21.06.20 – Trinity 2 – Father’s Day

Gathering and Greeting

O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

This is the day that the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Give us the joy of your saving help
and sustain us with your life-giving Spirit.

We have come together in the name of Christ
to offer our praise and thanksgiving,
to hear and receive God’s holy word,
to pray for the needs of the world,
and to seek the forgiveness of our sins,
that by the power of the Holy Spirit
we may give ourselves to the service of God.

Blessed is the Lord,
for he has heard the voice of our prayer;

Therefore shall our hearts dance for joy
and in our song will we praise our God.

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Prayers of Penitence

God our Father,
we come to you in sorrow for our sins.
For turning away from you,
and ignoring your will for our lives;
Father, forgive us: save us and help us.

For behaving just as we wish,
without thinking of you;
Father, forgive us: save us and help us.

For failing you by what we do,
and think and say;
Father, forgive us: save us and help us.

For letting ourselves be drawn away from you
by temptations in the world about us;
Father, forgive us: save us and help us.

For living as if we were ashamed
to belong to your Son;
Father, forgive us: save us and help us.

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.

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Reading and Thought for the Day

Kindly offered by John Beverley

THE SUFFERING DISCIPLES

“Don’t think I’ve come to make life cozy. I’ve come to cut—make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law—cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God. Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me.
“If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.
(MATTHEW 10:34-39) from The Message

Jesus is telling his disciples that being a follower can be pretty tough. It takes total commitment. But through the gospels these disciples don’t appear to understand exactly what is required. It’s only after Jesus’ resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit that they are transformed.
Sources in descending order of reliability tell us that the apostles were willing to undergo agonising deaths rather than deny that they had met the risen Jesus:

  • James executed with a sword on the order of Herod Agrippa; his executioner was so impressed by James’ death and unwillingness to recant that Jesus had risen that he believed and was also executed.
  • Peter; Eusebius states Peter was crucified upside down because he felt unworthy to die the same way as Jesus
  • Andrew; Hippolytus tells us he was crucified after preaching the resurrection.
  • Matthew was beheaded for insisting that Jesus was resurrected.
  • Phillip crucified for preaching in Phrygia
  • James the Lesser: taken to the top of the Temple and threatened to be cast down if he didn’t deny that Jesus was resurrected: he wouldn’t so they threw him off. He survived, injured and still wouldn’t recant so they clubbed him to death.
  • Nathaniel (Bartholomew); Flayed and crucified
  • Simon the Zealot: witnessed in many countries but was finally crucified in Syria.
  • Judas Thadeus: Beaten to death by sticks in Mesopotamia.
  • Matthias: hung on a cross then stoned to death.
  • Thomas – killed in India

There’s a story that some policemen found some worshippers in North Korea. They invaded the premises armed with guns. “OK,” they said, “if you aren’t a Christian you can leave.” North Korea is the place where Christians are most persecuted in all the world. A quarter of Christians there are in labour camps … for years. Being “re-educated”.
What would you do? Deny your faith and walk free or go to certain suffering?
In Britain we aren’t faced with such problems. So how do we show the same total commitment? How do we put Jesus before everything else in our lives? What can we do to show our faith?

  1. Give our time. This is where we start. And the first bit of time we need to give is to spend time in the presence of God.
  2. As we’re spending time let’s ask who is missing from our church? Who is overlooked amongst my family or friends or my church? Who do I overlook? Whose needs am I simply not seeing. I ask, Lord, that you open my eyes and my heart to make me aware of those in need and show me how I can serve and include them.
  3. And money. We are the fifth richest country in the world. Most of us have money to spare. Otherwise we would not be able to buy wine, sweets, holidays, changes of clothing … Most of us can find money to spare if we put our minds to it. To support Christian aid charities, Foodbank, our own churches.

We’re not asked by God to be executed in a horrific manner but we are asked to be totally committed in our own way. As the hymn says,

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a gift far too small,
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

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Hymn

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross


When I survey the wondrous cross
Oh which the Prince of glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from his head, his hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Where the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a offering far too small,
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

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Affirmation of Faith

Let us declare our faith in God.

We believe in God the Father,
from whom every family
in heaven and on earth is named.

We believe in God the Son,
who lives in our hearts through faith,
and fills us with his love.

We believe in God the Holy Spirit,
who strengthens us
with power from on high.

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

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Prayers

A time of free prayer for you to bring before God your cares and concerns for the world, the church and for all people, for those in any kind of need and for those who have died. Especially on our minds is the Covid-19 pandemic and for all affected by it and that a swift end may be in sight. And for the tensions and injustices of the world, praying for healing and reconciliation between peoples.

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The Collect

Faithful Creator,
whose mercy never fails:
deepen our faithfulness to you
and to your living Word,
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us

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.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory
for ever and ever.
Amen.

Conclusion

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

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