Holy Communion for Sunday, 28 June 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 George Mwaura; 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: Piano sonata in G minor by Domenico Scarlatti



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

Good morning and welcome to our Holy Communion Service
today on the third Sunday after Trinity.

Let us begin with the Prayer of the Week.

Let us pray.

Prayer of the Week

Living God, your Spirit draws us into your presence,
and so we gather in our own homes and houses,
drawn by love and upheld by grace to encounter Jesus, our Saviour.
We know him as our master and our friend.
In him we see you and know your love that sent him to us.
Spirit, Son and Father, we draw close in faith
to offer our praise and worship and we thank you for all the welcome we receive.
Help us to be always welcoming.


Hymn: Let us build a house where love can dwell

Let us build a house where love can dwell
and all can safely live,
a place where saints and children tell
how hearts learn to forgive.
Built of hopes and dreams and visions
rock of faith and vault of grace;
here the love of Christ shall end divisions:
 All are welcome,
all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where prophets speak,
and words are strong and true,
where all God’s children dare to seek
to dream God’s reign anew.
Here the cross shall stand as witness
and as symbol of God’s grace;
here as one we claim the faith of Jesus:
 All are welcome,
all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where love is found
in water, wine and wheat:
a banquet hall on holy ground
where peace and justice meet.
Here the love of God, through Jesus,
is revealed in time and space;
as we share in Christ the feast that frees us:
 All are welcome,
all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where hands will reach
beyond the wood and stone
to heal and strengthen, serve and teach,
and live the Word they’ve known.
Here the outcast and the stranger
bear the image of God’s face;
let us bring an end to fear and danger:
 All are welcome,
all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where all are named,
their songs  and visions heard
and loved and treasured, taught and claimed
as words within the Word.
Built of tears and cries and laughter,
prayers of faith and songs of grace;
let this house proclaim from floor to rafter:
 All are welcome,
all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.

Marty Haugen (b. 1950)

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 other into that light.


The Word of the Lord

Jeremiah 28: 5–9

Read by Janet Trimnell

5b Then the prophet Jeremiah replied to the prophet Hananiah before the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the Lord. 6 He said, ‘Amen! May the Lord do so! May the Lord fulfil the words you have prophesied by bringing the articles of the Lord’s house and all the exiles back to this place from Babylon. 7 Nevertheless, listen to what I have to say in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people: 8 from early times the prophets who preceded you and me have prophesied war, disaster and plague against many countries and great kingdoms. 9 But the prophet who prophesies peace will be recognised as one truly sent by the Lord only if his prediction comes true.’


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

Matthew 10: 40–42

Read by Kate Abrahams

40 ‘Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.’


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


By Revd George Mwaura

Jeremiah 28: 5–9; Matthew 10: 40–42

What are you worth?

Good morning, friends.
Let us pray together:

Gracious God we pray that you would open our ears to hear your word and know your voice.
Speak to our hearts and strengthen our wills, that we may serve you today, tomorrow and always in Jesus’ name.


I wonder, do you sometimes wish you were somebody important; you know, somebody who mattered? All the talk about purpose in church circles these days tries to respond to the natural human desire to count for something, to be somebody. But I worry about that trajectory of thought. If your value is all about your purpose in life, what if you fail? Are you then without any value?

The Old Testament reading this morning finds Jeremiah in a pickle. You see, the task of a prophet was, in general, the work of calling the people to come back to God, and to act in obedience to God, rather than predicting the future. Jeremiah’s contest with Hananiah was hampered because his message was the least popular. Everyone was going to welcome the bearer of a message of peace and prosperity, even though it gave false hope.

The Gospel lesson this morning brings us Jesus’ final words and instructions to his disciples and he too speaks of a welcome. He starts by noting that whoever welcomes his team of apostles welcomes him, and so also welcomes the father who had sent him. Keep that observation in mind when you think about your purpose in life and God’s purpose for you. A disciple’s character, actions and words are to be such that they and us can be identified as belonging to Jesus. When followers of Jesus are welcomed, it is as if Jesus himself is welcomed, and his Father who sent him, too. Now, while a welcome into a home during Jesus’ time had a far stronger cultural basis than we may experience today, nonetheless our interactions with others, in any location, should in some way bring Jesus into the encounter. In the first century, travelling prophets did not look like much and were not accorded the hospitality extended to important and distinguished people. But Jesus tells his disciples, and us, that a core element of living with a Christian purpose is to extend hospitality even to these wanderers, not because of their appearance, but because their teachings and actions are of God!

In short, Christians see, hear and encounter God and Christ through these rough and tired-looking disciples. So, keep that in mind next time a Jehovah Witness comes knocking at your door or when you encounter a street pastor. But it’s not just these pastors or religious leaders who warrant our hospitality, no, no! Today’s Gospel teaches that Jesus has so thoroughly identified himself with any of his people that whoever welcomes any person, whoever offers a needy person just a cup of cold water, has offered it to Jesus and consequently to God. The church is called to offer the world a cup of cold water; to put off the flames of hell with the waters of eternity. Hell is hot, you know! Have you ever been to hell, I wonder?

William Booth discovered hell one night when he couldn’t sleep. He tossed and turned; then finally he decided to get up and go for a walk. He journeyed into the poor part of London he had never been before, and he spent the rest of the night seeing sights and smelling odours he had never experienced. When he arrived home in the early hours of morning, his wife Katherine was almost frantic. ‘Where in the world have you been?’ she asked. ‘Katherine, I have been to hell. I have been to hell,’ he said! He then narrated what he had seen, and together they founded the Salvation Army.

‘Been to hell and back’ is an old and common expression and I wonder: is there anyone reading or listening to this sermon this morning who has not been to hell and back in his or her personal life? Some of you might mumble, ‘No, George; I have never been to hell.’ Ah, if that is the case, why not? Why have you not been to hell? Now, you might answer, ‘We are not called to live in hell; we are called to live in heaven.’ Fair enough, I’ll grant you that! But as Dante found out, you can’t get to heaven without going through hell first.

We live in a world that feels like hell for most people most of the time; a world torn by hatred and strife as we have witnessed in the last one month here in the United Kingdom, in America and right across the globe. A world unredeemed, a world struggling with evil, injustices and stopped in its tracks by an evil pandemic – a world on fire, to which God can no longer say: Behold, it’s good. It’s a world desperate for a cup of cold water. And all our small random acts of kindness, tenderness, devotion and forgiveness that might go largely unnoticed strengthen the relationships that are most important to us. But the life of faith is also made up of such small gestures – gestures like making a phone call to ask how a friend or a neighbour is doing, going shopping for those elderly or self-isolating, cutting the grass of your struggling neighbour, reaching out to the lonely in the community, and so on and so forth.

According to Jesus, there is no small gesture. A cup of cold water is the smallest of gifts – a gift that almost anyone can give. But a cup of cold water is precious to a person who is thirsty – in some instances, it can be the gift of life itself: the gift of hope.

When the poet and playwright Oscar Wilde was sent to prison in 1895, it was the ultimate humiliation for him, a fall from grace more like Geoffrey Archer. Remember him? Oscar, too, was a celebrity in his day, but all that was forgotten once he was convicted. Whenever the prison authorities moved him in public, he was spat at and jeered. On one occasion, when the multitude was particularly hostile, a friend of Oscar Wilde appeared and made a simple gesture of friendship and respect that silenced the crowd. And what was this simple gesture? As Oscar passed by, handcuffed, and looking at the ground in shame, the man simply raised his hat to him, the smallest of good deeds. Later, Oscar wrote: the memory of that lowly silent act of Love has unsealed for me all the wells of pity, made the desert blossom like a rose, and brought me out of the bitterness of lonely exile into harmony with the wounded, broken and great heart of the world. Wow, such a small gesture elicited such a powerful sentiment!

So, how should we respond to strangers and those we encounter? Well, welcoming those sent by God is a good place to start.

Christ comes to our doors many times in the persons of our neighbours, religious leaders and total strangers, and we turn them away. Now, one of the reasons for this might be that we have failed to realize how valuable we ourselves are to God. Just a little before today’s Gospel lesson begins, Jesus reminds the disciples and us that God is in control of all things, even of where the sparrows fly and that we matter to God for surely we are worth more than the sparrow. You and I are highly valued by God! Did you hear that? Let me repeat it: You and I are highly valued by God!  When you begin to see yourself as God sees you, then just as you matter to him, he will matter a little more to you. That will make it easier to see him, in others just as Matthew’s audience were called by Jesus to see him in the wandering preachers and followers of his day. Remember, you are special, and you matter to God, but those passing through your life are special, too. The roles of those who welcome and those being welcomed are interchangeable. We are all called to be Christ to each other. Jesus sends us to share the Good News, ease human suffering, meet the needs of those desperate and work miracles of love and healing through acts of kindness: in short, to provide cups of cold water! But we are called also to remember that we, too, are to go as people willing to receive those same acts of kindness. When we welcome one another, we discover the reward that comes from the deep hospitality found in God’s welcome for us. We can only live out our Christian purpose, after hearing and believing that we matter to God, that we are somebody, that we are important. People who delight in praising God will spontaneously, and with delight, long to serve others when Jesus comes to them in the person of their neighbour. When you are clear about your value to God, Christian living then becomes a wonderful opportunity to flourish and thrive as you bring in the harvest for the Lord.

Praise God!


Choral Response: Beati quorum via

Beati quorum via integra est
qui ambulant in lege Domini

(Blessed are they, steadfast on the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.)

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 Maggie Greaves

This morning’s prayers are offered in the ancient tradition of the psalmists and prophets. who never feared to bring before God their passionate rage, grief and despair, confident that they would be heard.

So, let us pray …

God of all health and healing

We are weary with hearing the mounting litany of deaths from corona virus
and we grieve with the thousands of families weeping over the loss of their loved ones,
with as yet no proper rituals to help their goodbyes.
But we are thankful that at last some better news comes
of drug treatments to add to the skills and gifts of doctors, nurses and support staff in hospitals.

God hears our prayer.
Thanks be to God.

God of love

We are horrified to have to own that two women are killed in this country every week
by a current or past partner
and that during lockdown women – and some men, boys and girls –
are living in fear of domestic violence in even greater numbers,
when home should be a safe space for everyone.
We give thanks for national and local organisations that offer support
to people often too terrified to share their situation with friends or family

God hears our prayer.
Thanks be to God.

God of all goodness

We live fearfully ourselves when we hardly dare contemplate
the fragile future of our beautiful planet,
ashamed that we have lived so greedily for so long
plundering the earth’s resources and polluting air and ocean
with so little thought of the damage we have been doing.
We are grateful for the prophetic voices of a young Swedish woman
and an elderly English zoologist and broadcaster
who are forcing all of us to pay attention before it is too late.

God hears our prayer.
Thanks be to God.

God of Justice

We are angry at the knowledge that in 2020 in our country,
one of the richest economies of the world,
there are children who will go hungry this Summer without the safety net of free school lunches,
and we give thanks for the voice and influence of a young prophet –
a black footballer, who has shared his own life story to awaken politicians to these harsh realities.
Meanwhile gratitude is owed to everyone who works tirelessly
in food banks and support networks throughout the year.

God hears all our prayer.
Thanks be to God.


Hymn: When I needed a neighbour

When I needed a neighbour were you there, were you there?
When I needed a neighbour were you there?
And the name and the colour and the creed won’t matter were you there?

I was hungry and thirsty, were you there, were you there?
I was hungry and thirsty, were you there?
And the name and the colour and the creed won’t matter were you there?

I was cold, I was naked, were you there, were you there?
I was cold, I was naked, were you there?
And the name and the colour and the creed won’t matter were you there?

When I needed a shelter were you there, were you there?
When I needed a shelter were you there?
And the name and the colour and the creed won’t matter were you there?

When I needed a healer were you there, were you there?
When I needed a healer were you there?
And the name and the colour and the creed won’t matter were you there?

Wherever you travel, I’ll be there, I’ll be there.
Wherever you travel, I’ll be there.
And the name and the colour and the creed won’t matter I’ll be there.

Sydney Carter (1915–2004)

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.

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: Christ is the world’s true light

Christ is the world’s true light, its Captain of salvation;
the Day-star clear and bright of every man and nation.
New life, new hope awakes where people own his sway;
freedom her bondage breaks and night is turned to day.

In Christ all races meet, their ancient feuds forgetting,
the whole round world complete, from sunrise to its setting.
When Christ is throned as Lord men shall forsake their fear,
to ploughshare beat the sword, to pruning-hook the spear.

One Lord, in one great Name unite us all who own thee;
cast out our pride and shame that hinder to enthrone thee.
The world has waited long, has travailed long in pain
to heal its ancient wrong. Come, Prince of Peace, and reign.

George W. Briggs (1875–1959)

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.



Postlude: Les Barricades Mystérieuses (François Couperin)

[Video recordings of all the music in this Service can be seen by following this link: http://www.cornerstonemk.co.uk/music-for-sunday-28-june-2020/.]