Worship for Sunday 30th August

If you have a cross at home you might like to have it by your side or hold it though this liturgy or consider the cross here.

Settling Prayer

We set aside this time, this space to settle in the presence of God.  A God who has always been here, who always will be and who is present now. 

Settle us in our breathing

Settle us in our thinking

Settle us in our very being.


God who held out your arms on the cross, embrace us with you infinite love.

Hymn 1: Be still for the presence of the Lord

Be still for the presence of the Lord

The Holy One is here

Come bow before Him now

With reverence and fear

In Him no sin is found

We stand on holy ground

Be still for the presence of the Lord

The Holy One is here


Be still for the glory of the Lord

Is shining all around

He burns with holy fire

With splendour He is crowned

How awesome is the sight

Our radiant King of light

Be still for the glory of the Lord

Is shining all around


Be still for the power of the Lord

Is moving in this place

He comes to cleanse and heal

To minister His grace

No work too hard for Him

In faith receive from Him

Be still for the power of the Lord

Is moving in this place

Be still for the power of the Lord

Is moving in this place


Opening prayer:

Consider the four points the cross.

Top:  This points to the infinite, transcendence of God.  Pointing beyond this space, beyond the sky above, beyond the universe, to you, a God beyond our understanding.

Bottom:  This is grounded in creation, the imminence of God.  Christ present in the here and now, who knows what it is to be fully human and the associated cost.

Left arm:  This is the God who reaches the need of others.  Those who suffer through suppression and fear, those who are isolated and in pain.

Right arm:  This is the God who reaches you!  Touches you!  A God who knows the entirety of space, knows you here and now, knows your concerns and fears, your joys and celebrations.

God of the cross, as you reach to us, let us reach to you in humility and concern, opening ourselves to your wisdom and love now and forever.


Old Testament reading: Jeremiah 15:15-21


Lord, you understand;

    remember me and care for me.

    Avenge me on my persecutors.

You are long-suffering—do not take me away;

    think of how I suffer reproach for your sake.


When your words came, I ate them;

    they were my joy and my heart’s delight,

for I bear your name,

    Lord God Almighty.


I never sat in the company of revelers,

    never made merry with them;

I sat alone because your hand was on me

    and you had filled me with indignation.


Why is my pain unending

    and my wound grievous and incurable?

You are to me like a deceptive brook,

    like a spring that fails.

19 Therefore this is what the Lord says:

“If you repent, I will restore you

    that you may serve me;

if you utter worthy, not worthless, words,

    you will be my spokesman.

Let this people turn to you,

    but you must not turn to them.


I will make you a wall to this people,

    a fortified wall of bronze;

they will fight against you

    but will not overcome you,

for I am with you

    to rescue and save you,”

declares the Lord.


“I will save you from the hands of the wicked

    and deliver you from the grasp of the cruel.”


Gospel reading: Matthew 16:21-28

Jesus Predicts His Death

21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life[f] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”


Hymn 2:  Take up thy Cross, the Saviour said

1 Take up your cross, the Saviour said,

if you would my disciple be;

deny yourself, the world forsake,

and humbly follow after me.


2 Take up your cross; let not its weight

fill your weak soul with vain alarm;

his strength shall bear your spirit up,

and brace your heart, and nerve your arm.


3 Take up your cross, nor heed the shame,

and let your foolish pride be still:

your Lord for you endured to die

upon a cross, on Calvary’s hill.


4 Take up your cross, then, in his strength,

and calmly every danger brave;

’twill guide you to a better home,

and lead to victory o’er the grave.


5 Take up your cross and follow Christ,

nor think till death to lay it down;

for only those who bear the cross

may hope to wear the glorious crown.



Have you got your cross at hand? If not use the one at the front of this liturgy., and in this space of time consider:

How does it feel today?

How heavy is it?

How does it’s texture feel?

What comes to mind as you hold it?

How do you feel as you hold?

Let this cross reflect what is going on for you at this time, this space, let it be your cross for this short period.  This is the cross that is speaking to you now, and there is no judgement here, it’s just you, holding your cross and Jesus Christ.

Hold this in silence for awhile.

Looking around the world at the moment there might be much to be concerned about, fears for health and well being, mental illness or loneliness, social distancing.  Concerns for family and friends, for jobs and redundancy.  You may feel conflicted between meeting people or staying apart.  You, like many others in time of pandemic and like Jesus may be contemplating your own mortality or the mortality of a loved one.  Your cross might be heavy with despair and hopelessness. 

Jeremiah was facing a city in despair and so was crying out to God.  Similarly Jesus was facing the mortality of his immortality and sharing it with his disciples.  Peter resisted.  Peter struggling to accept the situation Jesus and his disciples had found themselves in, struggling to come to terms with a new way of being.  So within the message of the cross there is a message of acceptance.  And as the Covid pandemic continues, there is an acceptance that is needed to acknowledge that this is our new situation, for now anyway.

But there is another, almost contrary challenge in here too.  Jesus’ command, ‘pick up your cross and follow me’ is not just about passive acceptance, it is an imperative action.  We should put ourselves in a vulnerable situation to challenge the status quo.  This challenge could come in the form of talking to others about our faith (evangelism), even in a context were we are socially isolated.  Or to hold the Government to account on issues associated with fair pay for all or how A’ Level results disproportionally  impact pupils from lower economic communities.  Picking up your cross is not passive.

When I think of these two aspects of discipleship that Jesus is advocating here, how do I make sense of them?  How do I understand the balance between acceptance and challenge?  I then become mindful of the serenity prayer written by Reinhold Niebuhr first published in a book of prayers for the armed forces during the Second World War, another time of world crisis.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

courage to change the things I can,

and wisdom to know the difference.

So as you  pray it and hold your cross for a little longer, pray this prayer, open you heart and mind to God, and see what comes up.



A Prayer of confession

Confession is not about judgement, it’s more concerned with acknowledging what we’ve done in order that we may improve.

Hold your cross now and think of the times you have been challenged to act and acknowledge the times;


When we have not had the inclination to pick it up.

Lord have mercy


When we have not had the strength to hold onto it.

Lord have mercy


When we judge others for how the carry their crosses.

Lord have mercy


Lord, receive our confession such that we may be agents of change.


Hymn 3:  Dear Lord and Father of Mankind

Dear Lord and Father of mankind,

forgive our foolish ways!

Re-clothe us in our rightful mind,

in purer lives thy service find,

in deeper reverence, praise;

in deeper reverence, praise.


In simple trust like theirs who heard,

beside the Syrian sea,

the gracious calling of the Lord,

let us, like them, without a word,

rise up and follow thee;

rise up and follow thee.


O Sabbath rest by Galilee!

O calm of hills above,

where Jesus knelt to share with thee

the silence of eternity

interpreted by love!

interpreted by love!


Drop thy still dews of quietness,

till all our strivings cease;

take from our souls the strain and stress,

and let our ordered lives confess

the beauty of thy peace;

the beauty of thy peace.


Breathe through the heats of our desire

thy coolness and thy balm;

let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;

speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,

O still, small voice of calm;

O still, small voice of calm.


Prayers of intercession:

As you hold your cross, let us pray for those who struggle to hold their own.

Hold the cross for those who are in position of power or influence.  Pray for the governments of this world as they make difficult decisions on a daily basis.


Hold the cross for the health workers in hospitals and care homes, for the police who try to enforce the difficult lock down measures.


Hold the cross for those who are still in isolation and those who felt isolated before the pandemic and feel more so now.


Hold the cross for the churches throughout the world, some who respond in offering food and refuge, others who are looking at the wisdom of reopening soon.


Hold the cross for those at war, not just fighting Covid but fighting one another; hold the cross of peace.


Hold the cross for those who are ill or dying, Covid related or not, those waiting longer for appointments and diagnosis.


Hold your cross this last time for the all the things you bare.

God of all, give us the strength to hold the cross you have bestowed upon us.



The Lord’s Prayer:

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 forever.



Hymn 4: Beauty for Brokeness

Beauty for brokenness

Hope for despair

Lord, in the suffering

This is our prayer

Bread for the children

Justice, joy, peace

Sunrise to sunset

Your kingdom increase!

Shelter for fragile lives

Cures for their ills

Work for the craftsman

Trade for their skills

Land for the dispossessed

Rights for the weak

Voices to plead the cause

Of those who can’t speak



God of the poor

Friend of the weak

Give us compassion we pray

Melt our cold hearts

Let tears fall like rain

Come, change our love

From a spark to a flame


Refuge from cruel wars

Havens from fear

Cities for sanctuary

Freedoms to share

Peace to the killing-fields

Scorched earth to green

Christ for the bitterness

His cross for the pain


Rest for the ravaged earth

Oceans and streams

Plundered and poisoned

Our future, our dreams

Lord, end our madness

Carelessness, greed

Make us content with

The things that we need



Lighten our darkness

Breathe on this flame

Until your justice

Burns brightly again

Until the nations

Learn of your ways

Seek your salvation

And bring you their praise





May the Spirit of God Challenge you

May the compassion of God comfort you

May the wisdom of God, grant you peace.