Sunday 14/6/20

The Cross Country Parishes
SUNDAY 14/6/20  

On this page 
Sermon, readings, prayers & hymns.

8.00pm Bishop Keith has called for us to pray for the Diocese and for the World every Sunday evening by lighting a candle. 

On line, TV & Radio  

8.10am BBC Radio 4 a Christian Service.

Chester Cathedral. Stream - Chester Cathedral

The Prayer Book Society has links to numerous on line services

A Sermon for the First Sunday After Trinity

Romans 5: 1 – 8; Matthew 9: 35 – 10:8


I once contributed to a book of poetry and worship resources which was eventually published as Barefeet and Buttercups, but earned the working title of All those days after Trinity before it appeared between two book covers. Last week we saw how God invites us into the complete community of Father, Son and Holy Spirit so that we can join in the dance which God leads his people on.  Now reality bites as we work out what that means in practice.   It will be a lengthy task, but we have all those Sundays after Trinity to make a start.

Last week, we heard Matthew’s account of Jesus’ final words to his disciples.  “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” Verses known as the Great Commission and understood by the Church to apply to all followers of Jesus for all time.  That is a very large task; one so big we might feel there’s little point even starting, and we may as well give up now.  If we feel like that, there are several things we need to remind ourselves of.

Most importantly, we are not alone.  God is leading the dance.  Jesus promised as his very final words in Matthew’s Gospel that he is “with us always to the end of the age.”  Clearly Jesus cannot be physically present with us, but he has sent the Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen us in all that we do.  The second thing to be reminded of is that the task is not (thankfully) left to the people of the Cross Country Parishes.  We are part of the Church worldwide, not just the small group of people who go to the building we attend.  And there is more encouragement.

Today we see Jesus ramping up the training for the first disciples.  They are being sent out to discover what it is like to share God’s love with the world for themselves.  As we hear of their experience (and you may like to read on to Matthew 10: 23), the first thing we need to notice is the disciples are very ordinary people.  They are not even well-matched.  

As Rosalind Brown comments in her notes on this reading, the group includes Peter who act first and thinks later and Thomas who has to think everything through before committing to action.  How did they make decisions? Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, both Jewish freedom-fighters, ready to bump off the odd Roman soldier rubbed shoulders with Matthew who sold out to the occupying Roman forces, collecting taxes on their behalf.  Then we add James and John, described by Mark as ‘Sons of Thunder’, to the mix.

If ever there was a group doomed to failure, this was it, yet these were the people Jesus chose to carry out God’s mission in the world.  The very people God would build his Church on.  The characters may vary, but essentially they are no different to the people who make up the churches we know.  No different to the individual churches which have made up God’s Church down the centuries.  

 God has always used very ordinary and unlikely people as partners in his work.  Think of Samson, the spoiled brat given supernatural strength; David the Shepherd boy who killed Goliath and reigned over Israel; Mary, the girl from dead-end Nazareth who gave birth to the Son of God; the women who told the good news of the resurrection; Peter the Jewish Fishermen who shared God’s love with the non-Jewish world.  We could go on…

Then remember the Saints.  Cuthbert, a Northumbrian shepherd boy turned monk, who loved solitude but became a Bishop and preached the gospel throughout North-East England; Joan of Arc, a peasant farmer’s daughter who died for her faith or Brother Lawrence who spent his life contemplating God as he worked in the monastery kitchen and is remembered today for his wisdom.  

Or, if we want a more modern example, there are those like the Dixon family who were living a very ordinary family life and found themselves called by God to spend 5 years setting up a drugs education project in Nepal.  Or the teachers, housewives, hospice and hospital administrators, GP, landscape gardener and quantity surveyor who found themselves training for ordination with me.  Or Jim who was recently on placement in these parishes; a driving instructor now turning first curate and later vicar.  Ordinary people from varied backgrounds, who have heard God’s call and followed him…

If we feel ordinary, ill-equipped, inadequate or we find that the people God has put alongside us in our churches are so different to us, we could never work with them, we are in good company. The people I have used have been called to specific tasks; so have each one of us. God calls each of his people at their baptism and gives each one a specific task which only they can do.  

We are ordinary people, but we are called to an extraordinary task.  To share the love of God with the nations, beginning in the communities of the Cross Country parishes … even as we feel our wings are still clipped by the necessary restrictions of a pandemic.

Anne Lawson

10 June 2020


The Collect for the First Sunday After Trinity

O God, 

the strength of all those who put their trust in you,

mercifully accept our prayers

and, because through the weakness

of our mortal nature,

we can do no good thing without you,

grant us the help of your grace,

that in the keeping of your commandments

we may please you both in will and deed,

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

Eternal Father,

we thank you for nourishing us

with these heavenly gifts;

may our communion strengthen us in faith,

build us up in hope,

and make us grow in love:

for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. 



Prayers of Intercession


Let us pray to the God of heaven and earth

for the growth of the kingdom.


May the kingdom grow

in clusters of Christians all over the world;

may it grow as hearts are warmed

by encounters with the living God;

nourished by word and sacrament,

private prayer and public worship.

Lord of heaven:

let the kingdom grow!


May the kingdom grow

in states, empires and monarchies,

in the crowded streets of cities

and in the scattered rural communities;

in all decision-making and all spending.

Lord of heaven:

let the kingdom grow!                                                                                  

May the kingdom grow

in every human shelter and home,

every place of work and education,

in each conversation and

in our mutual care of one another.

Lord of heaven:

let the kingdom grow!


May the kingdom grow

to bring peace and healing

wherever there is pain or sadness;

to bring reassurance, comfort, courage and hope.

Lord of heaven:

let the kingdom grow!


In the knowledge that we must all face the living God,

we give thanks for those who have died,

and thank God for his loving mercy,

entrusting our loved ones to god’s safe keeping.

Lord of heaven:

let your kingdom grow!


As we thank God for all his blessings to us

we offer him the rest of our lives.


Merciful Father,

accept these prayers

for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  Amen.



Prayers for use during the

Coronavirus Pandemic


A prayer for the world

God of love and hope,

you made the world and care for all creation, 

but the world feels strange right now.

The news is full of stories about Coronavirus. 

Some people are worried that they might get ill.

Others are anxious for their family and friends. 

Be with them and help them to find peace.

We pray for the doctors and nurses and scientists,

and all who are working to discover the right medicines 

to help those who are ill.

Thank you that even in these anxious times, 

you are with us.

Help us to put our trust in you and keep us safe.  Amen




The Kingdom is upon you:

Will you come and follow me:

I the Lord of sea and sky:

Go forth and tell: