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               St Clement Church Community Sunday Service

 

 

Good morning to you all. 

 

Such a lot has happened since I last put together a service and standing in St Clement Church this morning and sharing the service with Reverend Di will be difficult.

But, life goes on, and with the support of our loving God we will get through the difficult days ahead.

With love

Liz

 

Let us pray;

 

Dear Father

                                                                                                                                                                                       Quieten our minds                                                                                                                                 Still our hearts                                                                                                                                          For your living ways are all we seek

 

Strengthen our lives                                                                                                                                 Inspire our spirits                                                                                                                                                In your living waters flow endless grace

 

Amen

Hymn: 362   Glorious things of thee are spoken

 

Our prayers of Penitence

Let us confess our failings to the Lord:

 

Holy God,                                                                        

holy and strong,                                                                                                                                    holy and immortal,                                                                                                                                   have mercy upon us.

 

As far as the east is from the west,

So far has he set our sins from us.

 

As a father has compassion on his children,

So is the Father merciful towards those who fear him.

 

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

And all that is within me bless his holy name.

 

Bless the Lord, O my soul,                                

And forget not all his benefits.

 

Amen.

 

Let us pray our Collect for the 14th Sunday after Trinity

 

Almighty God, whose only Son has opened for us a new and living way into your presence: give us pure hearts and steadfast wills to worship you in spirit and in truth; 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 forever.

 

Amen 

 

Readings

 

Isaiah 35. 4 – 7a

James 2. 1 – 10, 14 – 17

 

Hymn: 346   City of God, how broad and far

Gospel of Mark 7. 24 – 37                                                                               (Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.  Response: ‘Glory to you O Lord.’)

 

Jesus set out and went to the region of Tyre.                                                                                    He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there.                                              Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet.                                                                                                                        Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin.                                                            She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter.                                                                 He said to her, ‘Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’                                                                                         But she answered him, ‘Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.’                                                                                                                              Then he said to her, ‘For saying that, you may go – the demon has left your daughter.’                                                                                                                                      So, she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

 

Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of Decapolis.                                                                      They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him.                                                                                  He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue.                                                                     Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, ‘Ephphatha,’ that is, ‘Be opened.’ And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.                                                                                                             Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it.                                                                                            They were astounded beyond measure, saying, ‘He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.’                               

             

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

 

 

 

 

 

Reflection

 

‘Ephphatha!’ It is certainly not a word that is in our vocabulary, but,                      looking at its meaning … ‘be opened’ – it has made me think.

 

Mother Teresa, when interviewed by a journalist, was asked if she prayed regularly. Her reply – ‘Yes, I do.’                                                                                             The journalist asked, ‘So, what do you say?’                                                                                   Her reply – ‘Oh, mostly I listen.’                                                                                                       The journalist, thinking he was going to get the scoop of the century … the words of God to Mother Teresa, asked her, ‘What does God say to you?’                                                                                                                                                          ‘Oh, mostly he just listens too.’

 

As you can imagine, the last few weeks have been extremely difficult – not helped by my feeling that I ought to be opening my Bible and earnestly praying … neither of which have I been able to do and this has made me feel wretched and guilty.                                                                                                                            What’s my faith worth if I can’t do these core things?                                                                  

But, the story about St Teresa has made me stop and think.

                                                              

 ‘Ephphatha’ – ‘Be opened’ – what do I understand by that?                                                         Suddenly, it’s like a light switching on … in time of trouble or in need … what’s important is NOT feeling obliged to follow a routine of Bible reading or formalised prayer but ‘Ephphatha,’ - ‘be opened’ – being willing to open oneself – to let one’s spirit wander or just to sit and be calm AND to be willing to open oneself to listen.

 

Does this mean that I think God is going to pour words of wisdom into my ears – maybe – but probably not. What it does mean, is that to find any form of comfort and peace I need to let my mind and my spirit be still and open to whatever comes their way.

 

But what of the first part of the Gospel reading?

 

To have any understanding of the first story one has to be aware that Jews referred to non-Jews as dogs or in some cases, as ‘little dogs.’                                                                         When the Syrophoenician woman accosts Jesus begging Him to cure her daughter, He is tired and wants to be alone – so do we here see the very human side of Jesus, exhausted and needing a break, or perhaps not yet understanding the scope of his mission. His response appears to be very harsh and discriminatory.  Is He really not willing to listen to the appeal of a Gentile?

He says that the children should be fed first and it isn’t fair for the children’s food to be given to the dogs. What children? The children of God – namely – the children of Israel - the Jews.

But the woman has an answer – ‘Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.’ A very clever answer – and Jesus IS impressed with it – He can only agree that God’s love and healing power know no ethnic, political or social boundaries. So, He tells her to return home where she will find her daughter safe and well.

This is a difficult story – for do we take it that Jesus learns from the woman and this has an effect on His ministry? Does Jesus learn something about equality between races that undoes the racist teaching that He had learned before? Certainly, Jesus now goes on to a time of ministry to the Gentiles so the story appears to mark a turning point.

 

Or – is Jesus testing the woman and she excels in her answer? She is insulted, put down and she still keeps going. Would He do that?

 

What do you think? Do you see Jesus, learning? If it is alright for Jesus to be wrong sometimes, to learn from others and to be challenged into changing His mind, then surely it is alright for each of us too.

 

The story of the deaf man with a speech impediment is yet another outsider. He is cut off from the world by his ability to hear and communicate with others.

This time Jesus doesn’t hesitate to respond to a desperate request, though he does take the man aside, away from the crowd. Jesus then goes on to put His fingers in the man’s ears, spits and touches the man’s tongue, and then says, ‘Ephphatha!’ Immediately this man is able to hear and communicate with those around him. Not only is he physically healed, he is also restored to his community.

 

So, we come to that word ‘Ephphatha!’ again – a word that has brought me much comfort over the last few days. ‘Be opened!’ something that I suspect none of us is very good at. We need to be willing to open ourselves to, not only God, but also to the needs and worries of those around us, to listen but also to hear.

From experience, when we listen, we don’t always hear what is being said or what is going on around us.

 

So, my invitation to you, is to join me in ‘Ephphatha!’ – ‘Be opened!’ – ‘listen!’ For only then, if we listen to God, will He lead us and guide us through the difficult times that each and every one of us has to go through and indeed that all churches are facing. And if we listen, work together and if necessary, be willing to change, then we will thrive as individuals and as a church.

‘Ephphatha!’

 

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.

 

Hymn: 499   Thy kingdom come, O God

 

Intercessions

 

Heavenly Father - Mindful of the words of the prophet Isaiah to be strong and fearless, we gather our thoughts and prayers with hope and humbly call on You to help us in our needs.

 

Give your wisdom and heavenly grace to all those who serve in your Church across the world, that, by their service, faith may abound and your kingdom increase.  

 

Lord, hear us                                                                                                                                                 Lord, graciously hear us

 

Creator God, we pray for our world leaders; for our Royal family; for Heads of State in Europe, the Commonwealth and for the United Nations. We also pray for our community leaders and those in public office dealing with difficult situations, especially all that surrounds the ongoing pandemic.

 

Lord, hear us                                                                                                                                                Lord, graciously hear us

 

Creator God, we worship you as the one who has given us this life, and ask that you will help us to 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 are visiting Cornwall and for all who are catering for them as they enjoy their holidays.

 

Lord, hear us                                                                                                                                                    Lord, graciously hear us

Loving God, we pray for all doctors and nurses, paramedics and nursing assistants and all those involved in the care of those facing difficult times in their lives.                                                                                                          We remember all those who are struggling in body, mind or spirit, whether they are known or unknown to us. May they know your loving kindness and the surety that they are never alone no matter what the future holds.                                                                                                                                            We especially remember: Brian, Ollie, Ken and Diane, Margaret, Barrie and Sandra, Linda and Rupert, Ted and Felicity.

 

Lord, hear us                                                                                                                                                    Lord, graciously hear us

 

Merciful God, we pray for all who are coming to the end of their journey here on earth and pray that they may come into your presence and kingdom.                                                                                                                                                      We pray for all those who have come before your face and now rejoice in the fullness of life eternal.                                                                                                                 We also pray for all those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. Comfort and enfold them in your loving arms.

 

Lord, hear us                                                                                                                                                        Lord, graciously hear us

 

Faithful God, we thank you that your wisdom not only enlightens us, but transforms us and guides us, in our daily walk, through life with you. Help us, as James advises, to always accompany our words of faith with deeds of action.

               

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.

 

Just listen

 

When I ask you to listen to me and you start giving advice,

you have not done what I asked.

When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me

why I shouldn’t feel that way,

you are trampling on my feelings.

 

When I ask you to listen to me and you feel

You have to do something to solve my problem,

You have failed me, strange as that may seem.

Listen! All I asked was that you listen,

Not talk or do – just hear me.

 

Advice is cheap; you can get both

Dear Deidre and Billy Graham in the newspaper,

And I can do that for myself; I’m not helpless.

Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.

When you do something for me

That I need to do for myself,

You contribute to my fear and weakness.

 

But, when you accept as a simple fact

that I do feel what I feel,

no matter how irrational,

then I can quit trying to convince you

and get about the business of understanding

what’s behind this irrational feeling.

And when that’s clear,

The answers are obvious and I don’t need advice.

Irrational feelings make sense

When we understand what’s behind them.

So please listen and just hear me.

And if you want to talk,

wait a minute for your turn;

and I’ll listen to you.

 

Author unknown

 

 

 

The Peace

 

Lord Jesus Christ, you know our faults and have heard our prayers. You have ripped apart the barriers that separate us from God through your sacrifice of love on a cross, and your resurrection from the dead. Promise of God, fill your people and give us peace.

 

Amen.

 

Hymn: 490  Judge eternal, throned in splendour

 

 

Blessing

 

Eternal God and Father,

by whose power we are created and by whose love we are redeemed:

guide and strengthen us by your Spirit,

that we may give ourselves to your service, and live this day in love to one another and to you;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Page last updated: 3rd September 2021 7:38 AM