many of us our self-isolating on our own, it is helpful to remember that we are not on our own as the Lord abides with us. You can’t really self-isolate when you know the Lord!

With love, prayers and blessings,

Polly Andrews, Seniors Minister at Holy Trinity (07914 871417)

James Bradby from St Michael’s Monkton Combe (01225 722700)

A Service for Sunday 19th April

Jesus came and stood among his disciples, and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’ Alleluia!

John 20 v19

Let us pray

Mighty God,

in whom we know the power of redemption,

you stand among us in the shadows of our time.

As we move through every sorrow and trial of this life,

uphold us with knowledge of the final morning

when, in the glorious presence of your risen Son,

we will share in his resurrection,

redeemed and restored to the fullness of life

and forever freed to be your people.


Hymn - Abide with me

Abide with me: fast falls the eventide;

the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.

When other helpers fail and comforts flee,

Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;

earth's joys grow dim, its glories pass away.

Change and decay in all around I see.

O thou who changest not, abide with me.

I need thy presence every passing hour.

What but thy grace can foil the tempter's power?

Who like thyself my guide and strength can be?

Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me.

I fear no foe with thee at hand to bless,

Ills have no weight, and tear no bitterness.

Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?

I triumph still, if thou abide with me.

Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes.

Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.

Heaven's morning breaks and earth's vain shadows flee;

in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

The Collect

Almighty Father

who in your great mercy made glad the disciples

with the sight of the risen Lord:

give us such knowledge of his presence with us,

that we may be strengthened and sustained by his risen life

and serve you continually in righteousness and truth;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.


O Lord have mercy on me according to your unfailing love and great compassion.

Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.

Create in me a pure heart O Lord and renew a right spirit within me.

Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart of God you will not despise

Psalm 51 v 1-4, 10-12, 17

Hymn - And Can It Be

And can it be that I should gain

An int’rest in the Savior’s blood?

Died He for me, who caused His pain?

For me, who Him to death pursued?

Amazing love! how can it be

That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

’Tis mystery all! The Immortal dies!

Who can explore His strange design?

In vain the firstborn seraph tries

To sound the depths of love Divine!

’Tis mercy all! let earth adore,

Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father’s throne above,

So free, so infinite His grace;

Emptied Himself of all but love,

And bled for Adam’s helpless race:

’Tis mercy all, immense and free;

For, O my God, it found out me.

Long my imprisoned spirit lay

Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;

Thine eye diffused a quickening ray,

I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;

My chains fell off, my heart was free,

I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

No condemnation now I dread;

Jesus, and all in Him, is mine!

Alive in Him, my living Head,

And clothed in righteousness Divine,

Bold I approach the eternal throne,

And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Reading: Romans 5.1-11 (Nicholas King's translation)

So we have been reckoned-as-righteous as a result of our faith. We have peace with God through Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith to this free gift in which we stand, and boast in the hope of the glory of God.

Not only that; but let us also boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction brings about steadfastness, and steadfastness brings about character, and character brings about hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God is poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit that is given us.

You see, Christ, when we were still weak, nevertheless died at the right time on behalf of the impious! Now you might just about die for a righteous person; perhaps someone might die in a good cause. But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died on our behalf!

How much more, then, now that we have been reckoned-as-righteous by his blood, shall we be saved through him from the wrath? For if when we were his enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, now that we have been reconciled, shall we be saved by his life? Not only that, but we actually boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom we have now received reconciliation.

A play by the ancient Greek writer Euripides, written in the 5th century BC, tells how the god Apollo wanted to reward King Admetus for a favour he had done. He said that he could avoid death if he found someone else to die instead of him. Admetus is rather hurt when his elderly parents decline, and is at a loss when his wife, the eponymous Alcestis, says she will do it. Despite considerable second thoughts, she goes through with it, and dies. The selfish Admetus is belatedly devastated by the loss of his beloved wife, but the hero Herakles turns up unexpectedly. He bravely goes down to the Underworld, fights Hades, and brings Alcestis back to her chastened husband.

As Paul says in our reading, "someone might just about die for a righteous person...or a good cause". We read and hear of courageous medical workers and others who have risked and sometimes given their lives to save others. There are many stories of such heroism in warfare and exploration. Captain Oates, ill and frost-bitten, left Scott's tent in the Antarctic saying, "I am just going outside; I may be some time." He was never seen again; by his act of self-sacrifice he hoped his comrades would have a chance of survival. It is not a comfortable feeling, to imagine that I am in a position to die for someone else. It is natural to want to prolong one's own life. We admire those who sacrifice their lives for others. How much more should we be grateful for the action of Jesus in dying for the sins of the world at the original Easter.

Paul in the first part of our reading, talks about hope, and this is a theme that is as relevant as ever for Christians. The saving act of Jesus' death and resurrection has taken place, but the world is still full of sin and evil. In Britain, we have had many years of peace and prosperity, but with the emergence of the modern materialist state, there has been a steady erosion of Christianity as the faith of the British people. Not only have church attendances, Sunday schools and Christian teaching in schools, declined: the idea of a God who cares about his people and how they use his creation seems ridiculous to most writers and journalists. We are beset by afflictions of one sort or another: for instance, the increasing inequality in society which had led to increasing homelessness and poverty. There are children in Bath (among the wealthiest cities in the world) who are going hungry. Then we have our own problems. It can look as if everything is like a watch running down. When it stops, it will never go again. Things are not what they were... If you ever find yourself thinking along these lines, look again at the insistence of Paul on HOPE!

Why should we hope? "because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." Paul was in a situation where things were far from perfect for someone like him who was trying to cause a change in religion which would affect the whole Roman world, and then the entire globe. Paul could have been timid or could have given up his task as hopeless; after all the chief God in Rome at the time he wrote "Romans" was the self -obsessed and self-styled god, Nero who was eventually to have Paul executed. Then there were the gods of Greece and Rome, not to mention those from Egypt, Syria and elsewhere. The worst threat for Paul was from his own people the Jews, who bitterly opposed his opening up of their ancient religion to the Gentiles (everyone else). Paul had been in danger of his life from the Jews more than once, and he had made enemies among the leaders of the Jews. After writing the letter to the Romans, he went back to Judea where he was promptly arrested and imprisoned. How his confidence in Jesus Christ must have been tested! And when he was finally taken to Rome as a prisoner - did he give up as the ship gradually sank and the crew prepared to kill the prisoners? No, he prayed, he took control, inspiring confidence, and no-one was drowned. He displayed hope, as he did wherever he went. We must ask ourselves if we follow his example, showing hope in what we say and do, however un hopeful things look. That hope is in a loving God who is the ultimate Lord of creation.

The expression in the translation given, "reckoned-as-righteous" which occurs twice in the passage, is an attempt to convey the key idea of Paul's theology: that all people who believe in God can be - how could he put it: saved, like shipwrecked sailors (Salvation); or declared innocent (Justified), like people accused in a court of law; or like slaves sold into slavery for debt, who are unexpectedly released when someone pays the debt for them (Redeemed). All these ideas come into Paul's writings as he struggles to express the cosmic nature of what God has done for humanity through Jesus Christ. The words "salvation", "justification" and "redemption" all have a strong theological overtone and are not much used in secular dialogue. But in recent days the Prime Minister has said, "The NHS saved my life." This illustrates the point that what God has done for us (and what the NHS did for the Prime Minister) was not something we had any control over: God decided to do it, and he did it. We can all share Paul's feeling of inability to bring about his own salvation: in this respect we are utterly helpless, like a patient on the operating table, entirely dependent on the surgeon and his or her team.

A few years ago, I was driving into London on the North Circular late on a Friday afternoon; a tyre punctured suddenly. I got the car onto a slip road, and Jane and I started to ring the AA: no answer. So I tried to change the wheel, unaware that one of the nuts had a special anti-theft device. As darkness came on, we wondered what on earth we were going to do. Prayers were offered. Within 10 minutes, a man came along on a bicycle. He stopped and offered to help. He knew all about the anti-theft device, and within a short time he had replaced the wheel and gone off on his bicycle. Like Paul, I could not thank or reward him and I never shall be able to do so this side of eternity. He had taken it into his head to help the helpless motorist; if he had hurried past, there was nothing I could have done to enlist his help.

The God about whom Paul is so excited in today's passage is the Creator and Lord of the universe; but the aspect of God which he talks about is his love: "the love of God is poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit that is given us." He then points out that God's love was demonstrated by the fact that "Christ died on our behalf." This is surely a God we nowadays can get excited about.

The final section of the passage is about reconciliation, a word used 3 times in as many sentences (but not frequent elsewhere in the New Testament). Paul is still thinking of the way we have been justified, saved etc; but here he emphasises the personal nature of God and his relations with human beings. Reconciliation takes place between individuals or groups, where both sides agree to "bury the hatchet" and forget whatever grievances have led to estrangement. It is a rare and wonderful thing and was shown in recent history by the friendship of Ian Paisley and Martin McGuiness after the end of the "troubles" in Northern Ireland. It is an astonishing claim that God himself was prepared to be reconciled with human beings. And it was this unique claim that led to the "victory" of Christianity overall the weird and wonderful religions of the ancient world. It must be our hope as Christians today that the world will understand and take part in the great reconciliation of God and Man.

Let us pray,

A Prayer of Adoration

Praise be to you, Lord, the God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.

Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendour, for everything in heaven and earth is yours.

Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.

Wealth and honour come from you; you are the ruler of all things.

In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.

Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.


1 Chronicles 29 v10-13

A General Thanksgiving

Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we thine unworthy servants do give thee most humble and hearty thanks for all thy goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all men;

We bless thee for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for thine inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ, for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.

And we beseech thee, give us that due sense of all thy mercies, that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful, and that we shew forth thy praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives; by giving up ourselves to thy service, and by walking before thee in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost be all honour and glory, world without end.


Holy God, you have called us to follow in the way of your risen Son, and to care for those who are our companions, not only with words of comfort, but with acts of love. Seeking to be true friends of all, we offer our prayers on behalf of the church and the world.

A Prayer for Deliverance from the Coronavirus by Pete Greig & 24-7 Prayer

Jehovah Shalom, Lord of Peace, we remember those living in coronavirus hotspots and those currently in isolation. May they know your presence in their isolation, your peace in their turmoil and your patience in their waiting. Prince of Peace, you are powerful and merciful; let this be our prayer

“May your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need. Help us, God our Saviour, for the glory of your name.”(Psalm 79:8)

God of all Comfort and Counsel, we pray for those who are grieving, reeling from the sudden loss of loved ones. May they find your fellowship in their suffering, your comfort in their loss, and your hope in their despair. We name before you those known to us who are vulnerable and scared - the frail, the sick and the elderly. God of all Comfort, you are powerful and merciful; may this be our prayer

“He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.” (2 Corinthians 1:10)

Jehovah Rapha, God who heals, we pray for all medical professionals dealing daily with the intense pressures of this crisis. Grant them resilience in weariness, discernment in diagnosis, and compassion upon compassion as they care. We thank you for the army of researchers working steadily and quietly towards a cure - give them clarity, serendipity and unexpected breakthrough today. Would you rise above this present darkness as the Sun of Righteousness with healing in your rays. May this be our prayer –

“Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” (Jeremiah 32:17)

God of all Wisdom, we pray for our leaders: the World Health Organisation, national governments, and local leaders too - heads of schools, hospitals and other institutions. Since you have positioned these people in public service for this hour, we ask you to grant them wisdom beyond their own wisdom to contain this virus, faith beyond their own faith to fight this fear, and strength beyond their own strength to sustain vital institutions through this time of turmoil. God of all Wisdom and Counsel, you are powerful and merciful; may this be our prayer –

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear” (Psalms 46:1-2)

I bless you with the words of Psalm 91:

“Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.”

“Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.” (Psalm 4:1)

May El Shaddai, the Lord God Almighty who loves you protect you. May Jesus Christ, His Son who died for you save you. And may the Holy Spirit who broods over the chaos and fills you with his presence, intercede for you and in you for others at this time.

“The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (2 Timothy 4:18)


A Litany for Today

Let us come to the Lord in hope,

Let us prayer to the Lord in faith,

And let us hold to the Lord throughout our lives.

Lord, keep safe all the new born babies. Protect them from the virus and comfort and strength those who care from them.

Hear us, good Lord

Comfort the children who are at home and missing their friends and extended family. May they know your love and peace and take away any fear they are experiencing as they know something ‘big’ and ‘different’ is happening to the world.

Hear us, good Lord

Support the young people who are fearful about their future. May they turn to you in their fears and uncertainty. Give them your hope as the anchor of their soul.

Hear us, good Lord

Guide and strengthen parents currently home schooling their children and working from home. Help them to be productive in their work and calm and caring with their children.

Hear us, good Lord

Replace fear with love in those concerned about money and food. May they know that you are their good Father who will meet all their needs.

Hear us, good Lord

Comfort those who have lost a loved one, those separated from loved ones or frightened to pick up the phone in case it is bad news.

Hear us, good Lord

Give hope to the lonely and desperate. May they know you are with them. Bring others around them to accompany them through the darkness.

Hear us, good Lord

Give peace and healing to those who are unwell. Protect those who are vulnerable.

Hear us, good Lord

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all every more. Amen

Let us conclude by saying……..

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, the glory are yours, now and for ever.


Hymn - Great is Thy Faithfulness

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,

There is no shadow of turning with Thee;

Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not

As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see;

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—

Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,

Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,

Join with all nature in manifold witness

To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see;

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—

Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,

Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,

Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see;

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—

Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!

A blessing from William Temple (1881-1944)

May the love of the Lord Jesus draw us to himself;

May the power of the Lord Jesus strengthen us in his service;

May the joy of the Lord Jesus fill our souls.

May the blessing of God almighty,

The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,

Be among you and remain with you always


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