Sunday 15th August 2021

Act of Worship at Home

Led by Rev Tony Coates

Welcome, we pray together.

Thank you, Lord, that all together we form your Christ Church family. Some of us are now worshipping in Bear Street, some of us are at home, but whatever the place, we are together part of your family, held in the embrace of your love. Thank you, Lord, for the knowledge and assurance of that. In Jesus’ name. Amen .

Invitation to Worship

The Lord’s compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is his faithfulness.

Reading from John 6: 51-58

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live for ever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.’

Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’

Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live for ever.’


A fortnight ago, we looked at John’s account of the miraculous feeding of the five thousand, and thought of its implications for us now. Now we come to the ending of that section of the Gospel: Jesus’ teaching about himself as ‘the Bread of Life’.

Food and religion go together. You can’t have a major church event, like an induction or welcome service without food after, or even simply coffee and biscuits after a regular service. And it’s not only in Christianity. Think of Sikhism: in their gurdwaras, they serve food to all, regardless of religion. There’s an example. And there are Jewish Passover meals. But back to our subject…

We often associate these words with the communion service. There in communion, we receive spiritual food for our life’s journey, the body of Jesus the Bread of Life. It is, of course, impossible to say what is happening in a communion service. Some of us believe that as we receive the bread we are fed spiritually with the body of Christ. Others think of the bread and wine as helpful reminders of how Jesus died on the cross for us. But whatever, in communion we are fed spiritually.

But remember also that the spiritual nourishment made available to us in a communion service is not limited to that occasion alone, but can be ours at any time, in any place. As we read the Bible, as we pray, as we sit quietly before a beautiful view or sunset and take it in, as we listen to a great oratorio like the Messiah or Elijah, in a bible study group, in a prayer meeting, Jesus is there, feeding us.

Jesus the Bread of life, a wonderful truth, a wonderful experience. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Our hymn this time is ‘Guide me, O thou great Jehovah’ in Singing the Faith, 465

Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,

Pilgrim through this barren land.

I am weak, but Thou art mighty;

Hold me with Thy powerful hand.

Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven,

Feed me now and evermore;

Feed me now and evermore..

Open now the crystal fountain,

Whence the healing stream doth flow;

Let the fire and cloudy pillar

Lead me all my journey through.

Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer,

Be Thou still my Strength and Shield;

Be Thou still my Strength and Shield.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,

Bid my anxious fears subside;

Death of death, and hell’s destruction,

Land me safe on Canaan’s side.

Songs of praises, songs of praises,

I will ever give to Thee;

I will ever give to Thee.

Our prayers of intercession

Thank you, Lord, for the progress made on the restoration of the exterior of our church building. We thank you for the skill and craftsmanship of the stonemasons and all engaged in the work. Keep them safe, we pray.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We remember, Lord, our minister and elders and they make arrangements for restarting the whole range of our church life. Give wisdom and imagination, we pray.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray for our government as they monitor all the changes associated with the easing of restrictions.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray for all those being affected by extreme weather events caused by global warming, the wildfires, the floods. We pray for the communities who have had to flee, or whose lives have been disrupted. Give strength and resilience, we pray. And, Lord, we pray for ourselves, for we have a responsibility here. Help us to decide what we can do to mitigate global warming. Teach us to tread gently on the earth.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We think of our church community and those we know personally, who need our prayers – the bereaved, people awaiting or receiving medical treatment, people having to deal with problems affecting them or those close to them. Give them patience and strength.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord, we know you hear our prayers and will answer them according to your perfect will. Amen.

A blessing

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with us, wherever we may go.

May he guide us through the wilderness and protect us through life’s storms.

May he bless and guide us today and every day.


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