14 June 2020

This week’s service includes a celebration of Holy Communion, and you will be invited to prepare bread and wine, or whatever alternative you prefer.Only the accompaniments for hymns have been recorded, and you are invited to read or sing the words in time to the music. The organ accompaniments for Luckington, Benson and Ach Gott und Herr are provided by Richard M. S. Irwin (https://play.hymnswithoutwords.com) and are used with his permission.

Order of Service

Piano prelude: Allegretto – Felix Mendelssohn (1809 – 47)


Call to Worship Psalm 100 (NIVUK)

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
    Worship the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.
    It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise;
    give thanks to Him and praise His name.
For the LORD is good and His love endures for ever;
    His faithfulness continues through all generations.

Tune : Luckington – Basil Harwood (1859 – 1949)

Let all the world in every corner sing
‘My God and King!’

The heavens are not too high,
His praise may thither fly:
the earth is not too low,
His praises there may grow.
Let all the world in every corner sing
‘My God and King!’

Let all the world in every corner sing
‘My God and King!’

The Church with psalms must shout,
no door can keep them out:
but, above all, the heart
must bear the longest part.
Let all the world in every corner sing
‘My God and King!’

George Herbert (1593 – 1633)

Opening Prayer
© ROOTS for Churches Ltd (www.rootsontheweb.com) 2002 – 2020. Reproduced with permission.

O God, you are at the heart of creation. Your word brings life into being; your peace gives living its fulfilment; your Spirit unites us into your Son. We draw near, seeking your love in our hearts; your wisdom in our minds; your power in our lives. Receive us with grace, in the name of your Son. Amen.

I invite you to join with me in the words of the Lord’s Prayer . . .

Introduction to the first reading

This passage is set in the middle of chapters about all Jesus’ healing miracles, and not long after Jesus’ calling of the disciples. Since they began to follow, they experienced Jesus’ power at first hand, and in this passage, He commissions them to do as He does. Last week we read the commissioning to go out and make disciples of all nations, coming after the resurrection. This is a dummy run of that commissioning. It is read to us by Roger and Janette Morley.

Reading: Matthew 9: 35 – 10: 23

Piano interlude: Cantabile – Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)

Introduction to the second reading

This letter is famous in Protestant circles for the message of justification by faith, that we are saved through faith, not by anything we do to deserve it. This passage explains it again, and shows how we should be because of God’s love for us – the fruits of our faith. It is read to us by Euan Cameron.

Reading: Romans 5: 1 – 8


This week I really struggled on what readings to choose from the lectionary, and wasn’t sure when I chose the Matthew passage. I then joined an online seminar on Thursday afternoon on intercultural mission in Leeds, following some research I’d taken part in, and the words of one of the speakers who referred to that reading, made it all a lot clearer.

I’m going to focus on the words of Jesus in vv11 – 13 of the gospel, “And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it, and stay with him until you depart. As you enter the house, salute it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.”

This is a completely different cultural scenario to the one the majority of us are used to. The last thing we’d do is go into a stranger’s home!

These verses are about mission, as is the whole passage. The passage starts with a call to ask God to send labourers into the harvest, the people who needed to hear the good news of the Kingdom, and have their lives changed for the better. Jesus answers His own prayer by commissioning the twelve disciples to go out, and giving them His authority – that is, from God. He says that the Spirit will give them the words to say when they’re persecuted, later on in the passage, and of course, it is the Spirit who works through them to do all that Jesus has been doing.

With it being the second week after Pentecost Sunday, the Holy Spirit is the link, and the link with the passage in Romans 5. It is the Holy Spirit who pours God’s love into our hearts, to bless others in whatever way.

We’ve recently heard those words again of Jesus from John 10: 10, “I came that they might have life, and have it to the full.” This is what Jesus wants for all, for all those He had compassion on in the towns and villages as He saw their suffering, and on all those today in whatever situation, as He sees their suffering too. It is that compassion, that love, which drove God in Jesus to give His life for us, for the whole world. It is through that same love and compassion, that we, by the Holy Spirit, are driven to pray for others, and to share our faith with them.

So we see Jesus sending the disciples out to show others the good news in action, and to proclaim that the Kingdom of God is near. It is the foretaste, the training on the job, which the disciples had while the trainer was with them – although, of course, in the great commission in Matthew Chapter 28, Jesus promises to be with them always, as they go to make disciples of all nations, by His Spirit.

The training in this passage is local, we note, just to the towns and villages in Israel. That’s not because Jesus thought His mission was only to Israel. It’s clear from the gospels as a whole, that He saw it as being for the whole of humanity, for example, as He offered living water to the woman at the well in Samaria, and healed the Centurion’s servant. But we could see it as Jesus showing the disciples how to do it – the house of Israel were the guinea pigs! In Luke’s version of this sending out, in Chapter 9, we see them returning to Jesus to say how they got on.

Of course, it also says to us, that there is mission on our doorstep. We are all called to mission where we are, we don’t have to travel out of our comfort zone to share our faith with others. And that is precisely what Churches are called to, to discern our mission in our locality. That doesn’t mean we neglect mission in the broader sense, but for so long, the Church, every traditional Church in the UK, have expected people to come to us. These passages about sending out, remind us that Jesus is about going out to make disciples.

Jesus then is spending time showing the disciples how He wants them to carry on His mission. That way of training, of training on the job, of people learning from the experts as they go along, happens in all walks of life: from training medics to Minsters, builders to bank managers. The only people who are let loose without a friendly eye to help them get to know the ropes are probably entrepreneurs, who muddle through themselves and learn from their mistakes, often very costly, but sometimes with great financial gain!

Yet Jesus gives a model of going out when we don’t know what the outcome will be, but we go anyway – we step out in faith. For many of us, it is out of our comfort zone even to talk about our faith with others. But as we have received the greatest gift of all, so we should offer it to our family, friends and neighbours.

Jesus gives the instruction in those verses from the gospel to find out who is worthy to be a host. That doesn’t sound very nice at all, but it’s not in the sense that others aren’t, but in the sense of spiritually discerning who won’t turn us away. I think here of the taster session the Elders and a number of others had earlier in the year, on Leading your Church into Growth. The learning behind that is that we start with presence, our presence in the community, in the building, in what we do as Church wherever. From that we invite those who might be interested to an event with a low-key gospel message. From that we discern who might be asking questions, those who are spiritually hungry, and invite them to a seekers study group. All this, bathed in prayer, as it is in prayer that we discern the Spirit’s leading.

As Jesus sent out, to start with, it was to discern those who were spiritually hungry, then. Then He gives the instruction to stay with that person until you depart. In our context, we can translate that as, don’t offer a friendship that won’t last, or that hasn’t got integrity, but stay with that person in friendship. I guess for many of us, we have friendships that have lasted decades. It’s that sort of friendship, in which we are open to share, or as open to share as we are to receive.

The other instruction in those verses is to offer peace to that house. That’s the same in meaning as to pray a blessing over it, or over that person. The Message Bible puts verses 12 – 13 like this, “When you knock on a door, be courteous in your greeting. If they welcome you, be gentle in your conversation. If they don’t welcome you, withdraw quietly. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way.” That doesn’t quite get the sense of blessing the house you’re welcomed into, but courtesy and gentleness come out of it, and in that way, we bless others, we bless those friends that we make.

In all we do as Church, as individual Christians making up the Church, we are reminded that we don’t do any of it in our own strength. We are just ordinary people, but blessed by the extra-ordinary grace of God to live our lives following Jesus. As learners, as disciples of Jesus, we are to reflect God’s love and grace in our lives, as Paul expresses it in Romans. It isn’t something to keep to ourselves, but to share, to go out with to those around us. And may God be in all our conversations.

Tune: Benson – Millicent D. Kingham (1866 – 1927)

God is working His purpose out
as year succeeds to year;
God is working his purpose out,
and the time is drawing near;
nearer and nearer draws the time,
the time that shall surely be,
when the earth shall be filled
with the glory of God
as the waters cover the sea.

From utmost east to utmost west,
where human feet have trod,
by the voice of many messengers
goes forth the voice of God:
‘Give ear to me, you continents,
you islands give ear to me,
that the earth may be filled
with the glory of God
as the waters cover the sea’.

What can we do to work God’s work,
to prosper and increase
love and justice throughout the world,
the reign of the Prince of Peace?
What can we do to hasten the time,
the time that shall surely be,
when the earth shall be filled
with the glory of God
as the waters cover the sea?

Let us go out is the strength of God,
with the banner of Christ unfurled,
that the light of the glorious gospel of truth
may shine throughout the world:
sin and sorrow let us fight
to set their captives free,
that the earth may be filled
with the glory of God
as the waters cover the sea.

All that we do can have no worth
unless God blesses the deed;
vainly we hope for the harvest-tide
till God gives awakens the seed;
yet nearer and nearer draws the time,
the time that shall surely be,
when the earth shall be filled
with the glory of God
as the waters cover the sea.

Arthur C. Ainger (1841-1919)


The peace of Christ be with you, and in your homes
And also with you

Confession & Absolution

Let us confess our sins to God and ask for forgiveness.

Lord God most merciful,
we confess that we have sinned,
through our own fault,
and in common with others,
in thought, word and deed,
and through what we have left undone.
We ask to be forgiven.
By the power of your Spirit
turn us from evil to good,
help us to forgive others,
and keep us in your ways
of righteousness and love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Lord says: See, I am making all things new.

If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation.

In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself
Through Him our sins are forgiven.

Amen. Thanks be to God.


Come then to this table, not because you
must, but because you may;
Come, not because of who you are, but because of who God is.
Come, not because you are righteous,
but because of God’s grace through Christ Jesus.

Words of Institution 1 Corinthians 11: 23 – 26 (NIVUK)

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: the Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

Prayer of thanksgiving

Holy Lord Jesus,
We praise and thank you so much that you came to earth for us and gave yourself on the cross for our forgiveness. You, who are the same yesterday, today and for ever, help us never to forget what it cost you, bearing the world’s sin in yourself, separated from the Father.

We praise and thank you for your promises which give us hope in our lives and for the future. We thank you for that assurance of new life in you, a new life we can share in many different ways at this time with others.

We give thanks now for this bread, symbolising for us your body, and ourselves as your body here, to be broken for others as we seek to serve others in whatever way.

We give thanks for this wine, symbolising for us your blood, poured out in love for the world, as we are poured out to bring new life to those around us.

We ask that as we share this bread and wine, we may be filled anew with your Holy Spirit, and refreshed in your resurrection life, to live for you, for your glory we pray. Amen.

Sharing the Bread and Wine

As we break the bread and share the wine, we will eat and drink together.
We break the bread to remember Christ’s broken body for us on the cross . . .

pause to break

Christ’s body broken for us

pause to eat

Christ’s blood was poured out that the world might have new life . . .

pause to lift the cup

And we have new life in His blood

pause to drink

Prayer from Worship: from the United Reformed Church

Most gracious God,
we praise you for what you have given and for what you have promised us here.
You have made us one with all your people in heaven and on earth.
You have fed us with the bread of life, and renewed us for your service.
Now we give ourselves to you; and we ask that our daily living may be part of the life of your kingdom, and that our love may be your love reaching out into the life of the world;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayers of Thanksgiving & Supplication from Margaret Madill

As the days go by Lord, some of us are now able to experience old freedoms once more. For those of us who have been able to walk out each day it has been a blessing and a privilege to see the seasons change from winter to spring and now summer as we have watched the trees come into leaf and the flowers bloom. We have been enriched by this experience Lord and we thank You for it.

We know that many people have not been blessed with these freedoms Lord either because of personal frailty or because they do not have access to gardens or green spaces. Lord, we pray that other blessings have been given to them by You which have eased their way through these difficult weeks.

We thank You for the sacrifices made by health workers, shop workers, council workers and emergency service personnel and so many others which have meant that we have been and still are safe in our homes well fed and blessed in so many ways. Watch over all who have done so much for all of us, Lord.

Protect all the children and their teachers as more return to school, Lord. Protect too all who are returning to work in the coming days after being at home for so long and guide us all as we decide what we can now do once again.

Praise and thanks be to You for giving us the strength we have needed to reach today.

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Tune: Ach Gott und Herr – Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750)

Strengthen for service, Lord, the hands
that holy things have taken;
let ears that now have heard your songs
to clamour never waken.

Lord, may the tongues which ‘Holy’ sang
keep free from all deceiving;
the eyes which saw your love be bright,
your blessed hope perceiving.

May feet that tread your hallowed courts
from light be never banished;
may bodies by your Body fed
with your life be replenished.

Liturgy of Malabar
tr. C. W. Humphries (1840-1921)
and Percy Dearmer (1867-1936) altd.

Lord, send us out, in whatever way we can, as we seek to discern your voice, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to live and work to your praise and glory.
And may the blessing of God almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with us all and those we love, now and always,

Piano postlude: Double Fugue from Voluntary in G major – William Boyce (1710 – 79)