Material for Worship on the ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Let us sit quietly for a moment and think about how we are feeling. Are we ready to give God our full attention and worship him? Then, scattered as we are, let us come together in prayer as the eucharist is conducted on your behalf by me, Nerys, in the church this morning.

Dear God, you look deep inside us, seeing not only our outer but our inner needs. Have compassion on us we pray. Feed us today from your holy word and we will be filled. Amen.

Listen to God’s invitation for us to come to him to buy and eat without any cost. Alison Diamond is reading from the Book of Isaiah, 55.1-5:

As you listen to today’s Gospel, Matthew 14.13-21, read by Roger Lockwood, I invite you to focus on the person of Jesus who is at the centre of the story:

Jesus had slipped away to a deserted place to deal with his grief at the death of his cousin and colleague, John—a violent death which must have reminded Jesus of what lay ahead for him too. Notice his reaction when he sees the crowd which has followed him. The Greek verb suggests a deep, spontaneous response. ‘He was moved in his guts’, not by anger or frustration but by compassion, and spends the afternoon tending to the needs of those who were sick. His disciples, out of concern for the people, urge him to send them away so that they can get food to eat but Jesus has a better idea. ‘Why don’t you give them something to eat?’ —a daunting challenge when all you see is scarcity. But Jesus, looking with eyes of love, not fear, sees promise and potential and, blessing the meagre offering, trusts in the lavish generosity of God who provided manna in the wilderness for the children of Israel. The desert place once more is transformed into a banquet and everyone is fed.

Jesus is inviting us to join him in his ministry, to see to the needs of others in our community and across the world today. How are we to respond? Maybe we think that what we have to offer is not enough to make a difference so we hold back and pray for a miracle. But if we are ready to share what little we have, we will be part of that miracle. Jesus will take our ideas, our money, our time, our energy, our skills, our prayers, our love—whatever we have to offer, and having blessed them, he will return them to us multiplied to use for the good of others.

Spend some time with this icon from the Coptic Church in Egypt.

Where are you in the picture?
Imagine yourself trusting Christ to meet your needs in the desert place.
Imagine Jesus inviting you to join him in the task of seeing to the needs of others.

A prayer for ourselves, drawing on verses from Psalm 145
God of grace, good to all,
You have compassion over all you have made.
When I am falling, hold me up.
Raise me to my feet, so that I can walk with you.
When I am in need, meet with me.
Open your hands to me, to satisfy my longing.
When I call out to you, hear my cry.
Watch over me, that I may live in your love.
When I am hurt, lend me your grace.
Open my heart, that I may forgive.
When I see need, help me to face it.
Open my hands to offer all I have and am.
When I hear you, help me listen.
Open my mouth to bless your name.

Prayers for others
We pray for people who are in a lonely place of grief and loss …

We pray for people who are sick in body, mind or spirit …

We pray for people who are hungry …

We pray for people who live in fear and uncertainty …

We pray for people who have difficult decisions to make …

We pray for people who risk their lives to serve those in need …

We pray for our friends and families …

We pray for each other …

Lord God of compassion and boundless blessings, we praise you for your generosity, your love and your care as we ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.

You are welcome to sing Williams Pantycelyn’s great hymn, ‘Guide me, O thou great Redeemer’. as David Sawyer plays Cwm Rhondda:

Guide me, O thou great Redeemer,
pilgrim though this barren land;
I am weak, but thou art mighty;
hold me with thy powerful hand;
Bread of heaven,
feed me now and evermore.

Open now the crystal fountain,
whence the healing stream doth flow;
let the fiery cloudy pillar
lead me all my journey through;
strong deliverer,
be thou still my strength and shield.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,
bid my anxious fears subside;
death of death, and hell’s destruction,
land me safe on Canaan’s side;
songs and praises,
I will ever give to thee.

A fourth-century floor mosaic from a chapel at Tabgha on the shore of the Sea of Galilee