God’s grace and peace are with us.
Let our hearts be filled with joy



Let us pray.

God of mercy,
your love for us is strong,
but our love for you is weak.
You call us to follow Jesus,
but we are slow to obey.
You care for all that you have made,
but we ignore the needs of others
and misuse your creation.
We are sorry for our sins.
Forgive us,
and help us to please you
by the way we live;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.



God is love
and forgives our sins through Jesus. Amen


Generous God,
you gave you a Son for the life of the whole world.
Give us the joy of knowing the risen Christ,
and let your Holy Spirit guide us,
that we may love and serve you on earth
and live with you for ever in heaven;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

sung by Annabelle Guthrie

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to God’s people on earth.

Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ, only son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us.
You are seated at the right hand of the Father:
Receive our prayer

For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father. Amen


COLLECT (relating to the readings)

O God, you make known your almighty power
in your merciful compassion:
increase your mercy towards us:
that we, being eager for your promises,
may inherit the treasures of heaven;
through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end. Amen

1 KINGS 2.10–12; 3.3–14
read by Amie Byers

David slept with his ancestors, and was buried in the city of David. The time that David reigned over Israel was forty years; he reigned seven years in Hebron, and thirty-three years in Jerusalem. So, Solomon sat on the throne of his father David; and his kingdom was firmly established. Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of his father David; only, he sacrificed and offered incense at the high places. The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the principal high place; Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt-offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, ‘Ask what I should give you.’ And Solomon said, ’You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart towards you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. And now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?’

It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. God said to him, ‘Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, I now do according to your word. Indeed, I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honour all your life; no other king shall compare with you. If you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your life.’

read by David Kerr

Brothers and sisters, be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.


JOHN 6:51-58
read by the Rev Chris Wren

A reading from the Gospel according to John, Chapter 6, beginning at verse 51

Hear the Gospel of Christ

Glory to Christ our Saviour

Jesus said to the crowd: 51 ‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’ 52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ 53 So Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55 for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. 56 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live for ever.’

This is the Gospel of Christ
Praise to Christ our Lord


There is a wonderful Native American story you’ve likely heard about a grandfather who is teaching his grandson an important lesson about life. The wise grandfather sits his grandson down, and begins to tell him about a battle—a fight. He says: “There is a fight going on inside of me. It is a terrible fight,” he says, “It is a fight going on between TWO WOLVES.” “One wolf is evil—he lives only for anger and greed, arrogance, ego, self-pity.” “The other wolf is good: he lives for peace and hope, generosity, humility, compassion and faith.” Then the grandfather says, “The very same fight is going on inside of you. In fact, these wolves fight inside of each and every one of us.” “Which wolf will win?” the grandson asks. “The wolf that will win,” the grandfather says, “is the one that you feed.” I remind you of this old adage, because it’s a good reminder that the wolf, that will win, will always be the wolf that we feed. The wolf that we feed becomes that which lives and breathes inside us. As many would say “you are what you eat.”

Certainly “you are what you eat” ties in well with our Gospel passage today, where Jesus reiterates his claim to be the Bread of Life. He has already shown the crowds his ability to feed their physical needs with five loaves and two fish, and now he looks to the spiritual needs of the people, inviting them to eat bread that does not spoil. The bread that does not spoil is Christ himself and we are to eat his flesh and drink his blood. To most of us this is a very difficult passage. It speaks in language and moves in a world of ideas which are quite strange to us and which may seem even fantastic and grotesque. But to those who heard it first, it was moving among familiar ideas which went back to the very childhood of the race.

These ideas would be quite normal to anyone brought up in ancient sacrifice. William Barclay offers in his commentary insight into that time of ancient sacrifice. The animal was very seldom burned entire. Usually only a token part was burned on the altar, although the whole animal was offered to the god. Part of the flesh was given to the priests as their perquisite; and part to the worshipper to make a feast for himself and his friends within the temple precincts. At that feast the god himself was held to be a guest. More, once the flesh had been offered to the god, it was held that he had entered into it; and therefore, when the worshipper ate it, he was literally eating the god. When people rose from such a feast they went out, as they believed, literally god-filled. We may think of it as idolatrous worship, we may think of it as a vast delusion; yet the fact remains these people went out quite certain that in them there was now the dynamic vitality of their god. To people used to that kind of experience a section like this presented no difficulties at all.

Further, in that ancient world the one live form of religion was to be found in the Mystery Religions. The one thing the Mystery Religions offered was communion and even identity with some god. The way it was done was this. All the Mystery Religions were essentially passion plays. They were stories of a god who had lived and suffered terribly and who died and rose again. The story was turned into a moving play. Before the initiate could see it, he had to undergo a long course of instruction in the inner meaning of the story. He had to undergo all kinds of ceremonial purifications. He had to pass through a long period of fasting and abstention from sexual relationships.

At the actual presentation of a passion play everything was designed to produce a highly emotional atmosphere. There was carefully calculated lighting, sensuous incense, exciting music, a wonderful liturgy; everything was designed to work up the initiate to a height of emotion and expectation that he had never experienced before. Call it hallucination if you like; call it a combination of hypnotism and self -hypnotism. But something happened; and that something was identity with the god. As the carefully prepared initiate watched he became one with the god. He shared the sorrows and the griefs; he shared the death, and the resurrection. He and the god became for ever one; and he was safe in life and in death.

We must remember that those ancient people knew all about the striving, the longing, the dreaming for identity with their god and for the bliss of taking him into themselves. They would not read phrases like eating Christ’s body and drinking his blood with crude and shocked literalism. They would know something of that ineffable experience of union, closer than any earthly union, of which these words speak. This is language that the ancient world could understand.

What about us? How do we understand it? There are two ways in which we may take this passage. We may take it in a quite general sense. Jesus spoke about eating his flesh and drinking his blood. Now the flesh of Jesus was his complete humanity. Jesus took on our flesh, yet he did not sin as we do. This means that in Jesus we see God taking human life, human problems, battling with our human temptations, working out our human relationships.

Therefore, it is as if Jesus said: “Feed your heart, feed your mind, feed your soul on the thought of me. When you are discouraged and in despair, when you are beaten to your knees and disgusted with life and living–remember I took that life of yours and these struggles of yours on me.” Suddenly life and the flesh are clad with glory for they are touched with God.

It was and is the great belief of the Greek Orthodox Christology that Jesus deified our flesh by taking it on himself. To eat Christ’s body is to feed on the thought of his manhood until our own personhood is strengthened and cleansed and irradiated by his. Jesus said we must drink his blood. In Jewish thought blood stands for life. It is easy to understand why. As the blood flows from a wound, life ebbs away; and to the Jew, the blood belonged to God. That is why to this day a true Jew will never eat any meat which has not been completely drained of blood. “Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.”

Now see what Jesus is saying–“You must drink my blood–you must take my life into the very centre of your being–and that life of mine is the life which belongs to God.” When Jesus said we must drink his blood he meant that we must take his life into the very core of our hearts. What does that mean? Think of it this way. Here in a bookcase is a book which a man has never read. It may be the glory and the wonder of the tragedies of Shakespeare; but so long as it remains unread upon his bookshelves it is external to him. One day he takes it down and reads it. He is thrilled and fascinated and moved. The story sticks to him; the great lines remain in his memory; now when he wants to, he can take that wonder out from inside himself and remember it and think about it and feed his mind and his heart upon it. Once the book was outside him. Now it is inside him and he can feed upon it.

It is that way with any great experience in life. It remains external until we take it within ourselves. It is so with Jesus. So long as he remains a figure in a book, he is external to us; but when he enters into our hearts we can feed upon the life and the strength and the dynamic vitality that he gives to us. Jesus said that we must drink his blood. He is saying: “You must stop thinking of me as a subject for theological debate; you must take me into you, and you must come into me; and then you will have real life.” That is what Jesus meant when he spoke about us abiding in him and himself abiding in us. When he told us to eat his flesh and drink his blood, he was telling us to feed our hearts and souls and minds on his humanity, and to revitalize our lives with his life until we are rifled with the life of God.

But John meant more than that, and was thinking also of the Lord’s Supper. He was saying: “If you want life, you must come and sit at that table where you eat that broken bread and drink that poured-out wine which somehow, in the grace of God, brings you into contact with the love and the life of Jesus Christ.” But and here is the sheer wonder of his point of view–John has no account of the Last Supper. He brings in his teaching about it, not in the narrative of the Upper Room, but in the story of a picnic meal on a hillside near Bethsaida by the blue waters of the Sea of Galilee. There is no doubt that John is saying that for the true Christian every meal has become a sacrament. It is true that the Sacrament is a special appointment with God; but John held with all his heart that every meal in the humblest home, in the richest palace, beneath the canopy of the sky with only the grass for carpet was a sacrament.

For me, the Sacrament is also about commitment. We renew that commitment each week, every time we come forward to receive the bread and wine of Holy Communion. Some of you may be familiar with the old revival preachers and their practice of giving ‘altar calls’. Billy Graham of course made this famous; at each of his evangelistic crusade services he would say, “Now I’m going to ask you to get up out of your seats!” and he would invite people who wanted to give their lives to Jesus to come forward to the front of his crusade services as a public act of commitment to Christ.

The very thought of an altar call to many lifelong Anglicans is a shock to the system, but I want to suggest to you that, if we understand what we’re doing in Holy Communion, we have an altar call every week in the Anglican Church! Jesus tells us that if we come to him and believe in him our spiritual hunger and thirst will be satisfied. We respond to that invitation; we get up out of our seats and come to the front, and we hold out our empty hands and ask him to fill them. The emptiness of our hands is a symbol of the emptiness of our lives; without him we have no life, but when we come to him in faith, he gives us that life. And so, we receive the bread and wine in faith, and, as the old prayer book says, we ‘feed on him in our hearts by faith with thanksgiving’. Every Eucharistic Service we feed on him the Bread of Life who offers us bread that satisfies and does not spoil. Amen


Let us profess the faith of the Church

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 Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven
was Incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified and 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 and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,
who 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.


Lord in your love,

you enable us to share in your life.

so fill your church with this vitality

that it may proclaim your glory to all the world.

As we share in the sacrament of your body and blood,

may we abide in you as you abide in us.

Feed and nourish us

with the Bread of Life.

Lord in your love,

you pour out your gift of wisdom

to all who ask for it.

Give to those with responsibility for government

a wise and discerning mind.

Lead all nations with insight and truth.

Feed and nourish us

with the Bread of Life.

Lord in your love,

you set before us

a model of wholesome living.

Protect us from false substitutes

for true spiritual and emotional health.

We lift to all who are caught up in addiction

and unwholesome living,

and ask that they might be set free.

Feed and nourish us

with the Bread of Life.

Lord in your love,

you care for the vulnerable and weak.

We think of countries like Afghanistan and Syria,

where safety is a real concern,

and many are fleeing for their lives.

We pray for immigrants

that they might reach their destination safely

and would be welcomed into a new country

and given all the support, help and resources they need.

Feed and nourish us

with the Bread of Life.

Lord in your love,

you have entrusted the earth to our care.

Grant us the courage and wisdom

to take the necessary measures

to address climate change,

which is causing great devastation

in so many parts of our world,

especially in the poorer areas.

Feed and nourish us

with the Bread of Life.

Lord in your love,

be present to all who are sick at this time

in body, mind or spirit.

Come with your healing touch

and bring restoration and renewal.

Feed and nourish us

with the Bread of Life.

Lord in your love

draw near to all

who have been recently bereaved.

Enfold them in your love

and help them in times

of emptiness and loneliness

to feel your touch and

know your strength and tenderness.

Feed and nourish us

with the Bread of Life.

Lord in your love,

hold us steadfast in your ways,

fill us with the bread

that does not spoil,

but satisfies

and leads to eternal life.

Feed and nourish us

with the Bread of Life.

Merciful Father,

accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,

Jesus Christ our Lord

who taught us to say 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.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours,
now and for ever Amen




Let us pray.

God of glory,
Strengthen us in our life together
that we may grow in love
for you and for each other;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


The blessing of God,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be upon you now and always. Amen


Go or stay in peace to love and serve the Lord

In the name of Christ. Amen