A Service for Sunday July 5th
We prepare to worship God
O Lord, open our lips and our mouths shall proclaim your praise
Let us worship the Lord.
All praise to his name
Glory to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be for ever.
The LORD is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The LORD is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made.
All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your faithful shall bless you.
They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom, and tell of your power, to make known to all people your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendour of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. The LORD is faithful in all his words, and gracious in all his deeds.
The LORD upholds all who are falling, and raises up all who are bowed down.
Collect for the Fourth Sunday after Trinity
by the obedience of Jesus
you brought salvation to our wayward world:
draw us into harmony with your will,
that we may find all things restored in him,
our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Hymn - All things bright and beautiful
All things bright and beautiful,
all creatures great and small,
all things wise and wonderful,
the Lord God made them all.
Each little flow'r that opens,
each little bird that sings,
he made their glowing colors,
he made their tiny wings. [Refrain]
The purple-headed mountain,
the river running by,
the sunset, and the morning
that brightens up the sky. [Refrain]
The cold wind in the winter,
the pleasant summer sun,
the ripe fruits in the garden,
he made them, ev'ry one. [Refrain]
The tall trees in the greenwood,
the meadows where we play,
the flowers by the water
we gather ev'ry day. [Refrain]
He gave us eyes to see them,
and lips that we might tell
how great is God Almighty,
who has made all things well. [Refrain]
We confess our sins to God
Come, let us return to the Lord and say:
Lord our God, in our sin we have avoided your call.
Our love for you is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes away early.
Have mercy on us; deliver us from judgement;
bind up our wounds and revive us in Jesus Christ our Lord.
May the God of love bring us back to himself,
forgive us our sins,
and assure us of his eternal love in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.
As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.
Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.
I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.
Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good.
But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.
For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it.
For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.
Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand.
For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.
Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Hymn - Be thou my vision
Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that thou art--
thou my best thought by day or by night,
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.
Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true word;
I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord;
thou my great Father, I thy true son;
thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.
Be thou my battle shield, sword for my fight;
be thou my dignity, thou my delight,
thou my soul's shelter, thou my high tow'r:
raise thou me heav'n-ward, O Pow'r of my pow'r.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
thou mine inheritance, now and always:
thou and thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my treasure thou art.
High King of heaven, my victory won,
may I reach heaven's joys, O bright heav'n's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision, O Ruler of all.
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
"But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another, 'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.'
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon'; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds."
At that time Jesus said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
"Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
John Perry writes,
Set high on the hills over the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is the world-famous statue of Christ the Redeemer – arms outstretched to welcome and bless. It is a remarkable design and engineering masterpiece. It is also a timely reminder amidst so much global and national uncertainty, turmoil and fear, of the unceasing love and compassion of the eternal Jesus Christ.
Jesus’ words in Matthew 11: 27-28, could not be more appropriate.
‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light’.
A two-fold invitation: COME AND TAKE
(1) COME to Me – personally addressed by Jesus to ‘all who are weary and burdened’. Lockdown restrictions as a result of COVID-19 have been highly necessary to stem the tide of the large number of tragic deaths. But for many people caring for or shielding others, or facing the loneliness of self-isolation, or coping with mounting anxieties about the future, not least financially or educationally, the stress has proved an immense burden. Yes – new opportunities for imaginative initiatives have emerged and care within the local community widened and strengthened, but increasing tensions upon family relationships are also being exposed, and many businesses are on a knife edge or have gone to the wall.
It is no wonder that the quest for spiritual help and resources of hope, wisdom and guidance are being explored. For example, a far greater number of people are linking in with online services than regular church members. ‘Come to me, all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest’ is an invitation to be welcomed and not to quickly be dismissed when it’s from the Lord of the Universe! When any of us feel overwhelmed by the sudden storms of life, we may, like the disciples on the Sea of Galilee, need to be reminded that Jesus can calm the wind and waves and challenge faltering faith.
(2) TAKE – take my yoke upon your shoulders, Jesus invites us, ’for my yoke is easy and my burden is light’. In Palestine oxen yokes were made of wood so that when the ox was taken to the carpenter careful measurements were made, so that the yoke’s fit was both firm and comfortable. Legend has it that Jesus made the best yokes in Galilee in his carpenter’s shop in Nazareth, and that the sign above the door read ‘My yokes fit well’. The analogy is a good one. In bowing the neck of pride and self-sufficiency, we discover that to be yoked to Christ in faith and daily trust is not burdensome, but the reverse. There are commandments and directions to be followed and lessons to be learned along the way – L plates required! – but in Christ’s service is found perfect freedom and fulfilment. If we are intent on ‘doing our life our way’ we will often battle with anxiety and find no peace. By trusting in the Sovereign Lord and knowing that he cares for us in the ‘ups and downs’ of our lives, we discover that his yoke is easy and his burden is light.
Christ the Redeemer statue reminds us again that his wide open arms, once nailed to a cross for our salvation, lovingly welcome the whole world and long to embrace all those who join with him on the Journey of Life.
You might find this prayer helpful at the start of a new week:
I give you my hands to do your work
I give you my feet to go your way
I give you my eyes to see as you do
I give you my tongue to speak your words
I give you my mind that you may think in me
I give you my spirit that you may pray in me
Above all, I give you my heart that you may love in me your Father and others
I give you my whole self that you may grow in me, so that it is you Lord Jesus
Who lives and works and prays in me. Amen
Let us 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,
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 set us apart for himself,
a people eager to do good.
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.
Hymn - The Lord's my Shepherd
The Lord's my Shepherd, I'll not want;
he makes me down to lie
in pastures green; he leadeth me
the quiet waters by.
My soul he doth restore again,
and me to walk doth make
within the paths of righteousness,
e'en for his own name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through death's dark vale,
yet will I fear none ill,
for thou art with me; and thy rod
and staff me comfort still.
My table thou hast furnished
in presence of my foes;
my head thou dost with oil anoint,
and my cup overflows.
Goodness and mercy all my life
shall surely follow me;
and in God's house forevermore
my dwelling place shall be.
We offer our prayers to God
Seventy two years after its creation the NHS has proved yet again that it is more than just one of the country’s most important public services. Founded on the idea that everyone should be able to access health care regardless of their financial situation, it is a shining example of what is possible.
We give thanks for the NHS, and for all those extra ordinary men and women who have been at the heart of all that has been achieved through the years, working hard to care and support all people, whoever they are, whatever their need.
God of healing and compassion, we thank you for the establishment of the National Health Service, and for the dedication of all who work in it: give skill, sympathy and resilience to all who care for the sick, and your wisdom to those engaged in medical research.
Strengthen all in their vocation through your Spirit, that through their work many will be restored to health and strength; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Everlasting God, at this time we lift to you those from all nations and backgrounds who work on the front line in healthcare.
Give them skill and wisdom in their work.
Be their strength and their shield as they give of themselves in the care of others.
Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son came not to be served but to serve: bless all who, following in his steps, give themselves to the service of others; that with wisdom, patience, and courage, they may minister in his name to the suffering and the needy; for the love of him who laid down his life for us, your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Lord Jesus, who healed the sick and gave them new life, be with all carers and health professionals, as they act as agents of your healing touch.
In desperate times, keep them strong yet loving; and when their work is done, be with them in their weariness and in their tears.
Prayers in relation to COVID-19
Keep us, good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful, and lift up all who are brought low; that we may rejoice in your comfort knowing that nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Collect for St Luke
Almighty God, you called Luke the physician, whose praise is in the gospel, to be an evangelist and physician of the soul: by the grace of the Spirit and through the wholesome medicine of the gospel, give your Church the same love and power to heal; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
How generous is your goodness, O God, how great is your salvation, how faithful is your love; help us to trust you in trial and praise you in deliverance; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Jesus, our companion, when we are driven to despair, help us, through the guidance of your spirit and through the friends and strangers we encounter in life, to know you as our refuge, our way, our truth and our life.
Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Gathering our prayers and praises into one, as our Saviour has taught us, so we pray:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Hymn - Christ is made the sure foundation
Christ is made the sure foundation,
Christ the head and cornerstone,
chosen of the Lord and precious,
binding all the church in one;
holy Zion's help forever,
and her confidence alone.
All that dedicated city,
dearly loved of God on high,
in exultant jubilation
pours perpetual melody;
God the One in Three adoring
in glad hymns eternally.
To this temple, where we call thee,
come, O Lord of hosts, today:
with thy wonted loving-kindness
hear thy people as they pray;
and thy fullest benediction
shed within its walls alway.
Here vouchsafe to all thy servants
what they ask of thee to gain,
what they gain from thee forever
with the blessed to retain,
and hereafter in thy glory
evermore with thee to reign.
Laud and honor to the Father,
laud and honor to the Son,
laud and honor to the Spirit,
ever Three and ever One,
One in might, and One in glory,
while unending ages run.
May the love of Jesus Christ bring us wholeness,
the grace of God the Father grant us peace,
the breath of Holy Spirit instil passion
and the unity between them give us strength for this and every day.
Prayers from the Diocese of Bath and Wells Website and from Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals Chaplaincy, by Althea Hayton – adapted
Many thanks for Bishop John Perry for this week’s sermon