A Service of Communion for Ordinary Time
In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you and also with you.
Prayer of Preparation
Sit or Kneel
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.
Prayers of Penitence
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.
All 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.
Most merciful God,
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
we confess that we have sinned
in thought, word and deed.
We have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.
In your mercy
forgive what we have been,
help us to amend what we are,
and direct what we shall be;
that we may do justly,
and walk humbly with you, our God.
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. Amen.
The Collect for the Eighth Sunday after Trinity 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 Liturgy of the Word Psalm 145
10 All your works praise you, O Lord, •
and your faithful servants bless you.
11 They tell of the glory of your kingdom •
and speak of your mighty power,
12 To make known to all peoples your mighty acts •
and the glorious splendour of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; •
your dominion endures throughout all ages.
14 The Lord is sure in all his words •
and faithful in all his deeds.
15 The Lord upholds all those who fall •
and lifts up all those who are bowed down.
16 The eyes of all wait upon you, O Lord, •
and you give them their food in due season.
17 You open wide your hand •
and fill all things living with plenty.
18 The Lord is righteous in all his ways •
and loving in all his works.
19 The Lord is near to those who call upon him, •
to all who call upon him faithfully.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end Amen
New Testament reading Ephesians 3.14-end
For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Hymn may be played
Gospel Reading John 6.1-21
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, one God, who was, and who is, and who is to come, the Almighty. cf Revelation 1.8
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.
Glory to you, O Lord.
After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming towards him, Jesus said to Philip, ‘Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat? He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, ‘Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, ‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?’ Jesus said, ‘Make the people sit down.’ Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, ‘Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.’ So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, ‘This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.’
When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, got into a boat, and started across the lake to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The lake became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the lake and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’ Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land towards which they were going.
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.
I love this reading as it is one that most people know, even those who have never come to church. We see it as containing two of Jesus’ miracles – walking on water and somehow managing to feed 5000 people. It is a reading that we often dismiss as a children’s story – somehow trying to tell us something, we are not quite sure exactly what; but certainly, that there was not suddenly as if by magic; enough food to feed 5000 people when moments before there were just five loaves and two fish.
I said that we see this reading containing two miracles, but in fact there are three and the first one we gloss over - so what is the first miracle in this reading? Answer “A large crowd kept following him….”
The first miracle is one that we can understand as humans – it requires no faith or belief in the supernatural – in fact in attempting to engage with the two other miracles in this reading, we miss the easiest for us to understand. We can understand it because we do it each day, each Sunday. We follow Jesus because he speaks to us.
What is truly wonderful is not that a (seemingly) human being could multiply loaves and fishes, but that this man without television, newspapers, social media or any of the mass communication mediums we have today, could inspire thousands of people to follow him – physically follow him even across a sea! That this man could represent such hope, such healing, such love that people would follow him about to such an extent that in another part of the bible we learn that Jesus had to go out to sea a little in order not be crushed and so that he could be heard by such a large crowd.
The fact that people followed Jesus then, and still follow Him today is the first miracle. If we understand that, then we can start to engage with the rest of the reading. When we understand that miracle then our conversations about problems that seem so huge that they cannot be ‘fixed’ become different.
We all sometimes feel that what is the point of engaging with some of the major problems in our world today, the homeless people for example? Do we ignore it because we cannot fix it; after all it is too big a problem for us to affect? Do we attempt to do something that we can label as Mission and use it to increase our profile within the community, because in being seen to ‘do good’ we may attract people to the church? Do we immediately turn to our treasurer and our accounts to try to figure out what we might be able to do to financially support?
There is another way of looking at overwhelming problems, and that is one of the messages from today’s reading. How do we feed these 5000 people?
We do the small things that are in front of us. We just have to do the little things.
Jesus tells his disciples to ask everyone to sit down. He then takes the loaves and the fishes, and he starts to hand them out. From that small step, from that tiny start He then feeds the 5000. He did not just feed them – first He gave thanks – he prayed – and then He fed them in abundance. He fed them until they were satisfied. In fact, so much that there were leftovers – 12 baskets!
In this miracle Jesus has offered us a pattern of how we may approach those things that are too much, too big, too difficult for us.
We start with the most important, we give thanks and we pray. We do this each and every week we meet; we pray for the world, for its needs, for His church, we pray for each other and for those in need. We give thanks.
The next step is to start to feed people. Feed people with the love and knowledge of Jesus. Feed people until they are satisfied, until there is too much to go around. With enough knowledge and with enough love of Christ then these enormous issues will start to be tackled. We do not always know how; there is not a project plan with a Gant chart with neat deadline dates and milestones that need to be met along the way. We cannot measure the performance of this sharing of the knowledge and love of Christ. But we know, because Jesus tells us and because we have faith, that in the end all things will be well.
This is all very well in theory I know; but what does this look like in the world today?
A few years ago whilst I was training at Vicar School we saw the horrendous, heart breaking pictures and videos from Calais of refugees gathered on the coast of France trying to get to the UK in a camp that became known as the Jungle. The big international aid agencies were essentially banned from helping and the French and British governments were trying to do everything they could to break up the large camp that had been established – they succeeded in the end and dispersed 10,000 desperate people along the Calais – Dunkirk coast.
The question was what could we do? What could we hope to do for 10,000 people in another country? We started with prayer. We gave thanks for Jesus in our lives and then we started doing the small things in front of us. One of my colleagues in the year above me was a Paramedic working in London and he and a few friends began collecting toiletries, some good second-hand clothing and other useful items that would support these people in need. He, some friends, and other colleagues on our course drove out to Calais every weekend risking arrest, and distributed these gifts to those in real need. Being a senior paramedic, he had contacts and was able to source vaccines which were paid for using retiring collections from our Vicar School services and at churches local to us and he would spend his day vaccinating the refugees in an attempt to reduce the disease levels.
What we/he was doing was a tiny scratch in the problem in front of us, but we continued to do the small things. Many other people were doing small things as we were, and over time those small things started to add up supporting people on the ground trying their best to make an impossible situation better.
They did it through prayer, through love and through the small things in front of them. In yesterday’s paper the figure of 22,000 refugees waiting to try to get to the UK was given – The multiple small aid projects are essential in loving and supporting these people, irrespective of what our personal views on immigration are!
Locally to us Goldington Church have launched an initiative to help those who were living on the streets before COVID who have been living in hotels and hostels, and are now moving out to begin lives in homes of their own, starting from scratch – The Initiative is called Dwell-Well and they are looking for good second-hand household goods, with kitchen products and toiletries etc. to make packs up to give theses people a start. We as a PCC are exploring this further to see what we can do, and in the next few months we will be asking for your support in donating your unwanted (but usable) household goods to the cause – We will find out more details and invite their Curate Rev Marcus who is heading up this project to come and talk to us. We are not dropping our support for foodbanks they are still vital to many - but maybe we can look to help others too in a small, different way
Miracles happen every day if we Pray and do the small things in front of us. Amen
The Creed Let us affirm our faith in the words of the 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
Lord, in your mercy
All hear our prayer.
Lord, throughout our lives we hunger and thirst for you, we long for you; we look for you; nothing in this world can fill us unless you come to us. Lord we will perish, we will sink amid the storms unless you uphold us, come enfold us with your peace O Christ our Lord – Amen
Lord in all of life you provide for us, you feed us, you support us, you love us you fill us with the glory of your presence. Lord as we have greatly received, may we share with others, may we share the Good News and share our prosperity. We pray for your church in this Parish as we continue our journey along the way to you, that we may travel the road as caring companions, generous in heart, walking together in hope and joy, with your love in our hearts. Lord in your mercy
Creator God, bless all who provide for our needs: we pray for all farmers and fishermen of the world, especially in areas where crops have failed, and we pray for all who have suffered through storms and disasters. We pray for all who have been affected by natural disasters thinking this morning of the people of Northern Europe, especially those in Germany and Belgium who have experience the most extensive and destructive flooding in recent weeks. We give thanks for the emergency services, the armed forces and all “First Responders” as they battle with the elements and appalling conditions to serve their and our neighbours in this their time of need. Lord in your mercy
Lord we pray for all who are without resources, homes where there is hunger and poverty, places even in this country where people suffer from malnutrition. We pray for your guidance for all who are experiencing severe by debt as a result of the effects of the pandemic, we pray for those who have had their homes repossessed. We pray for our homes that they may be centres of love, acceptance and welcome; bless our families and our friends and our communities, that they may be places of joy, peace, hope and Love Lord in your mercy..
We pray for all who are storm- tossed at this time, for all who are struggling to survive. Lord be with those who feel they can no longer cope alone, for the fearful and the anxious; may they feel the comfort of your reassuring presence near them and have the courage to place their hand in yours. We bring before God those who we know who are ill, giving thanks for those who treat or nurse them; we pray for their loved ones who hold them in their hearts. we remember in our prayers today those who we know who are ill and need our prayers at this time, especially for Richard, Marion, and Keith. We remember those in our congregation who are residing in assisted accommodation at this time for Sally, Ruth, we give thanks for the care workers supporting them. Father surround all who are ill or suffering today with your healing Love. Lord in your mercy…
We remember all who have gone beyond the storms of life who are now at peace in your eternal presence. As we miss their physical presence, we thank you for the gift of their lives and the love we shared. We bring before God those who we know and love who we see no longer – we also remember before God those whose anniversary of their passing falls at this time - May they find the fullness of your eternity, be flooded with the light of your love and experience the blessing of your peace. Lord in your mercy.
And finally we offer before God ourselves, bringing our cares, our worries, our angers and our joys at this time. – Lord may we feel your presence near us and be guided by your Holy Spirit within us as we live and work to your praise and glory
Merciful Father, accept these prayers
for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
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 triune God be always with you and also with you.
A Hymn may be played
Prayer at the preparation of the Table
Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation:
through your goodness we have this bread to set before you,
which earth has given and human hands have made.
It will become for us the bread of life.
Blessed be God for ever.
Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation:
through your goodness we have this wine to set before you,
fruit of the vine and work of human hands.
It will become for us the cup of salvation.
Blessed be God for ever.
The Lord is here.
His Spirit is with us.
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 indeed right, it is our duty and our joy,
at all times and in all places to give you thanks and praise,
holy Father, heavenly King, almighty and eternal God,
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.
For he is your living Word; through him you have created all things from the beginning and formed us in your own image.
Through him you have freed us from the slavery of sin,
giving him to be born of a woman and to die upon the cross;
you raised him from the dead and exalted him to your right hand on high.
Through him you have sent upon us your holy and life-giving Spirit
and made us a people for your own possession.
Therefore, with angels and archangels,
and with all the company of heaven,
we proclaim your great and glorious name,
for ever praising you and saying:
Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
[Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.]
Accept our praises, heavenly Father,
through your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ,
and as we follow his example and obey his command,
grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit
these gifts of bread and wine
may be to us his body and his blood;
who, in the same night that he was betrayed,
took bread and gave you thanks;
he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying:
Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;
do this in remembrance of me.
In the same way, after supper
he took the cup and gave you thanks;
he gave it to them, saying:
Drink this, all of you;
this is my blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this, as often as you drink it,
in remembrance of me.
Therefore, heavenly Father,
we remember his offering of himself
made once for all upon the cross;
we proclaim his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension;
we look for the coming of your kingdom,
and with this bread and this cup
we make the memorial of Christ your Son our Lord.
Great is the mystery of faith:
Christ has died,
Christ is risen;
Christ will come again.
Accept through him, our great high priest,
this our sacrifice of thanks and praise,
and as we eat and drink these holy gifts
in the presence of your divine majesty,
renew us by your Spirit,
inspire us with your love
and unite us in the body of your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Through him, and with him, and in him,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
with all who stand before you in earth and heaven,
we worship you, Father almighty,
in songs of everlasting praise:
All Blessing and honour and glory and power
be yours for ever and ever. Amen.
Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us
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.
Breaking of the Bread
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.
Jesus, Lamb of God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, bearer of our sins, have mercy on us.
Jesus, redeemer of the world, grant us peace
Giving of Communion
Draw near with faith.
Receive the body of our Lord Jesus Christ
which he gave for you,
and his blood which he shed for you.
Eat and drink
in remembrance that he died for you,
and feed on him in your hearts by faith with thanksgiving.
We do not presume
to come to this your table, merciful Lord,
trusting in our own righteousness,
but in your manifold and great mercies.
We are not worthy
so much as to gather up the crumbs under your table.
But you are the same Lord
whose nature is always to have mercy.
Grant us therefore, gracious Lord,
so to eat the flesh of your dear Son Jesus Christ
and to drink his blood,
that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body
and our souls washed through his most precious blood,
and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen.
The Body and Blood of Christ - Amen
The congregation receive communion respecting social distancing protocol.
Prayer after Communion
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
Father of all,
we give you thanks and praise,
that when we were still far off
you met us in your Son and brought us home.
Dying and living, he declared your love,
gave us grace, and opened the gate of glory.
May we who share Christ’s body live his risen life;
we who drink his cup bring life to others;
we whom the Spirit lights give light to the world.
Keep us firm in the hope you have set before us,
so we and all your children shall be free,
and the whole earth live to praise your name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.
A Hymn may be played
The peace of God, which surpasses 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. Amen.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen.
Copyright acknowledgement: Some material used in this service is copyright The Archbishops Council; Common Worship and Common Worship Times & Seasons 2002 & 2006; Intercessions based on traces of Glory, David Adam, SPK,1999
CCLI Number 804157