Service of the Word on Sunday 31st January 2021

A SERVICE OF THE WORD
DURING THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS
Sunday 31st January 2021
The Fourth Sunday after The Epiphany

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

Good morning …

Let us pray:
God of all mercy and compassion,
life and death are in your hands.
As we gather in this time of illness and infection,
of isolation, fear, and uncertainty:
we are mindful of the sick
and those weighed down by pain, distress, loneliness, and anxiety;
those who care for them, conscious of the risks they bear;
and all who have responsibility for public health and social order.
We pray that the cry of the afflicted may be heard
and that they may be comforted,
so that all who suffer may come to know
that they are joined to the sufferings of Christ,
who gave his life for the salvation of the world;
and by your blessing on them and those who care for them,
they may they be restored, according to your will,
to soundness of body, mind and spirit
and offer joyful thanks in your Church. Amen.

When we cry out to the Lord in our trouble,
he will deliver us from our distress.
God will bring us out of darkness
into his marvellous light.

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

Almighty God,
who forgives all who truly repent,
Have mercy on you,
pardon and deliver you from all your sins,
confirm and strengthen you in all goodness,
and keep you in eternal life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Creator God,
who in the beginning
commanded the light to shine out of darkness:
We pray that the light of the glorious gospel of Christ
may dispel the darkness of ignorance and unbelief,
shine into the hearts of all your people,
and reveal the knowledge of your glory
in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Psalm 111
Alleluia. I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the faithful and in the congregation.
The works of the Lord are great,
sought out by all who delight in them.
His work is full of majesty and honour
and his righteousness endures for ever.
He appointed a memorial for his marvellous deeds;
the Lord is gracious and full of compassion.
He gave food to those who feared him;
he is ever mindful of his covenant.
He showed his people the power of his works
in giving them the heritage of the nations.
The works of his hands are truth and justice;
all his commandments are sure.
They stand fast for ever and ever;
they are done in truth and equity.
He sent redemption to his people; he commanded his covenant for ever;
holy and awesome is his name.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have those who live by it;
is praise endures for ever.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be forever. Amen.

A reading from St Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter eight, beginning at verse 1
Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that ‘all of us possess knowledge.’ Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; but anyone who loves God is known by him. Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that ‘no idol in the world really exists’, and that ‘there is no God but one.’ Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as in fact there are many gods and many lords—yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. ‘Food will not bring us close to God.’ We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling-block to the weak. For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols? So by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed. But when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall.
This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Sermon

Together we affirm our faith, saying:
I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ,
his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

We pray to the Lord,
to the God who is our shelter and strength,
always ready to help in times of trouble.

Lord, we pray for our communities:
for the elderly, confined to their homes and separated from family and support;
for children, removed from school;
for those who have lost their source of income;
for those who fear for their home;
for those who have no home;
for those offering extraordinary, everyday kindness;
Lord, in your mercy:
Hear our prayer.

Lord, you are in the midst of us:
help us in our time of trouble.
We pray for the young and those in education:
for those anxious about the future, a place at third level education, or employment;
for those worried about loved ones and friends;
Lord, in your mercy:
Hear our prayer.

Lord, you are our refuge and strength:
let us not be afraid, even though the world is changed.
We pray for key workers:
for all healthcare and all essential workers;
for medical researchers;
for social workers;
for teachers;
for farmers, delivery and shop workers;
Lord, in your mercy:
Hear our prayer.

Lord, may the nations hear your voice:
and know that you are God,
We pray for the world:
for the leaders of the nations and their governments;
for public health advisors and scientists;
for areas most affected by the pandemic;
for broken places where healthcare and resources are scarce;
Lord, in your mercy:
Hear our prayer.

Lord, be with us in our time of need:
help us to do what has been asked of us,
and give us grace to help others do what has been asked of them.
We pray for those who are sick:
for those afflicted with Coronavirus;
for those with other illnesses and conditions which leave them vulnerable;
for those with poor mental health;
for all who suffer;
Lord, in your mercy:
Hear our prayer.

Lord, we trust in you, because your love is constant:
bring us comfort and healing,
for you are always willing to save.
We pray for the Church:
for our fellow members in the body of Christ;
for our hospital and hospice chaplains;
for all who minister to the sick and the dying;
for all who are bereaved;

silence

And giving thanks for the resurrection of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, we remember and give thanks for the lives of all those who have died during this pandemic;
Lord, in your mercy:
Hear our prayer.

As our Saviour Christ has taught us, we are bold to say:
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.

God grant to the living, grace; to the departed, rest; to the Church and to the nations, peace and concord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be with you all, now and ever more. Amen.

The Lord bless us and protect us,
and share an abundance of life in your Name. Amen.