Trinity 3 Sunday 3rd July

Hymn – I Watch the Sun Rise

  • I watch the sunrise
    Shine through the clouds
    Warming the earth below
    And at the midday –life seems to say
    I feel your brightness near me
     
  • I watch the sunset fading away,
    lighting the clouds with sleep.
    And as the evening closes its eyes,
    I feel your presence near me.
     
  • I watch the sunset fading away,
    lighting the clouds with sleep.
    And as the evening closes its eyes,
    I feel your presence near me.
     
  • I watch the moonlight guarding the night,
    waiting till morning comes.
    The air is silent earth is at rest –
    only your peace is near me. yes, you are always near me.
     
  • For you are always close to me
    following all my ways.
    May I be always close to you,
    following all your ways Lord.

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father

and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you

All: And also with you

Loving Lord,

Fill us with your life-giving,

joy-givingr peace-giving presence,

That we may praise you now with our lips,

and all the day long with our lives

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen

Cast your burden upon the Lord

All: And he will sustain you

Create in us clean hearts, O God

All: And renew a right spirit within us

Cast us not away from your Presence

All: And take not your Holy Spirit from us

Give us the joy of your saving help

All: And sustain us with your life-giving Spirit

Blessed be the Lord day by day

All: The God of our salvation, who bears our burdens.

We have a moment of quiet, to call to mind the things we

Have thought, said and done which we know grieve the God

who loves us 

Come, let us return to the Lord and say: 

All: Almighty God

Long-suffering and of great goodness

I confess to you.

I confess with my whole heart

My neglect and forgetfulness of your commandments

My wrong doing, thinking and speaking:

The hurts I have done to others,

And the good I have left undone.

O God, forgive me, for I have sinned against you;

And raise me to newness of life;

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

May the God of love and power

Forgive us and free us from our sins,

Heal and strengthen us by his Spirit,

And raise us to new life in Christ our Lord.

All: Amen. 

We praise God for his love and forgiveness with:- 

Hymn – Dear Lord and Father of Mankind

1) Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
forgive our foolish ways;
reclothe us in our rightful mind,
in purer lives thy service find,
in deeper reverence, praise.

2) In simple trust like theirs who heard
beside the Syrian sea
the gracious calling of the Lord,
let us, like them, without a word
rise up and follow thee.
 

3) O Sabbath rest by Galilee,
O calm of hills above,
where Jesus knelt to share with thee
the silence of eternity,
interpreted by love!

4) Drop thy still dews of quietness,
till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls the strain and stress,
and let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of thy peace.

5) Breathe through the heats of our desire
thy coolness and thy balm;
let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm!    ( by John Greeleaf Whittier – 1807 to 1892)
 

Our First Reading is taken from – Isaiah Chap: 66 

10 Rejoice with Jerusalem; be glad for her, all you that love this city! Rejoice with her now, all you that have mourned for her!

11 You will enjoy her prosperity, like a child at its mother’s breast.

12 The Lord says, “I will bring you lasting prosperity; the wealth of the nations will flow to you like a river that never goes dry. You will be like a child that is nursed by its mother, carried in her arms, and treated with love.

13 I will comfort you in Jerusalem, as a mother comforts her child.

14 When you see this happen, you will be glad; it will make you strong and healthy. Then you will know that I, the Lord, help those who obey me, and I show my anger against my enemies.”

This is the word of the Christ

All: Praise to you oh Christ

Our Second Reading is From – Luke Chap: 10

1 After this the Lord chose another seventy-two men and sent them out two by two, to go ahead of him to every town and place where he himself was about to go.

2 He said to them, “There is a large harvest, but few workers to gather it in. Pray to the owner of the harvest that he will send out workers to gather in his harvest.

3 Go! I am sending you like lambs among wolves.

4 Don’t take a purse or a beggar’s bag or shoes; don’t stop to greet anyone on the road.

5 Whenever you go into a house, first say, “Peace be with this house.’

6 If someone who is peace-loving lives there, let your greeting of peace remain on that person; if not, take back your greeting of peace.

7 Stay in that same house, eating and drinking whatever they offer you, for workers should be given their pay. Don’t move around from one house to another.

8 Whenever you go into a town and are made welcome, eat what is set before you,

9 heal the sick in that town, and say to the people there, “The Kingdom of God has come near you.’

10 But whenever you go into a town and are not welcomed, go out in the streets and say,

11 “Even the dust from your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. But remember that the Kingdom of God has come near you!’

 

16 Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”

17 The seventy-two men came back in great joy. “Lord,” they said, “even the demons obeyed us when we gave them a command in your name!”

18 Jesus answered them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

19 Listen! I have given you authority, so that you can walk on snakes and scorpions and overcome all the power of the Enemy, and nothing will hurt you.

20 But don’t be glad because the evil spirits obey you; rather be glad because your names are written in heaven.”

This is the word of the Christ

All: Praise to you oh Christ

Sermon for the Third Sunday After Trinity –  

Defeating Doubt

Everyone goes through doubts in their faith from time to time.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta is often held up as a saintly example for all to follow, but reality indicates that, while she was without doubt, devoted and faithful to her belief in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Redeemer of the world, even so was fallible, just as we are.

She had faults and she had doubts.

She once wrote her spiritual director,

“Where I try to raise my thoughts to heaven, there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives and hurt my very soul. Love, the word, it brings nothing. I am told God lives in me, and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul.”

That surely is some expression of doubt!

Her spiritual director reassured her with the basic message,

“The fact that you have doubts means that your faith is real.”

No doubts, no testing; and no trials, no real faith. Show me a faith that has never experienced doubt, and I’ll show you a day-old faith, or worse, a pretend faith, a fake faith.

We live in a sceptical world where human nature finds it difficult to believe in anything good. In fact we find it easy to believe in something bad and prefer to believe in a white lie rather than believe in the truth.

We say,

“its too good to be true.”

but how rarely, if ever, do we hear the words,

 “It’s too bad to be true?” 

In today’s world, bad news seems readily believable, but the good news almost unbelievable.

Thomas reflects the same attitude in the Gospel human nature hasn’t changed a bit!

He was not present that first Easter Sunday when the risen Christ appeared to His apostles. They told Thomas about it.

They tried to convince him of the reality of the resurrection, but he would not believe it. “Not ‘til I’ve seen him with my own eyes” and so on.

Perhaps Thomas could not believe them because, in his scheme of thinking, such an event was simply too good to be true.

Doubting Thomas – his nickname had endured down the centuries, but he was a selective doubter.

When Jesus told His disciples that He was going to Jerusalem on that final fateful journey everyone was against it. They reminded Jesus that the last time He was there an angry mob had threatened to stone Him to death. It would be too dangerous to go back so they naturally did their best to talk Jesus out of it.

But when it became apparent that He was going anyway, Thomas said to the rest of the disciples,

“Let us go along to die with Him.”

A courageous statement, yet we don’t remember him for it, if we did perhaps we would call him “Courageous Thomas.”

Thomas’ doubt in the resurrection shows his human nature, belief that out of something as bad as the crucifixion something good could come.

Thomas was sceptical as many are today.

Three students were walking through a French village one Good Friday afternoon and they noticed crowds of people going to the church to make their confession.

The students began to discuss this and about the survival of religion, which they described as superstition.

One of them was then given this challenge, ‘Will you go into this church and tell the priest what we have been discussing?’

‘Sure, I will,’ he said, and went in.

He said to the priest, ‘Father, I have come here merely to tell you that Christianity is a dying institution and that religion is nothing more than a superstition.’

The priest looked at the young man and said, ‘Why did you come here, my son, to tell me this?’

The student told him of his conversation with his friends. The priest listened carefully and then said:

‘All right, I want you to do one thing for me before you go. You accepted the challenge of your friends and came here; now accept my challenge to you.

Walk up to the chancel and you will find there a large wooden cross and on it the figure of Jesus crucified.

I want you to stand before that cross and say these words: ‘Jesus died for me and I don’t care a damn’

The student looked defiant but, to save face, agreed.

He went up and stood before the cross and said: ‘Jesus died for me and I don’t care a damn.’

He came back to the priest and said, ‘I have done it.’

‘Do it once more,’ said the priest; ‘after all, it means nothing to you.’

The student went back and looked at the cross for some time and the figure on it, and then he stammered it out: ‘Jesus died for me and I don’t care a damn.’

He returned to the priest and said, ‘I have done it; I am going now.

The priest stopped him. ‘Once more,’ he said, just once more and you can go.

The young man walked up to the chancel and looked at that cross again, and at the Crucified. He stood there for a long time, and said nothing.

Thomas must have seen many crucifixions, but he had never witnessed a resurrection.

I make a guess that sometimes most of us are sceptical and inclined to look to the future with a spirit of despair.

In that frame of mind we expect the worst and have little or no faith in the best.

We speak of “the good old days” as if we believe that the best times are behind us.

If these are the bad times, the worst are yet to come. That kind of attitude is unhealthy as it leads to apathy.

If things are only going to get worse and worse, and there is nothing that anyone can do about it, why should we even bother to try?

  • If war is inevitable, why work and pray for peace?
  • If crime and poverty are here to stay, and are sure to get worse, why work and pray for a more just society?

If such is our belief, we are maintaining that Satan and evil will triumph, and that there will never be such a thing as a new heaven and new earth.

Our Christian faith tells us that our God is a God of purpose, a God with a plan.

God did not create our world and fill it with people, just to see what would happen.

He knew what would happen,

He had a goal in mind and that goal has not changed.

God is still moving towards it.

In the beginning, God created everything good.

Evil has entered into the world and its manifestation is very much in evidence today, but we need not despair.

God is in control and He is taking His world where He wants it to go.

Jesus said to Thomas,

“Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

He was speaking to all of us who believe in His resurrection.

To believe in the resurrection is to believe that God is in charge, God is in control and that evil cannot triumph over good.

Those words of Jesus were words of hope.

They tell us that, because of Christ’s resurrection, good has triumphed over evil and always will.

If we keep that in mind when doubts beset us as they will from time to time, we have the weapons to face the future, not with despair and not with doubt, but with hope, because in God’s world nothing is too good to be true.

Amen  

Hymn – Be Still for the Presence of the Lord

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 and Intercessions

We pray for God to fill us with his Spirit.

Generous God,

we thank you for the power of your Holy Spirit.

We ask that we may be strengthened to serve you better.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the wisdom of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to make us wise to understand your will.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the peace of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to keep us confident of your love wherever you call us.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the healing of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to bring reconciliation and wholeness

where there is division, sickness and sorrow.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the gifts of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to equip us for the work which you have given us.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the fruit of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to reveal in our lives the love of Jesus.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the breath of your Holy Spirit,

given us by the risen Lord.

We ask you to keep the whole Church, living and departed,

in the joy of eternal life.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit. 

All: Generous God,

hear our prayer,

and make us one in heart and mind

to serve you with joy for ever.

Amen.

We gather our thoughts and prayers in the words our Saviour gave us 

All: Our Father in heaven,

Hallowed by 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.

Hymn – He Who Would Valiant Be

1 He who would valiant be
‘gainst all disaster,
let him in constancy
follow the Master.
There’s no discouragement
shall make him once relent
his first avowed intent
to be a pilgrim.

2 Who so beset him round
with dismal stories,
do but themselves confound—
his strength the more is.
No foes shall stay his might,
though he with giants fight;
he will make good his right
to be a pilgrim.

3 Since, Lord, Thou dost defend
us with Thy Spirit,
we know we at the end
shall life inherit.
Then, fancies, flee away!
I’ll fear not what men say,
I’ll labor night and day
to be a pilgrim.
(By John Bunyan – 1628-1688)

Hymn – Colours of Day Dawn Into the Mind

The Lord bless us, and preserve us from all evil

And keep us in eternal life. 

All: Amen

© 702211.

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