St. Leonard, Clent
© Clent PCC 2021
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Saint Leonard’s Service for Nineth Sunday after Trinity 1 st August Welcome to our OpenCast church service - on-line. There are prayers, readings, hymns and music; just as you would have in church. As you read through this service you may care to say aloud the bold text. To hear the music and the readings, click on each title (red, underlined text) (and remember to adjust the volume on your speakers). Let us pray: God says, ‘You are never too young, never too old, to be part of my work.’ God says, ‘I will speak with you; I will strengthen you; I will send you. Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Come away…and rest a while.’ We come into God’s presence now, away from the burdens and stresses of life. We come with open arms, to wait upon God, and to be renewed and equipped for whatever comes next. Amen Hymn: “Christ Triumphant, Ever Reigning “ (Tune - ‘Guiting Power’) The Westminster Choir Garrett F. Martin, Organist and Choirmaster We praise the Lord Praise God that He is love (I John 4:7-8), and that because of Jesus’ sacrifice we know what love looks like (I John 3:16). Praise God that He is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8), and that He is our solid Rock, our Fortress, our Rescuer, our Shield, our salvation’s strength, and our place of safety (Psalm 18:2). Amen. Bible Readings: Old Testament: Psalm: New Testament: Gospel: Exodus 16.2-4,9-15 Psalm 78.23-29 Ephesians 4.1-16 John 6.24-35 A udio Audio Audio Audio Click these links to hear the readings Text Text Text Text Click these links to read the text A Reflection for this week They said to Jesus: What must we do to perform the works of God? How often do we ask this question … either of ourselves, or even of God himself … What must we do to perform the works of God? It has become a fact of human life that we revel in our self-reliance… our ability to ‘cope’… our independence… our lack of need for others. But, in reality, all of that self-assured self-reliance does nothing other than distance us from God… and it certainly does not represent the work of God. Human beings are created to be in relationship. If you haven’t mastered that fact, I suggest you read the opening of the book of Genesis, chapter 2, verse 18: Then the Lord God said: ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.’ We are all created to live in relationship with each other. That may not be the relationship of marriage, but it is certainly in relationship with other human beings. The bible also shows us how that relationship should work… Jesus tells us to love both neighbours and enemies. That is the very foundation of the answer to the question that is asked of Jesus in today’s reading from John’s gospel: What must we do to perform the works of God? Well, you can begin by living out Jesus’ command to love. Of course, that sounds easy… until, that is, you are confronted by someone whom you find it difficult to ‘love’. As we live in a world of relationships, some will be fruitful and life-enhancing, while others will be the exact opposite. But Jesus calls us to ‘love’ our enemies as well! In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians we read: ‘ I beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called.’ That is how we perform the works of God… We work hard at honouring and respecting God’s call in our lives. And what does that look like? Paul gives us the answer to that as well… We need to live in: humility gentleness patience bearing with one another (in love) making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. That is a tough agenda, but it is the one that should be directing every moment of our lives. The challenge of performing the works of God has existed throughout the whole history of the human race… the difficulty we experience is nothing new! The letter of James (just after Hebrews in the New Testament!) makes it clear that even the earliest Christian communities struggled with this. James writes: ‘You must understand this let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness .. and .. be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves .. and .. show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom… that is, divine wisdom, and not the wisdom that represents selfish ambition and self-aggrandisement.’ None of this is easy… hence the question to Jesus: What must we do to perform the works of God? As well as expressing his frustration at the crowd’s question, Jesus does offer us an answer… This is the work of God .. that you believe in him whom he has sent . That is it! That is the answer! To perform the works of God we just have to believe in Jesus Christ. But we see in the reaction of those questioning crowds a reflection of our own response to that command… They asked for signs… for proof! They referred to the moment in Jewish history when, in response to the need of those who were journeying towards the Promised Land, God provided food from heaven to sustain them. Then, in response to this fallacious argument, Jesus declares that HE is The bread of life. Jesus,   himself , is the one who will sustain us on the challenging journey which is the life of true discipleship. We must go forward in faith in humility; in gentleness; in patience; bearing with one another in love; making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. We must believe in him whom God has sent. We must set aside our ‘need’ to argue and dispute, to judge and to condemn, to wheedle and negotiate, and we must follow where Christ leads us. The crowds asked Jesus: What must we do to perform the works of God? Simple really: Believe in Christ… follow Christ… be Christ-like in all you say, and think, and do. Amen. Worship Song “Altogether Good” Brian Eichelberger, Zach Bolen Lyrics / chord sheet Intercessions adapted from the Second Intercessions Handbook Living God, we know that you are committed to making all things new, and so we pray: Send forth your Spirit, … and renew the face of the earth. God of all creation, your purpose is to bring all things together in Jesus Christ. Help us, and all Christian people, to live in the energy and joy of the resurrection, so our lives may contribute to your inexhaustible life. Send forth your Spirit, … and renew the face of the earth. God of the local, national and global, we hold before you our resilient but damaged world, and the communities of which we are a part. Give encouragement to whatever is true, whatever is right, whatever is noble, whatever is pure – and enlist us in working for the coming of your Kingdom. Send forth your Spirit, … and renew the face of the earth. God of our hearts and homes, we thank you for your presence through this week in everything we’ve done. Take the rag-bag of our everyday experience, and work on it with your patient grace, transforming us bit by bit into the likeness of Jesus. Send forth your Spirit, … and renew the face of the earth. God of our health and happiness, you are committed to our well-being. We pray for those who are unwell, lost or lonely, that they may find health and healing with you – and we remember those who have died and their loved ones, that they may find peace. Send forth your Spirit, … and renew the face of the earth. Amen. Closing Prayers At work, at rest, at leisure, the peace of God the Creator be with us all. May God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit go with ME .. and, on every side and at every turn, each day and each night, be with me for all eternity. As I go out into the world once more, grant me the vision to see things as you see them. Grant me the space to centre myself on you. Grant me the courage to be changed by you. Through everything I experience this coming week, with all its ups and downs and emotions, … help me to hold fast to the joy and hope your resurrection brings. Amen. ____________________________________________ Postlude ‘Eternal Father’ (‘Melita’) & ‘Sunset’ (‘Last Post’) H.M. Band of the Royal Marines Dedicated to all H.M. Forces past and present
St. Leonard
© Clent PCC

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