St James, Gatley,

Holy Communion

The Ninth Sunday after Trinity – 1 August 2021

 

 

Preparation

 

          In the name of the Father,

          and of the Son,

          and of the Holy Spirit.

All      Amen.

 

          Grace, mercy and peace

          from God our Father

          and the Lord Jesus Christ

          be with you.

All      and also with you.

 

All      Almighty God,

          to whom all hearts are open,

          all desires known,

          and from whom no secrets are hidden:

          cleanse the thoughts of our hearts

          by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,

          that we may perfectly love you,

          and worthily magnify your holy name;

          through Christ our Lord.

          Amen.

 

 

Prayers of Penitence

         

          My brothers and sisters, as we prepare to celebrate the presence of Christ

          in word and sacrament, let us call to mind and confess our sins.

 

All      Almighty God, our heavenly Father,

          we have sinned against you

          and against our neighbour

          in thought and word and deed,

          through negligence, through weakness,

          through our own deliberate fault.

          We are truly sorry

          and repent of all our sins.

          For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,

          who died for us,

          forgive us all that is past

          and grant that we may serve you in newness of life

          to the glory of your name. Amen.

 

All      Lord, have mercy, Lord, have mercy, Lord, have mercy.                          

          Christ, have mercy, Christ, have mercy, Christ, have mercy.       

          Lord, have mercy, Lord, have mercy, Lord, have mercy.  

 

          Almighty God,

          who forgives all who truly repent,

          have mercy upon you,

          pardon and deliver you from all your sins,

          confirm and strengthen you in all goodness,

          and keep you in life eternal;

          through Jesus Christ our Lord.

All      Amen.

 

Gloria in Excelsis

         

All      Glory to God in the highest,

          and peace to his people on earth.

          Lord God, heavenly King,

          almighty God and Father,

          we worship you, we give you thanks,

          we praise you for your glory.

          Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,

          Lord God, Lamb of God,

          you take away the sin of the world:

          have mercy on us;

          you are seated at the right hand of the Father:

          receive our prayer.

          For you alone are the Holy One,

          you alone are the Lord,

          you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,

          with the Holy Spirit,

          in the glory of God the Father.

          Amen.

 

The Collect

 

          Almighty God,

          who sent your Holy Spirit

          to be the life and light of your Church:

          open our hearts to the riches of your grace,

          that we may bring forth the fruit of the Spirit

          in love and joy and peace;

          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.

All      Amen.

        

Readings

 

Exodus 16.2-4, 9-16       

The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, ‘If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.’

Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not.

Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, “Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.” ’ And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked towards the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. The Lord spoke to Moses and said, ‘I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, “At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.” ’

In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.

         

          This is the word of the Lord.

All      Thanks be to God.

 

Ephesians 4.1-16

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it is said, ‘When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people.’ (When it says, ‘He ascended’, what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

This is the word of the Lord.

All      Thanks be to God.

 

Gospel Reading

 

John 6.24-35

 

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark.

All      Glory to you, O Lord.

So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus.

When they found him on the other side of the lake, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.’ Then they said to him, ‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ So they said to him, ‘What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” ’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’

Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

This is the gospel of the Lord.

All      Thanks be to God.

 

Reflection

In today’s gospel reading, Jesus says to the crowd who had followed him to Capernaum: ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’ Bread features in John’s gospel as one of a number of powerful images that Jesus uses to speak of himself. ‘I am the bread of life’ he says, ‘whoever comes to me will never be hungry.’ As human beings, from the first moments of our birth, we know what it feels like to be hungry. For many in our world, feeling physically hungry is a common experience. Christian Aid are running a campaign at the moment to support many across the globe experiencing hunger through poverty, famine and war. We also know that in addition to our physical needs we have other hungers, a hunger to belong, to be cared for, to learn and to grow. You may be familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which begin with the basic needs like food and water, safety and security, and then move to psychological needs, like our need for belonging and good relationships, and then, if these needs have been met, a need for some kind of growth and fulfilment.

It appears that the crowd that is drawn to search for Jesus in this morning’s gospel reading is drawn to him, first and foremost, to have their physical needs met. They had tasted the bread that Jesus had provided when he fed the crowd of 5000, they had had their physical needs met by the loaves and the fish that Jesus had given, and it seems that they search him out in search of more physical sustenance. It’s at this point that Jesus challenges them with these words: ‘Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.’ Jesus makes a distinction here between food that perishes and food that endures. Yes, of course, bread to sustain and strengthen us is essential, but that bread and the bodies it nourishes will perish, will cease, whereas, there is another kind of bread that we can work for that will nourish us now and nourish us for ever, and Jesus himself is the bread of life who will endure for ever, he is the bread of life who will not perish.

 

Earlier in John’s gospel Jesus had met a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, and after the encounter, Jesus’s disciples had urged Jesus to eat something, to which Jesus replies: ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ This bemuses the disciples who think Jesus is speaking literally, they even say to one another ‘Surely no one has brought him something to eat?’ But then Jesus says to them ‘my food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work.’ Jesus uses food here as a metaphor for what sustains him and nourishes him in his life. What really feeds him is to complete the work that God the Father has given him to do, to complete the work which he has been set. That work will be the work of his death and resurrection, it will be the work of Easter, after which Jesus will never perish again.

 

In the gospel of John, right the way through the gospel, Jesus embodies a life that is saturated with the life of God, a life that is fed in every moment by divine life. As the crowd gather around Jesus, he is calling them to lift their sights, to see that living and working only for the bread that perishes is a diminishment, and it won’t last for ever anyway. On the other hand, to believe in Jesus, to align your life with him, to be fed by him, is to begin to work for the bread that endures for eternal life. It is to be raised up. Long before Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Jesus spoke to a crowd in Capernaum about hunger and fulfilment, about what it means to be fully human, about what it means to have our deepest needs met.

 

In the last sixteen months or so, people have recognized that as human beings we need many things, at the most basic level we need food and water, we also need safety and security, beyond that we need relationships that nourish us and a sense of accomplishment, we even have a need to find fulfilment in our lives. For many in the past year, they have been able to meet some of those needs through caring for others. At the same time many people’s needs for connection and friendship have been challenged. For some, the basic needs of food and safety have been most pressing. In John’s gospel, chapter 6, Jesus begins by meeting people’s basic needs, bread and fish for the crowd, meet their most fundamental needs, and then as the chapter develops, and as the crowd return to him for more bread, he begins to speak about another kind of bread and sustenance that only he can give them, a food that feeds them at a deeper level, at a spiritual level and that satisfies their deepest need and hunger, a food that will sustain and feed them for ever.

 

Jesus is the bread who never runs out and who feeds our hunger for God. He is the bread who does not perish but was raised to eternal life. He is the bread who sustains us though his Spirit, inspires us through the scriptures and feeds us through the Eucharist. As we come to him with open hands and hearts, we recognize our need; that beyond our need for daily bread, we have a need to find deeper life and sustenance in him. We entrust ourselves to the one who promises to feed us with himself, with the life of God, we put our faith in the one who calls us to himself, who says ‘come’, ‘come and see’, ‘come and eat’. Malcolm Guite wrote a series of poem based on the ‘I am’ sayings in John’s gospel. I’d like to conclude by reading his poem ‘I am the bread of life’.

 

Where to get bread? An ever-pressing question

That trembles on the lips of anxious mothers,

Bread for their families, bread for all these others;

A whole world on the margin of exhaustion.

And where that hunger has been satisfied

Where to get bread? The question still returns

In our abundance something starves and yearns

We crave fulfillment, crave and are denied.

 

And then comes One who speaks into our needs

Who opens out the secret hopes we cherish

Whose presence calls our hidden hearts to flourish

Whose words unfold in us like living seeds

Come to me, broken, hungry, incomplete,

I Am the Bread of Life, break Me and eat.

 

 

Prayers

If you are praying at home you could use the following pattern your prayers…

 

God our Father, we pray for the needs of the world…

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

Lord Jesus, we pray for your Church throughout the world…

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

Holy Spirit, we pray for our local community…

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of love, we pray for all who are unwell…

 

We pray by name for Millie, Sue, Anne, Kath, Mary, Mike, Christine, Norman, Sharon, Mick, Catherine, Gordon, Roger, Jace, Jamie, Carol, Lorna and all others known to us. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

God of peace, we commend to you all have died in recent days, praying for John Owen and Doreen Baldwin.

We pray for those whose year’s mind fall this week, from this parish we pray for Dorothy Tustin, Austin Raper, Sidney Bracegirdle, Shirley Norbury, Joyce Scott, Harry Fallas.

 

You may want to make some personal prayers of your own here

 

You may want to make some personal prayers of your own here

The Peace

          The peace of the Lord be always with you

All      and also with you.

 

 

The Eucharistic Prayer

 

          If you are praying at home and not following the service online, you can now continue your prayers at the heading ‘Spiritual Communion’ near the end of the service.

         

The Lord is here.

All      His Spirit is with us.

          Lift up your hearts.

All      We lift them to the Lord.

          Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

All      It is right to give thanks and praise.    

         

          Father, we give you thanks and praise

          through your beloved Son Jesus Christ, your living Word,

          through whom you have created all things;

          who was sent by you in your great goodness to be our Saviour.

          By the power of the Holy Spirit he took flesh;

          as your Son, born of the blessed Virgin,

          he lived on earth and went about among us;

          he opened wide his arms for us on the cross;

          he put an end to death by dying for us;

          and revealed the resurrection by rising to new life;

          so he fulfilled your will and won for you a holy people.

         

          Therefore with angels and archangels,

          and with all the company of heaven,

          we proclaim your great and glorious name,

          for ever praising you and saying:

 

All      Holy, holy, holy Lord,

          God of power and might,

          heaven and earth are full of your glory.

          Hosanna in the highest.

          Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

          Hosanna in the highest.

 

          Lord, you are holy indeed, the source of all holiness;

          grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit,

          and according to your holy will,

          these gifts of bread and wine

          may be to us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ;

          who, in the same night that he was betrayed,

          took bread and gave you thanks;

          he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying:

          Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;

          do this in remembrance of me.

          In the same way, after supper

          he took the cup and gave you thanks;

          he gave it to them, saying:

          Drink this, all of you;

          this is my blood of the new covenant,

          which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.

          Do this, as often as you drink it,

          in remembrance of me.

 

          Great is the mystery of faith:

All      Christ has died:

          Christ is risen:

          Christ will come again.

 

          And so, Father, calling to mind his death on the cross,

          his perfect sacrifice made once for the sins of the whole world;

          rejoicing in his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension,

          and looking for his coming in glory,

          we celebrate this memorial of our redemption.

          As we offer you this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving,

          we bring before you this bread and this cup

          and we thank you for counting us worthy

          to stand in your presence and serve you.

 

          Send the Holy Spirit on your people

          and gather into one in your kingdom

          all who share this one bread and one cup,

          so that we, in the company of St. James and all the saints,

          may praise and glorify you for ever,

          through Jesus Christ our Lord;

          by whom, and with whom, and in whom,

          in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

          all honour and glory be yours, almighty Father,

          for ever and ever.

All      Amen.

 

          As our Saviour taught us, so we pray:

 

All      Our Father in heaven,

          hallowed be your name,     
         your kingdom come,

          your will be done,

          on earth as in heaven.
         Give us today our daily bread.
         Forgive us our sins

          as we forgive those who sin against us.
         Lead us not into temptation

          but deliver us from evil.
         For the kingdom, the power,

          and the glory are yours now and for ever.
         Amen.

 

Breaking of the Bread

           

          We break this bread to share in the body of Christ.                                                               All      Though we are many, we are one body,

          because we all share in one bread.

 

All      Jesus, Lamb of God, have mercy on us.                                              

          Jesus, bearer of our sins, have mercy on us.                            

          Jesus, redeemer of the world, grant us peace.

 

Giving of Communion

         

          God’s holy gifts

          for God’s holy people.

All      Jesus Christ is holy,

          Jesus Christ is Lord,

          to the glory of God the Father.

 

All      We do not presume

          to come to this your table, merciful Lord,

          trusting in our own righteousness,

          but in your manifold and great mercies.

          We are not worthy

          so much as to gather up the crumbs under your table.                   

          But you are the same Lord

          whose nature is always to have mercy.

          Grant us therefore, gracious Lord,

          so to eat the flesh of your dear Son Jesus Christ

          and to drink his blood,

          that we may evermore dwell in him and he in us.

          Amen.

 

          If you are following online you could now pray the ‘Spiritual Communion’ prayer below.

 

 

Prayer after Communion

         

          Holy Father,

          who gathered us here around the table of your Son

          to share this meal with the whole household of God:

          in that new world where you reveal the fullness of your peace,

          gather people of every race and language

          to share in the eternal banquet of Jesus Christ our Lord.

All      Amen.

 

All      Almighty God,

          we thank you for feeding us

          with the body and blood of your Son Jesus Christ.

          Through him we offer you our souls and bodies

          to be a living sacrifice.

          Send us out

          in the power of your Spirit

          to live and work

          to your praise and glory.

          Amen.

 

 

 

Spiritual Communion

For those praying at home

 

Lord Jesus, it is not possible for me to share in the sacrament of Holy Communion today, but I want to be united with you and so I receive you into my heart and share in communion with you through the gift of your Holy Spirit. I pray for spiritual nourishment and give thanks that nothing can separate me from your love. Amen.

 

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever.
Amen.

 

Blessing

         

          The peace of God,

          which passes all understanding,

          keep your hearts and minds

          in the knowledge and love of God,

          and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord;

          and the blessing of God almighty,

          the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

          be among you and remain with you always.

All      Amen.

 

          Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

All      In the name of Christ. Amen.

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