Our Minister Lis has shared the text of the service at Kendal URC on Sunday, 1st July 2012, as follows:


Rehearse  Gloria

Call to worship      John 1: 1-5

Hymn  45   Morning has broken


Ancient of everlasting days, God of love,

God who reigns on high, holy God,

we come to praise you,

we come to honour you,

we come to worship you.

We acknowledge your greatness, your majesty and your power,

but we know too that we can meet you as our friend and our brother

because in your greatness, you gave yourself to us.

You lived and died as we do – flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone.

Almighty God, you are one with us.

Powerful God, you love us and care for us.

Eternal God, be with us now as we worship you and learn more of you.


Prayer of Confession

We come to God knowing we have failed to love God and one another with our whole being, but we come also to a God who reaches out to us with healing and reconciliation.

Gracious God, we know we have not loved you with our whole heart, nor have we loved our neighbours as ourselves.

As we hope to be forgiven, teach us how to forgive and lead us forward in anew life where neither grudges nor resentment have a part; through JX our Lord. Amen

Gloria:     Iona one     64 CG

Family news      meal, anniversary, flower festival

Intro to theme     A quick spin through Genesis!

Genesis does not in many ways make for pleasant reading.

It includes incest, rape, seduction, murder, fratricide and patricide.

But looking beyond the sensationalism of some of the stories,

Genesis sets the scene for the story of God and God’s people;

how God is revealed to the people

and how they try to make sense of their experiences of God.

That’s why we’re following the whole Bible through….

to discover together the story of how God is revealed through the generations.

Genesis was written by several people over many years – some as late as exile.

So the writers try to make sense of how we all came to be here;

we meet Adam and Eve and try to understand sin and blame;

we read the story of Cain and Abel and learn about jealousy and murder;

We have the tale of Noah, the flood and the rainbow to help us understand about punishment and promise;

And the tower of Babel tries to explain diversity.

Then we meet Abraham – the father of the whole nation.

We read about him as a husband who pretends his wife is his sister in order to protect himself;

of his riches;

of how circumcision becomes the sign of God’s covenant with the people;

and of how God promised him he would have children as numerous as the stars in the sky.

We learn of how he and Sarah had a son when they were in their 90’s and then that he was prepared to sacrifice his precious, most wanted son Isaac

because he placed faithful obedience to God above everything else;

of how he just dumps his concubine Hagar and her son Ishmael in the desert.

All in all, we see that Abraham is not a particularly nice man but it is rich story –

describing Abraham’s obedience, faith, righteousness and covenant and shows us that to be chosen by God,

one does not have to be particularly nice or necessarily perfect.

But faithful.

How encouraging is that!

Abraham’s son Isaac had twin boys:

Esau the hairy one, and Jacob who wasn’t hairy but far more important.

We’re going to hear more about him in a while.

Jacob had 12 sons who became the 12 tribes of Israel

and his favourite son was…..?

He also had 1 daughter called Dinah….. now that’s a colourful story we don’t hear very often.

So I’ll tell it to you now.

Poor Dinah was raped by a man called Shechem. He loved her and wanted her, so he took her but also asked if he could marry her.

Her brothers sought revenge and this is how they did it:

They said there was no way they could let their sister marry into an uncircumcised family, but should all the  men in the tribe be circumcised, they could all live together happily and inter marry and all be jolly good friends.

So they agreed and all of them were circumcised.

And then, while they were still in pain and out of action,

Dinah’s brother’s attacked and killed them all and plundered their city.


But back to Joseph –  who was sold into slavery and went to Egypt,

Who saved his skin by interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams,

and then moved in the whole family during a famine after they came looking for food and re discovered their brother who they thought was long dead.

Thus the scene is set for the next chapter in the story of the people of Israel and their God…..                                                     581

Hymn  553    To Abraham and Sarah

Bible reading   Genesis   32: 22-32

Sermon    Wrestling and limping

I love this story of Jacob wrestling.

Not because it explains why his name was changed from Jacob to Israel nor why Jews don’t eat the thigh in a joint of meat,

but because it is about struggle and pain,

the discomfort of limping and the blessing that comes from it.

Let’s set the scene:

Jacob was the younger twin of Isaac and had deceived his father into giving him the blessing which by right, should have been Esau’s.

He then had to flee from Esau’s wrath to his uncle Laban who lived further east.

There he met Rachel by the well and fell in love…..

and ended up marrying her and her sister Leah.

And between them and their 2 maids he has- 12 sons.

He becomes a very successful shepherd and businessman

working for his uncle,

but after a 20 years he returns home to face his brother,

hoping that Esau might have cooled down and be prepared to accept him home.

At one point during his journey, Jacob has to camp in a ravine by the river Jabbok and there he wrestles all night with a stranger.

Doesn’t it always happen at night?

If there is anything to wrestle with, it is usually 10 times worse at night, isn’t it?

But Jacob hung on in there, even when it looked like he was losing.

His opponent played it tough too, by dislocating Jacob’s hip.

Now I know several of you know all about the pain a hip can give you, even a dislocated one!

So you might have some idea of the agony of this wrestling match.

But still Jacob clung on and would not give up until he had received a blessing from his opponent –

because by then, Jacob had realised he was wrestling with God.

You see, he hadn’t ever wrestled with God.

He had taken God for granted,

lived on the strength of his father’s blessing:

and got everything he wanted by hard work, deception or manipulation.

It’s a mysterious story in some ways,

but it speaks to me of the joys of wrestling.

And it encourages me when I am wrestling – as I do, very often.

Of course, we all wrestle with all sorts of things, don’t we?

I know I’ve set ourselves quite a task by choosing to think of a passage each month from a different book of the Bible,

without the prop of the lectionary resources,

of having a lot to read each week to keep up and then struggling to discover which passage is the one that tells us most about God’s revelation to us.

And I hope most earnestly that you too will take up the challenge

and be companions to me and each other

as we wrestle to not only find the time to keep up with the reading,

but also the challenges that new knowledge sometimes brings.

I have chosen this particular passage about Jacob as the one from Genesis because I know we are all struggling in some way or another.

We are struggling as a church with questions about our future and our building.

We are struggling with the fact that it feels as though Grange will be getting a new minister,

Carver already has one

but we’re not getting anything….

It doesn’t seem to matter how often the facts are explained that it’s not really like that – I do understand that that is how it feels

and those feelings are very real and a struggle.

This leaves me with a metaphorical limp too.

Things are said that hurt and I wrestle with how there can be a real sense of healing and wholeness

and a renewed optimism we are a church that is thriving

and going places.

Many of us have very real struggles with health and problems connected with ageing

and I hope we struggle too with questions of faith and spirituality and our relationship with God.

Most weeks, when I come to write a sermon,

I have to wrestle with the texts.

Not only is it a case of thinking what to say, but I have to believe it. And often I am pushed up against a wall,

with metaphorical hands of disbelieve and doubt around my throat

and I have to fight for all I’m worth

as things I have thought and believed are questioned.

And often I’m left with a metaphorical limp that takes some time to heal.

It’s a mark of the struggle and I have to adjust my thoughts

and learn new ways of doing things; of walking, if you like.

Studying the Bible and discovering more about God and our faith can have that effect

and if we choose to follow the plan and each decide to read and study the Bible together,

we might discover there are times when we need to wrestle a bit.

Jesus said that if we want to be his disciples and follow him we have to take up our cross…..

what’s a bit of struggle compared to that?


Then there are times when we wrestle with life and what it has thrown at us.

Like Jacob, we are all on a journey home,

having to face the effects and regrets of our past,

and coming to terms with them can be a struggle.

We try to wrestle with our darkest fears and usually we have to give up because it’s just too hard to stick with to them and fight them

because  wrestling dislocates our very joints,

the things that hold us together.

We try wrestle with things that offend our sense of justice;

with things that seem so unfair and out of order

and then these things make us question even our understanding of God’s love for us.

Why did God let this happen to me?

At these times, we find it so difficult to hang on in there and wrestle.

I know. I do.

So many things seem to be so unfair.

Or too difficult.

Or too painful.

Or just too much like hard work.

As a Christian community we have to wrestle with relationships…. Ones that are difficult because we have little in common with each other in terms of values or life style,

or ones that are difficult because of personality differences.

The effort required to love our neighbours often leaves us with something of a limp….

but it is the mark of our struggle.

Surely, it’s better to wrestle and limp than not even engage….

tempting tho’ it is to leave well alone.

I know, I’d much rather do that!

So, individually and as the community of KURC,

we have a few things we’ll be wrestling with for a while yet

and we’ll need to ask for God’s strength to help us through.

We may have to make difficult choices and sacrifices.

We may well end up limping.

But through all of these struggles, we know for sure,

because we learn it in the very first book of the Bible,

that God gives a blessing to those who struggle.

We will be blessed.                                                            1,178

Hymn   Night was falling on the trickster

as to exile Jacob fled;

lost, alone, in deep’ning darkness –

just a stone to rest his head.

Lord of kindness, light in darkness,

   rescue us from all we dread.


Night was falling as he journeyed,

ready to be reconciled;

but another, not his brother,

sought a struggle, dark and wild.

Lord of blessing wrest from darkness

    fight with each to be your child.


Sweat and struggle last ‘til daybreak;

trickster Jacob now has won.

God himself attacked and proved him;

blessed him as a chosen son.

Lord of blessing wrest from darkness

fight us ‘til your will is done.


Night is falling all around us

shadows shroud what once was clear.

Time for dreams or frantic wrestling? –

now’s the time we need You here –

Lord of kindness, Lord of challenge,

    light our darkness, cure our fear.


God who knows our inmost being

feels our needs and how we’ll grow,

grant new hope thro’ dreams & visions,

wrestle us – new life to show

Lord of kindness, Lord of challenge,

help us every way You know.

©John Campbell    tune: Rhuddlan 344


Prayers for others…..

God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, God of life

Come to all who struggle to live at all:

the poor, the hungry, the exploited, the neglected…….

Come to those who wrestle with the demons of

loneliness, desperation, ignorance and fear…..

give them your blessing


God of life

Come to all who are struggling with life

wounded, the sick, the suffering, the helpless…

come to those who are wrestling with the demons of

war, terrorism, violence and occupation.

give them your blessing


God of life

Come to all who are find it hard to struggle at all:

the tired, the stressed, the worried, and the depressed…..

give them your blessing

God of life: 

Come to us in KURC as we struggle to find your way ahead.

Come to all whose names are on our hearts at this time……

And give them your blessing.

We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen


The Invitation
Jesus invited all to the feast of peace.
Jesus risked everything in compassion.
Jesus made himself known to the disciples in the breaking of the bread.

Jesus promises to make himself known to us as we break bread together.

The Peace

The Story
On the night he was betrayed Jesus took a loaf of bread,
and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said,
“This is my body for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way he also took the cup after the meal, saying,
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”                      
Let us therefore break bread together, but before we do so,                              let us share the Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ with one another.


Prayer of Thanksgiving
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 right to give our thanks and praise.


God, you are before all things;
You are beyond all things;
And in the midst of all things and all peoples
you have made yourself known.

In Israel’s ancient codes and prophetic oracles,
in stories of women and men,
of communities and nations
seeking identity,
feeling their strength,
and struggling with their weakness
you have made yourself known.

In Jesus of Nazareth,
in compassion for the outcast, forgiveness for the fallen,
hope for the poor and hungry;
in his life poured out for others and broken in rejection and disdain
you have made yourself known.

Therefore we join our praises with countless men and women before us,
disciples and apostles, saints and martyrs,
acclaiming your power in goodness and your might in compassion,
as we say together                                                                                              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.

We greet the one who comes in your name,
your true light, your true love,
the bread of compassion,
the wine of renewal.

As he broke bread before the brokenness of his death,
as he poured out wine before his blood was poured out on the cross,
as he gave his life in acts of goodness,
as he invited all to the feast of new hope,
so come to us, God of Jesus, in your love.

Come to us, Spirit of our Lord of love,
and let the bread and wine before us
bear your life to our life,
nourish us with his vision of hope,
and unite us in one body of peace.

Nourish us with your brokenness,
Renew us with your poured out life,
Empower us with your powerlessness,
that we may take root in your risen life
and bear fruit in your world.


You are our life;
You are our hope;
You are our peace;
And we praise you.

The Lord’s Prayer

The Breaking and sharing

The bread which we break is an offering of life to us all.
The cup which we take is a celebration of love for us all.
The gifts of God for the people of God.

See, the broken life.        See, the life poured out.


Eat altogether             May Christ’s broken body give you life.
Christ’s life poured out give you hope.           Drink as receive

After Communion  We thank you, God of compassion,
that you have nourished us with the bread of life

and the wine of hope.
As in Christ your love flowed out to those around him,
so let your love flow through us to others.
As in Christ your life was broken,
so let your life meet us in our brokenness
and release hope in us and others,
through Jesus our hope and our life.   Amen


Hymn 96  Great is thy faithfulness

Blessing           May the love of God enfold you,

The wisdom of Christ enlighten you

and the fire of the Holy Spirit inflame you;

so may the blessing of God, Father, Son and Spirit

rest upon you and abide with you

now and for evermore       Amen

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