Holy Communion for Sunday, 19 July 2020

[The complete Service is contained in one video file. The musical prelude and postlude are each in their own video file, at top and bottom of this post. The words of the service, hymns, readings and intercessions are all included in the video of the Service, but not the words of the Sermon by Revd Tim Clapton; if you wish to read his text while listening, you will need to scroll down to it in the text of the Service, which is below the video recordings here.]

Prelude: Gabriel’s Oboe by Ennio Morricone (1986)


Introit: If ye love me, keep my commandments

If ye love me, keep my commandments,
and I will pray the Father
and he shall give you another Comforter,
that he may ’bide with you for ever;
e’en the Spirit of truth.


Welcome in the name of Christ.
God’s grace, mercy and peace be with you.

Good morning, Living Stones, and welcome to our Holy Communion Service
on the sixth Sunday after Trinity.

A warm welcome to our Preacher, our dear brother Tim Clapton, who was instrumental in our association with Citizens:MK

Let us begin with the Prayer of the Week.

Let us pray.

Prayer of the Week

Eternal God, you draw near to us in Christ and make yourself our guest.
Amid the cares of our daily lives,
make us attentive to your voice and alert to your presence,
that we may treasure your word above all else.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.


Hymn: Come, Holy Spirit, come!

 Come, Holy Spirit, come!
Inflame our souls with love
transforming every heart and home
with wisdom from above.
O let us not despise
the humble path Christ trod
but choose, to shame the worldly-wise,
the foolishness of God.

 Come with the gift to heal
the wounds of guilt and fear,
and to oppression’s face reveal
the kingdom drawing near.
Where chaos longs to reign
descend, O holy Dove,
and free us all to work again
the miracles of love.

 Spirit of truth, arise;
inspire the prophet’s voice:
expose to scorn the tyrant’s lies,
and bid the poor rejoice.
O Spirit, clear our sight,
all prejudice remove,
and help us to discern the right’
and covet only love.

 Come, Holy Spirit, dance
within our hearts today,
our earthbound spirits to entrance,
our mortal fears allay.
And teach us to desire
all other things above,
that self-consuming holy fire,
the perfect gift of love!

1 Corinthians 12
Michael Forster (b. 1946)

Gathering Prayer

Jesus said: My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.

Welcome to the house of God.
We have come from all the corners of the earth.

Welcome to the hospitality of God.
We come as we are; we bring our life, our stories, our journey.

Welcome, brothers and sisters.
We are the rainbow people of God.

Welcome, chosen people.
May God our companion bind us in his love.


The Confession

Forgive us for the things we have done and have not done.
Forgive us for the things we have said and have not said.
Forgive us for the life we have lived and not lived.
Beloved God, help us to reflect the image
of the one we profess to follow
in thought, word and deed,
and in discovering our true self
draw others into that light.


Kyrie eléison

Kyrie eléison
Kyrie eléison
Kyrie eléison

Christe eléison
Christe eléison
Christe eléison

Kyrie eléison
Kyrie eléison
Kyrie eléison

The Word of the Lord

Romans 8: 12–15

Read by Martin Petchey

12 It follows, my friends, that our lower nature has no claim upon us; we are not obliged to live on that level. 13 If you do so, you must die. But if by the Spirit you put to death all the base pursuits of the body, then you will live.

14 For all who are moved by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 The Spirit you have received is not a spirit of slavery leading you back into a life of fear, but a Spirit that makes us sons, enabling us to cry ‘Abba! Father!’

New English Bible

This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Matthew 13: 24–30 & 36–43

Read by Cheryl Montgomery

The parable of the weeds

24 Jesus told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed ears, then the weeds also appeared.

27 ‘The owner’s servants came to him and said, “Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?”

28 ‘ “An enemy did this,” he replied.

‘The servants asked him, “Do you want us to go and pull them up?”

29 ‘ “No,” he answered, “because while you are pulling up the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: first collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.” ’

The parable of the weeds explained

36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, ‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.’

37 He answered, ‘The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

40 ‘As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.


This is the Gospel of Christ.
Praise to Christ our light.


By Revd Tim Clapton

Well hello – it is lovely to join you, Christ the Cornerstone, for your Sunday worship, if only in a digital sort of way. I lived and worked in Milton Keynes about ten years ago. It is amazing how time flies. I now serve as a Prison Chaplain in London.

As some of you will remember, I have always carried a few extra pounds. Well, probably extra stones if I was to be honest. For three weeks over the lockdown, as I recovered from the virus, I piled on the pounds comfort eating and watching daytime TV. While all the young gym bunnies took to the parks with an array of equipment. (I was surprised the different kind of equipment required by those working out these days: straps, mats, cuffs around the wrists, balls, for different kinds of yoga, Pilates and many other methods and techniques.) Anyway, I looked on in envy, wishing that I too had the courage to spread the mat and do some stretches or whatever in public. But I didn’t.

And I didn’t because I still, at the age of 61, when I thought I had finally arrived ‘at home’ and ‘comfortable in my body’, I find I’m not. I don’t have the confidence to get my body out in public. I blame my maternal granny. She was an Edwardian – but heavily influenced by Victorian modesty. From her and my mother I learnt that the body is actually — not very nice. It needed covering, it did unspeakable dirty things regularly and other people did naughty things with their bodies which proper, polite people do not do.

Of course the Victorians and Edwardians read the Bible through this lens supported, they thought, by St Paul in general and Romans chapter 8 in particular. THE FLESH came to mean everything that was dirty and naughty about the body. The flesh was unreliable and temporary. (P)  Bad, unChristian people did terrible things with their body, usually pleasurable things and they did this with other people’s body and none of these things could be talked about.

Prisoners also have a range of attitudes about their body as well. In a prison of sixteen hundred men there are a lot of bodies about and bodies are important signs and symbols. Some prisoners attend gym to build up or maintain their physical muscular bulk. For such men a weak body is a vulnerable body and a prisoner cannot be vulnerable. Other men work out in the gym to punish their bodies – it’s so difficult to men to forgive themselves; it’s a fine line between a disciplined and a punished body. Some prisoners cut their bodies because they feel so dead inside – any kind of body pain indicates there must be some life. The flow of blood from a self-inflicted wound is a release of tension. These also seem to be rather negative responses to the body.

Romans 8 seems to confirm that all things pertaining to the body are shabby and temporal. In contrast, the Spirit is blessed, godly, heavenly, truthful and eternal. It’s easy to see how it was possible to read a dualism into the writings of St Paul. Reading our own attitudes into St Paul, it seems he is saying the flesh is weak and bad while the Spirit is good and eternal. This is incorrect – we really do need to be careful to watch out for this kind of dualism when we read the scriptures. As if the body is separate from the soul.

So what did Paul mean when in chapter 8 verse 12 he talks about ‘The Flesh’?

The word he uses does indeed mean the physical body. But the word he uses does not indicate any overlay of value or judgement about the body. For Paul the body is not bad or evil or wicked – if anything, for Paul, the body needs to be nourished, treasured, protected and honoured. Certainly, for Paul, the body/soul is inherently limited; it is wounded or scared by the falling short of Adam. He uses different words to describe this condition of brokenness and other Greek words for the action or wrong-doing which is the result of this human condition. All these Greek words for this brokenness of the body/soul and the actions which arise out of these wounds have been rather clumsily translated to the word sin. So use the word sin if that is still a helpful words for you – I’m not sure it is for me (too much overlay).

In the first eight chapters of Romans Paul sets out how Christ’s death and resurrection has remedied or healed Adam’s wound or brokenness and how, as a result, we can find peace in God through Christ. He begins chapter 8 with the words, ‘Therefore there is now no condemnation for those in Christ’ – no condemnation for those of us who desire to be free from the constraints and death of Adam’s wounds, now no condemnation for those who wish to tread another path, who are open to healing through Jesus as we journey into the heart of God , no condemnation both you folk listening, me and our brothers in prison – ‘Therefore there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus’ – ‘There is now no condemnation’: how we all need to hear those words echo around our body/souls. In fact, let’s take a moment now. Just for a moment be present in your body, if you can wiggle your toes, relax your bum and belly, move your shoulders up and down a bit. Wiggle your head around a bit so it sits nice on your shoulders. Be aware of your body. Let your jaw go slack. Now, if you can, put your right hand just under your left armpit and your left hand over the top of the upper right arm. Feel how comforting that is. Feel your body through your hands. Your right hand is close to your heart. Take a breath. It’s your body, it’s beautiful, it is wonderfully made. Listen to me – God knows you have been trying to walk the path of faith. Heavens knows you have been desiring the healing of the body and soul through Christ, journeying into the heart of God. So tell your body – tell your body now – while you have your arms crossed – ‘therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus’. Tell your body –  go on. (PP) OK, that’s probably enough of that. This is good news for you and your body. Could you imagine what good news this, ‘no condemnation’ is for men in prison?

From time to time we all put ourselves into one prison or another: prisons of guilt and shame and addiction. Drink, drugs pornography are not just part of prison and prisoners’ lives – they are the prisons we make for ourselves through our own wounds and brokenness. But then so is the guilt and the shame and the regret which so hangs around our bodies/souls.

Paul says that when we are open to the healing work of Christ, when we journey into the heart of God’s grace – at last our body/soul becomes united in the Spirit’s life – and with that Spirit becomes adoption into the parenthood of God.

This last Epiphany, I was reading with the ‘church behind bars’, as I like to call it, the story of the Baptism of Jesus. We came to the voice from heaven after the Baptism – ‘This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.’ We were thinking that if we join with Christ’s baptism and death then those words are also for us. Most of the men in the ‘church behind bars’ never knew their father – or their father was remote or abusive – never were they told. It was a light-bulb moment – men realising they were ‘beloved’ and a heavenly Father who was ‘well pleased’  – oh how they had struggled to please their father or mother. My beloved son.

For them and us – struggling with the many wounded parts of our lives ‘there is now no condemnation’. Paul says even in our weakness we are promised the Holy Spirit of liberty away from the slavery of brokenness. The Spirit invites us into a new adopted intimate relationship with God.

Long my imprisoned spirit lay
fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
thine eye diffused a quickening ray;
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
my chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine!
Alive in Him, my living Head,
and clothed in righteousness divine,
bold I approach the eternal throne,
and claim the crown, through Christ, my own.
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
and claim the crown, through Christ, my own.

Choral Response: The Lord’s my Shepherd

The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want,
he makes me down to lie in pastures green,
he leadeth me the quiet waters by,
he leadeth me, he leadeth me, the quiet waters by.

My soul he doth restore again
and me to walk doth make
within the paths of blessedness
e’en for his own name’s sake,
within the paths of blessedness
e’en for his own name’s sake.

Yea though I walk through shadowed vale
yet will I fear none ill,
for Thou art with me, and
thy rod and staff me comfort still,
thy rod and staff me comfort still,
me comfort still.

My table thou hast furnished in presence of my foes;
my head with oil thou dost anoint,
and my cup overflows,
my head with oil thou dost anoint,
and my cup overflows.

Goodness and mercy all my life shall surely follow me
and in my Father’s heart
alway my dwelling shall be.
And in my heart evermore
thy dwelling place shall be.

Francis Rous (1579–1659)

An Affirmation of Faith

We believe in the Creator:
the maker of all things.

We believe in the Son:
the redeemer of our broken world.

We believe in the Spirit:
The sacred wind that binds all things together in the family of God.

Creator Father, beloved Son and living Spirit.



By David Moore

Good morning to you all at home.
In our prayers this morning when I say: ‘God of Mercy’
please join with me and say:

Grip us with the generosity of your purpose.

Once more:
Grip us with the generosity of your purpose.

But first, prayers of preparation:

God of all life, if we are to pray with real purpose,
we must turn ourselves inside out before you.
And as we do, we lose the debris of unspoken hurts
shaken out of gloom, into the light and
purpose of your love.


God of all that lives, we confess to you,
and indeed to each other,
that for much of the time we put self-interest
ahead of the needs of the world.

God of mercy,
grip us with the generosity of your purpose.

Week by week we lump together our prayers,
hoping that we will be held by the comfort and
peace of your presence.

As we pray today, steady our focus,
that the energy of our prayers will give voice
to people unaccustomed to praying out loud.

God of mercy,
grip us with the generosity of your purpose.

The life of faith remains the longing of our hearts
and we have but grasped the hem of the garment of your goodness.
So, we pray for all who are in need,
that the energy of your purpose will override our in-built self-interest.

God of mercy,
grip us with the generosity of your purpose.

In the life of Jesus, you have shown us your purpose.
Strengthen our ‘trusting and our obeying’,
that we may develop the courage and the imagination
to exemplify your love through our care for creation.

God of mercy,
grip us with the generosity of your purpose.

Quietly and slowly we refocus
as we pray for all who will die today;
may their passing be quiet and peaceful.

Give comfort and strength to those grieving.
Enable memory to carry all the good they knew into the future.

God of mercy,
grip us with the generosity of your purpose.

God of love, you know that our hearts ache
for the young growing up in poverty.
May they discover that they themselves possess
an inner eye for the things of God,
that truth will set them free.

God of mercy,
grip us with the generosity of your purpose.

It is in the name of Jesus that we pray.


Hymn: God of freedom, God of justice

God of freedom, God of justice,
you whose love is strong as death,
you who saw the dark of prison
you who knew the price of faith:
touch our world of sad oppression
with your Spirit’s healing breath.

Rid the earth of torture’s terror,
you whose hands were nailed to wood;
hear the cries of pain and protest,
you who shed the tears and blood;
move in us the power of pity,
restless for the common good.

Make in us a captive conscience
quick to hear, to act, to plead;
make us truly sisters, brothers
of whatever race or creed
teach us to be fully human,
open to each other’s need.

Shirley Erena Murray (1931–2020)

The Peace

Jesus says,

‘Peace I leave with you;
my peace I give you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled,
neither let them be afraid.’

The peace of the Lord be always with you.
And also with you.

The Offering

Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

2 Corinthians 9: 6–7

Thank you

To everyone who is continuing to pay us regularly through the Parish Giving Scheme.
To everyone who is continuing to pay us regularly by bankers’ order.
To people in the envelope scheme who are putting their money aside every week ready to bring in when we re-open.
To members of the envelope scheme who have already sent cheques and on-line donations.

Thank you

Holy Communion

The Thanksgiving

Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation.
Through your goodness we have this bread to offer,
which earth has given and human hands have made.
It will become for us the bread of life.

Blessed be God for ever.

Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation.
Through your goodness we have this wine to offer,
fruit of the vine and work of human hands.
It will become our spiritual drink.

Blessed be God for ever.

The Lord be with you
and also with you.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give thanks and praise.

Eucharistic Prayer

It is right to praise you, Father, Lord of all creation;
in your love you made us for yourself.
When we turned away
you did not reject us,
but came to meet us in your Son.

You embraced us as your children
and welcomed us to sit and eat with you.

In Christ you shared our life
that we might live in him and he in us.

He opened his arms of love upon the cross
and made for all the perfect sacrifice for sin.

On the night he was betrayed,
at supper with his friends
he took bread, and gave you thanks;
he broke it and gave it to them, saying:
Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;
do this in remembrance of me.

Father, we do this in remembrance of him:
his body is the bread of life.

At the end of supper, taking the cup of wine,
he gave you thanks, and said:
Drink this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins;
do this in remembrance of me.

Father, we do this in remembrance of him:
his blood is shed for all.

As we proclaim his death and celebrate his rising in glory,
send your Holy Spirit that this bread and this wine
may be to us the body and blood of your dear Son.

As we eat and drink these holy gifts
make us one in Christ, our risen Lord.

With your whole Church throughout the world
we offer you this sacrifice of praise
and lift our voice to join the eternal song of heaven:

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 he name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

The Lord’s Prayer

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray:

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.


Breaking of the Bread

We break this bread to share in the body of Christ.

Though we are many, we are one body,
because we all share in one bread.

Take this bread:

Share this wine.

In these Christ comes to us with love from God.
The gifts of God for the people of God.


Hymn: You shall go out with joy

You shall go out with joy
and be led forth in peace
and the mountains and the hills shall
break forth in singing.
There’ll be shouts of joy,
and the trees of the field
shall clap, shall clap their hands.

And the trees of the field
shall clap their hands,
and the trees of the field
shall clap their hands,
and the trees of the field
shall clap their hands,
and you’ll go out with joy.


Stuart Dauermann (1975)

The Blessing

Thank you for joining us this morning.

May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you.
May the Lord turn his face towards you
and give you peace.

And the blessing of God Almighty,
the Father,
the Son
and the Holy Spirit
be among you
and remain with you
today and always.


Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ.


Organ Postlude: Voluntary in D by John Alcock (1775)

[Video recordings of all the music in this Service cn be viewed by following this link: http://www.cornerstonemk.co.uk/music-videos-for-sunday-19-july-2020/.]