Service – Sunday 21st June

Fugue in B Flat Major BWV 560 by JS Bach
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Opening Prayer
God of all, we come to you just as we are – happy, sad, busy, bored, lonely, or fed up with people. We thank you that you welcome us just as we are and are always with us, even when we don’t realise. We come to worship you and praise you, faithful God. Amen

StF 303 – Hymn – I know that my redeemer lives
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I know that my Redeemer lives —
what joy the blest assurance gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead;
he lives, my everlasting Head!
he lives, my everlasting Head!

He lives, to bless me with his love;
he lives, to plead for me above;
he lives, my hungry soul to feed;
he lives, to help in time of need.
he lives, to help in time of need.

He lives, and grants me daily breath;
he lives, and I shall conquer death;
he lives, my mansion to prepare;
he lives, to lead me safely there.
he lives, to lead me safely there.

He lives, all glory to his name;
he lives, my Saviour, still the same;
what joy the blest assurance gives,
I know that my Redeemer lives!
I know that my Redeemer lives!

Samuel Medley (1738-1799)

We pray together
Beautiful God, we praise and worship you – your loving kindness and mercy is without end. Your faithfulness to us is unending. We praise you for your eternal love.

We recognise before you, and thank you, for where your image is clear in us – where we radiate you in the way that we live. We recognise too where we mar that image – with selfishness, unkindness, a lack of love.

We thank you that you give us your Spirit to help us know you and be closer to you.

We thank you that when we come to you, you don’t wait for us to be clever enough, good enough, or perfect enough – but you accept us as we are in complete Love.

We thank you for people who have shown us what your love is like, remembering with thanks those who have died who have shown us what your love is like.

We bring our prayers in Jesus name.
Amen

Confession
Loving Father, be merciful and forgive our sin. Cleanse our unrighteousness. Heal our hurts and reconcile our broken relationships. Pour Your Spirit upon us with renewing grace. Restore to us the joy of our salvation. Forgive our excessiveness and ingratitude. Make us a thankful people with charitable hearts, who drink from the well of Your grace, that this broken world will taste the new wine of the gospel. Through Jesus, Amen.

Assurance of Forgiveness
Sisters and brothers, hear the good news and know the grace of God.

We are forgiven.

We are set free to go and live in the light of God’s love for us in Christ.
Amen

Reading
Romans 6 v1 to 14

StF 565 – Hymn – Only by grace
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Only by grace can we enter,
only by grace can we stand;
not by our human endeavour,
but by the blood of the Lamb.
Into your presence you call us,
you call us to come.
Into your presence you draw us,
and now by your grace we come,
now by your grace we come.

Lord, if you mark our transgressions,
who would stand?
Thanks to your grace we are cleansed
by the blood of the Lamb.
Lord, if you mark our transgressions,
who would stand?
Thanks to your grace we are cleansed
by the blood of the Lamb.

Only by grace can we enter,
only by grace can we stand;
not by our human endeavour,
but by the blood of the Lamb.
Into your presence you call us,
you call us to come.
Into your presence you draw us,
and now by your grace we come,
now by your grace we come.

Gerrit Gustafson

Address
Click here to listen to the Address presented by Rev Mark Barrett

I used to windsurf when I lived in Hastings, ceased to do it on going to Doncaster. Long way to the coast and the North Sea was not as warm as The Channel. One particular thing I learnt was to respect the sea, never to think it was easy to be out on the water. Tides turn, winds change, weather worsens and all at a speed you can be caught unawares. Once, when surfing off the sea in Hastings, my friend Ricky and I were out in the late afternoon, a fine enough day with a force 4 blowing east to west. Really good conditions. Gradually over a couple of runs to and fro, we noticed the air became a degree of two cooler. On our fourth run, as we turned to head eastwards back towards the car, we saw a sea fog appear around the Rock-a-Nore headland. Fog! Fog meant the wind died down, so no power in the sail. Fog meant the sea flattened and you could not see the tide’s direction nor that of any waves. Fog meant you were sightless out there. Fog meant cold. We quickly lowered our sails, rolled them up, laid them along the boards and laid down ourselves and paddled in. We had about another ten minutes to pack away, dry off and change and sit in the cars as the fog rolled in.

To have continued, even for a few minutes would have been foolhardy and dangerous. To have thought we could control what was happening and that we were better sailors than the sea would have been stupid beyond understanding.

Sin, like that fog, can roll upon and over us if we are not watchful and we become lost and disorientated. We are dead in the water, but we need to be dead to sin.

In the Romans passage we are dealing with something as dangerous and as insidious – sin, wrongdoing, falling short. Use what words work for you.

The passage does not tell us that once we have given ourselves to Christ that we will sin no more. The passage does not say that we will not be tempted again.

Dying to sin does not mean sin is dead, it does not mean that we have overcome sin or sin in us and we can just forget about it.

It means that we must be aware that we can still fall into sinful behaviour. We have to be aware of the temptations around us. We have to still turn away from the siren call of sin.

It means not thinking ‘this is only a small sin, that’s ok’. We must not be tempted in any way to give ourselves over to sinful actions. The way to counter that is to give ourselves over to the words, the work and the ways of God’s kingdom.

It means that if we do fall into sinful actions we do not let ourselves be controlled by them, we do not let that one action dictate the rest of our actions.

John’s letter tells us in chapter 1, verse 8:
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

We are to realise our frailty before sin, we are to realise the dangers and to be ever vigilant. We may yet fall into sin, but we are not to despair, nor allow it to govern us or define us.

We are to confess and turn to walk the opposite way. Our acknowledgement of our frailty is our greatest strength because at that same time we fully acknowledge our need for the love and grace of God that comes to us through Jesus his Son.

This is beautifully made clear to us in word that appear in our Lent and Passiontide Communion Service. I have changed the word ‘you’ to ‘we’ for we all need to be dead to sin and alive in Christ:
Come to this sacred table, not because we must, but because we may;
come, not to declare that we are righteous, but that we desire to be true disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ: come, not because we are strong, but because we are weak; not because we have any claim on heaven’s rewards, but because in our frailty and sin we stand in constant need of heaven’s mercy and help.”
Amen

StF 248- Hymn – I heard the voice of Jesus
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I heard the voice of Jesus say:
‘Come unto me and rest;
lay down, O weary one, lay down
your head upon my breast.’
I came to Jesus as I was,
weary and worn and sad,
I found in him a resting-place,
and he has made me glad.

I heard the voice of Jesus say:
‘Behold, I freely give
the living water; thirsty one,
stoop down and drink and live.’
I came to Jesus, and I drank
of that life-giving stream;
my thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
and now I live in him.

I heard the voice of Jesus say:
‘I am this dark world’s Light;
look unto me, your morn shall rise,
and all your day be bright.’
I looked to Jesus, and I found
in him my star, my sun;
and in that light of life I’ll walk,
till travelling days are done.

Horatius N. Bonar (1808-1889)

Intercessions
A time of prayer – please make your own prayers for specific people, places and situations in the spaces.

Eternal God, we come to pray as your co-workers and co-carers in your world. We know you already care and are already there in the places and with the people for whom we pray.

In a moment of silence we pray for people suffering, in pain, depression or anxiety. We pray for all those who work to alleviate suffering.

We pray for communities struggling in poverty, overcrowding and hunger, for people feeling disconnected and for those who are working together to bring comfort, food and help.

We pray for governments and those in power around the world, for wisdom and the desire to put the wellbeing of their people first and to work together with other countries in peace.

We bring all our prayers, in trust and confidence, in the precious name of Jesus.
Amen

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.
Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and forever.
Amen

StF 489- Hymn – All I once held dear
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All I once held dear,
built my life upon,
all this world reveres,
and wars to own,
all I once thought gain
I have counted loss;
spent and worthless now,
compared to this.
Knowing you, Jesus,
knowing you,
there is no greater thing.
You’re my all, you’re the best,
you’re my joy, my righteousness,
and I love you, Lord.

Now my heart’s desire
is to know you more,
to be found in you
and known as yours.
To possess by faith
what I could not earn,
all-surpassing gift
of righteousness.
Knowing you, Jesus,
knowing you,
there is no greater thing.
You’re my all, you’re the best,
you’re my joy, my righteousness,
and I love you, Lord.

Oh, to know the power
of your risen life,
and to know you in
your sufferings.
To become like you
in your death, my Lord,
so with you to live
and never die.
Knowing you, Jesus,
knowing you,
there is no greater thing.
You’re my all, you’re the best,
you’re my joy, my righteousness,
and I love you, Lord.

Graham Kendrick (b. 1950)

A prayer of blessing
May Immanuel God be with us,
bless us with the deep heart-knowledge that God is with us,
and as we share the reality of ourselves with God,
may we know ourselves held and beloved.
Amen

Toccata in G Minor P465 by J Pachelbel
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