St Clement Church Community Eucharist Service for Sunday 25.10.20

                                

                                        

        

 

               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.  This Sunday in church we will be celebrating, albeit rather late, our Harvest Eucharist. 

Sadly, the infection rate of Covid19 continues to rise, and the colder weather of winter is approaching.  So please look after yourselves, and keep safe when, or if, you have to go out and about.

May Christ’s love sustain you always. 

Much love to you all,

Rev Di and family xx

 

Let us pray:

Loving Lord, fill us with your life-giving, joy-giving, peace-giving presence, that we may praise you now with our voices

and all the day long with our lives, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Kyrie Confession                        

Secure in the knowledge that God, who created us

loves us dearly, let us now confess before him our sins,

and humankind’s abuse of his creation:

 

God our Father, we are sorry for all the times when we demand cheap food without thought of the well-being of the growers,

the farm animals, or the land itself,

Lord, have mercy.      Lord, have mercy.

 

When we fail to consider those who produce our food in difficult conditions for little reward,

Christ, have mercy.    Christ, have mercy.

 

When we forget to give thanks to God for good food and clean water,

Lord, have mercy.      Lord, have mercy.

 

Absolution  

May God who loved the world so much that he sent his Son to be our Saviour, have mercy upon us, forgive us our sins, and enable us to serve him in the world, through Jesus Christ our Lord.   Amen.

 

The Harvest Collect: 

Let us pray;

Eternal God, you crown the year with your goodness and you give us the fruits of the earth in their season: grant that we may use them to your glory, for the relief of those in need and for our own well-being;

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.   Amen.

 

Our first reading is taken from the Book of Deuteronomy (8.7-18)

Moses said: for the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you may mine copper. You shall eat your fill and bless the Lord your God for the good land that he has given you.

Take care that you do not forget the Lord your God, by failing to keep his commandments, his ordinances, and his statutes, which I am commanding you today. 

When you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, then do not exalt yourself, forgetting the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, an arid waste-land with poisonous snakes and scorpions.

He made water flow for you from flint rock, and fed you in the wilderness with manna that your ancestors did not know, to humble you and to test you, and in the end to do you good. Do not say to yourself, ‘My power and the might of my own hand have gained me this wealth.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today.

This is the word of the Lord    Thanks be to God

 

The Gospel of Luke (12.16-30)

(Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke 

Response: ‘Glory to you O Lord.’)

 

Then Jesus told them a parable: ‘The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, “What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?” Then he said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich towards God.’

He said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown away, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them.

 

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

 

Reflection

It’s the dawning of a new age:  a golden age of health and prosperity.  The land lies before them – the Promised Land that’s to be their home. The people of Israel have survived forty years in the wilderness and now the time has come to prepare themselves at last for their new life.

Before they cross the River Jordan, Moses reminds them of how they came to this point.  He re-tells the story of their exodus from slavery in Egypt and of all that has happened since then.

Central to that story is the relationship between the people of Israel and the Lord their God, and Moses reminds them of all that God has done for them and of all that God requires of them.

During the wilderness years God has been building his relationship with his people, instructing, leading, blessing and often rebuking them. And the great hope now is that God’s people will live a good life without fear and anxiety, because God will protect and bless them as they live according to his word.

Well, the rich man in the story Jesus tells has certainly prospered in this promised land of plenty.  He owns so many things and his fields have produced so much grain that he just can’t find room to store it all. 

So his solution is to carry out extensive building work to pack everything in, sit back and enjoy it, relax, eat, drink and be merry!

But the rich man has forgotten where his wealth came from.  He’s so full of his own importance and power (for wealth is power in this world) he’s forgotten God’s commandments:

“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord.  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart…. and you should love your neighbour as yourself.”

In forgetting that, the rich man had no thought for his neighbours,

such as; his servants who worked long hours for little pay,

the hungry woman and her children in the nearby village who’ve lost the husband and father on whom they depended.  And what about the orphans who’d been sold to him as slaves because they had no other relatives?  None of them were eating, drinking and being merry…..

This is our harvest thanksgiving service.  We praise and thank God for all the good things in life which we treasure and enjoy.

This year, out of our wealth, we offer goods and money to our local foodbank, to provide sustenance for folk who need to use such a service, remembering they are our neighbours.

But going a step further, let’s consider giving thanks to God for the harvest of this nation.  Maybe we don’t think of our country as the Promised Land where the needs of all are satisfied and all people live in peace and harmony with each other. 

It must be said that across the world in many war torn places this certainly is how our country is seen, and thousands of folk seek to live here, both by legal and illegal means.  Many are exploited by gang masters and many lose their lives in their efforts to get here, but that is a sermon for another day……

So let’s look at some of the harvest our nation’s history has yielded and consider how much we store up and how much we share.

We are a democracy: believe it or not, our Prime Minister and politicians are subject to the rules of that democracy, we don’t have a government which rules through the military.  We can give thanks that Big Brother is just a television show and not the sinister dictator who seeks to control even our thoughts, by torture if necessary. We have freedom to debate with our government and to vote for its members.

What will we do with that harvest of democracy?

We can store it, ignore it and take no interest in our country’s politics, or we can take up the responsibility democratic freedom carries with it, and do our part to direct the life of this nation in ways which follow God’s commandments.

We have a National Health Service and State Education: neither is perfect, we all know that.  But what a harvest we have in both when we compare ourselves with many other countries, especially during these dark times of Covid19.

What will we do with the harvest of health and education?

We can store them all up and congratulate ourselves on our superior standard of living and life expectancy, or, as a nation, we can take up the responsibilities that health and education bring with them.  We can be aware of the needs of countries where our neighbours don’t even have basics like clean water, inexpensive medical supplies, or even books and pens, and we can share with them our knowledge, expertise and wealth.

By doing so, by practical action, such neighbours can eventually become providers to others in need, the ripple effect that could cause the whole world to have the life that God intends.

It all sounds overwhelming? Too much to cope with?  Beyond our capabilities?

Yes it is, if we think we’re on our own.  But it’s not out of the question if we act together under God’s leadership and by his ways.

So let’s start with our own lives which is where Jesus always starts.

We’re called to live our own lives with integrity, and according to God’s word, all that we need will be given to us.  “Don’t worry”, says Jesus, “God knows what you need and he will provide.”

But what about the people who suffer starvation, disease, failed harvests, wars and natural disasters?  Where is God’s provision for them?  It’s here among us.  We have more than we need.  

What will we do with that wealth?  We can build extensions for storage, or we can take up the responsibility wealth brings and give to our neighbours in need.

What about those who feel lonely and isolated?
What about those addicted to drugs or alcohol?
What about those suffering severe mental distress?
They all often suffer rejection by society on top of their agonising pain and distress. Where is God’s provision for them? It’s here among us, in who we are.  What will we do in our lives?

We can keep ourselves to ourselves, enjoy our own lives, follow our own interests and leave others to look after themselves.  Or we can take up the responsibility of being truly our God-given selves. 

We can give some of our time, something of ourselves to our neighbours in need.  It might be such a small thing as a phone call to someone we know is lonely or bereaved, or even changing a light bulb for an elderly neighbour.

We have such a rich harvest here with us today in what we have, and in who we are.  We give thanks to God for that harvest. 

We offer it to him for his blessing, and then? 

We go out into the world to store or to share?

That’s up to us.  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 Liz Davies

 

Let us pray;

Father, at this harvest time we thank you for all the good things you give us every day. As we thank you for our food we remember all those who do not have enough for even one meal each day. Bless all those, lord, who suffer because of the greed of others. Help us to share the harvests of the world more fairly so everyone can be fed and there will be no more starvation.

Lord, hear us, Lord, graciously hear us

 

Father, God of the living earth, you have called people to care for your world – May we now understand how to sustain your world – not over fishing, not over-hunting, not destroying trees, protecting the precious rainforests, not farming soil into useless dust. Help us to find ways to use resources wisely. To find a path to good, sustainable living in peace and harmony with the creatures around us.

Lord, hear us, Lord, graciously hear us

 

Father God, at this harvest time we thank you for the hard work of all those who grow, protect and prepare our food; for the shopkeepers, the transport delivery drivers, the processors and the farmers.

Bless all those who do not earn a fair day’s pay for their hard work both at home and in other countries. Help us to want to buy local produce and fairly traded goods whenever we can so that everyone can work with dignity and there will be no more poverty.

Lord, hear us, Lord, graciously hear us

 

As we give thanks for all that is good in creation and all who bring in the harvest of the sea and land, we are conscious of so much that we get wrong. So we give thanks too for your grace and patience with us when we fail to look after your world as we should. Help us to change so that we too become a new creation walking in the light of your gospel.

Lord, hear us, Lord, graciously hear us

 

Gracious God, we pray for those who face difficulties in their personal lives. We remember before you all those who are sick, the bereaved, those with problems in their families, in their relationships, in their neighbourhoods or in their workplaces. Give them a patient faith in their troubles and the knowledge that you share their suffering with them.

We especially remember Esther, Sue, Kate, Nicky, Charlotte, and those known to each of us, and those who have no one to pray for them.

Lord, hear us, Lord, graciously hear us

 

Merciful God, we remember in your presence all those who have died, especially our much loved Father Harold. We also remember particularly those who died suddenly or tragically.  Be close to those who are recently bereaved, especially Catherine, Chris and John, strengthen them with the knowledge that you are always there to lean on and to be carried through difficult times.

Lord, hear us, Lord, graciously hear us

 

Faithful God, God of heaven and earth, companion in life, Spirit of truth, to you alone we turn our eyes and lift our hearts.                                                                                                       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.

 

The Peace

The harvest of the Spirit is love and peace, patience, kindness, goodness and gentleness. Let us then pursue all that makes for peace and builds up our common life.  May the peace of the Lord be always with us..  

 

Blessing

May God our creator, who clothes the lilies and feeds the birds of the air, bestow on us his care and increase the harvest of our righteousness;

And may the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among us, those whom we love, and remain with us always.

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Page last updated: 23rd October 2020 3:13 PM