Worship for Sunday 5th July

As God’s people, gathered and scattered, let us worship in many ways.

Let us worship God in word and in silence, in prayer and in song, and in our many ways of giving.

Let us worship God in spirit and in truth.


SONG: Everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Let everything that, everything that,
Everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise You in the morning, praise You in the evening,
Praise You when I’m young and when I’m old.
Praise You when I’m laughing, praise You with I’m grieving,
Praise You every season of the soul.

If we could see how much You’re worth,
Your power, Your might, Your endless love,
Then surely we would never cease to praise.

Praise You in the heavens, joining with the angels,
Praising You forever and a day.
Praise You on the earth now, joining with creation,
Calling all the nations to Your praise.

(Songwriters: Willie James Williams © Peermusic Publishing)

READING: Psalm 145
The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The LORD is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made.
All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your faithful shall bless you.
They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom, and tell of your power,
to make known to all people your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendour of your kingdom.

SONG: Give thanks with a grateful heart.

Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say, “I am strong”
Let the poor say, “I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us”

And now let the weak say, “I am strong”
Let the poor say, “I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us”

Songwriter: Henry Smith

(Give Thanks lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group)


Creator God, who made our beautiful world,
appointed us as its guardians
and gifted us with everything we need,
we give you thanks today for the gift of life and life everlasting through Jesus, our Lord and our Saviour.

Forgive us for the times we cause your world and your people harm;
for the times our way of life
adversely affects our neighbours,
for the times we take your goodness and provision for granted.

Inspire us
to care for the environment;
to help rebuild lives and communities;
to share in the griefs and anxieties,
joys and hopes of all your people,
so that all your creation may flourish.
In Jesus name we prayer Amen.

SONG: Lord Jesus Christ, you have come to us

Lord Jesus Christ
You have come to us
You are one with us,
Mary’s Son.
Cleansing our souls from all their sin.
Pouring Your love and goodness in.
Jesus our love for you we sing,
Living Lord.

Lord Jesus Christ
Now and every day
Teach us how to pray,
Son of God.
You have commanded us to do
This in remembrance Lord of you
Into our lives your power breaks through,
Living Lord.

Lord Jesus Christ
You have come to us
Born as one with us,
Mary’s Son.
Led out to die on Calvary,
Risen from death to set us free,
Living Lord Jesus help us see
You are Lord.

Lord Jesus Christ
I would come to you
Live my life for you,
Son of God.
All your commands I know are true,
Your many gifts will make me new,
Into my life your power breaks through,
Living Lord

(Patrick Appleford. First published by Josef Weinberger Ltd in 1960)

READING: Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
“But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”

At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Reflection: The proverb, ‘A change is as good as a rest’, can be traced back to the title of a poem, published in 1857, by an unknown author, and is still regularly used today. In our current situation, I imagine some of us will agree with the sentiment behind it. For some lockdown has provided a much-needed break from ‘the norm’ and been an opportunity to rest and reset. For others, the changes wrought have been dramatic and levels of stress, and distress, have soured.

I guess I find myself somewhere in between. Some of my favourite ways of winding down (swimming, seeing my family, corporate worship) ceased but I found new ways to recharge (nature walks, reading medical biographies). Navigating meetings and worship on Zoom and finding ways to offer pastoral care without being physically present, meant as a church we had to find new ways of being and acquire new skills quickly. And then, of course, there are those ‘burdens’ we carry both in and out of lockdown; fears, griefs, family dynamics and health problems.

So what is the rest Jesus is talking about? Of course, rest can take many forms (physical, mental, social, emotional, spiritual and sensory) and each is essential for human flourishing. In today’s reading Jesus is focusing on spiritual rest: ‘rest for our souls’. I wonder where we may feel in a soul-deficit right now?

Perhaps we are weary or disillusioned, burnt out on religion, at the end of our own resources and strength- this is certainly a hard yoke to carry.

I know when I am stressed, I can be tempted to think everything relies on ‘me’- what I do or don’t. This can either leave me with rest-less energy drifting all over the place or the complete opposite, drained. When I am mindful of this beginning to happen, I view it as the Spirit nudging me to look again to see if I have become disconnected from God in some way: God who is the anchor of my soul.

Jesus give us permission ‘to rest’; ‘to come’ to him and not purely ‘to do’. What a relief! He then says ‘’Learn the unforced rhythms of grace’. (The Message Version: Matt 11:28-30)

Yes, as disciples we are called to service, but we are also called to rest in God’s goodness and unconditional love for all. We are called to abide in the truth that God is at work behind the scenes even when we don’t feel it or see it. We are to rest in the love of God, whose heart and desire is to work ‘through all things for good’.

Resting daily in God doesn’t negate or deny the hardships of life, but it does bring with it a lightness to our spirits. Jesus models to us a life of compassion and so we learn from him how to extend loving kindness to ourselves, as well as others, in order to bear one another’s burdens more easily.   God’s spirit equips us to be part of the work and therefore, we don’t need to fall into the trap of thinking we have to complete it by ourselves.

Last week, whilst on an Ignatian spiritual home-retreat (highly recommended), I was reminded of the words taken from a prayer written in memory of Archbishop Oscar Romero; a Catholic priest assassinated while saying Mass. Romero denounced human rights violations during the Salvadoran civil war, and strongly supported the poor.

We accomplish in our lifetime
only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise
that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete,
which is another way of saying
that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.

We cannot do everything,
and there is a sense of liberation
in realising that.
This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well.

It may be incomplete,
but it is a beginning,
a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord’s grace
to enter and do
the rest.

(Taken from the prayer: A Future Not Our Own)

As we come to our prayers, we enter in to flow of God’s grace and take the opportunity to surrender to God those people and situations which lay heavy on our hearts or cause us to become soul weary.

Prayers of Intercession:

God of Love,

We thank you for Jesus and that you sent him to show us the way. Help us to learn from him and abide daily in your love and care.

We pray for all who are affected by Covid-19, directly or indirectly. For those anxious and afraid. For those who are tired and weary from carrying heavy burdens.


We pray for your church and ask that you help us to use our time and resources wisely to further your kingdom of justice, joy and peace here on earth.


In this time of uncertainty, help us to know what is ours to do and what we need to surrender to you. Help us to recognize your presence in acts of kindness, in moments of silence, and in the beauty of the created world.


And grant peace in our hearts this day, a peace that surpasses all understanding, so that we may know we are not alone.

Help us to grow in faith and to trust daily in your goodness and love. Help us to receive your Holy Spirit afresh as we walk in your ways of peace and seek to be channels of peace.

In Jesus name we pray,


SONG: Faithful One

Faithful one, so unchanging
Ageless one, you’re my rock of peace
Lord of all I depend on you
I call out to you, again and again
I call out to you, again and again

You are my rock in times of trouble
You lift me up when I fall down
All through the storm
Your love is, the anchor
My hope is in You alone

(Songwriters: Brian Doerksen. Faithful One. Lyrics © Music Services, Inc.)


Numbers 6:24-26

“The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
 the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.”’


A question to reflect on this coming week:

“A cheerful heart is good medicine.” —Proverbs 17:22

What new things have cheered your heart and nourished your soul during lockdown?