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               St Clement Church Community Sunday Service



Good morning to you all


I’m sure we all, at times, face challenges and because we are all different, what challenges each of us will not necessarily be the same.                                                                       I have to admit that writing a service every other week is a definite challenge to me, particularly if the Gospel reading itself is a challenging one or presents a number of possible options.                                                                             Whatever the challenge, how does each of us deal with it?                                                          Jesus tells us to ‘pray always’ – talk to God about it … maybe we should do more of that.                                                                                                                         

With love



Let us pray;


O Lord, our God, we gather together today to give you thanks and praise your greatness. We praise your mighty works to the whole world. We praise you for your wonderful deeds. Your power is limitless, your wisdom is unparalleled, your grace is overwhelming, your love is never failing.




Hymn: 52 O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness      (omit verse 5)


Our prayers of Penitence


Seek the Lord while he may be found,

call upon him while he is near.


Let the wicked abandon their ways

and the unrighteous their thoughts.


Turn back to the Lord, who will have mercy;

to our God who will richly pardon.


Lord God, we have sinned against you;

we have done evil in your sight.

We are sorry and repent.

Have mercy on us according to your love.

Wash away our wrongdoing and cleanse us from our sin.

Renew a right spirit within us

and restore us to the joy of your salvation,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.



The Collect for Trinity 18


Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us your gift of faith that, forsaking what lies behind and reaching out to that which is before, we may run the way of your commandments and win the crown of everlasting joy; 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 for ever.




Genesis 32. 22 – 31

2 Timothy 3. 14 – 4. 5


Hymn: 383 Jesu, lover of my soul    (omit verse 3)


Gospel of Luke 18. 1 - 8                                                                               (Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.                           Response: ‘Glory to you O Lord.’)


Jesus told his disciples a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.                                                                                                                                         He said, ‘In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, “Grant me justice against my opponent.”                                                       For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, “Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.”’                                                                                                                          And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says.                                                                      And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night?                                                                                                                             Will he delay long in helping them?                                                                                                  I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them.                                                                                    And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?’.                                                                                                                                           


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




This week I found myself faced with yet another challenging Gospel reading – are we really asked to liken God to an unjust judge, surely not?

Even the question seems inappropriate. God is nothing like an unjust judge so what are we supposed to make of this parable.


Well, to start with, we are told that ‘Jesus told his disciples a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.’ So, surely this must be about the importance of prayer and the fact that we should be praying continually, not just occasionally or when we feel like it, nor just when we awake or are ready for bed.

This made me think – ‘praying always,’ at first thought, seems extremely challenging … when will we get anything else done? But, how often have you been somewhere beautiful and have said, ‘How beautiful’ or felt the need to say, ‘Thank you, Lord.’ Or, when you feel under pressure and don’t quite know what to do, you find yourself saying, ‘Lord, what should I do?’ Or, things are really bad and all you can muster up is, ’Lord, please help me.’ Praying doesn’t always need to be formal prayers like we say in church. Praying is about talking to and listening to God as we might to a friend, a relative or just someone we meet.


But what about this parable? There are always different ways of interpreting any passage in the Bible. For this one, I could find three!


Firstly - if one really thinks about it, this passage isn’t saying that God is like an unjust judge who will eventually relent and give in to the persistent petitions of the widow. Rather, it is saying that if even the most unjust of judges will finally relent to the ceaseless petitions of a defenceless widow, then how much more will God – who is, after all, a good judge – answer our prayers.’


Surely the focus should really be on God’s goodness and eagerness to bless. So, this reading offers believers who are perhaps reluctant to address almighty God with their petitions, both an invitation and encouragement to pray without ceasing, confident of God’s desire to respond.


Another interpretation could be about the choice of the unjust judge as a major character. Might the parable be about the discouragement of early believers, whether caused by the delay of Jesus’ return (they expected Him to return quite quickly) or the difficult or unjust circumstances that they were enduring. If so, the parable might be saying, ‘While I know that God may seem like an unjust judge, God’s actions are just and God will deliver justice in due time.’

So, it is not so much an invitation as it is a comfort for those in distress and encouragement to persevere in faith and prayer. Believers, like the widow, should pray and petition without ceasing and not lose heart, confident that God’s justice will, in time, prevail.


A third interpretation could be if we look at the widow. Widows in the ancient world were incredibly vulnerable, regularly listed with orphans and aliens as those persons deserving special protection. The fact that this particular widow must petition a judge unattended by any family highlights her extreme vulnerability. Yet she not only petitions the judge, but also persists in her pleas for justice to the point of creating sufficient pressure to influence his actions.

Read this way, the parable serves to encourage those suffering injustice to continue their complaints and calls for justice. God, the Bible has consistently insisted, gives special attention to those who are most vulnerable; therefore, we should persist in our complaints, even to the point of embarrassing the powers that be to induce change. 


So, not only have I been challenged, I am challenging you!  There are, at least, three different ways of reading and interpreting today’s parable. Which is right? Surely, they all are! How one reads and understands it today, depends on what is happening in one’s life.

Are you struggling with injustice or do you feel strongly about injustice around the world? Then maybe, you identify with the widow.


Is your life challenging, are you struggling and feeling discouraged? Then maybe the second interpretation is for you, comfort and encouragement that if we continue to hold fast to out faith and prayer, God will prevail.


Or, do you immediately grab hold of the first interpretation – God is not an unjust judge, he is so much more, he will always answer our prayers.


For me, all three interpretations are relevant. However, it really does come down to the importance of prayer. If we don’t keep talking to and asking our Lord for His help, how can He answer us. No, we don’t always get the answer we want but we will always get the answer we need.

So, ‘pray always and do not lose heart.’



Affirmation of our faith


Let us declare our faith in God


I believe in God, the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth. 

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried;

he descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again;

he ascended to heaven,

he is seated at the right hand of the Father,

and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting. Amen


Hymn: 374 How sweet the name of Jesus sounds




Hidden and mysterious God, we seek you in our darkness and our unknowing, so come to us with tender love as we offer to you our prayers of intercession and thanksgiving.


                                                                                                                                               Lord, hear us; Lord, graciously hear us


Father God, as church leaders spend time in prayer and preparation, fill them with divine inspiration and revelation, so that when they speak, it will be your word which comes in power to challenge, convict and empower. As they plan ahead, let them be led by you.


Lord, hear us; Lord, graciously hear us


Mighty God, we pray for all who carry civic and political responsibilities throughout the world. Help the leaders of the nations to put aside all selfish ambition as they seek to be the instruments of your will for humanity and carry out your desire for the welfare of all people which will culminate in glory to you and in happier human lives.


Lord, hear us; Lord, graciously hear us


Compassionate God, your love for humanity was revealed in Jesus whose earthly life began in the poverty of a stable and ended in the pain and isolation of the cross. We hold before you those who are homeless and driven to beg like Lazarus. Draw near and comfort them in spirit and bless those who work to provide for them; especially praying for those who work at St Petroc’s, at the Breakfast at St John’s and all other organisations who are offering support to all those in need, including the Food Banks at this time.


Lord, hear us; Lord, graciously hear us


Living God, where there is sickness turn weakness into strength, suffering into compassion, sorrow into joy and pain into comfort. Help all who suffer to trust in your goodness and hope in your faithfulness, even in the middle of their suffering. Let them be filled with patience and joy in your presence as they wait for your healing touch.

We especially remember at this time, Ken and Diane, Alison and Rob, Ted and Felicity, Terry and Dot, Ollie and Andrew, Margaret, Paul and Jan, Maureen, Brian, those know to each of us and all those who have no one to pray for them.


Lord, hear us; Lord, graciously hear us


Everlasting God, we remember all those who have gone before, walked the same path we tread, and, by their example, encouragement, wise words and teaching led others into your Kingdom and so we offer our grateful thanks particularly for those whose anniversary falls at this time.


We also remember before you those killed in the explosion in the petrol station in Donegal in Ireland, the children and adults killed in a day-care centre in Northern Thailand, those killed in the missile attacks in Kyiv and other parts of Ukraine, those killed for protesting in Iran, and the many thousands paying the final price because of famine, natural disasters, terror campaigns and political injustice. We also remember Sue Trewhella who died on Monday. May all their souls rest in peace and rise in glory.


Lord, hear us; Lord, graciously hear us


Faithful God, your word is a faithful lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Thank you that we can live in your light and walk in your truth. May the things that you have revealed and the thoughts that we have shared dwell in our hearts and stir us to 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.




A Wing and a Prayer by Michelle Butler


Under the wing of an angel, we feel protected

Through prayers to God, we feel connected.


Peace is said to be offered on the wings of a dove

Prayers can bring peace along with hope, faith, and love.


Wings of a jet plane provide steady flight

I pray you remain steady and strong through this fight.


Butterflies have wings to fly playfully free

And free from this monster is what I pray you’ll soon be.


Birds spread their wings as they may leave their nest

We’re spreading our prayers that you’ll always be Blessed.


Go fight and win this battle you didn’t start

On the wings of an angel and prayers from my heart.


The Peace


Blessed are the peacemakers:

They shall be called children of God.

We meet in the name of Christ and share his peace.


The peace be always with you.


Hymn: 427 O praise ye the Lord




Almighty Father, help us to remember that freedom does not automatically perpetuate itself, that we have to work at it, nurture it, protect it, and pray for it. Freedom, like faith, needs our attention and our cooperation.

Lord, be with us now to strengthen us; about us, to keep us; above us, to protect us; beneath us, to uphold us; before us, to direct us; behind us, to keep us from straying; and ‘round about us’, to defend us.

Blessed are You, O Father, forever and ever.

























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