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Holy Communion January 17th 2021

Welcome to our service of Holy Communion

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Meeting ID: 835 5621 1775

Passcode: 489409

Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe.

From the rising of the sun to its setting

your name is proclaimed in all the world.

The Lord of glory be with you.

The Lord bless you


The grace of God has dawned upon the world

through our Saviour Jesus Christ,

who sacrificed himself for us to purify a people as his own.

Let us confess our sins.

God be gracious to us and bless us,

and make your face shine upon us:

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

May your ways be known on the earth,

your saving power among the nations:

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

You, Lord, have made known your salvation,

and reveal your justice in the sight of the nations:

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

May the God of all healing and forgiveness

draw you to himself,

and cleanse you from your sins

that you may behold the glory of his Son,

the Word made flesh, Jesus our Lord.


Eternal Lord,

our beginning and our end:

bring us with the whole creation

to your glory, hidden through past ages

and made known

in Jesus Christ our Lord.


First Reading :1 Sam 3:1-10 The Lord Appears to Samuel

3 In those days, when the boy Samuel was serving the Lord under the direction of Eli, there were very few messages from the Lord, and visions from him were quite rare. 2 One night Eli, who was now almost blind, was sleeping in his own room; 3 Samuel was sleeping in the sanctuary, where the sacred Covenant Box was. Before dawn, while the lamp was still burning, 4 the Lord called Samuel. He answered, “Yes, sir!” 5 and ran to Eli and said, “You called me, and here I am.”

But Eli answered, “I didn't call you; go back to bed.” So Samuel went back to bed.

6-7 The Lord called Samuel again. The boy did not know that it was the Lord, because the Lord had never spoken to him before. So he got up, went to Eli, and said, “You called me, and here I am.”

But Eli answered, “My son, I didn't call you; go back to bed.”

8 The Lord called Samuel a third time; he got up, went to Eli, and said, “You called me, and here I am.”

Then Eli realized that it was the Lord who was calling the boy, 9 so he said to him, “Go back to bed; and if he calls you again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back to bed.

10 The Lord came and stood there, and called as he had before, “Samuel! Samuel!”

Samuel answered, “Speak; your servant is listening.”

Gospel Reading:

Alleluia, alleluia.

This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.


Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John 1:43-51

Glory to you O Lord

Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael

43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Come with me!” (44 Philip was from Bethsaida, the town where Andrew and Peter lived.) 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one whom Moses wrote about in the book of the Law and whom the prophets also wrote about. He is Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.”

46 “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Nathanael asked.

“Come and see,” answered Philip.

47 When Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, he said about him, “Here is a real Israelite; there is nothing false in him!”

48 Nathanael asked him, “How do you know me?”

Jesus answered, “I saw you when you were under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

49 “Teacher,” answered Nathanael, “you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”

50 Jesus said, “Do you believe just because I told you I saw you when you were under the fig tree? You will see much greater things than this!” 51 And he said to them, “I am telling you the truth: you will see heaven open and God's angels going up and coming down on the Son of Man.”

This is the Gospel of the Lord

Praise to you O Christ

The Sermon: Seeing and Hearing God

As a boy, Samuel was entrusted to Eli the priest in God’s temple. I don’t think Samuel expected to hear God’s voice. Actually no-one expected to hear God’s voice.

But God calls out to Samuel in the night. As Eli was the boss, I guess it was only natural that Samuel thought it was Eli calling. It takes a few tries for the pair of them to work it out. It’s not Eli- but God’s voice.

There are a few surprising things here- Eli was an old man at the end of his work as a priest. Sadly, he wasn’t a very good priest and refused to confront the wrongdoing that his family did as they worked in the temple.

But despite his failings, God still used him to bring up Samuel.

Samuel’s mother, Hannah, was looked down on as she had been unable to have children for many years. Samuel was indeed her gift from God. And she dedicates Samuel back to him.

And Samuel was young. No one expect God to speak to him.

So this unlikely trio- a despised woman, a failing old man and a young boy- are who God uses to speak again to his people.

God speaks to us- through the Bible, in our prayers and worship, through other Christians and in our encounters in the world as we prayerfully ask God to speak to us.

We might think in a difficult time like this that God is silent. Samuel’s story reminds us that God speaks.

We fast forward many centuries and find Jesus speaking to his first disciples.

Jesus and Nathanael

It’s not Nathanael who is called first. It’s Philip. Simon Peter and Andrew are already following Jesus and Philip is not far behind. Actually we know very little of Philip except that he asks the questions that no-one else wants to ask. In John 6, Jesus challenges Philip to help feed the 5000 and in chap 14- it’s Philip who questions Jesus…Philip expresses doubts, is uncertain.

But Philip here Philip does the most significant thing a disciple can do. He introduces someone else to Jesus.

Philip tells Nathanael that Jesus fulfils all that the Jews have been waiting for. Despite his other doubts, right now Philip speaks out. Jesus is the special one.

And Philip stands firm when Nathanael is sceptical. Can anything good come out of Nazareth?

It sounds like Nathanael is mocking the claim that Jesus is the messiah. The Messiah was from King David’s city- which is indeed where Jesus was born. But due to his escape as a refugee with his parents, they all settled in Nazareth.

And Nazareth was a non descript northern town. No-one expect to meet God there.

Again we find God speaking to people through Jesus; Jesus calling all sorts of different characters and personalities. The bold and brash Peter, the careful and thoughtful Philip; the sceptical Nathanael.

God not only speaks to us but speaks to us as individuals, as we are. And uses the personalities and gifts we have.

God’s grace reaches out to Nathanael- with the most fantastic words from Philip. What do we do in the face of someone else’s questions or doubts. Come and see. Polite persistent. Not arguing or boastful. Come and see what I have found!

And Jesus sees the good in Nathanael- here is someone who isn’t false. Nathanael calls a spade a spade. Jesus affirms that – and when he tells Nathanael how he saw him, Nathanael recognises that this is supernatural knowledge.

But Jesus doesn’t stop there. He’s not here to do tricks or confound us that he can see round corners. His remarks to Nathanael and to convince Nathanael- to follow him. The point of all this seeing God or hearing God- is that we obey God.

Jesus tells Nathanael that he will see heaven open and angels going up and down on the Son of Man.

This would have certainly reminded these men of the account of Jacob their forefather encountering God and seeing heaven open- with angels ascending and descending. Jesus takes this picture on step further. It’s upon himself, it’s Jesus who forms the ladder between heaven and earth- or the bridge between God and people.

God speaks to Samuel to prepare him to be a prophet and lead God’s people. Despite his youth, despite his odd background, despite his mentor Eli’s failures.

God speaks to people – so they can lead others.

Jesus speaks to a variety of disciples – different personalities, affirming who they are, addressing their concerns. But he does so to reveal who he is, and call us to follow him.

In these COVID times, we may well be asking- where is God? Why doesn’t he do something or speak to us?

The themes in Epiphany tell us that God does speak and reveal himself to all sorts of unlikely people in all sorts of ways. In order to meet their needs but supremely to enable them to reach out to others.

I wonder if many of us have been frustrated in recent weeks. We’re shut in again. We can’t do what we want or what we love or even the things that we see as our ministry or work we would do for God. Days seem endless or empty or boring or frightening.

But today we hear that God speaks.

This week I met with a small group who were being encouraged to remember again that God is active in our world and our job is find him there. We don’t have to drag our faith into our workplace or situation – God has gone ahead of us.

So how do we find out? We share a simple pattern: -

First step is to ask – dear God show me where you are in my situation? Who can I connect with?

Pray that God will be calling someone.

We obey by looking out for the opportunity to connect with someone- who do we ring to text or meet on our daily walk?

We report back to a Christian friend and notice what God is doing.

It may be a nudge to hone someone; something that we see ourselves when we’re out or we observe in the news; we might find God changes or challenges us or see how our prayers impact someone else.

The process goes with this mnemonic:

A - ask God to help you connect with someone

C - trust that God will call them

O - obey the prompting to say- how are you?

R - report back to another Christian about what you find.

N - notice what happens in you and to others.

I wonder how we can encourage other people, help them know that God is there with them?

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.


Heavenly Father, we thank you for everyone gathered here on zoom. Thank you that you know each of us by name and have caused us to walk with you. Continue to shine your light to us and our families. You are our provision, our protection and our comforter.

Praying for people who are infected with COVID-19 :

Lord Jesus, during your ministry on earth you showed your power and caring by healing people of all ages, from physical, mental, and spiritual ailments. Be present now to people who need your loving touch because of COVID-19. May they feel your power of healing through the care of doctors and nurses.

Protect their families and friends and bring peace to all who love them.

Praying for protection for people at higher risk of developing the disease:

Dear Lord, we lift to you our concern for people who are more likely than others to become severely ill from COVID-19 — the elderly and people with chronic health conditions. Protect them from harm and be their comfort in this time of uncertainty .

Praying for medical professionals, caregivers, and researchers:

God, as more people get sick, healthcare workers and first responders are working longer hours with fewer supplies and with more risk of contracting the new coronavirus themselves. Renew their energy and sustain them on long shifts. Bring your protection upon them as they work with patients. Multiply their supplies so they have the protective items needed to stay safe on the job.

Pray for leaders responsible for making decisions about Covid 19:

Father, we seek your wisdom daily. Be with people making decisions that affect the lives and futures of our families, communities, countries, and the wider world. We pray that they communicate clearly, truthfully, and calmly — with each other and with the public — and that their messages are received and heeded. May truth and empathy be the touchstones of people setting policies for our protection.

Praying for families adjusting to new ways of life:

Lord Jesus, as families adjust to everyone being home as businesses and schools closed, we ask that you guide people in their new realities. Let peace be still in people's homes. I pray for families with children and teenagers at home in lockdown, asking that God would help parents creatively balance schooling, home life and watching over the general wellbeing of those under their care.

Pray for parents who cannot stay home from work but must find care for their children, asking that God would help them find and sustain safe and creative solutions.

As people feel financial strain during the uncertainty, bring them comfort and peace, reminding them that you are there for them. Provide for them in their times of need.

Lord Jesus you said "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid(John 14:27 ).

I pray that as a church no matter what's happening around us, we will remain stronger and stronger together .

In your name Lord hear and answer our prayer


The Peace

God has made us one in Christ.

He has set his seal upon us and, as a pledge of what is to come,

has given the Spirit to dwell in our hearts. Alleluia.

The peace of the Lord be always with you

And also with you.

Let us offer another a sign of peace

Holy 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 God of 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.

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.

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:

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.


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.

Jesus, Lamb of God

have mercy on us.

Jesus bearer of our sins,

have mercy on us.

Jesus, redeemer of the world,

grant us peace.

Draw near with faith.

Receive the body of our Lord Jesus Christ

which he gave for you,

and his blood which he shed for you.

Eat and drink

in remembrance that he died for you,

and feed on him in your hearts

by faith with thanksgiving.

Prayer of Spiritual Communion

Thanks be to you, Lord Jesus Christ,

for all the benefits you have given me,

for all the pains and insults you have borne for me.

Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally,

I ask you to come spiritually into my heart.

O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother,

may I know you more clearly,

love you more dearly,

and follow you more nearly, day by day. Amen

Lord of all time and eternity,

you opened the heavens and revealed yourself as Father

in the baptism of Jesus your beloved Son:

by the power of your Spirit

complete the heavenly work of our rebirth

through the waters of the new creation;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.


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.


The Blessing:

May God the Father,

who led the wise men by the shining of a star

to find the Christ, the Light from Light,

lead you also in your pilgrimage to find the Lord. Amen.

May God the Son,

who turned water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana,

transform your lives and make glad your hearts. Amen.

May God the Holy Spirit,

who came upon the beloved Son

at his baptism in the river Jordan,

pour out his gifts on you

who have come to the waters of new birth.


And the blessing of God almighty,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always.


Song: This Little Light of Mine

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

In the name of Christ. Amen.

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