Sunday 28/6/20

The Cross Country Parishes
SUNDAY 28/6/20  

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

Sunday 28th June 2020  Worship for the Cross Country Parishes  

to celebrate Saint Peter 


Today’s service and sermon have been prepared by Rev’d Donald Brockbank 


Hymn: Lord the light of your love is shining 


Introduction and Call to Worship 

As we call to mind the faith and obedience of St Peter, let us follow his example as we offer our worship and respond to God’s word. 


Jesus alone has authority to declare sins forgiven. So let us make our confession to him, assured that those whom the Son sets free are free indeed. 


Lord, forgive our fighting: when we push against you; against one another; against ourselves. Grant us grace to make peace. 

Lord, have mercy. 

Lord, have mercy. 


Lord, forgive our forgetting: when we are so caught up in earthly concerns that we neglect heavenly priorities. Grant us grace to make space.   

Christ, have mercy. 

Christ, have mercy. 


Lord, forgive our fearing: when we know we are called to speak for you, but still remain silent. Grant us grace to take courage. 

Lord, have mercy. 

Lord, have mercy. 




Today’s Readings 


First Reading   

Acts 12:1-11 

God sends an angel to free Peter from Herod’s imprisonment. Unbinding Peter, the angel leads him past guards and through gates. Once outside, Peter realises his rescue is no dream.   


Hymn/Song Open our eyes Lord, we want to see Jesus   



Second Reading   

Matthew 16:13-19 

Peter answers Jesus’ questions about his identity by affirming Jesus as the Messiah.  

Rejoicing at Peter’s responsiveness to God’s revelation, Jesus declares he will build his Church on such apostolic faith. 




And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) 



Following on from Revd Anne’s thoughts last week, when she talked about her ordination, it is something a lot of us clergy do at this time of the year. Ordinations are very often on or around St Peter’s Day, which is tomorrow. Today is the 39th anniversary of my ordination. It was a major change in my life in many ways, not just moving from being “Mr” to “Reverend” but a whole change it seemed of my place in the world. The day before ordination when I was technically still a student, or maybe unemployed, I was unable to hire a car, but the day after, I was able to witness and countersign someone’s passport application, or a shotgun licence! Yet I was the same person, but suddenly, things had changed. Just like St Peter in the reading, by Jesus’s words, everything had changed for him. For all of us, becoming a Christian, putting our faith in Jesus to follow him is also just such a radical change. It is not only a change of name  but a change of role.  


So when Jesus asked the disciples who they thought he was, there was more than a name at stake: it was not just a question of identity, but a matter of destiny. Acknowledging Jesus as God’s anointed one had implications for those who held sway over earthly empires. Perhaps that was why Jesus chose to address the issue with his disciples in the far north of Israel, at Caesarea Philippi, a location well out of reach of Herod Antipas’ jurisdiction. 


Whilst the wider community had recognised something of Jesus’ godliness and prophetic stance, comparing him to Elijah and John the Baptist, Peter, as the disciples’ spokesman, took things that vital step further: he proclaimed Jesus to be God’s own Son, the awaited Messiah. 


Jesus rejoiced as Peter nailed his colours to the mast: God had given Peter eyes to recognise who Jesus was, and he courageously led the way in speaking the truth of what he had been shown. 


In return, Jesus both blessed Peter, and declared who he was to become in God’s purposes. Jesus affirmed the meaning of the name Peter (Greek for “rock”) as a description of the strategic part he would play in establishing God’s kingdom community on earth. 


It would not be an easy calling. There would be times when this former fisherman would feel all at sea, misunderstanding his master, betraying his truest friend. But however far out of his depth Peter found himself, God would hold Peter secure, setting him spiritually and physically free to exercise inspired church leadership; enabling Peter to preach the Gospel and unlock the kingdom to those once regarded as beyond its reach. 



For Peter, even the confines of prison could not deprive him of the freedom he knew in declaring Jesus to be the true Son of God.   


Christianity is not adherence to a religion, but attachment to a relationship with Jesus. Like Peter, we proclaim him as God’s Son, the one who has overcome the powers of darkness through his death and resurrection, and who desires to breathe new life into us by his Spirit. To call Jesus a good man, or even a wise prophet, is incomplete. Only naming him as our Saviour will be enough. 


But as we affirm who Jesus is, we will also discover who we are. We are given abundant life in Jesus’ name, and so our full identity lies in serving the Saviour wherever he calls us in work or at home. Proclaiming our faith needs to be followed through by persisting in obedience, working, serving, praying. 


Are we ready for our skills, talents and experience to be redirected into new avenues? Are we willing to discover gifts we do not even know are within us, brought to light through God’s Spirit? Peter, once a fisherman, became a “fisher of men”. 


In the Bible, a name is not a label, but a job description: the name Jesus itself means “God saves”. How would the Lord rename us as he calls us to a role in his kingdom? 





When believers prayed earnestly for Peter in prison, God brought about his miraculous release. Let us intercede to this same God, asking him to intervene in power in our world today. 


We pray for ourselves, the people of the church, followers of the Lord Jesus. Keep us strong in faith, in study and prayer, so that we may grow in these times without our worship together. May we look for ways to proclaim the power, protection and love he has to share.  


Lord, in your mercy, 

Hear our prayer 


We pray for all those who are confined, whether the bars are outside their bodies or inside their minds, whether the bars are of regulation and lockdown or lack of opportunity. We ask that you lead all to freedom, a secure welcome with friends and family, a return to a meaningful role. May they know, as Peter did, the freedom God alone can bring. 


Lord, in your mercy, 

Hear our prayer 


We pray for those who seek to proclaim Jesus as Lord in nations and places that oppose God’s rule. We pray for countries at war, in conflict or in oppression, where life is precarious. Support leaders of truth and integrity, may they know, as Peter did, God’s strength and protection. 


Lord, in your mercy, 

Hear our prayer 


We pray for those who stand at the beginning of a journey: into a job or vocation, marriage or parenthood, or some other undertaking, that they have the right direction, help and companionship as they travel their path. May they know, as Peter did, God’s encouragement and guidance along the way. 


Lord, in your mercy, 

Hear our prayer 


We pray for those who face the ending of a journey: of work or ministry; loss of a loved one or completed parenthood; loss of abilities, failing health or life itself. May they know, as Peter did, God’s peace as they see God’s hand over times past, and trust in God’s eternal provision. 


Take a time of quiet to bring before God all whom you know who need the Lord’s healing power and presence in life or in death. 


Lord, in your mercy, 

Hear our prayer 


Merciful Father 

Accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,  

Our Saviour, Jesus Christ. 




The Collect for St Peter 


Almighty God, who inspired your servant Peter 

To confess Jesus as Christ and Son of the Living God.  

Build up your church upon this rock 

That in unity and peace it may proclaim one truth 

and follow one Lord, your Son our Saviour Christ,  

who is alive and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,  

One God, now and forever. 




As our Saviour has taught us, so we pray, 


Our Father,  

Who art in heaven 

Hallowed be thy name;  

Thy kingdom come 

Thy will be done 

One earth as it is in heaven.  

Give us this day our daily bread 

And forgive us our trespasses 

As we forgive those who 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 




We commit our prayers to our faithful God, confident of his will to respond and trusting in the wisdom of his ways. Amen. 


Hymn: You are the King of Glory 



And so may the Father who designed your destiny; 

the Son who confirms your call and  

the Spirit who strengthens your steps 

bless you now and evermore. 



Hymn: Will you come and follow me 


Shine Jesus, shine

Open our eyes, Lord

You are the King of glory

Will you come and follow me