Worship for Sunday 14th August 2022, by Deacon Pru Cahill

Faith is sometimes a difficult journey to navigate. So much can hold us back and weigh us down. But as is the case for an athlete running a race, it is worth the struggle. We have ahead of us the example of Jesus himself, and of all the saints and martyrs who faced ordeals before us as we seek encouragement from one another.

Prayer of Approach

By faith, Lord, we come before you this day.
We can come no other way,
for we live in a world where so much remains unexplained.
We know about genes, and atoms, and DNA;
but none of these things tells us why we are here, or where we are going.
By faith, therefore, we trust in your promises,
for this life, and in the life to come. Amen.

Hymn: StF 53 How Shall I Sing that Majesty?

How shall I sing that majesty

which angels do admire?

Let dust in dust and silence lie;

sing, sing, ye heavenly choir.

Thousands of thousands stand around

thy throne, O God most high;

ten thousand times ten thousand sound

thy praise; but who am I?


Thy brightness unto them appears,

whilst I thy footsteps trace;

a sound of God comes to my ears,

but they behold thy face.

They sing, because thou art their sun;

Lord, send a beam on me;

for where heaven is but once begun

there alleluias be.


*Enlighten with faith’s light my heart,

inflame it with love’s fire;

then shall I sing and bear a part

with that celestial choir.

I shall, I fear, be dark and cold,

with all my fire and light;

yet when thou dost accept their gold,

Lord, treasure up my mite.


How great a being, Lord, is thine,

which doth all beings keep!

Thy knowledge is the only line

to sound so vast a deep.

Thou art a sea without a shore,

a sun without a sphere;

thy time is now and evermore,

thy place is everywhere.

John Mason (c1645 – 1694)

*this verse not in Singing the Faith

Prayer of Praise

Jesus Christ, pioneer and perfecter of our faith,
how can we thank you for the life you lived on earth?

You accepted the baptism of water, intended for sinners.
You accepted the baptism of fire,
enduring the cross, disregarding its shame.
You completed the race that was set before you
for the sake of the joy that awaited you.
And now you have taken your seat at the right hand of God.
Yet you are still with us,
encouraging us as we run our race on earth,
cheering and strengthening us as we go through the baptisms we too must endure,
holding before us the joy that is ours if we persevere.

May we thank you with our lives.
May we live gratefully, accepting your encouragement,
encouraging others,
growing in faith and enthusiasm,
looking always to you,
God’s promise to us,
God’s presence with us,
God’s very self. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

Because you call us into your presence,
God of goodness and truth:
let us lay aside every weight
and the sin that clings so closely.

Because it is us that you depend on to
save the weak and the orphan,
to defend the humble and needy,
to rescue the weak and the poor,
to deliver them from the power of the wicked:
let us lay aside every weight
and the sin that clings so closely.

Because you need us to face conflict with a steady heart,
because you need from us endurance and faith:
let us lay aside every weight
and the sin that clings so closely.

So let us lay aside every weight
and the sin that clings so closely

and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,
looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,
whose forgiveness and love and companionship is for us as sure as the sunrise. Amen.

Hebrews 11:29 – 12:2

11 29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.

31 By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.

32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 

Luke 12: 49-56

49 “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! 51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. 52 From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

54 He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. 55 And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. 56 Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?

StF 473  Moses I Know You’re the Man

‘Moses I know you’re the man,’ the Lord said.

‘You’re going to work out My plan,’ the Lord said.

‘Lead all the Israelites out of slavery.

and I shall make them a wandering race called the People of God.’


So every day

we’re on our way,

for we’re a travelling, wandering race,

we’re the People of God.


‘Don’t get too set in your ways,’ the Lord said.

‘Each step is only a phase,’ the Lord said.

‘I’ll go before you and I shall be a sign

to guide my travelling, wandering race;

you’re the People of God.’


‘No matter what you may do,’ the Lord said.

‘I shall be faithful and true,’ the Lord said.

‘My love will strengthen you as you go along,

for you’re my travelling, wandering race,

you’re the People of God.’


‘Look at the birds in the air,’ the Lord said.

‘They fly unhampered by care,’ the Lord said.

‘You will move easier if you’re travelling light,

for you’re a wandering vagabond race,

you’re the People of God.’


‘Foxes have places to go,’ the Lord said.

‘But I’ve no home here below,’ the Lord said.

‘So if you want to be with me all your days,

keep up the moving and travelling on,

you’re the People of God.      

Estelle White (1925-2011)


And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

A few weeks before the first lockdown I reached out a pair of old trainers, completed my first parkrun and have been running ever since. At Heaton parkrun there are sometimes pacemakers which I’ve used to good effect. Pacemakers are experienced runners who know the course well, how to manage the hills, and the precise spot to begin a final acceleration to the finish line.

The writer of the letter to the Hebrews points to some historical pacemakers who navigated the course God set for them. Without seeing the finish line, they trusted in God to help them through difficult situations.

While we have this “great cloud of witnesses” these examples are lives which had their own trajectory and integrity. It is important to know that our course has been set by God and that we aren’t to emulate anyone else, living or dead. We have been given our own gifts and graces, wisdom and experiences to share with the world.

Our mind’s eye must be fixed on Jesus in the same way the runner has the finish line in mind. Knowing he has overcome all things and is beside the throne of God waiting for us enables us to endure current difficulties.

Because Jesus is the only one who has overcome all things himself – the “pioneer” of a Christian’s faith – we can follow him in confidence. He is also the “perfecter” of faith, the one who can provide strength and endurance which helps us when we are tempted to give up or lose heart. 

Questions for reflection:-

What does it feel like to you to be surrounded by a “great cloud of witnesses”?

How can you become better able to” fix your eyes upon Jesus”?

StF 504 May the Mind of Christ my Saviour

May the mind of Christ, my Saviour
live in me from day to day,
by His love and power controlling
all I do or say.

May the word of God dwell richly
in my heart from hour to hour,
so that all may see I triumph
only through his power.

May the peace of God my Father
rule my life in everything,
that I may be calm to comfort
sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me,
as the waters fill the sea;
him exalting, self forgetting –
this is victory.

May I run the race before me,
strong and brave to face the foe,
looking only unto Jesus
as I onward go.

Kate Barclay Wilkinson (1859-1928) 


We bring our prayers for all who struggle to keep the faith.
For the hungry, perplexed by a world of plenty:
Lord, hear our prayer.

For the bereaved, angry at a world that carries on regardless:
Lord, hear our prayer.

For the sick, weary of a world that embraces the healthy:
Lord, hear our prayer.

For the young, tempted by a world that offers so much:
Lord, hear our prayer.

For the old, disaffected by a world that prizes youth:
Lord, hear our prayer.

For all who struggle to keep the faith, we pray for perseverance.
Lord, hear our prayer, and let our cry come unto you. 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. Amen.


 StF 661 Give me the Faith


Give me the faith which can remove
and sink the mountain to a plain;
give me the childlike praying love,
which longs to build thy house again;
thy love, let it my heart o’erpower,
and all my simple soul devour.

I would the precious time redeem,
and longer live for this along:
to spend and to be spent for them
who have not yet my Saviour known;
fully on these my mission prove,
and only breathe, to breathe thy love.

My talents, gifts, and graces, Lord,
into thy blessed hands receive;
and let me live to preach thy word,
and let me to thy glory live;
my every sacred moment spend
in publishing the sinners’ friend.

Enlarge, inflame, and fill my heart
with boundless charity divine:
so shall I all my strength exert,
and love them with a zeal like thine,
and lead them to thy open side,
the sheep for whom the Shepherd died.

Charles Wesley (1707-1788)


God, give us eyes of faith,
that we may choose your way
in the face of so many choices this week.
Help us to believe in your promise
and to respond to your calling.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.

(Prayers adapted from rootsontheweb.com)