Sunday 21st June 2020

Welcome to all who have joined me for this time of worship. May it be a time of blessing for us all.

We pray together

Thank you, Lord, that, even in this time of crisis, we can turn to you and find that you are the same, yesterday, today and for ever. Be with us now, we pray. Widen our horizons, strengthen our resolve, and help us to discover our part in building your kingdom in today’s changed world. Amen.

Some appropriate verses from the set Psalm for today (Ps 86):

Hear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am in need. Guard my life, for I am devoted to you. You are my God, save your servant who trusts in you…Bring joy to your servant for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you. Hear my prayer, O Lord, listen to my cry for mercy. In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me.

And, from today’s gospel reading (Matt 10:29,31,39). Jesus said:

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows… Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.


Today’s is not a situation that Jesus ever envisaged or anticipated, but there are insights in his words that the Holy Spirit can give us…

Yes, we have lost our old normal familiar life, and its reassuring landmarks: meeting family members, meeting friends once a week at regular gatherings, frequent visits to the shops, church and all the loved familiar faces on Sunday mornings, and, for some, evenings as well. Yes, we have lost a lot, and not because we are followers of Jesus. It’s happened, in one form or another, to everyone.

But, remember, too, that we are finding a new life. Just think… Phone calls, and e-mails used to be quick and hasty: ‘Just to remind you of our meeting tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you there.’ ‘Shall we meet up for coffee at ten this morning, okay?’ Phone calls and e-mails are no longer short like that. But are much longer – people telling others how they are managing, news of mutual friends, discussions about what the present policy about something is, tips about where and when to shop, who does home deliveries, and so on and so on. But people are also having deeper conversations, learning about each other’s past, getting to know one another better than they did in the past in the old busy days. What we are seeing is that a new sort of community spirit is developing, which will be carried on (in part at least) into the ‘new normal’.

Yes, the old life that we had hewn out for ourselves, had found, and was precious to us – that we have lost. But having lost it, we are tentatively discovering, finding, a new one. And God’s Holy Spirit is with us, inspiring, prompting us through it all. May that be so for you.

And the implications for our church life? Well, that’s for a sermon – and probably many other sermons (!) in the days to come. Meanwhile, may God bless you, living in this new emerging world.


Please join in the usual response to my words ‘Lord, in your mercy.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer.

Lord, you hold the world and all humankind in your hands. Save us in these changing days from being overwhelmed, swamped, by this changing situation. Remind us that you value each one of us, ‘worth more than many sparrows’

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray at this time for all victims of racial prejudice. It is so easy for us all to think that we are not prejudiced, and then, when we are off our guard, we find ourselves thinking unworthy thoughts. It may be our upbringing in the past, but, none the less, we ask you to forgive us. Give wisdom to the guardians of questionable historic monuments, we pray, and help us to move on to a more equitable future.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer.

Lord, as we move forward into the easing of lockdown, we pray for wisdom for our government, all involved in education, church leaders, including our elders, people in the hospitality industry, staff in shops, and so many others. Help us all to move forward wisely into the new normal, not motivated by our nostalgia for the past, but determined to play our part in building the Kingdom that you are today building in and through us.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer.

And, Lord, we think of particular individuals, for whom we are concerned: the bereaved, people in hospitals and care homes, people waiting for delayed medical treatment, and all those who put themselves at risk in their daily work. We remember now those we know by name… [silence]

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer.

Lord, we place into your hands ourselves and these our prayers. Strengthen us in our resolve to be agents of your Kingdom, and keep us and our loved ones safe.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer. Amen   

And the collect for this Sunday:

Creator God, in the beginning, your word subdued the chaos, and in the fullness of time you sent Jesus, your Son to make all things new.

By that same power, transform our fear into faith that we may have courage to follow in the way of your kingdom; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.  

Our hymn this morning is the Easter hymn, number 312 in ‘Singing the Faith’:

The head that once was crowned with thorns

is crowned with glory now:

a royal diadem adorns

the mighty victor’s brow.

The highest place that heaven affords

is his, is his by right:

the King of kings, and Lord of lords,

and heaven’s eternal light.

The joy of all who dwell above,

the joy of all below,

to whom he manifests his love,

and grants his name to know.

To them the cross, with all its shame,

with all its grace, is given;

their name an everlasting name,

their joy the joy of heaven.

They suffer with their Lord below;

they reign with him above;

their profit and their joy to know

the mystery of his love.

The cross he bore is life and health,

though shame and death to him;

his people’s hope, his people’s wealth,

their everlasting theme.


The peace of God, which is beyond our utmost understanding, be in our hearts and minds; and the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with us now and always. Amen   

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