Twelfth Sunday after Trinity – August 22nd 2021

Service Recording

Welcome

Opening Prayer

Grace, mercy and peace
from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ
be with you
and also with you

Worship

A Gathering Prayer

Welcoming God,
we come to you with open hearts
and with open hands.
We come with our faith and hope,
and with our doubts and fears.
Send your Holy Spirit to work among us,
filling us and changing us
to become more like Jesus.
Amen.

© Copyright 2002-2021, ROOTS for Churches Ltd. All rights reserved. Print ISSN: 2040-4832 and 2635-280X; Online ISSN: 2635-2818.

A Prayer of Confession

When we turn away from you, O God,
and go our own way:
forgive us, and turn us back to you.

When the way ahead is not clear,
when everything feels too much
and we turn our backs on you:
forgive us, and turn us back to you.

When we make wrong decisions
and our actions hurt others:
forgive us, and turn us back to you.

When we want to give up because it’s too hard:
forgive us, and turn us back to you.

When we cannot see beyond ourselves and act selfishly:
forgive us, and turn us back to you.

When we do not put you and others first:
forgive us, and turn us back to you.

Turn us back to you, O God.
Amen.

Assurance of forgiveness

Despite going our own way and not following you,
despite our doubts and fears of your presence,
you are there gently leading us,
reaching out your arms of healing and forgiveness.
Thank you, eternal God.
Amen.

© Copyright 2002-2021, ROOTS for Churches Ltd. All rights reserved. Print ISSN: 2040-4832 and 2635-280X; Online ISSN: 2635-2818.

Collect – The prayer for today

God of constant mercy,
who sent your Son to save us:
remind us of your goodness,
increase your grace within us,
that our thankfulness may grow,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

Word

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Ephesians
6:10-20

56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

Many Disciples Desert Jesus

60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit[a] and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”

66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

John
6:56-69

This morning we have heard two conclusions, the first was the conclusion of Paul’s letter to the Ephesions and the second was the conclusion of John’s discourse around the bread of life. On the one hand they can appear completely separate but as I have thought about this perhaps actually together they have something to say.

Lets begin with the Gospel. The first few verses contain Jesus’ teaching. As we look at it, with its message about eating and drinking Jesus’ body and body, we automatically link it to communion, the act that we will undertake at the end of the service, but we shouldn’t assume that this was the meaning.  Jesus teaching was hard for it went against everything that the people had known and taught throughout the generations. Jesus goes on to say, if you find this too much, what are you going to think when to see the ‘Son of Man’ return. Here we see that for many it was indeed too much and the text tells us that numerous disciples left him. Jesus then offers the disciples the options to leave and Peter, speaking on behalf of the makes the statement of faith “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” Wright says  that in this moment “the twelve stand as representatives of the faith, the belief, that Jesus has been looking for: the recognition  that in him, his words and his deeds, Israel’s God was at last bringing into being the new Exodus, the great movement that would set the whole world free from sin and death.[1]

I find in this passage a reminder of the choice that as followers, disciples of Jesus, we have made and continually make on a daily basis. 

So we move onto the passage at the end of Ephesians, the armor of God. I have some fond memories of looking at this verse with children and young people, it often involved cardboard and the making of the armor. So as I looked at this passage once again I asked the question, what do I notice that I have not seen before… but I will get to that, firstly as a recap, the passage can be viewed in three sections vv10-13, vv14-17 and vv18-20.[2]

The first section vv10-13 urges the listeners to be strong and reminds them that their strength comes from God alone. The reason they need to be strong is that they are in a spiriual battle and while the overall victory is assured, for Jesus achieved this through his death and resurrection, the listeners are still called to stand firm from the varied distractions and attempts that are made to disuade them from doing so. V13 repeats the encouragement to stand firm by clothing themselves in the armor of God for is the divine protection and equipment they will need.[3]

The second section, vv14-17, then outlines each of the elements of armor that is needed to stand firm.  The belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the sandals of the readiness of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the Sword of the spirit. Whereas numerous commentaters distingush between the first five items highlighting their defensive nature with only the sixth being offensive, Andrew Lincoln views this differently, Of the first four items, he says

“Truthfulness and moral integrity will provide support and brace the believer. (The belt of truth) Doing right and practicing justice will give essential protection. (The Breastplate) Being in a state of readiness by living out the peace produced by the gospel is paradoxically but appropriately the best preparation for combat against powers out to produce disunity (The shoes). Confident trust in and constant openness to God’s resources in Christ will offer further protection against every type of assault rained on believers by the evil one. (The shield)”[4]

He sees these as qualities displayed within the believers, attitudes, characteristics, behaviours the believes choose to adopt, live by and influence their actions, but in contrast the final two items, the helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit are gifts given by God. The listeners can be confident of their identity in Christ and this protects from all that would set out to distract and destroy but it also enables a move to the offensive, in the sharing of the Good News which is given power through the Spirit.[5]

The last section vv18-20 reminds the listeners, that standing firm is dependent upon God through prayer, which is to be inspired and guided by the spirit. There is the instruction to pray at all times and to do, they must remain awake and alert to what is going on around them and not be drawn so far into the world that they miss the bigger picture. Lastly the listeners are given Paul as a model, one that encourages the listeners to be open and bold in the situation they find themselves in.[6]

So back to the question what did I notice, there were two things specifically:

The first was Lincolns view of the armor as characteristics that the believer puts on and the gifts from God but the second was that the call was to put on the full armor, each piece needs to be in place fitting properly for it all to work, if one of the pieces is missing or not working as it should, there is always a clink which can be exploited.

So what?

As has been mentioned over the past few weeks, within the next year we are about to embark on a new venture, with the graft from Christ Church Endcliffe. As the graft team and All Saints come together, we will need to be changed to reflect one another, which means that what we know now, will need to look different. As part of this we hope and pray for better connections within the community and for growth. While this is exciting, we need to anticipate that there will be some resistance to this in the spiritual realms and so this morning, these passages remind us of our choice, of our declaration of who Jesus is and in having made this choice, there is the reminder that we too need to stand firm and being dependent on God through prayer, clothe ourselves in the full armor of God.

 

[1]    Tom Wright, John for Everyone: Part 1, SPCK, London, 2002 p. 92

[2]    Lincoln, A. T., Word Biblical Commentary: Ephesians, Zondervan, Michigan 1990. p. 456

[3]    Lincoln, Word Biblical Commentary: Ephesians, pp.456-457

[4]    Lincoln, Word Biblical Commentary: Ephesians, p. 457

[5]    Lincoln, Word Biblical Commentary: Ephesians, p. 457

[6]    Lincoln, Word Biblical Commentary: Ephesians, pp. 457-458

Witness

Statement of Faith

Let us declare our faith in God.
 
All   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

For the unity of the Church in witness and proclamation of the Gospel;

  • For the persecuted church around the world and for those who continue to proclaim the good news in those places,
  • For all the churches within the Diocese of Sheffield who seek to make God known in their communities
  • For Andy and family as they prepare to move to Dore
  • For Ben as he prepares to launch the communication around the graft team & Christ Church Endcliffe, May they be open to all that God is calling them into

In faith we pray: we pray to you our God.

 

For the peace and stability of all peoples

and for the leaders of the nations …;

  • Remembering especiallythe people of Afganistan, for those looking to flee,
  • the countries providing sanctuary for those looking for safety
  • for Haiti and the response to the earthquake there
  • for those places we are concerned about

 

In faith we pray: we pray to you our God.

 

For our places of work, education and leisure;

  • Remembering before you those, who we have spoken to about you,
  • Those who are dealing with difficult situations at home,
  • Those who are mourning loved ones,

 

In faith we pray: we pray to you our God.

 

For a blessing on our homes;

for our relations and friends and all whom we love;

  • Remembering those who know God and those who are yet to know God
  • Help us to be witnesses to those who know us well.

 

In faith we pray: we pray to you our God.

 

For the sick and suffering and all who minister to their needs …;

  • And we name them before you either out loud or in silence

 

In faith we pray: we pray to you our God.

 

Let us commend ourselves, and all for whom we pray,

to the mercy and protection of God.

Amen

Communion

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.
 
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.
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.
All   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:
 
All   Blessing and honour and glory and power
be yours for ever and ever.
Amen.
 
The Lord’s Prayer
 
As our Saviour taught us, so we pray
 
All   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.
 
As the president consumes
 
The body of Christ broken for us all
Amen
 
The blood of Christ shed for us all
Amen
 

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.

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