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               St Clement Church Community Sunday Service

 

 

Good morning to you all.

A very warm welcome to our service this morning, wherever you may be.

As autumn progresses and we move closer to winter, may we be aware of and help in any way we can, all those who will be struggling - short of food, cold, homeless, trying to cope with inner demons, lonely, grieving or sick.

May we always remember that to truly follow Christ, we must be a servant of all.

With love

Liz

 

Let us pray

 

Dear Lord, as we rise each new day, please let us be filled with Your Spirit. Wherever we go, let us spread love, joy, peace, goodness and faithfulness. Let us desire to become more like You and to worship you in all we do. Help us desire these things so much more than the sin that entices us. Thank you for always going before us. In Jesus’ name,

 

Amen

 

Hymn: 437 Praise the Lord, ye heavens adore him

 

Our prayer of Penitence

 

O Holy One, we call to you and name you as eternal, ever-present, and boundless love. Yet there are times, O god, when we fail to recognise you in the dailyness of our lives. Sometimes shame clenches tightly around our hearts, and we hide our true feelings. Sometimes fear makes us small, and we miss the chance to speak from our strength. Sometimes doubt invades our hopefulness, and we degrade our own wisdom.

Holy God, in the daily round from sunrise to sunset, remind us again of your holy presence hovering near us and in us. Free us from shame and self-doubt. Help us to see you in the moment-by-moment possibilities to live honestly, to act courageously, and to speak from our wisdom.

 

Amen

 

Serve because you want to be useful to others, not because you want to be praised.

 

A life of service is a thing you should treasure

For you will make a difference to this world that lasts for ever.

For those who are around someone whose life has good intent

Will always and forever be affected by their scent.

 

Whilst you may humbly fail to see the permeating heat

That comes from all your kindness to the people that you meet,

Yet others do appreciate the blessing that you bring.

It adds a glow to life, just as the sunshine does in spring.

 

You may not even notice it. You may not even know

The beauty of life’s work, when humbly put on show.

So, never feel resentment, guard your heart as if it’s gold.

Just wear the belt of righteousness, and let God’s truth unfold.

 

And don’t rely on gratitude for all the things you do,

But ask the Lord for grace and love to help you see them through.

Enjoy your special role and know the privilege is yours:

God chooses workers carefully to compliment his cause.

 

And be assured that many of the seeds you sow, will root

And in your absence will go on to flourish and bear fruit.

So, live in humble servitude, content that God above

Is watching with father’s pride, to shower you with love.

 

Let us pray our Collect for the 20th Sunday after Trinity

 

God, the giver of life, whose Holy Spirit wells up within your Church: by the Spirit’s gifts equip us to live the gospel of Chris and make us eager to do your will, that we may share with the whole creation the joys of eternal life; 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 

 

Readings

 

Isaiah 53. 4 - 12

Hebrews 5. 1 - 10

 

Hymn: 445   Rock of ages, cleft for me

 

Gospel of Mark 10. 35 - 45

 

(Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.                 Response: ‘Glory to you O Lord.’)

 

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to Jesus and said to him, ‘Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.’                                               He said to them, ‘What is it you want me to do for you?’                                                              They said, ‘Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.’                                                                                                                                              But Jesus said to them, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptised with?’

They replied, ‘We are able.’

Then Jesus said to them, ‘The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized you will be baptized; but to sit at

my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.

 

When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John.

So Jesus called them and said to them, ‘You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them.

But it is not so among you; but whosoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.

For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.’

 

 

(This is the Gospel of the Lord.  Response: ‘Praise to you, O, Christ’)

 

Reflection

 

If one looks at all four Gospels and fits the stories together, one discovers that James and John’s mother is Salome – the sister of Mary, Jesus’ mother. So, James and John are Jesus’ cousins, they’re family and as such, they consider that they have a right to demand extra privileges.

In Matthew’s Gospel, we’re told that Salome comes with James and John – family support! Salome doesn’t ask for anything for herself, she comes worshipping – it says ‘she comes bowing low.’ She really is playing the family card – she’ll be happy and fulfilled through her sons. James and John, just like children asking a parent to say, ‘Yes,’ before they have said what exactly they want, expect Jesus to agree to whatever they demand.

It’s really immature. The fear is that if they tell Jesus what they want first, there’s no chance. But, if they play all the cards they’ve got, bringing Jesus’ favourite loving aunt, then maybe it’s emotional enough to move Jesus to say, ‘Of course, anything for you!’

It really is very childish and presumptive. They have no sense of humility. After three years of the humility that Jesus has demonstrated – now, during the last week of Jesus’ life, it looks like they haven’t learned anything from Christ’s example.

Everything Christ ever said is an expression of His humility, all His deeds are manifestations of His humility. The very fact that God was born a man and lived among us is a life of humility. But this sinful, proud, selfishly ambitious little group is asking for special favours – depreciating all the other apostles.

In ancient times, kings would elevate the most important people, and their closest and most trusted friends, to sit on their right and on their left. John, James and their mother think they’re entitled to that privilege – they think they’re more special than the rest. That’s the way of the world. That’s what gets you to the top in this world. If you’re an ambitious, self-promoting person who plays every card you can find, you can make it.

This is everywhere today. ‘We’re number one … we’re the best …. feel good about yourself.’

Jesus asks James and John if they even know what they are asking and of course, they don’t.

Jesus asks them if they are able to handle all that’s to come. ‘Can you drink the cup of God’s fury? Are you able to be baptised? Can you drink all the suffering in and be submerged in persecution, even martyrdom – because that’s what you’re asking, if you want the glory of reward and position.’

Of course – they say, ‘Yes, we are able.’ The two disciples are arrogantly over-confident. But honestly, are we any different? Don’t we think so highly of ourselves and our abilities?

Jesus says to them, ‘The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptised with the baptism with which I am baptised.’ Oh, the suffering? Yes, you will have that – you will drink the cup in full, and you will be submerged in suffering.’                                                                                                             Interestingly, James is the first martyr – his head is cut off – and John is the last, imprisoned on the Island of Patmos. They are the first and the last of the twelve who die because of the Gospel.

 

Jesus then goes on to say that ‘whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant.’ This is a stark contrast. Compare great men to waiters. Compare bosses to servants. Whoever wishes to become great, great in God’s kingdom, must be completely different from what is expected in the world.

 

‘and whosoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.’ Jesus says that greatness in His kingdom doesn’t end with service. If you want to be first, number one, then be slave of all. Slaves are inferior to servants. Servants do a job for you. Slaves are completely owned by you. Slaves are totally controlled.

Jesus is saying, ‘Consider everybody to be a person to be served, and consider everyone to be your master.’

 

Let’s be honest, the greatest service and slavery was exhibited by Christ Himself. Jesus didn’t come to be served. He is not like other kings. He is not like other rulers. It is hard to imagine just how low Jesus Christ went for us. Eternal, sinless God, left perfection to enter sinful, corrupt, fallen planet Earth and be born as a baby – live here, serve here, then accept God’s holy wrath for our sin upon Himself.

It is only when we truly serve others and slave for others, that we put Christ on display and this gives us the perfect opportunity to share how Christ served and sacrificed for us. Our purpose on this planet is to let others know that God became a man to bear God’s wrath for our sin, then rose from the dead to be our Saviour.

 

It is Christ alone who can change our hearts so that we want to obey. Christ alone transforms us so that we want to follow Him. Christ alone causes a person to become obedient from the heart. That means if we are genuine believers, we will follow Christ, obey Christ, become a servant, desire to slave, and imitate Christ. True Christians know that they can’t do any of this on their own – we must depend on the Holy Spirit in order to serve and slave.

 

Amen

 

Affirmation of our faith

 

Let us declare our faith in God.

 

Though he was divine,                                                                                                                        he did not cling to equality with God,

but made himself nothing.

Taking the form of a slave,

he was born in human likeness.

He humbled himself

and was obedient to death,

even the death of the cross.

Therefore, God has raised him on high,

and given him the name above every name:

that at the name of Jesus

every knee shall bow,

and every voice proclaim                                                                                                     that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God, the Father.

 

Amen.

 

Hymn:  357 Father, hear the prayer we offer

 

Intercessions by Helen Dunbar

 

Even the Son of Man himself came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

 

In humility and love, let us pray together to the God of our making and redeeming.

 

That all Christians may fulfill their vocation to be servants, caring for the needs of others, obedient to their Lord in all things and supportive to one another in worship, prayer and deepening faith.

 

Lord hear us; Lord graciously hear us

 

Lord, give us strength this day to build up your Church in love for the world. Open our eyes to all that goes on around us, and to not lose sight of your vision for us and give us wisdom for the common task. Help us to work together for the good of all and draw us, and your Church, deeper into Christ, our foundation and cornerstone; that we may work together in your name.

 

Lord, we thank you for all those who spend their lives trying to make ours better – for those in public service, for all people who commit themselves to charitable works, and for all those who help others to find you.

 

We pray for our teachers and doctors and all healthcare professionals. We also pray for Archbishop Justin, for Bishops Philip and Hugh, for our own Diane and her family. For our own Church community; We ask your blessing on all we have come into contact with and talked to in the last few days; Help us to reach out to all who are in need of compassion and understanding.  We pray for all those coping with stressful situations, whether in the workplace or at home, or in life generally and feeling the world is a dark and dreary place. Dear Lord, surround them with your love in their times of trouble and help them to reach a better place.

 

Let us pray for the peace of the world, for statesmen and rulers, that they may have wisdom to know and courage to do what is right.  For all who work to improve international relationships; that they may find the true way to reconcile people of different race, colour and creed.  And for men and women the world over, that they may have justice and freedom and live in security and peace.

 

Lord hear us, Lord graciously hear us.

 

We give thanks for being blessed to live in such a beautiful county, surrounded by the sea; the verdant countryside, and the wonderful colours of the autumn leaves. We also give thanks for all the animals and birds and not forgetting our pets that give us so much love and happiness.

 

Heavenly Father, our world is facing enormous problems, which seem of such magnitude that we cannot easily imagine how we can live at peace.  Global terrorism, economic crisis, environmental challenge, and poverty and suffering which in some countries we seem powerless to bring to an end. We pray for all people living in fear and poverty, we think of all those in Afghanistan having to cope with life under an authoritarian regime.

 

Lord hear us, Lord graciously hear us

 

Bless and guide Elizabeth our Queen.  We thank you for her faithfulness and devotion to duty through her long reign.  Give wisdom to all in authority and direct this and every nation in the ways of justice and of peace, that we may honour one another and seek the common good.

 

Lord hear us, Lord graciously hear us

 

Dear Lord, speak your peace into the hearts of all who are agitated, anxious or confused. Lay your hands of healing on all who are ill and let them know your reassurance and love. And we pray for all those known to us – for Margaret, Ollie, Colin and Di, Ken and Diane, Colin, Alan and Maureen, Liz and Andrew, and Emma.

 

Lord, in your mercy; hear our prayer.

 

Lord of all, welcome into your kingdom all who have kept faith and now can lay their burdens down. May they rest in your peace forever.

 

We pray for the recently departed, we pray for Don who passed away very suddenly on Wednesday, and we pray for his wife Rosemary and all the family.

 

Rejoicing in the fellowship of St Clement and St Andrew and all the Saints.

 

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.

 

 

A touching Story by Ahmed Salman

 

A king had a male servant who, in all circumstances always said to him; ‘My king, do not be discouraged because everything God does is perfect, no mistakes.’

One day, they went hunting and a wild animal attacked the king. The servant managed to kill the animal but couldn’t prevent his majesty from losing a finger. Furious and without showing any gratitude, the King said; ‘If God was good, I would not have been attacked and lost one finger.’

The servant replied, ‘Despite all these things, I can only tell you that God is good and everything He does is perfect. He is never wrong.’

Outraged by the response, the king ordered the arrest of his servant. While being taken to prison, he told the king again, ’God is Good and Perfect.’

Another day, the king left alone for another hunt and was captured by savages who use human beings for sacrifice. On the altar, the savages found out that the king didn’t have one finger in place, so he was released because he was considered ‘not complete’ to be offered to the gods.

On his return to the palace, he ordered the release of his servant and said; ‘My friend, God was really good to me. I was almost killed but for lack of a single finger, I was let go. But I have a question, if God is so good, why did He allow me to put you in prison?’

His servant replied, ‘My king, if I had not been put in prison, I would have gone with you and would have been sacrificed because I have no missing finger. Everything God does is perfect. He is never wrong.’

Often, we complain about life and the negative things that happen to us, forgetting that everything happens for a purpose.

God is good and perfect.

 

 

                                                                                                                                  

                                                                                                        The Peace

 

Jesus said:

‘Love one another,

as I have loved you,

so, you are to love one another.’

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

 

Amen

 

 

Hymn:  250 Saviour, again to thy dear name we raise

 

 

Blessing

 

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face;

the rain fall soft upon your fields

and until we meet again,

may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

 

 

Amen

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Page last updated: 14th October 2021 3:50 PM