I will praise the Lord as long as I live



Grace and peace to you from God our Father

and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen


Almighty God

to whom all hearts be 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 Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Our Lord Jesus Christ said: The first commandment is this: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”

The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these. Amen. Lord, have mercy.


God is love and we are God’s children.

There is no room for fear in love.

We love because God loved us first.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith.

God our Father, we confess to you

and to our fellow members in the Body of Christ

that we have sinned in thought, word and deed,

and in what we have failed to do.

We are truly sorry.

Forgive us our sins,

and deliver us from the power of evil,

for the sake of your Son who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord.


May the God of love and power

forgive you and free you from your sins,

heal and strengthen you by his Spirit

and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

sung Billy Dewar Riddick


Almighty and eternal God,

make us grow in faith, hope and charity:

and that we may be worthy of your promises,

cause us to love what you command;

through Jesus Christ, our Lord

who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, world without end. Amen

Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23
read by Peter Boreham

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
and favour is better than silver or gold.
The rich and the poor have this in common:
the Lord is the maker of them all.

Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity,
  and the rod of anger will fail.
Those who are generous are blessed,
 for they share their bread with the poor.

Do not rob the poor because they are poor,
or crush the afflicted at the gate;
for the Lord pleads their cause
and despoils of life those who despoil them.

JAMES 2: 1-17
read by David Kerr

Warning against Partiality

My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favouritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 

Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonoured the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?

You do well if you really fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For the one who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So, speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

Faith without Works Is Dead

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So, faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.


Mark 7: 24-37
read by Rev Ann Wren

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St Mark chapter 7 beginning at verse 24

Glory to Christ our Saviour.

The Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith

From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet.  Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Sir,] even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 

Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.” So, she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

Jesus Cures a Deaf Man

Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. Then Jesus[c] ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. They were astounded beyond measure, saying, “He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”


Sometimes you have just to grab someone’s attention. It seems a man was headed up to bed one night, when his wife told him that he’d left the light on in their shed. She told him she could see it from the bedroom window. He told her he hadn’t been in the shed that day. When he looked out the window, he saw that there were people in the shed, stealing things. So, he phoned the police. The police told him that there was no one was in his area and consequently, there was no one available to catch the thieves. He said “OK,” hung up, counted to 30 and called the police again. And he said, “Hello. I just called a few seconds ago, because there were people in my shed. Well, you don’t have to worry about them now. I’ve just shot them all.” Within five minutes there were half a dozen police cars in the area, an armed response unit. They caught the burglars red-handed. One of the policemen said to the man, “I thought you said you’d shot them!” And he replied, “I thought you said there was no one available.” Sometimes you just feel like you need to get somebody’s attention any way you can.

To get someone’s attention-that’s half the battle. If someone knew what was going on, then they could make a difference. We even feel that way about God. If only God knew what was going on, then that could make a difference? That was the mind-set of the Canaanite woman. She would grab Jesus’ attention at all costs, nothing but nothing would stand in her way. Pushy, aggressive, assertive and unrelenting are words that spring to mind in her encounter with Jesus. Yet these were not the four words that Jesus used to describe her. The four words Jesus used were enough to make her immortal. These four words were ‘great is your faith’. This compliment from the master of faith awakens in us more than just an academic interest but a feeling of admiration, perhaps, even envy, because she stands where most of us would like to stand. What faithful Christian would not like it said of him or her ‘great is your faith’. Think of what it would mean if an aspiring young artist had Picasso place his hand on his shoulder and say ‘You have a great talent’. How wonderful it would then be to a believer in God, if Jesus would place his hand on their shoulder and said ‘great is your faith.’

‘Great is your faith’-Jesus recognised something unique and special in this Canaanite woman. Her faith was great in its pioneering and initiating quality. It was not based on some proof of something or even any very strong evidence of anything, for Jesus was not popular or even well-known in her country. Her faith had come the hard way: her reason for believing was not that someone else in her circle of acquaintances had done so already. Her faith was something deep and internal and a heroic venturing forth to reach and touch a power beyond herself- to encounter and be blessed by Jesus.

Great is her faith in pioneering. She needed much courage to cross so many cultural and social barriers. She is after all a Gentile, a Canaanite and therefore a traditional enemy of the Jews. They had been despised for centuries. It was as real and deep an enmity as exists today between the Arabs and the Jews. This Canaanite woman was well aware of this great gulf between the Jews and her people. Yet, here was a woman who had a desperate need; her daughter was deathly ill. There was nothing she would not do out of love for her daughter. So, she steps out in courage and in pioneering faith. Great is her faith.

Great is her faith in recognising Jesus’ true identity. She uses in the words ‘Jesus ‘Lord, Son of David’ a comprehensive set of titles. Jesus is Lord- he is intimately connected to God and is for all people, but he is also Son of David coming from a definite people with a particular heritage and distinctive traditions. She shows insight in her awareness of Jesus as universal, yet particular. She also knows what Jesus has to give. So, she asks for mercy. She is in such solidarity with her sick daughter that if Jesus has mercy on her, it will flow through her to her daughter. She does not want something for herself. What will be given to her will immediately be given to her daughter. She gives as she receives and she is a conduit to her child. So, this woman knows both Jesus’ mission and ministry. Great is her faith.

Great is her faith-yet her request is not immediately granted. Indeed, it looks as though, Jesus to begin with, is refusing to help someone in need because she’s from the wrong race. We wouldn’t think much of a doctor or nurse who refused to treat a patient because they were not from the right family background, or weren’t the right colour. This lack of response on Jesus’ part seems very strange, especially since Jesus’ has expounded at great length on nothing and no-one being unclean. What is the issue here? It cannot be the woman’s faith, so is Jesus having a crisis of faith? What is the problem? The problem lies in Jesus’ mind-he has construed his identity and mission with the Jewish people, and this woman falls outside that remit. Hence his eventual response-‘it is not fair to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs’. Jesus was saying that the bread he had was for the Jewish people only and not for Gentiles.

Great is her faith. She was not easily intimidated–even by Jesus. “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs,” said the Master. “Yes, Lord,” she said in reply, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Good for her. Too many people are intimidated by authority figures–doctors, psychologists, teachers, principals, police –and so struggle to get the help they really need. But not this woman- she is not intimated. She recognises her own humble position as a Gentile and acknowledges that salvation comes from the Jews, but she does not stop there she keeps pushing the barriers. She tactfully reminds Jesus of his universal reach in his title ‘Lord’. The title Lord is not reserved for just Jews but for all people of all races, all nationalities and for people from all backgrounds! When Jesus lives within that identity, she is entitled to the bread. Through persistence and cleverness, she reminds Jesus` of his identity and increases his understanding of his role and ministry. This woman opens Jesus eyes to a deeper and significant understanding of his own role and ministry. As a result of that new insight her daughter is healed and Jesus compliments her ‘great is your faith.’

Great is her faith. Her great faith stemmed from her courage to overcome barriers, from her persistence to fight against the odds, from her humility to recognise her rightful position and to acknowledge Jesus’ true identity and greatness. It is this great faith that we are called to emulate- we are to have courage to cross barriers and boundaries to help ourselves and others. We are to be persistent in our good causes against all odds and when all seems lost to hang in there. We are to display humility and self- confidence in the causes that God has placed in our heart. We are to have trust and confidence in God. We must believe our cry is heard, and not just heard but heeded and answered. We must have confidence in God and also confidence in ourselves.

Self- confidence matters in great faith. When Henry Ward Beecher was a young boy in school, he learned a lesson in self-confidence which he never forgot. He was called upon to recite in front of the class. He had hardly begun when the teacher interrupted with an emphatic, “No!” He started over and again the teacher thundered, “No!” Humiliated, Henry sat down. The next boy rose to recite and had just begun when the teacher shouted, “No!” This student, however, kept on with the recitation until he completed it. As he sat down, the teacher responded, “Very good!” Henry was irritated. “I recited just as he did,” he complained to the teacher. But the teacher replied, “It is not enough to know your lesson and recite, you must be sure and confident. When you allowed me to stop you, it meant that you were uncertain and lacking in confidence. If all the world says, “No!’ it is your business to say, “Yes!’ and prove it.”

Commenting on this story, an unknown commentator has said, “The world says, “No!” in a thousand ways: “No! You can’t do that.” No! You are wrong. “”No! You are too old.” “No! You are too young.” “No! You are too weak.” “No! It will never work.” “No! You don’t have the education.” “No! You don’t have the money.” “No! It can’t be done.” And each “No!” you hear has the potential to erode your confidence bit by bit until you quit altogether. Though the world says, “No” to you today, will you determine to say, “Yes!’ and prove it?”

When the world said “no,” to Wilberforce, “no, there will be no end to slavery.” He said “yes!” and proved it. He and his friends worked and prayed, devoting their lives to the belief that what would happen in the future had to happen by God’s power in the present as well. This is the great faith upon which Jesus congratulated the woman. What then are the issues we face today- trafficking of people, poverty and employment issues, rights for special needs children in schools, treatment and care of the elderly, the right to speak your opinion freely without accusation, living with Covid. What promises of God have we imagined might be fulfilled in the distant future, but ought to be claimed in the present with a prayer and faith that refuses to be put off.

Be of great faith- don’t take no for an answer! Do not be intimidated by authority figures. Remember, Jesus is waiting to help you. His mission and ministry are universal- He is Lord to all people: to all who cry out to him in need, like the Syrophoenician woman. Have great faith -“Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. ”Amen


We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one substance with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven;

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory

to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father.

With the Father and the Son,

he is worshipped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism

for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Loving God, thank you

that you hear and answer our prayers.

We praise you for those times

when you have answered us

and granted our requests.

We think of those like the Syrophoenician woman,

whose request was not at first granted

but through great faith,

waited and persevered,

and in time received a favourable response.

Teach us to wait and persevere in prayer.

Loving and gracious God,

We wait on your Word.

Loving God, we are conscious of our pluralistic culture,

with its diversity of people, races and cultures.

Help us to ensure that all are treated

with equity, dignity and respect,

Where there is prejudice,

broaden people’s understanding and perspective.

Where there is inequality and discrimination,

help us to fight for fairness and justice.

Give perseverance to all who strive to remove bias and intolerance

and encourage us to work in harmony with one another.

Loving and gracious God,

We wait on your Word.

Loving God, we are aware of oppression and persecution

in different parts of the world.

We think of people

who live in constant fear and insecurity,

and we pray for diplomacy and negotiations,

to bring about a better quality of life.

We lift to you all

who have fled their home country,

and are seeking asylum in a strange land.

We pray that they would feel welcomed,

helped, supported and resourced.

Loving and gracious God,

We wait on your Word.

Loving God, we marvel at your creativity

evident in the world around us.

Teach us to cherish

and respect the environment.

Be present in the preparations

for Cop 26 in November in Glasgow,

and we pray that much good

would come from their gathering and deliberations.

Loving and gracious God,

We wait on your Word.

Loving God, we thank you for the patient endurance

of many who suffer so much.

We pray for their strength and courage

and ask for your upholding and healing.

Loving and gracious God,

We wait on your Word.

We pray for those who have died in faith

that they may rise to eternal life.

Draw near to all who grieve

bring your comfort and peace,

your light and your hope,

now and in the days ahead.

Loving and gracious God,

We wait on your Word.

Loving God,

increase our faith in you.

In times of difficulty and challenge

fill us with strength and perseverance,

that we might wait on you

and be of good courage.

Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ who taught us to pray together

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.

Do not bring us to the time of trial

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.



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 the Father,

the Son and Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always. Amen


Go or stay in peace to love and serve the Lord.

In the name of Christ.