We are a friendly Christian church, based in the small town of
Neston, Wirral, Cheshire, midway between Liverpool and Chester.
Part of the United Reformed Church, we meet on Sundays for morning and evening worship and other church groups and activities take place during the week.
Revd. Hilary Smith
In common with other UK churches our buildings are currently closed for services and
other activities. But while our buildings are closed - the church congregation
is not! And in the meantime our minister, elders and members are keeping in touch
with each other, and each Sunday we are meeting for worship via the medium of Zoom,
following a service which is circulated each week.
This week’s service is added below and we invite you to
join us as we share this together in our own homes on Sunday mornings. If you would like
to receive future services, please contact us by email
We are part of the United Reformed Church and you may also like to follow the URC Daily Devotions which you can access through this link - https://devotions.urc.org.uk/ - or on the United Reformed Church Facebook page. The URC page also carries a weekly service in the form of a podcast.
We hope and pray that it will not be too long before we can welcome friends old and new back to regular services in our church, and we are looking forward to seeing you once again!
Good morning and welcome as we share worship together on this Trinity Sunday. Whether reading these notes or zooming, we pray God will be present and active and our time a spiritual blessing.
O God beyond us, give us faith. O Christ beside us, give us peace. O Spirit within us, give us life. Forever One, Sacred Three, Holy God, the Trinity.
For all the love that from our earliest days
Has gladdened life and guarded all our ways.
We bring Thee, Lord, our song of grateful praise,
For all the truth from wisdom’s lighted page,
Undimmed and pure, that shines from age to age,
God’s holy Word, our priceless heritage,
For all the joy that childhood’s days have brought,
For healthful lives and purity of thought,
For life’s deep meaning to our spirits taught,
For all the hope that sheds its glorious ray
Along the dark and unknown future way,
And lights the path to God’s eternal day,
For all the strength that has been gained through prayer,
To face life’s tasks, its,eager quests to share,
Till ampler powers fulfil its promise fair,
For Christ the Lord, our Saviour and our friend,
Upon whose love and truth our souls depend,
Our hope, our strength, our joy that knows no end
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! (L.J.E. Smith, 1879-1958)
“If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever – The Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him”. Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
“Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you ask me, “Where are you going?” Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away, unless I go awaythe Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father where you can see me no longer, and in regard to judgement, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. I have much more to say to you, more than you can bear. But when he, the Spirit of Truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you. In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”
Father we love You: We worship and adore You:
Glorify Your name in all the earth.
Glorify Your name, (3 times)
In all the earth.
Jesus we love You: We worship and adore You:
Glorify Your namein all the earth.
Glorify Your name,(3 times)
In all the earth.
Spirit, we love You: We worship and adore You:
Glorify Your namein all the earth.
Glorify Your name, (3 times)
In all the earth. (Donna Adkins, Word Music)
“Trinity” is a 2nd century term, absent in Scripture. The Bible has no finished Trinitarian statement, though the New Testament presents claims, practices, events, and problems from which the Early Church Fathers crystallised the doctrinein succeeding centuries. Though modern minds still wrestle for a fuller understanding of God in three Persons.
St. Patrick, when explaining the Trinity to new hearers, is said to have taken a shamrock, one leaf and yet three distinct leaves, to illustrate the Doctrine. Others have taken water, ice, steam as further illustrations.
I want to take a reference of St. Paul, which churches use almost every week as a blessing; It’s in 2 Corinthians 13:14. He speaks about “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit”
It was along the line of personal experience, the plain fact of his own soul’s history, that made him say that. He could not say all that is contained for him in the word “God”, until he had said, “Father, Son, Spirit”. It was the same for most of the early Christians.
Firstly, The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Do you recall painting with numbers, where rigid lines and numbers indicated the colours and spaces to be used? We often live like that. Peter, you recall, asked Jesus, “how many times must I forgive my brotherwho sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus’ reply suggested he scrap his bookkeeping attitude and show grace. Jesus was not mathematical in His attitude to others. He was generous, open hearted, hoping the highest and the best result.He drew a circle that included those whom society pushed to the margins or shutout completely:Zacchaeus a tax collector, Leprosysufferers, the Woman of Samariaof questionable morality.
Robert Farrow Capon wrote, “If the world could have been saved by good bookkeeping, it would have been saved by Moses, not Jesus”.
Trying to define “grace” Philip Yancey, an American author who writes theology in understandable style defines grace like this: “Grace means there is nothing more we can do to make God love us more, and there is nothing we can do to make God love us less”God loves us even before we try to convince Him of our love. God loves us even after we think our links with Him are severed.
When grace takes over there is a “wow factor” evident in experience. John Newton’s Hymn: “Amazing grace” is testimony to that. So is Charles Wesley’s line, “My chains fell off, my heart was free”. It was true too in the experience of a retired army major who came to faith in our church in Burnham-on-Sea and said publicly, “The Bible takes my breath away” Why? Because he had read the Gospels, on my advice, and had discovered the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul then continues “…and the love of God”.
Follow the sequence. It is through his experience of the grace of the Son of God, that Paul reaches his conclusion about the love of the Father. As John says in his one of his Letters, “This is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and gave His Son in sacrifice for us” That is pivotal to our understanding of God.
Paul Brunner, a German theologian declared, “The world with a thousand fingers points to God, but it does not reveal Him”. Only Jesus truly revealsGod, and that revelation is love, salvation, and hope.
That mercy and compassion Paul discovered on the Damascus Road in Jesus Christ, he now traces back into the very pattern of the universe. He has found the vantage point of history. The piece of the jigsaw that tells him, in the words of Faber, the hymnwriter, that “the heart of the Eternal is most wonderfully kind”
We do not discover the missing piece of the jigsaw in nature, described by Tennyson as “Red in tooth and claw”. We do not find it in man either, though made in God’s image. Granted there is still much in man that is praiseworthy and positive – evidence of God’s design. But the history of man shows us how blurred and faded that image has become. God’s love and forgivenessis needed to restore us to our true image.
Karl Barth, a renowned theologian, visited the University of Chicago. Students and scholars crowded around him. At a Press Conference, one asked, “Dr.Barth, what is the most profound truth you have learned in your studies?”. Without hesitation he replied, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so”
Unless the Crucified is God, unless He is God sharing our situation and taking my grievances, and understanding my weakness, unless He is doing battle against the evil and brutal scenes we call our modern world, unless He is that, I am no nearer a loving Father. That is why Paul starts with the “Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” and then through that truth proceeds to “the love of the Father”.
“…and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit” – that is Paul’s final sentence.
Jesus sensed the fear of the disciples when He spoke about leaving them. His answer to such fear was to speak of a “Counsellor” who would be with them forever. They would not be orphaned! The Greek word “parakaleo” has within it the image of one who will be alongside us to help. Our mission is to represent Jesus’ love and salvation to the world. So “we go forth not so much for Him as with Him”.
At a personal level we are given the fruit of the Spirit: “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control”. These characteristics of our nature mirror the very nature of Jesus:what He represents, and what the world needs for wholeness.
At a community level in the life of the Church we possess the gifts of the Spirit. The gifts are different but have oneSource – the Holy Spirit. And, says 1 Corinthians, “they are given for the common good” – fellowship. God’s purpose is to unify – to bring together. We are to mirror in our life together as Christians a quality of lifefull of love, forgiveness, and unity.
God’s Spirit is at work in the world. We must recognise anyattempts towards fellowship and unity evident in our communities and the world, come alongside them, and encourage them, and support them.These are moves towards God’s kingdom coming and His will being done on earth.
God in three Persons. That is what we find God to be within our own experience. But more than that. We also find this is how God has shown Himself to us: Son, Father, Spirit. So we see, the Trinity is not a mere invention of man: it is God’s way of showing Himself to us and His world.
“I bind unto myself today, The strong name of the Trinity”. That is how St. Patrick put it many years ago. But we can still say it today. And if we really mean it, it will not be merely an empty formula, it will tell us, and it will tell others that we desire to know God as He desires to be known.
Gracious God, we pray for the created world: for those who rebuild where things have been destroyed, for those who fight hunger and poverty and disease: for
those who have power to bring change for the better and to renew hope.
We pray for people in need: those for whom life is a bitter struggle; those whose lives are clouded by death or loss, by pain or disability, by discouragement or fear, by shame or rejection.
We pray for the Church in its stand for the poor, in its love for the outcast and the ashamed, in its service to the sick and the neglected, in its proclamation of the Gospel, in this land and in our community.
In the life of our world, in the lives of those in need, in the life of yourchurch, your kingdom come, O Lord,Your will be done. (from “Gathering for Worship” B.U.G.B.)
Amazing grace (how sweet the sound)
that saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
As grace first taught my heart to fear
So grace my fears relieved,
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
God’s grace has brought me safe thus far,
And he will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures;
And, when this heart and flesh shall fail
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil
A life of joy and peace.
John Newton (1725-1807) altd.
Why not come and join us for one of our services - you will be very welcome and we look forward to meeting you.