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               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 6th September, I shall take our first Eucharist service in church since lockdown using our usual service booklets.  If you’re staying home I hope you join us with this service of the Word.

Please continue to keep yourselves safe when you go out and about and may Christ’s love sustain you always. 

With much love and prayers,

Rev Di and family xx

 

Let us pray;

Almighty God, you search us and know us: may we rely on your strength and rest on you in weakness, now and in all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

 

 

Our prayers of Penitence

Let us recognise those failings in us that undermine relationships, and cause hurt to others…..

 

We confess the failings that bring hurt and betrayal upon those who trust us. Lord, have mercy.

 

We confess the failings that cause love to grow cold, and attitudes to harden.  Christ, have mercy.

 

We confess the failings that impede the way to forgiveness and reconciliation.  Lord, have mercy.

 

May our almighty and merciful Lord grant us pardon and forgiveness of all our failings, time for amendment of our lives and the grace and strength of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

 

Let us pray our Collect for the 13th Sunday after Trinity

Almighty God, who called your church to bear witness that you were in Christ reconciling the world to yourself: help us to proclaim the good news of your love, that all who hear it may be drawn to you; through him who was lifted up on the cross, and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.  

 

                                                                                           

Our Reading is taken from the Gospel of Matthew 18. 15-20.

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

 

Jesus spoke to his disciples.

‘If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. 

But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 

If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax-collector. 

Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 

Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 

For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.’

 

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

 

Reflection

St Matthew is recorded as being a person who liked order.  His study, unlike mine, wouldn’t have had a thing out of place.  His papers would be neat on his desk, every book would be just where it’s supposed to be, no doubt in alphabetical order.

He would have everything perfect, and certainly wouldn’t have shared his study with a rabbit.

I do.  We’ve recently taken in a rescue rabbit whom we’ve called Wilson, and he’s keeping me company in my study at the moment, though I’ve noticed he’s gradually becoming a permanent resident……

Anyway, rabbit or no rabbit, my study would never be as tidy as Matthew’s and his writings are tidy too. 

He was an itemiser of the first order, and that’s why the Sermon on the Mount is found in his gospel as three tightly-knit chapters, even though the chances are pretty good that Jesus didn’t preach it all in one place, and at one time.

It’s recorded in Luke’s gospel as well, but it’s a bit more scattered throughout the narrative, and that’s probably the way it happened.

Luke wasn’t as ordered as Matthew, and wasn’t as concerned about keeping his gospel, or his study, as neat and tidy. 

But Matthew liked everything just so, and that included his church.

So, he records Jesus giving instructions to the disciples; when this happens, do that, when that occurs, do this.

There’s an answer for everything, and a solution for every problem.  But most biblical scholars think this part of Matthew’s gospel had less to do with the disciples, and was more about Matthew’s church.

Conflicts had arisen among some of the members of Matthew’s congregation, and I can imagine him lying awake at night, thinking about how to deal with the problems he was encountering among his fellows.

Then, remembering what Jesus had said about conflict, decided to provide that teaching as a way of giving a clear-cut message to his fellow believers.

The instructions are really quite simple. If one of your brothers or sisters in Christ sins against you, you are to go, and in privacy point out what has happened and how it has made you feel.

If you still aren’t happy, ask a couple friends to serve as witnesses, and meet with the offending party again.

If you still get nowhere with the person who has wronged you, as a last resort, tell the church about it.

Then, if the one who has offended you won’t listen to the church, (can we imagine that ever happening…..) send him or her packing.

They’re no longer wanted in the family of God; at least, not in your family of God.

It could be argued that Jesus was the last person on earth to give advice about how to deal with conflict.

After all, he ended up on the cross, and was the one who brought the confrontation to a head with the religious authorities in Jerusalem.

But his method of conflict resolution starts to make a bit more sense when we consider the spirit of what he says. 

For one thing, Jesus puts the burden on the victim, and the first thing they’re to do is take the initiative.

Even though they’re the offended party, as an act of humility they should to go to the offender and try to work things out.

You see, Jesus isn’t interested in who’s right or wrong. The only thing he cares about is getting the relationship made right again.

I’ll let you in on a trade secret. Every sermon should have a rhythm to it, you have to put in a story once in a while or people lose interest, and this is a perfect place in today’s sermon for an illustration. So, I tried to think of a story I could tell you.

Usually, I like to tell them from my own experiences, to make them more personal, more real, and let me tell you, I’ve had my fair share of church conflict in the past…...

But as I tried to recall a particular instance in which arguments have come along, I couldn’t think of any... at least not any that really mattered.

What I’m saying is, that not one of them mattered enough to hang on to.

When the dust of conflict settled, and all was said and done – not a bit of it was worth talking about or remembering.

Some people though do have an amazing ability to remember the slightest offence done to them, the tiniest snub. They let it fester in their souls until it just gnaws away at their hearts causing more resentment and anger.

 Like; “She’s the one who said that about me. Let her come and apologise!” 

Or; “It’ll be a cold day in hell before I accept his apology.”

That’s all well and good, I suppose... if you don’t mind living in hell.

Because in the end, especially as far as the kingdom of heaven is concerned, the only thing that matters isn’t what’s been said, or who got the short end of the stick. The only thing of consequence is relationship.

The Covid pandemic has certainly strained some relationships and strengthened others. 

Lock-down meant a whole new world at the vicarage, especially for our cats who made it all too clear they didn’t appreciate Ken and I being in their home all day. 

Seriously though, being together 24/7 or being alone 24/7 has caused folk problems. But during all of this, relationships have also been strengthened and our community has found new ways to support each other as we learn as a family to live in this new world we find ourselves in.    

Relationships should be more important to us than ever, and as we seek to go forward as a community, as we seek a new way of being church, disagreements will happen, but we’re in this together, each and every one of us called to be the family of God.

So when it comes right down to it, where would we prefer to be?  Give me the St Clement Church community any day!

 

Let us pray; Father, you’ve called us to be family. That means, from time-to-time, disagreements will happen, but help us to see the bigger picture, that relationship is more important than anything else. To that end, find us faithful to you and to your purposes, and in doing so, we will be faithful to each other. In the name of Jesus we pray,

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.

 

 

 

 

Our Intercessions this week are written by Helen Dunbar

May we encourage and uphold one another in living by the standard of real love. In our need and human weakness, let us come to Almighty God with our prayers.

Unchanging God, change us from the heart until the whole Church awakens to your love that reaches out, nurtures and celebrates, neither holding back from what is difficult, nor rushing where angels fear to tread. We pray for sensitivity and courage.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer

 

Almighty God, give us such love for the world that we may pray for longing and desire, ‘Your Kingdom come’.

Give our leaders the grace to see their work as their role as stewards; and sharpen both the recognition of needs and the commitment to just provision.

We ask God’s blessing on our clergy, on Archbishop Justin, Bishop Philip and Suffragen Bishop Hugh. We also ask your blessing on our own Revd Diane and her family.

Lord, bless our Church family here in St Clement this morning and all people reading our service at home, also Churches in the wider community. Help us to stay united in our love for you and we give thanks for our freedom to worship.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer

 

We pray for all people working in the community, for doctors, nurses and all who work in a caring capacity. For our police force, fire brigade and ambulance service; May they, be guided, by you, as they carry out their courageous work in these very difficult times.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer

 

Our prayers go out to the homeless and hungry and all people whose homes have been destroyed through wars and natural disasters. For all who seek justice and let us remember those who are displaced from their own country by war and disaster. We especially think of people being treated unfairly in their own country, and we ask you God to increase in us love not only for the victims but; for the perpetrators of evil and violence in our world; for all governments that run on corruption and fear. We pray for a change of attitude, an awakening to a better way of living and the courage to reject wrong principles.

We pray too for all those who are researching the Covid-19 pandemic, asking that they may be successful in finding a way forward for all humanity.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer

 

We pray for children and young people embarking on the next stage of their life’s journey. For staff in schools and colleges; Lord, be the light that guides teachers and students towards their goals in education, in citizenship. Grant them enthusiasm and joy as they work towards a fulfilled and satisfying future in these very different times.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer

 

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 peace, that we may honour one another and seek the common good.

We pray for the sick and those recovering from surgery, please God surround them with your love, and give wisdom and understanding to all who support and guide them.

We pray for all people known to us: Father Harold, Liz, John and Pip.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer

 

Eternal God, in your unchanging love receive all those who have died in faith; that they may rejoice in you forever.

Gracious God, we thank you for providing us with a sure hope in which we can face the worst and not be overwhelmed.

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.

 

 

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.

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Page last updated: 3rd September 2020 3:01 PM