Sun 25/10/20

Broadcast and Live-streamed Opportunities for Worship
8.10 am  Radio 4 Sunday Worship 
10.00 am Chester Cathedral are livestreaming the Cathedral Eucharist at:
10.45 A modern-style of service will be livestreamed from Christ Church Gipsy Hill available at:
The Prayer Book Society continue to livestream a wide range of Book of Common Prayer Services available at:

A Sermon for Bible Sunday
Colossians 3: 12 – 17

Bible Sunday; a day when preachers encourage congregations to read their bibles. Reading the bible regularly, preferably daily, is a very good thing for Christians to do.  Much of my early Christian experience revolved around the necessity for a daily Quiet Time when I could read the Bible and pray about the things I had read and the concerns of the world around me.  It was an excellent pattern to learn, and has stood me in good stead over many years. 

Yet such an individual approach to Bible Study, recommended though it is, has its weaknesses too.  That is because, as Paul reminds us in the reading from Colossians, the Word of God is about community.  The practical working out of our bible study is best done in the community of the Church.

I have lived in Christian communities twice in my life.  The first was for 1 month in my late teens when I worked in a Christian community one summer.  I loved it.  I was away from home for a lengthy period for the first time, and I though community living was wonderful.  The second period of community living was longer.  18-months or so as I trained for ordination.  That’s when I learned how truly challenging it can be to be thrown together with a random group of Christians.  Especially when I had to lead a group of other ordinands in a community where getting on with each other was challenging beyond belief.  Bearing with one another, forgiving each other and clothing ourselves in love to be bound together in perfect harmony became a challenge too far and regrettably 1 member of the group had to move to a different group.  I’m glad to say that relationships were successfully rebuilt within the community that remained and with the individual who moved on.

Much of God’s word is about living as the people of God in a community.  The early parts of the Old Testament contain instructions on how the People of God should live after they settled in the Promised Land.  The rest of the Old Testament warns what will happen if those instructions are not followed and tells of what happens when God’s people ignore his instructions.

Much of the New Testament is about how; the Church, should live; not as individuals (although it does tell us that), but as a community of people which can be a witness to a broken and fragmented world.

It is no easy option.  Think about life in the average family, and we soon discover how challenging it is to live as a community of people.  Extend that to a group of people who have nothing in common but a shared love of Jesus Christ, and the challenges multiply!

Now we can see how important it is to bear with one another and sort out our complains and arguments.  Now we see the importance of forgiving each other as Jesus forgives us.  Living in a Christian community is an excellent place to learn about forgiveness.  Involvement in the local church is the next best thing to it.

And Paul hasn’t finished yet.  We have to do more than bear with one another, resolving our complaints and arguments.  We have to do more than forgive each other.  We have to clothe ourselves in love so that we can be bound together in harmony.  We need to allow the peace of Christ to dwell in our hearts so that we can live as one body.  And to top it all off, we have to be thankful.

It is a tall order.  This is no grudging forgiveness which doesn’t forget.  It is demanding.  It is also where the Christian faith is really worked out.  We can all live perfect Christian lives if we don’t have to live and work alongside other people.  

So how can the people of the Cross Country Parishes, together as a group of churches, and as individual churches within the group possibly attain such a high quality of Christian living?  

The answer is the same for us as it was for the 1st Century Church in Colossae.  By following Paul’s instruction to let the word of Christ dwell richly in us.  That cannot happen if the covers of our bibles remain closed from Monday – Saturday, only to be opened for a few moments on Sunday.

It is vital that we read our bibles and ponder God’s word regularly, even daily.  Individual Bible Study is an excellent foundation for the Christian life, but it is easy to be a saint in isolation, with no-one to annoy or frustrate us.  It is infinitely more difficult to be a saint in the company of God’s people – but the company of God’s people is exactly where we are called to be, working out our faith and living out the word of God.

There can be no greater challenge; neither can there be a greater resource than God’s word, recorded in the bible, to equip us to meet the challenge.

S Anne Lawson
22 October 2020 

The Collect for the Last Sunday After Trinity 

Blessed Lord, 

who caused all holy scriptures 

to be written for our learning: 

help us so to hear them, 

to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them 

that, through patience, 

and the comfort of your holy word, 

we may embrace and for ever hold fast 

the hope of everlasting life, 

which you have given us 

in our Saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen. 

The Post-Communion Prayer for the Last Sunday After Trinity 

God of all grace, 

your Son Jesus Christ fed the hungry 

with the bread of his life 

and the word of his kingdom: 

renew your people with your heavenly grace, 

and in all our weakness 

sustain us by your true and living bread: 

who is alive and reigns, now and for ever.  Amen. 


Prayers of Intercession Copyright © 2020 Jen Ryder 

God of the silence, God in the stillness and the calm, 

Who met Elijah not in the rushing wind but in quietness, 
who brought peace to a group of fishermen in a raging storm: 
Be with us, here, and now. 
Help us to leave behind the busyness of our lives, and listen for your word. 

God of relationships, God of compassion and love, 
Who gave Ruth to Naomi when she had no family, 
who gave Abraham and Sarah a baby when they had given up hope, 
who brought together the disciples and other followers of Jesus: 
We think of our relationships, 
Our families, our friends and colleagues and our church family here at St N, 
We lift them to you now, 
We bring our thanks, our concerns, our need for forgiveness. 
Lord in your mercy, 
Hear our prayer. 

God of wisdom, God of the proverbs and the 10 commandments, 
Who inspired your prophets like Amos, Micah, Isaiah and Jeremiah, to speak your words: 
We bring before you our country and its political leaders, we pray for wisdom and justice. 
And we think of situations, people, places around the world that need change. 
Lord in your mercy, 
Hear our prayer. 

God of creativity, God of beauty and delight, 
Who gave David the gift of song-writing, who spoke to Joseph in vivid dreams, who inspired the Songs of Solomon: 
Open our eyes to see you all around us. 
Help us to find you in nature, in poetry, in song, in conversation, in touch. 
Lord in your mercy, 
Hear our prayer. 

God of surprises, God of hopes and plans, 
Who called Samuel in the night, 
who met Paul in blinding light, 
Help us to hear your call for our lives, however big or small, 
Open our eyes to your promptings and guidance, so that we can see the people, places, opportunities that you want us to. 
Lord in your mercy, 
Hear our prayer. 

God of revelation, who came to us as one of us 
You call us to be the light of the world, 
to love our enemies, and treat our neighbours as we would be treated, 
Who urges us not to worry, who encouraged us to seek and we will find, 
who told us that we are so loved that if we were 1 of 100 sheep he would leave the other 99 to look for us if we were lost: 
Help us to take your Gospel words seriously, 
let them shape our lives and give us courage to take new paths and explore new patterns. Help us to hear their call afresh and let them release us from old routines to try new steps and dance with you in abandoned joy through all our days. 
Lord in your mercy, 
Hear our prayer. 

 Copyright © 2020 Jen Ryder 




Rejoice, the Lord is King

Break thou the bread of life

Thanks to God whose word was spoken  Chris, there is an upbeat version of this if you prefer it at:

All for Jesus, all for Jesus