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 in church would, if they wish, receive Communion in one kind (no Wine!)
I intend Sunday 6th September to be our first Eucharist service since ‘lockdown.’ Folk at home will receive our usual community Service of the Word.
Last Sunday was made special by hearing three of our bells rung before the service (all we are allowed at the moment….) and I’d like to extend my thanks to the ringers who enabled this to happen.
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 this week, as wearing masks for attending worship is mandatory from August 8th.
Much love and may Christ’s love sustain you always.
Rev Di and family xx
Let us pray;
God of heaven, you send the gospel to the ends of the earth and your messengers to every nation: send your Holy Spirit to transform us by the good news of everlasting life in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Our prayers of Penitence
As we celebrate the grace and goodness of God, we remember our sins and weaknesses:
When we are quick to criticize others, but slow to praise them…
Lord, have mercy.
When we bear grudges, and find it hard to forgive…
Christ, have mercy.
When we let evil go unchallenged, and are afraid to speak the truth…. Lord, have mercy.
When we do not trust in God’s unfailing love…
Christ, have mercy
May Almighty God have mercy upon us, forgive us our failings, and bring us to everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Let us pray our Collect for the 9th Sunday after Trinity
Gracious Father, revive your Church in our day, and make her holy, strong and faithful, for your glory’s sake in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Our Reading is taken from the Gospel of Matthew (14. 22-33)
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds.
And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them.
And early in the morning he came walking towards them on the lake.
But when the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’
Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ He said, ‘Come.’
So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came towards Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’
Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’ When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’
People just love to talk about the weather, don’t they? More than sport, or TV programmes, probably even more than about our faith; we just love talking about weather. “Hot enough for you?” “Cold isn’t it?” “How much rain did you get in Truro last night?” The weather has our attention nearly every day. And in winter it gets even worse, especially if it snows, the country grinds to a halt and the weather takes over our lives.
Mind you, only England stops if it snows. I know I’ve told this story before by it is a favourite of mine……as you know, I was a coach driver in a ‘former life’ and whilst on tour in Austria one year, as a treat for my passengers, I arranged an evening ride in a horse drawn carriage to a remote farmhouse in the mountains, where we would be entertained with Austrian music, singing, and more importantly, alcohol.
As I was thanking our host at the end of the evening, and paying him for his hospitality of course, I said to him; ‘You have a lovely young family, Hans, but your home is so deep in the mountains, how on earth do your children get to school when it snows in the winter?’ He looked at me as though I’d crawled out from under a rock and said simply; ‘They ski…...’
We can all remember times of bad stormy weather, be it snow, rain or strong winds, and the storms somehow always managed to take us by surprise.
But in truth, most storms do. Even in an age with satellites and radar, storms aren’t always predictable, and when they arrive unexpectedly, they can wreak havoc.
And yet, the greatest storms in our lives have nothing to do with low pressure systems or cold fronts, but rather are those that come through the sudden twists and turns of our reality.
Take the storm of Covid19 for example, which has changed the entire world’s reality, as well as that of our community here.
Before it, we thought everything was pretty hunky-dory in our lives, of course there was the usual ups and downs, but nothing prepared us for the pandemic to come.
Suddenly, the storm hit with a vengeance, life took a dramatic turn, and we just didn’t see it coming.
So, it’s not a question of; “if the storms come” but rather; “when they come.” None of us are immune from suffering, or heartache.
Rain falls on the just and the unjust alike, bad things happen to good people. So the question is, what can we do when the storms hit us?
In our gospel reading Jesus had just performed the miracle of feeding the 5000, he sends his disciples off in the boat and a storm hits them, the waves were battering their tiny craft, and the wind was against them.
I love that phrase; “the wind was against them.” I think that describes the reality of our lives, when life is hard it can feel like the wind is always against us.
And that’s how it must have felt that night on the Sea of Galilee; the disciples were going nowhere fast, they were caught in a storm, and just when they reckoned things couldn’t get any worse, they think they see a ghost……
That’s another thing about the storms of our lives; we often imagine the worse, we see barriers and problems that aren’t really there, our view of life is clouded, and it appears darker than it actually is.
The disciples imagine the worse, but then Jesus reassures them.
Of course, Peter needed to push it further, what was he thinking!
Jesus said “Come.” Then Peter walks on the water for a few steps, but, silly man, he takes his eyes off Jesus, remembers that he is in the midst of a storm and begins to sink, calling to his Saviour for help.
The winds died down, the sea became calm, and those in the boat recognized again that Jesus was the Son of God.
It’s a wonderful story; a miracle, in fact.
But the problem is that in this story everything turned out okay. In fact, in most of the scripture stories, things turn out okay.
The blind man gets his sight, the Prodigal Son returns home, Doubting Thomas gets his proof, and Jesus calms the stormy sea.
But unfortunately, in our own lives, solutions don’t seem to come that easy.
Good people are still losing their jobs because of the affect Covid has had on our economy, worse still, people are still losing their lives because of it.
World-wide disasters such as the explosion in Beirut are still happening, and we often struggle to make any sense of it, we have no reasonable explanation for human suffering.
But we who gather here today, whether in church or at home, know that the same Jesus who drew near to the disciples in that tiny fishing boat, also draws near to us when the storms come.
Jesus comes to us, and he sits and hurts and suffers with us until the storm has passed.
And Jesus calls out to each of us to step out in faith, just as he did Peter.
Even when faith begins to sink, he invites us to not be afraid to trust in him. Peter may have been an impulsive character, but his faith was bold whenever Jesus called to him to follow.
We know that sooner or later, every storm ends. When we are going through a difficult chapter in our lives, when the wind is against us, and we are weary, lonely, or afraid, the storm won’t last forever, it will pass, and the sun will shine again. Remember; ‘It came to pass….’
And finally, this; sailors know that when a storm comes, the best thing to do is find a safe harbour – a place of protection, surrounded by strength.
And this is it; here, us.
The people of God of our St Clement community have a safe a harbour as anyone will ever find.
And together as a community of God’s people we are strengthened to share in each other’s storms, to share in rowing the boat against the wind, secure in the knowledge that Jesus is right alongside us.
Thanks be to God. 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.
Our Intercessions this week are written by Daphne Hawkins
Most merciful God, in these days of living in the shadow of a cruel and dreadful disease, help us see beyond the cloud of darkness into your world of love and light;
the dawn and the light of a new day,
the abundance of wild life around us.
The profusion of wild flowers that outshines our own cultivated labours.
Fresh air and the gentle breeze,
the sunset and the rest and peacefulness of darkness.
There is still so much to enjoy, for these gifts we thank you dear Lord.
Let us pray;
Almighty God we pray that you will be with us today at St Clement and in our homes, united in praise, prayer and grateful thanks that you will guide us and help us on our earthly journey.
We thank you for all your gifts to us and for giving strength and fortitude to so many people who are tending the sick, caring for the old and vulnerable, providing food and services to us all. Each and every one selflessly at risk working each day to enable us to survive in this pandemic. Lord be with them always.
We pray for all people to rise above acts of hatred and violence.
Lord please give them the desire to use their energy to help us to be a better people to understand forgive and go forward in peace and love for all human kind.
We pray for our Queen and the royal family, give her courage and strength to bring unity into our own troubled family.
We pray for all who hold authority in our country and world-wide at this time of the pandemic economic and social problems.
Inspire and guide them in truth justice and peace.
We pray for all people who are sick or suffering in body mind or spirit, the agony of isolation those weighed down with hardship failure or sorrow, those grieving the loss of a loved one.
Dear Lord lay your gentle hands on all who need the peace and your presence in their fragile lives this day. Comfort and bless them in their time of need.
We pray for Liz as she faces an operation on her knee next month, and we pray for the people of Beirut as they struggle to come to terms with the horrific explosion that has wrecked so many lives and homes.
We remember those we loved and see no more, those who live on in our hearts always, those we pray we will meet again in your heavenly kingdom.
To him who is able to keep us from falling, and lift us up from the valley of despair to the bright mountain of hope, from the midnight of desperation to the daybreak of joy, be power and authority for ever.
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.