Virtual Services

15th Sunday after Trinity – 20th September 2020

Welcome

Welcome to everyone taking part in this our weekly act of worship together.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace

Today’s morning praise is different from what we have been used to in the past. Not least because we cannot sing, although we will listen to some worship songs. However there will be plenty for you to participate in. The words of the service are on the screen both here and if you are watching at home. Please join in with the words written in bold. If you have got your bingo sheet with you remember to use them in the talk, but remember it is just for fun don’t shout out when you have completed it, in case you wake me up..

Notices reminder that the AGM will take place on 11th October. Both of our church wardens have completed their 3 year term of office and will be leaving the post. There are vacancies for 2 churchwardens and 4 members of the PCC. Please prayerfully  consider if you are being called to serve in one of these roles. Nominations should be with the PCC secretary by Sunday 4th of October.

Words of preparation.

We have come together in the name of Christ
To offer our praise and thanksgiving
To hear and receive God’s holy word,
To pray for the needs of the world,
And to seek the forgiveness of our sins,
 that by the power of the Holy Spirit
we may give ourselves to the service of God.

All: We come from scattered lives to meet with God.

Let us recognize his presence with us.

Silence is kept.

As God’s people we have gathered:

let us worship him together. 

Worship

Confession

Jesus said “before you offer your gift, go and be reconciled” . As sisters and brothers in God’s family’
We come together to ask our Father for forgiveness

We have not always worshipped God, our creator.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
We have not always followed Christ, our Saviour.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
We have not always trusted in the Spirit, our guide.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
You made us to be one family,
yet we have divided humanity.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
You were born a Jew to reconcile all people,
yet we have brought disharmony amongst races.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
You rejoice in our differences,
yet we make them a cause of enmity.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
We confess to you
our lack of care for the world you have given us.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
We confess to you
our selfishness in not sharing the earth’s bounty fairly.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
We confess to you
our failure to protect resources for others.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
We confess to you our selfishness and lack of love:
fill us with your Spirit.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
We confess to you our fear and failure in sharing our faith:
fill us with your Spirit.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
We confess to you our stubbornness and lack of trust:
fill us with your Spirit.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

May God who loved the world so much
That he sent his Son to be our Saviour
forgive us our sins
and make us holy to serve him in the world,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

Words of Thanks and praise.

Father, you gave up your Son for us all.
You give us all things with him;
you call us, justify us, glorify us.
Father in heaven
we give you thanks and praise.
Jesus Christ died, was raised to life,
and pleads for us at your right hand.
Who can separate us from your love?
Father in heaven
we give you thanks and praise.
For your sake we face death all day long.
In your world we face trouble and hardship,
persecution, famine, nakedness, danger and death.
Father in heaven
we give you thanks and praise.
But nothing separates us from your love:
neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future,
nor any heavenly powers,
neither the world above nor the world below:
nothing in all creation can separate us
from your love in Jesus Christ.
Father in heaven
we give you thanks and praise.
In all these things we are more than conquerors
through him who loves us,
and has freed us from our sins
and made us a kingdom and priests
to serve you for ever,
with all the company of heaven, saying:
Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
cf Romans 8.23–39

Word

21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labour for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

Life worthy of the gospel

27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit,[a] striving together as one for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved – and that by God. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

Philippians 1
21-30

The parable of the workers in the vineyard

20 ‘For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius[a] for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

‘About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the market-place doing nothing. He told them, “You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” So they went.

‘He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, “Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?”

‘“Because no one has hired us,” they answered.

‘He said to them, “You also go and work in my vineyard.”

‘When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, “Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.”

‘The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 “These who were hired last worked only one hour,” they said, “and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.”

13 ‘But he answered one of them, “I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?”

16 ‘So the last will be first, and the first will be last.’

Matthew
20:1-16

The apostle Paul had been arrested in Jerusalem and falsely accused of taking a gentile into a prohibited area of the Jewish temple. Paul knew his rights as a roman citizen and so He appealed to Caesar and was sent to Rome in chains .It was at some point  during the two years he was under house arrest  in Rome  chained 24/7 to a Roman soldier whilst  awaiting trial that he wrote this personal letter to the church in Philippi .Epaphroditus had brought a monetary gift to Paul from the Philippians and was returning to Philippi, so Paul wrote to the members of his first church plant in mainland Europe. This warm  joyful letter would be an   encouragement  to them during  the difficulties they faced.  The letter has been called the letter of radiance amid the storms and stresses of life.  Paul  is suffering for his faith ,imprisoned He is facing a lonely future, judgement is imminent and there is a real possibility of execution.  Yet despite the situation he finds himself in ,his  letter is full of joy, rejoicing and thanksgiving, demonstrating that Christian can be passionate for Christ regardless of the circumstances.

Paul’s Joy came from knowing Christ personally and trusting in Christ’s strength rather than his own. His joy did not rely on his  outward circumstances, what he did or did not have, or what he was  experiencing, but on knowing Christ within him. Paul’s  Joy was the peace that came from knowing that no matter what happened Christ was  there with him.  We too can have joy, even in difficult times.

Paul was aware that the Philippians were suffering for their faith and so to help  support and strengthen them he shares his experience as a prisoner for Christ’s sake. He rejoices in the fact that through it  his calling in life to advance the gospel  is being fulfilled. The Greek word translated in v22 as advance actually means ‘advancement in spite of obstructions and dangers which would block the path of the traveller’ This was not only Paul’s calling, as Christians it is also our God given  task .

This week I received a letter from The London Institute  for contemporary  Christianity. It began

“When you find a vaccine that works … you manufacture it. When you find a truth that liberates… you tell everyone you can. When you know that probably less than five percent  of God’s people have heard that truth….it makes it urgent. When the truth is as central, joyous, and life- transforming as the reality that Christ gave his life not only to save us but out of his desire to participate in every aspect of our lives….it makes it vital.”

That it quite a challenge . But we cannot keep the truth about Christ to ourselves We cannot say now is not the right time I can’t do anything at the moment  . Social distancing, the local lockdown, my self isolation makes it impossible . . We cannot wait for the current pandemic to be over.

Paul was in lockdown for two years , but that did not deter him. He didn’t say I can’t do anything at the moment. I’’ll wait until I’m released. He spoke to those he was able to and wrote letters to others

Paul tells how his opponents have been unable to imprison the gospel message. In fact His imprisonment has had the opposite of it’s intended effect. Being Chained to a different soldier every 4 hours had given Paul the opportunity to tell others about Christ.  , All the soldiers  and everyone else now knew that he was in prison because of the Messiah. That had piqued their curiosity, and they had sought to   learn more about Christ.  Not only that, but the Christian’s in Rome  had become far more sure of themselves in the faith and were fearlessly speaking out about Christ.

Unfortunately some were doing so for the wrong motive. Those people  who regarded Paul as competition for their status within the church were preaching  the gospel for their own  self  aggrandisement. The majority  however,  were preaching Christ with the best heart , motivated by pure love wanting to help Paul who they knew was defending the Gospel of Christ .

Paul couldn’t care less about a persons motives whether good , bad or indifferent.  He rejoiced because the message about Christ was being preached. Paul’s purpose in life was to know Christ, to become more and more like him and to make Christ known to others. As he said in v21 “For To me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Paul was not afraid of death. Like many persecuted Christian’s throughout the ages threatened with death he regarded death as the key which unlocks the door to our eternal true happiness in the presence of Christ.

We do not face imprisonment,  torture or death  because of our faith. Yet the pressures of life along with  our fears of unpopularity, mockery, or social isolation can and all too frequently do prevent us from advancing the gospel. It isn’t the enemies of Christ who imprison the gospel message, sadly  it is those Christian’s who keep the gospel truth confined  to themselves or within their own Christian fellowship. We think we don’t have the time or the situation is not right. But now is the time when the possibilities for spreading the gospel are enormous and the opportunities are right where we are.We cant wait for a time that seems right for us, a time when we are not chained to our jobs, a time when we are released from our family commitments . We can’t say we are too busy, too old or too young . Everyone of us can have an impact. Now is the time for us to achieve what Paul said  he desired for the church in Philippi in v25. Now is the time for us to  grow and experience the joy of our faith. The same joy that Paul had experienced throughout the troubles he faced

That joy comes from a truth that liberates us, releases us and frees us from the shackles of worldly expectations . That joy comes from knowing we have been redeemed by the death of Christ. That joy  comes from the contentment of knowing that Christ is with us in every aspect of our lives. That joy comes from the freedom of relying on Christ’s strength to achieve his purposes rather than our own.

If we have not  experienced that joy we canonly grow by trusting in Christ and taking a step in faith to speak about our Lord. If we have experienced that joy  then what is stopping us from being resolute in sharing the good news with others. For it is when we stand  firm in our faith and behave as the citizens of heaven that we are,  undeterred by the circumstances we face , not intimidated by  those who are against us that others will see that we are truly saved by God and will want to know Christ. After all you wouldn’t hesitate to introduce someone to your closest friend would you?

1. When did you last talk about Jesus Christ to someone who did not already believe in Him?
2.What is it that prevents you from advancing the gospel where you are at work?when you are socialising? When you are going about your normal weekly routines.? Pray for the peace to rely on Christ’s strength to enable you to advance the gospel.

Witness

Prayers

Almighty and ever living God

We thank you for your redeeming love and grace to us.

We thank you for the gift of your Son

That through his death and resurrection  we have been reconciled to you

May our prayers be ever thankful and our hearts full of joy

May we rejoice and give thanks for all your goodness to us  whatever our circumstances.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

 

Lord we pray for the world you created.

At this time of global pandemic, global warming ,political uncertainty, conflict and mass migration

We pray for the governments of all the countries of the world. Lord we ask that you will give them

 wisdom  to work together for the good of all peoples, to work for peace,  to truly and impartially

 minister justice, to care for the planet  and stop polluting and destroying your incredible diverse and

 beautiful creation.   , to provide for the poor, the refugees and those affected by disease.

 

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

 

Lord we pray for your church, for all Christian denominations  that we will continue to  advance your true and life giving word.

 We pray for our diocese of Sheffield

Renew us  as we make your love known

Release us to share freely in mission

Rejuvenate us to be fruitful in your service

Give us courage, wisdom and compassion

That strengthened through the Holy Spirit

We may both flourish and grow.

 

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

 we urgently and fervently ask you Lord because of your love for mankind to comfort, assist and provide for all those who are in trouble , sorrow, need, sickness, or any other adversity

We pray for our community of Totley, our places of work, our schools ,our shops, our gathering places, that each place may have wisdom in their responses to the guidance and rules around  Covid- 19. We ask that we may reveal God’s presence in these places by the way we look after and  interact with those we meet. Help us to stand  firm in our faith undeterred by the circumstances we may face.

Lord in your Mercy

Hear our prayer and make us one in heart and mind to serve you with joy forever

Amen

Closing prayers

God, you are everything to us,
giving us life,
filling us with love,
and setting us free from sin
that we might live in you.
Accept the work of our hands,
take our lives,
give us your peace
and renew us in the service of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

Community

The community of S17 has drawn together during these unusual times in a very special way. This is reflected in the great work of the S17 COVID-19 Community Support group.

The group aims to support those in the community who may be in need and to provide a support network to the S17 community at this time.

“If there are needy people in our community let’s ensure we help them out with things like bringing shopping to their door.”

The Wardens of All Saints Totley have been producing regular newsletters with helpful links, thoughts and resources. The latest of these is here.

We have also started to add resources for the younger members of our church, to add to this virtual service. They can be found here, and here.

Blessing and Dismissal

Closing prayers

God, you are everything to us,
giving us life,
filling us with love,
and setting us free from sin
that we might live in you.
Accept the work of our hands,
take our lives,
give us your peace
and renew us in the service of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

We say the Grace together

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all,
now and evermore.
Amen.

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

 

Reminder

If you have any feedback on this service or any other ideas, suggestions or contributions, for future services please do send these to comments@allsaintstotley.church

There are also the sermons available from the Bishop’s senior staff here: https://www.sheffield.anglican.org/video-sermons.