• Seniors Minister

VE Day Commemoration



Greetings to Everyone,


We are pleased to be in touch with you again through this weekly service.


This week I have taken some liturgy, prayers and words from a service produced by the Church of England to commemorate VE Day.


I have added my own sermon, Nan Kelly has written some prayers for our current time and at the end of the service I have added some extra prayers for VE Day.


The hymns included are the thanksgiving hymns sung at the original 1945 thanksgiving service.

Did you know that on VE Day there were ten consecutive services for thanks for peace in St Paul’s Cathedral? Maybe you did know that if you were there!


The big gatherings may have been postponed but we hope that reading and singing through this service will help us to mark the 75th anniversary of VE day on the bank holiday weekend of 8th May.


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.


May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace at this time.

Polly Andrews, Seniors Minister at Holy Trinity (07914 871417) seniorsminister@htcd.church

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


A Service for Sunday May 10th

Opening Declaration


The Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.

Let us rejoice and shout for joy, giving God the glory.

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.

Amen.

Heaviness may endure for a night: but joy comes in the morning. (Psalm 30 v5)


God has been our refuge and our strength: a present help in time of trouble (Psalm 46 v1)


Dear friends, we have come together on this day to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe, when the sounds of war fell silent on this continent.


We come together conscious of our need for God’s forgiveness for the sin and the desire to dominate others that leads to conflict between people, and war between nations.


And as we remember the many soldiers, sailors, and airmen who gave their lives restraining evil and opposing tyranny, so we also come in thanksgiving for the years of peace that the nations of Europe have enjoyed since the Second World War. We gather joyfully today, as those who gathered on that first Victory day, glad of each other’s company, and grateful for the laughter and love that follows times of sadness and loss.


But above all things, let us pray that God’s will may be done on earth as it is in heaven, as we join our voices together and say:


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.

Amen.


Hymn - Praise, my soul, the King of heaven

Praise, my soul, the King of heaven;

to his feet your tribute bring.

Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,

evermore his praises sing.

Praise Him, Praise Him

Praise the everlasting King!

Praise him for his grace and favour

to his people in distress.

Praise him, still the same as ever,

slow to chide, and swift to bless.

Praise Him, Praise Him

Glorious in his faithfulness!

Fatherlike he tends and spares us;

well our feeble frame he knows.

In his hand he gently bears us,

rescues us from all our foes.

Praise Him, Praise Him.

Widely yet his mercy flows!


Angels, help us to adore him;

you behold him face to face.

Sun and moon, bow down before him,

dwellers all in time and space.

Praise Him, Praise Him

Praise with us the God of grace!


Confession

Seeing we have a great high priest who has passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, and make our confession to our heavenly Father.


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.

Hymn - Our God, our help in ages past

Our God, our help in ages past,

our hope for years to come,

our shelter from the stormy blast,

and our eternal home:

Under the shadow of your throne

your saints have dwelt secure;

sufficient is your arm alone,

and our defence is sure.

Before the hills in order stood,

or earth received her frame,

from everlasting you are God,

to endless years the same.

A thousand ages in your sight

are like an evening gone;

short as the watch that ends the night

before the rising sun.

The busy tribes of flesh and blood,

with all their lives and cares,

are carried downward by your flood,

and lost in foll'wing years.

Time, like an ever-rolling stream,

bears all its sons away;

they fly forgotten, as a dream

dies at the op'ning day.

Our God, our help in ages past,

our hope for years to come:

O be our guard while troubles last,

and our eternal home.

Psalm 46 (ESV)

1 God is our refuge and strength,

a very present help in trouble.

2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,

though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,

3 though its waters roar and foam,

though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

the holy habitation of the Most High.

5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;

God will help her when morning dawns.

6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;

he utters his voice, the earth melts.

7 The Lord of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,

how he has brought desolations on the earth.

9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;

he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;

he burns the chariots with fire.

10 “Be still, and know that I am God.

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth!”

11 The Lord of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah



After reading this Psalm do you now have the Dambuster’s March going around in your head?


Da… da… da…. Da, da da da da………


No?


No clue what I am talking about?!


Okay……. I’ll explain later on.


I was taught that when preparing a sermon it is good practice to read the scripture in several different bible translations to get a variety of insight into the text.


This week I wanted to share with you some insights from Psalm 46 so I started with the English Standard Version as it’s my usual ‘go to’ translation and verse 1 said ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble’. I found the New International Version’s translation of verse 1 to be very similar, ‘God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble’.


But then I saw this translation of verse 1 from the 1599 Geneva Bible.


“God is our hope and strength, and help in troubles, ready to be found “(1599 Geneva Bible with my italics)


Before I continue I just want to confirm that I didn’t pull my copy of the 1599 Geneva Bible off my book shelf but saw it on a website! I also learnt on this website, ‘Bible Gateway’ that “the Geneva Bible was the most widely read and influential English Bible of the 16th and 17th centuries. It was one of the Bibles taken to America on the Mayflower……………It was the product of the best Protestant scholars of the day and became the Bible of choice for many of the greatest writers and thinkers of that time. Men such as William Shakespeare, John Bunyan, and John Milton used the Geneva Bible in their writings”.


Anyway, back to the text.


Did you notice the different translations of verse 1?


Where the NIV describes God as ‘an ever ready help in trouble’, the Geneva Bible describes God as ‘…..help in troubles, ready to be found’.


This is interesting.


Now I don’t have the knowledge of Old Testament Hebrew to explain how or why the translators of the Geneva Bible ended up with the words ‘ready to be found’ but I know I like it.


It resonates with me because during this time of lock down I have been wondering whether it’s actually more about us finding or noticing God, as already with us, rather than asking Him to come to us.

Often when we pray we invite God to come to join us, or when we prayer for others we frequently ask Jesus to ‘be with them’.


But isn’t God ‘ever-present’? v1


If God doesn’t leave us or forget us do we need to ask him to be with us? (Hebrews 13 v5 and Deuteronomy 31:6)


Jesus promised that where two or three gather in his name, he is there with them (Matthew 18:20). Although, I once heard Jeff Lucas say and I tend to agree that Jesus might have regretted saying this when the unaccompanied singing starts!


During this time of lockdown I have been joining in with our church’s 9am prayer meeting and we use liturgy from the Northumbria community.


We start the prayer time by saying this from Psalm 24………

“One thing I have asked of the Lord,

this is what I seek:

that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life;

to behold the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple”.

We are then led through this call and response……..

Call: Who is it that you seek?

Response: We seek the Lord our God.

Call: Do you seek Him with all your heart?

Response: Amen. Lord, have mercy.

Call: Do you seek Him with all your soul?

Response: Amen. Lord, have mercy.

Call: Do you seek Him with all your mind?

Response: Amen. Lord, have mercy.

Call: Do you seek Him with all your strength?

Response: Amen. Christ, have mercy.

I have also been using the 365 from the 24/7 prayer movement and at the beginning there is the 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”

I noticed that in these prayers there is no asking God to come to me but the prayer is for me to be aware of the presence of God.


“To re centre my scattered senses upon the presence of God”


On the ever- present God, the very present God, the God ready to be found.


So the ‘seeking’ and the ‘centring’ nature of these prayers demonstrate that it is I who need to notice God who is ‘ready to be found’ because he is ‘ever present’. v1


And not just God ‘ready to be found and ‘ever present’ but ‘our refuge and strength, and help in trouble’

Further on in the Psalm God says,


“Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth.” (v10)

David asserts, as though in reply by saying, ‘The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress’ (v11)


In the second and third stanza (or parts) of this psalm David is describing an experience of deliverance from catastrophe and praises God for his protection and victory.


The first stanza is a declaration of confidence in God as our strength, refuge and help; the confidence having come from the experience of God’s ever present strength, refuge and help.


Earlier I asked you if you had The Dambuster’s March in your head after you read the psalm. You may have done if you had ever sung a paraphrase of psalm 46 written as the hymn “God is our strength and refuge” which uses the tune of the Dambuster’s March.


It is interesting that these words were set to the music from the Dambuster‘s March, a tune synonymous with World War 2, an experience of deliverance from catastrophe and praise to God for his protection and victory. An experience that enables the assurance to ‘know he is God’


Perhaps using this tune aids the recognition and acknowledgement that God’s strength, refuge and help is ever present with us now as we centre ourselves on Him and seek his face in our time of ‘trouble’ just as God’s strength, refuge and help were ever present with those facing ‘trouble’ during World War 2 and as God’s strength, refuge and help were ever present with the original readers of the Psalm as David wrote…….

“Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,

though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,

though its waters roar and foam,

though the mountains tremble at its swelling” (v2&3)

This may seem a poetic way to describe the world in our current situation and the world during the Second World War but we can identify with the calamity and uncertainty; a time when we seek God’s strength, refuge and help.


Perhaps as a way to enable opportunity for our ‘seeking’ and ‘centring’ on the God ‘ready to be found’ we can turn to the psalm for help. Between each of these ‘stanzas’ (or parts) we find the Hebrew word ‘Selah’.


‘Selah’ was most likely originally a musical notation to pause but the reader could also take instruction from this word to pause; to reflect and think about what has just been said.


As we focus again on verse 10 we see God’s word to us to “Be still, and know that I am God”.

The ‘Be still’ command (is it a command or a recommendation?) just like the ‘Selah’, gives us an opportunity to pause, reflect and think about not only what has been said but also what we have experienced of God’s strength, refuge and help giving us the confidence to say we know that He is God and will be exalted among the nations and exalted in the earth.


Once when meditating over this verse I felt the Lord help me understand this more fully by whispering to me that to ‘be still’ not only means stop running around but to have the confident assurance to be able to be still, to calm down, that ‘it’s okay’ because He is God.


In this time of lock down whether we like it or not we are more physically ‘stilled’ then ever; we can’t ‘run around’ so much. So could we not use this time of lock down as an opportunity to ‘Selah’ in body, soul and mind?


I recently heard that in the Chinese language 2 ‘characters’ are written side by side when writing the word ‘crisis’ and the meaning of one of these ‘characters’ is ‘danger’ and the other is ‘opportunity’. Being still is now more relevant than ever because we have to, due to the danger and because we can, due to the opportunity.

At the beginning of lock down a friend sent me this………….






It was circulating on social media, directed, I assume at young people who were struggling to adhere to the government’s request to stay home. It amused me and gave me some perspective on our current situation and helped me to acknowledge my respect and gratitude to those who were called to war.


But as well as this it does highlight the great opportunity that we have, not to look upon our lock down as a bad, horrible time but as a blessing, an opportunity to ‘Selah’.


To quieten our soul,


To pause and reflect,


To know that He is God,


To seek God’s strength, refuge and help,


To be still,


To breathe slowly,


To re centre our scattered senses,


Upon the ‘ever present’ presence of God,


The God ready to be found


Selah


Let us pray,

We lift up our hearts and minds in prayer in the faith of God our Father, who loves us and knows our every need.


Lord Jesus Christ, who promised that in you we would find peace, give us that peace which the world cannot give. In all our troubles and anxieties keep us calm and helpful; grant that we may abide in you and in your peace. Amen


Lord, we put our trust in you as if we were pilgrims on a journey through these difficult days and weeks. Be with us and give us re-assurance about our families or our jobs or finances or any unusual situations we may find ourselves in. Amen


We ask for great wisdom for those in authority who have such difficult things to decide for us. May they turn to you for guidance, and know your peace when they have done their best. We give thanks for all who keep us alive, whether with food or medicine or nursing or continuing to provide water in our taps or gas, or electricity, or remove our rubbish. Amen


We also pray for those who have no homes or any of the good things and help which we enjoy. May we not grumble or fuss but be helpful where we can, and bring your peace into every situation. We pray for those around the world who have been afflicted by floods, droughts, fires, locusts, declining fish stocks, and the terrifying corona virus. Lord, millions of people on this planet are having to cope with these unexpected disasters which are not their fault. Help them and the agencies which assist them. May the richer nations and the richer people in those nations, be moved with compassion, just as you were when you saw destitute beggars by the road. Amen


Thank you for the wonderful Spring, for the beauty of the trees and flowers. Thank you for the birds, particularly the swifts which this week arrived from Africa. Father, we have been able to appreciate the natural world more than usual, with the lack of economic activity, vehicles and aircraft. Thank you for every flower and leaf and for everything you have made. Help us to remember that you created everything for your delight and for the benefit of mankind. Amen

Prayer in Time of Pestilence

O God, you do not desire the death of sinners, but you want them to turn to you and live.

Look with pity on the weakness of our mortal nature.

Deliver us from this pestilence.

Do not treat us as our sins deserve, but look on us in mercy and return your blessings to us;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer of St Theresa

Let nothing disturb thee,

Let nothing dismay thee;

All things pass;

God never changes.

Patience attains all that it strives for;

He who has God finds he lacks nothing:

God alone suffices. Amen


An Act of Commitment

Let us pledge ourselves anew to the service of God and our fellow men and women: that we may help, encourage and comfort others, and support those working for the relief of the needy and for the peace and welfare of the nations.


All Lord God our Father, we pledge ourselves to serve you and all humankind, in the cause of peace, for the relief of want and suffering, and for the praise of your name.

Guide us by your Spirit; give us wisdom; give us courage; give us hope; and keep us faithful now and always.

Amen.


O Lord our God, as we remember, teach us the ways of peace.

As we treasure memories, teach us to hope.

As we give thanks for the sacrifices of the past, help us to make your future in this world, until your kingdom come.

Amen.

Collect for Peace

Almighty God, from whom all thoughts of truth and peace proceed: kindle in the hearts of all people the true love of peace; and guide with your pure and peaceable wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth; that in tranquility your kingdom may go forward, till the earth is filled with the knowledge of thy love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

A Prayer for the Sovereign

Almighty God, the fountain of all goodness, bless our Sovereign Lady, Queen Elizabeth, and all who are in authority under her; that they may order all things in wisdom and equity, righteousness and peace, to the honour of your name, and the good of your Church and people; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.


Hymn - Now thank we all our God

Now thank we all our God

with heart and hands and voices,

who wondrous things has done,

in whom his world rejoices;

who from our mothers' arms

has blessed us on our way

with countless gifts of love,

and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God

through all our life be near us,

with ever joyful hearts

and blessed peace to cheer us,

to keep us in his grace,

and guide us when perplexed,

and free us from all ills

of this world in the next.

All praise and thanks to God

the Father now be given,

the Son and Spirit blest,

who reign in highest heaven

the one eternal God,

whom heaven and earth adore;

for thus it was, is now,

and shall be evermore.


The Blessing

God grant to the living, grace; to the departed, rest; to the Church, the Queen, the Commonwealth, and all people, peace and concord; and to us and all his servants, life everlasting; and the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, come down upon you and remain with you always.

Amen.




Further Prayers for VE Day Commemoration

For those who served and died in World War II

O God of truth and justice, we hold before you those men and women who have died in active service, particularly in the Second World War, whose sacrifice brought Victory in Europe.

As we honour their courage and cherish their memory, may we put our faith in your future; for you are the source of life and hope, now and for ever.

Amen.

For those who serve today

O Lord God of Hosts, stretch forth, we pray, your almighty arm to strengthen and protect our service men and women.

Support them in times of conflict, and in their rest and training keep them safe from all evil; endue them with courage and loyalty; and grant that in all things they may serve without reproach; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

For the peace of the world

O God, who would fold both heaven and earth in a single peace; that the design of your great love lighten upon the waste of our wraths and sorrows and give peace to your church, peace among nations, peace in our dwellings and peace in our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Sir Francis Drake’s prayer

O Lord, when thou givest to thy servants to endeavour in any great matter,

Grant us also to know that it is not the beginning but the continuing of the same until it be thoroughly finished that yieldeth the true glory, through him for the finishing of thy work laid down his life, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.


Prayer of Saint Ignatius

Teach us, good Lord, to serve thee as thou deservest, to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labour and not to ask for any reward; except that of knowing that we do thy will.

Amen.

The Naval Prayer

O Eternal Lord God, who alone spreadest out the heavens and rulest the raging of the sea; who has compassed the waters with bounds until day and night come to an end; be pleased to receive into Thy almighty and most gracious protection the persons of us Thy servants, and the Fleet in which we serve.

Preserve us from the dangers of the sea and of the air, and from the violence of the enemy; that we may be a safeguard unto our most gracious Sovereign Lady, Queen Elizabeth, and her Dominions, and a security for such as pass upon the seas upon their lawful occasions; that the inhabitants of our islands and Commonwealth may in peace and quietness serve Thee our God; and that we may return in safety to enjoy the blessings of the land, with the fruits of our labours, and with a thankful remembrance of Thy mercies to praise and glorify Thy Holy Name;

Amen.

An Army Collect

Almighty God, whose command is overall and whose love never fails, let us be aware of your presence and obedient to your will.

Help us to accept our share of responsibility with strong heart and cheerful mind.

Make us considerate of those with whom we live and serve, and faithful to the duties our country has entrusted to us.

Let our uniform remind us daily of the traditions of the Army in which we serve.

When we are tempted to sin, let us resist.

When we fail, give us courage to try again.

Guide us with the light of your truth, and keep before us the example of Jesus in whose name we pray and in whom we trust.

Amen.

Royal Air Force Collect

Almighty God, who has promised that they who wait upon thee shall renew their strength and mount up with wings, as eagles, we commend to thy fatherly protection all who serve in the Royal Air Force. Uplift and support us in our endeavour, that we may be a safeguard unto our most gracious Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth and a sure defence to our homeland. Help us to fulfil our several duties with honour, goodwill and integrity, and grant that we may prove to be worthy successors of those who by their valour and sacrifice did nobly save their day and generation; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

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Holy Trinity Church Combe Down

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