8th Sunday after Trinity

Welcome to our online service of Holy Communion, we hope you find this accessible. If there are any difficulties worshipping in this format, but you value the ability to join an online community, we would love to know what could be improved. Please telephone or email the Vicar, Graeme.

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.

Carol Holdsworth reads the Collect Prayer and Holy Scripture

The Bible is read for us today by Carol Holdsworth and if you would like to read along they are here following this link, or you may prefer a different version in your own Bible: Genesis 32: 22–31 and Matthew 14:13–21

Holy Communion on the 8th Sunday after Trinity

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

The Lord be with you
and also with you

Preparation

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.
Amen

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.
Amen

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.
Amen

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.
Amen

Collect

Let us pray:
Almighty Lord and everlasting God,
we beseech you to direct, sanctify and govern
both our hearts and bodies
in the ways of your laws
and the works of your commandments;
that through your most mighty protection, both here and ever,
we may be preserved in body and soul;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen

The Bible is read for us today by Carol Holdsworth and if you would like to read along they are here following this link, or you may prefer a different version in your own Bible: Genesis 32: 22–31 and Matthew 14:13–21

Sermon for the 8th Sunday after Trinity

May I speak in the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Lord, take these words and use them to lead us into a deeper relationship with you.

We have two perspectives on God in our Bible readings today.

  • God, in the form of an un-named man, wrestling with Jacob in the night.
  • Jesus, God the Son, healing and feeding five thousand.

As God wrestled with Jacob, rolling in the dirt, is it too hard to imagine the scene becoming stained black with dust? As Jacob fought through the night with this man: elbows, knees, hips and shoulders digging into the ground and grinding earth into the fabric of their clothes. To feel muscles tense and to feel the grip of hands not letting go – to wrap legs around a torso and to pin an opponent so they are trapped and cannot move… was this a play fight? Or was Jacob, who was about to cross back into the land where his brother Esau lives, was Jacob really fighting for his life? In the dark did he first fear that it was his brother?

The sweat. The dirt. The fear. An unknown assailant in the night. Is this the God we know and love? Is this God who we tell little children about in our bedtime stories?

I was in a fight at school once, wrestling with a boy my own age. I’ve torn through the knees of my trousers on the dirt and grit of the school playground. It wasn’t fun: there was fear and adrenaline coursing through my blood. I was hot with sweat and shaking with anger: anger at the injustice of an inconsequential slight I can no longer remember. As I read this story of Jacob and God wrestling, my biceps tense at the childhood memory of trying to overcome another person. I lost that fight with a bloody nose. I don’t remember saying a blessing or being blessed – I think teachers merely dragged grudging apologies from us.

In the Genesis story, Jacob fought all night, and then as day dawned demanded a blessing from his assailant. If Jacob had seen God in all his glory, he would have been utterly destroyed. God started this fight, but came to Jacob on equal terms. It was only as the night draws into the day that Jacob begins to understand who he is wrestling with. There was a shift in Jacob’s perspective, from a battle he can’t afford to lose, to an awareness that he is holding on to God. An awareness that doesn’t want to let God go. The fear is gone and God is in Jacob’s arms: and Jacob hangs on to God.

It seems God is aware that when daylight comes Jacob will not be able to see God and live – and he blesses Jacob.

Look for comparison at the Gospel… “now when Jesus heard this…”

Jesus had just heard that his friend and relative, John the Baptist, has been killed by Herod. Jesus took a boat to find somewhere to be alone. And the crowds followed him… What were they looking for? A fight? Did they expect Jesus to rally the troops, to give some stirring speech and to muster an army to get revenge on Herod?

Jesus response is utterly unexpected: He had compassion on them and healed those among them who were sick. From the moment his boat landed, to the early evening, imagine the numbers – five thousand – imagine the level of sickness and disease among the people. Jesus had set aside time to mourn and allow the grief for his cousin to flow in tears – and yet he is interrupted by people in need.

How do the people respond? They hold on to Jesus. They cling to him in the countryside. They have come completely unprepared for what lies ahead – but unconcerned for their own safety, for their own hunger, they cling to Jesus where they have found him.

And Jesus blesses them.

Jacob gave everything he physically had to cling onto God – holding on to God with all his might.
The people cling to Jesus with everything they have. Jesus disciples, his followers, give him everything they have – holding nothing back. Two fish. Five loaves. Plenty for themselves and they give it all to Jesus. He blesses it and in turn blesses the crowds who have come for one thing and found another.

I could draw comparisons about the life of the church and the life of the world around us. I could talk about blessed to be a blessing. I could talk about God taking what we have and blessing it. But I don’t want to. I want to look at God, who comes to us in weakness, and cling on to him. I don’t want to let him go.

What I expected when I first came looking for Jesus is not what I found when I met him. The God I thought I knew – the God of my childhood stories is not the God who I cling to with all my strength. The real surprise when I do this just knocks me off my feet.

It isn’t me that clings to God.

It is God that clings to me.

It is God who comes to us in weakness. And will not let us go.

Will not let you go.

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.
Amen

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 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

Holy Communion
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.
Amen.

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

Strengthen for service, Lord,
the hands that have taken holy things;
may the ears which have heard your word
be deaf to clamour and dispute;
may the tongues which have sung your praise be free from deceit;
may the eyes which have seen the tokens of your love
shine with the light of hope;
and may the bodies which have been fed with your body
be refreshed with the fullness of your life;
glory to you for ever.
Amen

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.
Amen.

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.
Amen.

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)