Welcome, Cheviot churches! We worship together on this 9th Sunday after Pentecost.
Come all you people, young and old.
Come share in worship, giving thanks for all God shares with us.
Let us open our hearts and minds to know more of God’s unconditional love and care and be ready to share it with others.
Hymn 404 – I danced in the morning
Prayers of Adoration and Confession
Creator God, You are holy beyond our wildest imagination. You called everything into being and saw that it was good. As we come to Your presence, You gather us together with the whole of creation. Creator God, we worship You.
Lord Jesus Christ, just as we are, you call each one of us. You greet us each by name and welcome us into your family. Lord Jesus Christ, we worship you.
Holy Spirit, breath of Life You fill us with your love and grace for all, so that we are enabled to witness to the kingdom. Holy Spirit, we worship you.
Loving God, as we draw near to you, we are painfully aware of our faults and failings. We confess that we have been greatly influenced by other voices than yours. We have been seduced by the superficial glamour of the culture of the world. We have not spoken out against injustice and inequality in our society. We have filled our own plates whilst others plates are empty. We have been indifferent to the damage our way of life has caused to your creation. Forgive us, Lord God. Help us to listen only to your voice, to do justice, love kindness and to walk humbly in your way.
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. To all who turn to him he says: ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ He also says: ‘Follow me.’
Readings – 2 Kings 4: 42-44
Hymn 555 – Amazing Grace
Gracious God, out of your goodness a great crowd was fed and satisfied from a small offering of food. We thank you for supplying all our needs and offer you the love of our hearts as we pray for our Cheviot Churches with all our varied ministries; for the youngest to the oldest; for those of certain faith and for those who struggle with doubts. Amen
The Olympics have started in Tokyo, a year late and with no spectators because of Covid. On Monday restrictions here eased slightly, and now we are down to 1 metre distancing, though with the advice to be cautious ringing in our ears. Just across the Border, however, the restrictions have gone completely. I certainly felt rather uneasy watching the packed scenes from nightclubs and seeing pictures of the crowds on the beaches.
Of course, in our Gospel reading today, Jesus and his disciples are surrounded by a crowd of people, a crowd hungry for what Jesus had to say. He alone could give them some meaning in their lives under occupation. He could give them peace in their hearts.
No doubt people were gossiping as well about what happened in Cana and the abundance of wine. Of what happened in Capernaum with the child of the official healed. Of what happened at Bethesda with the man who had been paralysed for 38 years suddenly able to walk. All these signs saying loud and clear, ‘God is here’! Maybe something would happen that day too?
These people, numbering about 5000 and more, were hungry for what Jesus had to offer – and also their stomachs were beginning to rumble as well! Jesus had hardly invited them: they were unexpected guests. But somehow he felt he was the host and it was incumbent to provide them with some kind of snack. Philip came from just along the lakeside, so Jesus relied on his local knowledge to find food , but he said – ‘to feed this number would cost an absolute fortune’, so Jesus sent the disciples out to see what they could find. Andrew came back- and he brought a boy – a boy with his packed lunch of bead and fish. For this brief moment he shares the spotlight with Jesus. Now, judging from the litter on the breaches, the crowds in 21st century Britain bring their packed lunches and picnics with them. I would think it odd in 1st century Palestine if only one boy out of 5000+ remembered to pack some bread. But Jesus took what the boy offered, just as Elisha had done centuries before, multiplied it and all received. It might well be that those who had hid their picnics, suddenly were moved to share what they had, which would have been an even greater miracle. Our Moslem friends are celebrating Eid just now, and what is eaten has always to be split three ways – one part for family, one part for friends and one part for the poor. The importance of sharing transcends cultures.
We offer to God, God multiplies, and all are blessed. Certainly, there was a sense of abundance, 12 bags were left over; a sense of togetherness, the freedom of sharing and also a realisation that something special had happened. Just like at Cana and at Capernaum and Bethesda. And at the centre of it was Jesus, yes, but also a little boy with his packed lunch. The crowd had witnessed the overflowing love of God, who wants to feed the people and wants them to know that they are included in God’s love and within God’s grace. It was a day they would never forget, and that is why it is included in all four gospels.
We gather today and we are going to celebrate a baptism, and a child, Poppy, will be centre-stage. Baptism is another sign of God’s love, of God’s inclusion of us in his family. That is God’s grace, that God accepts us no matter what and wants us as part of the family, one of God’s beloved and holy children. A day always to remember.
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession
Lord, we are amazed at what you can do with so little! We bring our offerings before you and ask you to multiply them for the advancement of your kingdom.
We lift up, Lord, all who feel they have nothing worth bringing to your.
We think of the broken, in mind, body and spirit.
Broken by ill health. Broken by bereavement, divorce or separation.
Those broken by poverty, redundancy or bankruptcy.
Lord, we offer you our prayers for the broken. Take. Touch. Bless.
Lord, you multiplied the loaves and fishes, producing a big lunch for thousands.
We bring before you those supplying our loaves and fishes today. We pray for fishermen struggling to maintain their livelihoods.
We lift up all farmers and the harvest of crops.
We think of the effect of climate change which, if nothing alters, will mean major adaptations for farmers in how and what they can farm.
Many places are experiencing the effects of climate change now. We think of our own high temperatures of late and the unprecedented high temperatures in Canada. The wild fires in America. The floods in Western Europe and China.
We lift before you all those affected.
Lord, we pray for your church. Pray that all in leadership will be guided by Godly wisdom at all times. We thank you for the different ways people have come close to you over the pandemic and for the variety of worship.
May your church always be welcoming, offering warm hospitality to all.
Hymn 143 – Who put the colours in the rainbow
Infant Baptism – Poppy Holly Murron Freeland-Cook
For you Jesus Christ came into the world;
For you he lived and showed God’s love:
For you he suffered the darkness of Calvary
and cried at last ‘It is accomplished’:
for you he triumphed over death
and rose in newness of life:
for you he ascended to reign at God’s right hand:
all this he did for you, though you do not know it yet.
And so Scripture is fulfilled:
‘We love because God first loved us’.
Hymn 530 – One more step along the world I go
Go into the world
as people of compassion and good courage,
to be Christ’s disciples, walking his way.
And may God - Father, Son and Spirit – be with you this day and forevermore. Amen