Worship for Sunday 19th September 2021, by Rev. Joy Rulton


Call to Worship:

Loving, gracious God,
be with us as we spend time
with one another and with you.
Help us to listen to you as you speak to us
and challenge us, love us and encourage us.

Hymn:  StF 272

From heaven you came, helpless babe,
Entered our world, your glory veiled; 
Not to be served but to serve,
And give your life that we might live.

This is our God, the Servant King,
He calls us now to follow him,
To bring our lives as a daily offering
Of worship to the Servant King.

There in the garden of tears,
My heavy load he chose to bear;
His heart with sorrow was torn,
‘Yet not my will but yours,’ he said.

Come, see his hands and his feet,
The scars that speak of sacrifice,
Hands that flung stars into space
To cruel nails surrendered.

So let us learn how to serve,
And in our lives enthrone him;
Each other’s needs to prefer,
For it is Christ we’re serving.

Songwriters: Graham Kendrick

The Servant King lyrics © Thank You Music Ltd., Make Way Music

Prayer of Thanksgiving …

Lord God, Almighty Father, we come before you.
King of glory, King of kings,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
All the world belongs to you.
In the beginning you spoke your creative word to bring life where there was nothing.

The earth is filled with your glory.

Open our eyes to see the splendour of your beauty in all that you have made.

We worship you because in love and mercy you bring the gift of new life.

We worship you because in all of life’s changes, you are there,

Calling us, guiding us, leading us,

Drawing us closer to you.

We praise you that, in Jesus, we see your love in action,

Caring with such love and commitment.

God of grace and glory,

you delight in the praises of your people.

We worship you and you alone,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

and Confession

Jesus said: ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be last.’

For the times I’ve put myself first,

or argued with people,
because I think I know better than them or that I am better than them…

Lord, forgive me.

For the times when I don’t want to be a servant because I think I’m capable of greater things…

Lord, forgive me.

When I don’t recognise Christ in those around me because I’m too busy looking out for myself…

Lord, forgive me.

When I don’t understand what people mean, perhaps not understanding their feelings of fear or inadequacy…

Lord, forgive me.

When I jostle for position, rather than being happy where you put me…

Lord, forgive me.

You challenge us, Lord, when we do wrong.
You get us to focus by using questions,
even though you know the answers.
Your image is present in each one of us.
When we confess our sins,
you are always there to forgive us.
We stand now, humbly in your presence. Forgiven.

(Prayer of confession adapted from rootsontheweb.com)



Jeremiah 11:18-20

18 It was the Lord who made it known to me, and I knew;
    then you showed me their evil deeds.
19 But I was like a gentle lamb
    led to the slaughter.
And I did not know it was against me
    that they devised schemes, saying,
“Let us destroy the tree with its fruit,
    let us cut him off from the land of the living,
    so that his name will no longer be remembered!”
20 But you, O Lord of hosts, who judge righteously,
    who try the heart and the mind,
let me see your retribution upon them,
    for to you I have committed my cause.

Hymn:  StF 420

Because you came and sat beside us,

because you came and heard us speak,

and we ignored you and we refused you,

        we ask forgiveness, Lord Jesus Christ.

Because you laughed and loved the child-like,

because you lived from day to day,

and we love status and steady money,

        we ask forgiveness, Lord Jesus Christ.

Because our peace was your agenda,

because you wept to see us war,

and we love power, and winning battles,

        we ask forgiveness, Lord Jesus Christ.


Because your Cross compels an answer,

because your love absorbs our sin,

and we are wounded because we wound you,

        we ask forgiveness, Lord Jesus Christ.


Because you came on Easter morning,

because you come at Pentecost,

and in the Spirit, we are forgiven,

          we live to praise you, Lord Jesus Christ!

Words © 1996 Hope Publishing Company



Mark 9:30-37

30 They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; 31 for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” 32 But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.

33 Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” 34 But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. 35 He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” 36 Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”



If you think of the word “great”, what comes to mind?

According to Google, it means excellent, marvellous, first-class, first-rate, admirable, brill, grand, and even supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

What makes a person great then? Would it be about superiority, power, wealth, status, fame, being the best?

I suspect the word “servant” wasn’t the first word you thought of. It this materialistic world we’d want more than that – wouldn’t we?

Maybe we haven’t really grasped, then, what being great is really about. The disciples hadn’t.  They had been arguing on the road the Capernaum about who was the greatest. Jesus had listened, but waited until they had reached their destination and were indoors before he asked the question, “What were you arguing about?”

He gathers them around him and sits down to teach them. Jesus does not expect the disciples to apologize for seeking to be great. He seeks to transform their understanding of what it is to be great. What did they expect him to say, I wonder?

True greatness, Jesus says, is not to be above others, but to be least of all and servant of all. It is not to climb the social ladder, seeking to be rich and powerful, but to welcome and care for those without status, such as the child that Jesus embraces and stands among his disciples, a child who had no rights, no status in society, no legal protection.

Jesus, himself, ate with tax collectors, healed the sick, touched lepers, and made time for children. He turns the culture of the day on its head yet again. Before long he will be condemned by the authorities and, just as he teaches the disciples, will die on the cross.

The disciples were to serve, and to care for, others, regardless of status. They were to see others with the eyes of Jesus, and welcome the refugee, serve the weak, help the helpless, be a voice for the voiceless, work with the people they just didn’t see eye to eye with….. And he asks us to do the same. How can we watch television reports of refugees reaching this country now and not want to do something to help, however little it may seem?

Greatness, as Jesus teaches it, is risky. It won’t always put us top of the popularity stakes. But as he teaches us again and again, his way of greatness is also the way to life.

Hymn:  StF 611

Brother, sister, let me serve you,
let me be as Christ to you;
pray that I may have the grace
to let you be my servant too.

We are pilgrims on a journey,
and companions on the road;
we are here to help each other              

walk the mile and bear the load.

I will hold the Christ-light for you
in the night-time of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you,
speak the peace you long to hear.

I will weep when you are weeping;
when you laugh, I’ll laugh with you;
I will share your joy and sorrow
till we’ve seen this journey through.

When we sing to God in heaven
we shall find such harmony,
born of all we’ve known together
of Christ’s love and agony.

Brother, sister, let me serve you,
let me be as Christ to you;
pray that I may have the grace
to let you be my servant too.

Richard A. M. Gillard (b. 1953) Words and Music: © 1977 Scripture in Song (a division of Integrity Inc.), Administered by Song Solutions CopyCare, Uckfield, East Sussex, TN22 1QG.  Used by permission.

Prayer of Intercession:

Gracious and loving God,

Out of the generous love you pour upon us,
and the hope you hold before us,
and the faith that you inspire in us,
we offer you our prayers.

We pray for a world battered by human greed, and desperate to be cared for.

We pray for communities shattered by war and violence, and longing for peace, those who, in desperation, risk long and dangerous journeys to reach a place of safety.

We pray for people suffering in body, mind and spirit, and seeking wholeness, thinking of those who feel anxious, isolated, alone, or afraid of what the future will bring.


We pray for those we know with particular needs, asking for the assurance of your comfort.

We pray for those who have gone before us and those who grieve…..

We bring to you, in a moment of silence, our own thoughts and concerns…..

We gather our prayers together in the name of Jesus, our Saviour as we say the prayer that he taught us:

Our Father …..

Hymn:   StF 370

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
fill me with life anew,
that I may love the way you love,
and do what you would do.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
until my heart is pure,
until my will is one with yours,
to do and to endure.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
so shall I never die,
but live with you the perfect life
for all eternity.


Go – and know the Lord in your lives!
Go – and reflect his love to the world!
Go – and keep your eyes fixed on what is important.
Go – knowing that God’s spirit is with you, today and always.

And may the blessing of God Almighty,

the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,

be upon us and remain with us always.


CCL No: 57681