Sunday 8th August 2021

Act of Worship at Home


Loving Lord,

we come to set aside this time to come to bring ourselves and our lives to you in loving worship.

We come to pause, to be still, and to seek and know your presence.

Lord, help us to open our hearts and our minds to your word to us today and in the coming days.

In the name of Christ, Amen.

Reading Ephesians 4: 1 – 16

Unity in the Body of Christ

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 

Therefore it is said, ‘When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people.’ (When it says, ‘He ascended’, what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.


Between all the different church traditions there is a richness of understanding of what it means for Christians to be called to be saints. In the Reformed and Free Church traditions there is an understanding that all followers of Christ are called to be saints in the sense that we all seek to be holy, to live our lives imitating Christ, being more Christ-like. That the Church is called to be a community of saints. But of course that doesn’t mean we are perfect, far from it and to put it in Biblical language, we are sinners called to be saints.

Other Christians come from traditions that have an understanding of the canonization of saints. That some individuals demonstrate lives of such extraordinary holiness that through a long and careful process their holiness is officially recognised by the Church and they are declared to be saints.

I believe that both traditions have important things to say to us about our own calling to follow Christ to live holy lives. There are individuals throughout the history of the Church who have been called to act in particular places at particular times. Saint Columba’s calling from Ireland to the Scottish Island of lona bears the fruits of his holiness to this day. Some Saints are well know, Augustine of Hippo, Francis of Assisi, Hildegard of Bingen. And yet, perhaps many of the greatest saints remain entirely unknown.

One of the greatest saints I ever knew was a very elderly lady, with a simple but deep faith, who in total humility demonstrated her holiness to all she met. It shone from her! Young and old alike came to know Christ through Vi’s open and honest expression of God’s love for them.

Thomas Merton wrote that “Sainthood makes it possible for saints to admire everybody else. It gives them a vision that can find good in the most terrible criminals. It delivers them from the burden of judging others.” That was the holiness that Vi showed to everyone she met.

Saints touch the lives of those they meet, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. Someone put it very simply when they said “A saint is one the light shines through.”

The challenge of the calling for us to live lives of holiness is for us today and tomorrow, here and everywhere. It is personified for us by those famous few who are well known and whose names inspire prayer. It is personified for us by those invisible many who are known only to God and those whose lives they’ve touched. It is personified for us by the love and grace of Jesus Christ himself in whose name we

are “Called to be Saints”. We who have taken Christ into the very core of our being, fed by him, nourished by him, sustained by him. Perhaps the greatest calling and joy for all called to be saints is to go on talking about the son, in joyful words and actions, bringing the light of Christ to people living in darkness.


Christ, from whom all blessings flow,

Perfecting the saints below,

Hear us who Thy nature share,

Who Thy mystic body are.

Join us, in one spirit join;

Let us still receive of Thine;

Still for more on Thee we call,

Thou who fillest all in all.

Sweetly may we all agree,

Touched with loving sympathy,

Kindly for each other care;

Every member feel its share.

Love, like death, hath all destroyed,

Rendered all distinctions void;

Names, and sects, and parties fall:

Thou, O Christ, art all in all.

Time of Prayer

God, our strength, as we come to you in prayer, we calm ourselves and we are quiet,

for we know that: your love surrounds and fills us.

We pray for your Church, that your word of truth and hope may go out from our doors. That your wisdom may be heard in our worship and your love through our lives:

for we know that: your love surrounds and fills us.

We pray for your world, that your truth may be heard in government, your wisdom in negotiations and your freedom experienced by those in chains:
for we know that: your love surrounds and fills us.

We think of where we live, our neighbours, families and friends, asking that they may rest in your peace
and that those who need you now may be touched in their hearts by the knowledge of your grace:
for we know that: your love surrounds and fills us.

We think of those who need to know you in their lives who are sick, in mind or body or spirit: the homeless, the confused, the needy, the refugee.
May we be your hands, your voice, your heart in this world:
for we know that: your love surrounds and fills us.

May our comings and goings be in peace, and our future in your hands



Let us go now in the love of God, to love God and one another.
And may the blessing of God almighty be with you and all his children everywhere, now and always. Amen.

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