Virtual Services

17th Sunday after Trinity – 4th October 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

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 today!

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

If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ – the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ – yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, 14 I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3
4b-14

The parable of the tenants
33 ‘Listen to another parable: there was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall round it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.

35 ‘The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them in the same way. 37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. “They will respect my son,” he said.

38 ‘But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, “This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.” 39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

40 ‘Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’

41 ‘He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,’ they replied, ‘and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.’

42 Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the Scriptures:

‘“The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
the Lord has done this,
and it is marvellous in our eyes”[h]?

43 ‘Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. 44 Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.’[i]

45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. 46 They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet

Matthew 21
33-46

Who or what are you confident to put your trust in because they have helped to make you   the person you are? How do they shape what is important to you in your life as a Christian ? Sadly in a materialistic society It is all too easy to place our hopes and confidence for the future  in the wrong things.

Here is a story to illustrate this

Imagine you are living alone on an island  in a house  overlooking the sea . Sadly the island  is being ravaged by forest fires which are getting closer every day . Across the sea on the horizon you can see the bright lights of a city which lies on the coast of the mainland. You don’t own a boat, No one is coming to save you, if you cannot get off the island you will be destroyed. Then one day you see a small open boat beached on the sand . You go and examine the boat. It is watertight, and  has a small outboard motor even a set of oars. Now you can get to the shining city. But before setting off, reluctant to leave things behind that might make life easier  when you get to the city,  you cram the boat with as many precious and valuable  things as possible. You push the boat out to sea and slowly make headway towards  the shining city. The boat sits low in the water weighed down by all the things that you  have put your future hopes in.  Even though   the sea is calm it is difficult to stay on course and progress is worryingly slow . All too soon the sea becomes rough, the waves are lapping over the sides of the boat, although you are furiously  bailing water from  the boat  it is in danger of sinking. There isn’t a life jacket and it’s too  far to swim to the city. The choice is simple  jettison the stuff you brought with you or drown. With each bit of  baggage you  throw overboard the boat rises in the water and seems to travel faster. It also  becomes easier to maintain course and even though waves get larger  less water is coming into the boat. When there is just you left  in the boat even   a storm is raging the boat stays dry ,  fixed on course , making good speed and you are confident of being carried  safely to the shining city.

The church in Philippi was founded by people from both  Jewish and non  Jewish( gentile)  religious  traditions. Consequently there were differing attitudes and opinions on what could confidently be considered  as  true faithful observance.  Some people were advocating continuing certain practices and customs from their  previous religion.

 Paul refers to those Christians who wanted to maintain belief and trust in Jewish practices as dogs because devout Jews  disparagingly referred to gentiles as dogs As a one time meticulous observer of the laws of Moses Paul  listed all of  his Jewish  credentials , privileges,  and achievements . However, on coming to know Jesus he realised that  these  things that had previously been very precious to him along with everything else  he once placed his confidence in and proudly took  took credit for  should be discarded, given up, literally thrown overboard for the sake of knowing Christ. Compared to the high privilege of really knowing Jesus Christ and being shaped by him everything else he once thought he had going for him he now regarded as  insignificant worthless refuse literally dog dung.   When   our   confidence and  assurance  in our salvation comes from outward signs of   our righteousness   then we are sunk. Misplaced faith in  Keeping to lists of traditional rules ,religiously hanging on to  set  procedures, customs ,practises and behaviours will not make us right with God. Righteousness  is a gift from God which gives us confidence for today and the future . It comes from our relationship with God’s Son  Jesus Christ ,our willingness to freely follow him and be shaped by  our Lord and Master. God’s righteousness and our confidence in our salvation  comes from believing in and  trusting  Christ.

So r do I know Christ personally, does he influence me through the week, the way I think, the reactions I have, the behaviours I adopt, , the concern I have for others

Or do I only  know the stories  about Jesus, what he did, where and when he did it .Do I hear about him for an hour every Sunday but apart from that he doesn’t play a role in my life. Is the life boat God has sent me weighed down by things I have falsely put my hope and trust in and am reluctant to throw overboard.

 Paul declares that like him  our Christian ambition should be  to really  know Jesus. For Paul knowing Jesus was the most  valuable use of his energy. Nothing was worth more  than knowing Jesus and to be  known as his.   For Paul confidence in salvation comes from living a   life that is centred on Jesus Christ. He wanted to experience the power of the Holy Spirit in daily life, to put to death the self centred life that is natural to us and be willing to face difficulty and hardship so that  God might use him to take the gospel of salvation to other people . He wanted to rise above sin and selfishness  so that he could  be a  more effective agent for spreading the gospel of Christ to the glory of God.

Paul who never lacked the assurance that he was a child of God admits that he has by no means achieved his ambition .

To describe his intense desire for  spiritual growth towards perfection Paul uses the powerful imagery of a foot race

Picture the ancient Stadium with its tiers of seats for spectators .The 180m   course for laid  out  in a straight line along the  length of  the stadium. Near the entrance the contestants stripped  for the race and were assigned  their places on a stone threshold .There the contestant stood, bodies bent forward one hand touching the threshold waiting for the starting cord to be dropped. At that moment they leap forward.. They are off running naked, no spikes or special sprung track to aid their progress. Their eyes fixed firmly on the far end of the stadium where the prize is to be won. Every muscle, nerve and sinew is straining to get there. No one looks behind them they don’t care about the ground they have covered , what they have already accomplished,. They are only concerned with moving forward. Nothing diverts their concentration from their course. They have only one objective to reach the prize. At the end of the race the successful runner was summoned from the floor of the stadium to the judges seat to receive the prize and to feast at public expense.

There are three things I want to pick out from that image. First our spiritual growth through the relationship we have with Christ is solely down to us as individuals. The runner is naked no aids, it is up to us to put our confidence firmly in Christ

 The runner doesn’t look back,  if he does he will lose his speed , direction and eventually the race. . The fact that you were brought up in a Christian household and have been a Christian all your life doesn’t mean your spiritual growth is complete, far from it.The  fact that you may feel you have made little progress to date should not mar your future spiritual progress. Past failures , past accomplishments  count for nothing , Paul says forget them, literally obliterate them. What lies ahead is important

We cannot attain spiritual perfection in the here and now but as we come to know more of Christ, and continue to be shaped by him striving for  spiritual growth we can have joy from our relationship with our Lord and the  dynamic presence of God’s Spirit in our hearts.  We can be  confident that God will graciously grant us the gift of His righteousness.   

Do you know Jesus as well as you know your closest friend.?

Here are the words of the hymn 

All I once held dear, built my life upon
All this world reveres, and wars to own
All I once thought gain I have counted loss
Spent and worthless now, compared to this

Knowing, Jesus
Knowing Jesus there is no greater thing
He’s my all, He’s the best
He is my joy, my righteousness
And I love the Lord

Now my heart’s desire is to know Him more
To be found in Him and known as His

To possess by faith what I cannot earn
All-surpassing gift of righteousness

The question I ask myself and each one of you , could  we  honestly stand up and say that out loud without a musical accompaniment as a testimony to people outside the church.?

Witness

Prayers

Almighty God

We thank you for your redeeming love and grace to us

 Grant to each one of us an awareness of your presence, and give us perfect confidence in you. In all pain and weariness and anxiety teach us to yield ourselves to your never-failing care, knowing that your love and power surround us, trusting in your wisdom and providence that we may know your comfort and peace.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

 

Merciful God, we pray for the millions of people who have contracted the coronavirus around   the world.  Bring comfort to those grieving loved ones have died and peace to those worried, fearful and uncertain as the virus spreads.  We also pray for governments and authorities who are developing strategies to contain and deal with the virus give them wisdom and compassion. We lift to you all those working in   the health services who may be risking their own lives to care for sick patients. Lord strengthen and protect them. We pray for the scientific community trying to find a vaccine. Lord encourage them in their endeavours.

Here in the England   we especially pray for the Corona Virus situation and the procedures that have been put into force to try to halt its spread. Help us all to be responsible in the things that we do in our lives to prevent the spread of the virus by taking heed of the recommended precautions and avoiding situations which may make things worse.

 

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Creator God as we pray for our world, we especially pray for all who like St Paul have suffered the loss of all things for the sake of their faith in Jesus Christ.  We raise before you organisations like the Barnabas Fund which aids Christians living under persecution or in threatening environments with finance and prayers. We join our prayers with them as we ask for courage and strength for all persecuted Christians, their communities and churches.

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

Father God, we thank you for the joy of human love, and for all those among whom we live and work.  We pray particularly for loved ones who worry us with their health, or circumstances, or life direction. We pray for those among our friends and families who do not know you, or whose faith has been shaken

Lord in your Mercy

Accept these prayers for the sake of your son our Saviour Jesus Christ

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.