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.
As things stand at the moment, our services in church will be the same as our Sunday community service as emailed round to everyone, so please bring your copy with you if attending.
A ‘safe’ Eucharist service is currently feasible, during which those present would receive Communion in one kind (no Wine!)
I’m going to ask for a ‘show of hands’ from folk in church on Sunday who would like a Communion service perhaps for now on a monthly basis. Folk at home would receive our usual community Service of the Word.
I’d like to extend my thanks to Linda and Karen who clean the church of a Sunday before our worship, and also to Martin for playing much loved hymns to hum to!
Please continue to keep yourselves safe when you go out and about, and don’t forget your masks when shopping…..
Much love and may Christ’s love sustain you always.
Rev Di and family xx
Let us pray;
Almighty God, you have created the heavens and the earth and made us in your own image: teach us to discern your hand and in all your works and your likeness in all your children; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Our prayers of Penitence
As we celebrate the grace and goodness of God, we remember our failings and weaknesses:
When we have lived by our own strength, and not by the power of your resurrection. In your mercy, forgive us and help us.
When we have lived by the light of our own eyes, as faithless and not believing. In your mercy, forgive us and help us.
When we have lived for this earthly life alone, and doubted our home in heaven. In your mercy, forgive us and help us.
May Almighty God have mercy upon us, forgive us our sins and failings, and bring us to everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Let us pray our Collect for the 8th Sunday after Trinity
Lord God, your Son left the riches of heaven and became poor for our sake: when we prosper save us from pride, when we are needy save us from despair, that we may trust in you alone; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Our Reading is taken from the Gospel of Matthew (14. 13-21)
Now when Jesus heard this, (the death of his cousin, John the Baptist) he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns.
When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick.
When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.’
Jesus said to them, ‘They need not go away; you give them something to eat.’ They replied, ‘We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.’ And he said, ‘Bring them here to me.’
Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.
And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
The story of feeding the five thousand is the only miracle to be recorded in all four gospels, so the writers must have thought it tremendously important.
With that in mind, we could discuss such miracles in general.
We could talk about why crowds of folk would want to traipse around the countryside after Jesus.
We could talk about Jesus’ compassion – willing to give up his much-needed quiet time after the murder of his cousin John.
We could talk about our role in God’s work – Jesus gave the food to the disciples who then distributed it to the crowd (‘Go, and do likewise.’)
But what I would rather focus on this morning is the menu, and precisely how little there was. Five loaves and two fish. Not enough. Not for so many hungry people.
The disciples said: “Lord, the hour is late; send the crowds away to buy some supper.” Jesus replies: ‘No, they can stay; you feed them.’
We can imagine their shock ‘What? We’ve nothing here but five loaves and two fish. And that’s not enough to do anything with!’
‘Lord, we’ve nothing here but five loaves and two fish.’
The response through the ages when people feel overwhelmed by the world around them.
It’s the response of the small shop owner in the face of a changing economy because of Covid19. How can he compete with the big supermarkets who can weather the storm more easily than he?
How can he compete with a shop that advertises; ‘Ten thousand items for £1 under one roof?’
How he can keep his small family-owned business going? After all, he doesn’t have 10,000 anything, he has; ‘nothing here but five loaves and two fish.’
It might be the response of a small aging church community worried for their future because of ever dwindling numbers and have jobs to do and expenses to pay; ‘There is nothing here but five loaves and two fish.’
It might be the response any of us offer when life seems overwhelming and we know our resources aren’t enough to deal with it; ‘We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.’ What are we to do?
Certainly that was the response of the disciples when all those folk followed Jesus into the wilderness. They’d come to listen to his words, to be near something…someone…special. And now the story says the hour had grown late, it was time for supper, and folk were hungry.
There was no way to buy food for so large a crowd. It would have taken more money than the disciples had ever seen. Anyway, there were no handy takeaways or McDonald’s in Bethsaida. So Jesus said to the Twelve; ‘You give them something to eat.’
Hmm. Jesus seems to be asking more of them than they could give – after all, their powers weren’t unlimited, as his were. ‘We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.’
Fortunately for the Twelve, and for us, the story doesn’t end with Jesus asking the seemingly impossible of the disciples.
They answered; ‘How?’ and Jesus replied; ‘Bring them here to me.’
Then he looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.
All ate and were filled. And there were twelve baskets of food left over.
There is the good news for us in this when we find ourselves struggling in the face of overwhelming odds, we might think; ‘We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.’ Because Jesus says to us; ‘Bring them to me.’
‘Bring them to me – your skills and weaknesses, your strengths and fears. Bring them to me, and I will make you adequate for the task at hand.’ That’s the good news for us; when faced with tough decisions, we are not alone.
Christ says to us all; ‘Bring them to me’ – our hopes, our dreams, our convictions. Our burdens, our challenges, our responsibilities.
For he who took a paltry lunch bag from a little boy and fed the multitude near Bethsaida can do it again, even with the meagre resources we have.
So consider this; when life gets the best of us, perhaps it’s because we focus too much on how little we can do, rather than on how much Christ can do.
I know it’s something I’m guilty of, I’m always conscious on how little I can do and how much needs doing, always aware of the truth that there’s an awful lot I cannot do.
I cannot heal the broken hearts of folk who come to me when life has suddenly come crashing down around them.
I cannot open closed minds or change unfair systems, or right the wrongs, or love the unlovely all by myself, either.
My cry is often the same as the disciples: “What am I supposed to do, Lord? I have nothing here but five loaves and two fish!”
But what I have, what you have, what anyone hungry for help has, is the invitation to call on someone who knows what to do.
When life seems too big and I feel too small, someone is close who can do what I can’t – our Lord, the Lord who can right the wrongs, and heal the hurts, love the unlovely, and scale the mountains.
Our Lord, the Lord who can take my paltry little handful of loaves and fish and turn them into a feast.
However little I may possess in terms of talent or resources, Jesus says: ‘Bring them to me,’ and with him, my little becomes a lot.
But think on…….. my little becomes even more when joined by your five loaves and two fish.
Together, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we can feed the world.
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:
Almighty God, as a Church we daily pray that ‘Your Kingdom Come,’ but most of the time we so often live in ways that prevent its coming.
We spend too much of our time trying to build our own human kingdom, putting ourselves, rather than You, at the centre of our lives.
Send Your Spirit to remind us that You are ‘First,’ others are ‘Second’ and we are ‘Third.’
Holy God, as this strange time continues, although things are easing, we pray for St Clement Church, for our Vicar Diane, for those on the PCC, for all those who assist by reading, writing Intercessions, cleaning, doing the flowers and for all congregation members and those who live in the parish. We pray that things may return to normal, soon.
Creator God, we thank You for the example of leadership given to us by Your Son, Jesus Christ, in His life on earth. We pray for the renewal of a spirit of humility and a sense of responsibility among leaders of this world that the hungry may be fed and the oppressed may be freed to live in peace.
Father God, we worship You as the one who has given us this life and we ask that You will help us live it to the full. At home may we be the friends and neighbours that we really want to be. Help us to spread the warmth of Your love to everyone we meet. We especially pray at this time for all who visit Cornwall and for all who cater for them as they enjoy their holidays. We also pray that folk will be sensible and that there will not be a Covid spike in the autumn.
Mighty God, we thank You for Your love and compassion for all who suffer in body, mind and spirit. We pray that Your healing presence will calm their fears, ease their pain and bring light into the darkness of all who are sick. We ask that You be with us, and all who need Your loving touch as we continue to live beneath the shadow of the Covid-19
Merciful God, through the ministry of Your Son, Jesus Christ, You have freed us from the grip of the tomb. We pray for those who have departed this life and ask You, through Your loving kindness, to have mercy on their souls. We pray too for all those who are grieving for the passing of their loved ones.
Gracious God, hear these prayers we offer You in the name of your Son. By the power of Your Holy Spirit work within us and among us to bring Your Kingdom into this world. Let Your will be done so that all people may live for Your praise and 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 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.
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.