A service of Reflection for Corpus Christi, 9th June.


Beloved in Christ, on this day we pause
to give thanks once more for the gift of Christ’s body, 
made tangible for us in Holy Communion.
Unusually we are not able to gather in celebration of the Eucharist today.
Therefore let us read and mark in holy scripture 
the tales of heavenly bread and of Jesus’s saving sacrifice.
But first, let us pray for the needs of the whole world:
for compassion on earth and forgiveness among all his people; 
for unity and kinship within the Church. 
And because in his body he bore our sufferings on the cross, 
let us remember, in his name, the poor and hopeless,
the denied, the aggressed, and the betrayed; 
those in agony and them that mourn, 
those accused of crimes and those imprisoned, 
the dying and the bereaved. 
Lastly, let us remember before God 
all the people who are hungry,
all who are thirsty and all who feel alone and abandoned this day . 
These prayers and praises let us humbly offer up to the throne of heaven, 
in the words which Christ himself hath taught us:

Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come; thy will be done, in Earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen. 

The Value of Diligence

Ecclesiastes 11:1–8

Send out your bread upon the waters,
for after many days you will get it back.
Divide your means seven ways, or even eight,
for you do not know what disaster may happen on earth.
When clouds are full,
they empty rain on the earth;
whether a tree falls to the south or to the north,
in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie.
Whoever observes the wind will not sow;
and whoever regards the clouds will not reap.

Just as you do not know how the breath comes to the bones in the mother’s womb, so you do not know the work of God, who makes everything.

In the morning sow your seed, and at evening do not let your hands be idle; for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.


The Lord has heard your complaining

Exodus 16:9–15

Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, “Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.” ’ And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked towards the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. The Lord spoke to Moses and said, ‘I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, “At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.” ’

In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.


PSALM 116.1-11

I love the Lord, because he has heard the voice of my supplication,*
because he has inclined his ear to me whenever I called upon him.
The cords of death entangled me;
the grip of the grave took hold of me;* I came to grief and sorrow.
Then I called upon the name of the Lord:*
‘O Lord, I pray you, save my life.’
Gracious is the Lord and righteous;*
our God is full of compassion.

The Lord watches over the innocent;*
I was brought very low, and he helped me.
Turn again to your rest, O my soul,*
for the Lord has treated you well.

For you have rescued my life from death,*
my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling.
I will walk in the presence of the Lord*
in the land of the living.

I believed, even when I said, ‘I have been brought very low.’*
In my distress I said, ‘No one can be trusted.’
How shall I repay the Lord*
for all the good things he has done for me?

I will lift up the cup of salvation*
and call upon the name of the Lord.
Eternal God, faithful in your tender compassion, you give us hope for our life here and hereafter through the victory of your only Son. When we share his cup of salvation, revive in us the joy of this everlasting gift. We ask this in his name. Amen.

Who do people say that
the Son of Man is?

Matthew 16:13–20

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’ Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.


The living bread
that came down from heaven

John 6:51–58

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’

The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live for ever.’


Works of the Flesh and
Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:16–24

Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.


We who are many are one body

1 Corinthians 10:16–17

The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.



I am the bread of life,
anyone who comes to me shall not hunger,
anyone who believes in me shall never thirst.
Alleluia. Lord, give us this bread always.

The bread of God comes down from heaven,
and gives life to the world.
Alleluia. Lord, give us this bread always.

Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life
and I will raise them up on the last day.
Alleluia. Lord, give us this bread always.

It is the Spirit that gives life; the flesh is of no avail.
The words I speak, they are spirit and they are life.
Alleluia. Lord, give us this bread always.


Gracious God, you know all persons in their deepest being and love them in their brokenness. Grant us the grace to recognise each person to whom you introduce us as unique, precious and sacred. By the power of your spirit form our community into a sign that love is possible, revealing your goodness, compassion and forgiveness in our daily lives. As we seek to remember that Jesus came to dismantle the walls between the Strong and the Marginalised, so that all may have life in fullness. help us to trust in your truth, that the essential value of a person lies in the simplicity of their hearts. Amen.


O God, your Son Jesus Christ has left us this meal of bread and wine in which we share his body and his blood. May we who celebrate this sign of his great love show in our lives the fruits of his redemption; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the silent hours of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this fleeting world may rest in your eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 


The almighty and most merciful Lord guard us and give us his blessing. Amen

The service is ended.

A priest and poet in the Scottish Episcopal Church, exploring the workings of the Holy Spirit in Banchory .