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Sunday Sept 13th Holy Communion

Updated: Sep 12, 2020

Moses’ Story – Part 4: The Red Sea Rescue

We meet in the name of the Father,

and of the Son,

and of the Holy Spirit.


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 Say Sorry to God

God our Father,

we come to you in sorrow for our sins.

For turning away from you,

and ignoring your will for our lives;

Father, forgive us:

save us and help us.

For behaving just as we wish,

without thinking of you;

Father, forgive us:

save us and help us.

For failing you by what we do,

and think and say;

Father, forgive us:

save us and help us.

For letting ourselves be drawn away from you

by temptations in the world about us;

Father, forgive us:

save us and help us.

For living as if we were ashamed

to belong to your Son;

Father, forgive us:

save 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.


The Collect

Merciful God,

your Son came to save us

and bore our sins on the cross:

may we trust in your mercy

and know your love,

rejoicing in the righteousness

that is ours through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Old Testament Reading: Exodus 14.19-31 read by Margaret

19 The angel of God, who had been in front of the army of Israel, moved and went to the rear. The pillar of cloud also moved until it was 20 between the Egyptians and the Israelites. The cloud made it dark for the Egyptians, but gave light to the people of Israel, and so the armies could not come near each other all night.

21 Moses held out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind. It blew all night and turned the sea into dry land. The water was divided, 22 and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on both sides. 23 The Egyptians pursued them and went after them into the sea with all their horses, chariots, and drivers. 24 Just before dawn the Lord looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw them into a panic. 25 He made the wheels of their chariots get stuck, so that they moved with great difficulty. The Egyptians said, “The Lord is fighting for the Israelites against us. Let's get out of here!”

26 The Lord said to Moses, “Hold out your hand over the sea, and the water will come back over the Egyptians and their chariots and drivers.” 27 So Moses held out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the water returned to its normal level. The Egyptians tried to escape from the water, but the Lord threw them into the sea. 28 The water returned and covered the chariots, the drivers, and all the Egyptian army that had followed the Israelites into the sea; not one of them was left. 29 But the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on both sides.

30 On that day the Lord saved the people of Israel from the Egyptians, and the Israelites saw them lying dead on the seashore. 31 When the Israelites saw the great power with which the Lord had defeated the Egyptians, they stood in awe of the Lord; and they had faith in the Lord and in his servant Moses.

Gospel Reading Matthew 18:21-35 The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant read by John C

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, if my brother keeps on sinning against me, how many times do I have to forgive him? Seven times?”

22 “No, not seven times,” answered Jesus, “but seventy times seven, 23 because the Kingdom of heaven is like this. Once there was a king who decided to check on his servants' accounts. 24 He had just begun to do so when one of them was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. 25 The servant did not have enough to pay his debt, so the king ordered him to be sold as a slave, with his wife and his children and all that he had, in order to pay the debt. 26 The servant fell on his knees before the king. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay you everything!’ 27 The king felt sorry for him, so he forgave him the debt and let him go.

28 “Then the man went out and met one of his fellow servants who owed him a few dollars. He grabbed him and started choking him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he said. 29 His fellow servant fell down and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back!’ 30 But he refused; instead, he had him thrown into jail until he should pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were very upset and went to the king and told him everything. 32 So he called the servant in. ‘You worthless slave!’ he said. ‘I forgave you the whole amount you owed me, just because you asked me to. 33 You should have had mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you.’ 34 The king was very angry, and he sent the servant to jail to be punished until he should pay back the whole amount.”

35 And Jesus concluded, “That is how my Father in heaven will treat every one of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”

Sermon: Moses’ Story Part 4: The Red Sea Rescue

We are on an epic journey- through the life of Moses! And Moses is now about to embark on his greatest adventure. Just to recap- Moses was born to an Israelite family when the Pharoah or king of Egypt wanted to destroy all of them. Moses miraculously is rescued and brought up in the Pharaoh’s palace. But he gets into trouble as a young man and runs away. Years later God speaks to him and sends him back to Pharaoh to demand that the Israelites are set free to go to their own land. Last week, we heard the story of the Passover- the final plague that God sends on the Egyptians and Pharaoh lets all the Israelites go.

In the middle of the night, a vast number of Israelites escape, led by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. But Pharaoh then changes his mind and chases after them. The Israelites were terrified and complained to Moses- and God promises to lead them through the Red Sea… it’s the start of a long winding journey through the wilderness to their own land….

So today, we hear how the supernatural cloud and fiery pillar move between the Israelites and the Egyptians to keep them apart.

Moses raises his staff, stretches his hand out over the water- a great wind blows and drives back the water. The Israelites step out and cross the sea on dry-ish land. The Egyptians follow but their chariots get clogged in the mud. They panic and start to run back. The sea returns and the whole army is swept away.

The Israelites make it to the other side and recognise what God has done for them.

This is an important story – The Exodus:

Moses’ and the Israelites’ escape from Egypt is central to the history of God’s people. It’s called the Exodus- and a whole book of the bible is named after it!

It appears in the Psalms- Ps 106, 136; in the prophets Is 51:9 etc…Paul refers to it in Acts 13. Old Testament and New Testament writers refer back to this event again and again. Why does it matter so much?

God rescues

It’s important as it tells how a multitude of escaped slaves become a great nation. From the start of this escape, it’s God who rescues. The people are trapped between an enemy’s army and some part of the Red Sea. They cannot save themselves. God alone rescues them. God acts when there is no other way out, no other hope.

It is a miracle- God’s action alone, God’s power, God’s rescue. Only God can do this.

God brings new life

And when this story is repeated or referred to in other parts of the Bible, it tells us that God does the impossible and brings new life.

When Isaiah speaks (in poetic language) about God bringing new life in creation, Isaiah also speaks about the escape from Egypt. Both bring new life. In the New Testament, Paul links the Exodus (and the escape through the waters of the sea to a new life of freedom on the other side) to Christians having a new (spiritual) life with God once they have passed through the waters of baptism.

Here, God’s people start on the next part of their journey from slavery to being free people.

The Natural World and the Supernatural Combine

There’s a great debate about where exactly this extraordinary event took place and what really happened.

It seems that some historians and bible scholars agree that Israelites had to cross some part of the Red Sea where it has two thin branches reaching up to the Mediterranean Sea.

It’s likely that it was a shallow, marshy area full of reeds. The wind in the night blew so that the waters retreated. The artists like to show this as enormous walls of water on each side of a dry path. But perhaps it was much more like the combination of the tide ebbing out and a strong wind in the right direction was enough for the Israelites on foot to get across the marshes- whereas as the tide came back in and the wind fell, the heavy warhorses and chariots indeed got stuck on the soft muddy bottom.

There is no contradiction between a natural explanation and a supernatural act. God uses the natural forces in this world to bring about his higher purposes. And Moses’ outstretched arm matters- not because his arm has a special power, but because its done in obedience to God.

And all this was done to show what God is like. The panicking Egyptians recognised that this is God’s power; the fearful Israelites recognise eventually too- once it all over. Even when they had doubted both God and Moses at the start!

Israel has faith

It’s clear from the Exodus story, that the people aren’t full of faith- at least not all of the time. God doesn’t act because they are faithful or worthy- in fact the reverse. As soon as they’re out of Egypt, they turn on Moses – weren’t there any graves in Egypt? Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness?

But, they do respond in faith. They do follow Moses (at least for the moment), they do step out in faith across the dangerous divided sea, they do get to the other side and respond by believing in Moses and what God has done through him.

But Israel forgets

The tragedy again and again with God’s people is that they forget. They experience God’s amazing rescue, they see the sea parted, they see the end of the Egyptian army, they believe in God and then, they forget.

The pattern is repeated again and again through the history of the Old Testament and through the prophets.

The people are rescued but they still have to keep walking by faith through new challenges. They are free but they’re not at the end of the journey. There’s a long way to go.

So what about us?

God rescues:

God rescued the Israelites from slavery by other nation to the freedom of their own land. God rescues us from the bondage of sin. We are trapped by our own human nature to be less than perfect; we cannot make ourselves right with God. God rescues us from the slavery of sin and death and brings us into new life with him.

It’s not dependent on our actions – God rescues us by his grace. We understand that this is what Jesus does in dying for us on the cross. It’s his initiative, his sacrifice, his actions that make the difference, not what we have done.

God brings new life:

God doesn’t rescue people and then leave them to get on with life on their own. Just as God continued to lead his people, God rescues us and then sends his Holy Spirit to live in us. We are always being changed. In the Old Testament, God’s presence was seen in the cloud by day and the fire by night. They are symbols, physical reminders of his presence. We have God’s Holy Spirit alive in us.

We have faith?

We have to live out that new life.

This great story has been the inspiration for many great campaigns for change. It’s the story that inspired thousands on thousands of Afro-American slaves that they could and should be free. This story drove so many to rescue them, change law, and bring freedom.

The rescue and new life God brings each individual is seemlessly joined to their responsibility to live that out. God rescues us, we have his Holy Spirit, we are sent out to love our neighbours and to tell then of God’s love. There is no conflict between these aims!

The social reformers past and present are driven by their faith in the God who rescued them to rescue others. Literally rescue them from injustice or poverty or any other kind of need – and to tell everyone that they need to be rescued from sin and death.

Harriet Tubman- anti-slavery campaigner. “The Moses of her people”

We should not forget

We might wonder how the Israelites managed it. How could they possibly forget what happened? How could they miss the point? The next chapter in Exodus is full of triumph and celebration- a great song of praise to God. But by chapter 16 they’re back to their old ways.

They are moaning again: Why did we ever leave Egypt- it was so much better there! They hadn’t got to their promised land yet. The going got tough, they wandered in the wilderness.

Moses led them, God spoke to them… and yet they still managed to forget.

So for us, we are also on a journey.

We are rescued; Jesus has died for us, come back to life and sends his Holy Spirit to empower us to live for him. We choose to follow God and become Christians- a once for ever decision.

But we also have to choose to follow day by day. We are sure that we belong to God now but we still live in the mess and suffering of this world. We’re not home yet! Heaven waits for us.

So how can we help each other remember what God has done for us?

How can we support each other to be the people God has rescued- who then go onto to rescue others?

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 John F

Our Heavenly Father, your name is awesome.

You are the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

You are the biggest and the most powerful.

Yet you love to hear us sing and praise your glorious name

Help us to worship you this morning in sincere praise and thanksgiving.

O Lord hear our prayer,

And let our cry come unto you.

Lord, as you protected and saved your chosen people, the Israelites, from the Egyptians, so we ask that you will protect and care for us during these difficult and trying times. We pray for our Church.

Oh, how we pray that we could all join together to praise your name in our church

We give grateful thanks that, through the gifts you have given to people, we can worship through the internet.

We pray for our worldwide church, we pray for our Bishops, Christopher and John, our Clergy Buff and Julie.

We give thanks for their continued faithfulness, proclaiming you Gospel to us and caring for us during this pandemic

O Lord hear our prayer,

And let our cry come unto you.

We give you grateful thanks for all the blessings of this life, especially for the Blessing of your Son, for his obedience and sacrifice for us to be given eternal life.

We pray for our community, help us to proclaim your Gospel in our words and deeds in Stoke Aldermoor.

We pray especially for our Foodbank, for those who support us and those who need feeding.

Let us bring before God any particular projects that we feel will enhance your Kingdom here on earth.

O Lord hear our prayer,

And let our cry come unto you.

We pray for all those who are sick and need the touch of you healing hands.

We give thanks for all those who care for the sick and especially the NHS and Carers.

We pray that all people will realise how deadly this virus, Covid 19, is and that they will endeavour not only to protect themselves but also those around them.

Please Father keep us safe from this deadly disease.

O Lord hear our prayer,

And let our cry come unto you.

We pray for all those who have died, we give thanks for their lives and we ask that you send down the Holy Spirit to comfort all those who mourn. We also give thanks for all those who will be remembered today

In a moment of quiet let us bring the people that we know and remember before God.

O Lord hear our prayer,

And let our cry come unto you.

Finally, as you protected the Israelites from the Egyptians, protect, bless and keep us safe this coming week, be with us in all thoughts, our words and in our actions and that they may they be carried out in your name and to your praise and glory.

We ask all this in Jesus’ name

Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ . 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.

Holy Communion

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.


The Dismissal

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

In the name of Christ. Amen.


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