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Sunday June 21st - Holy Communion

Welcome to our Service of Holy Communion


Join the Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 835 8280 0223 Password: 520477


The Story of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar

We meet in the name of the Father,

and of the Son,

and of the Holy Spirit.


Hymn: Praise my Soul the King of Heaven -

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.


We come to say sorry to God:

My brothers and sisters,

as we prepare to celebrate the presence of Christ

in word and sacrament,

let us call to mind and confess our sins

Father, you come to meet us when we return to you:

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

The hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class,


The covetous desires of people and nations to possess what is not their own,


The greed which exploits the work of human hands and lays waste the earth,


Our envy of the welfare and happiness of others,


Our indifference to the plight of the imprisoned, the homeless, the refugee,


The lust which dishonours the bodies of men, women and children,


The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves and not in God,


Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.


The Collect

Faithful Creator,

whose mercy never fails:

deepen our faithfulness to you

and to your living Word,

Jesus Christ our Lord.


Song: Create in me a Clean, Clean Heart -

Old Testament Reading: Genesis 21:8-21

8 The child grew, and on the day that he was weaned, Abraham gave a great feast.

9 One day Ishmael, whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham, was playing with Sarah's son Isaac. 10 Sarah saw them and said to Abraham, “Send this slave and her son away. The son of this woman must not get any part of your wealth, which my son Isaac should inherit.”

11 This troubled Abraham very much, because Ishmael also was his son. 12 But God said to Abraham, “Don't be worried about the boy and your slave Hagar. Do whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that you will have the descendants I have promised. 13 I will also give many children to the son of the slave woman, so that they will become a nation. He too is your son.”

14 Early the next morning Abraham gave Hagar some food and a leather bag full of water. He put the child on her back and sent her away. She left and wandered about in the wilderness of Beersheba. 15 When the water was all gone, she left the child under a bush 16 and sat down about a hundred yards away. She said to herself, “I can't bear to see my child die.” While she was sitting there, she began to cry.

17 God heard the boy crying, and from heaven the angel of God spoke to Hagar, “What are you troubled about, Hagar? Don't be afraid. God has heard the boy crying. 18 Get up, go and pick him up, and comfort him. I will make a great nation out of his descendants.” 19 Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well. She went and filled the leather bag with water and gave some to the boy. 20 God was with the boy as he grew up; he lived in the wilderness of Paran and became a skilful hunter. 21 His mother got an Egyptian wife for him.

Song: What a friend we have in Jesus -

Gospel Reading: Matt 10:24-39 Read by Leonard -

24 “No pupil is greater than his teacher; no slave is greater than his master. 25 So a pupil should be satisfied to become like his teacher, and a slave like his master. If the head of the family is called Beelzebul, the members of the family will be called even worse names!

26 “So do not be afraid of people. Whatever is now covered up will be uncovered, and every secret will be made known. 27 What I am telling you in the dark you must repeat in broad daylight, and what you have heard in private you must announce from the housetops. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather be afraid of God, who can destroy both body and soul in hell. 29 For only a penny you can buy two sparrows, yet not one sparrow falls to the ground without your Father's consent. 30 As for you, even the hairs of your head have all been counted. 31 So do not be afraid; you are worth much more than many sparrows!

32 “Those who declare publicly that they belong to me, I will do the same for them before my Father in heaven. 33 But those who reject me publicly, I will reject before my Father in heaven.

34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the world. No, I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 I came to set sons against their fathers, daughters against their mothers, daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law; 36 your worst enemies will be the members of your own family.

37 “Those who love their father or mother more than me are not fit to be my disciples; those who love their son or daughter more than me are not fit to be my disciples. 38 Those who do not take up their cross and follow in my steps are not fit to be my disciples. 39 Those who try to gain their own life will lose it; but those who lose their life for my sake will gain it.


We’re in the story of Abraham and Sarah – one of the big, epic sagas about God and his work through people long, long ago. Though these are ancient accounts, they are also God’s words to us. So the Holy Spirit speaks to us through them.

As we listen to our readings, we’re asking those questions : -

What does this tell us about God?

God has called Abraham and Sarah to follow him. They walk out into the desert from their original home to follow God’s leading and rely on his promise to make them the foundation of a great nation – which will bless the whole earth. They will have as many descendants as there are stars in the sky.

So God is for all people. God’s plans are for the whole earth- all its people and all living things. Though God works through particular people at particular times, God has no favourites.

And in all the subsequent wanderings, mistakes and failures of these people, God remains faithful. It takes a long, long time- but the unexpected son is born. Isaac.

God fulfils his promise. God is faithful even when his people are not. God doesn’t desert these people even when they deliberately do things that aren’t in his plan. (though they do have to live with the consequences of what they have done…)

And God stands by those who are caught up in it all- through no fault of their own. God intervenes to rescue Hagar and Ishmael who have been thrown out by Abraham and Sarah. Indeed Ishmael’s name means “God sees” – God saw the injustice of what happened to them. God gives Hagar and Ishmael their own inheritance and promise.

What does it tell us about the people in the story?

Well- God’s people, even the ones who He has especially chosen to use, get things wrong. Following God faithfully is hard. God’s promises to Abraham and Sarah must have seemed a long way off. After all they’d given up so much and it’s no wonder that Sarah takes things into her own hands. That’s where Hagar comes in. She’s Sarah’s slave; Sarah tells her that she is to be their surrogate. If Abraham and Hagar have a son, then Sarah has hurried along God’s plan nicely. But it’s not God’s plan. Sarah thinks she has solved her problem but actually she’s made things worse. Because God is still faithful to her, even when she’s not faithful to Him.

So when Sarah’s son, Isaac is born, she’s jealous of Hagar and Ishmael. She’s caused the problem and now she’s living with the consequences. And once, more Sarah tries to fix it. She doesn’t do it herself- she makes Abraham do the dirty work. Send them away! I wonder if she could have stopped herself. I wonder if she could have owned what she and Abraham had done in the first place and kept Ishmael and Hagar with them.

God speaks into this mess. God is still here, still faithful, still rescuing. Hagar and Ishmael have been wronged. God intervenes on their behalf.

He has a long term plan for them and a more immediate miracle. Long term, Ishmael too becomes the father of a nation and in the short term- God’s angel directs them to water when the run out.

The people in this story make a right mess of things. Make a mistake; make the mistake worse; get jealous, are weak, abuse others. But God hasn’t given up on any of them.

What does it tell us for today?

Who do you identify most with?

Impatient, conniving but very practical Sarah- wanting to fix things. Impulsive, not having thought things through, she has to live with her mistakes. But she’s also cruel and heavy handed and makes other people suffer.

Abraham- he’s a bit spineless. He can see what’s wrong but goes along with it anyway.

Hagar – might not be entirely blameless- in an earlier version of this story (Gen 16) she openly mocks Sarah. But she has so much less power than the others. And baby Isaac and the young man Ishmael are caught up in it all.

I think there is a warning here for us about listening to God and holding onto what’s right. Even when the going gets tough, and we wait a very long time for God’s intervention, taking a short cut, thinking that the ends justifies the means, is not good. Our mistakes may come back to haunt us.

But there’s also encouragement. The mess of human relationships, the complications we get ourselves into- are not new to God. He has heard it all before. And He is faithful to his promises, rather than counting on our behaviour.

And He sees those who have been wronged and rescues them.

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.

Our Prayers led by Tope

Lord God, through your grace we are your people:

through your Son you have redeemed us;

in your Spirit you have made us as your own.

We pray for …

Make our hearts respond to your love.

Lord, receive our praise

and hear our prayer.

We pray for …

Make our lives bear witness to your glory in the world.

Lord, receive our praise

and hear our prayer.

We pray for …

Make our wills eager to obey, and our hands ready to heal.

Lord, receive our praise

and hear our prayer.

We give thanks for …

Make our voices one with all your people

in heaven and on earth.

Lord of life,

hear our prayer,

and make us one in heart and mind

to serve you with joy for ever.


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: The God Who Stays -

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.


Song: My Jesus My Saviour -

The Dismissal

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

In the name of Christ. Amen.

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