Eighth Sunday after Trinity – July 25th 2021

Livestream

Welcome

Opening Prayer

 
God of our days and years,
we set this time apart for you.
Form us in the likeness of Christ
so that our lives may glorify you.
Amen.

Let us pray together .

Come, Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of your faithful people,
and kindle in us the fire of your love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

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 selfishness and lack of love:
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

 

Word

Jesus Feeds Five Thousand

After this, Jesus crossed over to the far side of the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Sea of Tiberias. A huge crowd kept following him wherever he went, because they saw his miraculous signs as he healed the sick. Then Jesus climbed a hill and sat down with his disciples around him. (It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration.) Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do.

Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money[a] to feed them!”

Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?”

10 “Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.) 11 Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted. 12 After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, “Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.” 13 So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves.

John
6:1-13

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Oneness and Peace in Christ

11 Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. 12 In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. 13 But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.

14 For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. 15 He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. 16 Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.

17 He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. 18 Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.

A Temple for the Lord

19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family.

Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Growth

14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,[a] 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.[b] 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians
2:8-19; 3:14-21

Over the last two weeks we have been considering identity. Identity matters. How we see ourselves and how others see us is important. The characteristics that are associated with us enable others to decide if they want to join with us or choose to avoid us. what are the characteristics that identify you? What gender are you? What is your ethnicity? Do you see yourself as British, Scottish, Welsh, Irish or English? Do you have a disability? Are you employed? if so what job to you do?  Are you retired or receiving benefits? Are you a home owner or do you rent a house or are you homeless?  What is your relationship status, are you married, living with a partner, divorced, widowed or single?  how many children live with you? What are your politics? What is your religion? So many things are used by society to determine   our identity.

Last week Chris reminded us that As Christians our identity is in Christ. We are people in his Kingdom, united with all believers. We should therefore live out the values of our future Kingdom- seeking to be a people who love justice and righteousness and enact them in every area of our lives. Two weeks ago Ben reminded us that In Jesus Christ we have been given a new identity. We have all been adopted into God’s family. Although we all come from different backgrounds and have different talents and foibles everyone in Christ is of equal worth in God’s eyes. Interestingly in mathematics an identity is an equality relation, that has the absolute sameness in all circumstances.  God has chosen to allow everyone and anyone who believes in Jesus Christ to inherit every spiritual blessing. Everyone in Christ receives redemption, and forgiveness of sins. On top of that God will lavish each one of us with his grace.

Many commentators on Ephesians believe the letter was intended for all the churches of the province of Asia. In today’s readings Paul is addressing the fact that there was disquiet between Jewish Christians and gentile Christians. Until the time of Jesus Christ except for a few Gentiles who were admitted as proselytes  the community of God was restricted to the descendants of Jacob  nation of Israel . Pious Jews not only believed that their heritage and religious ceremonies made them pure and clean but also their faith and traditions elevated them above everyone else. Non believing Gentiles were beyond God’s saving power and therefore without hope. Naturally Gentiles resented these Jewish claims. Paul reminds his readers that the Jewish customs did not change their hearts and so both Jews and Gentiles were unclean. Christ had revealed their sinfulness and then offered his salvation to both.

2: v 13-14  

13 But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.

14 For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.

This wall of hostility was a powerful reference to the wall in the Jewish temple in Jerusalem, which barred Gentiles from the inner courts on pain of death. The legacy of this sharp division plagued the early church, and Paul was acutely aware of the implications because he was writing the letter from prison having been falsely accused of taking a gentile from Ephesus into the exclusively Jewish area of the Temple.

For Paul Christ has destroyed the barriers that people build between themselves, so in Christ we can be reconciled and united with people who do not share our perspectives on the world. Our salvation has nothing to do with our cultural history, customs or local traditions. Our confidence before God only comes through faith in Jesus. No one is alienated from Christ’s love or the body of believers.  Because of Christs death no one need be considered a stranger to God. Everyone who believes in Christ is united into one body. We all have access to the Father through the Holy Spirit who helps us look beyond the things which divide us to the unity we are called to enjoy. Because we don’t agree on all things does not mean we cannot work together God’s Spirit will enable points of disagreement or conflict to dissolve. What unites us is greater than what divides us.  No one should be made to feel alienated from Christs love or from the body of believers. I repeat that No one should be made to feel alienated from Christ’s love or from the body of believers.

To this end in Chapter 3 Paul prays that Jesus would live in the hearts of believers. That he would not just be an occasional visitor but that he would make a permanent home in our hearts. He prays that believers will be rooted and grounded in our love for each other not solely in the love God has for ourselves. Paul asked that we might be able to understand together in community every dimension of the love of Jesus.  To actually experience it through our closeness, our unity as the family of believers and not just to comprehend it in words. Even though it is too wonderful to be measured Paul prays that all Gods people should understand how wide, how long, how high, and how deep Christ’s love is

David Gusak puts it like this

To come to any understanding of the dimensions of God’s love, we must come to the cross. The cross pointed in four ways, essentially in every direction, because…

  • God’s love is wide enough to include every person.
  • God’s love is long enough to last through all eternity.
  • God’s love is deep enough to reach the worst sinner.
  • God’s love is high enough to take us to heaven.

When I read this, I was struck by two things: firstly, who am I, who are we to judge if someone is outside of God’s love. Secondly, who am I, who are we to judge which sin is the worst.

Mat7:1 Jesus says “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.”

Paul concludes this prayer by asking that Jesus Christ and the church will forever bring praise to God and reminding us that God’s power at work in us can do far more than we dare ask or imagine 

 

So, what do these passages from Ephesians mean for us

Unfortunately, there are still things that can and do divide Christians. Not all of these walls are built on doctrinal strands, theological perspective or local traditions. Currently within the wider church of England there are ongoing discussions and teaching around the issues of diversity and inclusion, sexuality, relationships and marriage.

   Divisions between Christians   only serve to alienate sections of the community from joining God’s family. The easiest way to stifle God’s love in Christ for the world is to reinforce the divisions between ourselves and other people. To only mix with people like us who come from similar backgrounds and agree with our ways of doing things.  Here at All Saints we are embarking  on the process of developing a church graft, we need to be mindful that for a graft to succeed both parts of the graft must come from species of the same genus. Eg What enables them to bond is that are both parts are from apple trees. We need to remember that Christ Church Endcliffe and All Saints Totley both have their identity in Christ, what unites us is greater than what divides us.

Frederick Bruce states Perhaps the greatest triumph of the gospel in the age of the apostles was that it overcame this long-standing division and enabled Jews and Gentiles to become truly one in Christ.

This is good news for us because both churches love the gospel

So, I will conclude with this prayer for the graft between the two churches

Heavenly Father grant that we may be rooted in Christ’s love, that he will live in our hearts. May we grasp how wide ,how long, how deep ,and how high Christ’s love is, that united in your love together we may bring glory to God.

 

Witness

Let us declare our faith in God.

We believe in God the Father,
from whom every family
in heaven and on earth is named.

We believe in God the Son,
who lives in our hearts through faith,
and fills us with his love.

We believe in God the Holy Spirit,
who strengthens us
with power from on high.

We believe in one God;
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Prayers of Intercession

Gracious God, fountain of all wisdom,
we pray for all Christian people;
for Bishop Pete and Bishop Sophie, for all Christian leaders,
for those who teach the faith and for all people who believe and trust in our Lord Jesus …
May the word of Christ dwell richly in all our hearts,
and knit us together in the bond of your love.
Hear us.
Hear us, good Lord.

We pray for the leaders of the nations,
and for those in authority under them …
Give them the gift of your wisdom,
and a right discernment in all things.
Hear us.
Hear us, good Lord.

We pray for Sheffield and our community in and around Totley… for those who live and work here,
and for those who visit this place …
Speak your word of peace in our midst,
and help us to serve one another as Christ has served us.
Hear us.
Hear us, good Lord.

We pray for those who do not believe,
and yet who long to know you, the very Word of life …
Open their ears to hear your voice,
and open their hearts to the knowledge
of your love in Christ.
Hear us.
Hear us, good Lord.

We pray for those bowed down with grief,
fear or sickness,
especially …
May your living Word bring comfort and healing
to all those in need.
Hear us.
Hear us, good Lord.



We pray for God’s faithfulness to be known in the world, among our friends , our families  and on our  frontlines.
Faithful God
glorify your name.

In a world of change and hope,
of fear and innovation;
faithful God
glorify your name.

In human rebellion and obedience,
in our searching and in our understanding;
faithful God
glorify your name.

In the common life of our society,
in prosperity and need;
faithful God
glorify your name.

As your Church proclaims your goodness in
words and action;
faithful God
glorify your name.

In our times of joy,
in our days of sorrow;
faithful God
glorify your name.

In our strengths and triumphs,
in our weakness and at our death;
faithful God
glorify your name.

Gracious God hear our prayer,
and make us one in heart and mind
to serve you with joy for ever.
Amen.

The Eucharistic Prayer

The Lord is here.

His Spirit is with us.

Lift up your hearts.
All We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
All It is right to give thanks and praise.

Almighty God, good Father to us all,
your face is turned towards your world.
In love you gave us Jesus your Son
to rescue us from sin and death.
Your Word goes out to call us home
to the city where angels sing your praise.
We join with them in heaven’s song:

 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.]

Father of all, we give you thanks for every gift that comes from heaven.

To the darkness Jesus came as your light.
With signs of faith and words of hope
he touched untouchables with love and washed the guilty clean.

This is his story.
All This is our song:
Hosanna in the highest.

The crowds came out to see your Son,
yet at the end they turned on him.
On the night he was betrayed
he came to table with his friends
to celebrate the freedom of your people.

This is his story.
This is our song:
Hosanna in the highest.

Jesus blessed you, Father, for the food;
he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and said:
This is my body, given for you all.
Jesus then gave thanks for the wine;
he took the cup, gave it and said:
This is my blood, shed for you all
for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this in remembrance of me.

This is our story.
This is our song:
Hosanna in the highest.

Therefore, Father, with this bread and this cup
we celebrate the cross
on which he died to set us free.
Defying death he rose again
and is alive with you to plead for us and all the world.

This is our story.
All This is our song:
Hosanna in the highest.

Send your Spirit on us now

that by these gifts we may feed on Christ
with opened eyes and hearts on fire.

May we and all who share this food
offer ourselves to live for you
and be welcomed at your feast in heaven
where all creation worships you,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit:

Blessing and honour and glory and power
be yours for ever and ever.
Amen.

As our Saviour taught us so we pray:

The Lords Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.

Breaking of the Bread

The president breaks the consecrated 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.

Giving of Communion

The president says one of these invitations to communion

God’s holy gifts
for God’s holy people.

Jesus Christ is holy,
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Prayer after Communion

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.

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

 

 

Blessing and dismissal

 

May the Father from whom every family
in earth and heaven receives its name
strengthen you with his Spirit in your inner being,
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith;
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.

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.

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