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  • Seniors Minister

July 26th

Service for Sunday July 26th

We prepare to worship God

God has revealed his glory in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Come, let us worship.

Loving God,

We have come to worship you.

Help us to pray to you in faith.

To sing you praise with gratitude, and to listen to your word with eagerness;

through Jesus Christ our Lord

Psalm 105 v1-6, 45b

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.

Let the whole world know what he has done.

Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.

Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.

Exult in his holy name;

rejoice, you who worship the Lord.

Search for the Lord and for his strength;

continually seek him.

Remember the wonders he has performed,

his miracles, and the rulings he has given,

you children of his servant Abraham,

you descendants of Jacob, his chosen ones

Praise the Lord!

Hymn – Holy, holy, holy!

Holy, holy, holy!

Lord God Almighty

Early in the morning

Our song shall rise to Thee

Holy, holy, holy!

Merciful and mighty

God in three persons

Blessed Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy!

Though the darkness hide thee

Though the eye of sinful man

Thy glory may not see

Only Thou art holy

There is none beside Thee

Perfect in power, in love and purity

Holy, holy, holy!

Lord God Almighty

Oh thy works shall praise Thy name

In earth and sky and sea

Holy, holy, holy!

Merciful and mighty

God in three persons

Blessed Trinity

Collect for the Seventh Sunday after Trinity

Generous God,

you give us gifts and make them grow:

though our faith is small as mustard seed,

make it grow to your glory

and the flourishing of your kingdom;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We confess our sins to God

O God of life, grant us your forgiveness for our wild thoughts, for our thoughtless deeds, for our empty speech and the words with which we have wounded.

O God of life, grant us your forgiveness for our false desires, for our hateful actions, for our wastefulness and for all we have left unattended.

O loving Christ, hanged on a tree yet risen in the morning, scatter the sin from our souls as the mist from the hills; begin what we do, inform what we say, redeem who we are.

In you we place our hope, our great hope, our living hope, this day and evermore.


We are assured of God’s forgiveness

Hymn - Glorious things of thee are spoken

Glorious things of thee are spoken,

Holy city of our God;

He whose word cannot be broken

Formed thee for His own abode;

On the Rock of Ages founded,

What can shake thy sure repose?

With salvation’s walls surrounded,

Thou may’st smile at all thy foes.

See the streams of living waters,

Springing from eternal love,

Well supply thy blessed members,

And all fear of want remove;

Who can faint, when such a river

Ever flows their thirst t’ assuage?

Grace which, like the Lord, the giver,

Never fails from age to age.

Blest constituents of Zion,

Washed in the Redeemer’s blood;

Jesus, whom their souls rely on,

Makes them kings and priests to God.

’Tis His love His people raises

Over self to reign as kings:

And as priests, His worthy praises,

Each his thankful offering brings.

Savior, if of Zion’s city

I, through grace, a member am,

Let the world deride or pity—

I will glory in Thy name.

Fading is the worldling’s pleasure,

All his boasted pomp and show;

Solid joys and lasting treasure

None but Zion’s members know.

Romans 8 v14-39

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;

we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

James writes,

COVID 19 is affecting the lives of people all over the world. We may know someone who has died as a result of it. But let's look on the bright side.

Are you starving?

Do you lack safe drinking water?

Is medical assistance non-existent or too expensive?

Are you subject to flooding from hurricanes?

Are you separated from your family?

Are you in prison?

Are you enslaved?

Are there soldiers around with guns and knives who threaten you or your family?

Do you have a corrupt government?

Are you persecuted for your religion?

I expect you answered NO to all these questions. It would be disturbing if anyone living in Great Britain today did not. But there are many millions of people in the world who are suffering because of all the causes listed, starting with starvation. What we know of God and his son Jesus Christ tells us that all these people are loved by God just as much as we are. After all, he is the creator of all people and everything, and it is natural for creators and parents to love what they have made. As St Paul put it at the end of today's reading ...neither height not depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (8.39)

Paul's radical approach to the Church crossed boundaries in a remarkable way: most people in those days would have classed Jews and Gentiles as forever different, and the treatment of slave and free as part of one body was seen as laughable or outrageous:

For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or

free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. (1 Cor 12.13)

And a third quotation to illustrate God's love for all people:

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,

you may now dismiss your servant in peace.

For my eyes have seen your salvation,

which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:

a light for revelation to the Gentiles,

and the glory of your people Israel.”

This is the "Song of Simeon", well-known as the 2nd canticle at Evensong, and illustrated in stained glass in St Michael's. It shows at the outset of Jesus' earthly life how God is going to work through Jesus to bring about salvation in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles.

In Romans chapter 8, Paul tries to explain the difference between the mind governed by the flesh and the mind governed by the Spirit. For one thing, the Spirit brings the promise of resurrection (11) and compared to this our present sufferings pale into insignificance.

For another, the Spirit brings about something quite extraordinary; the believer becomes God's child by adoption - part of the family. This would have seemed strange to say the least to anyone who worshipped the God of the Old Testament, or the gods of the Greco-Roman pantheon. And it may be strange to us; how could God take an interest in me? Let alone make me part of his family? Yet Paul emphasises the point repeatedly in Romans 8: twice he refers to adoption as God's children. Three times he says that those who are led by the Spirit are the children of God. He also says that we are God's heirs and co-heirs with Christ. This cannot be taken literally (God is not going to die) but it shows, like the other examples, how the relationship of God and believer is compared to the closest of family relationships - parents and their children. This makes theology accessible, as we are all children (and normally heirs of our parents). It makes no difference if we are adopted, as adopted children have equal rights.

Towards the end of the chapter, the word for love (agape) occurs twice.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? (35)

And to end the chapter, Paul writes,

...neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (39).

Paul had a difficult and troubled life, but he knew where the centre of his Christian life was, and he wanted to share the secret with the Romans, and the whole world. It was not about getting it right, or being intelligent, or obedient. The secret was that God loves his people as a parent loves a child, (unconditionally - remember the Prodigal Son) and this entails that the child should love the parent in turn. So the mystery of the universe can be solved by anyone who has ever been in a human family!


We declare our faith in God

We believe in God the Father who has revealed his loving kindness to us, and in his mercy saved us, through the gift of his Son; not for any good deed of our own, but because he is merciful.

We believe in Jesus Christ, who gave himself up for us to be free from our sin, and calls us to be a royal priesthood, set apart for himself.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, whom God poured out on us generously through Christ our Saviour; so that, justified by grace, we might become heirs with the hope of eternal life. Amen

We believe in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We offer our prayers to God

O Lord, the Scripture says, “There is a time for silence and a time for speech.” Saviour, teach me the silence of humility, the silence of wisdom, the silence of love, the silence of perfection, the silence that speaks without words, the silence of faith. Lord teach me to silence my own heart that I may listen to the gentle movement of the Holy Spirit within me and sense the depths that are of God.

You keep us waiting.

You, the God of all time;

Want us to wait

For the right time for us to discover

Who we are, where we must go

Who will be with us, and what we must do.

So, thank you……for the waiting time.

You keep us looking.

You, the God of all space,

Want us to look in all the right and wrong places

For signs of hope,

For people who are hopeless,

For visions of a better world which will appear

Among the disappointments of the world we know.

So, thank you………..for the looking time.

You keep us loving.

You, the God whose name is love,

Want us to be like you--

To love the loveless and the unlovely and the unlovable;

To love without jealousy or design or threat;

And, most difficult of all,

To love ourselves.

So, thank you…….. for the loving time.

And in all this

You keep us.

Through hard questions with no easy answers;

Through failing where we hoped to succeed

and making an impact when we felt we were useless

Through the patience and the dreams and the love of others;

And through Jesus Christ and his Spirit,


Keep us.

So, thank you……… for the keeping time.

And for now,

and for ever.

We cannot pray for those who suffer without being conscious of our own responsibility for some part of that suffering.

Lord, as we listen and watch the events unfolding in our world, we know our own failure as a nation and as a community of nations to prevent the violence and the starvation and the forced expulsion from their homes of so many of our human family.

Bring us to the point where we demand of our leaders that they put peace and justice and the care of the weakest first, so that we can help others to hold up their heads as people who are cared about, just as Jesus went to the poor and the helpless and the outcast of the world.

Finally, O Father of mercies and God of comfort, our only help in time of need: we humbly ask you to behold, visit and relieve all those in our church family who are sick or needing medical attention and especially those who have been recently bereaved. Look upon them with the eyes of your mercy; comfort them with a sense of your goodness; preserve them from the temptations of the enemy; and give them patience under their afflictions and sorrow.

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

Gathering our prayers and praises into one, as our Saviour has 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.


Hymn - Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father

“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 final prayer and blessing

God of power, may the boldness of your Spirit transform us, may the gentleness of your Spirit lead us, may the gifts of your Spirit equip us to serve and worship you, now and always.


With thanks to James Bradby from St Michael’s Monkton for the ‘sermon’ and Alan Hodges from St James the Great Southstoke for the prayers.


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