Cruden Parish Church

‘An Evening Service for Trinity Sunday
7.00 pM, Sunday 7 June 2020



Whilst the church building is closed and all our communal activities have ceased due to the lockdown caused by Covid19, Cruden Parish Church has moved online. Wherever you are from, local or far away, you are welcome here!

Please join in the responses printed in bold and italic. During the service would also appreciate if you keep all background noise and conversation to an absolute minimum


We gather this evening in the name of God the Creator,
who creates time and space, galaxies and stars and planets.

We gather this evening in the name of Jesus Christ,
born in Bethlehem, messiah and Son of God.

We gather this evening in the name of the Holy Spirit
who enters our hearts and fills the earth with His unseen presence.

Creator God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in this time we call ‘now’
in this space we call ‘here’ we gather to worship you.
May your presence and love be felt among us. 


“We are familiar with the words of Scripture that remind us that ‘now we see in a mirror dimly’ and we might think that these words are especially applicable to our present times.
“As our society continues in the journey out of lockdown, there are many things that we know only in part. We trust that greater clarity will be given in times to come.
“That said, there are some things that are clear and which our faith affirms to be so.
“In the Gospel of Matthew (28: 16-20), the disciples gather in the presence of the Risen Lord who assures them that in all they now face: ‘I am with you always, to the very end of the age’.
“The Gospel affirms that the life of God has been shared with us in the revelation of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and that our lives are to be lived out in the enduring presence of God. Knowing this to be so, we pray:”

We pray:
God whose name is Love,
You make yourself known to us
As the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Sustain us in the knowledge of your love through the times in which we live.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love endures,
May we hear the words of your Son
That echo down the ages:
I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love is generous,
You gift to us your Holy Spirit,
The very giver of Life.
Renew our lives and the life of the community in which we share.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love is steadfast,
You know us as we are for you have made us.
In your compassion, be with all who struggle and grieve at this time.
Remember them and hold them safe in your keeping.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love is from everlasting to everlasting,
Give strength to the weary and power to the weak,
That we might renew our strength
And soar on wings like eagles.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love inspires,
May we love you with all that we are
And love our neighbour in response to your love.
Through our service of others, may your love be revealed.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Question: What is the most ‘frustrating’ thing you have ever seen or experienced?

(As the service is ‘public’ please do not share anything too intimate or deeply personal.)


Matthew 5: 1-12 & 38-42

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

 Verses 38-42

You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Revelation 3: 14-22

To the Church in Laodicea

To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”


‘A lesson from the army!’

One of the things I find really frustrating is when I come across people ‘who couldn’t be bothered!’ It doesn’t happen very often. But occasionally you meet people who appear to have made apathy one of their key life choices! It comes in various guises. As a former chef, I often find that eating out is a huge disappointment. It most commonly happens on holiday – we go out for a special meal and we end up with food that mediocre at the best. And often the service reflects the quality of the food. My second main frustration is with the church. Again it tends to happen on holiday. I can recount several occasions when what we experience is far from uplifting. You feel that no effort made to welcome visitors. The music and choice of hymns lacks quality and imagination. Old hymns that have long since passed their sell by date, played slowly and sung with indifference by a bored congregation!  and lazy peaching. Worst of all is when apathy emanates from people you really depend on it. It is really frustrating. You will be placed to know that my rant for the evening now over!
This evening I would to spend a few moments exploring one of Jesus’ most memorable phrases. It appears in Matthew 5: 41:
 ‘If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.’

The phrase is often interpreted as suggesting that Christians should develop a culture of excellence. As everything single thing we do is a direct expression of our love for God, we should do it to the very best of our ability. In our secular work, whatever we do we should do it to a good standard. Whether it is teaching, admin or cleaning, we teach, administrate and clean to the best of our ability. We should not the shirkers or clock waters or try and get away with doing the least possible amount of work.

And the same should be true of the church. We should not be like the church in Laodicea, which according to the Revelation 3 was neither hot or cold but lukewarm. We should make sure our worship is meaningful and relevant and done to a good standard. That our peaching is engaging and earthed. Earthed in the Bible, earthed in everyday experience. And the same could be applied to membership. That members should be faithful to their calling as the people of God. In whatever we do, secular and sacred, at home, at work, at church and even on the golf course, we should put in that extra little bit of effort. Now all that is true. But is that really what Jesus in try to teach?
The background to the passage comes from the practice of Roman Soldiers forcing locals to carry their pack or act as guide. According to the imperial law, a soldier had the right to compel a local to act as a guide or porter for the distance of 1000 paces, just short of a modern mile.  An example of this appears in the Easter story when Simon of Cyrene was forced to carry Jesus' cross. (Matthew 27:32) Interestingly, the Greek word that we translate as ‘compel’ only appears twice in the Bible. It appears in the command by the Roman Soldiers to Simon of Cyrene to carry Jesus cross and here and in Jesus command to go the extra mile. 

So far this is all very simple and straight forward.  In whatever we do, we should all make that extra bit of effort. For example, I should strive to be a good minister. I should be diligent and hardworking and not be content with second best. The same point applies in buisness. One of the formulas for a successful business is QQMA. QQ stands for quality and quantity of service that you render. MA stands for mental attitude. Put the two together and you have a success. You strive for excellence in delivering that service, in terms of quality, quantity and your personal attitude towards your customers. Now all that is true. But is that really what Jesus is trying teach in this passage?

There is another way of interpreting the passage. It is a call to passive resistance! In cities all over America and right round the world, countless numbers of people are protesting against racial discrimination.  The majority of these protests are fortunately peaceful and non-violent. And the protests are not just about racism today. People are also expressing their anger at the historical roots of the problem, which can be traced back to the days of the slave trade. This afternoon during in Bristol during a demonstration, a statue was pulled off its mounting. The state was to of a 17th century slave trader called Edward Colston had stood in Bristol city centre since 1895.

One of the protestor was 71 year old John McAllister, He tore down black bin bags used to hide the statue to denounce it in front of fellow protesters, before a rope was tied around it and used to pull it down. Mr McAllister said: "It says 'erected by the citizens of Bristol, as a memorial to one of the most virtuous and wise sons of this city'. "The man was a slave trader. He was generous to Bristol but it was off the back of slavery and it's absolutely despicable. It's an insult to the people of Bristol." It was reported Edward Colston was involved in the Royal African Company, a trading company that was engaged in the slave trade in the 17th century. The company is thought to have transported around 84,000 African men, women and children in the time Colston was involved.

You get the impression that people of had had enough. Enough of ingrained radical discrimination. That is discrimination that has become institutionalised and an ‘acceptable’ or normalised part of culture. It’s not just about individuals who are hateful and demeaning towards people of other races, but the kind of unthinking stereotyping and opinions that a lot of people hold, probably without realising it. So people are engaging in protests and demonstrations. The vast majority are involved in passive resistance. There is a view that in this passage from Matthews Gospel, this is exactly what Jesus is suggesting. Let me explain.  A soldier was himself under the imperial law. Whilst they were permitted to compel the local population into unpaid service, the soldier was under strict instructions not to extend the distance beyond one mile. This was simply not permitted. Jesus instruction to go the extra mile, would place the person giving the instruction in conflict with their own law.

There is more. Jesus words would have shocked his audience. At the time of the New Testament, the Romans were despised. They were viewed as an unwelcome occupying force. Many Jewish groups refused to cooperate with the Roman authorities, including acting as porters, refusing to pay taxes etc. Those who did cooperate with the Romans such as tax collectors were loathed and reviled within the their own families and communities. (It has been suggested this loathing and refusing to obey was a principle cause of the great Jewish revolt in the year 66 AD.) You can imagine their absolute indignation and outrage at being told by Jesus not to just go one mile, but the extra mile!
So what is Jesus trying to say here and what impact should it have on our lives?

Is Jesus speaking about the dangers of apathy and indifference? This ‘spiritual sleeping sickness’ can have a devastating effect on the church and our personal walk with God.

Is Jesus speaking about developing a culture of excellence, that following him requires real commitment?

Is Jesus speaking about passive resistance to injustice?
Or is he saying all of these things and more?


In a time of quiet let us remember:

  • Those effected by Covid-19
  • Those known to us, who are journeying through difficult times
  • Those who are suffering from the consequences of their bad choices
  • And let us bring before God the unspoken prayers of our hearts.

Living Love, beginning and end,
giver of food and drink, clothing and warmth,
love and hope: life in all its goodness - 
we praise and adore you.

Jesus, wisdom and word;
lover of outcasts, friend of the poor;
one of us yet one with God; crucified and risen:
life in the midst of death –
we praise and adore you.

Holy Spirit, storm and breath of love;
bridge-builder, eye-opener, waker of the oppressed,
unseen and unexpected, untameable energy of life -
we praise and adore you.

Holy Trinity, forever one,
whose nature is community; source of all sharing,
in whom we love, and meet, and know our neighbour:
life in all its fullness, making all things new:
we praise and adore you.

Lord God of hosts, you are always asking, “Whom shall I send?”
Give each of us the courage of Isaiah to respond, “Here am I, send me.”

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts:
The whole earth is full of your glory.

You are beautiful, Lord God, because you are holy, and your voice is all powerful.
Give strength to  your people, and give the blessings of your peace.

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts:
The whole earth is full of your glory.

Spirit of God, when we are fearful you ask us, “Why? Are you not my adopted ones?”

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts:
The whole earth is full of your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ, you speak to us of heavenly things, even when we are most interested in earthly things. Speak to us in the night-times of our lives, that we may learn the Way and the Will of your Holy Spirit.

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts:
The whole earth is full of your glory.

The problems of the nations, the politics of parties, the threats and fears of peoples everywhere are all known to you, Almighty God. Save us from fear, greed, revenge, and all evil things that keep us away from love.

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts:
The whole earth is full of your glory.

The dying, the sick, the lonely and the forsaken are your special people, for you know the names of each, even as we call upon you, once again, to remember them

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts:
The whole earth is full of your glory.

Come Holy Spirit, come with your life-giving care and joy.


The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
you 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 forever.



Go on your way
for you and we
are God's children.

Get on your way,
brothers and sisters together,
because of Jesus who names and claims us all
as his beloved siblings.

Get yourself out of this sacred place,
pushed by the Spirit who blows when and where he will,
making all places sacred.

Go and do some more singing and talking,
laughing and crying,
hugging and holding,
by which you are strengthened
to be tellers of truth,
bearers of justice, offerers of resistance,
so becoming part of the great cloud of witnesses.

Go also to do some sleeping and resting,
anticipating tomorrow,
which will be another day
of God's wonderful surprises
and God's true successes.

And as you come to know him,
may God give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation,
may Christ Jesus lift up his hands and bless you,
and may the Spirit open to you all the riches of Christ’s inheritance.
This day and forever,


Church Notices

Although there are signs that the conditions of the lockdown are being eased, the church building continues to remain closed for services and gatherings. One we move the next stage of easing the lockdown, we may be in a position to hold open air services or within the church building subject to social distancing etc. In the meantime, all our activities are currently on-line:

Fellowship Group @ Tuesday evening at 7.00 pm, includes an informal Bible Study looking at Paul’s Letter to the Galatians.

Coffee Morning @ Thursday morning at 11.00 am

Evening Service @ Sunday evening at 7.00 pm.

Please contact Sean for the appropriate link to these meetings – no special apps or software required – at

Pastoral Care- please advise Sean of any pastoral matters. (tel. 07791 755976)