St Clement Church Community Sunday Service 5.7.20
Good morning to you all as we celebrate our Sunday service, whether in your own home or here at our newly opened church building.
As things stand at the moment, I don’t think it advisable to meet for communion, for me, the imposed necessary restraints would take away the mystery of it all. However, the Cathedral is holding services for those who wish to receive communion, details are available on their website.
Our services when taken in church will be the same as our Sunday community service as emailed round to everyone, so please bring your copy with you, and perhaps a flask of coffee for afterwards?
As per our previous custom, the church building can now remain open during the day, but we need to form a rota of folk to lock and unlock so the role doesn’t fall on just one person. Could you please email me if you are willing to help with this.
The covid restrictions are lifting but we need to remain cautious, and surfaces will be wiped down each week before our Sunday worship.
Our county is now open to visitors, this will bring increased risks for us all, so please continue to be careful when you go out.
There is a photo at the bottom of this service that shows the promised picture of Martin and Liz’s new grandson, my granddaughter Willow is progressing well, and many thanks go to you all for your supportive prayers.
Much love and may Christ’s love sustain you always.
Rev Di and family xx
Let us pray;
Eternal God, comforter of the afflicted and healer of the broken, teach us the ways of gentleness and peace, that all the world may acknowledge the kingdom of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Our prayers of Penitence
In a moment of quiet reflection, we lay aside all pretence towards God and bring our fears and failings to the risen Christ:
Jesus, Emmanuel, God-with-us, forgive our unwelcoming hearts..
Lord, have mercy.
Jesus, Son of God, Servant of humanity, forgive our self-centred lives..
Christ, have mercy.
Jesus, Prince of Peace, Hope of the nations, forgive our bitter conflicts..
Lord, have mercy.
May Almighty God, who sent his Son into the world to save fallen humanity, bring us his pardon and peace, now and for ever. Amen.
Let us pray our Collect for the 4th Sunday after Trinity
Gracious Father, by the obedience of Jesus you brought salvation to our wayward world: draw us into harmony with your will, that we may find all things restored in him, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
Our Reading is taken from the Gospel of Matthew (11. 16-19, 25-end)
‘But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market-places and calling to one another,
“We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not mourn.”
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon”; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners!” Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.’
At that time Jesus said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’
Isn’t it amazing what children can do and see, and hear, and say?
Several years ago, a bus driver misjudged the height of Redruth railway bridge, and his vehicle got stuck underneath it; mechanics were trying to work out what to do when a small boy who was watching suggested that they let the air out of the bus tyres, it worked too, lowering it just enough so it could be towed out. Now, why didn’t the mechanics think of that?
During one hot summer, the congregation of our church in Essex were asked to bring to the Sunday service something that expressed their faith in God that it would eventually rain and save the crops in the fields. The next week, one adult brought a Bible, another brought a picture of Jesus, walking on the water. But a little girl brought an umbrella. Why didn’t the adults think of that?
But the wisdom of children shouldn’t surprise us; “Father, I thank you” Jesus said, “because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants.”
Our gospel lesson today it is a somewhat confusing text, because it begins in the middle of a chapter. Earlier Jesus had been talking about John the Baptist, the prophet who wore strange clothes and ate locusts, and was one of the most misunderstood people of his time.
We know the Jews were looking for a prophet who could tell them about the coming of the Messiah, but John didn’t fit their stereotype of such a person.
He didn’t live in the synagogue, and his message was simple: believe in God, turn from your sins, and be baptized.
There was no list of religious rules to memorize, no complicated rituals to follow. Just “believe, repent, and be baptized.” And most Jews rejected the message of John, they ridiculed and criticized him.
So Jesus chastised them for their treatment of John.
“You’re like children who tease other children” Jesus says; “He was speaking the truth about me, but God has hidden such truth from you and, instead, revealed it to infants.” The infants Jesus was describing in this case – were the Gentiles, the non-Jews, of those times.
So how could the faithful Jews; the chosen people – not see the truth? Because it didn’t conform to their idea of religion.
And Jesus goes on to tell them; “Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest.”
The load that most Jews carried was religious rules, and the guilt for breaking them. They had 612 laws to follow; plus our Ten Commandments. They had rules about dressing, cooking, eating, washing, marrying and burying; laws for working and laws for resting; laws for women, and different laws for men.
And Jesus said “If you’re tired of carrying the weight of these rules, come to me, where the rules are few and grace is abundant.” Some did; most didn’t. But the ones who really understood the message were the infants, the Gentiles, those whose lives were littered with sin, but were uncluttered by religious rules.
It made me start to think that perhaps our world and church today is too bogged down with rules and regulations, and hangs on to the burdens of the past.
For instance, why can’t we grasp a simple thing called “forgiveness”?
Imagine how different the church would look if we stopped carrying grudges and rules from previous generations.
Imagine for a moment how the world could fight the Covid19 virus if all the people worked together to defeat it, instead of ignoring scientific advice and rioting. Imagine how our government would change for the best if MP’s refused to attack one another and instead, had simple conversations about how to make this a better nation.
Imagine how peaceful life would be if we accepted unique and diverse people for the way they are, instead of being cruel to them until they become like us.
Very young children are naturally more accepting of others, but the trouble is of course, as they get older, by example they become like the rest of modern society, judgmental and self-centred.
On a recent bereavement visit, the family asked for a prayer, and when I said ‘let us pray’, their 4 year old grandson straight away said; “Dear God; I am glad that granddad is with you, but I’m sad because I will miss him.”
So childlike. So simple. And so honest. How do we come to see life with fresh eyes like that? How do we to understand things that make perfect sense to the simplest of minds, yet confound the wisest and most intelligent people of this world?
We must give it some serious thought, because as Jesus said ‘Unless we become like children, we will never enter the kingdom of heaven"
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 Helen Dunbar
To all who are weary with carrying heavy burdens in life, Jesus offers rest for our souls and unthreatening relief.
Our loving God is here, attentive to his children.
Let us pray to him now.
Father, we pray that your Church may always be open to receive your love; keep us from being complacent and self-righteous; let us come humbly and simply into your presence and wait on you, knowing our dependence on you, and rejoicing in it.
Father, we pray for all people in all parts of this troubled world, many dealing with having their lives turned upside down by the covid virus. Lord, shine your light upon those who live in danger of violence, persecution, oppression, displacement, loss and injustice because of race, belief, gender or who they are. We pray that the hearts of those who visit the evils of prejudice and greed upon others may be turned from darkness and awakened to the true light in the love and compassion of the Lord.
Father, be with all clergy, as Churches are unlocked and visitors and congregations return; we especially think of our hard working Rev Di and ask your blessing on her and all her family.
Father, please help all those who live in fear of famine, disease and destitution, and all those who have lost all hope, faith or love, that they may know your true love and the joy of your salvation.
We pray that people may know peace in their lives; we pray for everyone in our local area and all the people we miss seeing since the covid lockdown, at our church services, coffee mornings and other social events and hope to be able to meet again soon. Over the coming weeks we ask God’s blessing for all who visit our county and all who keep our community safe, the doctors, nurses, paramedics, police and fire fighters.
Father, we pray for all world leaders and their governments; for the strength of authority comes not through force and domination but through co-operation and mutual respect; we pray for greater consideration of the needs of one another and of our planet; and a desire to right past wrongs and injustices.
Dear Lord we bring before you our children and young people, who have been coping with a different way of living, due to the coronavirus measures that have been in place for the last three months and with the easing of these measures we pray for their safe keeping, as they begin the school summer holiday and look forward to returning to school in September.
Comfort all those who suffer in body, mind or spirit. We remember the people in our own community; Father Harold, Liz, who is recovering from an operation, Nicky, Rob and Charlotte, Anne and all known to us.
We give thanks for the continued good health of babies Willow and Arlo and the great love and joy they bring to their families.
Father, we pray for those who die unprepared to meet you, and for all who have died recently, both those well known to us, and those dying unknown and unnoticed all over the world.
Father we thank you for your gentleness and humility, which puts our pride and vanity to shame. Teach us to trust more and more in your truth, discarding what the world considers essential and rejoicing in your freedom
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.
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, to the end of the age.
A picture below of Martin and Liz’s new grandson; Arlo Cedric….what a beautiful boy!