13th Sunday after Trinity

Service of Holy Communion

Worship at your own convenience: Welcome back to our online service of Holy Communion, which takes about 30 minutes. Click play and just listen, or read along. Either way, God invites you into His rest, His Sabbath. Come and find peace in prayer, and be blessed.

In order to help with the setting at home, find somewhere unlikely to experience interruptions for the next 30 minutes. Light a candle, or a set a small lamp on a stand, something that brings to mind the idea of light shining in the world.

You may want to get a small piece of bread for later in the service… In St Bartholomew’s (9:15am) and St James (11:15am) we will be receiving communion in one kind only. At home, taking a small piece of bread and giving thanks to God for his goodness, eating it and knowing that there is nothing that can separate you from the love of God is perfectly acceptable. Eat: knowing that even in the wilderness, God fed his chosen people by sending manna from heaven.

Roman and Cole, from the Shred Sunday School, read the Bible for us today
(picture reproduced with parental permission)

Where ever we are today; online, offline or meeting in person… God gathers us together in the name of Jesus Christ.

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

The Lord be with you
and also with you


Let us pray,
Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord.

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: The first commandment is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Amen. Lord, have mercy

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son Jesus Christ to save us from our sins, to be our advocate in heaven, and to bring us to eternal life. Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith, firmly resolved to keep God’s commandments and to live in love and peace with all.

We say together…
Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you
and against our neighbour
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry
and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us,
forgive us all that is past
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name.

Almighty God, who forgives all who truly repent,
have mercy upon you, pardon and deliver you from all your sins, confirm and strengthen you in all goodness, and keep you in life eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Gloria in Excelsis

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.


Almighty God,
who called your Church to bear witness
that you were in Christ reconciling the world to yourself:
help us to proclaim the good news of your love,
that all who hear it may be drawn to you;
through him who was lifted up on the cross,
and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Bible is read for us today by Roman and Cole who are part of the community who go to Sunday School at Shred. If you would like to read along they are here following this link, or you may prefer a different version in your own Bible: Exodus 12:1–14 and Matthew 18:15–20.

Sermon for the 13th Sunday after Trinity

May the words of my mouth and the thoughts and meditations of all our hearts be acceptable to you Lord, our rock and salvation.

One of the most famous things Jesus said was, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” We use this phrase to encourage each other, to remind ourselves that even though Jesus has ascended to be with his Father and our Father, ascended into heaven, Jesus is still somehow, with us. This phrase gives us an omnipresent sense of Jesus: someone not only human, but present both in the Kingdom of Heaven (with God) and present here; with us now.

Here we are gathered in Jesus name… and Jesus is, somehow, with us. Do you believe this? Do you doubt this? Do you feel confusion about this? Do you wish you could tell? How do we learn to attune our eyes and our ears to see that Jesus is with us, or to hear Jesus speak?

How do you recognise Jesus’ presence?

  • For some, Jesus is recognised in the speaking of the written word – the reading of the Bible – the word of God and the word made flesh – the word, spoken, written, translated and translational – the relationship between the written word, the spoken word and the living word: Jesus is here as the Gospel is proclaimed.
  • For some, Jesus is recognised in the bread broken and the wine outpoured. The living memorial, or even so far as the trans-substantial presence in the holy sacrament of Holy Communion, the Eucharist – this is the body of Christ, given for you…
  • For some, Jesus is recognised in the face of another. We are all made in the image of God – and it is frequently said, “no hands but these” … that the Church is the hands of Jesus at work in the power of the Holy Spirit.

There is truth to all these, that Jesus is present in the word, the sacrament, the body of the Church and through the power of the Holy Spirit. This mystery is mysterious indeed… In all my reading, I have found no definitive explanation of ‘how’ Jesus is present with us. The focus of previous theologians writing on this passage seems to be the comparison between the rabbinic understanding of how many people are needed for effective worship – usually believed to be ten or more… and what Jesus says… where two or three are gathered in my name.

So few. Where two… or three. Two people, gathered in the name of Jesus and the promise is that if we gather in his name we will be in his presence. And look at the broader context of Jesus’ words: conflict in the church. Jesus predicts disagreement, and invites us to gather and resolve it. The act of gathering, the act of seeking resolution, if done in the name of Jesus, will result in Jesus’ presence in the resolution of the conflict – if you seek resolution, and if you seek resolution in the name of Jesus.

… think for a moment about the challenge that faces us as a small Christian community… think about it in the context of the mustard seed or the yeast. The small thing which transforms something so much bigger

At the birth of the nation of Israel, as the Hebrew people are slaves under Pharaoh: there is no hope. Only Moses, with the promise that one day he will look back from the mountain top and see that God was at work. The Hebrews have seen the plagues and are witnessing firsthand that God is at work. Then the stuff that nightmares are made of… eat while dressed to run. Gird your loins. Eat some lamb and spread the blood on your doors – wherever there is the blood of the lamb I will pass over and spare that house says God.

The blood of the lamb.

We gather in the name of Jesus, the Son of the Most High, God the Son, Immanuel, God is with us… and God is with us. We received the sacrifice of the lamb of God… so few… such a remnant… and what is it that we are expecting? What are we praying for?

The Hebrews were praying for freedom, and for protection from death. The Hebrews were praying to have their own land, a promised land. What are we praying for?

  • I am praying that we will grow in the knowledge and love of God.
  • I am praying that we will grow in numbers – that every day God will add to our numbers those whom he is saving.

What are you praying for?

Are you praying that you will know God’s love in your life? That you will experience the presence of Jesus in your life? Are you praying for God’s blessing on yourself? I hope so – because those who ask, receive; and those who seek, find.

Are you praying for more people to know the love of God? If you are praying for God’s blessing on your own life, are you praying for God’s blessing on other people’s lives? Do you have anyone in mind?

I know that God has never forced me to become a Christian… so praying for other people is not about asking God to take away the freewill of others. Instead, think of it like this: you ask God for blessings in your life. Ask for God to bless your friends too. Don’t ask for something you don’t want… don’t ask for blessings you don’t really mean… ask for blessings which you really want. Don’t ask for other people to be converted to Christianity against their will: ask for people to know the love of God in their lives.

Ask for yourself to know the love of God in your life.
Ask for this in the name of Jesus…

We do this in private – where only God hears our prayers… but we ask for this in public. We ask for this today. We ask for this whenever at least two of us have gathered in prayer. If we genuinely want to see our churches grow, then perhaps it is time to ask Jesus in our prayers, regularly.

Let us pray: Jesus, help us to grow in the knowledge and love of God. Jesus, help us to grow as a Church.
We ask this not for our glory – but for your glory. Not for our benefit, but for the benefit of the world around us. Amen.

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.

Prayers of Intercession

If it will help, light a candle to represent our prayers, to shine a light in the world: a light of hope and not despair. A light to witness before God that we know we are not alone, those we love are not alone, and that we know God is with them.

You can light a virtual candle here on the Church of England website

We pray for growth in our Christian faith: in the knowledge and love of God, and that we will be drawn in to a closer relationship with God today. We pray for growth in our Church, for more people to be liberated by the love of God and to come to Church for God’s glory.

We hold before God the very real worries we have for those who are ill, with whatever condition, in mind body or spirit. We give thanks for all those who have dedicated themselves to helping others, and we remember those who we love but no longer see. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

The Peace

Although many of us are gathered in our homes
this physical distance is no distance to God
We may be apart, but we are gathered together and the Lord said:
‘Where two or three are gathered together in my name,’
there am I in the midst of them.’
The peace of the Lord be always with you
and also with you

The Eucharist

Home Communion

The Lord be with you
and also with you.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give thanks and praise.

It is right to praise you, Father, Lord of all creation;
in your love you made us for yourself.

When we turned away
you did not reject us,
but came to meet us in your Son.
You embraced us as your children
and welcomed us to sit and eat with you.

In Christ you shared our life
that we might live in him and he in us.
He opened his arms of love upon the cross
and made for all the perfect sacrifice for sin.

On the night he was betrayed,
at supper with his friends
he took bread, and gave you thanks;
he broke it and gave it to them, saying:
Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;
do this in remembrance of me.
Father, we do this in remembrance of him:
his body is the bread of life.

At the end of supper, taking the cup of wine,
he gave you thanks, and said:
Drink this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins;
do this in remembrance of me.
Father, we do this in remembrance of him:
his blood is shed for all.

As we proclaim his death and celebrate his rising in glory,
send your Holy Spirit that this bread and this wine
may be to us the body and blood of your dear Son.
As we eat and drink these holy gifts
make us one in Christ, our risen Lord.

With your whole Church throughout the world
we offer you this sacrifice of praise
and lift our voice to join the eternal song of heaven, saying:
Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

Lord’s Prayer

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 break this bread
to share in the body of Christ.
Though we are many, we are one body,
because we all share in one bread.

Agnus Dei

Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world,
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world,
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world,
grant us peace.

God’s holy gifts
for God’s holy people.
Jesus Christ is holy,
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

If you would like to eat a little bread at this point; reflect on the everlasting love of God, in Christ Jesus

Post Communion Prayer

God our creator,
you feed your children with the true manna,
the living bread from heaven:
let this holy food sustain us through our earthly pilgrimage
until we come to that place
where hunger and thirst are no more;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Almighty God,
we thank you for feeding us
with the body and blood of your Son Jesus Christ.
Through him we offer you our souls and bodies
to be a living sacrifice.
Send us out
in the power of your Spirit
to live and work
to your praise and glory.

The Blessing

The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen

© The Archbishops’ Council (2000) Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England (2000) (including the Psalter as published with Common Worship)


  1. Complicated readings today! Knowing the presence of God with us has been challenging without the routine of worship in church buildings, it’s good to have this online resource. Thank you

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