Holy Communion for Remembrance Sunday, 8 November 2020

[The Act of Remembrance will be found right at the foot of this post.]

Prelude

Improvisation on “O Valiant Hearts”
Tune SUPREME SACRIFICE
Composed by Charles Harris.  Improvisation on the piano by Adrian Boynton, Director of Music of the Church of Christ the Cornerstone.

Preacher: Revd Paul Le Sueur
Celebrant: Revd Ernesto Lozada-Uzuriaga

Introit: Justorum animae

Justorum animae in manu Dei sunt
et non tanget illos tormentum mortis.
Visi sunt oculis insipientium mori
illi autem sunt in pace.

Welcome

Brothers and sisters,
we meet in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Amen

Good morning, Living Stones, and welcome to our Holy Communion service, today on Remembrance Sunday.

We will post an Act of Remembrance after the Service just before 11.00 am.

We begin with the Prayer of the Week.

Let us pray.

Prayer of the Week

Living God, you call us into a deeper relationship with you.
You hear the cry of the weak and you value each of us, whatever our circumstances.
We praise you for your abundant generosity, for your astonishing grace
and we give thanks that we are called to reflect those qualities in our own lives.
Remember us Lord as we remember those who have fought the good fight
and now rest in your love and peace.

Amen

Hymn: O God, our help in ages past

O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
our shelter from the stormy blast,
and our eternal home.

Under the shadow of thy throne
thy saints have dwelt secure;
sufficient is thy arm alone,
and our defence is sure.

Before the hills in order stood,
or earth received her frame,
from everlasting thou art God,
to endless years the same.

A thousand ages in thy sight
are like an evening gone,
short as the watch that ends the night
before the rising sun.

Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
bears all its sons away;
they fly forgotten, as a dream
dies at the opening day.

O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
be thou our while troubles last,
and our eternal home.

Isaac Watts (1674–1748)
CCL31580

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.

Amen

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 others into that light.

Amen

The Word of the Lord

Psalm 70

Read by Janet Trimnell

1 Hasten, O God, to save me;
come quickly, Lord, to help me.

2 May those who want to take my life
be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
be turned back in disgrace.
3 May those who say to me, ‘Aha! Aha!’
turn back because of their shame.
4 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
‘The Lord is great!’

5 But as for me, I am poor and needy;
come quickly to me, O God.
You are my help and my deliverer;
Lord, do not delay.

NIV®

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

Matthew 25: 1–13

Read by Brian Halstead

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

1 ‘At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

6 ‘At midnight the cry rang out: “Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!”

7 ‘Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.”

9 ‘ “No,” they replied, “there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.”

10 ‘But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

11 ‘Later the others also came. “Lord, Lord,” they said, “open the door for us!”

12 ‘But he replied, “Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.”

13 ‘Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

NIV®

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

Sermon

By Revd Paul Le Sueur

It is 1950 and a twelve-year old boy is standing with others in his school quadrangle on a cold and bleak November morning. It is 11.00 am in the morning and high up on the school tower a bugler is playing The Last Post. A solemn silence falls and for two minutes there is not a sound.

What is that twelve-year old boy thinking? How did he fill those two minutes? I’ll tell you. He thinks,

‘It’s flipping cold out here. Why couldn’t we have had the Service in the Chapel? In any case, isn’t it about time they stopped having Remembrance Sunday? After all, it’s five years since the war ended. Five years! All this gloom and doom about those who died in the war. To tell the truth, I rather enjoyed the war, especially the bombing raids. It was fun being woken up in the middle of the night and being rushed down to the cellar. Often Mum would brew up a cup of tea and a biscuit and we could. listen to the guns going. I’ve still got a collection of shrapnel I collected in the street in the days after. I didn’t much like the doodle bugs though. All that chug chug sound and then when it cut out and came down and there was a big crash. One came down in the High Street and hit the Odeon cinema. A pity that! D-day was great though, all those hundreds of planes flying over. Yes, we won the war, didn’t we? Dad came home all right and so did Uncle Hugh and Uncle Winston. So, let’s get on with life! What’s the point of standing here getting your toes frozen? I mean, what good does it do anyone? Nobody! Nothing! And this week I had to spend 3d of my pocket money on a poppy flower; 3d and I only get a shilling! And then I went and lost the poppy yesterday. Oh Good! The bugler getting ready to play again. He must be really frozen up there.”

And Reveille sounds.

That was then. Things change. People change. What that twelve-year-old boy – whoever he was – did not remember or did not know or did not realise was just how great a peril the whole nation had been in and what a great deliverance had been achieved and at what a great cost in lives; some of them of lives that were only a few years older than his own.

The writer of Psalm 70, that we have just heard, knew exactly what great peril he was in. His cry to God for help is heartfelt. He was utterly vulnerable. He was in despair. His enemies were out to kill him, and he didn’t have anything to stop them. ‘O God, come and save me. Hasten to help me.’ is how he begins his lament. And he ends it as he began, ‘I am poor and need,’ he cries. ‘Oh! God, hasten to my aid. O Lord, make no delay.’ How many victims of war, on all sides, will have echoed those sentiments?

This year marks the seventieth anniversary of the ending of World War 2. There have been one or two excellent programmes on television of a ‘What if’ variety. What if Churchill had not become PM, and Britain, under another leader, had sued for an ignoble peace? What if the Battle of Britain had been lost and there had been a successful invasion of our homeland, and the whole of Europe had fallen under the Nazi jackboot? That ‘What if’ was a very real possibility. That needs to be the first part of our remembering.

Like many other people, I have been to the World War 2 military cemeteries in Normandy and to World War 1 cemeteries at Ypres in Belgium. In both places one cannot help but be horrified at the huge number of graves there are; the white gravestones standing in military precision in their tens of thousands; a silent tribute to the sacrifice of so many young lives, and a testimony to the horrors of war. A scrawled note on a tree at the entrance to one cemetery said it all to me: ‘See how many there are. See how young they were.’ That needs to be the second part of our remembering.

What should be the third part of our remembering?

The third element to a proper observance of Remembrance Sunday is a positive remembering, and in the light of that remembering, a carefully thought-through commitment to peace and justice in the future.

You will remember that in today’s Gospel there were five wise and five foolish young ladies. The five of them who got into trouble did so because of their lack of forethought. They simply just didn’t anticipate the likelihood of delay. Yet there must have been other times in their young lives, when there had been unexpected delays. They just hadn’t learnt from them.

Is that not sometimes true of us? Times when we have said, ‘Oh! If only I had thought to bring something,’ or ‘If only I had thought to do something, then I wouldn’t be in this pickle’? That certainly has been true of me. What is true of individuals is also true of nations.

Historians tell us how the nations of Europe drifted into World War 1.

Historians tell us how we drifted into World War 2 by a feeble policy of appeasement. Did we not also drift into the Falklands conflict because of a lack of foresight?

The thing is, God has given us humans the capacity to remember. Where would we be without it? How sad it is when dementia robs previously intelligent people of their memories. Yes. Memory is a very great gift, but it comes with the obligation to remember well; to remember fully; to learn the lessons of the past and to apply them intelligently. In this we all have our own part to ply. Let us remember the past in a way that better equips us for the future.

Amen

Choral Reflection: In paradisum deducant angeli

In tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres
et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem.
Chorus angelorum te suscipiant
et cum Lazaro quondam paupere
aeternam habeas requiem.

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.

Amen

Intercessions

By Martha George

God of wisdom, we gather today to give thanks for those who, out of love,
gave up their lives for justice and the protection of humankind.
Hear our supplication to you.
Bless us with wisdom to understand that war is not the solution.
To engage in war is false hope.
We pray for peace, yet seldom achieve it. Let love carry us through.

As we experience difficult times and further isolation.
You give us hope. And we trust in you.

We pray for our ministers.
May the light of God fill their hearts and minds,
that they continue to shepherd their flock in the right way.

God of mercy – hear us as we pray.

We ask a special blessing on all those who have volunteered
to man the church building during lockdown.
Lord, give strength to your people.
We thank you, Lord, for the gift bestowed upon us, Living Stones,
by giving us Mark, Adrian, Ian, Robin, Don, Glynne, Cheryl, Rosemary,
all readers and caretakers of the church building.
They have willingly given their time despite family commitments.
We ask that you continue to bless their lives.

May the God of peace inspire us.
May the God of hope walk with us.
May the God of love cast our fear from our minds.

We pray for the people of the world:
that they may use the opportunity of virtual church services to get to know you better.
We pray for our youth, who are finding it difficult to cope with the present situation.
In your mercy, Lord grant them courage and take away all anxieties.

We ask, Lord, that you bless our government with wisdom,
that they act with honesty and compassion to the most vulnerable.
As the people of the USA make a very important decision to elect a president,
we ask that you guide them through the process that they make wise decisions.

Living God. You care for your people.
We are confident that you will never abandon us.
May we responded to your call and follow your example of love.

May the world grow with hope. For you, Lord, are our hope, our rock and salvation.
We cast our burden upon you and trust in your mighty assistance.
You are a God of power and love; we place our trust in you.
As we go towards the dark days, may the light of Christ illumine our path.

The blessing of God be with us all.

Amen

Hymn: We pray for peace

We pray for peace,
but not the easy peace
built on complacency
and not the truth of God.
We pray for real peace,
the peace God’s love
alone can seal.

We pray for peace,
but not the cruel peace
leaving God’s poor bereft
and dying in distress,
we pray for real peace,
enriching all the
human race.

We pray for peace,
and not the evil peace
defending unjust laws
and nursing prejudice,
but for the real peace,
of justice, mercy,
truth and love.

We pray for peace,
and for the sake of peace,
look to the risen Christ
who gives the grace we need;
to serve the cause of peace
and make our own
self-sacrifice.

God, give us peace:
if you withdraw your love,
there is no peace for us
nor any hope of it.
With you to lead us on,
through death or tumult,
peace will come.

Alan Gaunt (b. 1935)
CCL31580

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.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
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.

Amen

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.

Amen

Hymn: For the healing of the nations

For the healing of the nations,
Lord, we pray with one accord,
for a just and equal sharing
of the things that earth affords.
To a life of love in action
help us rise and pledge our word.

Lead us forward into freedom,
from despair your world release,
that, redeemed from war and hatred,
all may come and go in peace.
Show us how through care and goodness
fear will die and hope increase.

You, Creator-God, have written
your great name on humankind;
for our growing in your likeness
bring the life of Christ to mind:
That by our response and service
earth its destiny may find.

Fred Kaan (1929–2009)
CCL31580

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.

Amen

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ.

Amen

Postlude

Elegy for Organ in B flat
Composed by George Thalben-Ball

Act of Remembrance

 

Let us remember with gratitude those who in the course of peace and the service of others, died in time of war.

The Last Post

Two minutes’ silence

Reveille

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
we will remember them.

We will remember them.

[All the music recordings for this service can be accessed by following this link:
https://www.cornerstonemk.co.uk/music-videos-for-sunday-8-november-2020/.]