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 21st June 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 our hearts. May we always do your will and love our neighbour as ourselves. Amen

Confession

Merciful God, we are sorry for our unfaithfulness to the love you show us by the gift of life and the greater gift of union with you through the grace of baptism. Lord, we beg you to forgive our sins and to heal the wounds that our sins have caused. We thank you, Lord, for your mercy that brought us to repent and for the forgiveness that you offer so freely when we truly repent.

(Silence)

Assurance of Pardon

The almighty and merciful Lord grant you pardon and remission of all your sins.

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

Hymn: You are my hiding place

 

New Testament Reading:

The Gospel of Matthew 6:25-34

25 ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

34 ‘So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

This is the word of the Lord

Reflection

This is probably one of the most difficult passages to apply to our lives in our modern, Western world. This passage is not about living a carefree life without responsibilities. This passage is about faith. It is about how much do we trust God and if we place our trust more in our abilities and the world around us, or in our Creator, the One who made us and the world we live in. In fact, the word that Jesus uses here for “worry” is the opposite of “trust”. 

Continuing from the previous verses, Jesus is still referring to our attitude to material needs and possessions, and is inviting us to accept that those who trust in God can rely on Him the same way as a child can rely on their parents to provide for their needs. The issue that it raises in our modern minds is that, often some feel that the “religious ideal” is not considering the harsh reality of our society. But we must consider seriously the following points:

As mentioned before, the word that Jesus uses for “worry” is the exact opposite of “trust/faith”, the practical trust in God in the everyday situations. 

Our worrying about tomorrow is caused by our current social and economic structures, not on the world as God intended it to be. But sensible provision about the future and worrying are not the same thing. The New Testament encourages us to make provisions for the future and look after our loved ones and condemns those who do not (1 Timothy 5:8). 

The problem is our attitude with regards to how we respond to major economic disasters or drastic changes to our lifestyle. This is where we need to apply our faith. This passage does not condemn the actions of providing for the future but condemns the state of mind where one panics, worries about the future and put their trust in themselves rather than God. 

When we closely link this passage with the previous verses regarding our attitude to possessions, we can see how this faith or lack of, is applied in everyday life. 

Those whose priorities are on earthly possessions will take a course of action that can often stray onto immoral ways in order to obtain or maintain a certain lifestyle. The sin of not trusting God opens the door to many other potential sins that spring up from our perception of ourselves in the world and the importance we give to things like status, power, material possessions and other worldly things. You can see that we are falling in the original sin again and from that we walk into selfishness, idolatry and more.

Those whose priorities are on heavenly treasures, first of all is our relationship with God, will live lives in a manner that even though they lose everything, they are still thanking God for the little they have. Their lives and identities are not determined by the possessions they have, but are based on their relationship with God.

Try to imagine yourself in a catastrophe where you lose your job, your house and all the things that make you who you are in our society. Then ask yourself who you are. Ask God who you are. Then reflect on the answers.

This passage is about trusting God, not our pension fund, not our property, not our savings. It’s about trusting God and placing Him in the centre of our heart. It’s about checking with Him, not the bank, before we buy something. It’s about asking Him for advice before we take any decision or any course of action. It is about having in the heart the words of Psalm 23 “…even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me…”

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 14th June 2020 

Call to worship

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

Let us pray:

Gracious God, we come together in your name. As we open our hearts to you, we are ready to be reformed to the people you have created us to be. Help us to understand your word today. Enter our hearts and souls so that we may see the shining light of your grace and turn to you. Only in you, with you and through you we can find true and meaningful life and the joy to live it. So, Lord, we pray, come to us as light, and scatter the darkness that we hold in our hearts. Amen

Confession

Merciful God, you made us in your image, with a mind to know you, a heart to love you and a will to serve you. But our knowledge is imperfect, our love is inconstant and our obedience is incomplete. Day by day we fail to grow in your likeness; yet you are slow to be angry with your children. For the sake of Jesus Christ, your Son, our Saviour, do not hold our sins against us, but in your tender love, forgive us.

(Silence)

Assurance of Pardon

The almighty and merciful Lord grant you pardon and remission of all your sins.

God of love, your Son gave us a new commandment, that we should love one another, even as you love us, the unworthy and the wandering. Give us a mind to forget the wrongs we suffered and a heart to love one another; through the same Jesus Christ, your Son, our Saviour. 

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

New Testament Reading:

The Gospel of Matthew 5:10-16

10 ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 ‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

13 ‘You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 ‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

Reflection

Blessed are you indeed when Jesus calls you to be His disciple. You have been chosen for a special way of life, an alternative way that goes against the proud claims of the world we live in. 

In the beatitudes, Jesus addressed all the crowds that came to listen to Him. But in this final part of it, Jesus is turning to his disciples to make a specific statement for those who chose to follow Him closely. The discipleship community is an alternative society running parallel to the one appearing to us every day. The discipleship community is the city on the hill that becomes visible because of their way of life which is so different from the sinful, arrogant and boastful ways of the broken world. Western individualism makes us think that the light of the world here is made of us making many little lights in our individual spaces, but Jesus means it as a collective light from the whole community of Christ which draws the attention of the watching world.

Our individual effort is poured into the effort of the whole Church that becomes a force that can change lives, can mend relationships, can heal the broken hearts. But we cannot sit and watch what others do. In Judaism, Jesus’ words would be seen as a call to act, to do what we are able to do in order to make the world a better place. It’s a call to be and act for God’s glory because we have been set apart for this task. When we as Christians fail to live as the light for those in darkness, the world suffers, we actually contribute to the suffering of the world because we have been given the power to stop the suffering but fail to use that power. But when we bring the love, the mercy, the generosity of Christ in the world, people will see our good deeds and glorify our God. Although we live in a dark evil world, we should always think of what actions we can take to serve the Kingdom of God and its coming into this world.

So, Jesus is making two very important points that I would like you to take with you today. The first one is, as we have just seen, that we are called to let our faith shine like a light and give strength to the light of the Church as a whole. Actions speak louder than words, but actions on their own do not give glory to God. Both word and action are needed to make our faith shine and for people to see that we do this in the name of Jesus Christ because we believe in His love for us and for all.

But such a bright light of faith will attract the attention of both the good and the bad. And the second point that I would like you to bring home with you is this: as your faith becomes visible and your love tangible, some people will utter all kinds of evil against you falsely. All those saints of the past that brought love were persecuted, reviled and slandered. Someone tried to poison Saint Benedict because of his devotion to Christ and his discipline in work and pray. Mother Teresa was slandered because she helped the poor in Calcutta. And if you dig deeper, you will find so many Christians that suffered persecution and slander for their faith and their actions driven by their faith in Christ our Lord.

So, here Jesus Christ says to us: Rejoice, you are blessed. The world may hate you but my people will love you; I love you and you are precious in my eyes. Therefore, stay with me, (would say Jesus) I will be your joy and your life. Amen

       

Hymn: I, the lord of sea and sky

 

Prayers of Intercession

Let us pray:

Dear Jesus, help us to spread your fragrance everywhere we go. Flood our souls with your life-giving Spirit. Take over our whole lives so that others can only see the radiance of your love. Be in us so that every time we come into contact with someone, they may feel your presence in their lives. Stay with us so that we may shine with your light. Help us to preach with words, for those who need words; and by example for those who need practical action in their lives.

Lord, we pray, give us strength to keep on walking the way with you so that by being true to You, we are able drive away the darkness from the souls of those who are lost, desperate, in pain and sorrow. Help us, Lord, to bring them grace and love in your name.

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 31st May 2020 

Call to worship

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

Let us pray:

Come Holy Spirit, you are the Voice that gives us hope, life and vision. You disturb our conscience to show us where we go wrong and you put us before the choice to follow you or not. Come Holy Spirit, you inspire our souls with the life-giving words of Jesus; you guide us onto the way of love. Come Holy Spirit and change us to be the people you have created us to be. Amen

Confession

Merciful God, you made us in your image, with a mind to know you, a heart to love you and a will to serve you. But our knowledge is imperfect, our love is inconstant and our obedience is incomplete. Day by day we fail to grow in your likeness; yet you are slow to be angry with your children. For the sake of Jesus Christ, your Son, our Saviour, do not hold our sins against us, but in your tender love, forgive us.

(Silence)

Assurance of Pardon

The almighty and merciful Lord grant you pardon and remission of all your sins.

God of love, your Son gave us a new commandment, that we should love one another, even as you love us, the unworthy and the wandering. Give us a mind to forget the wrongs we suffered and a heart to love one another; through the same Jesus Christ, your Son, our Saviour. 

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

New Testament Reading:

The Acts of the Apostles 2:1-21

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’ 12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ 13 But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

17 “In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
    and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
    and your old men shall dream dreams.
18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
    in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
        and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show portents in the heaven above
    and signs on the earth below,
        blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
20 The sun shall be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood,
        before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Reflection

Today we remember the event of Pentecost, when the Apostles and Mary were gathered together with many other disciples and they received the Holy Spirit in a visible manifestation of power. Suddenly, all these gathered people of different languages and cultures, were able to understand each other as if united in one common language. This was the language of God and on this Sunday, we celebrate the birth of the Christian Church. Every time the Holy Spirit gets involved, He brings about massive changes in the life of a person and makes that persons radically different. He empowers people with divine strength to bear all things and bring God’s love into a guilty and selfish world. The Holy Spirit unites the people of God as He united all the people at Pentecost so much that all their languages blended into one. It is His voice that we hear when we feel our hearts burn at the sound of the Word of God. Do not resist Him, as the world constantly does. 

Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will be with us for ever when we learn to love Him and obey His commandments. “This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees Him nor know Him” The world requires the impossible task to see the Spirit with the eyes of the body. But we can only see the Spirit of God with the eyes of the heart. 

Jesus said that all we need to do is to keep His word and follow Him and the Spirit will dwell in us; teaching us everything and reminding us all that Jesus taught us.

This is why God comes to us, so that we can go back to Him. As I said many times before, Christianity is not about us looking for God, it’s about God looking for us, his lost sheep in danger of being devoured by the dangers of a sinful world. 

Today the Spirit of God is moving among us, disturbing our ways of life, recalling us to the original purpose of creation, wanting to love us in a communion of love.

This is an offer that, if understood from the heart, no one could refuse. And yet many choose to walk away; many choose to follow their selfish desires rather than trying to see what is on the other side of the fence.

All God wants is that we surrender to the gifts of the Spirit, so that we can change the world. Every time we surrender to the Holy Spirit, we enable great changes and affect human history. Think, for example, at famous saints and doctors of the Church. We too can change the world if we truly follow His will. 

If God was on the radio, the interferences are the distractions of this world keeping you from developing your true spiritual potential and enjoy spiritual freedom. If God was on the internet, the low signal would be because of those distractions and “duties” that take so much of our time, preventing us to develop and grow into the spiritual beings that we were born to be. So, let the Holy Spirit take over the communications. Then the signal would be a million times more powerful than the fastest broadband.

Let the kingdom of God live within you and you will see that all those things that seemed so important before, are not fundamental even if they are necessary. God will not let you go without what is necessary if you put Him first.

Open your heart today and let the Holy Spirit empower you to act as God’s servant in word and deed. Let Him speak to your heart and you will experience that living flame burning within giving you true life and purpose.

Amen 

Hymn: Come down O love divine

 

Prayers of Intercession

Let us pray:

Come Holy Spirit, come and renew the face of the earth. Come with your seven gifts. Come Spirit of Life, Spirit of Communion and Love. The Church and the world need you. Come Holy Spirit and make us even more fruitful than before. Give us new strength and missionary zeal to these sons and daughters of yours gathered in this virtual church today. Open their hearts, renew their Christian commitment in the world. Make them courageous messengers of the Gospel, witnesses to the risen Jesus Christ, the Redeemer and Saviour of humanity.

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 7th June 2020 

Call to worship

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

Let us pray:

Holy are you, Father our maker;

Holy are you, Christ our saviour;

Holy are you, Spirit our sanctifier.

Surrounded by the communion of saints, you live in community, three yet one, diverse yet united. Be a model for us of how the Church must live; be a model for us of how our communities must be healthy; be a model for us of how, in ourselves, we must be whole and holy.

God our Father, creator and protector; made in your image, we adore you.

Christ our brother, friend, saviour; converted by your love, we adore you.

Holy Spirit, our inspirer, comforter, counsellor and defender; blessed by your presence, we adore you.

God, three in one, whose nature we acknowledge as mystery, we praise you for every sign of your care and for every way in which you help, heal and uphold us.

Holy, holy, holy is God, our sovereign Lord, who was, and is, and is to come!

Before your mystery, o God, we fall silent, and let the child deep within us be content in the knowledge that we are known, wanted and loved by the One true God. Amen

Confession

Merciful God, you made us in your image, with a mind to know you, a heart to love you and a will to serve you. But our knowledge is imperfect, our love is inconstant and our obedience is incomplete. Day by day we fail to grow in your likeness; yet you are slow to be angry with your children. For the sake of Jesus Christ, your Son, our Saviour, do not hold our sins against us, but in your tender love, forgive us.

(Silence)

Assurance of Pardon

The almighty and merciful Lord grant you pardon and remission of all your sins.

God of love, your Son gave us a new commandment, that we should love one another, even as you love us, the unworthy and the wandering. Give us a mind to forget the wrongs we suffered and a heart to love one another; through the same Jesus Christ, your Son, our Saviour. 

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

New Testament Reading:

The Gospel of Matthew 28:16-20

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of age”. 

Reflection

In order to conclude his gospel, Matthew records the last encounter of the disciples with the risen and living Lord. Before ascending to the Father, Jesus leaves them with one last command. Instead of a conclusion, it seems more like a new beginning. This is the new beginning that you and me must make when we open our heart to believe that Jesus Christ is God the Son. The gospel is finished but the new life of the disciple is only starting now, with our faith in the living Lord Jesus Christ who died for us and yet, He is alive for ever. We are his disciples, here and now. We must take to heart what Jesus is saying in these final words and bring it to the world.

There are three things that Jesus says to us here. 

The first one is that Jesus is really the Messiah, the Son of God. Recalling here the prophecy of Daniel chapter seven, Jesus announces for one last time that He is the revelation of the Father on earth. He is the Son of Man who ascends to heaven and is received by the Father, and is given all authority and power (Daniel 7:13-14). 

Secondly, Jesus gives us a divine command. We are to go to the whole world and make disciples of all nations, baptising people in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Today is Trinity Sunday and we can see that the doctrine of the Trinity comes directly from the Lord himself.

  1. There is only one God.
  2. The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit is each God.
  3. The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit are not the same.

A wise and well-known Christian said: “We are now touching a realm in which any falsely-directed attempt to gain too precise a knowledge is bound to end in disastrous foolishness”. While Luther stated that if you can fully understand God with your limited human understanding, then God would not be God.

Jesus expects us to believe in the Triune God, therefore, let us leave the Trinity to our faith alone and continue on what Jesus wants from us here and now. Here is the missionary aspect of the gospel. Jesus tells us to go and make disciples of all nations. But this does not mean to go out there and win an argument with those who do not believe. This does not mean to try and win converts at all costs. The first and most important step to take is for us to be true disciples of Christ. A disciple is one who listens to Jesus learning from Him: How to live; How to pray; How to do the will of the Father.

This is what we really need to practice in our churches today. How can we go and teach others to do something that we don’t fully understand or don’t really practice ourselves?

Would you teach your son or daughter how to fly a plane if you yourself don’t know how to fly? You would crash to the ground with fatal consequences. 

In the churches today we must recommit ourselves to practice what we preach. Not just the clergy but all of those who claim to be disciples of Jesus. Being disciples of the Lord means to start a life of learning that never ends. A constant practice of what we believe, practicing in word and deed for all to see that we are coherent with our faith. The gospel is meant to give shape and direction to our entire life so that we can apply Jesus’ teaching to all areas like family matters, relationships, employment, education, government, economics and all areas that affect human lives.

There was a priest that I knew when I was younger, that every time he heard of crimes on the news, he used to say that there is not enough knowledge of God in the world and we need to teach more.

As we practice our discipleship, others will be looking at your life and considering why you live the way you do. As you live in Christ, He lives in you and you become monuments of His salvation, monuments of His resurrection, temples of His love and living proof of His grace. Through you, my dear disciples, people will learn and know that Jesus is alive today. Those who despair can find hope, those who suffer can find comfort, those who live in darkness can find the light of Christ in you.

The third and final thing that Jesus says is that He promised us to be with us until the end of time when He will return to judge the world. We must draw comfort and strength from the fact that He is with us. His Spirit is guiding us, changing us, making sure that we can hear His voice. The Lord is here with us now, do not be afraid. This is our reason for joy, our relationship with Him. This is the foundation of our mission, to bring God’s love in the world. The church service starts in the middle of the streets, in the shops, in the offices, public events, and whenever a life meets another. You and I are called to that service, the mission of God. Amen 

       

Hymn: Holy holy holy

Prayers of Intercession

Let us pray:

Holy, holy, holy – let angels cry, who see and know you face to face.

Blessed are you, Maker of all from nothing;

Blessed are you, Saviour of all from sin;

Blessed are you, Spirit of all and in all, giver of life.

Blessed are you, God alone, yet God in community.

Bless, o God, your Church on earth with the harmony and diversity of heaven, that we may be one, as you are one. 

Amen

Benediction:

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

Rev. Bruno Boldrini