4th Sunday after Trinity

This is our first Sunday offering ‘Gathered Worship’ in our church buildings and we don’t yet know how it will go. We humbly hope and trust that God will guide us in worship and that what we offer with our hearts, souls, minds and strength will be acceptable. We will be lighting candles in memory of all those we love who are not able to be with us, those who continue to isolate, those who are unwell, and those we love but no longer see.

We are trying to follow the guidelines of the Church of England and the Diocese of Leeds, but we need everyone to take responsibility to look after each other’s safety. We will be aiming to keep 2m apart, or 1m plus some form of extra protection. Communion will be in only one kind – the wafer of bread alone – and we are not yet planning to sing hymns.

Despite this, many of our congregation will not feel ready to return to St Bartholomew’s and St James’ Churches yet. To help those who have found the website and the printed letters helpful, these will continue.

Here on the website, I’m experimenting with a pre-recorded version of the service: this Soundcloud audio file has a recording of Revd Graeme Holdsworth taking Holy Communion and the words are reproduced below to follow along with responses in bold… our readings and the Collect prayer are read by Barbara

Barbara Swift reads the Bible and Collect Prayer
Parish Eucharist for St Bartholomew’s and St James’ in Marsden and Slaithwaite
© The Archbishops’ Council (2000) Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England (2000)
(including the Psalter as published with Common Worship)

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.


Let us pray:
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.

Readings from Holy Scripture which may be found here, or in your favourite translation of the Bible. (Genesis 24:34–38, 42–49, 58–67 followed by Matthew 11:16–19, 25–30)

Sermon for the 4th Sunday after Trinity

Jesus said, ‘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.’

This is one of my favourite good news sayings of Jesus. The idea that there is a rest from carrying heavy burdens when we spend time with God. There are some really lovely examples of Jesus backing this up too. Such as that great moment when Martha is busy working while Mary sits at Jesus’ feet. “Martha, Martha,” says Jesus, “Mary has chosen the better part.” Mary has taken Jesus’ yoke upon her and is learning at his feet.

I love the idea that God wants us to find rest. This is such good news – I wish I could share it with more people. I long to live the promises of Jesus so that my behaviour speaks as loudly as my words. Come to Jesus, all you who are weary.

The idea of finding rest in God is not new. In fact the very first Bible story, the creation story, is an invitation into God’s rest. Notice that in the creation story, God is at work, towards the end, God creates humanity and we get to play at naming all the things God has created… and then God creates the Sabbath… the ceasing… the stop… the rest, and God calls this rest Holy. We are invited into God’s rest, and there is no evening to the seventh day… God’s rest is available for the world today.

So why does life, the universe and everything feel like such hard work? Is there something of the ‘fall of humanity’ in our busyness?

I have worked in some highly efficient and productive environments. I know what is involved bringing a new idea to market. I have followed, and still sometimes read – interviews with effective business leaders. I listened to a brilliant podcast with the CEO of Starbucks telling how their business has ridden the Coronavirus storm around the world. We could emulate all this here in the Colne Valley. We could – with the right motivation, hard work and positive mental attitude – we could build a highly effective church – an example to others of just how much can be achieved with hard work. But I wonder, in all my busyness – what room have I made for God?

The real test, the test that has been true from Abraham to Moses to Jesus and to us… the real test is. Do we trust God?

We have a house to build. But it is God’s house, not ours. God doesn’t live in temples, but in our hearts. As we grow in the knowledge and love of God… a burden which is easy and light… as we trust in God… as we rest in God… the peace and joy which we will find will shine from us so brightly.

For me, my Sabbath rest is to let go be being responsible. For one day a week at least, I let go of my responsibilities to be a Vicar. I hand over my job to God, and I know that God’s hands are better hands than mine. My Sabbath is to let go of being responsible. To be irresponsible. And that is a holy thing. To be irresponsibly holy… to be holy irresponsible. My holy invitation to you is the same: to give God’s rest a chance. To accept Jesus’ invitation to rest.

It is quite possible that as we rest, God will use our rest as an invitation to the world…
‘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.’ said Jesus.

Pause… then we affirm our faith in the words of 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

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. 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

The Peace

Peace to you from God our heavenly Father
Peace from his Son Jesus Christ who is our peace
Peace from the Holy Spirit, the life-giver
The peace of the Lord be always with you
and also with you

The Eucharist

The preparation of the table

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.

In St James’ (11:15am) and St Bartholomew’s (9:15am) Church buildings 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.

Post Communion Prayer

O God, whose beauty is beyond our imagining
and whose power we cannot comprehend:
show us your glory as far as we can grasp it,
and shield us from knowing more than we can bear
until we may look upon you without fear;
through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

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 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. Thank you for a beautiful service , even though I can’t be in church today , I feel blessed and renewed in Gods love , and I am thankful for all that you do Rev.Holdsworth .

  2. I was hoping to be in church but couldn’t make it, thank you for this Graeme and Barbara

Comments are closed.