Greetings to everyone,
We are pleased to be in touch with you again through this weekly service.
I hope that you were able to find some way of commemorating VE Day last week.
As you can see from the photo, The Queen and I tried to do a bit of fundraising for the NHS during our street party but we didn’t get anywhere near Captains Tom’s amount!
This week in our service Susannah Padiachy from St Michael’s Monkton Combe is ‘speaking’ to us from 1 Peter 3 and Jane Bradby also from St Michael’s has written some prayers; our thanks to both.
Don’t forget that you can find out more about favourite songs, prayers and reflections through the Daily Hope prayer line on 0800 804 8044.
Thank you for your encouraging feedback and please feel free to contribute a hymn or prayer request.
May you know God’s peace, hope and comfort as we come together as God’s family although physically apart.
Polly Andrews, Seniors Minister at Holy Trinity (07914 871417) email@example.com
James Bradby from St Michael’s Monkton Combe (01225 722700)
A Service for Sunday May 17th
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4 v14-16)
Praise and Thanksgiving (Psalm 66:8-12 and 16-20)
Praise our God, all peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard; he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping.
For you, God tested us; you refined us like silver.
You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs.
You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.
Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.
I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer.
Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!
Opening prayer –
As I enter prayer now I pause to be still
To breathe slowly
To re centre my scattered senses
Upon the presence of God
Hymn - Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear,
Now to His temple draw near;
Sing now in glad adoration!
Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth,
Who, as on wings of an eagle, uplifteth, sustaineth.
Hast thou not seen,
How thy desires all have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?
Praise to the Lord, who hath fearfully, wondrously, made thee!
Health hath vouchsafed and, when heedlessly falling, hath stayed thee.
What need or grief
Ever hath failed of relief?
Wings of His mercy did shade thee.
Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee,
Who from the heavens the streams of His mercy doth send thee.
What the Almighty can do,
Who with His love doth befriend thee.
Praise to the Lord! Oh, let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him!
Let the Amen
Sound from His people again;
Gladly for aye we adore Him.
Collect for the Sixth Sunday of Easter
God our Redeemer, you have delivered us from the power of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of your Son:
grant, that as by his death he has recalled us to life,
so by his continual presence in us he may raise us to eternal joy;
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
Jesus says, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’ So let us turn away from our sin and turn to Christ, confessing our sins in penitence and faith.
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.
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.
Hymn - How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds
How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds
In a believer’s ear!
It soothes his sorrow, heals his wounds,
And drives away his fear,
It makes the wounded spirit whole,
And calms the troubled breast;
’Tis manna to the hungry soul,
And to the weary rest,
Dear Name! the Rock on which we build;
Our shield and hiding-place;
Our never-failing treasury, filled
With boundless stores of grace,
Jesus, our Saviour, Shepherd, Friend,
Our Prophet, Priest, and King;
Our Lord, our Life, our Way, our End,
Accept the praise we bring,
Weak is the effort of our heart,
And cold our warmest thought;
But when we see Thee as Thou art,
We’ll praise Thee as we ought,
Till then we would Thy love proclaim
With every fleeting breath;
And triumph in that blessed Name
Which quells the pow’r of death
Please read 1 Peter 3:13-22
Living Hope - 1 Peter 3v15
I had the lovely surprise of a (socially distanced!) visit from Roger Croker this week. As many of you may know, Roger has lived in the village all his life and for many years has tended the graveyard and helped maintain our church grounds. Following major (9 hour) surgery in the RUH last month to remove a large cancerous tumour, he’d ventured out for a walk for the first time. He had also just received the news that he´s been given the all-clear from the cancer - it was so wonderful to see him doing so well and relieved. I think that James, David and others who have been helping look after our church and graveyard and will happy to see Roger back before too long as its hard work!
As Roger’s good news cheered me so, it struck me that a little hope goes a long way at the moment. It is really good for us to remind ourselves of where our hope lies. It was great reading and remembering all those who served in the war for VE day last week. We may look back at our lives, at significant times and remember how good and faithful God has been to us. This can help us build hope for the future. The Bible has a lot to say to us about hope… it’s such an important commodity!
In the lectionary passages for this morning, there is a theme of remembering how good God has been to us through our lives and telling others and ourselves about all he has done. I wanted to look at the passage from 1 Peter 3 thinking especially about v15. The whole of the short book of 1 Peter is set during a time of suffering for God’s people and focuses on giving them hope, unshakeable hope which seems an apt thing for us to be thinking about at the moment.
People may look at Christians and wonder what we are hoping in – especially as we live through these strange times. There was an article in the Times this weekend saying more people than ever have been asking big questions through the suffering they are experiencing searching on the internet for answers to the big, existential life and death questions – ‘why’ questions that we don’t normally stop and think about for too long. However, we all have more time to ask questions, more ways to ask questions with online resources, and more cause to ask questions as we look at what is going on in the world. And it certainly appears that people are wanting more secure answers than the politicians, journalists and even scientists are able to give.
This is where we as Christians have a lot to say. We may not have all the answers to why this pandemic is happening, but we do have answers about the hope that we have in Christ. Although we may not be able to see people in the same way as we would like to, it is good for us as to think about our reasons for hope for ourselves and, as the passage suggests, we should be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks.
So let’s think about that together. What does it mean to make a defence (v15)? What should we say? Does it mean we have to have some philosophical explanation or clever intellectual apologetic argument to prove the authenticity of the Gospel? I don’t think so…the idea of that can make me, and I suspect others, feel hopeless that I’d never get it right! We can all say something honest and personal about our reason to hope in Jesus, in fact the most effective ‘defences of faith’ I’ve heard have been natural, personal, relevant, and relational.
So what exactly is the hope that we have? We find the answers, as we do to all the big questions of life, in the Bible, right here in the passage, right here in verse 15 in fact – it says Christ is Lord – that may be all we need to say: Christ is my hope, my friend, my Lord, my greatest treasure, and that may be all we need to say. As the passage says, it is the hope that is in each one of us as Christians.
There are times when I need to remind myself of the ground I have for hope in Christ too - it’s not just for others we need to be sure ourselves of the hope we have. When I have felt wobbly about life, its good to go back and read a Gospel to know why it is we hope and what we believe as we consider the life and death of our Saviour.
Reading through 1 Peter, which is a great thing to do, we can find so many reasons and grounds for hope. Here are some of the big ones – but there are others!
1 Peter 1v20 “He was chosen before the creation of the world and was revealed in these last times for your sake” – We find hope in Christs incarnation.
2v24 “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross” - We find hope in our forgiveness and righteousness in Christ
1v 3 “According to God’s great mercy He has given us new birth into a LIVING HOPE through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead” - We find hope in the resurrection
3v22 “He has gone into heaven and is at Gods right hand”- We find hope in His ascended and authority
1v13 “Set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.” – We have hope that He will come again
3:18 “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” – When he comes back, we have hope that we will be forever in the presence of God
1:6 “Though you have suffered grief in all kinds of trials, these have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold which perishes even though refined by fire, may result in the praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.” We have hope that the trials that we have right now are used by God are used to refine us, as though by fire so that we receive praise and honour and glory at revelation of Jesus
To summarise, the reasons for are hope in Christ are -
· He came
· He died
· He rose
· He reigns
· He will return
· We are always with God
· All things are working for our everlasting good.
These are some of the things we can talk about when people ask about the hope that is in us. Our job is not to persuade the world – only God can do this! However, we can say the things we see in this passage and that all we experience, even though everything may seem difficult and negative right now, we know that God is working for our good.
These are the facts, but what about your personal story, or the ways in which you have known God to be at work in your life? Can you take time over this week to look back at the timeline of God’s faithfulness to you? Is there someone you could tell about this? It’s an exciting thing to do for ourselves and for others to think about how we might be able to tell ourselves and others of the living hope that we have in Christ our Lord.
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6v19
Let us pray,
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
 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.  You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
 If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling,  no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.  For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;  they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.  You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honour him.  With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
Heavenly Father, we come to you in the name of Jesus, and look to You for our safety and protection – and for the safety and protection of our friends and families, our church families, our local communities and our nation.
Thank you, Father, that You are the Lord, Almighty God, the Most High, the Maker of Heaven and Earth. You are more than enough, You are the all-sufficient One. You are our Heavenly Father, who loves us so extravagantly and recklessly that You gave Jesus, the Son of God, to die on the Cross for all our sin and failings.
“You are our refuge and our fortress, our God, in whom we trust”
Surely The LORD will keep us safe from hidden snares and from all deadly diseases. The LORD shall cover us and under His protection we have safety. His faithful promises are our shield and defence.
Father, we stand on your promises and pray that this nation shall be free from fear. We shall not fear the terror of night, nor attacks by day, nor diseases known or unknown. Even if we hear on the news that a thousand have fallen in one country or many thousands elsewhere, we still look to You, God and trust in your protection. We lift to you those who are anxious about going back to work, those who have to use public transport, and those for whom social distancing is impossible. Protect them Lord, and may they know that you are beside them
Father God, in the name of Jesus, we bless the nation’s health service and care workers caring for the sick and vulnerable. We give thanks to You for them, for their dedication and courage, and pray that you will protect them. We pray for those who have the virus and, until there is a vaccine or a cure, we pray for strengthened immune systems, renewed strength, and hope. Send your healing on this land, we pray.
Father God we pray for our government leaders – may they have wisdom and insight as they decide the next steps for the nation. We pray for unity and clear guidance for us all. We lift the media to you – may there be no scaremongering, or pointing fingers of blame or sowing seeds of dissatisfaction.
Father God, we pray for our communities – may God’s people stand up and stand out in reaching out to their communities in Jesus’ name. We thank you so much for the people who are showing acts of kindness to neighbours, who are connecting with people and showing your love in so many ways.
Father God, our lives are dominated by coronavirus at the moment, and life is very difficult for many people: those who are struggling with finances, relationship problems, health issues, loneliness and isolation. But Father, we thank you that although this time is bringing terrible problems in so many different ways, we can see glimpses of you and your kingdom of love and blessing: more and more people logging on to online services, turning to prayer, being kind to neighbours. Please continue to work in people’s hearts, and draw them close to you we pray.
Merciful Father, we entrust ourselves and those we love to your unfailing love and care. May your blessing be always upon us, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Lord’s Prayer
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 - God is our strength and refuge
(Please sing this to the Dambusters’ March)
God is our strength and refuge,
our present help in trouble,
and we therefore will not fear,
though the earth should change!
Though mountains shake and tremble,
though swirling floods are raging,
God the Lord of hosts is with us evermore!
There is a flowing river
within God's holy city;
God is in the midst of her-
she shall not be moved!
God's help is swiftly given,
thrones vanish at his presence-
God the Lord of hosts is with us evermore!
Come, see the works of our maker,
learn of his deeds all-powerful:
wars will cease across the world
when he shatters the spear!
Be still and know your creator,
uplift him in the nations-
God the Lord of hosts is with us evermore!
May the love of the Lord Jesus draw us to himself; the power of the Lord Jesus strengthen us in his service; the joy of the Lord Jesus fill our hearts; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among us and remain with us always.