Worship for Sunday 18th July, by Rev. Krystyna Kwarciak

Call to worship 

We come believing in our emptiness,

believing that we will never have enough,

believing that what we have is unworthy.


We come fearful of sharing,

fearful of losing our tenuous grip on security,

fearful of touching and knowing the pain of others.


We come overwhelmed by the hunger,

overwhelmed by the suffering of children near and far,

overwhelmed by the endless tales of senseless violence, greed, and death.


We come aching from the weight of the responsibility,

aching from the chilling challenge of knowing our abundance,

aching from the gnawing awareness that we have much to share.


We come clinging to our meagre lunches;

bless them, and us.

break them, and us.

share them, and us.


Opening prayer

Good Shepherd,

Teach us to follow you

to care for all that are close to us,

to protect those who are threatened,

to welcome those who are rejected,

to forgive those who are burdened by guilt,

to heal those who are broken and sick,

to share with those who have little or nothing,

to take the time to really know one another

and love as you have loved us.


Good Shepherd,

Teach us to follow you

to spread compassion to those who are far away,

to speak for those who are voiceless,

to defend those who are oppressed and abused,

to work for justice for those who are exploited,

to make peace for those who suffer violence,

to take the time to recognise our connectedness,

and to love as you have loved us.


Good Shepherd,

Teach us to follow you

and to be faithful to the calling you gave us

to be shepherds in your name.


StF 324: In a byre near Bethlehem

In a byre near Bethlehem,
Passed by many a wand’ring stranger,
The most precious Word of Life
Was heard gurgling in a manger,
For the good of us all.

            And He’s here when we call Him,
            Bringing health, love and laughter
            To life now and ever after,
            For the good of us all.

By the Galilean Lake
Where the people flocked for teaching,
The most precious Word of Life
Fed their mouths as well as preaching,
For the good of us all.
            And He’s here…..

Quiet was Gethsemane,
Camouflaging priest and soldier;
The most precious Word of Life
Took the world’s weight on his shoulder,
For the good of us all.

            And He’s here…..

On the hill of Calvary –
Place to end all hope of living –
The most precious Word of Life
Breathed his last and died forgiving,
For the good of us all.
            And He’s here…..

In a garden, just at dawn,
Near the grave of human violence,
The most precious Word of Life
Cleared his throat and ended silence,
For the good of us all.
            And He’s here…..


Mark 6: 30-34, 53-56

Feeding the Five Thousand

The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognised them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

Healing the Sick in Gennesaret

When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.


Dear Friends,

Have you ever made plans for your life? Have your plans ever been interrupted?

Chances are you answered ‘yes’ to both of those questions. We have all made plans. Maybe it was for a day, a weekend, a holiday, our work, our finances or our family. And we have all experienced the interruption of those plans by circumstances that changed or the unexpected that happened.

Every one of us could probably say about today’s gospel, “Well…that’s all about me. That describes my life.” Today’s gospel describes the tension in which we live and reminds us that it is the same tension in which Jesus and his disciples lived. 

The apostles are exhausted. They have just returned from teaching, casting out demons, anointing and curing the sick. They are telling Jesus about everything they have done and He invites them to a boat ride across the lake that will take them to a quiet place and give them some time to rest and eat. Their plans, however, are interrupted. There is no quiet and there is no rest. There is only the great crowd of people, ‘lost like sheep without a shepherd’, interrupting what Jesus had planned.

We all live in the tension between our plans and interruptions, our expectations and the unexpected, life as we want it to be and life as it happens. Every one of us could tell a story about that:

It’s taking a new job and finding that you are not doing what you planned or wanted to be doing. It’s the diagnosis that interrupts retirement plans. It’s a shattered dream, a divorce, a death. Our life plans are interrupted in many different ways and the unexpected happens all along the way of life. 

When our life plans are interrupted it’s tempting to work even harder to make things happen, reinforce our boundaries, blame others, rage about things not working out or pray that God will make it all go the way we want. Jesus doesn’t do any of that. He doesn’t turn the boat around when he sees the crowd. He doesn’t get angry or resentful. He doesn’t blame or complain. He doesn’t ignore or deny the interruption. He is simply present to what is. 

We often see our plans and the interruptions as contradictory, as if it is one or the other. But what if it’s always both? What if one is not necessarily better or more important than the other? What if we could be equally present to the plans and the interruptions? What if we trusted that God’s spirit was present and moving in both? 

This short gospel story teaches us something very important – that faithfulness is about being as intentional and caring toward the interruptions as we are to our plans. That we must learn to see more deeply and be more present to whatever is, whether planned or unexpected, desired or unwanted, because God is present both in our plans and the unexpected interruptions.


What are the plans or expectations you have for your life? And what are the interruptions or unexpected happenings with which you are dealing? Where is God in all of that for you?

StF 654: The love of God comes close


  1. The love of God comes close
    where stands an open door,
    to let the stranger in,
    to mingle rich and poor.
    The love of God is here to stay,
    embracing those who walk the Way;
    the love of God is here to stay.

    2. The peace of God comes close
    to those caught in the storm,
    forgoing lives of ease
    to ease the lives forlorn.
    The peace of God is here to stay,
    embracing those who walk the Way;
    the peace of God is here to stay.

    3. The joy of God comes close
    where faith encounters fears,
    where heights and depths of life
    are found through smiles and tears.
    The joy of God is here to stay,
    embracing those who walk the Way;
    the joy of God is here to stay.

    4. The grace of God comes close
    to those whose grace is spent,
    when hearts are tired or sore
    and hope is bruised and bent.
    The grace of God is here to stay,
    embracing those who walk the Way;
    the grace of God is here to stay.

    5. The Son of God comes close
    where people praise his name,
    where bread and wine are blest
    and shared as when he came.
    The Son of God is here to stay,
    embracing those who walk the Way;
    the Son of God is here to stay.

Closing prayers

Merciful God we praise you for your unfailing love.
We praise you for feeding our hunger for bread and for “the bread of life.”
We praise you for taking our little basket of fish and barley loaves

and using it to feed others.

Lord we ask you for your care and healing touch for those who are sick.
We ask for your compassion on those who are suffering in our world.
We ask for you comfort for those who are grieving.

We thank you for your daily tender mercies.
We thank you for your daily love.
We thank you for your daily grace.

We call upon you Lord to empower us

   as we declare who you are to a world who needs you.
We call upon you Lord to inspire us

   as we seek to inspire others.
We call upon you Lord to strengthen us

   in our own weakness.

We ask all this in your son’s name who gave us this prayer:


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.


StF 513: Take this moment, sign and space

Take this moment, sign and space;
Take my friends around;
Here among us make the place
Where your love is found.

Take the time to call my name,
Take the time to mend
Who I am and what I’ve been,
All I’ve failed to tend.

Take the tiredness of my days,
Take my past regret,
Letting your forgiveness touch
All I can’t forget

Take the little child in me
Scared of growing old;
Help me here to find my worth
Made in God’s own mould.

Take my talents, take my skills,
Take what’s yet to be;
Let my life be yours, and yet
Let it still be me.


Go now, and wherever people will hear you,
proclaim the life-changing love of God.
Do not fear your weakness,
for when you are weakest, Christ’s strength is known.
Travel lightly, live simply,
and honour those who welcome the gospel.

And may God be your protection and safe haven;
May the power of Christ Jesus dwell in you;
and may the Holy Spirit be your guide forever.

We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
In the name of Christ. Amen