Sunday July 19th - Holy Communion

Welcome to our Service of Holy Communion

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Jacob’s Ladder

We meet in the name of the Father,

and of the Son,

and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Hymn: Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer - https://youtu.be/ZAN4EojeF0Y


Almighty God,

to whom all hearts are open,

all desires known,

and from whom no secrets are hidden:

cleanse the thoughts of our hearts

by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,

that we may perfectly love you,

and worthily magnify your holy name;

through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

We Say Sorry to God

Jesus Christ, risen Master and triumphant Lord,

we come to you in sorrow for our sins,

and confess to you our weakness and unbelief.

We have lived by our own strength,

and not by the power of your resurrection.

In your mercy, forgive us.

Lord, hear us and help us.

We have lived by the light of our own eyes,

as faithless and not believing.

In your mercy, forgive us.

Lord, hear us and help us.

We have lived for this world alone,

and doubted our home in heaven.

In your mercy, forgive us.

Lord, hear us and help us.

Almighty God,

who forgives all who truly repent,

have mercy upon you,

pardon and deliver you from all your sins,

confirm and strengthen you in all goodness,

and keep you in life eternal;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

The Collect

Creator God,

you made us all in your image:

may we discern you in all that we see,

and serve you in all that we do;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen

Song: Shine Jesus Shine - https://youtu.be/J3iB30gCqAc

First Reading: Psalm 139:1-11 read by Pauline

Lord, you have examined me and you know me.

2 You know everything I do;

from far away you understand all my thoughts.

3 You see me, whether I am working or resting;

you know all my actions.

4 Even before I speak,

you already know what I will say.

5 You are all around me on every side;

you protect me with your power.

6 Your knowledge of me is too deep;

it is beyond my understanding.


7 Where could I go to escape from you?

Where could I get away from your presence?

8 If I went up to heaven, you would be there;

if I lay down in the world of the dead, you would be there.

9 If I flew away beyond the east

or lived in the farthest place in the west,

10 you would be there to lead me,

you would be there to help me.

11 I could ask the darkness to hide me

or the light around me to turn into night,


23 Examine me, O God, and know my mind;

test me, and discover my thoughts.

24 Find out if there is any evil in me

and guide me in the everlasting way.

Old Testament Reading: Genesis 28:10-19

10 Jacob left Beersheba and started toward Haran. 11 At sunset he came to a holy place and camped there. He lay down to sleep, resting his head on a stone. 12 He dreamed that he saw a stairway reaching from earth to heaven, with angels going up and coming down on it. 13 And there was the Lord standing beside him.

“I am the Lord, the God of Abraham and Isaac,” he said. “I will give to you and to your descendants this land on which you are lying. 14 They will be as numerous as the specks of dust on the earth. They will extend their territory in all directions, and through you and your descendants I will bless all the nations. 15 Remember, I will be with you and protect you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done all that I have promised you.”

16 Jacob woke up and said,

“The Lord is here! He is in this place, and I didn't know it!” 17 He was afraid and said, “What a terrifying place this is! It must be the house of God; it must be the gate that opens into heaven.”

18 Jacob got up early next morning, took the stone that was under his head, and set it up as a memorial. Then he poured olive oil on it to dedicate it to God. 19 He named the place Bethel. (The town there was once known as Luz.)

Song: The God who stays - https://youtu.be/KHMVSdIjBcg

Sermon:


We’re walking through the stories in Genesis and last week we heard about Jacob and Esau. Much longed for and miraculous twins, yet growing up with favouritism and conflict. Isaac prefers Esau; Rebekah prefer Jacob. And Jacob tricks Esau out of his inheritance. In consequence, Esau vows to kills Jacob!

Rebekah organises Jacob to go back to their original clan to find a wife – which means he’s out of Esau’s way. So after all the plotting and scheming, Esau is still in charge of the family, people, wealth and animals and Jacob goes on a long journey back to where they all came from in the first place!

As the story unfolds in the book of Genesis, we might wonder

Where is God in all this?

Does he approve of all the planning and plotting?

Why does he bother trying to bless or even work through these people? They’re pretty terrible!

And yet our reading from Genesis today, shows that God is still reaching out to these people- and Jacob in particular.

Jacob camps for night out in the desert and there he has a dream. He sees a ladder or stairway connecting heaven and earth. Angels are moving up and down this ladder. And God is there- repeating the promise that he had made to Abraham and Isaac and God is now passing this onto Jacob.

God will give these wandering people a land of their own; they will become a huge nation and spread over all the world. Every family on earth will be blessed because of them. God’s proclamation ends with a particular promise to Jacob. God will not leave him and will be with him wherever he goes. God will fulfil this promise.

So what does this tell us about God?

Again and again, we hear the promise that God makes. He will bless all the people- the whole earth. He will bless this family and their descendants. And this depends on what God is like and not on them!

God is dependable.

God is faithful.

God is for all people and not just a selected few. As it says in that song- the blessing- He is for you!

God connects heaven and earth. He makes the way; it’s not our actions; we don’t have to stack up enough goodness. God has made the way for us to reach him.

So we find God in this story. And as God speaks to us through the Old Testament, we find how that connects to the New Testament. Jesus refers to Jacob’s ladder when he’s explaining who he is. As Jesus calls his first disciples (in John’s gospel), Nathaniel is amazed when Jesus spots him under a fig tree. He thinks this is a miraculous sign. But Jesus tells them:

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.”

Jesus refers back to Jacob’s dream- showing that God makes the connection between heaven and earth. And now the amazing truth. Jesus is that ladder. He is the connection between heaven and earth; between God and people; Jesus is the way.

So wherever we are this week;

This is still true for us in our time. God is faithful. He depends on himself and not on us. He is for us- and for the whole earth.

So when we’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed or unsure about what happens next- God is faithful and God is for us.

People are facing all sorts of personal challenges because of COVID and because COVID has changed so much about jobs, schools, health care. There’s a lot of worry around.

God is for us when we wonder about the future of the church. Not just how we’re going to restart services back in our lovely building but what we do next. Phase 2 planning has started.

What is going to happen to the whole church? COVID has changed so much.

And we might be thinking the same kid of things about our homes or jobs or wider families or community..

And when we look out into the wider world- the issues problems, uncertainties just get bigger and bigger. God is still for all of us, together.

So how do we respond to all this?

In our reading, Jacob wakes up realising that he has met God. He is awestruck. He’s got a right response to God- he afraid. I think that is about the realisation – God is big; God is great. Maybe sneaky Jacob had a guilty conscience about what he’d done. But he doesn’t stay in fear. He worships God.

That is where we start. Coming to God in worship and prayer.

When we don’t know what to do- pray.

When we don’t know where to turn- pray. Hear again that God is faithful and God is for us.

When we’re wanting to make a difference in the world- pray.

Jacob worshipped God but that also involved some action. In his case- he built an altar, a permanent sign of his encounter with God.

What might God be asking of us?

We start with worship but worship changes us and empowers us to go out in the world.

Pray for the breakfast club!

Support our young people.

Promote holiday clubs online.

Join a small group to keep people connected.

How might God act through you to be a blessing to those around you?

The Creed

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.

Leonard: https://youtu.be/tg3n81X-cf8


Our Prayers:

Let us pray to God our Father,

We pray for peace among the countries of our world,

that God may rid the world of violence

and let peoples spend their everyday lives in peace and harmony

Lord in your mercy,

Hear our prayer

For those who serve our country in governments and councils,

that they may work for the common good so everyone on everyday may live to their full potential

Lord in your mercy,

Hear our prayer

For Christian people everywhere,

that we may joyfully proclaim and live our faith in Jesus Christ on Sunday and everyday

Lord in your mercy,

Hear our prayer

For those who suffer from hunger, grief or loneliness,

that the presence of Christ may bring them health and wholeness in the darkest days and everyday

Lord in your mercy,

Hear our prayer

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

to the mercy and protection of God.

Amen

The Peace

The peace of the Lord be always with you

and also with you.

Let us offer one another a sign of peace.

Song: You are my vision - https://youtu.be/rMmSPOF-6Xo

Holy Communion - https://youtu.be/fHVmDKTUAmg

The Lord be with you

and also with you.

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.

It is right to praise you, Father, Lord of all creation;

in your love you made us for yourself.

When we turned away

you did not reject us,

but came to meet us in your Son.

You embraced us as your children

and welcomed us to sit and eat with you.

In Christ you shared our life

that we might live in him and he in us.

He opened his arms of love upon the cross

and made for all the perfect sacrifice for sin.

On the night he was betrayed,

at supper with his friends

he took bread, and gave you thanks;

he broke it and gave it to them, saying:

Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;

do this in remembrance of me.

Father, we do this in remembrance of him:

his body is the bread of life.

At the end of supper, taking the cup of wine,

he gave you thanks, and said:

Drink this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant,

which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins;

do this in remembrance of me.

Father, we do this in remembrance of him:

his blood is shed for all.

As we proclaim his death and celebrate his rising in glory,

send your Holy Spirit that this bread and this wine

may be to us the body and blood of your dear Son.

As we eat and drink these holy gifts

make us one in Christ, our risen Lord.

With your whole Church throughout the world

we offer you this sacrifice of praise

and lift our voice to join the eternal song of heaven:

Holy, holy, holy Lord,

God of power and might,

Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

We continue with the words of The Lord's 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

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.

Every time we eat this bread

and drink this cup,

we proclaim the Lord’s death

until he comes.

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 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

The Blessing

The peace of God,

which passes all understanding,

keep your hearts and minds

in the knowledge and love of God,

and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord;

and the blessing of God almighty,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always.

Amen.

Song: You never let go - https://youtu.be/NM14VZVu0og

The Dismissal

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

In the name of Christ. Amen.

We would love to see you! For More Questions / Contact us at officestcaths@gmail.com 

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