St Clement Church Community Sunday Service
Good morning to you all as we celebrate our Sunday service, whether in your own home or our church building.
This Sunday will be this Service of the Word led by Liz, (St Agnes and Mount Hawke have to put up with me this week…..) next Sunday will be a Eucharist Service.
I am still waiting to hear from the Archdeacons as to whether we will be able to hold our APCM in church on Tuesday, I will endeavour to let you know as soon as possible.
Please continue to keep yourselves safe when you go out and about and may Christ’s love sustain you always.
Much love to you all,
Rev Di and family xx
Let us pray;
Almighty God, send down upon your Church the riches of your Spirit, and kindle in all who minister the gospel your countless gifts of grace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Our prayers of Penitence
In a moment of quiet reflection, we lay aside all pretence towards God and bring our fears and failings to our risen Christ:
Jesus, Emmanuel, God-with-us, forgive our unwelcoming hearts..
Lord, have mercy.
Jesus, Son of God, Servant of humanity, forgive our self-centred lives..
Christ, have mercy.
Jesus, Prince of Peace, Hope of the nations, forgive our bitter conflicts..
Lord, have mercy.
May Almighty God, who sent his Son into the world to save fallen humanity, bring us his pardon and peace, now and for ever. Amen.
Let us pray our Collect for the 15th Sunday after Trinity
God, who in generous mercy sent the Holy Spirit upon your Church in the burning fire of your love: grant that your people may be fervent in the fellowship of the gospel that, always abiding in you, they may be found steadfast in faith and active in service; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Our Reading is taken from the Gospel of Matthew (20.1-16)
(Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew. Response: ‘Glory to you O Lord.’)
‘For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the labourers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard.
When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the market-place; and he said to them, “You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” So they went.
When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, “Why are you standing here idle all day?” They said to him, “Because no one has hired us.” He said to them, “You also go into the vineyard.”
When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, “Call the labourers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.” When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage.
Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, “These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.”
But he replied to one of them, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you.
Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?”
So the last will be first, and the first will be last.’
(This is the Gospel of the Lord. Response: ‘Praise to you, O, Christ’)
Our Reflection is written by Liz Davies
Who wants to be first?
Well, that rather depends on what it is that you might be first for… First in line for lunch; first in line for the big 50 % off sale at the superstore; first in line for tickets to a big game or concert – yes please, count me in!
First in line for an inoculation or a trip to the dentist – not so keen, so count me out!
First in line for cake at church? Ooh, yes, please!
First in line for volunteering at church? Well, right now, I really don’t have the time …. Besides there are probably lots of other people who could do a better job than me …. I think I’ll have to pass!
Who wants to be first? First in line for fame and recognition? In our Gospel reading today that line began and ended with the disciples.
First in line for pain and suffering? That line began and ended with Jesus.
Our Gospel reading for today takes place not long after Jesus’ Transfiguration. His ministry on earth is drawing to a close and the cross is looming in the distance.
The One who once had crowds surrounding Him is now trying to avoid those crowds so that He can spend more time with His disciples. It’s obvious that the work of the Teacher is far from over.
Instead of pondering Jesus’ teaching to them, they choose to argue about who is the greatest! They probably think that Jesus isn’t listening, but He hears every word.
‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ he asks.
Like little children caught red-handed, they hang their heads in shame and remain silent.
Why are they arguing about who is the greatest?
Maybe it’s because Jesus only took Peter, James and John up the Mountain of Transfiguration?
Maybe it’s because Jesus has just finished telling Peter that he will build His Church on the rock of Peter’s confession.
But, don’t blame Jesus.
Blame sinful pride and sinful hearts. That’s what is at the heart of their argument. Truth be told, that’s what’s at the heart of many of our arguments, as well. ‘It’s all about me, getting my way, getting what I want.’
Jesus is telling the disciples ‘The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill Him, and after three days He will rise.’
Are they listening? Look how they respond! They spend the rest of the trip pushing and shoving like little children to be first in line.
It’s said that we never really lose our sinful childishness, we just think that we have more mature ways of hiding it.
We probably don’t push and shove people around physically, but how often do we push and shove people around with unkind words?
How often do we push to the front of the line to hear the latest gossip and rumours?
How often have we pushed to the front of the line to get our children involved in things we feel would be beneficial to their academic or athletic careers but pushed away things like Sunday School or family devotions because there just doesn’t seem to be enough time for it all?
How often have we completely avoided the line to lend a helping hand when needed?
How often have we completely avoided the line to speak well of others and take their words and actions in the kindest possible way?
Who wants to be first?
There’s only one who truly deserves to be first in our lives and that’s God! He tells us to fear, love and trust in Him above all things. He tells us to love our neighbours as ourselves. It’s tempting to want to be great, but if we do so at the expense of making others out to be the least, we become the least in the eyes of God.
Those disciples knew better – and so do we.
When Jesus pulled them up on it, they felt guilty and ashamed.
Ashamed of some of the things we’ve said and done? We mustn’t try to hide them. Our Heavenly Father already knows about them. Like a child trying to hide his or her disobedience, when the truth is exposed the punishment is far worse.
The Apostle John says, ‘if we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.’
Come clean with God and you’ll receive the assurance that you are clean in the eyes of God because Jesus has washed all of your sins away.
Jesus and His disciples have long days. Long days with busy schedules that can often leave people grumpy and irritable, where patience wears thin. But not Jesus. You don’t see His patience wearing thin. You see Him taking a little child into His arms saying, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.’
We need to be like little children. Not pushing and shoving our way to the front of the line to be the greatest, but having a simple child-like faith that trusts Jesus, that sees our place in line behind Him. Part of that child-like faith involves realising the importance of nurturing the faith of little children.
When Jesus says, ‘in my name,’ He’s emphasising the need to take care of their greatest need in life, the One Thing Needful, namely God and His Word. He tells us to tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord.
Tired, but not too tired to take the little children into His arms and bless them. Exhausted, but not too exhausted to help and to heal, to preach and teach, to serve those around Him.
Jesus would often use little children to teach His disciples a lesson. How often does He do the same for us? The disciples were probably expecting a harsh rebuke from Jesus that day. Once again, He gives them something they don’t deserve – a vivid object lesson of His love that they are to take and share with others.
A reminder that to be the greatest, you have to be the least. To be the first, you have to be the last.
To be a leader, you have to be a servant. Paradoxes in the eyes of the world, but not in the eyes of God.
So, who wants to be first?
May God lead each and everyone of us to want to be first in line for service in His kingdom.
Affirmation of our faith
Let us declare our faith in God.
We believe and trust in God the Father, source of all being and life, the one for whom we exist.
We believe and trust in God the Son, who took our human nature, died for us and rose again.
We believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the people of God and makes Christ known in the world.
This is the faith of the Church. This is our faith.
We believe and trust in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Our Intercessions this week are written by Liz Davies
Let us pray:
Dear Lord, as we gather our thoughts to offer You our prayers, we thank You for the opportunity to be still, to let our thoughts wander, to open our hearts to You and to listen for Your voice.
Dear Lord, in the calm and peace of this time, we bring before You all those around the world who are suffering through man’s inhumanity to man.
We ask Your blessing on all those who cannot live in peace and harmony; those who are constantly in fear of violence in all its forms; those who are suffering through hunger and lack of medical care;
those who are tortured for their beliefs, or just for the satisfaction of their tormentors.
Dear Lord, we pray that those in authority may always seek the good of the people that they represent and not their own importance and dominance. We pray that ideology should never be at the expense of the welfare of ordinary families.
Lord, we bring before You the many thousands of people in Washington State, California and Oregon who have lost their homes in the fires that have swept their states.
We cannot imagine the pain, agony and hopelessness that they must be feeling. We remember those whose lives have been turned upside down by floods, earthquakes and tornadoes; those for whom there is no certainty of the next meal because of drought.
We ask Your comfort and blessing on them all and may we never forget just how fortunate we are.
Dear Lord, as communities become more concerned at the spike in the Covid pandemic, we pray that each and every person will take seriously the dangers that are before us.
Each of us needs to take care of ourselves and our communities by social distancing, wearing masks and washing our hands frequently. The risks and dangers are very real and each of us needs to take them seriously.
Dear Lord, forgive us when we waste our lives by being too busy to enjoy Your creation. Teach us to make spaces in the day to do the things we most enjoy. Just as you rested from your work, help us to practise the discipline of recreation and help us to become Your hands and feet in our streets so that our neighbours will one day ask us to tell them more about You.
Dear Lord, help us to see and understand that being first in line means being first to offer help, comfort, sacrifice and service – things that only You have ever truly given.
Loving Lord, help those we know and love to turn away from habits which are harmful to them. Help them to turn to You in times of crisis, rather than reaching for ‘quick-fix’ solutions.
Lord, we also bring before You those we know who are ill or suffering in any way. Give them healing and restore them in body, mind and spirit. We especially pray for: Father Harold, Esther, and all those known to each one of us.
Lord, we remember in Your presence all those who have died, and particularly those we have known and loved – Edward, Jack, and Marion. Thank You for them and thank You for Your promise of eternal life and peace.
Be close to those who are recently bereaved - Armorel and family, Maureen and family, John and family - strengthen them with the knowledge that You are always there to lean on and to be carried through difficult times.
Dear Lord, we do not always live our lives as we should; we do not always treat others as we would be treated; we do not follow in Your way as we should.
We ask Your blessing on each and every one of us; lead us along the paths You would have us follow; stretch forth Your hand when we falter, and may we feel Your presence at all times.
We believe, please help our unbelief.
We listen, please help us to hear.
We look, please help us to see, and in so doing, let us be true and faithful followers of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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 Jesus 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.
We are the body of Christ. In the one Spirit we were all baptised into one body. Let us then pursue all that makes for peace and build up our common life. May the peace of God be always with us. Amen.
May God the Holy Trinity make us strong in faith and love, defend us on every side and guide us in truth and peace. And may the presence of God watch over us, the power of God protect us, those whom we love, and may we never forget that wherever we are, God is with us always.