Worship for Sunday 2nd August


Everyone who thirsts, come to the living stream;
you that have no money, come, buy and eat! 
Why spend money on that which is not true food, 
and why work for that which does not satisfy? 
Listen to God, eat what is good, and delight in our creator.’
Come to worship.

Hymn: StF 489 “All I once held dear”

   1   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.

   2    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.

   3    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 (b. 1950)

Reproduced from Singing the Faith Electronic Words Edition, number 489
Words and Music: © 1993, Graham Kendrick / Make Way Music Ltd, PO Box 320, Tunbridge Wells, Kent.  TN2 9DE  UK.  <www.grahamkendrick.co.uk>  Used by permission.


Call to praise and adore God

Come and drink deeply,
you that have a thirst and cannot quench it,
Come and eat
you that hunger for more from life.
Come, you that labour but find no rest,
and you that spend every penny but are not satisfied.
Listen out for God, taste and see
and you will find sustenance for your soul
and a purpose for your life. 

O God, you called us long ago to be one with you,
to be your people, faithful and true; 
to witness to the good news of Jesus Christ.
Let us come to you now, 
that we might know of your love,
that we might experience your mercy,
and share your peace with one another.


Loving God you know that we need to eat and cannot bare to go hungry for long.

You have provided the world with food enough for all to eat but we do not always trust you and prefer to hoard away the resources that should be shared

We do not invite everyone to the banquet in case there is not enough for us.
We leave half the world hungry so that we can be sure we will be satisfied.

Forgive us our fear and insecurity and remind us that if we share the food and love you give us as you share with us, you will provide more than enough for all.

We know that our eating is to compensate for other things.
Emptiness of body, mind and soul.

We fill our bodies with junk food, so we are bloated by empty calories,

We fill our minds with junk idea that greed is good leaving no space for compassion,

We fill our souls with junk philosophies that place our welfare above that of everyone and everything else.

Forgive us our obsession filling ourselves with that which does not satisfy.

Grant that we may learn to feed upon the true food that you have set before us through Jesus of your life-giving love and holy compassion.



Lord and giver of life, you alone nourish and sustain your people
through Christ the bread of life.
Feed our hunger and quench our thirst,
that we may no longer work for what fails to satisfy
but do what you require, in obedience and faith;

Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Hymn: StF 248 I heard the voice of Jesus say

   1   I heard the voice of Jesus say:
        ‘Come unto me and rest;
        lay down, O weary one, lay down
        your head upon my breast.’
        I came to Jesus as I was,
        weary and worn and sad,
        I found in him a resting-place,
        and he has made me glad.

   2   I heard the voice of Jesus say:
        ‘Behold, I freely give
        the living water; thirsty one,
        stoop down and drink and live.’
        I came to Jesus, and I drank
        of that life-giving stream;
        my thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
        and now I live in him.

   3   I heard the voice of Jesus say:
        ‘I am this dark world’s Light;
        look unto me, your morn shall rise,
        and all your day be bright.’
        I looked to Jesus, and I found
        in him my star, my sun;
        and in that light of life I’ll walk,
        till travelling days are done.

Horatius N. Bonar (1808–1889)

Reproduced from Singing the Faith Electronic Words Edition, number 248 .


Old Testament reading Genesis 32.22-31
(22)  The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok.  (23)  He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had.  (24)  Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.  (25)  When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.  (26)  Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.”  (27)  So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”  (28)  Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.”  (29)  Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him.  (30)  So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.”  (31)  The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.


Silence or listen to some calm music for 2-3 minutes

Think about the times when you have struggled to recognise God’s presence in your life. Why was it such a struggle? What was getting in the way?

How did you finally recognise/sense that God was with you?

Hymn: StF 706 “Longing for light we wait in the darkness”

   1    Longing for light, we wait in darkness.
         Longing for truth, we turn to you.
         Make us your own, your holy people,
         light for the world to see.

            Christ, be our light!
            Shine in our hearts.
            Shine through the darkness.
            Christ, be our light!
            Shine in your Church gathered today.

   2    Longing for peace, our world is troubled.
         Longing for hope, many despair.
         Your word alone has power to save us.
         Make us your living voice.

   3    Longing for food, many are hungry.
         Longing for water, many still thirst.
         Make us your bread, broken for others,
         shared until all are fed.

   4    Longing for shelter, many are homeless.
         Longing for warmth, many are cold.
         Make us your building, sheltering others,
         walls made of living stone.

   5    Many the gifts, many the people,
         many the hearts that yearn to belong.
         Let us be servants to one another,
         making your kingdom come.

Bernadette Farrell (b. 1957)

Reproduced from Singing the Faith Electronic Words Edition, number 706
Words and Music: © 1993 Bernadette Farrell.  Published by OCP Publications, 5536 NE Hassalo, Portland, OR 97213, USA.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.


Gospel Reading Matthew 14.13-21

(13)  Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns.  (14)  When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick.  (15)  When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”  (16)  Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”  (17)  They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.”  (18)  And he said, “Bring them here to me.”  (19)  Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.  (20)  And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full.  (21)  And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.


Reflection –

The story of the feeding of the five thousand men and unknown numbers or women and children is deliberately set in a very political context of the murder of a leading member of the opposition John the Baptist by Herod. According to Matthew Jesus has gone off into the wilderness having just heard the news of John the Baptist’s death. John’s death must have made Jesus even more visible as the next target in line for the forces of reaction. In many ways this would be a particularly good time to lie low.

So maybe the disciples are not just worried about a lack of food when an enormous crowd of people turns up out of nowhere. No wonder they try to send them away. Yet sending people away runs counter to everything that Jesus believes that God wants him to do. So, Jesus challenges the disciples to meet the crowds’ need for food. Not surprisingly the disciples object that they have barely got enough food for their own needs never mind anybody else. Of course, in simple human terms they are right. They are like a car running on empty with no fuel left.

Yet Jesus wants them to understand that this is not an excuse they still need to show compassion. So, when Jesus feeds the crowd, he does so in order that the disciples will learn what compassion looks like, just as much as because they all needed an evening meal. The story of the feeding of the five thousand is a story of compassion in action. I do not think we should see it as just being an impromptu picnic on a bright sunny day in the way it is sometimes depicted by artists and film makers exercising their imaginations. Rather this is an action of sacrificial love on a day when politically speaking the storm clouds are already beginning to loom.

We are not told how the miracle happens; the details are sketchy. Strangely enough the nature of the miracle does not appear to be the focus of the story. That mystery does not appear to be of great interest to Matthew. The main point for Matthew seems to be why the miracle happens rather than how.
Clearly this miracle of compassion is of Jesus’ doing, yet the disciples are invited to play their part by making the seating arrangements, distributing the food and clearing up afterwards. Amazingly, five loaves and two fish had become a banquet for 5,000 men and unnumbered women and children, with more left over for the disciples than they had started with. We see displayed the sacrificial love of Jesus that displays the lavish grace of a God who loves and provides for all
A few important connections stand out in this story and should not be missed. The first one is that we are reminded about another story in the Old Testament about how God feeds people who are hungry. It is the story of how God provided manna in the wilderness. Matthew does not dwell on this, but the fact that he describes where the feeding of the five thousand takes place as a wilderness suggests that he has the wanderings of the people under Moses in mind. And the fact that the crowds are looking to Jesus for leadership and following him into the wilderness suggests that they see him in some ways as a new Moses.

There is another thing that sticks out like a sore thumb. The story immediately before this one was set in a lavish banquet presided over by Herod a self-aggrandising tinpot ruler who feasts with his cronies. Herod seems to pay no attention at all to the needs of his people, he is only interested in himself. Yet in this story we see that, Jesus is a totally different sort of leader generously providing for all those who look to him for guidance and leadership in a kingdom of grace and welcome.

 What Jesus provides fills and satisfies the people – how do we know that because we are told symbolically there is so much left over – 12 full baskets.

During lockdown – there was a point where, like so many other people, I was told I had been in contact with someone with Covid-19 and had to self-isolate. This happened quite suddenly, and we weren’t really prepared, and we had no bread. However, some of our neighbours had someone who did food deliveries and he told us that this man could deliver bread too so we ordered some. We were glad to see it when it came. It looked lovely but it was white bread instead of the wholemeal we normally eat  and it actually it was so light and full of air that you could eat several buns and it felt like you had eaten nothing at all and that is before I could mention what it did to my digestion system. It was empty bread, bread without substance, bread that did not satisfy.

Many things in life are like that bread they look good, but they do not satisfy us. Our consumerist society promises to provide us the best a woman or man but in truth it can only provide us with empty bread that does not really feed us. People in Britain have got richer and richer over the years but sadly that has not created an increase in net happiness Jesus however knows how to satisfy our hunger. He can feed us at the deepest level in the way that the likes of Herod never could. At a time when even the great emperors in Rome used bread and circuses to control and influence the masses by putting on a show. Jesus was obviously a threat because he was the real deal and had shown that he was a leader who could truly feed the hungry. In a world where people are often famished either physically or spiritually, we need to follow the compassionate Christ who can really satisfy our deepest needs. 

A song to reflect upon…

by Matt Maher on “Alive again”

It don’t have a job,
don’t pay your bills
Won’t buy you a home in Beverly Hills
Won’t fix your life in five easy steps
Ain’t the law of the land
or the government.

But it’s all you need…
Love will hold us together
Make us a shelter to weather the storm
And I’ll be my brother’s keeper
So the whole world will know
that we’re not alone.

Its waiting for you
knocking at your door
In the moment of truth
when your heart hits the floor
And you’re on your knees…

Love will hold us together,
make us a shelter to
weather the storm
And I’ll be my brother’s keeper
So the whole world will
know that we’re not alone.

This is the first day of the rest of your life
This is the first day of the rest of your life
‘Cause even in the dark you can still see the light
It’s gonna be alright,
It’s gonna be alright,

This is the first day of the rest of your life,
This is the first day of the rest of your life.

‘Cause even in the dark you can still see the light
It’s gonna be alright,
It’s gonna be alright,

Love will hold us together,
make us a shelter to
weather the storm
And I’ll be my brother’s keeper
So the whole world will
know that we’re not alone.


Prayers of intercession

Let us pray for the kingdoms of the world,
for the countries, nations and states – and their citizens – 
facing health crises and economic hardship because of Covid-19


Your kingdom come, your will be done

Let us pray for the kingdoms of the world,
for regimes and governments – and their citizens –
engaged in conflict and warfare.


Your kingdom come, your will be done
Let us pray for the kingdoms of the world,
for non-governmental organisations
working for justice, equality and cooperation.

Your kingdom come, your will be done

Let us pray for the kingdoms of the world,
for all the people who seek to make a difference,
for their families, neighbours, nations and the whole of creation.

Your kingdom come, your will be done

We pray, Lord, that your kingdom 
will come here on earth as it is in heaven. 

Your kingdom come, your will be done


The Lord’s Prayer

We say together the prayer that Jesus gave us:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours,
now and for ever. Amen.


Hymn: StF 465 Guide me, O thou great redeemer

   1    Guide me, O thou great Jehovah,
         pilgrim through this barren land;
         I am weak, but thou art mighty;
         hold me with thy powerful hand:
         Bread of heaven, Bread of heaven,
         feed me now and evermore;
         feed me now and evermore.

   2    Open thou the crystal fountain
         whence the healing stream shall flow;
         let the fiery, cloudy pillar
         lead me all my journey through:
         strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer,
         be thou still my strength and shield;
         be thou still my strength and shield.

   3    When I tread the verge of Jordan
         bid my anxious fears subside;
         death of death, and hell’s destruction,
         land me safe on Canaan’s side:
         songs of praises, songs of praises,
         I will ever give to thee;
         I will ever give to thee.

William Williams (1717–1791)
translated by Peter Williams (1727–1796)

Reproduced from Singing the Faith Electronic Words Edition, number 465 


Loving God, give us this day our daily bread,
sufficient for the day and with some to spare.
Send us out to share what we have with others. 

The blessing of God,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be upon you/us, now and always. Amen.

The presiding minister says:

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen.