Our worship together is in the name of the + Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen

Service audio

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you:

              and also with you.

Hymn:  God forgave my sin in Jesus name  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5XLy26Ot50

Let us pray

              Almighty God, to whom all hearts are 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 Christ our Lord.  Amen.


              Brothers and sisters, as we prepare to celebrate, let us call to mind our sins.

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.

              Almighty God, who forgives all who truly repent,
have mercy upon you, +pardon and deliver you from all your sins,
confirm and strengthen you in all goodness, and keep you in life eternal;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


              Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his 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.

Let us pray

Almighty God, you have broken the tyranny of sin and have sent the Spirit of your Son into our hearts whereby we call you Father: give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service, that we and all creation may be brought to the glorious liberty of the children of God; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.  Amen

Jeremiah 28:5-9 

Jeremiah reading

 Then the prophet Jeremiah replied to the prophet Hananiah before the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the Lord. He said, “Amen! May the Lord do so! May the Lord fulfill the words you have prophesied by bringing the articles of the Lord’s house and all the exiles back to this place from Babylon. Nevertheless, listen to what I have to say in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people: From early times the prophets who preceded you and me have prophesied war, disaster and plague against many countries and great kingdoms. But the prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the Lord only if his prediction comes true.”

This is the Word of the Lord  Thanks be to God

Romans 6: 12-end

Romans reading

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.   Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.  For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!  Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?  But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance.  You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness.  When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.  What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!  But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This is the Word of the Lord  Thanks be to God

Hymn:  O for a heart to praise my God  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MWRgPxwtMs

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew

Matthew reading

Glory to you, O Lord.

Jesus said to the twelve: “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

 Praise to you, O Christ.


Sermon audio

We’re going to talk today about slavery.  Not because it is a hot topic at the moment, and not just because the Apostle Paul uses the notion of slavery in an extraordinary way in the passage we have just read, and not because the Matthew text is more than a little obscure.  No, it is purely a vehicle for a very old joke.  St Augustine was walking through the slave market in Rome one day when he spotted some very fair, pale-skinned slaves.  When he asked where they were from, the reply was, “Sunt Angli”, to which the saint retorted, “non Angli sed angeli”, which, being translated, means, “not Anglians but Anglicans.”

Actually, we are going to talk about slavery, because we must.  There is a daily conversation now about the legacy of slavery, of which our nation was the foremost in its development in the 18th century, and the legacy of colonialism, of which our nation was also the foremost in its development in the 18th & 19th century until it was dismantled in the 20th.  It is inescapable, and we must confront it, and it is constantly before us when we read our Bibles, so we must fully understand it if we are to approach our God in worship and service.

There is a major difference between slavery in Jesus & Paul’s day and the 18th century.  Yes, it was institutionalised in the ancient world, and yes it was unutterably wicked, but it was not industrialised as it was in the 18th century.   Estimates of slaves in the ancient world vary, but it could rise to as high as 50% of the population in moments of extreme stress like famines, but it could also fall as low as 20% in times of prosperity.  Slaves in the Graeco-Roman world could buy their freedom, and most were encouraged to do so.  Slave owners in the Caribbean and the southern states of America had no intention of enabling that to happen until forced to by law.

So what exactly is a slave?  A slave is human property – a human being who belongs to someone else, in the same way as we own a car.  They could be bought in the same way as we would buy food or clothes, and their owner could then sell them on, as we can with any of our possessions. 

Paul takes what is a commonplace experience for the congregation in Rome and uses it to describe both our relationship to sin and our relationship to God.  The difference is not that the slave has been transferred from one form of ownership to another, it is that God has intervened to break the slave link to sin, and to liberate us to righteousness.  Why?  Because he loves us.  Because he wants to.  After much too-ing and fro-ing, Paul reaches his great conclusion: “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”.  Note the difference – sin produces wages, but God offers life as a gift to us in Jesus Christ.

The freeing of a slave was called “manumission” – literally, the giving of a hand.  While a slave, no physical contact would happen between slave and master.  Once free, hands could be clasped.  Paul is saying that in Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection, God is extending his hand to us, to set us free.  That hand is forever extended to us, and we grasp it when we confess and are forgiven, when we pray, when we worship, when we feel the Spirit’s power at work in us.

We who have been freed from such a slavery are therefore called to do several things.  Firstly, people need to know that God is offering his hand to them in love and grace, and they need to see that grace at work in us and hear about that love from us.  Secondly, we are to walk in that freedom with responsibility, so that we do not surrender our freedom for slavery to sin.  Thirdly, we are to reflect this liberating God to the world. 

Which one of those challenges us the most?  The Gospel passage has much to say about that.  Jesus is preparing his disciples for mission, for going out to preach this liberating love of God and to demonstrate it by liberating people from all sorts of disease and physical oppression.  Last week we read Jesus’s words about division.  This week we read Jesus’s words about reward – but what sort of reward is on offer?  A prophet’s reward? Think of Jeremiah, who burnt inwardly if he didn’t speak, and was mocked and ill-treated if he did speak.  That is not too enticing a reward, is it?!  And the cup of cold water offered to one of these little ones gets you known as a disciple – a follower of Jesus, a member of a feared and often outlawed cult within 1st century Palestine.  That’s no great reward either – that way persecution lies.

It is the same with embracing our slaving and colonial past.  We did not do these things, and we can possibly claim that none of our forbears were involved in any of it either, but we cannot ignore its effect and its continuing influence in our world, and the privileges we enjoy do take some of their origins in past evils.  But we can look for positive examples of dealing with this legacy, and perhaps the best for us here is the Barn Church.  The families who gave both the building and the land on which the Barn is built were bankers, who supported Wilberforce financially as he laboured to get his anti-slavery legislation through parliament.  Once that was achieved, they turned their attention to churches.  The growing working class in London could not afford to pay pew rent in the older churches so they had to stand all the way through services.  The Hoare family built new churches which were not dependent on pew rent, and the Barn is the last in a long line of such inclusive and liberating buildings.

Money can be clean, wealth can be used for good rather than evil, conscience can triumph over evil.  May God give us grace to rejoice in his free gift of eternal life, that we may live that liberated life in his world, and commend his love to everyone we meet.

Prayers – with thanks to Paul Gregorowski

Intercessions audio

Lord open our eyes so that we may see our sisters and brothers throughout the world.  Open our ears so that we may hear the cries of the hungry, the lonely and the hurt.  Open our hearts so that we may care for the frightened, the oppressed and the poor.  Help us to trust in your inexhaustible love so that we may be freed from our insecurities and fears to become as generous, forgiving and kind as you wish us to be.


Please bless your Church worldwide and in Kew. May we be true to your command to love one another and to spread your joy in the world.   Bless all church leaders and heal the divisions that hurt you and hinder your work. Be with Father Peter, Michael and Richard and all who serve you at the Barn and

St Luke’s as we look forward to the day when we can all worship together again.  And please bless all our children, in Junior Church, the nursery and Green Park School. You spoke of them as the kingdom of Heaven. Let us remember your words.


Lord please bless your world at this time of crisis and fear. Be with those affected by the Corona Virus, all refugees, asylum seekers and political prisoners, all those living under dictatorships or with the threat of famine and war, and all those without hope. Touch the hearts of all leaders so that your rule of love may prevail. Bless the Holy Land and all other nations that desperately need your help at this time.  And we pray for racial justice throughout the world. Let us each hold up to God any country or cause that we care about and which particularly needs our prayers. Please be with them Lord. And when this

is all over may we use the lessons of this disaster to work for a better and fairer world.


Lord please bless our neighbours in Kew. May we be a true community.  Protect the little businesses at risk. Be with the doctors, nurses and carers who show such incredible courage and devotion to us all. And

please be with all those who find the lockdown a terrible trial.


Lord of the cross please bless all who are sick or suffering at this time. Hold them, comfort them and bring them peace, and bless those who care for them. Today we pray especially for Julia Holboro, Annie Kunz, Gill Risso-Gill, Luci Mitchell-Fry, Joan Pritchard, Johanna Procter, Kevin Willoughby, Max Weston


Risen Lord we commend to your boundless mercy all those who have died, and we pray for those who mourn. Today we pray for Mary Smith, Pattie Johnson, Norma Williams,  Eric Ewington, Ted Wheadon, Graham Foulis Brown. And in a moment of silence we remember all those whom we love who have died before.  Lord hold them in your everlasting arms.


We end with a prayer by a priest in South Africa during the apartheid years, as topical now as it ever was. Lord let the world be changed for I long to see the end of poverty and fear.

Let kindness prevail for I long to see justice for the broken and oppressed.

Let my life be changed for I long to bring hope where it is needed most.

Trusting in your love I wait in confidence for the day when you make all things new.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son Our Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.

Hymn:  The God of Abraham praise  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZZAp7FzwXg

The Peace

Christ is our peace. 

              He has reconciled us to God

              in one body by the Cross.

              We meet in his name and share his peace.

The peace of the Lord be always with you: and also with you.

              Be present, be present, Lord Jesus Christ, Our risen high priest;

Make yourself known in the breaking of bread

Hymn:  Take my life and let it be  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gf11rReeWIs

              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.

It is indeed right, it is our duty and our joy, at all times and in all places to give you thanks and praise, holy Father, heavenly King, almighty and eternal God, through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.  Therefore with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven, we sing for ever of your glory.

              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.

              As our Saviour taught us, so we pray

              Our Father, who art in heaven,

              hallowed be thy name;

              thy kingdom come;

              thy will be done;

              on earth as it is in heaven.

              Give us this day our daily bread.

              And forgive us our trespasses,

              as we forgive those who trespass against us.

              And lead us not into temptation;

              But deliver us from evil.

              For thine is the kingdom,

              the power and the glory,

              for ever and ever.      



The love of the Lord Jesus draw you to himself,
the power of the Lord Jesus strengthen you in his service,
the joy of the Lord Jesus fill your hearts;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the +Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be with you and those you love, today and always.  Amen.

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

Hymn:   Brother, sister, let me serve you  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlNoxoOocZs

BACH – VIVALDI, Organ Concerto in D minor, BWV 596https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FavXFkhfFM