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  St Clement Church Community Ninth after Trinity Sunday Service

 

 

Good morning to you all

We have had a week of sunshine and heavy rain - a symbolic picture of life.

As we worship in St Clement Church, or at home, may we know that belief and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ will carry us through sunshine and storm.

My love to you all

Liz

 

Let us pray;

 

O Lord, our God, you are worthy of all our praise. You are the God who never fails to keep his promises. We thank you that in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection we see your love, justice, mercy, provision and victory. You are the God who provides for your children.

You are the way, the truth and the life, let us love you with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We pray this in your name.

 

Amen

 

Creator God,

you made us all in your image:

may we discern you in all that we see,

and serve you in all that we do;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Amen

 

Hymn: A brighter dawn is breaking

 

Amen

 

Prayer of Penitence

 

Lord Jesus, you opened the eyes of the blind, healed the sick, forgave the sinful woman, and after Peter’s denial confirmed him in your love.

Listen to our prayers: forgive all our sins, renew your love in our hearts, help us to live in perfect unity with our fellow Christians that we may proclaim your saving power to all the world.

 

Amen.

 

Let us pray our Collect for the Ninth Sunday after Trinity

 

Almighty God, who sent your Holy Spirit to be the life and light of your Church: open our hearts to the riches of your grace, that we may bring forth the fruit of the Spirit in love and joy and peace; 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 forever.

 

Amen

 

Readings:

 

Exodus 16. 2 – 4, 9 – 15

Ephesians 4. 1 – 16

 

Hymn:  Breathe on me breath of God

 

Gospel: John 6. 24 - 35

(Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John. 

Response: ‘Glory to you O Lord.’)

 

When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were at the place where Jesus had given the bread, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus.

When they found him on the other side of the lake, they said to him,                                   ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’                                                                                                   Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.

Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.

For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.’

Then they said to him, ‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’

Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’

So they said to him, ‘What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing?                                                      Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”

Then Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.                                                                                                                      For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’

They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’

 

Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life.

Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whosoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’

 

(This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ)

 

Reflection

 

Recently I read that in 19th century China, and maybe all across Asia, there was a name given to people who came to church for one reason and one reason only – because they were hungry … hungry for material food.

They converted to Christianity, were baptised, joined the Church and were active members as long as their physical needs were met by the generosity of the congregation.

But, once their economic situations improved and they and their families no longer needed rice, they drifted away from the Church.

And so, they were called ‘rice Christians.’

 

Something similar happened in East Germany and Romania just before the liberation of Eastern Europe – when the priests were speaking out against Communist regimes.

The people came to cheer the Church on and to join the congregation.

But, after the liberation from the heel of the Soviet boot and local dictators, the crowds went home and the churches began to look as bedraggled and as abandoned as they did before.

 

The crowd in our Gospel reading for this morning, is evidently the same group of people who were fed the previous day when Jesus had miraculously fed 5000 people with just five loaves and two fish.

They had eaten their fill and perhaps had then ‘dropped off to sleep.’

When, next morning, they wake up they discover that Jesus and his disciples have quietly left.

It is now breakfast time and they want Jesus to feed them again. So, they go searching for Him … even taking any available boat to cross the Sea of Galilee. They weren’t looking for spiritual sustenance they just wanted another free meal.

So, we see that what happened in 19th century China and then in East Germany and Romania is nothing new – it’s as old as the Gospel itself.

 

If we look at our community and our world today, we see that either people are desperate for food – hungry each night and hoping for relief, or they have all the food that they can eat with leftovers, and yet, their lives are unfilled or unfulfilled.

 

Jesus says to the crowd that has followed Him across the sea and He says to us, ‘Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life which the Son of Man will give you.’                                                     

The word translated as ‘endures’ is a word that is used throughout the Gospel of John to describe the relationship between Jesus and the person who believes.

In the end, this enduring means nothing less than the Father and the Son dwelling in believers through the presence of the Holy Spirit.

 

The ‘bread’ which endures to eternal life is a relationship that is made possible by God becoming a human being and walking this earth and dying for our sins.

In fact, the bread itself … the bread that endures is Jesus Christ Himself, whom the Father gives out of His love for the world – for you and for me – for all who believe.

 

The crowd don’t understand so ask, ‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’

Jesus answers, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.’

But still, they don’t get it. They miss the important part of what Jesus is saying … ‘Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.’

In other words, you don’t have to work for it – it’s free.

God does the work.

God sent His Son into the world to save the world through Him.

God seeks us out as a shepherd searching for a lost sheep.

God comes and whispers in in our ear, ‘Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’

God is the one who is working on us all our lives, nudging us, loving us and trying to get us to accept His love, His forgiveness, the new life He offers through faith in Christ.

It’s God’s work – not ours.

 

Sadly, we like the crowd following Jesus often want some kind of tangible sign, some kind of proof. But, new life in Christ comes by faith and that faith is a free gift from God, that ability to believe and God is offering it to us.

 

John Wesley, a lifetime Anglican but the founder of Methodism used to tell his preachers: ‘Preach it until you believe it.’

 

We all have doubts. We all go through times of questioning. We all must make the decision as to whether or not we will believe.

 

What are we making the decision to believe?

That there is love in this world.

That there is hope in this world.

That there is a reason for living.

That all we do is not in vain.

That God loves us, and because of this we can learn to love ourselves, love God and love others.

 

Jesus is offering Himself for the salvation of our souls.

He is offering us Himself in order to satisfy the hunger, the thirst, the empty void in our life that every single one of us has.

 

When we don’t fill that empty void with Jesus, we fill it with something else – the pursuit of money, drugs, attention, power … all things that spoil with time.

The only thing that lasts for eternity is JESUS HIMSELF. It is only Jesus offering Himself to us as spiritual food that will fill our deepest needs.

 

So, like this well-known hymn says:

 

How sweet the name of Jesus sounds

In a believer’s ear!

It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,

And drives away his fear.

 

It makes the wounded spirit whole,                                                                             And calms the troubled breast;

‘Tis manna to the hungry soul,

And to the weary rest.

 

Amen

 

The Church Choir will sing: Laudate Domino

 

Why I believe in God   by lon Calinao Dy

 

Just like everyone else,

I have my ups and downs in life.

But I do believe in God

More than anyone in this world.

 

I believe in God Almighty

For He is my refuge.

He shows me the right path in life

And guides me every step of the way.

 

When I feel the weight of the world,

He is the one who carries my own cross.

Softly He says,

‘My son, I won’t leave you behind.’

 

I cry so many times

For the forgiveness of my sins.

God is always listening to me

And embraces me with full love.

 

I believe in the name of Jesus,

He who died for our sins,

The Saviour of the world

And the Son of God.

 

Affirmation of our faith

 

Let us declare our faith in God.

 

With Christians everywhere, we believe in one God, who made everything.

The Father sent his Son Jesus to die on the cross.

Jesus rose again as Lord of all, that we might live for ever with him.

God sent his Holy Spirit to live in us, that we might grow more like Jesus.

Amen.

 

Hymn: All my hope on God is founded

 

Our Intercessions this week are by Helen Dunbar                                            

 

In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ let us pray to the Father.

 

Lord, we thank you that we can come to you in any situation and on any day, and we thank you especially that we are able to come to you here in church, together, as part of your family on earth.

 

We pray for the Church throughout the world, for Archbishop Justin and Bishops Philip and Hugh. Here at St Clement we pray for our Church and everyone living in the parish and surrounding area and for our own much loved Revd Diane and her family.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer

 

Dear Lord, we pray for your world; there is so much to fear with the pandemic, climate change and social unrest; we pray for parts of the world where there is conflict and hunger, and we pray for people who live there, or who are fleeing from such difficult and dangerous situations. We pray for politicians and those who negotiate agreements that affect so many. May they have compassion and awareness of how their actions may affect those who need help; we pray for our own politicians too, that they may make wise decisions about the many different issues that need their leadership.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer

 

August is the month when our county fills with holidaymakers, please Lord, keep them safe and may they return home feeling rested and refreshed having experienced the beauty of our coast and countryside. We also ask for your blessing and guidance on our doctors, nurses, care workers and all emergency services involved in looking after all of us in these busy times. We ask you to help us keep our patience as we negotiate very busy roads when going about our day.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer

 

Dear Lord, we pray for all members of our Royal Family and especially our Queen as she takes her annual holiday at Balmoral. A much needed break from her busy life in her advanced years.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer

 

Loving God, we thank you when we think how fortunate we are to live in such a green and pleasant part of the world, for the abundance of nature that surrounds us and for the sunshine and the rain. May we never forget those in our community who are not so fortunate as we are, and do all we can to make their lives easier. And so we pray for those who are ill, or in any kind of need. Especially we pray for Barrie and Sandra, Rupert and Linda, Ken and Diane, Martin and Liz, Margaret, Brian, Ollie, and Val.

 

We pray for all whose anniversary fall at this time and we remember Phyllis Davey.

 

Gracious Lord, we pray for all those who have died recently and for all those who mourn their passing; may they rest in peace and rise in glory.

 

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen

 

Gathering our prayers and praises into one,

Let us pray with confidence as our risen Lord 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.

 

This poem was written by a Jew on the wall of a cellar in a Cologne concentration camp during the Second World War.

 

‘I believe in the sun,

Even when it’s not shining

And I believe in love, even when there’s no one there.

And I believe in God,

Even when he’s silent.

 

I believe through any trial,

There is always a way.

But sometimes in this suffering

and hopeless despair

My heart cries for shelter,

To know someone’s there.

But a voice rises within me, saying, ‘Hold on

My child. I’ll give you strength,

I’ll give you hope. Just stay a little while.’

 

I believe in the sun

Even when it’s not shining

And I believe in love

Even when there’s no one there.

But I believe in God

Even when he is silent

I believe through any trial

There is always a way.

 

May there someday be sunshine

May there someday be happiness

May there someday be love

May there someday be peace

 

Unknown

 

Notices

 

Hymn:  Guide me, O thou great Redeemer

 

The Peace

 

Peace before us,

Peace behind us,

Peace under our feet,

Peace within us,

Peace over us,

Let all around us be peace.

Christ before us,

Christ behind us,

Christ under our feet.

Christ within us,

Christ over us,

Let all around us be Christ.

 

Let us greet one another as a sign of God’s peace.

 

The Blessing

 

May the Father’s hand keep us from stumbling,

the footprints of Jesus give us confidence to follow,

and the fire of the Spirit keep us warm and safe

in our walk with God this day.

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Page last updated: 29th July 2021 4:29 PM