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               St Clement Church Community Sunday Service 11.7.21

 

 

Good morning to you all as we celebrate our Sunday service, whether in your own home or our church building.  

The covid restrictions are lifting, who knows? We might even be able to sing in church soon!  It’s good to see our church life becoming busy with weddings and baptisms, little Charlie Sincock will be baptised this Saturday afternoon and we have 2 weddings to celebrate next month.  We also hope to relaunch our Sunday Evening Prayer/Compline service at St Andrews next month as well as Café Church on the 3rd Tuesdays.  

Today we commemorate Sea Sunday in our prayers, and give thanks for the hard working men and women seafarers without whom the world’s economy would fail.

Much love and may Christ’s love sustain you always. 

Rev Di and family xx

 

 

 

Let us pray;

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: ‘Morning has Broken’

 

 

Our prayers of Penitence

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: The first commandment is this: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ 

There is no other commandment greater than these.

 

Let us confess our failures truly to serve God and our neighbour:

Most merciful God,

Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

We confess that we have sinned in thought, word and deed.

We have not loved you with our whole heart.

We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.

In your mercy forgive what we have been,

help us to amend what we are, and direct what we shall be;

That we may do justly, love mercy,

and walk humbly with you, our God.  Amen.

 

May Almighty God have mercy upon us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

 

Let us pray our Collect for the 6th Sunday after Trinity

Merciful God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as pass our understanding: pour into our hearts such love toward you that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

 

 

Readings:

Amos 7. 7-15

Ephesians 1. 3-14

 

Hymn; ‘Jesus, Good above all Other’

 

 

Gospel: Mark 6. 14-29

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

Response: ‘Glory to you O Lord.’)

King Herod heard of the healings and other miracles, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some were saying, ‘John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason these powers are at work in him.’ 

But others said, ‘It is Elijah.’ And others said, ‘It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.’ But when Herod heard of it, he said, ‘John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.’

For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. 

For John had been telling Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.’ And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him.

When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. 

When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.’ And he solemnly swore to her, ‘Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.’ 

She went out and said to her mother, ‘What should I ask for?’ She replied, ‘The head of John the baptizer.’ Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, ‘I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.’ 

The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

 

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

 

Reflection   

The sermon this morning is about promises––rash promises, promises made with every good intention, and broken promises. 

We’ll begin with rash promises, since that’s what the gospel lesson is about this morning. Have you ever made a rash promise? Promised something you wished you could take back? 

Said something on impulse that, no sooner than the words were out of your mouth, you knew you’d made a big mistake?

Rash promises.  We’ve all made them, haven’t we, and regretted it big time.

Herod was no exception.  He threw a huge party to celebrate his birthday and invited all of his cronies to come – and at the height of the celebration, his step-daughter made her entrance and danced for them.

It must have been some kind of special dance, three veils maybe instead of seven..….for, when it was over, Herod blurted out for all to hear,

“Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it”   

It was a rash promise.  But then, so what?  What could a young woman like her want from him?  A new wardrobe?  Precious jewels?  A new sports chariot?  He wasn’t worried.

She asked her mother for advice; “What shall I ask for?”  And her mother, nursing bitter contempt for John because he’d condemned her for adultery, said, “The head of John the Baptist.”

When Herodias came back to the banquet hall, a hush must have fallen over the crowd.  It was a moment of high drama. What would she ask for? 

She said, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”   Herod’s heart sank.  True, John had disgraced him publicly because he’d stolen his brother’s wife, so Herod had put him in prison, but he’d no intention of killing him.

Yet, he’d made a promise, and everyone heard it.  To go back on his word would be to lose face, and he’d never be able to live it down, so in no time, the executioner came back with John’s head on a platter.

Rash promises.  We all make them. 

But not all promises are rash promises.  Sometimes we make promises thoughtfully with every good intention of keeping our word.  It’s just that sometimes things don’t always work out as we planned.

Several years ago, a wealthy businessman pledged 2 million pounds to a Birmingham hospital that specialises in rebuilding the lives of British servicemen who’d come back from Afghanistan horribly injured.

No sooner than he’d made the pledge, the price of his firm’s shares dropped, he found himself in financial trouble, and he couldn’t come up with all the money. 

But he promised;” I can give you a million now, and eventually I’ll pay the rest.”  In time, share prices rebounded, and he recovered his losses and paid off the pledge in full. 

But what about broken promises?  Can we expect to be forgiven when we’ve given our word but don’t keep it?  I believe so.  I believe God’s grace is sufficient, not only to help us fulfil our promises, but, at times, to embrace us when we fail and default on a promise.

I hasten to say, this is serious business, and we ought not to take it lightly.  At the very least, we ought to be clear: God’s grace doesn’t give us licence to act irresponsibly.  When we make a promise, we ought to do everything we can to keep it.  It’s just that there are times when that’s nearly impossible to do. 

When it comes to making promises, we all fall short of the mark.  We make rash promises we regret … and promises made with every good intention we can’t keep … and promises that, in the end, turn out to be broken promises we can’t do much about.

The Good News is our hope is in the one whose promises are steadfast and sure, Jesus Christ.  Such as he promised his disciples;

“Come to me, all who labour and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” 

“I am the resurrection and the life, those who believe in me, even though they die, will live; and everyone who lives and believes in me, will never die.”

The gospels are full of promises Jesus made to his disciples, and they’re just as valid today for us, and for all who put their faith in him. 

May his grace give us the strength to make promises we can keep, and keep the promises we have made.

Amen.

 

 

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.  

Amen.

 

 

Hymn; ‘O Praise ye, the lord’

Our Intercessions this week are written by Helen Dunbar 

In humility and love let us draw near to our God and pray to him now.

We pray for the worldwide church and for our church here at St Clement. Dear Lord, help us to grow in faith; help us to respect the beliefs of others even if we do not share them, to celebrate what we have in common and to accept our differences.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer

 

Dear Lord bless and guide our own much loved Revd Di, who continues with a relentless work schedule; please help her with the many and varied problems she has to deal with during her working day.

 

Dear Lord, bless and guide all who are making decisions about the future of the Church at this weekend’s General Synod meetings, one of the many topics of discussion will be having a target of 10,000 new lay-led churches in the next ten years.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer

 

We pray for our families and friends and ask your blessing on all young people as they finish the school year and embark on their holidays and recover from so much disruption caused by the pandemic. Dear Lord help us as we go about our daily lives in these challenging times, trying to strike a balance between freedom and staying safe.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer

 

Show us, oh God, how to love not only the animals, birds, and all green and growing things, but the soil, air and water by which we live, so that we may not exploit or pollute them for our own profit or convenience.

Help us to cherish these necessities for our survival, and guide those in authority to ensure that the human spirit may not be starved in pursuit of material comfort and wealth.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer

 

Bless and guide Elizabeth our Queen; give wisdom to all in authority; and direct this and every nation in the ways of justice and peace; that men may honour one another and seek the common good.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer

 

 

Merciful God we pray for all who suffer in body, mind or spirit and for those who care for them.  We pray for those who are known to us; we bring before you Ken and Diane, Rupert and Linda, Barry and Sandra, Martin and Liz, Margaret, Brian and Archdeacon Paul.

 

We pray for the recently departed, may they rest in peace.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer.

 

 

 

Today is Sea Sunday 

Gracious God, today, on Sea Sunday,

We offer our prayers for those whose lives are affected by the sea.

We pray for people whose work takes them to sea; for those in the different branches of the Navy; for those who transport goods by ship;

For those who catch fish for their living. Be with them as they work and keep them safe when the weather is bad and seas are rough.

Lord God, creator of all that is,  Hear our prayer.

 

We pray for those who give help when people get into difficulties at sea.

For the lifeboat service, and for air-sea rescue; for coast guards, and for lifeguards. We thank You for their courage, and ask that You will guard and guide them as they work for others in need.

Lord God, creator of all that is,  Hear our prayer.

 

Lord, the sea is a place full of beauty, but it has also been damaged by our greed and by our selfishness. People are not always careful about how they treat the sea; poisons are allowed to seep into it; rubbish endangers the plants and creatures that live in it. Be with those whose special work it is to make the sea clean, and show us how we can share this wonderful resource.

Lord God, creator of all that is, Hear our prayer.

 

We pray for those who are going on holiday to the seaside, with increased numbers after the relaxation of Covid rules.

We also think of those from our own congregation.

Keep them safe on the beaches and in the sea; may they come back refreshed, and ready for new work and activity.

Lord God, creator of all that is, Hear our prayer.

 

We pray now for ourselves.

As we think of the sea, we ask that You will help us to value this wonderful resource, and to play our part in caring for it, so that those who come after us may also have their lives enriched by all that it can offer. We offer these our prayers in the name of Jesus who called fishermen to be His friends, and who preached from a boat on the Sea of Galilee. Amen

 

 

 

Rejoicing in the fellowship of St Clement and St Andrew,

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.

 

Hymn; ‘Jesus, shall Reign, where’re the Sun’

 

 

The Peace

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.

 

 

Blessing

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, to the end of the age.  Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Page last updated: 9th July 2021 8:48 AM