Sunday 7th May 2020 Trinity Sunday
Worship at home Service sheet
God of wholeness, God of Grace, to you we bring our thanks and praise. To a world that searches you are a lamp that shines, to a world that is hungry you are food that sustains, to a world that suffers you are hope of release, to a world that’s broken you are one who restores, to a world full of hate you are love that forgives, to a world that denies you are truth that endures. To you we bring our thanks and praise, God of wholeness, God of Grace.
God with us: Creator, Father, bringing everything to birth;
Mother of the whole creation, fire of stars and life of earth:
down the countless years composing, from the earth's evolving night, love's response to love, and forming mind and soul to seek your light.
God with us: Redeemer, Brother, Friend for ever at our side, here, in flesh, you walked among us, taking up your cross, you died. Crucified, despised, rejected,
Perfect Love, who shared our shame, streaming from the cross, your judgement, full of mercy, clears our name.
God with us: Unwearied Spirit, from the birth of time and space, surging through unconscious being, joyful,
Life-Creating Grace: through the centuries you find us; you, as God, inspire our prayer; Life and Power at work within us, Love for ever, everywhere!
God, Transcendent, far beyond us, Closest Friend, unfailing Guide: through the ages, wronged, affronted, in your poor, still crucified! God with us: convict, forgive us; by your holy love destroy all that hinders peace and justice: fill this aching world with joy!
Reading 1: Psalm 8
O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?
Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honour. You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Prayers of confession
Great God of all creation, who are we that you are mindful of us? You who set the stars in motion, who launched waves crashing against the shore, who knows the heights and depths of the world; Why do you bother with us? You count the hairs on our heads, and call us each by name.
You give us your wisdom and you uphold us by your
You tend to us and care for us,
and we do not understand why.
We cannot grasp your love for us, O God, for it is unlike us to be that loving and forgiving.
We become enmeshed by our own needs and wants and desires and we fail to see beyond anything but our own little circles.
Turn us around, O God. Help us to see as you see, and to reach out as you reach out. Remind us once again of the sacredness of our ordinary, day-to-day lives. By your Spirit,
teach us to live truly as beings little lower than angels. In your mercy, O God, forgive who we are and bless who we will be. Amen.
Reading 2: Acts 5:27-32
When they had brought them, they had them stand before the council. The high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,[c] yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you are determined to bring this man’s blood on us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey
God rather than any human authority.[d] 30 The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”
I don’t know how many people would have heard of a person called Neil Aggett. Neil Aggett was a doctor who worked with the trade unions in South Africa during the apartheid era. He was arrested for being a communist and for his role in organising the labour movement. He died in prison on the 5th February 1982. He became the first white person and the 51st person to die in custody. He was 28 years old. His death was originally marked as suicide but a later inquest reversed that ruling saying the torture he received was the biggest contributor to his death.
I obviously never knew him but I have known of him for a while and I can’t help but feel sorry and grief, that 38 years later the inequalities that Neil was fighting for across the world are still there.
We are reminded in the book of Psalms that we have a special place in the heart of God. David asks ‘What are human beings that you are mindful of them, that you care for them?’ According to David we are the pinnacle of God’s creation. We have been afforded a dignity and worth according to David above that of the rest of creation. And yet as people we are so desperate to claim it for ourselves and deny it to others. As people we seem to have developed this attitude that puts the self above all else. Our entire culture is based around me and so it not surprising then we go on to fear and even hate that which is different or alien. So just how prevalent is it? According to a business insider article the UK is the 10th most anti-black country in the world. The US is the 12th. The death of George Floyd and the subsequent violence are all indications of the prejudice and injustice that pervade the world today. Considering this I find myself asking the question ‘Where am I in all of this?’ ‘Where are we as disciples of Jesus in all of this?’
Our Acts passage today is a reminder that while as Christians we are encouraged to support our authorities, when those authorities act outside of the will of God, we are to follow our true King: God. Prime Ministers and Presidents, Religious leaders change like the wind. Administrations change, parliaments change, doctrines change, our God does not. Governments are drives by lobby groups and spin doctors, sorry special advisors, churches have motivations that often have little to do with the Gospel. our God is not. While Governments and their structures claim to serve the people, more often than not, they are power hungry. The Church has history of doing exactly the same. Our God gave up his power to become one of us. Our new commandment is to love one another as we love ourselves. Christ’s law according to Paul in the book of Galatians is to ‘bear one another’s burden.’ I would suggest then that if we are to follow any law that God is the authority we need to heed, not our earthly authorities.
Prayers of intercession
Almighty and everlasting God, beyond all space and time, greater than our minds can fully comprehend, ruler of all that is, has been, and shall be, we give you thanks for who you are and all that you have done for us.
Loving Father of all, we praise you for your kindness and mercy by which you sustain us and provide for our every need; you are full of goodness and compassion caring for us that we are never in want.
Jesus Christ, our Saviour, we worship you for coming into our neighbourhood to be our friend, even our brother; for showing us the magnitude of the love of God, revealing His saving power and His forgiveness, and offering us a new beginning. We lift your name on high, Lord Jesus,
for loving us fully and giving yourself for our redemption on the cross.
Holy Spirit, free and mysterious as the wind, powerful as the fire,
we worship you for blowing new life into our hearts, for purifying us from our sins and faults, for teaching and reminding us the words of Christ, and leading us in His light.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, God of gods, and King of kings, with awe and wonder, joy and gladness we offer you our thanks, and pray for your creation, its nations, and peoples, for your church, ourselves and all in need.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, fill our sin-filled world with your eternal light and love,
so darkness and power of evil will not rule, but your Kingdom will be established in power and glory!
May the flame of your Spirit blaze with purifying fire driving evil from hearts and minds and establishing your peace.
We pray these in confidence and trust, our eternal God, who is Life-Giver, Life-Saver, and Life-Renewer now and forever. To you be the glory, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, today and through all eternity. Amen.
We say together the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples:
Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.
I, the Lord of sea and sky, I have heard my people cry. All who dwell in dark and sin my hand will save.
I, who made the stars of night,
I will make their darkness bright.
Who will bear my light to them? Whom shall I send?
Here I am, Lord.
Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night. I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.
I, the Lord of snow and rain,
I have borne my people’s pain; I have wept for love of them.
They turn away.
I will break their hearts of stone, give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak my word to them. Whom shall I send?
I, the Lord of wind and flame, I will tend the poor and lame.
I will set a feast for them.
My hand will save. Finest bread I will provide till their hearts are satisfied.
I will give my life to them. Whom shall I send?
O God, author and giver of peace, in whose image and likeness each of us has been created
with a human dignity worthy of respect on earth and destined for eternal glory,
Listen to the cry that rises from every corner of this fragile earth, from our human family torn by violent conflict:
Give peace in our time, O good and gracious God, that peace which, as your son Jesus Christ told us and as we have experienced in these days, is a peace which the world cannot give.
To world leaders grant the wisdom to see beyond the boundaries of race, religion, and nation
to that common humanity that makes us all your children and brothers and sisters to one another.
To those who have taken up arms in anger or revenge or even in the cause of justice grant the grace of conversion to the path of peaceful dialogue and constructive collaboration.
To the innocent who live in the shadow of terror, especially the frightened children, be a shelter and strength, their haven and hope.
And to those who have already lost their lives as victims of human cruelty, open wide your arms and enfold them all in the embrace of your compassion, healing, and everlasting life.
Grant this through Jesus Christ, your son, our Lord.
As people of faith we have gathered for worship.
As people of faith we now return to the world. Go out to share the story of faith, the story of life, with the world around you. We share the faith in word and in deed, in speech and in action.
As you go out to give a living witness, as you go out to testify to God's love active in the world,
go knowing that God goes with you, sharing the laughter and the hope, the fears and the tears. Thanks be to God! Amen.