Worship for Sunday 11th June 2023, by Rev. Catharine Hughes

Stepping out in faith

Thank you, Creator God, for summer’s warmth and light, your gift.

Help us to joy in the promise of each day.

Thank you, Jesus, for summer’s peace and stillness, your gift.

Help us to rest in the beauty of each day.

Thank you, gentle Spirit, for summer’s colour and life, your gift.

Help us to thrive in the hope of each day.

Holy Trinity, dynamic and loving, we thank you for seasons and cycles.

But especially for today in this season of summer.

Hymn: STF 106 – God, whose almighty word

God, whose almighty word

Chaos and darkness heard,

And took their flight,

Hear us, we humbly pray,

And where the gospel day

Sheds not its glorious ray,

Let there be light!


Christ, you have come to bring

On your redeeming wing

Healing and sight,

Health to the sick in mind,

Sight to the inly blind,

O to all humankind

Let there be light!


Spirit of truth and love,

Life-giving, holy Dove,

Speed forth your flight;

Move on the waters’ face,

Bearing the lamp of grace,

And in earth’s dearest place

Let there be light!


Blessed and holy Three,

Glorious Trinity,

Wisdom, Love, Might,

Boundless as ocean’s tide

Rolling in fullest pride,

Through the world far and wide

Let there be light!

John Marriott (1780-1825)


Prayer of praise & confession

Mighty God, we praise you

For all the wonders of creation that surround us,

For glorious summer days, and refreshing rain,

For the intricacies of nature that work in perfect harmony,

For the human gifts of science and engineering that provide for us.

Forgive us for our abuse of your resources,

For the destruction of the planet’s ecosystems and pollution with plastic.

Loving God, we praise you

For your gift of Jesus Christ to show us how to live,

For the ability to coming directly to you in prayer,

For giving us life in all its fullness.

Forgive us for forgetting to leave our sins at the cross,

For going our own way, not yours.

Wise God, we praise you

For your Word to guide us,

For the ability to think, reflect and worship,

For your presence with us at all times.

Forgive us for being too busy to spend time with you,

For heeding the way of the world not the way of life.

Wisdom, Love, Might:

Let there be light!



Reading: Genesis 12.1-9

The call of Abram

The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

‘I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.’

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

Abram travelled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land.’ So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

From there he went on towards the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.

Then Abram set out and continued towards the Negev.

Hymn: STF 464 – God it was who said to Abraham

God it was who said to Abraham,

‘Pack your bags and travel on.’

God it was who said to Sarah,

‘Smile and soon you’ll bear a son.’

Travelling folk and aged mothers
Wand’ring when they thought they’d done –

This is how we find God’s people,

Leaving all because of One.


God it was who said to Moses,

‘Save my people, part the sea.’

God it was who said to Miriam,

‘Sing and dance to show you’re free.’

Shepherd-saints and tambourinists

Doing what God knew they could –

This is how we find God’s people,

Liberating what they should.


God it was who said to Joseph,

‘Down your tools and take your wife.’

God it was who said to Miriam,

‘In your womb, I’ll start my life!’

Carpenter and country maiden

Leaving town and trade and skill –

This is how we find God’s people,

Moved by what their Maker wills.


Christ it was who said, ‘Zacchaeus,

I would like to eat with you.’

Christ it was who said to Martha,

‘Listening’s what you need to do.’

Civil servants and housekeepers,

Changing places at a cost –

This is how Christ summons people,

Calling both the loved and lost.


In this crowd which spans the ages,

With these saints whom we revere,

God wants us to share their purpose

Starting now and starting here.

So we celebrate our calling,

So we raise both heart and voice,

As we pray that through our living

More may find they are God’s choice.

John L. Bell & Graham Maule


Reading: Matthew 9.18-26

Jesus raises a dead girl and heals a sick woman

18 While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, ‘My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.’ 19 Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.

20 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21 She said to herself, ‘If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.’

22 Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart, daughter,’ he said, ‘your faith has healed you.’ And the woman was healed at that moment.

23 When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house and saw the noisy crowd and the people playing pipes, 24 he said, ‘Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.’ But they laughed at him. 25 After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. 26 News of this spread through all that region.

Hymn: STF 650 – Heal us, Immanuel! Hear our prayer…

Heal us, Immanuel! Hear our prayer;

We wait to feel your touch;

Deep-wounded souls to you repair,

And, Saviour, we are such.


Our faith is feeble, we confess;

We fairly trust your word;

But will you pity us the less?

Be that far from you, Lord!


Remember him who once applied

With trembling for relief:

‘Lord, I believe!’ with tears he cried,

‘O help my unbelief!’


She, too, who touched you in the press,

And healing virtue stole,

Was answered: ‘Daughter, go in peace,

Your faith has made you whole.’


Concealed amid the gathering throng,

She would have shunned your view;

And if her faith was firm and strong,

And strong misgivings too.


Like her, with hopes and fears we come

To touch you, if we may;

O send us not despairing home,

Send none unhealed away!

William Cowper (1731-1800)



The story of the Jesus raising a dead girl and healing a sick woman is – if I’m allowed one – my favourite bible story. It is in each of the synoptic gospels, each one telling it in their own way. It is an obvious ‘sandwich’ for Mark: the healed woman is in between the two parts of the synagogue ruler’s story. Luke-the-doctor avoids mentioning the money spent on medical care and simply says that no-one could heal the woman. Matthew’s version that we have today is by far the briefest, but – in his perpetual quest to root Jesus in Judaism – he is the writer who mentions her touching the fringe, or tassels, of his cloak. Every Israelite’s cloak would have tassels sewn onto the four corners as reminders to obey God’s commands.

But above all, I think this story is one of faith. Bold, brassy faith and timid, tentative faith – both of which meet Jesus.

The synagogue ruler had brave faith when he knelt before Jesus. His dead daughter could live if only Jesus would put his hand on her. Jesus goes immediately, and on arrival he gets rid of the wailing crowd of mourners. Tradition had it that even a poor family was to hire two flute players and one professional wailing woman at a funeral. Matthew is emphasising this girl was dead… yet the ruler’s faith was well-founded, for Jesus takes the girl by the hand and she gets up. The ruler had faith to speak up in public and demand the impossible of Jesus.

The woman who had been bleeding for 12 years, and thus unclean in the eyes of the law, had a different sort of courage. She would have been shunned by society and was risking her life and what was left of her reputation simply by being in the crowd. She, too, knew Jesus could heal, if only she could get close enough. She keeps her head down, touches the barest fringe of his cloak, and knows herself healed. Jesus immediately draws her into his family, calling her Daughter. The sin of uncleanliness is gone: she is a child of God.

What sort of faith do we have?

Do we have such confidence that we can demand the impossible of Jesus? Do we have the faith that calls on him to heal in public – from the pulpit or in the power of corporate prayer? Or – dare I suggest – do we have that faith but fail to exercise it?

Or do we have the faith that reaches out, touches at the edge of Jesus’s powers but knows that he will still answer? Do we come as convicted sinner, in the sure knowledge that he will have mercy and we can be made whole again?

And finally, may I introduce you to the faith of the flute players and wailing woman, who laughed in Jesus’ face when he told them the child was asleep. Their faith lay not in Jesus but in the need for tradition and ritual surrounding the death of a child. Though we may not have the gift of healing in the market place, nor the faith that a simple touch can transform, let us never fall into the trap of thinking what we’ve always done, or what we’re paid to do, is the right way, the only way – the Jesus way. Instead, let us have faith in the God of miracles who thinks each and every one of us a masterpiece, worthy of rescuing, saving and healing.

SONG: Reach out and touch the Lord (MP)

Reach out and touch the Lord as he goes by.

You’ll find he’s not to busy to hear your heart’s cry.

He’s passing by this moment your needs to supply.

Reach out and touch the Lord, as he goes by.

Prayers of intercession

Today is also MHA Sunday, so our prayers of intercession come from MHA and recognise all the work that it does across our nation.

We give thanks for 80 years of MHA and the continuing work and love in support of older people in homes and in the wider community.

We thank you for privileged moments: friendships being formed; generations learning from one another; community being created; special moments of recognition through worship and music for those living with dementia. Thank you that you remember.

We pray for carers, both employees and volunteers and those who care for loved ones at home. For those who make sacrifices every day for others. In their caring may they find hidden treasures of joy, connection and hope. Bless them with strength and patience.

We pray for young and old and everyone in between. Particularly for those suffering from physical or mental pain. Those waiting for hospital appointments and results. Those who feel lonely and isolated and those who feel anxious. Bring your peace and love to those people and situations, and we name those who are known personally to us in need at this time…. Bring your healing.

Bless your church, and may we continue your work as we seek to follow you. Guide us in your ways and to the people that you call us to serve. May we discern and use the gifts that you have for us.

We offer our prayers, in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.


And a prayer of commitment:

Living God, who calls us to fullness and fulfilment:

Breathe into the raw materials of our lives,

All that we are, and have, and cling to,

The passions that fire us and the visions that move us,

And help us to see and to find you there.

Fashion from our simple willingness to take the next faltering step of faith

A witness to your grace

An example of your love,

And an offering to your world.



The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,

Hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come, Your will be done

On earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our sins

As we forgive those who sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil.

For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory,

For ever and ever. Amen.

Hymn: By faith we see the hand of God [Songs of Fellowship Book 5, 2240]

By faith we see the hand of God

In the light of creation’s grand design;

In the lives of those who prove His faithfulness,

Who walk by faith and not by sight.


By faith our fathers roamed the earth

With the power of His promise in their hearts:

Of a holy city built by God’s own hand –

A place where peace and justice reign.


We will stand as children of the promise,

We will fix our eyes on Him, our soul’s reward.

’Till the race is finished and the work is done,

We’ll walk by faith and not by sight.


By faith the prophets saw a day

When the longed-for Messiah would appear

With the power to break the chains of sin and death,

And rise triumphant from the grave.


By faith the church was called to go

In the power of the Spirit to the lost,

To deliver captives and to preach good news

In every corner of the earth.


By faith this mountain shall be moved

And the power of the gospel shall prevail,

For we know in Christ all things are possible

For those who call upon His name.

Stuart Townend & Keith & Kristyn Getty Copyright © 2009 Thankyou Music



Opening responses from ‘Summer’ by Ruth Burgess (WGRG, 2020)

Bible readings from New International Version

Prayers of intercession from MHA Sunday resources 2023

Prayer of commitment from Methodist Prayer Handbook 2022-3