Worship for Sunday 7th May 2023, by Rev. Sharon Read

Father God, you know us better than we know ourselves;
yet you still love us.
Lord Jesus, help us to become more like you,
so that others will see you in us.
Spirit of the living God fall on us afresh today
and remake us in God’s image.

STF 403: God is love; his the care

Psalm 31:1-5; 15-16

In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
    let me never be put to shame;
    deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me,
    come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
    a strong fortress to save me.
Since you are my rock and my fortress,
    for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
    for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commit my spirit;
    deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.

My times are in your hands;
    deliver me from the hands of my enemies,
    from those who pursue me.
16 Let your face shine on your servant;
    save me in your unfailing love.


Blessed God, we cannot see and know the depth of your being,
but, for what we do see and know, we worship and adore you.

We find in you protection, guidance and love.
We find in you forgiveness, acceptance and repentance.
We see in you a way of living that is right and just, loving and caring.
We feel the spark of your Spirit in the depths of our beings and know you to be true.

You search us and know us and are forever with us.
Blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as you are one,
may we be one with you and all.

Holy God, whose perfect nature challenges and changes us, our guilt weighs heavy on our shoulders.
It saddens us that we fail you so often when we:
fail our families, friends and neighbours;
fail to recognise need;
fail to see how we can be the hand that guides, the love that enfolds, the word that strengthens.

Forgive us that we deliberately look the other way and avoid the hard challenges you call us to.
Forgive us, O God, for our failings, our deafness and our blindness in reaching out and offering your love.

Your love is abundant, your forgiveness unimaginable, O God.
May we hear your still small voice that says,
‘My child, my much-loved child, your sins are forgiven, your slate wiped clean, the weight of your guilt removed.
Go in peace to love and serve your neighbour.

Song: Our God is a great big God

Reading: John 14:1-14

14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going. Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know[b] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

STF 563: O Jesus I have promised


The start of our gospel reading today is one that is familiar if we have ever attended a funeral. It’s the gospel reading, or rather part of it, that I read as words I know so well during a funeral service. It’s the passage that reminds us that Jesus shares with us another great I am statement. Here he shares with disciples, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.’ I wonder what thoughts pop into your mind when you hear this statement. Jesus wasn’t saying he would show us a way, he was saying, ‘I am the way.’ Jesus wasn’t saying he was going to teach us a truth, he was saying, ‘I am the truth’. Jesus wasn’t offering us secrets to life, he was saying. ‘I am the life.’

There are times when I am wondering about, or living each day and wondering where I am going. Or maybe days are passing me by and I am don’t feel like I am making progress…..perhaps you know that feeling. Jesus says to us, ‘I am the way.’

There are definitely times when I am confused; not sure what to think or decided. Jesus says to us, ‘I am the truth.’

During those dark moments, those times when its hard to get out of bed never mind out the door. Those days when we don’t want to hear about any more news from around the world that makes us feel sadder and days when we want to hibernate. When we want to hide away and never be seen and don’t know if we can go on: Jesus says I am the life. He comes looking for us like the lost sheep. He comes to guide us and remind us of his love for us because of his death and the power of the resurrection.

A story is told of a missionary who was travelling to a remote village deep in a jungle region. A guide was selected to take him because the only way to reach the village was to walk through the tropical forest. The journey started out without much of a problem; the path was good and easy to follow. Soon, however, the path literally disappeared, and the guide was forced to cut away at the overgrown jungle with his machete. As time went by, the missionary grew concerned and asked, “Where is the path?” The guide smiled, looked back at the missionary, and said, “I am the path.”

Are you asking the question, Where am I going? Your future is assured in Jesus Christ. He is the way. Are you asking the question, Why am I here? Real purpose is found only in Jesus Christ He is the truth. Are you asking the question, Who am I? Your true identity is found only in Jesus Christ He is the life.

May we ponder today what it means as Jesus says to us, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Amen

STF 346: Christ is the world’s light

Prayers of Intercession

Lord, you say, ‘Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.’ So, Lord, we bring before you what is on our hearts today.

We ask for your hand on the situation in Sudan and on all those trying to flee. May you give them strength and courage. Travel alongside, speaking to their hearts as you lead them to safety.

We pray too for all those trapped in their homes unable to venture out safely, unable to even go out for provisions. Provide for their needs, Lord, physical and spiritual. Keep them safe.

We pray for an end to all conflict, in Sudan and in Ukraine. Have mercy on all living amid danger. Bring peace to your world.

Lord, may we represent you and always show your love.
We lift our hearts to you, offering our prayer
and asking in your holy name that your will be done.

We bring before you, Lord our struggling health service. We ask that the strikes be resolved, enabling postponed appointments and procedures to go ahead before situations worsen and put an even greater strain on the NHS. Resolve issues Lord, so that all will find their needs met and lives saved. May your hand be on all who are ill. In a moment of silence, we bring those we know personally who are in need of your hand upon them. Pause. Touch them with your healing hand.

Lord, may we represent you and always show your love.
We lift our hearts to you, offering our prayer
and asking in your holy name that your will be done.

Lord God, the coronation of King Charles III brings in a new era. During the coronation we saw old symbolic traditions mingled with the new – such as the three ancient swords of Mercy, Temporal justice and Spiritual justice carried in the coronation procession and the newly commissioned Anointing Screen. May the king be aware of your anointing upon him from this day forward.

The king has taken his seat on the ancestral throne and the weight of the crown upon his head. We pray Lord that, from your heavenly throne, you will help our king carry the weight of all that is put upon him in his role as our monarch.

His mother, our late Queen Elizabeth, reigned with honour, wisdom and integrity. Her heart was yours. And we pray the king’s will be yours too as he reigns over us. May he listen, draw strength and be guided by you always.

We pray for Queen Camilla, that you will strengthen and encourage her as she supports the king. We pray also that she be filled with your Holy Spirit as represented by the dove on the rod used in her coronation. We pray for all the royal family, that each may look to you, Lord.

Lord, may we represent you and always show your love.
We lift our hearts to you, offering our prayer
and asking in your holy name that your will be done.

Many people from all walks of life have roles to play in the coronation celebrations. We pray for those performing at Windsor Castle in the coronation choir. Fire-fighters, cab drivers, farmers and volunteer lifeboat crew are among those taking part. We pray that you will settle their nerves and help create a memory for all to treasure.

As communities gather this weekend with celebratory picnics and lunches, Lord, we pray that you will be represented throughout. We pray that you will unite communities as new friendships are forged and old ones rekindled over the sharing of food.

This week also sees the National Day of Volunteering taking place. We pray that this will bring forward a new generation of volunteers in our communities. Lord, you give us all different skills. Help us to put those skills to good use for others.

Lord, may we represent you and always show your love.
Help us as a church to represent you wherever we are,
whatever we are doing.
May your church bring glory to your name
by trusting and following the family traits
of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We lift our hearts to you, offering our prayer
and asking in your holy name that your will be done. Amen.

STF 470: Lord for the years, your love has kept and guided

Closing Prayer

Send us out, Lord, into your world.
Draw us closer to yourself by your Spirit,
so that others may see your presence in us
in all we do and say and are.
In Jesus’ name.

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