Tuesday Midday Service, March 24th 2020

Today we are apart when normally we are gathered. The Bible reading, from a letter to the Corinthians, reminds us that each of us – the whole church of Christ – although dispersed is a part of the body of Christ and each has a part to play.

Prayer of Adoration

For the richness of your creation,

for different colours and scents,

for different birds and animals:

none the same, yet part of your creation,

generous God, we praise you.


For the richness of your world,

for different places and peoples,

for different songs and stories:

no person the same, yet part of one family,

generous God, we praise you.


For the richness of our village,

for different families and homes,

for different places to work, play and learn,

no street the same, yet part of one community,

generous God, we praise you.


For the richness of our churches,

for different gifts and skills,

for different songs and prayers:

no congregation the same, yet part of one Church,

generous God, we praise you.


We praise you, Lord, for creating a world of wonder and beauty,

Of diversity and difference.

You love and care for all that you have given and long that your world should know peace.

Teach us to live in harmony with you and our world.

Teach us to love, as you show love.

God is more ready to forgive our sins than we are to confess them. Let us come then before God to acknowledge the weight of our sins…

God of mercy, in your Son you offer us unconditional forgiveness for the sins we truly confess. Grant us your pardon for all our sins: when by our actions, we have impeded your will; when through indifference to the needs of others we have diminished their humanity; when through disobedience and weakness we have failed your love.

Come to us in your mercy, repair our broken lives and help us to live in unity. In the name of the love of Jesus Christ. Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.


Hymn:  How Lovely on the Mountain are the feet of Him


Bible Reading : 1 Corinthians 12 (NRSV) One Body with Many Members

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

14 Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many members, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and those members of the body that we think less honourable we clothe with greater honour, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; 24 whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honour to the inferior member, 25 that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together with it.



If Paul had been living in the 21st century I’m sure he could have continued the analogy of the body much further. Perhaps he would have included internal organs as well as visible ones. When we hear this passage talk about parts of the body we might think about our own tired, fallible, imperfect, bodies with surgical intervention or cosmetic enhancement.

The church at Corinth was divided with members desiring certain spiritual gifts above others. Their thinking about spiritual gifts was badly and dangerously distorted. Some not only spoke in tongues but also thought that everyone else should do the same. And some of those who didn’t speak in tongues had been intimidated by this attitude. They began to think that they should be speaking in tongues if they were to be considered real Christians. And because they themselves couldn’t, they were doubting that their service in the church had any value – indeed they were even doubting whether they were genuine believers at all. Paul encouraged the Corinthian Christians to identify and use the gifts given to them to build up the body.

Paul uses the illustration of a human body several times in his letters and it is a good one. But if we are not careful, we might mistakenly think that this passage is solely about church membership. It isn’t; it is about the body of Christ living in the world of which we are all a part. In the last few days when the impact of Coronavirus is hitting home, we are reminded that although our church buildings are closed, the body of Christ, though dispersed, is very much alive and active.

We all have different gifts, each unique and given so that we can be the body of Christ right where we are even though at the moment they will have to be in new and imaginative ways.

Some years ago, I was at a choir practise in my old church in Lancashire. We were practising for an Easter cantata and had a guest soloist with us for the occasion. Joyce had a tremendous voice and everyone listened to her with their mouths wide open. When she had finished, there was a stunned silence and then a voice from the altos muttered – “well I bet she can’t make scones!” Joyce admitted that she couldn’t. We all have different gifts; each is important.

For the body of Christ to function at its best …

every part needs to be present

every part is important to the rest.

I wonder, how will you live out this calling in the present circumstances?


Prayer and Blessing

Creator God, who cares for us and watches over us each day,
unite us in love.
Jesus, Son of God, who died on the cross to save us,
unite us in peace.
Spirit of God, who helps us to walk in the way of Jesus,
unite us in purpose.
Loving Lord, help us to live and work together as one body,
making known your care to all.

And the blessing of God Almighty.
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.

Over coffee…

How many (other) hymn titles can you think of which contain a body part?!