Join us on zoom from 10:15, the service is led by Rev Carole Pearl and lasts just 30 minutes

https://zoom.us/j/97777993043?pwd=REl0dVpOSEx3SDBEM0ZUNzJqaVEwdz09

or, if you cannot join us at 10:30, please go to youtube to watch the service anytime

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0mMLro3kBE

 

This is the service, prepared by Bruno, for this day.

You can listen to it by clicking the play button below, and/or follow the service in the text (also below).

 

 

 Sunday 30th August 2020 

Call to worship

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Let us pray:

Gracious God, you have brought us to the beginning of a new week. Your hand is upon us to care for and protect us. We offer you our lives and hearts. May we always do your will and love our neighbour as ourselves. Amen

Confession

Holy God, giver of life and grace, we have sinned against you and against our brothers and sisters, through ignorance, through weakness, through our own deliberate fault. We have belittled your love and betrayed your trust. We are sorry and ashamed; we repent of all our sins. In the name of Jesus Christ, please forgive us and lead us out from darkness to walk as children of light.

(Silence)

Assurance of Pardon

The almighty and merciful Lord forgives you from all your sins.

In gratitude we say:

God of love, give us a heart to love you and to love one another; through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, our Saviour. 

Amen

New Testament Reading:

The Gospel of Matthew 16:21-28

21 From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, ‘God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.’ 23 But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’ 24 Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? 27 ‘For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. 28 Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.’

This is the word of the Lord

Reflection

Peter just realised that Jesus is the Son of God and Jesus commended him for that. Now, when Jesus reveals His plan of salvation for all people, Peter interferes and, in good faith, tries to protect his Teacher from harm. But he gets an unexpected reaction from Jesus. Jesus calls him Satan! Wow! What has he done?

The problem lies with the fact that sometimes we try to get God to follow us, when we convince ourselves that God wants what we want. It happens to the best of us – only in the previous verses, Peter was appointed as the rock upon which the church of Christ was built, and now, within the same chapter, Jesus condemns Peter’s intentions. 

The problem with Peter was that he thought that he understood Jesus. He had an understanding of the Messiah that derived from a mix of sources: Scripture, popular culture, synagogue teaching and maybe others. But when we try to make the word of God fit within our worldview, then we get it wrong. Our understanding is human and limited in comparison to God. Therefore, if we deceive ourselves thinking that God and His plans are containable in our understanding, predictable and limited like our nature, then we do not know God and we are not following Him. We are trying to tell God to follow us, because we seem to believe that we know better than God. 

Jesus talks about following Him. To follow Jesus, it requires obedience and discipline. Because sometimes we cannot understand what the plans are, or what God is thinking; we must rely on what the word of God tells us and pray that we get it right. Following Jesus requires to be attentive all the time, ready to change our course of action when we see that we are heading for disaster. It’s just like driving, if God gives us the road to follow, we need to keep our eyes on the road. If we get distracted, we could end up crashing the car with very costly or even deadly consequences.

Jesus calls us to follow Him but He is not asking us to be blind. He wants us to obey Him but in an obedience that is not derived from blind faith but from total knowledge and awareness of the fact that He loves us and wants the best for us. Therefore, this becomes for us a joyful and trusting obedience because we know that whatever happens we are safe in His hands, even when we face death. Indeed, He defeated death and gave us the gift of eternal life.

There is also one more thing that we need to keep in mind. When Jesus puts us before the choice of following Him, He never talks about some understanding and some not understanding Him. He knows that everyone has been given the gift of understanding love. Even those with the least of understanding would recognise an act of kindness and love when they see it. Therefore, it is not a matter of understanding or not what Jesus teaches; but a matter of accepting or rejecting Jesus. 

And if we are prepared to accept Him, we must follow Him and not expect Jesus to follow us. And to follow Jesus we must be ready to trust God with all that we have, even our lives and the lives of those we love. Only when we let go of all those things that stand between us and Jesus, that we find true life. Life with Jesus in the centre…and all those other things will be added on to you.

Amen

Hymn: Faithful One

 

Prayer of Intercession:

Heavenly Father, be with us in every experience of life. When we neglect you, remind us of your presence; when we are frightened, give us courage; when we are tempted, give us power to resist; when we are anxious and worried, give us peace; when we are weary in service, give us energy and zeal.

We pray for your Church in this place and throughout the world that, through the courage and faith of your people, your word may be preached and lived.

We pray for all the nations of the world that, following the ways of truth and justice, they may be free from bitterness and strife, and by the power of your love, live in peace.

We pray for those who are in trouble, that those who are sick may be cared for, that those who are lonely may be sustained and those who are oppressed may be strengthened, that those who mourn may be comforted and that those who are close to death may know their risen Lord.

Amen    

The Lord’s prayer

At the Saviour’s command and formed by His divine teaching we pray together:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on 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. Amen

Benediction:

The blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with you always. Amen

Rev. Bruno Boldrini

This is the service, prepared by Bruno, for this day.

You can listen to it by clicking the play button below, and/or follow the service in the text (also below).

 

 

Sunday 26th July 2020 

Call to worship

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Let us pray:

Grant o Lord, that none may love you less this day because of me; that never word or act of mine may turn one soul from thee; and, ever daring, yet one more grace would I implore, that many souls this day, because of me, may love thee more. Amen.

Confession

Holy God, giver of light and grace, we have sinned against you and against our brothers and sisters, through ignorance, through weakness, through our own deliberate fault. We have belittled your love and betrayed your trust. We are sorry and ashamed; we repent of all our sins. In the name of Jesus Christ, please forgive us and lead us out from darkness to walk as children of light.

(Silence)

Assurance of Pardon

The almighty and merciful Lord forgives you from all your sins.

In gratitude we say:

God of love, give us a heart to love you and to love one another; through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, our Saviour. 

Amen

New Testament Reading:

The Gospel of Matthew 11:25-30

25 At that time Jesus said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.  27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

28 ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’

This is the word of the Lord

Reflection

This passage of the gospel is divided into two section. In the first section Jesus talks about divine revelation. God’s plan is not human but divine. Those who think themselves intelligent and wise according to human standards, fail to see the beauty and wonder of divine revelation. People cannot find God by logical analysis holding on to pride in human understanding. Divine revelation is not an arbitrary selection where God chooses who to save and who to condemn. Divine revelation comes to those who are open to it. God’s salvation is offered to the world; but only those who are humble enough to trust God and open the door of their hearts, will see God in their lives.

There is an early hint to the Trinity here. There is an exclusive relationship between the Father and the Son and with the Holy Spirit bestowed to the disciples to know the Father through the Son and the Holy Spirit. Therefore, Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God to the world.

How do we respond? With humility, trust, love, surrender, patience.

How will our life change?

A different perspective of life:

Those things that seemed so important before, are no longer a priority in comparison to the prospect of eternal life. 

Spiritual life becomes as important (if not more important) than the physical aspect of life.

Those things that you thought made you happy, they no longer do. You sought after them because the world told you that you needed them but God is telling you that in Him you will find true life… and you are discovering that it’s true as you walk with Him.

Life in this world is insane. Career, success, money, security, power, popularity and all those things like these are what people chase all their lives but when we breathe our last breath and our life is over, we leave all these things behind.

Those are all the heavy burdens that we carry but we don’t really need…and we don’t want any more when we know the joy of knowing Jesus.

So, this is how life will change if only we open the heart and surrender to His love. We can leave all things in His care. Suddenly, we don’t need to pretend that we are invincible. We drop all things in Jesus’ hands. He carried the cross of our sins; His hands took the nails that we deserve to take; surely Jesus can take anything else off our shoulders. We just need to learn to trust in Him. We don’t trust Him enough these days and we still try to retain control, or the illusion that we are in control.

As we surrender to Jesus, we find that we can deal with every crisis of life in a different way from before. First of all, we no longer despair because we have hope; hope that God will care for us in every situation of life, even in death. Then, we can appeal to God for guidance, for direction, for learning, to form us and lead us to Him.

We can learn to live again. True life is joy; joy that goes beyond happiness or sadness. Life in Jesus is all about that feeling of your soul melting in a feast of love and joy and understanding and peace found in the realisation of being loved by God.

Amen

 

Hymn: In Christ alone

 

Prayer of Intercession:

Gracious God, through your Son you have taught us that nothing in life or in death can separate us from your love. Look in mercy on all of us as we go through this great sorrow of coronavirus worldwide pandemic and all its consequences. Help those who are ill, support the dying, the jobless and all those who are suffering the consequences of this worldwide disaster. Strengthen the members of the NHS and all those who bring relief and comfort. Console and protect those who have lost loved ones. Give your light in darkness to all who are near to despair, and assure them that you hold all souls in your care; through Jesus Christ our risen Lord.

Amen    

The Lord’s prayer

At the Saviour’s command and formed by His divine teaching we pray together:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on 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. Amen

Benediction:

The blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with you always. Amen

Rev. Bruno Boldrini

This is the service, prepared by Bruno, for this day.

You can listen to it by clicking the play button below, and/or follow the service in the text (also below).

 

Sunday 2nd August 2020 

Call to worship

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Let us pray:

Gracious God, you have brought us to the beginning of a new week. Your hand is upon us to care for and protect us. We offer you our lives and hearts. May we always do your will and love our neighbour as ourselves. Amen

Confession

Holy God, giver of life and grace, we have sinned against you and against our brothers and sisters, through ignorance, through weakness, through our own deliberate fault. We have belittled your love and betrayed your trust. We are sorry and ashamed; we repent of all our sins. In the name of Jesus Christ, please forgive us and lead us out from darkness to walk as children of light.

(Silence)

Assurance of Pardon

The almighty and merciful Lord forgives you from all your sins.

In gratitude we say:

God of love, give us a heart to love you and to love one another; through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, our Saviour. 

Amen

New Testament Reading:

The Gospel of Matthew 12:33-37

33 ‘Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good person brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure. 36 I tell you, on the day of judgement you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.’

This is the word of the Lord

Reflection

We live in very interesting times. Today, most people try to avoid taking responsibility for their words and actions blaming other causes and not themselves. Sadly, we see that in politicians, advisers and people in all sectors of society. For this reason, it may seem hard, for some, that Jesus tells us that we are responsible for our words (and actions) and that we will be recognised and judged on the basis of what is found in our hearts. 

Using trees as an example, Jesus compares the human soul to a tree and says that the fruit produced by such tree will make us know whether the tree is good or bad.

I think it would be wise for us to ask ourselves what kind of fruit we produce. When all is said and done, what are you leaving in the world as the fruit of your life?

Reasoning on how this passage connects with the previous verses in this chapter, I believe that Jesus is using the example of the tree for a good reason. The fruit produced by the tree depends very much on how you feed that tree. So, the fruit of our heart depends very much on what with feed our souls with. If you feed your soul with anger, envy, arrogance, immorality, idolatry, distrust and all these kinds of things, then it is no surprise that the fruit of your soul would be a bad one. These are the things that you will be holding in your heart and your soul will be producing what Jesus calls a bad fruit. But if you feed your soul with trust, love, patience, peace, joy, kindness and all these spiritual foods that enrich the soul with heavenly treasures, then you will produce a good fruit because your heart is holding these things in.

Whatever is in our hearts will come out in words and actions to show what kind of person we are. Every word we speak may be forgotten by humankind but will always be remembered by God; and to God we will need to give account for what is in our heart. Ultimately, the heart is exposed by our thoughts and our thoughts are exposed by our words.

Let’s face it, everyone wants to be happy. Here, we must decide what is happiness on a personal level. Do we want a short-lived happiness that the world sells, or a long term, in fact eternal one, that Jesus promised those who follow Him?

Jesus here is giving us His teaching in words that will be upheld by His actions when He finally dies on the cross and is raised from the tomb. In light of His teaching, we have no excuse to walk away from God. We are either with Him or against Him. We cannot sit in the middle like observers; Jesus does not give us that option to be neutral about Him. We must make up our minds about Him, His teaching, His life, His death, His resurrection and His promise that He will come again.

This is all the nourishment that we need to put into our souls in order to produce good fruit. But Jesus does not force anyone. He puts it to you to choose. We can choose to be fed by the things of the world that live with the world and die in the world; or we can choose to be fed by the body and blood of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Jesus said “I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who abide in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit”.

Amen

Hymn: When it's all been said and done

Prayer of Intercession:

Heavenly Father, be with us in every experience of life. When we neglect you, remind us of your presence; when we are frightened, give us courage; when we are tempted, give us power to resist; when we are anxious and worried, give us peace; when we are weary in service, give us energy and zeal.

We pray for your Church in this place and throughout the world that, through the courage and faith of your people, your word may be preached and lived.

We pray for all the nations of the world that, following the ways of truth and justice, they may be free from bitterness and strife, and by the power of your love, live in peace.

We pray for those who are in trouble, that those who are sick may be cared for, that those who are lonely may be sustained and those who are oppressed may be strengthened, that those who mourn may be comforted and that those who are close to death may know their risen Lord.

Amen    

The Lord’s prayer

At the Saviour’s command and formed by His divine teaching we pray together:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on 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. Amen

Benediction:

The blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with you always. Amen

Rev. Bruno Boldrini