Sunday 21/6/20

The Cross Country Parishes
SUNDAY 21/6/20  

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

Sermon for Sunday 21st June 2020 
Matthew 10. 24-39 

What are you afraid of What do you fear? A simple question: and no one will be stuck for an answer _ We all have fears.

Mostly we're powerless to control the thing we fear: and the emotions that go with it - the worry: the anxiety.

If I could hear your answers they would no doubt cover - spiders: heights: flying: COVID 19: the dark: redundancy: my boss, loneliness, dying_____ _ the list could be endless, and apart from what we might admit to others, we all have secret fears

We know that many of our fears are quite irrational; some we can overcome with help: and some fearful situations we could take steps to avoid Others- the dentist perhaps - we just have to face and get on with it.

I understand that the most oft repeated command in the Bible is not, as you might expect: 'Love one another' or something similar, but 'Don' t be afraid’ We've heard those words three times in the reading this morning. Why?

ff we'd read from the beginning of chapter10 we'd have heard the names of Jesus' chosen twelve ( it's 10 vs 2 if you need the names for a quiz) and then we'd have heard instructions for them from Jesus if they truly wanted to throw in their lot with him. He was teaching them what he wanted them to do and pointing out the risks they might be taking and the reception they might get when they tried to preach the Good News. After all they were not trained in any way. They knew that Jesus wasn't very popular with the authorities and he'd even said 'Everyone will hate you because of me. Hence the command 'Don' t be afraid

But 'Don't be afraid Don't be frightened' can be a meaningless phrase if it's repeated too often: for instance to a child who really is terrified of the swimming baths. I wonder if the disciples thought 'It' s all very well for him. and I wonder if in their hearts they were wondering what they'd let themselves in for -joining up with this man Jesus and his odd bunch of friends.

Jesus knew their fears and thoughts and assured them of how important each one of them was to God _ Were there sparrows hopping about when he was speaking I wonder. 'Look at them. God knows and cares about every one of them' he says: 'and as for you: every hair on your head is counted' I defy anyone to think of a better phrase to illustrate intimate, loving knowledge and care. That's how much God cares and how well he knows each one of us.

Those first disciples must have been assured by Jesus' words because they did follow him: although we know that they stumbled and failed many times. Through it all God's love supported and surrounded them - a truth which they slowly learned and recognized.

The danger is that we take the 'Don't be afraid because God cares about you very much and then ignore and leave aside all the other instructions and warnings from Jesus. We often think we don't need them. We'll not be hated or attacked because we are Christians. Sadly, some still are: as my paper on 14th June: 2020: reported that it is estimated that about 7,000 Christians have been killed in Nigeria by Islamists in the last 5 years. _ Thankfully, the most we might get is teasing, mockery: or social media attacks from people who accuse the church of hypocrisy, being rich and the place where children have been abused

Where does this leave us then as we emerge, soon we hope, from the strange world the coronavirus has temporarily created. We’re not just a social club missing our coffee and cake- tho that's true: but it's still our job as Christians to tell the News of Jesus. Life for that mixed bunch of disciples would never be the same once they had become followers of Jesus. Life for us won't be quite the same after lockdown. We have the challenge of thinking anew about how we can grow together as Jesus followers: tell the Good News to others and not be hampered by fear when we do it - fears of others and fears about our own inadequacy.

But if God the creator takes care of the sparrows and every single hair of our heads it means that nothing is too great for him to do and nothing too small for him to care about.

What more do we need?

Isobel Burnley

14 June 2020

Prayers for 21 June 2020

The Collect for the 2nd Sunday after Trinity

Faithful Creator,

whose mercy never fails:

deepen our faithfulness to you

and to your living Word,

Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Post Communion Prayer

Loving Father,

we thank you for feeding us at the supper of your Son:

sustain us with your Spirit,

that we may serve you here on earth

until our joy is complete in heaven,

and we share in the eternal banquet 

with Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Prayers of Intercessions

Let us pray to our heavenly Father,

who is familiar with our world

and understands our humanity.

Lord of all, wherever Christians are ridiculed

or persecuted for their faith,

we ask your courage and inner strength;

wherever we are called to be your witnesses

we ask for the grace to communicate your love.

Wherever love for you has grown cold

we ask to fan the flames again.

In Christ we can be dead to sin:

and alive to God.

Lord, wherever the human spirit

is ground down by oppression,

and wherever our silence allows injustice

and corruption to flourish,

we ask for deeper compassion and commitment;

we ask for our kingdoms to become your kingdoms,

and the desires of your heart to be ours.

In Christ we can be dead to sin:

and alive to God.

Lord of all, wherever families are struggling to stay together,

and wherever there are on-going arguments and family feuds,

we ask your anointing for tranquillity and harmony.

Wherever children are unwanted and unloved,

neglected or in danger, we ask your protection and help.

In Christ we can be dead to sin:

and alive to God.

Lord, wherever bodies, minds and spirits 

are wracked with pain,

or too weak or exhausted to pray,

we ask the bathing love of your presence,

and the practical caring of hands working in your name.

Wherever there are doubts and the battle is strong,

we ask our empowering and clear guidance.

In Christ we can be dead to sin:

and alive to God.

Lord of all,

wherever the dying are anxious and afraid,

we ask your peace;

wherever the faithful have passed

from this life into eternity,

we commend them to your unchanging

and everlasting love.

In Christ we can be dead to sin:

and alive to God.

Wherever nature’s beauty or the daily miracles around us

alert us to see your face, we thank you for the grace

to live this resurrection life.

Merciful Father,

accept these prayers

for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Other Prayers

The 20th anniversary of my ordination as Deacon falls this week.  For me, it was a day of great joy and celebration surrounded by family and friends from many areas of my life and from around the world.  Please pray for those due to be ordained Deacon and Priest this year, whose ordinations have been postponed until October and will, necessarily, be much smaller celebrations when they are able to happen.  Those due to be ordained Deacon will be licensed to their parishes as Deacons-elect from the planned ordination date in early July.

Hymns are:


Praise my soul, the King of heaven:

Within the darkest night:

I cannot tell why he, whom angels worship:

We have a gospel to proclaim: