Worship for Sunday 27th August 2023, by Rev. Joy Rulton

Call to worship:

Gracious God,

this is your day

we shall praise you.


God with us: Creator, Father.

bringing everything to birth;

Mother of the whole creation,

fire of stars and life of earth:

down the countless years composing,

from the earth’s evolving night,

love’s response to love, and forming

mind and soul to seek your light.

God with us: Redeemer, Brother,

Friend for ever at our side,

here, in flesh, you walked among us,

taking up your cross, you died.

Crucified, despised, rejected,

Perfect Love, who shared our shame,

streaming from the cross, your judgement,

full of mercy, clears our name.

God with us: Unwearied Spirit,

from the birth of time and space,

surging through unconscious being,

joyful, Life-Creating Grace:

through the centuries you find us;

you, as God, inspire our prayer;

Life and Power at work within us,

Love for ever, everywhere!

God, Transcendent, far beyond us,

closest Friend, unfailing Guide:

through the ages, wronged, affronted,

in your poor, still crucified!

God with us: convict, forgive us;

by your holy love destroy

all that hinders peace and justice:

fill this aching world with joy!

Alan Gaunt (b. 1935)                               

Prayer of praise and thanksgiving:

Let us give thanks to God with our whole heart,
before all others, let us sing God’s praise:

We come to this place of worship to offer thanks
for God’s steadfast love and faithfulness to us:

We give thanks to God with our whole heart.

We exalt God’s name and honour God’s word,
for when we call, God answers us and strengthens our soul:

We give thanks to God with our whole heart.

Your glory shines forth from the highest heaven,
and yet you have compassion on the lowly:

We give thanks to God with our whole heart.

Great is your glory and your steadfast love endures for ever.
Let all the people praise your holy name:



Prayer of confession:

Lord, we confess that sometimes we lose sight of who you are.
We forget about you,

or we take you for granted,
failing to recognise

or acknowledge that you are the Messiah.
We also forget who we are in you.
We are distracted by the world

and its problems and temptations.

We turn back to you, Lord,
seeking to renew our relationship with you.
Help us to grow and move forward,

living in you,

and you in us.

Hymn:  StF489

All I once held dear, built my life upon
All this world reveres, and wars to own
All I once thought gain I have counted loss
Spent and worthless now, compared to this

Knowing you, Jesus
Knowing you, there is no greater thing
You’re my all, you’re the best
You’re my joy, my righteousness
And I love you, Lord

Now my heart’s desire is to know you more
To be found in you and known as yours
To possess by faith what I could not earn
All-surpassing gift of righteousness

Oh, to know the power of your risen life
And to know You in Your sufferings
To become like you in your death, my Lord
So with you to live and never die

Graham Kendrick
    © 1993 Make Way Music


Romans 12:1-8

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgement, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.

Matthew 16:13-20

Peter’s Declaration about Jesus

13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ 14 And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ 15 He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ 16 Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ 17 And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’ 20 Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.


This rock raised above all others:

‘Peter, here I build my church’.

So we hear the words of Jesus,

though this rock would shake and lurch.

Peter was a human being,

filled with insight, seeing clear,

close to Jesus at one moment,

then denying out of fear.

Churning waves unsettled Peter,

startled, he was sinking fast,

he’d been walking on the water,

seemed this moment could not last.

Faith it seemed was frail and fickle,

lacked conviction, prone to fail,

yet this man was called and chosen,

his commitment would prevail.

Three times Jesus tested Peter,

three times he affirmed his love.

Peter was to shepherd people,

lift their eyes to things above.

So if we would follow Jesus,

knowing Peter, we take heart.

If we fail we’re not forsaken,

we can make another start.

© Andrew Pratt 29/7/2011 Tune: HYFRYDOL


Life is full of questions. “What am I going to have for dinner?” perhaps. Then there are philosophical questions such as “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” Then we have other, much bigger questions that we can’t answer, such as “Why does God let that happen?”

Then we have Jesus’ question.

Jesus has taken his disciples to Caesarea Philippi, away from Herod’s territory and around 2 days walk from the Sea of Galilee and asks:

“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”

He’s asking what the disciples have seen and heard around them. “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets,” they answer.

Then Jesus asks another question, one that wants to know what the disciples themselves believe:

“But who do you say that I am?”

Peter answers, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Words, though, can mean different things to different of people. How about words like chill, cool or mint. “Goat” isn’t an animal apparently. It means “greatest of all time”.

Son of God? 2000 years ago “Son of God” meant a king who was God’s special representative, rather than someone who was divine. No wonder some of the things Jesus said and did had the disciples puzzled. It wasn’t until after the resurrection that they understood the phrase to have new meaning.

What Peter is saying is that Jesus is the true king, the one that Israel has been waiting for.

I wonder if he truly realized how risky this was? It was a direct challenge to Herod and the temple authorities. Jesus’ ministry is heading towards the cross.

Jesus answers Peter, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church”. “Peter” in Aramaic means “rock” or “stone”. Jesus is saying to Peter: You are part of the new community of faith that I will build through you.

Peter still a lot to learn and he will still get things wrong. He will deny he knew Jesus, he won’t understand, he’ll hide away, yet he will be instrumental in forming the early church. With all our frailties, Jesus chooses human life and relationships on which to build his church.

So, who do you say Jesus is?

It’s not just an academic question. Look at our own context:

Who do we say Jesus is when we can’t pay the rent or electricity bill?

Who do we say Jesus is when life is so hard we struggle to put one foot in front of the other?

Who do we say Jesus is when we have to be the only one to take a stand when we say something wrong?

Who do we say Jesus is? Saviour, Redeemer, friend, brother ……………

Whatever our answer, knowing Jesus, as Peter found out, changes us forever.


Son of the living God,

you ask me to decide who you are:

I say you are Son of Man, my pattern for living;

I say you are prophet, inspiration for the way ahead;

I say you are the brother always by my side;

I say you are the anointed one, the Christ,

I say you are the saviour of all. Amen.


In this time of desperation
When all we know is doubt and fear
There is only one foundation
We believe
We believe

In this broken generation
When all is dark, You help us see
There is only one salvation
We believe
We believe

We believe in God the Father
We believe in Jesus Christ
We believe in the Holy Spirit
And He’s given us new life
We believe in the crucifixion
We believe that He conquered death
We believe in the resurrection
And He’s coming back again
We believe

So, let our faith be more than anthems
Greater than the songs we sing
And in our weakness and temptations
We believe
We believe

Let the lost be found and the dead be raised
In the here and now, let love invade
Let the church live loud, our God, we’ll say
“We believe, we believe”
And the gates of hell will not prevail
For the power of God has torn the veil
Now we know Your love will never fail
We believe, we believe

He’s coming back again

He’s coming back again
We believe
We believe

Songwriters: Thomas R Fike / Travis Ryan Collins / Matthew James Hooper

We Believe lyrics © Integrity Worship Music

Prayers of intercession

We pray for:
the Church, the body of Christ, that the many denominations might be as one,

that we might respect and learn from one another.

those who have served the Church faithfully through the centuries,

and those who serve the Church faithfully today.

those who witness to their faith in places where it is difficult to be a Christian,

in places where they are persecuted for their faith.

those whose faith stirs them to action to make the world a better place,

and those who have the courage to speak out for others.

our local church and the needs of our own congregation,

and for those who especially need or have asked for our prayers at this time.
God hears our prayers,

offered in the name of Christ.
Thanks be to God.

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.


Here and now we’re bound together:
held in one divine embrace.
Help us see, in one another,
difference as a gift of grace.
As each passing generation
worships you in fresh new ways,
join our songs with all creation,
lift our voice to sing your praise.

Lord, affirm our shared vocation:
may we bring your plans to birth,
build your church on sure foundations,
fit to serve a troubled earth.
Growing, praying, sharing, learning,
deep in wisdom, broad in scope,
love-revealing, truth-discerning,
living out the gospel hope.

In your work of transformation
you are making all things new.
Stir our hearts’ imagination,
call us now to work with you.
Send us out to share your mission;
show us each our part to play
as we live the Great Commission
joyful in the world today.

C: Ally Barrett Tune: Abbot’s Leigh


May the blessing of Almighty God ever surround us,
the grace of the Lord Jesus go with us
and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit fill our hearts.


Prayers adapted from rootsontheweb

CCL: 491797