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.
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 in church would, if they wish, receive Communion in one kind (no Wine!)
On Sunday 6th September I hope to take our first Eucharist service since ‘lockdown.’ But don’t worry, folk at home will receive our usual community Service of the Word.
Please continue to keep yourselves safe when you go out and about, and don’t forget your masks if you are joining us in church as wearing masks for attending worship was mandatory from August 8th.
Much love and may Christ’s love sustain you always.
Rev Di and family xx
Let us pray;
Lord Jesus Christ, give us the desire to seek first God’s will in all things. Help us to listen to your Word, and show forth your love, in lives of service and sacrifice.
Our prayers of Penitence
Christ the light of the world came to dispel the darkness of our hearts. In his light let us confess our failings:
Forgive our ungrateful hearts…..
Lord, have mercy.
Jesus, Son of God,
Forgive our self-centred lives…..
Christ, have mercy.
Jesus, Prince of Peace,
Forgive our bitter conflicts…..
Lord, have mercy.
May Almighty God, who sent his Son into the world to save us, bring us his pardon and peace, now and for ever. Amen.
Let us pray our Collect for the 10th Sunday after Trinity
Lord of heaven and earth, as Jesus taught his disciples to be persistent in prayer, give us patience and courage never to lose hope, but always to bring our prayers before you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Our Reading is taken from the Gospel of Matthew 15.(10-20) 21-28 Then he called the crowd to him and said to them, ‘Listen and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.’
Then the disciples approached and said to him, ‘Do you know that the Pharisees took offence when they heard what you said?’
He answered, ‘Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.’
But Peter said to him, ‘Explain this parable to us.’
Then he said, ‘Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles.
For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.’
Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon.
Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, ‘Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.’ But he did not answer her at all.
And his disciples came and urged him, saying, ‘Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.’
He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ But she came and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, help me.’
He answered, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’ She said, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’
Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed instantly.
Our Reflection this week is written by Liz Davies
With the risks of the Covid pandemic still hanging over our heads and with so many people travelling to Cornwall to ‘get away’ from it in other parts of the country, we need to be constantly aware of what we need to do to keep ourselves and others safe.
One of the first things is to wash our hands frequently because Covid can be picked up from touching something a Covid carrier has touched.
This is a simple, sensible act that can help to keep us safe and, at the moment, is an important thing to be doing BUT it is not in itself, enough.
The second thing we need to be doing at this difficult time is wearing a mask when we are out and about.
I don’t know about you, but as someone who wears glasses, I find the combination of them and a mask extremely difficult as they tend to steam up and make seeing almost impossible!
So, it leaves me with the dilemma of – which do I take off? Dependent on crutches at the moment to prevent me from falling, it is somewhat of a balancing act to remove my glasses, wave them around (to de-steam them) and then replace them so that I can see! Yes, I promise, it is my glasses I remove and not the mask.
So, washing hands and wearing a mask are two simple ways in which we can help ourselves to stay safe in these strange times.
When I read this week’s Gospel it made me think of these two actions but in a different way.
The particular group of scribes and Pharisees that came to Jesus in today’s Gospel reading, had come from Jerusalem. They were not the local religious leaders that were based in Galilee but were high-powered scribes and Pharisees that had been sent from the headquarters of Jewish affairs, Jerusalem.
They had come specifically to point out all the faults of Jesus and His disciples. What happened? It turned out that their own faults and sins were exposed for all to see. The awful truth about them was broadcast to the crowds!
Jesus said that all their outward acts of devotion and appearances of piety were worth nothing if they didn’t obey God’s commandments.
The scribes and the Pharisees were extremely offended by this, but they couldn’t answer Him or refute a single thing He said about them. This was because Jesus, with God’s authority, spoke the truth about them. Jesus showed them up to be law-breakers, hypocrites and sinners.
Back in Jesus’ time there were traditions which the Jewish elders, over the centuries, had introduced which had become very important traditions.
For the Pharisees, one of the most important traditions was to wash their hands before eating, but it really had no basis in Scripture.
They had raised it up to the same level as God’s Law and that was what Jesus was complaining about.
Nowadays, we would say that one should wash one’s hands before eating so as not to spread any germs, but we don’t take it to an extreme – how many of us have picked strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, an apple or a tomato and have eaten them fresh from the plant?
Sadly, a characteristic of the world we live in, is that it is a very image-conscious world. People everywhere spend much time, and expense, to create an impressive outward appearance as if that is all that matters in life.
But you can’t change what you are from the outside. The real ‘you’ that is inside, still remains and that is what is important. It is what is in our hearts that matters, because it is from the heart that what we say, what we think and what we do, comes, not from how we look.
We all have to wear a mask at the moment and that makes people equal, visually – although, even there, there seems to be a; ‘my mask looks better than yours!’
If only, we could use this time, to think about what is in each of our hearts. Do we have a true inward devotion to God, because that is the very heart and soul of true religion?
Remove it, and all that is left is an empty shell. If we think of the things we think, say and do, are they actions of a truly devoted heart or are they the actions of someone who worships outwardly – like the Pharisees – but without inward devotion? As a Church, we need to think about, and look at, the rites and rituals that have become traditions and make sure that they have not become more important than true devotion to our Lord.
Can we use these strange, and sometimes heart-breaking, times to ‘take a deep breath,’ – ‘wash our hands of the past,’ – ‘step forward in true inward devotion’ – to become true caring followers of our Lord Jesus Christ? Then, something ‘wonderful’ would come out of this Covid 19 Pandemic. 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 Alison Hill
Merciful Lord and Father
As we reflect yet again on the current needs and concerns of your people both in the community of St Clement and throughout the world, help us to understand how these concerns mirror our underlying need to feel safe and loved and upheld.
Help us to remember to look to You for guidance and to see in You the love that underpins all life; and strengthen us to have faith in your faithfulness to us and to know that you are with us in all that we do.
Lord God of all, we pray for all those who have the burden of difficult decisions at this time, and for those who must offer example, stability or encouragement to us all. Guide and strengthen our government and bless our Queen and her family as they work through this time with us.
As we move uncertainly out of the Coronavirus lockdown help us to be brave in the face of new experiences and sensible in the new opportunities of meeting up again with friends and family.
Help us to be tolerant of the risk that the many tourists may seem to pose for Cornwall, of a renewal of the high numbers of victims of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Help us to acknowledge their need for relaxation in the freedom and beauty of our county, and in its opportunities for recreation, which many of us have been able to enjoy as relief from the concerns of the pandemic throughout its first months.
We thank you, Lord, for the good that has come out of this difficult time:
For renewal of relationships, distant or close, as we have all become more aware of the fragility of life and the need to nurture our love for each other, We thank you, Lord.
For the return, in so many areas both urban and village, of a sense of community and friendship among neighbours previously unnoticed or ignored yet living in the same street.
For the growth in many people of compassion and love for others, especially for those whom we have seen as different or irrelevant to ourselves, and for a better sense of inter-generational responsibility and care, We thank you, Lord.
For the renewal of the environment, the clearer air and skies, and the sounds of birds and insects, We thank you, Lord.
For new skills learned as we have had to find different ways of dealing with the practicalities of life, We thank you, Lord.
For those who have given freely of their time to create ways of keeping us connected. For the musicians, actors and other artists who have given freely of their skills and talents over radio and internet,
We thank you, Lord.
For the technology wizards, amateur and professional, who have enabled us to work from home, to learn together, to exercise, to sing together, and to communicate with our loved ones across the barriers of the lock down, We thank you Lord.
For the imagination and inspiration of all those unknown and unassuming individuals who have set up supportive networks, to deliver food and medicines or just a smile through the window, and in the early days encouraged us to clap each Thursday, as a community, for the hard pressed NHS staff and other key workers, We thank you Lord.
And we thank you that the skills, knowledge, understanding and commitment of many have prevented an even worse pandemic.
For some of us it has been difficult to comprehend the huge economic impact of COVID19 on so many families and individuals. We pray for all those who have watched their carefully grown businesses founder, and who have had the distress of making good employees redundant; for those losing their jobs and with them their means of support for their own and their families’ lives, and for those who on the cusp of starting their working careers are now faced with the probability of many months without work.
We thank you for our vicar Diane and other clergy and religious leaders who have continued to minister to those in great need of comfort, reassurance and a physical presence of love and empathy.
As all things change in the wake of the pandemic, and Churches struggle to find their ‘new normal’, help us not to lose the fundamental habits of Christian worship and Christian community.
We pray for those who may never again feel safe to return to regular sharing of Sunday Church worship, especially for those in our own community. Help us to remember to keep in touch with them in other ways, so that they need not feel excluded from the community they have known and served for so many years.
We pray for all those facing special difficulties, hardship or illness at this time, remembering especially the people of Beirut and the wider country of Lebanon, and praying also for those dead, injured or bereaved in the derailment near Stonehaven on Wednesday.
In our own congregation we pray for Matthew’s father John, in his illness, and we ask your strength and blessing on Liz and Martin as Liz prepares for surgery and they both face further weeks of close isolation, just as they were beginning to be free of shielding through the past three months.
Holy God, gather into your eternal kingdom all who have come to the end of this earthly life and rejoice to see you as you really are; especially those whose funerals Di takes both as our own vicar and as an officiating priest at Penmount crematorium. We remember all whom we love but can no longer see, and thank you for your overarching love and undergirding faithfulness to us.
Fill our hearts, oh Lord, with thankfulness and hope, and grant us your wisdom and compassion in all we do.
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.