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Morning Worship for 7th February 2021

As we begin this act of worship let us remember all those not able to be with us who are joining us in their own homes, we remember that there are many friends who are doing the same and are joining with us in worship. Although we will not be having hymns in church for those of you at home If you have Youtube then please find an appropriate version of the suggested hymns and join in the singing on-line. As you go through this time of worship try to remember this reality; you are in the presence of God who holds us all in His care and keeping.

The Greeting

Gilbert of Sempringham: Feast day 4th February.

Born in 1083 in Sempringham, the son of the squire, Gilbert became the parish priest in 1131. He encouraged the vocation of seven women of the town and formed them into a company of lay sisters. A group of lay brothers also came into being and they all kept the Benedictine Rule. Gilbert was unsuccessful in his bid to obtain pastoral guidance from Citeaux for the incipient communities and they came under the ambit of Augustinian canons Gilbert himself becoming the Master. At Gilbert’s death in 1189, aged 106, there were nine double monasteries in England and four of male canons only. It was the only purely English monastic foundation before the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the sixteenth century.

Collect for the Religious

Almighty God,
By whose grace Gilbert kindled with the fire of your love,
Became a burning and a shining light in the Church:
Inflame us with the same spirit of discipline and love,
That we may ever walk before you as children of light;
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.
Amen.

Collect of the day

Almighty God,
You have created the heavens and the earth
And made us in your own image:
Teach us to discern your hand in all your works
And your likeness in all your children;
Through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
Who with you and the Holy Spirit
Reigns supreme over all things,
Now and for ever.
Amen.

Our Declaration of faith

All the earth, shout and sing for joy,
For great in your midst is the Holy One.

Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and will not be afraid;
For the Lord God is my strength and my song,
And has become my salvation.
With joy you will draw water
From the wells of salvation.
On that day you will say,
Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name;
Make known his deeds among the nations,
Proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing God’s praises, who has triumphed gloriously,
Let this be known in all the world.
Shout and sing for joy, you that dwell in Zion,
For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

All the earth, shout and sing for joy,
For great in your midst is the Holy One.

Isaiah 12: 2-6

Hymn: Holy, Holy, Holy.

Readings: Proverbs 8: 1. 22-31, Colossians 1: 15-20.

Hymn: We have a Gospel to proclaim.

Gospel Reading: John 1: 1-14.

Reflection

Sitting quietly on the top of Newton Tor in the Cheviot Hills in Northumberland the sun just beginning to set, darkness creeping like a shadowy blanket across the fells the wind blowing fiercely I discovered a cleft in the hilltop and I nestled within it, protected from the elements all I could see was the last remnants of the sun slowly disappearing when gently out of the ending of the day came a new beginning, an awakening like a chrysalis slowly breaking open, something new and of great beauty suddenly emerging, and life was never to be the same again.

This is what is meant by the transfiguring nature of a calling from God.

For when he touches our heart there is no going back, a call from God cannot be ignored it can of course be put on hold, but there will come a time when the call like the butterfly slowly emerging from its chrysalis will be ready to unfurl its wings to dry them in the sun and then to take to the air

Responding to a sense of call is deeply personal and yet there is also something more which is difficult to speak of, it cannot be formulated into simple words as it is too deep, too unique it is a sign and a sealing of ones heart into the Christ-like role of a servant

Servant-hood is not an element of personal choice widely accepted in today’s society. It is generally considered a sign of weakness a lack of success it is a term which is difficult to equate to leadership. For servant-hood does not speak of power and glory it speaks of subservience, of obedience it is the role of the servant to serve her master.

Who wants to be a servant?

In the ordinal from the Book of Common Prayer the Bishop says to those about to be ordained Priest the following:

Will you reverently obey your Ordinary and other chief Ministers, unto whom is committed the charge and government over you; following with a glad mind and will their godly admonitions and submitting yourselves to their godly judgements?

To which the potential Priests reply:

I will so do, the Lord being my helper

Servant-hood brings with it a willingness to be obedient to God and to his Church, which demands of those called; to seek to be Christ-like in all that they do. Such was the strength of vocational calling which encouraged Gilbert of Sempringham to build up his faithful communities of Lay Sisters and Brothers.

But what does it mean to be Christ-like in the world today. How are those who are called by God to respond and how are they to engage in that sense of calling which will allow them like the butterfly to be transfigured by God and so released into their full potential?

This vocational challenge is of course nothing new, as we have seen through the shining example of St. Gilbert, men and women have been called by God for generations, into service and into the role of a servant. We are all called to have deep and meaningful prayer lives but it is often the case that the business of life often relegates this prayerful activity to limited periods of engagement. Prayer is a crucial element of our Christian lives and for those exploring a sense of calling from God it is of the utmost importance. Prayer is often the medium through which our sense of calling comes and it is prayer which in itself has the power to transfigure. There is within every calling today an element of continuity which connects us to Jesus. And Clive Marsh captures this beautifully in his work on Christology.

Marsh recognises that theology begins with a human experience that is interpretable as the presence and action of God as known in Christ, and as known through our experience of and interpretation of doctrinal tradition. Through the compilation of both experience and tradition a sense of call is grounded in the reality of the past as well as in the present. Prayerful engagement is the medium through which we become Spiritual explorers.

We as Christians are all called to live out a Christian life, and to be a living witness to the faith, those called by God to be priestly become in the words of Austin Farrer The privilege of being a kind of walking sacrament an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace which is recognised by others as the presence of Christ in the community. This is a distinctive call placed upon those ordained into the priesthood, but alongside that distinctiveness lies the priesthood of all believers, through which and in which we are all engaged with the reality of living out our faith within the context of our lives.

For many this today will be a calling from God to be a minister in the workplace, it may mean that for many amongst you that God through Christ and through the office of ordination is now seeking to explore the sacramental nature implicit within our secular environment. This today is opening up many new approaches to ministry and the iconic presence of Christ in the Community is being reimagined. God is calling us out to re-examine and explore wider possibilities of service. We are being challenged by the Holy Spirit of God to recognise within ourselves that to which we are all being called. It is through our engagement with our community wherever that may be realised that we can truly become an iconic presence to others.

All Christians are witnesses and should be able to give a reason for the hope that is within them. For some however that could be a call to consider living in a distinctive community like those set up so long ago by St. Gilbert.

The monastic life is not for everyone however there is within it a sense of re-engagement with an authenticated spiritual life which is centred on generous hospitality, challenging reconciliation and centres of attentiveness to the living God.

Archbishop Rowan reminds us that Christianity encourages us to be faithful to the body, that I am a living body that can be hurt, a body that is always living in the middle of limitations: it encourages me to accept unavoidable frustration in this material and accident prone existence without anger. To talk about pledging the body to the walls in the sense of the fundamental decision to be where and who I am. In order to truly respond to a call from God we are called first to know ourselves more fully. And in the words of Amma Syncletica You can be a solitary in your mind even when you live in the middle of a crowd. And you can be a solitary and still live in the middle of the crowd of your own thoughts.

Here we see another distinctive means of witnessing to Jesus through a call into the solitary life but a life which can still be fully integrated into community, and a life which again is transfigured and brought alive and given power to transform and encourage others though the simplicity of the offering to God of oneself.

Finally to recognise and feel the transfiguring nature of a calling from God we must first of all look for it in our worshipping communities, encourage it to grow and to flourish through building people up into that which God has called them to be. Re-imagining Ministry is exactly what it says, it is not how we can change what we have but rather how we can begin to recognise afresh that which the Church really needs. Re-imagining ministry is not about filling the gaps and enabling that which we have to continue but rather it is to recognise the need for change, the need for some abandonment and the necessity of reforming the church into the creative and dynamic force it can truly be

When gently out of the ending of the day came a new beginning, an awakening like a chrysalis slowly breaking open, something new and of great beauty suddenly emerging and life was never to be the same again.

This is what is meant by the transfiguring nature of a calling from God.

I conclude with a prayer from John Pritchard:

Gracious God,
You have given us the privilege of an open door to your presence.
When life is shining and full, inhabit our joy.
When life is grinding slowly on, touch us with your life.
When we long for a clearer vision of you, open our gauze-covered eyes.
When we studiously avoid your gaze, tempt us with your forgiving smile.
Lead us inexorably to the fulfilment of our lives in the service of your Son.
So that, dipped in God and cherished by your Spirit,
we may come to you, three times blessed,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Hymn: How sweet the name of Jesus sounds.

Prayers for others

This morning let us pause for prayer for so many people and for so many situations.

We come boldly to the throne of grace,
Let us pray to the Father through Christ who is our light and life.

Heavenly Father, hear us as we pray this day in thanksgiving for the life and witness of St. Gilbert of Sempringham, as we remember all those women and men whom he called to witness in your name, we give thanks today for all surviving monastic communities and for the life of prayer and contemplation which they lead, holding us all in prayer throughout the complexity of our everyday lives.

We pray for the Diocesan team of vocational directors, and for all who seek to encourage and stimulate an awareness of personal calling amongst your faithful people. We pray for all being called into your church both Lay and Ordained, may your grace rest upon them, that they may feel your presence within them.

Father, your Christ in his temple brings judgement on the world:
Look in mercy on the nations, who long for his justice. We pray especially for the divisions within American Society, and the tensions and turmoil so evident in that nation. May the faith which is so strong among them build them up and unite them together peacefully in the name of the Lord.

Father we pray that you may continue to look in mercy on the needy in our world today. We pray for all struggling with the current pandemic, for all in hospital receiving critical care, we pray for their families and loved ones separated from them at this time. We continue to pray for all the carers, for Doctors, Nurses, Ancillary workers, Ambulance drivers, and for all within the NHS, be with them through their current struggles strengthen them in body and mind so that they may all stay safe and well.

Father, your Christ is the one in whom faithful servants find their peace, look in mercy on the departed, that they may see your salvation. We pray with a heavy heart as so many of our loved ones have been taken from us, for those who will rest within your loving embrace we give you thanks. For those who mourn their loved ones we pray that your love may rest upon them and bring them comfort amidst their sorrow.

Amen.

And 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.
Amen.

Hymn: O, Jesus I have promised.

A Reading from the last letter of St. Gilbert to his canons

My dear sons, while God gave me power, whenever I came to visit you, I always invited you and drew you towards the love of God, as far as I could and knew how. I pray that my care of you may have found its fruition in lives lived for God. And now I am almost without any strength in my body. 

I am putting off this covering of the flesh; a way is opening up for me to depart from a life which for a long time now has been hard and weary for me. I cannot speak to you any longer with my voice so by this letter I urge you, for the love of God and for the salvation of your souls, be on the watch ever more carefully to overcome evil and set forward righteousness. 

Observe the whole Rule of our Order vigilantly and strictly, for you have been set free from the cares of business by the work of the lay brothers, so that you may have the chance to exercise the religious life in all its rigour I have specially gathered you together so that our Order may be ruled and protected by your unwavering religious observance. 

If you think my care of you has been useful and right, my sons, pray to the Lord, that he may not enter into judgement with me, but by his great gentleness may wipe away my sins and give me everlasting rest. To you whom I leave behind, I give the peace and mercy of God, his blessing and my own. May our joy in each other ever increase before the Lord, and may he himself be glad in us and because of us, whose kingdom and power are everlasting. 

Amen.

Blessing

As we prepare to leave
And embrace the challenges
Of our lives and our world,
Let us ask for God’s blessing.
May God bless us with strength to seek justice. Amen.
May God bless us with wisdom to care for our earth. Amen.
May God bless us with love to bring forth new life. Amen.
In the name of God, the maker of the whole world, of Jesus, our new covenant,
And of the Holy Spirit, who opens eyes and hearts. Amen.
And the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. 
Amen.

Morning Worship for 31st January 2021

As we begin this act of worship let us remember all those not able to be with us who are joining us in their own homes, we remember that there are many friends who are doing the same and are joining with us in worship. Although we will not be having hymns in church for those of you at home If you have Youtube then please find an appropriate version of the suggested hymns and join in the singing on-line. As you go through this time of worship try to remember this reality; you are in the presence of God who holds us all in His care and keeping.

The Greeting

Dear friends, forty days ago we celebrated the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now we recall the day on which he was presented in the Temple, when he was offered to the Father and shown to his people. As a sign of his coming among us, his mother was purified, as we now come to him for cleansing. In their old age Simeon and Anna recognised him as their Lord, as we today speak of his glory. In this service, we celebrate both the joy of his coming and his searching judgement, looking back to the day of his birth and forward to the coming days of his passion.

Collect for the day

Almighty and ever-living God,
Clothed in majesty, whose beloved Son
Was this day presented in the Temple,
In substance of our flesh;
Grant that we may be presented to you
With pure and clean hearts,
By your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
Who is alive and reigns with you,
In the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

Our Declaration of faith

All the earth, shout and sing for joy,
For great in your midst is the Holy One.

Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and will not be afraid;
For the Lord God is my strength and my song,
And has become my salvation.
With joy you will draw water
From the wells of salvation.
On that day you will say,
Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name;
Make known his deeds among the nations,
Proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing God’s praises, who has triumphed gloriously,
Let this be known in all the world.
Shout and sing for joy, you that dwell in Zion,
For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

All the earth, shout and sing for joy,
For great in your midst is the Holy One.

Isaiah 12: 2-6

Hymn: Praise to the Holiest in the height.

Readings: Malachi 3: 1-5, Hebrews 2: 14-end.

Hymn: Restore O Lord.

Gospel Reading: Luke 2: 22-40.

Reflection

Today we celebrate the feast of Candlemas the cycle of Christmas ends traditionally on the 2nd February, 40 days since the birth of our lord. And symbolically we move the focus of our attention away from the incarnation and toward the cross.

The text from Luke’s gospel speaks powerfully of a period of transition it is at this point that the holy child of god is presented in the temple, fulfilling the law laid down for observance of those who lived and breathed the culture of Christ’s day. By responding to religious expectation and practise the parents of our lord are approached by others, Simeon and Anna

Simeon himself is described as being full of the holy spirit of god, revealing the reality of the power of god within the midst of his chosen people well before the birth of our lord, this righteous man is described not only as being filled with that spirit but also to have had a revelation of the spirit given to him for which he has waited patiently for many long years and here today that prophetic revelation is realised but not just by chance, for Simeon was also inspired by the spirit to enter the temple just at the point that Christ was being presented.

So Simeon becomes a living symbol of the presence guidance and inspiration of the holy spirit of god

He proclaims those immortal words of the nunc dimmitus and then he knows that he may rest at peace with his fathers. Then after all of this excitement and the revelation of another prophecy that of the suffering to come upon his parents another prophetess enters the stage, we know little of Anna and her input to the story seems rather superfluous and yet it is vital,

Anything which is witnessed in law requires two witnesses and here we have the second proclamation which enables the new law heralded in by Christ to be fully recognised and validated by prophetic utterance.

However Jesus is not only proclaimed as being a person of substance through the prophetic voices of Simeon and Anna, for the proclamation itself takes place in the holist of places. The religious significance of Christ’s recognition in the temple is deeply profound, for the temple truly represented the place where the messiah long promised by god would reign, restoring the former glory of Israel.

This acts as a reminder to us today to ground in our own understanding the place we believe Jesus will reign over us as Christians, as the temple has long since gone and with the majority of Christians being of gentile origin Jerusalem no longer holds the same religious significance it had in the past. So where is the place where Christ will reign? Is it in another holy place? Well although cathedrals hold a special place in our hearts they do not begin to fill the gap left by the destruction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem, so no, we do not look to a building in which Christ will reign we look elsewhere.

For us as Anglicans we look primarily to scripture, reason and tradition. We are called therefore to read and understand our scriptures fully and to be confident in proclaiming the faith which is revealed in them. We must be able to defend our faith and lay down our own lives if necessary in order to uphold it, and this is not just religious hyperbole not only an interpretation of the holy word of god, such a response is in reality the very essence of reason, faith has to be believed in not just understood

And for many it is the culture we live in and the experiences we have undergone in relation to life and tradition which simply serve to build up the depth of faith which we hold within us.

Candlemas marks the end of Christmas and it is today that traditionally the crib is finally removed from our churches marking the end of one season and the beginning of another. Symbolically at the end of the service the crib is carried out in procession and the congregation follow it to the font, they then were reminded of the power of the holy spirit within themselves recognised by their baptisms by reaffirming the baptismal promises made for them when they were welcomed into the lords family

By reminding ourselves of when our own faith journey was publicly recognised we re-own our faith and so with clarity and certainty gain the strength we need to move from the message of the crib to the message of the cross.

Powerful liturgy full of action and emotion which through the power of symbolism helps Christians throughout the world to re-examine their Christian consciousness and allow god to touch their hearts in a very special way helping them to rethink through how they through ongoing mission proclaim the gospel of Christ anew to the next generation.

Today we move from the incarnation to the cross today we move from celebration into penitence today we look to the cross on which our saviour died and we give thanks for it, for it is through birth and death that our faith stands the test of scripture reason and tradition.

Thanks be to god

Hymn: Make way, make way.

Prayers for others

This morning let us pause for prayer for so many people and for so many situations.

We come boldly to the throne of grace,

Let us pray to the Father through Christ who is our light and life.

Father, your Christ is acclaimed as the glory of Israel:

Look in mercy on your Church, sharing his light. May that light so ignite within us that we shall become shining witnesses to your glory.

Lord, have mercy. Christ have mercy.

Father, your Christ in his temple brings judgement on the world:

Look in mercy on the nations, who long for his justice. We pray especially for the divisions within American Society, and the tensions and turmoil so evident in that nation. May the faith which is so strong among them build them up and unite them together peacefully in the name of the Lord.

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy.

Father your Christ, who was rich, for our sakes became poor:

Look in mercy on the needy, suffering with him. We pray for all struggling with the current pandemic, for all in hospital receiving critical care, we pray for their families and loved ones separated from them at this time. We continue to pray for all the carers, for Doctors, Nurses, Ancillary workers, Ambulance drivers, and for all within the NHS, be with them through their current struggles strengthen them in body and mind so that they may all stay safe and well.

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy.

Father, your Christ is the one in whom faithful servants find their peace:

Look in mercy on the departed, that they may see your salvation. We pray with a heavy heart as so many of our loved ones have been taken from us, for those who will rest within your loving embrace we give you thanks. For those who mourn their loved ones we pray that your love may rest upon them and bring them comfort amidst their sorrow.

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy.

Father, your Christ is revealed as the one destined to be rejected:

Look in mercy on us who now turn towards his passion.
Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy.

Lord God, you kept faith with Simeon and Anna, and showed them the infant king. Give us grace to put all our trust in your promises, and the patience to wait for their fulfilment;

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

And 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.
Amen.

Hymn: Christ, whose glory fills the sky.

Final Responsory

Father, we have sung your praise with shepherds and angels:
May Christ be born in our hearts today.
Praise to Christ our light.

We have shared in the joy of Simeon and Anna;
Help us, like them, to trust your word.
Praise to Christ our light.

We have greeted Jesus, the light of the world;
May we be filled with the light of your love.
Praise to Christ our light.


We stand near the place of new birth.
Let us shine with the light of your love.

We turn from the crib to the cross.
Let us shine with the light of your love.

We go to carry his light.
Let us shine with the light of your love.

Thanks be to God.

Blessing

Christ, whose glory fills the skies,
Fill you with radiance and scatter the darkness from your path.
Amen.
Christ, the Sun of Righteousness,
Gladden your eyes and warm your heart.
Amen.
Christ, the Dayspring from on high,
Draw near to guide your feet into the way of peace.
Amen.
And the blessing of God almighty,
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.
Amen.

Morning Worship for 24th January 2021

As we begin this act of worship let us remember all those not able to be with us who are joining us in their own homes, we remember that there are many friends who are doing the same and are joining with us in worship. Although we will not be having hymns in church for those of you at home If you have Youtube then please find an appropriate version of the suggested hymns and join in the singing on-line. As you go through this time of worship try to remember this reality; you are in the presence of God who holds us all in His care and keeping.

The Greeting

This day water is made wine at the wedding feast.
I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem,
Coming down out of heaven from God,
Prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a great voice from the throne, saying,
Behold, the dwelling of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them and they shall be his peoples,
And God himself will be with them.
Behold, I make all things new;
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.
To the thirsty I will give water as a gift
From the spring of the water of life.

Collect for the day

Almighty God,
Whose Son revealed in signs and miracles
The wonder of your saving presence:
Renew your people with your heavenly grace,
And in all our weakness sustain us by your mighty power;
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.
Amen.

Our Declaration of faith

All the earth, shout and sing for joy,
For great in your midst is the Holy One.

Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and will not be afraid;
For the Lord God is my strength and my song,
And has become my salvation.
With joy you will draw water
From the wells of salvation.
On that day you will say,
Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name;
Make known his deeds among the nations,
Proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing God’s praises, who has triumphed gloriously,
Let this be known in all the world.
Shout and sing for joy, you that dwell in Zion,
For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

All the earth, shout and sing for joy,
For great in your midst is the Holy One.
Isaiah 12: 2-6

Hymn: Lord, thy word abideth.

Readings: Genesis 14: 17-20, Revelation 19: 6-10.

Hymn: O for a thousand tongues to sing.

Gospel Reading: John 2: 1-11.

Reflection

Reflection on the Wedding in Cana of Galilee

Today we engage in the third of the divine epiphanies of Jesus

The first was the Magi bringing their gifts and proclaiming the birth of Jesus to the Gentiles

The second was the voice of God which came to Jesus at his Baptism

And the third is Christ’s first miracle, the revealing of the power of God which rested within him upon which he could call and through which God revealed himself once more

Being invited to a wedding is always a special occasion, I am sure that most of you will have been invited to someone’s wedding at some point in your lives. I have officiated at hundreds of weddings throughout my ministry and each one of them have been very special occasions. However inevitably there will be those which we remember more than others simply because of something which happened which made them stand out and be extra memorable, sometimes for good reasons and sometimes because of some slight mishap or two.

I can remember a wedding where it was not the bride who was late but the groom, and I can recall having to send the poor bride for an extra drive in the car three times before her future husband thankfully turned up.

I can remember officiating at my nephews wedding in a strange church and arriving to find the marriage registers still locked inside the safe with no one present with a key?

One memorable occasion was a wedding complete with several celebrities held in one of my smallest churches in Durham, where the number of floral decorations were so large and numerous that we could hardly get the guests in.

Then of course the extra special grand occasions of local dignitaries and personal friends with free flowing champagne and specially ordered and crafted wedding designer venues.

All very memorable for a variety of different reasons and this wedding to which Jesus had been invited was no exception, Jewish weddings at this time went on for a week, it was not just over in a day, wedding guests would come and go all the time, so a ready supply of wine and refreshments always needed to be available.

Indeed such was the heavy expectation placed upon the bride and groom that not to be able to provide for family and friends and especially those who had been specially invited would have been costly to the standing of the couple in the midst of their society, not a great way to start their new life together.

Hospitality was key, however on this occasion the wine did indeed run out, perhaps it was near the end of the celebrations and the couple had simply under estimated what would be needed or perhaps more guests had arrived including the disciples of Jesus which simply stretched things a bit too far, but run out they did

Now in such circumstance you would have thought that it would be the Father of the Bride, who would have stepped in at this point, after all it is normally he who ends up footing the bill, but in this case it is Jesus’ Mother who takes the initiative, showing that this wedding could well have been that of someone very close to the family indeed, and bearing that in mind it is perhaps not that surprising that Jesus’ mother wants to avoid embarrassment and a potential loss of face.

So why does Mary call on her Son to intervene?

This was his first recorded miracle so she did not know what the outcome would be but here we see her portraying perfect belief that her Son would be able to help in some special way.

At first Jesus was not too pleased, mother interfering again, and failing to recognize that Jesus was not yet ready to begin to display his power in such a public setting, hence the response that it was not yet his time!

However his mother was undeterred, do whatever he tells you!

What a key expression that is, obey and great things will be the result.

So like any Son Jesus responds as asked, yet through the instructions given to the stewards Jesus in turning water into wine reveals how by engaging in his ministry and being reborn by baptismal water the way is opened up for all who follow him into the feast of the kingdom of God.

With the words of the chief steward of the wedding “best wine kept until now,” reflecting beautifully the reality that at the opening scenario of the ministry of Jesus, the wine of the new dispensation, a new covenant with God had appeared, which would lead his people toward him in a way far superior to any revelation made previously by God to his chosen people.

That wine has been poured out for us to taste through the offering of the blood of Christ and as we now go forward to receive the blessing of his sacramental gift, let us recall the mysteries of the wedding feast at Cana and rejoice with all of God’s guests in being so freely invited to share in the heavenly banquet of God’s love.

Amen.

Hymn: O thou, who at thy Eucharist didst pray.

Prayers for others

This morning let us pause for prayer for so many people and for so many situations.

We come boldly to the throne of grace,
Praying to the almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Heavenly Father, as we pray today for your Church, we pray that we guided by your Holy Spirit may find the strength and confidence we need to continue to serve you and others in your name. We pray at this time of continued turmoil for clearer guidance on how best to worship and how best to care for one another alongside those in the communities which surround us.

As we pray together recognising our Lord’s first miracle at the Wedding Feast of Cana, we pray today for all those couples who have had to postpone their weddings hoping at some point for a relaxation of current restrictions. We pray for those still hoping to be married in the Spring and the Summer of this new year, that we may be able to rejoice with them surrounded by their families and friends.

We pray as we engage with yet another period of isolation from our own family and friends that you may bless us and keep us in good spirits. We pray for all who are struggling with their mental health, all whose lives have been torn apart, and especially for all who find themselves lost, lonely and afraid. May the power of your love wash over them and bring them a little hope and comfort in these difficult and demanding days.

Lord Jesus, fulfilment of the promises of old, give hope to all who suffer at this time, especially those in hospital, or receiving care in their own homes. We pray for the NHS and all caring professionals, all who are anxious, distressed, frustrated and depressed due to our present life restrictions, and for all whose health, wellbeing, livelihood and financial security are so adversely affected at this time. May all who are currently struggling, persevere in the hope that things may soon change and their present difficulties be resolved.

Finally Holy Father, we hold before you all who mourn the loss of loved ones, for all those who now face this New Year alone, for those mourning loved ones lost in years gone by and for all who mourn the loss of those who have in so many different ways inspired them in their own lives. May the memories which they treasure be ever in their hearts bringing them glimpses of joy in their times of sadness.
Lord Jesus Christ, in you the Father makes us and all things new. Transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace, and in the renewal of our lives make known your heavenly glory.

Amen.

And 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.
Amen.

Hymn: Forth in the peace of Christ we go.

A Song of Solomon

Many waters cannot quench love; neither can the floods drown it

Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm;
For love is strong as death passion fierce as the grave;
Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame.
Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it.
If all the wealth of our house were offered for love,
It would be utterly scorned.

Many waters cannot quench love; neither can the floods drown it.

Blessing

May God the Son,
Who turned water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana,
Transform your lives and make glad your hearts.
And the blessing of God almighty,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
be with you and remain with you always.
Amen.

Morning Worship for 17th January 2021

As we begin this act of worship let us remember all those not able to be with us who are joining us in their own homes, we remember that there are many friends who are doing the same and are joining with us in worship. Although we will not be having hymns in church for those of you at home If you have Youtube then please find an appropriate version of the suggested hymns and join in the singing on-line. As you go through this time of worship try to remember this reality; you are in the presence of God who holds us all in His care and keeping.

The Greeting

God of gold, we seek your glory:
The richness that transforms our drabness into colour,
And brightens our dullness with vibrant light;
Your wonder and joy at the heart of all life.

God of incense, we offer you our prayer:
Our spoken and unspeakable longings,
Our questioning of truth, our search for your mystery deep within.

God of myrrh, we cry out to you in our suffering:
The pain of all our rejections and bereavements,
Our baffled despair at undeserved suffering,
Our rage at continuing injustice;
And we embrace you, God-with-us,
In our wealth, in our yearning, in our anger and loss.
Jan Berry, Sheffield 1990

Collect for the day

Almighty God, in Christ you make all things new:
Transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace,
And in the renewal of our lives make known your heavenly glory;
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.
Amen.

Our Declaration of faith

All the earth, shout and sing for joy,
For great in your midst is the Holy One.

Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and will not be afraid;
For the Lord God is my strength and my song,
And has become my salvation.
With joy you will draw water
From the wells of salvation.
On that day you will say,
Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name;
Make known his deeds among the nations,
Proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing God’s praises, who has triumphed gloriously,
Let this be known in all the world.
Shout and sing for joy, you that dwell in Zion,
For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

All the earth, shout and sing for joy,
For great in your midst is the Holy One.
Isaiah 12: 2-6

Hymn: Come down O love divine.

Readings: 1 Samuel 3:1-20, Revelation 5:1-10.

Hymn: Gracious Spirit Holy Ghost.

Gospel Reading: John 1:43-51.

Reflection

When it is cold and rather wet and somewhat miserable outside and especially now that we have entered into another lock down and have to stay at home, I am sure that many of you will take the opportunity of sitting by the fire in a comfortable chair and opening up a book. It may well be something new perhaps a book bought for you by a friend as a Christmas gift. Within the pages we will discover images portrayed either of fictional characters or historic actualities, and inner messages will slowly be revealed to us.

Well the same kind of imagery is played out before us today as we recall the words we heard from the book of revelation. St John the Divine loves apocalyptic imagery and Revelations is filled with it, and we are called as indeed we are always called by a good book to look in detail about what is before us and to grasp the message which the words are trying to portray to us. So what is the story behind the few verses we have had the pleasure of hearing today?

Well in Revelations the primary concern is the forthcoming glory of God in the fulfilment of his kingdom. But how is the kingdom to be heralded in, when will God act and wipe away the unfaithful and reward the righteous?

This is what the text for today seeks to reveal to us through the imagery of the scroll with seven seals. I love the way which this is expressed as it reveals a book desperate to be opened, but a book which can only be opened by someone who is worthy. This scroll represents for St John the book of destiny for the earth. It is both a book of doom and a book of triumphant exaltation, it will reveal all that God has planned for us and all that he will do, but only when the time is right will the scroll be opened and read, and only when the book is opened will the reign of Satan be terminated and a new era begin.

A search is made throughout heaven, earth and all parts of God’s creation but no one is found worthy to break open the seal of God on the destiny of the earth. No one that is except Jesus Christ in his resurrected form as the Holy Lamb of God.

So why is Jesus the only one worthy and why is he revealed to the Evangelist as a lamb standing as if slaughtered, rather than as a Jesus triumphant sitting at the right hand of God in Glory?

Well this image of the slaughtered lamb reflects so much scriptural prophecy that it becomes a truly symbolic image filled with depth and meaning. The lamb of God is not only standing firm despite its slaughtered appearance but it stands firm with 7 horns every horn representing symbols of divine power, and with the 7 horns are 7 eyes which represent the 7 spirits of God as reflected in the prophecy of Zechariah where the 7 eyes of Yahweh are revealed through the prophets divine vision.

This image of the messianic Lamb of God again takes us back to the very Exodus of the chosen people of God from Egypt, where the blood of the Passover lamb sprinkled on the doors of the Hebrew people saved them from the plaques of Egypt and the death of the first born. Jesus is therefore the first born of the dead, the lamb who was sacrificed by God for us that we may find ourselves liberated from oppression. For the Evangelist this is a key prophetic image which acts as a prototype of the coming liberation of all Christians from the oppression of the might of Rome.

So the purpose of the scroll is to bring about the defeat of Satan it will bring forth retribution upon the wicked and heap reward upon the righteous, which is why only the one who is truly righteous can open the seals of God.

Thinking of a scroll with 7 seals seems rather an odd image but what this represents is the gradual opening of the apocalypse, it is not done at one precise moment but part of Gods vengeance on the wicked is revealed through the opening of each and every seal. Just as with the Exodus from Egypt God placed 7 plagues upon the earth so too will seven plagues of retribution be unleashed by the Lamb as he opens each and every divine seal upon the scroll of destiny.

With this gift of divine power and presence given to the Lamb, God shares his divine qualities with his Son, The Lamb assumes Gods power of being present everywhere and having access to the omnipotent power of the Almighty.

Revelation of course is an apocalyptic prophecy which stands before us awaiting its fulfilment, Jesus is the foretaste of the heavenly banquet which awaits Gods chosen people. We are saved from the power of the evil one through the divine grace of God in Jesus achieved for us through his own death and resurrection, however the kingdom of God has not reached its fulfilment, sin and the power of the satanic forces still lead us into temptation. The plaques released by the opening of the scrolls seals still hover over us, they have not yet reached their full potential, for those who dwell in wickedness have not been marked with the blood of the lamb, so that when the day of judgement appears the hand of the plagues of retribution will strike, and only those marked with the blood of salvation will be saved.

Who then is to be saved, who will be marked out? Only those who are called like Nathanael will be saved, Philip said come and see and when he followed Philip to Jesus he declared Rabbi you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel. And Jesus responded: you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.

Jesus the Son of Man opens the seals of the book of destiny for the earth, casts aside the reign of the Evil One and opens up the doorway between the heavens and the earth. In so doing he reveals to us the divine image of the elders of heaven bowing in prayer before the Lamb surrounded by the incense of prayer which comes forth through you as Gods chosen people. Through our prayers for others we lift up the earth to heaven, through the divine omnipresence and omnipotence of Christ he as our great high priest gathers those prayers together and in presenting them to the Father he enables God to act. In God’s good time and only when our prayers are just and true will God bring about the completion of the glorious kingdom and only then will we who are worthy, like the sacrificial lamb be enabled to sing a new song and see for ourselves the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.

That time is however not yet, we as God’s children are not being punished for our wickedness, as we know that the divine revelation of God’s Kingdom will come to us not as a result of pain and despair but rather in triumphant glory. We as people of faith place our trust in the Lord Jesus to be there for us and to assist us with divine grace, but we do know that we are generally unworthy of that grace. In seeking to be good to self and others, in preserving al that is good in the world whilst seeking to do our best to eradicate evil we despite the difficulties we are all facing at this terrible time, must believe that the day will come when God can see enough of himself in us, that the promise of the kingdom will be fulfilled.

So let us strive to continue to do our very best for God, and may the hope which comes through living a life of faith, in God’s good time restore us back into the arms of our heavenly creator.

I close with a few beautifully intimate words from today’s psalm:

“For you yourself created my inmost parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will thank you because I am marvellously made; your works are wonderful and I know it well.”

Thanks be to God

(Reverend Clive.)

Hymn: Immortal Invisible.

Prayers for others

This morning let us pause for prayer for so many people and for so many situations.

We come boldly to the throne of grace,

Praying to the almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Heavenly Father, as we pray today for your Church, we pray that we guided by your Holy Spirit may find the strength and confidence we need to continue to serve you and others in your name. We pray at this time of continued turmoil for clearer guidance on how best to worship and how best to care for one another alongside those in the communities which surround us. We pray that through our inner sense of calling that we like Philip and Nathanael may truly believe in your kingly presence and respond to your calling in willing obedience.

We pray as we engage with yet another period of isolation from family and friends that you may bless us and keep us in good spirits. We pray for all who are struggling with their mental health, all whose lives have been torn apart, and especially for all who find themselves lost, lonely and afraid. May the power of your love wash over them and bring them a little hope and comfort in these difficult and demanding days.

Lord Jesus, fulfilment of the promises of old, give hope to all who suffer at this time, especially those in hospital, or receiving care in their own homes. We pray for the NHS and all caring professionals, all who are anxious, distressed, frustrated and depressed due to our present life restrictions, and for all whose health, wellbeing, livelihood and financial security are so adversely affected at this time. May all who currently struggle, persevere in the hope that things may soon change and their present difficulties be resolved.

Father, as we pray for the wider world we remember those facing struggles and anxiety caused not through illness but by the oppression and tyranny of others, for all who have had to flee their homes from violence or racial rejection, for those denied the civil liberties which we have in abundance. We pray that justice may prevail in your world and that all people may be enabled to find their voice, be enabled to live in comfort and peace and free to enjoy the liberty of freedom.

Finally Holy Father, we hold before you all who mourn the loss of loved ones, for all those who now face this New Year alone, for those mourning loved ones lost in years gone by and for all who mourn the loss of those who have in so many different ways inspired them in their own lives. May the memories which they treasure be ever in their hearts bringing them glimpses of joy in their times of sadness.

Lord Jesus Christ, in you the Father makes us and all things new. Transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace, and in the renewal of our lives make known your heavenly glory.

Amen.

And 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.
Amen.

Hymn: The Churches one foundation.

A Song of Christ’s Goodness

Gather your little ones to you, O God,
As a hen gathers her brood to protect them.

Jesus, as a mother you gather your people to you,
You are gentle with us as a mother with her children.
Often you weep over our sins and our pride,
Tenderly you draw us from hatred and judgement.
You comfort us in sorrow and bind up our wounds,
In sickness you nurse us and with pure milk you feed us.
Jesus, by your dying, we are born to new life;
By your anguish and labour we come forth in joy.
Despair turns to hope through your sweet goodness;
Through your gentleness, we find comfort in fear.
Your warmth gives life to the dead,
Your touch makes sinners righteous.
Lord Jesus, in your mercy, heal us;
In your love and tenderness, remake us.
In your compassion, bring grace and forgiveness,
For the beauty of heaven, may your love prepare us.

Gather your little ones to you, O God,
As a hen gathers her brood to protect them.

Blessing

May God, who in Christ gives us a spring of water
Welling up to eternal life,
Perfect in you the image of his glory;
And the blessing of God almighty,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
be with you and remain with you always.
Amen.

Morning Worship for 10th January 2021

As we begin this act of worship let us remember all those not able to be with us who are joining us in their own homes, we remember that there are many friends who are doing the same and are joining with us in worship. Although we will not be having hymns in church for those of you at home If you have Youtube then please find an appropriate version of the suggested hymns and join in the singing on-line. As you go through this time of worship try to remember this reality; you are in the presence of God who holds us all in His care and keeping.

The Greeting

Helpless God as child and crucified, laid in a cradle and cradled on a cross;
Help us discern in your submission not weakness but the passionate work of love. You tell us you are poor in every age:
Naked hungry, and without a home.
Help us in your poor cradle of today to see what is of you and what is not:
That suffering does not often save, or helplessness redeem our sorry lives.
And so forbid us sing when we should weep.
Yet come to us and all of ours, O child of Mary and of God,
In all the poor who saw you first, and laughed with you, and heard you well.
And now run back from nowhere with their news,
To plant their seeds of hope in our dry ground.
Michael H. Taylor, Christian Aid.

Collect for the day

Eternal Father, who at the baptism of Jesus
Revealed him to be your Son, anointing him with the Holy Spirit:
Grant to us, who are born again by water and the Spirit,
That we may be faithful to our calling as your adopted children;
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.
Amen.

Our Declaration of faith

All the earth, shout and sing for joy,
For great in your midst is the Holy One.

Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and will not be afraid;
For the Lord God is my strength and my song,
And has become my salvation.
With joy you will draw water
From the wells of salvation.
On that day you will say,
Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name;
Make known his deeds among the nations,
Proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing God’s praises, who has triumphed gloriously,
Let this be known in all the world.
Shout and sing for joy, you that dwell in Zion,
For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

All the earth, shout and sing for joy,
For great in your midst is the Holy One.
Isaiah 12: 2-6

Hymn: How sweet the name of Jesus sounds.

Readings: Genesis 1:1-5, Acts 19:1-7.

Hymn: Breathe on me breath of God.

Gospel Reading: Mark 1:4-11.

Reflection

Today we celebrate a divine epiphany not the story of the Magi or the three wise men arriving after their travels to meet the baby Jesus but rather an epiphany of the Lord God himself speaking to his Son. Thou art my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. We are of course speaking of the baptism of Jesus, the point at which the ministry of Jesus on earth truly begins. And this seems so relevant to us today as we begin a new year and a new approach to our own ministry for Jesus here in this place. So let us therefore reflect on the reality of our own baptism into the faith and its significance for us today.

I cannot remember my own baptism being baptised as an infant only a few days old alongside my twin brother in our local parish church, I guess like many who bring their children to baptism today my parents and the family enjoyed the occasion, But was there any divine epiphany were the heavens rent open and did my Christian ministry truly begin at that very moment? In a symbolic way perhaps it did but it was certainly not put into action for many years to come.

Jesus’ baptism was very different it was a public declaration and a moment of great significance; Jesus approaches the great John the Baptist and enters into the waters

Despite John being rather reluctant Jesus immerses himself symbolically into the water not to repent as did those around him but to create the opportunity of public identification with his people.

He goes under the waters the waters of primordial chaos and emerges to the divine epiphany a glorious revelation acknowledging the beginning of a new dawn upon the world. Immediately he arose from the water the voice of God responded, wow what a divine magnificent moment heralding in a new creation or in the words of revelation a new heaven and a new earth one to which a door had finally been opened.

At the very beginning of creation in the book of Genesis when the earth was void and darkness the wind from God swept over the waters and there was light. The first day of creation is matched up beautifully with the first day of our Lord’s ministry. Although the emphasis of this connection has been a little lost in translation we hear the words the heavens opened and a dove descended upon him. Beautiful as this rendition is we are often confused by the imagery,

The dove speaks to us of a symbol of peace and a sign of the divine Spirit of God, and yet in this story the dove truly symbolises the creative power of God himself.

It is that creative power of God which is so abundantly around us at every baptism, and at every end and every new beginning, it may not always appear in such a dramatic way, for us and for those who bring their children to baptism a dove may not suddenly appear from heaven and yet the heavens symbolically are still torn apart as if in a violent storm bursting asunder with grace and light and great power,

For just as at the baptism of Jesus in the eyes of the faithful every baptism is accompanied by a light or a fire erupting in the waters revealing the creative force of God being channelled upon his chosen and anointed people.

The reading from Acts builds upon this powerful understanding of the Holy Spirit, and here we see it not just as a gift to God’s chosen people but to all the nations of the earth. In speaking directly to a Gentile audience Paul speaks with conviction of how effective the Spirit is at the point of conversion. But that is where the challenge comes to us today, at what point did our conversion occur and in what way did the Spirit make itself known?

Here we find the reality behind the baptism of Jesus and that of our own baptism, it was not just a symbolic opportunity but a life changing event, which is why every baptism should be seen as life giving and magnificent for through it the Holy power of God is revealed to his people.

Baptism is still today very much a public declaration and a means by which an infant is recognised by and welcomed into the wider community. This is a significant moment because it speaks powerfully of a sense of identity; that is what baptism is really all about, as it identifies a new member of society into the community into which she or he will hopefully grow and prosper. We all need a sense of identity in order to live creative and meaningful lives.

Baptism heralds in the possibility of sharing that life with God in and through the power of his Holy Spirit, so let us all rejoice at every baptism, let us all rejoice again at our own, let the power of the Spirit burn within the waters of new life and may we with Jesus and the rest of the Gentile World truly celebrate the magnificent reality of the divine revelation of God in our midst.

For we need to be prepared to see the heavens opened and the glory of God rest upon us. Of course this may not happen in such a divine and beautiful way as was the occasion of God’s own Son, but the power of the moment and its significance should still be felt by those around every new convert to the faith for if we truly believe then we open our eyes to the glory of God and we see in faith and hear the Lord our God speak inwardly to us just as he did to Jesus.

The early church realised the magnificence of this moment of divine epiphany, and were reminded of the holy words revealed in the servant songs of the prophet Isaiah who reminded them of the very purpose of Baptism, the beginning of a ministry which will transform the world.

“Behold my servant whom I uphold my chosen in whom my soul delights I have put my Spirit upon them.”

Behold my servant that is you, the ones chosen in whom God’s soul delights, that is you, and the one upon whom God has placed the power of the Spirit that is every one of you.

So live in the reality of God’s divine presence and may your lives be filled with baptismal grace and truth. That you may be enabled to grasp new opportunities and a fresh direction in your faith so enabling every baptised member of the Church to reach their full potential and seek to serve the Lord their God with all their hearts and minds.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Hymn: Thou whose almighty word.

Prayers for others

This morning let us pause for prayer for so many people and for so many situations.

We come boldly to the throne of grace,
Praying to the almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Heavenly Father, as we pray today for the commemoration of the baptism of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we give you thanks for our own baptism into the faith, and for all those preparing to be baptised and so enter into a new life with our crucified Lord. Let us pray that we may live the life to which he has called us.

Lord Jesus, eternal Word,

Proclaimed as the Christ by John the forerunner, hear us as we pray for all who proclaim your word, for the prophets of the past and all those whom you call today to proclaim your wonder and your message of peace and hope and joy.

Lord of truth, hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, baptizing with the Spirit and with fire, strengthen us to withstand all the trials of our faith, as we continue through the present darkness of these times, may your glorious light prevail and lead us into glory.

Lord of truth, hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, bringing forgiveness to all who repent, teach your Church dependence on your grace, that we may seek to walk in your light with confidence and hope amidst the changes soon to come upon us as we seek to renew and reinvigorate the way in which we reach out and give you worship.

Lord of truth, hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, fulfilment of the promises of old, give hope to all who suffer at this time, especially those in hospital, or receiving care in their own homes. We pray for the NHS and all caring professionals, all who are anxious, distressed, frustrated and depressed due to our present life restrictions, and for all whose health, wellbeing, livelihood and financial security are so adversely affected at this time. May all who currently struggle, persevere in the hope that things may soon change and their present difficulties be resolved.

As we continue to live in a world of change, we pray that you will send down your Holy Spirit upon us, that we may be guided to respond to your call, be prepared to be directed into new approaches that will enable the societies of the world to flourish and to stay safe and secure from illness and pain. May your promise of renewal and eternal hope bring all who struggle comfort at this troubled time.

Lord of truth, hear our prayer.

We pray especially for all those known to us from our own worshipping community and indeed from within the communities in which we live, especially for those whom have approached us for prayer at this time. And finally we hold before you all whom have lost loved ones, may they be comforted by your love, and supported throughout their time of sadness.

Lord Jesus Christ, in you the Father makes us and all things new. Transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace, and in the renewal of our lives make known your heavenly glory.

Amen.

And 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.
Amen.

Hymn: Crown him with many crowns.

A Song of the New Jerusalem

Nations will come to your light,
And kings to your dawning brightness.

Arise, shine out, for your light has come,
The glory of the Lord is rising upon you.
Though night still covers the earth,
And darkness the peoples;
Above you God’s glory appears.
The nations will come to your light,
And kings to your dawning brightness.
Your gates will lie open continually;
Shut neither by day nor by night.
The sound of violence shall be heard no longer in your land,
Or ruin and devastation within your borders.

You will call your walls, Salvation,
And your gates, Praise.
No more will the sun give you daylight,
Nor moonlight shine upon you;
But the Lord will be your everlasting light,
Your God will be your splendour.
For you shall be called the city of God,
The dwelling of the Holy One of Israel.
Nations will come to your light,
And kings to your dawning brightness.

Blessing

May God the Holy Spirit,
Who came upon the beloved Son
At his baptism in the river Jordan,
Pour out his gifts on you
Who have come to the waters of new birth.
Amen.

And the blessing of God almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be with you and remain with you always.
Amen.