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A Mission Community in the Diocese of Exeter

Sunday Service at Home

Sunday 24th January 2021


Shirwell Mission Community

Morning Prayer Sunday 24th January 2021

Week of prayer for Christian Unity


Be with us, Spirit of God;                 nothing can separate us from your love.

Breathe on us, breath of God;       fill us with your saving power.

Speak in us, wisdom of God;          bring strength, healing and peace.

The Lord is here.                                His Spirit is with us.


Prayers of Penitence 

God shows his love for us in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Let us then show our love for him by confessing our sins in penitence and faith.


Most merciful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

we confess that we have sinned in thought, word and deed.

We have not loved you with our whole heart.

We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.

In your mercy forgive what we have been, help us to amend what we are,

and direct what we shall be; that we may do justly, love mercy,

and walk humbly with you, our God. Amen.


May almighty God, who sent his Son into the world to save sinners,

bring you his pardon and peace, now and for ever.


Dear Lord and Father of mankind

sung by St Martin’s Voices



1          Dear Lord and Father of mankind,            2          In simple trust like theirs who heard
            forgive our foolish ways;                                          beside the Syrian sea
            re-clothe us in our rightful mind;                             the gracious calling of the Lord,
            in purer lives thy service find,                                 let us, like them, without a word
            in deeper reverence, praise.                                 rise up and follow thee.

3          Drop thy still dews of quietness,     4          Breathe through the heats of our desire
            till all our strivings cease;                                         thy coolness and thy balm;
            take from our souls the strain and stress,               let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
            and let our ordered lives confess                          speak through the earthquake, 

the beauty of thy peace.                                                  wind and fire,

O still small voice of calm.

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)


Scripture Reading                      John 2:1-11 

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


A reflection on the readings can be found below by Chris Tull




Statement of faith

Do you believe and trust in God the Father, source of all being and life, the one for whom we exist?               

We believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in God the Son, who took our human nature, died for us and rose again?                

We believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the people of God

and makes Christ known in the world?    We believe and trust in him.

This is the faith of the Church. This is our faith. We believe and trust in one God,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.



Blessed are you, eternal God,                    

to be praised and glorified for ever.

Hear us as we pray for your holy catholic Church:

make us all one, that the world may believe.

Grant that every member of the Church may truly and humbly serve you:

that the life of Christ may be revealed in us.

Strengthen all who minister in Christ’s name:

give them courage to proclaim your Gospel.

Inspire and lead those who hold authority in the nations of the world:

guide them in the ways of justice and peace.

Make us alive to the needs of our community:

help us to share each other’s joys and burdens.

Look with kindness on our homes and families:

grant that your love may grow in our hearts.

Deepen our compassion for all who suffer from sickness, grief or trouble:

in your presence may they find their strength.

We remember those who have died:

Father, into your hands we commend them.

We praise you for all your saints who have entered your eternal glory:

bring us all to share in your heavenly kingdom.

Today we especially pray for...


Prayer for the final day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity:

Thrice-holy God, we thank you for having created and loved us. We thank you for your presence in us and in creation. May we learn to look upon the world as you look upon it, with love. In the hope of this vision, may we be able to work for a world where justice and peace flourish, for the glory of your name.


Gathering our prayers and praises into one, as our Saviour has 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. 




The Collect

God of all mercy, your Son proclaimed good news to the poor, release to the captives, and freedom to the oppressed: anoint us with your Holy Spirit and set all your people free to praise you in Christ our Lord. Amen


Will you come and follow me


1          Will you come and follow me if I but call your name? 
            Will you go where you don't know and never be the same?
            Will you let my love be shown, will you let my name be known,
            will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?

2          Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name? 
            Will you care for cruel and kind and never be the same?
            Will you risk the hostile stare, should your life attract or scare?
            Will you let me answer prayer in you and you in me?

3          Will you let the blinded see if I but call your name? 
            Will you set the prisoners free and never be the same?
            Will you kiss the leper clean and do such as this unseen, 
            and admit to what I mean            in you and you in me?

4          Will you love the 'you' you hide if I but call your name?
            Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?
            Will you use the faith you've found to reshape the world around, 
            through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me?

5          Lord, your summons echoes true when you but call my name.
            Let me turn and follow you and never be the same. 
            In your company I'll go where your love and footsteps show. 
            Thus I'll move and live and grow in you and you in me. 

John L Bell (born 1949) and Graham Maule (1958-2019)
© 1987 WGRG, c/o Iona Community, 21 Carlton Court, Glasgow, G5 9JP, Scotland.


The Dismissal

Eternal God, our beginning and our end, accompany us in this day’s journey.

Dawn on our darkness, open our eyes to praise you for your creation

and to see the work you set before us today. Take us and use us to bring to others the new life you give in Jesus Christ our Lord.


In darkness and in light, in trouble and in joy, help us, heavenly Father, to trust your love,

to serve your purpose, and to praise your name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


May the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always.                            Amen.


Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

In the name of Christ. Amen.



Copyright notes: 

Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England, 

material from which is included in this service, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council 2000.










Wednesday 27th January: Holocaust Memorial Day reminds us of the unparalleled horrors of the WW2 holocaust, as well as subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. This year’s theme, be the light in the darkness, is an affirmation and a call to action for everyone. We are asked to consider different kinds of ‘darkness’, for example, identity-based persecution, misinformation and denial of justice. We are also asked to think about different ways of ‘being the light’, for example: resistance, acts of solidarity, rescue and illuminating untruths. 


You are invited to light a candle in your window if it is safe to do so on this day, and to say a prayer. 






Sermon for this Sunday         John 2: 1-11 (Revd. Preb. Chris Tull)




    Why has God allowed this corona virus to happen? Is He not concerned about the crisis happening to the people whom He made and with whom He once lived?  Why has He allowed it to go on so long? What is He trying to say to us?


    We read of a crisis at a wedding feast in John 2 1-11.  It seems that sometimes it is only when things get beyond our own control or our comfort zone that God steps in, and then we begin to think deeply. Take the people in this story.  


We do not know just how much Mary knew about her Son. She knew He was different. In a very special way God was clearly close to Him. Somehow she knew He was to become the deliverer of Israel, but how He was to do this was not clear. At this stage she may have seen some of His healing miracles and also appreciated the way He drew His followers. We know she treasured all this in her heart – but she had a great deal more to learn. 


Mary warned Jesus they were running out of wine. Perhaps He and His followers would offer to go out and get more? Or maybe Jesus with all His wisdom would know just the right thing to say? Imagine her horror when He called the servants to fill the huge jars with water. Surely this was sheer madness. Jesus would look a fool and so would she. What on earth would His followers think? This mad act would finish all He was trying to do with one fatal blow. Could she really believe in Him? Was it all a mistake about Him and God? Were the wise men and the shepherds, and the visit by Gabriel just a delusion?  How could she believe in Him now?


The disciples had perhaps seen more miracles than Mary as they went round with Jesus. Healing, comforting, talking of a blissful kingdom of heaven – that was all one thing, but filling jars with water and pretending it was wine was quite another. This was getting dangerous. Had they left their fishing for nothing? Were they too just deluded fools? 


The servants must have had great respect for Mary and Jesus.  Perhaps some of them had seen Jesus in action, or even known someone He had healed.  If they got it wrong and just brought back water, (even the purest that might not make people ill), the master would be enraged. They would all be sacked, just a laughing stock among their friends. Getting another job would not be easy. They had families depending on them.  It may have been good to believe in God, and in a future deliverer of Israel, but this! Their faith was being stretched to its limits, way beyond their comfort zone. Yet something drove them on to do it.  They had little choice.


The master of the feast was someone to fear. Only the best would do for him. It seemed that the Bridegroom had miscalculated the amount of wine needed, and perhaps the servants were also responsible for the mistake. Maybe many unexpected guests turned up. At any rate, for fear of having a major row in the middle of the celebrations, the servants had kept the secret to themselves. The miracle happened. A trembling servant offered the master a sample of what they had brought back. The water had become wine. The only objection the taster had was that the best wine had come in late. We presume that afterwards the whole story came out. We hope both the bridegroom and the master appreciated what had happened. We know nothing of the faith of these two men, and we can only guess at what God said to them. I am sure it must have helped them to believe. As for those in the know, their faith had been challenged and strengthened. They saw the glory of God and put full trust in Jesus.


What was God trying to say to the people in the story? He allowed them all to go through a crisis way out of their comfort zone to bring out their faith - be they the committed followers of Jesus, sympathetic helpers like the servants, or perhaps the outside observer, like the master of the feast. 


We wish all evil to be gone, be it disease, war, persecution, or whatever. We are way out of our comfort zone. We cry out to God. We ask why we have to go through all of this. Ultimately we conclude either that God does not exist, or that somehow within His wisdom, He allows terrible things to happen. We are truly thankful for all who have given themselves so unsparingly to protect us and save many lives, for the vaccine, for the hope for there now is for the future. The prayers of many are being answered, yet the question remains:-


In the present crisis WHAT IS GOD TRYING TO SAY TO US?  


No. I am not going to answer it - that your job!