simple white fading png image
notre dame montreal

Worship, Prayer and Bible Resources

Ordinary 21 - Year B

Liturgical Colour - Green

The armour of GodIntroduction

The Shield of Faith

This Sunday is a great one for preachers, we are reminded that Jesus was not a great preacher. At least he was not if we use the criteria of appeal to the listener. In our reading today we learn that people came to hear him and then walked away disgruntled at what he had to say.  Every preacher will know the problem of having to tell the truth, rather than just what people want to hear. Stand in the pulpit and condemn adultery, racism, false piety or a whole range of other things and people will walk away angry.

Preachers who challenge our attitudes and beliefs are not always popular, often we are set in our ways and they threaten our comfort zone. Each one of us has to be prepared to listen afresh to the words of Jesus and be prepared to be challenged and give up old habits. Such spiritual growth is painful and whilst some will be marvellously changed, others will walk away.


Opening Verses of Scripture  Psalm 34:18,22

The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit, The Lord redeems His servants; no-one who takes refuge in Him will be condemned.

Collect Prayer for the Day —Before we read we pray

Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray and to give more than either we desire or deserve: pour down upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. CW

God of constant mercy, who sent your Son to save us: remind us of your goodness, increase your grace within us, that our thankfulness may grow, through Jesus Christ our Lord. CW

First Bible Reading  1 Kings 8.(1,6,10-11)22-30,41-43

Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the ancestral houses of the Israelites, before King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion.

Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place, in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the most holy place, underneath the wings of the cherubim.

And when the priests came out of the holy place, a cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.

Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands to heaven. He said, ‘O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and steadfast love for your servants who walk before you with all their heart, the covenant that you kept for your servant my father David as you declared to him; you promised with your mouth and have this day fulfilled with your hand. Therefore, O LORD, God of Israel, keep for your servant my father David that which you promised him, saying, “There shall never fail you a successor before me to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your children look to their way, to walk before me as you have walked before me.” Therefore, O God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you promised to your servant my father David.

But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built! Have regard to your servant’s prayer and his plea, O LORD my God, heeding the cry and the prayer that your servant prays to you today; that your eyes may be open night and day towards this house, the place of which you said, “My name shall be there,” that you may heed the prayer that your servant prays toward this place. Hear the plea of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray towards this place; O hear in heaven your dwelling-place; heed and forgive.

Likewise when a foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a distant land because of your name – for they shall hear of your great name, your mighty hand, and your outstretched arm – when a foreigner comes and prays toward this house, then hear in heaven your dwelling place, and do according to all that the foreigner calls to you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and so that they may know that your name has been invoked on this house that I have built.’ NRSV

as for me and my houseAlternate Reading (Related) Joshua 24:1-2a,14-18

Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God. And Joshua said to all the people,

‘Now therefore revere the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. Now if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.’

Then the people answered, ‘Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods; for it is the LORD our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight. He protected us along all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed; and the LORD drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.’ NRSV

Second Reading   Ephesians 6:10-20

Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak. NRSV

Manna collected in the desertGospel Reading John 6:56-69

Jesus said to the crowd: ‘Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live for ever.’ He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.

When many of his disciples heard it, they said, ‘This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?’ But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, ‘Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, ‘For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.’

Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, ‘Do you also wish to go away?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’ NRSV

Post Communion Sentence

God of all mercy, in this eucharist you have set aside our sins and given us your healing: grant that we who are made whole in Christ may bring that healing to this broken world, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. CW


It would be wrong not to make some mention of the reading from Joshua today, it is one of those really poignant moments which stand out in the Old Testament. Joshua has succeeded Moses and has led the tribes of Israel into the Promise Land. We are at the end of the Book of Joshua, and he has called the tribes together to renew their covenant with God. Joshua stood before the tribes of Israel; reminded them of the wonderful feats of deliverance and miracles God had performed on their way to the Promise Land. Then he asked them to make a choice between the false gods or the God their ancestors served

"... who brought us and our ancestors out of the land of Egypt, out of the state of slavery."

For the Israelites it was crunch time! In the Gospel reading today we are brought to another such time of choice. The last of 5 weeks in church we have read Chapter 6 of the Gospel of John. Beginning with the sign of the feeding of 5,000 men plus an unknown number of women and children, the whole Chapter has used bread as an extended metaphor to describe what it is that Jesus is offering and the relationship which Jesus wants us to have with him. Now Jesus is presenting his followers with a ‘Make your mind up time!’ It is now that we discover just how tough the message of Jesus was for some who followed him. They have a real crisis of faith and we can hardly believe it, they walked away!

So far following Jesus has been easy and exciting - he has been performing signs and wonders, successfully challenging the authorities, and giving us hopes that "this is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world." (John 6:14) But now the message of Jesus has become much more threatening, he speaks of eating his flesh and drinking his blood. There is going to be more to following this Jesus than simply wandering around the countryside eating free dinners. Jesus is asking for a completely different level of commitment, flesh and blood.

It should come as no surprise to us that some were disappointed with Jesus and melted away when they discovered that his kingdom was not of this world. We read that "From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him" It is important to remind ourselves that we should expect that not everybody is cut out for the business of following Jesus. Sometimes we are so eager to make the Gospel message understandable and acceptable that we tone down the really difficult stuff. It is understandable that we do not want to put people off, however the Gospel is challenging, demanding and asks difficult questions of us. We need to be very cautious about producing a ‘Gospel for all’ and reducing Jesus to a very nice man. Following Jesus means that we must be prepared to choose our priorities and Jesus is not satisfied with half measures.

Simon Peter makes a declaration of his devotion to Jesus, similar to that in Matthew 16:13-20, Mark 8:27-30, and Luke 9:18-21. He tells Jesus

''You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

Today Jesus is calling for full commitment and we have to consider which side we are on. The response of Simon Peter was, "Master to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." What is your response? Charles Royden

It seems as though we have for weeks now been looking at this teaching of Jesus in which he is likened to bread. I suppose the advantage is that if we are away on holiday and miss church for a week or two, then we will still be able to hear of Jesus as the Bread of Life.


Zeno of Citium was a stoic lived over 200 years BC. He thought of free will as being something like a dog being tied to the back of a cart. The dog could walk around a bit but ultimately where the cart wen the dog had to go. So to the stoic life was like that, you had to know your limitations, what could be changed and what was fixed. Compare that to the words in Ephesians today from St Paul. Put on the armour of Christ he urges, and when you have done that you will be equipped to take on not just the world but the cosmic powers!

For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

For Paul there is to be no co-operation with forces of evil, no disposition towards the status quo, the armour of God is therefore to disrupt the powers of evil and make change. It must have felt daunting when faced with the enormous power which he saw in the rulers and authorities of his day. There was no democratic accountability, just the unquestionable power of Rome, people like Herod who could command the head of those who challenged their authority. Not daunted those early Christians wore their armour to effect and brought about radical change. Paul would encourage us to do the same, 'Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power'.



  1. For the beauty of the earth

  2. Lord of the Dance

  3. O for a heart to praise my God

  4. Take my life and let it be

  5. Immortal, invisible God only wise

  6. Let all the world in every corner sing

  7. Teach me my God and king

  8. Blessed assurance

  9. Begone unbelief


Prayers for Sunday and the week ahead

"God does nothing but by prayer, and everything with it." John Wesley

Prayer encouragement in the Christian life

Prayer is a plant, the seed of which is sown in the heart of every Christian,
if it is well cultivated and nourished it will produce fruit, but if it is neglected, it will wither and die

Heavenly Father, help us to be vigilant in our own lives, so that either by word nor actions may we be guilty of causing others to fall.
(Women at Prayer, Rachel Stowe)

Lord of life, your life embraces me on every side. I open my arms to greet you. God, grant me a clearer vision of the many-splendoured thing, your presence in and through all things, that I may be on with your mind of love. (Richard Harries)

The guarding of the God of life be on you. The guarding of the loving Christ be on you. The guarding of the Holy Spirit be on you, every night of your lives. To aid you and enfold you each day and night of your lives. (Carmina Gadelica)

Additional Material

Verse of scripture

Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Eph 6:10

Collect Prayer for the Day

Let your merciful ears, O Lord, be open to the prayers of your humble servants; and that they may obtain their petitions make them to ask such things as shall please you; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Post Communion Prayer

God of our pilgrimage, you have willed that the gate of mercy should stand open for those who trust in you: look upon us with your favour that we who follow the path of your will may never wander from the way of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


If you know Annie my Rottweiller you will know that perhaps she can be a bit boisterous when she first meets you, but she is never intentionally going to do you any harm. She gets bullied by rough dogs like Labradors or pretentious poodles and she never fights back. But give her a bone and she will go off quietly somewhere by herself and she will make it perfectly clear that she is not to be disturbed. She will gnaw her way through it and I can guarantee that you would not dare to try and take it from her. Go near it and the growling noise which she makes as she raises her lip and shows her bright sparkling row of teeth would deter anybody who even thought about depriving her of her treasured food. She gnaws away at the bone it is suddenly the most precious thing it will never be taken away.

When we study the passage from John this week we see that when Jesus says Those who eat my flesh  The word for eat actually translates is actually better expressed n the English as gnaw or munch or chew loudly. Yes that sounds a lot more like Annie with a bone than the usual communicant taking the communion bread. Jesus tells us to eat his flesh and drink his blood. We have become used to these shocking words, but when Jesus first spoke them the disciples would have been totally shocked. The idea of eating flesh and drinking blood was understandably abhorrent, this sounds like cannibalism which the early Christians were accused of.

But these words of Jesus are even more startling when we translate the words accurately Its just ordinary swallowing its gnawing, munching. We know that Jesus must have used these words to his disciples about eating his flesh and drinking his blood, because none of his followers would have dared to make up something so repulsive. And they must have understood how serious Jesus was in saying that this was something which they must do or they would very quickly have just stopped it and had some worship songs when they met together instead.

The Lord’s Supper, Eucharist, Holy Communion, call it what you will, is described all over the New Testament, it not just in the Gospels but also the letters to the early churches which describe the first ceremonies which we have continued one way or another ever since. At the Last Supper Jesus knew that these were his final moments with his disciples He is about to be arrested and executed. What is his final instruction to them ? He gives them a symbolic act, something so shocking that there is no way they will ever forget. The followers of Jesus are to do something really uncomfortable. They must bring to mind his death in a physical re-enactment so that they will never forget and never be left in any doubt that Jesus died a real death to show God’s love to all the world

In our passage from John today Jesus had fed the crowds and they wanted to make him king because he could create physical food. It was understandable given that people at the time were very poor and needed food. Nobody could deny them that and Jesus wanted the people to be fed and told them to pray for daily bread. The problem was that physical bread only cured physical hunger and physical needs are only one part of our human needs. Jesus wants to tackle something which is actually more important spiritual hunger, because our spirit is eternal. Jesus gives as the answer to spiritual hunger, real spiritual bread, the body of Christ and his disciples are told that in taking the bread they are to give it the same treatment that Annie gives to her bone! They are not just to quietly swallow it they are to gnaw it, not let anything distract or take it away.

Corinne started baking our own bread over a year ago now and we haven’t bought a loaf of bread since she started. But if we had no bread I am sure we could find other food to eat.  Even though our supermarket shelves are looking a bit empty these days at times we still have an abundance of things which we can eat instead of bread. But spiritually Jesus doesn’t give us alternatives. He doesn’t give us music, prayers or even bible readings as alternatives. Jesus says take the bread and as you eat it remember what my life and death were really all about. Now this message of Jesus is not for the fainthearted or squeamish. As a consequence there were disciples of Jesus who walked off and left him. They wanted to be blessed by Jesus but they did not want spiritual food they wanted physical food which Jesus tells them is actually superficial food. Jesus refuses to sugar coat his words, the only food which will satisfy the human condition is the real food of his flesh and blood.

Now people search in all kinds of places for spiritual fulfilment, crystals, meditation and mysticism to try and find spiritual peace with God. Jesus tells us that the place where we will find spiritual food for our souls is in the physical act of eating his flesh. Its as if he says to us stop looking for me, I am already present with you in bread and wine.  Heaven really is on earth, God's transcendence before us which we can touch and take within us. Heavenly things in earthly things We often call the person who presides at communion to consecrate the bread and wine the celebrant. That is a most suitable word because this is a celebration, a time of joy, a reminder of God’s promises, a foretaste of the heavenly banquet. Our Communion is a vivid reminder in a secular world that God is with us in Christ, a source of joy in the midst of our doubt, a reassurance from Jesus that he is with us and lives in us and it is he who gives life to our church


Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-24 (the reading has been extended to include some extra important verses) The book of Joshua concludes with another covenant ceremony - - this one at the ancient shrine of Shechem. This is where Jacob ordered all the "foreign gods" (handily portable stone idols) harboured by members of his household to be "put away" (see Genesis 35:1-4). The confiscated stones were then buried under the oak at Shechem. Joshua is not concerned with the people hearing and promising to obey every jot and tittle of the Law. Now, near the end of his life of leadership and service, Joshua desires to hear a much more basic commitment from the people. Joshua is speaking to a selected audience of "the elders, the heads, the judges and the officers of Israel" -- in other words, the elite of leadership, the best minds and hearts of Israel. Nevertheless, after delivering a quick historical synopsis of all the Lord has already done for Israel (vv.2-13), Joshua challenges these leaders to "choose this day whom you will serve" (15)

His words suggest that some of these high-ranking Israelites had already been observed worshiping the gods of their ancestors or the local Amorite deities. In verse 2 Joshua introduces the brief history he gives with "thus says the Lord" -- an indication that the following are not Joshua's words but God's. Though old and weary, Joshua is still the Lord's chosen mouthpiece to the Israelites. With this in mind, it is easy to see what a tremendous influence Joshua's assertion in verse 15, "as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord," had on his listeners. And perhaps that is also why, despite the impressive confession of loyalty the Israelites make in verses 16-18, Joshua reveals he is still not convinced (v.19). The words sound too much like what an eager-to-please people might mouth to their respected leader. The people demonstrate remarkable awareness of all God has done for them. Yet their promise to serve appears to be based only on a sense of tit-for-tat -- God does good things for us so we will serve him. Joshua's bitter response to these sweet-sounding words still shocks readers today -- think how stunned the Israelites must have been as he threw these words in their faces: "You cannot serve the Lord for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins" (v.19). God is not some celestial meet-your-needs sugar-daddy for the Israelites -- God is God, and that is why God should be served. Furthermore, Joshua continues, there can be a definite downside to swearing service to this jealous God. Faced with disloyalty and disobedience, this God will "turn and do you harm" (v.20), regardless of the good God has done before. It is not out of a sense of full-bellied well-being that the people confess their service to the Lord once again (v.21). Joshua's sharp words have reminded them of the consequences that lie behind their words. Yet Joshua's response is ambiguous -- it is still not clear whether he is convinced that this confession will hold. When he declares the people to be "witnesses against yourself," Joshua still seems to be challenging the people's conviction. It is not until verse 23 that Joshua finally indicates what might have been the whole impetus behind this dialogue. After the people glibly agree that "we are witnesses," Joshua drops his bombshell: "Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel." Despite all their confessions, both these Israelites and Joshua know that lurking in the backs of their tents, lying underneath their pillows, there are stone idols, which are being worshiped in secret. The conclusion of this scene is strangely unsatisfying -- for there is no gathering of these foreign gods, no record of their burial. Instead, the people simply confess their intended loyalty once more, and Joshua now makes "statutes and ordinances for them at Shechem" (v.25). Perhaps Joshua realized that while he can be a leader and example for his people, he cannot be their conscience or their nursemaid. In the end, both the people's ability to serve only the Lord and Joshua's ability to trust their words are matters of faith.


The events recounted in this morning’s passage from the Gospel according to John, are believed, by most scholars, to have taken place the year before the fateful Passover when Jesus died. The chief components of Jesus’ ministry were already in place by then: according to John’s account, Jesus had been baptised in the Jordan; greeted as the Messiah by John the Baptist; had performed spectacular miracles and had done extraordinary acts of healing. By this time Jesus had attracted a crowd of admirers and hangers-on who followed him wherever he went. What did these followers of Jesus expect and why did some of them fall away?

The Gospel states that Jesus has known “from the beginning which of them would not believe and which would betray him. We don’t know whether this means from the beginning of time or from the beginning of Jesus’ encounter with the disciples. Perhaps exactly when Jesus knew is not important. What we must pay attention to is the idea that Jesus understood that many of his apparently enthusiastic followers would give up and go home. In his parable about the Sower, Jesus warned that some believers would have shallow roots and wither away. Jesus was a realist about the human beings he loved so much. He was not a starry-eyed romantic who turned furious when people did not live up to his illusions about them. Jesus did not show any anger or surprise when so many of his followers decamped and left. Jesus’ response was more like a shrug of the shoulders and a sigh of resignation. It is noteworthy that Jesus did not condemn those who could not believe. He accepted it as inevitable. Jesus was aware that true believers would need to be sorted from temporary believers. If, after all they had seen, heard and experienced, they could not believe then they would have been unlikely to be able to follow him through the desperate months that led to the Cross. They would be too unbelieving to brave the persecutions he knew would attack his followers after the Resurrection. It would take faith to endure and they simply hadn’t enough.

All the disciples, not just the ones who went home must have been shocked by the words that Jesus had spoken. He introduced the hideous notion that in order to have eternal life they would have to feed on his body and blood. It is worth remembering that some Romans reported hearing that the new Christian sect practised cannibalism. The poor disciples must have flinched away from such a revolting and strange idea. When he saw that they were struggling Jesus responded with kindness “The spirit gives life: the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life”. Jesus was reassuring them that his words were to do with the spiritual nourishment that his body and blood would bring. No cannibalism was required! Jesus’ meaning would eventually be made more clear at the Last Supper, when he said those strange words again. But not every mystery in our faith is revealed and belief must sometimes take priority over full understanding.    Joan Crossley

Commentary 2  -  Making Tough Choices

In both of the bible passages today we see that God wants any decision to follow Him to be a completely free choice, not one born of guilt, obligation, or half-interest. As Joshua makes clear, the Israelites were free to choose idols and false gods if they wished: "But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve …".

In the end, the Israelites do choose Yahweh, who liberated them from slavery; the one who is "close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit". The God who had led them into the Promised Land. Perhaps it was an easy choice for them, a no-brainer as the American’s might say. But choices are not always easy. No one knew this better than Jesus, who met the doubt of his followers with sober acceptance: "The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there some of you do not believe". And as some of the Israelites must have done, some followers of Jesus opt out of the call to discipleship. The choice, or its implications, was just too tough.

Part of our responsibility as Christians is to make sure we are presenting the same choices that Jesus makes clear in the gospels to our society today. Choices that will lead some to the cross and discipleship, and others to turn and walk away. The ‘roles and responsibilities’ are distinct, although we sometimes find it hard to separate them. Ours is the responsibility to present the choices; the people who then make decisions must take the responsibility for them; and God will take the responsibility for the eternal outcomes. So often we feel responsible for the outcome of a choice of faith that someone else has taken rather than leaving it to God. It’s right that we feel concern and compassion for others in their decisions, especially when we see close friends or family making what we believe to be a wrong choice. But ultimately choice is a personal thing, especially when it comes to personal destiny. Joshua presented the choices to the Israelites and then led by example. For Simon Peter the choice was very stark. He realized that if He didn’t follow Jesus there really wasn’t anywhere else to go. It was only Jesus who offered any hope for the future, the words of eternal life.

Even with choices some things never change. Despite what the world might desire it is only Jesus who ultimately offers eternal life, if we choose to accept His offer.    


Not all of Jesus’ teaching is easy. We are free to choose God or not, but Jesus makes clear that we must be ready and prepared for the enormity and the eternal implications of that choice.

Prayers for Sunday

Lord, send us prophets in the church today, as in the days of old, to make known your living truth in the power of the Holy Spirit. Give them a clear vision of your purpose for the life of the world; enable them to peak the word with boldness; and through their words and their actions recall your people to simpler discipleship, holier living and to more dedicated service for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

Help your servants Lord to be people of God, people of reconciliation, people of truth and people of prayer. Keep them ever humble in your service for your mercy’s sake. Amen

Lord of all good life, be with those who are now absent from us, seeking rest and change on holiday. Keep them in safety and renew their strength that they may return refreshed in body mind and spirit. Amen

The peace of God which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of His son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be among you and remain with you always. Amen

Govern all by your wisdom, O Lord, so that my soul may always be serving you as you will, and not as I may choose. Do not punish me, I beg you, by granting what I wish or ask if it offends your love which should always live in me. Let me die to myself, so that I may serve you; let me live for you, who in yourself are the true life. St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)

Lord our God, all truth is from you, and you alone bring oneness of heart. Give your people the joy of hearing your word amid the din of human noise, and of longing for your presence more than for life itself. May all the attractions of a changing world point us to the peace of your kingdom, a peace which this world does not give. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O God, stay with us; let no word cross our lips that is not your word, no thought enter our minds that is not your thought, no deed ever be done or entertained by us that is not your deed. Malcolm Muggeridge (b.1903)

Dr. Martin Luther's Sacristy prayer, "O Lord God, Thou hast made me a pastor and teacher in the Church. Thou seest how unfit I am to administer rightly this great and responsible office ; and had I been without Thy aid and counsel I would surely have ruined it all, long ago. Therefore do I invoke Thee. How gladly do I desire to yield and consecrate my heart and mouth to this ministry ! I desire to teach the congregation. I, too, desire ever to learn and to keep Thy Word my constant companion and to meditate thereupon earnestly. Use me as Thy instrument in Thy service. Only, do not Thou forsake me, for if I am left to myself, I will certainly bring it all to destruction. Amen. "

God of the Spirit of kindness,
in the glory of the earth and the sea and stars,
in the kaleidoscope of colour and shade and shapeliness,
in the patterns of humour and tenderness and touch,
we celebrate your generosity.

Forgive us when we forget the gift in our every breath,
the care that sustains our every moment,
that grace that can transform our every day.

Set us free from the prison of grudging hearts,
mean desires,
resentful spirits,
give us courage to act with justice and generosity,
and draw us into love that does not calculate or keep scores.


  1. Jesus the name high over all
  2. God is good
  3. Thou art the way
  4. As the deer pants for the water
  5. Fill thou my life
  6. All people that on earth do dwell
  7. Make Way
  8. Come down O love divine
  9. Thanks be to God (on notices– tune Lobe Den Herren)
  10. Come let us worship Christ
  11. I am aware that it might have been a good idea this week to have included 'Will you come and follow me if I but call your name', it fits well with the Joshua reading
  12. Come let us sing of a wonderful love
  13. Come on and celebrate
  14. O love that will not let me go
  15. Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine
  16. Dear Lord and father of mankind

1 Thanks be to God for his saints of each past generation, (Tune Lobe den Heren)
one with us still in one body, one great congregation;
with them proclaim
Jesus for ever the same,
Author of life and salvation.

2 Thanks be to God for his blessings which daily surround us;
glory to Christ the Redeemer who sought us and found us,
who from the grave
rose, the almighty to save,
breaking the fetters that bound us.

3 Thanks be to God for the years that are yet in his keeping,
trusting each day to the care of a Father unsleeping,
on to the end,
Christ our companion and friend,
joy at the last for our weeping.

4 Thanks be to God who has called us and daily defends us,
who with the Son and the Spirit unchanging befriends us;
now in that Name,
Jesus for ever the same,
forth to his service he sends us.


1 We are heirs of God Almighty, (Tune Austria)
Apple of the Father's eye;
Free, forgiven, loved, accepted,
Clothed in righteousness divine.
Chosen to be pure and blameless
From before the world began;
Grace for every situation,
Sheltered in the Father's hand.

2 We have Christ at work within us,
Shaping us to be like Him;
Resurrection power sustaining
Freedom from the snares of sin.
Saying no to flesh desires,
Saying yes to righteous ways;
Filled with passion and with power,
Lights that burn in darkened days.

3 We've the Spirit without measure,
Helper, Comforter and Guide;
One who brings the gifts of heaven,
One who comes to walk beside.
Taste of heaven's endless pleasure,
Guarantee of what's to come;
Causing fruit to grow in action,
Bringing glory to the Son.

Stuart Townend