Monthly Archives: October 2020

Sunday service for 25th October 2020

For those who cannot come to St Mary’s for Richard Grosse’s Final service this Sunday

This service is very kindly provided by Revd Canon Alison Peden, our Interim Pastor

Pentecost 21  October 25th   2020

Commanded to love?

Preparation:  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

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: the first commandment is this:
“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love
the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul,
with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this:  “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.       Amen.  Lord, have mercy.

Gloria:   Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s 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

Collect:   O Lord, in your mercy: grant to your faithful people pardon and peace; that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve you with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen

Reading:  Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.  You shall not render an unjust judgement; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbour. You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbour: I am the Lord.  You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbour, or you will incur guilt yourself. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself: I am the Lord.

Gospel:    Matthew 22:34-46
When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. ‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’
Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: ‘What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?’ They said to him, ‘The son of David.’ He said to them, ‘How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying,  “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand,    until I put your enemies under your feet’ ”? If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?’ No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

Reflection:  
We are getting used to trying to summarise what is most important in a raft of commands:  ‘Hands, face, space’  or ‘Test and protect’.  The Jewish law was wide and complex, touching many areas of daily life. The summary Jesus gave was Biblical and well-known, and is now prayed at every Eucharist.

The summary of the Law is still a commandment.  But can you command someone to love?  That seems to go against our common understanding of love as an emotion, a feeling in our hearts.  It can be a bit daunting to say ‘yes’ to the question, ‘Do you(really) love God?’  or ‘Do you (truly) love your neighbour?’  We may quite like them, or even love them sometimes, but is that the same as real love?

We may be able to say ‘actions speak louder than words’.  This is what the wife, Golde, says to her husband, Tevye, in the musical Fiddler on the Roof  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_y9F5St4j0 ) when he asks ‘Do you love me?’:
          For twenty-five years I’ve washed your clothes, cooked your
          meals, cleaned your house, given you children, milked the cow. 
          … if that’s not love, what is?’

Yet it’s not just that loving deeds prove our love; it’s also the case that if you commit to loving actions, your love will grow.  The commandments draw us into a pattern of living that increases our love:  if we honour our family, we find we care more and more for them;  if we respect our neighbours – as our first reading prescribes, by not slandering them or bearing grudges – we find that we actually do care about their welfare and maybe even love them.

And if we commit to prayer, worship, communing with God in Christ, our love of God will grow through the power of the Spirit, so that we can love our neighbour even more, because we love those whom God loves, cherished children as we are of one Father.

You might like to pause with this chant from Taizé, which is sung at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vvfr_2euIFo

                      Ubi caritas et amor, ubi caritas, Deus ibi est.
                      (Where charity and love are …  there is God)

Prayers:   From the Church of Scotland
Holy God, who gave your Law to Moses, and who personified your Law of love in Jesus your Son, as Jesus reached out to those on the margins, so now in our prayers we do likewise:

We pray for all who have little love in their lives – those who are lonely and afraid, those who are addicted and trapped, those who grieve and mourn, those whose relationships have shattered into a thousand shards.   God of love, help us to hold them close.

We pray for those who love the wrong things – those for whom money or possessions are “god” and where greed has taken over, those who love only for gaining the approval of others, flattery, or power, those who can only love self and where bitterness or hurt has made them inward-looking. God of love, help us to unlock their hearts.

We pray for those who love so much that they give themselves totally – those who are persecuted for truth or oppressed because they take a stand for justice; those who face discrimination because of skin colour, gender, sexuality or class; those who strive tirelessly for the Good News of Jesus, often facing hostility or apathy from others.
God of love, help us to work in solidarity with them.

And now we pray for those most in our hearts, for whom we know special love and concern …  
God of love, help us to trust your compassionate and infinite love for them.

God of Love, hear our prayers spoken and unspoken, and receive them in Your grace and mercy, through Jesus, our loving Saviour.  Amen

The Great Thanksgiving
Let us lift up our hearts and give thanks to the Lord our God,
for it is right to give our thanks and praise.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord;
Hosanna in the highest!

Worship and praise belong to you, Father, in every place and at all times.  All power is yours. You created the heavens and established
the earth; you sustain in being all that is.
In Christ your Son our life and yours are brought together in a wonderful exchange. He made his home among us that we might
for ever dwell in you. Through your Holy Spirit you call us to new birth
in a creation restored by love.

As children of your redeeming purpose we offer you our praise,
with angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven,
singing the hymn of your unending 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.

Glory and thanksgiving be to you, most loving Father, for the gift of your Son born in human flesh. He is the Word existing beyond time, both source and final purpose, bringing to wholeness all that is made.
Obedient to your will he died upon the Cross. By your power
you raised him from the dead. He broke the bonds of evil and
set your people free to be his Body in the world.
On the night when he was given up to death, knowing that his hour had come, having loved his own, he loved them to the end. At supper with his disciples he took bread and offered you thanks. He broke the bread, and gave it to them, saying: “Take, eat. This is my Body: it is broken for you.” After supper, he took the cup, he offered you thanks, and gave it to them saying: “Drink this, all of you. This is my Blood of the new covenant; it is poured out for you, and for all, that sins may be forgiven. Do this in remembrance of me.”

We now obey your Son’s command. We recall his blessed Passion and death, his glorious resurrection and ascension; and we look for the coming of his Kingdom. Made one with him, we offer you ourselves, a single, holy, living sacrifice. Hear us, most merciful Father, and send your Holy Spirit upon us that, overshadowed by his life-giving power, we may be kindled with the fire of your love and renewed for the service of your Kingdom.
Help us, who are baptised into the fellowship of Christ’s Body to live and work to your praise and glory; may we grow together in unity and love until at last, in your new creation, we enter into our heritage in the company of the Virgin Mary, the apostles and prophets, and of all our brothers and sisters living and departed.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be to you, Lord of all ages,
world without end. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer:   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.   Amen.

The Communion:   draw close to Christ in spirit and thanksgiving,
and be nourished by his presence with you and within you. 

Closing prayer:    Almighty God, who gave the Law through Moses, and grace and mercy in Jesus Christ:   grant, we pray, that this law of love may be so written upon our hearts, that whatever we do in your name, we do humbly; whatever we seek in your Kingdom, we seek faithfully; and whatever we give of ourselves, we give lovingly; through the servant King, Jesus, our Saviour.  Amen

Love is the gift of the Holy Spirit, prayed forin our first prayer, and          in this hymn which was sung at Dunblane Cathedral as part of Songs
of Praise  – see
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIvKDgktutI

Come down, O love divine, seek thou this soul of mine,
and visit it with thine own ardour glowing;
O Comforter, draw near, within my heart appear,
and kindle it, Thy holy flame bestowing.

O let it freely burn, ‘til earthly passions turn
to dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
and let thy glorious light shine ever on my sight,
and clothe me round, the while my path illuming.

And so the yearning strong, with which the soul will long,
shall far outpass the power of human telling;
for none can guess its grace, till they become the place
wherein the Holy Spirit finds a dwelling.

Sunday service for 18th October 2020 – St Luke

We are very grateful to Revd. Canon Alison Peden who has provided this service for you to follow if you cannot come to St Mary’s on Sunday

      St Luke   October 18th 2020  

         Praise the Lord, all you saints!

   Praise the Lord, you heavenly hosts!

   So great a cloud of witnesses surrounds us.

       They witness to God’s mighty acts.

         They witness to God’s steadfast love.

                                       Their witness guides us in our faith.

      Give thanks to God for St. Luke, the Evangelist,

      who tells of Christ’s healing power.

      Sing praise to God, sing praises.
      Sing praise and thanks for all God’s saints.

Tradition tells us that St. Luke was the son of pagan parents, possibly born a slave, and was a doctor by profession.  Legend has that he was also a painter who may have done portraits of Jesus and his mother, but none have ever been correctly attributed to him. St. Luke travelled with St. Paul and evangelized Greece and Rome with him, being there for the shipwreck and other perils of the voyage to Rome. St. Luke wrote a Gospel and an account of the early Church in the Acts of the Apostles. He was said to have been martyred by hanging from an olive tree.

Prayer:  Almighty God, who inspired your servant Luke the physician to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of your Son: Graciously continue in your Church this love and power to heal, to the praise and glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Reading:  Ecclesiasticus 38:1-4,6-10,12-14Honour physicians for their services, for the Lord created them;
for their gift of healing comes from the Most High, and they are rewarded by the king.  The skill of physicians makes them distinguished, and in the presence of the great they are admired.
The Lord created medicines out of the earth,  and the sensible will not despise them.  And he gave skill to human beings that he might be glorified in his marvellous works. By them the physician heals and takes away pain; the pharmacist makes a mixture from them.
God’s works will never be finished; and from him health spreads over all the earth.
My child, when you are ill, do not delay, but pray to the Lord, and he will heal you.  Give up your faults and direct your hands rightly, and cleanse your heart from all sin. Then give the physician his place, for the Lord created him;    do not let him leave you, for you need him.
There may come a time when recovery lies in the hands of physicians, for they too pray to the Lord that he will grant them success in diagnosis and in healing, for the sake of preserving life.

Gospel:  Luke 4:14-21
Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.
When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
   because he has anointed me
     to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
   and recovery of sight to the blind,
     to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’

Reflection:  At this time especially, we appreciate the qualities that make good doctors.  I often wonder if St Paul (who suffered from bad health and poor eyesight) was glad for to have the physician St Luke’s company on missionary journeys.  What can we gather about Luke’s qualities from what he wrote and others reported about him?

The first is that St Luke took people as they were, particularly if they were ‘outsiders.’  He was the only gospel-writer who recorded the parable of the Good Samaritan, and the stories of the grateful leper and the penitent woman who bathed Jesus’ feet with her tears.

Next, he focussed on the healing aspects of the gospel:  mercy (the parable of the Prodigal Son);  hope (the joy in heaven of the poor man Lazarus after his death);  and a vision of the Kingdom (Mary’s triumphant song, the Magnificat).  He wanted to convey Jesus’ promise of salvation for the whole person.

Then, he stuck by Paul to the end and did not give up. Paul was imprisoned in Rome, where he was executed.  In 2 Timothy 4:10-11, we hear how everyone had left Paul, and ‘only Luke is with me’. 

The best doctors, nurses and care staff treat everyone equally, offer the kind of reassurance that is healing, and stick by those in their care as long as they need them.  And the best kind of Christians should do the same kind of thing, because it is truly Christ-like.

Prayers:
Gracious God,giver of wisdom, pour out your gifts on politicians, civil servants and managers of the health service, especially at this time when the responsibilities for our health that they shoulder are so heavy.   Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of healing, we thank you for all whom you bless with your gifts of compassion, knowledge and healing skills, especially the doctors, nurses, therapists, and support staff of the health service, those who work in hospices and those who serve in care homes. May they be channels of healing to those who suffer, in body, mind and spirit, and themselves find strength, support and encouragement.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Compassionate God, we hold before you all those in need of healing and comfort, especially those who have asked for our prayers …  calm the anxious mind, bring balm to the depressed spirit, and strengthen the weakened body, that all who suffer may know your presence surrounding and holding them.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of our salvation, you call your Church to bring good news to the poor, health to the sick, and reconciliation to the troubled. Hear our prayers for chaplains in the Health Service, and give us the grace to give hope to all who long to hear of your promises.
Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen

The Great Thanksgiving
Let us lift up our hearts and give thanks to the Lord our God,
for it is right to give our thanks and praise.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord;
Hosanna in the highest!

It is indeed right and good that we should give you praise, thanks and glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
He is the promise of justice and hope, putting the powerful in their place and lifting up the lowly. He came as light and life to those who sat in darkness and the shadow of death, your revelation to the nations and glory for your people Israel. He went about healing and doing good, and with his death accomplished the world’s salvation.
He sends the Spirit on his people, that they too may bring good news to the poor, healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, and proclaiming the good news of life and joy, that all creation might hear and rejoice, as with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven, we sing:

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.

Glory and thanksgiving be to you, most loving Father, for the gift of your Son born in human flesh. He is the Word existing beyond time, both source and final purpose, bringing to wholeness all that is made.
Obedient to your will he died upon the Cross. By your power
you raised him from the dead. He broke the bonds of evil and
set your people free to be his Body in the world.
On the night when he was given up to death, knowing that his hour had come, having loved his own, he loved them to the end. At supper with his disciples he took bread and offered you thanks. He broke the bread, and gave it to them, saying: “Take, eat. This is my Body: it is broken for you.” After supper, he took the cup, he offered you thanks, and gave it to them saying: “Drink this, all of you. This is my Blood of the new covenant; it is poured out for you, and for all, that sins may be forgiven. Do this in remembrance of me.”

We now obey your Son’s command. We recall his blessed Passion and death, his glorious resurrection and ascension; and we look for the coming of his Kingdom. Made one with him, we offer you ourselves, a single, holy, living sacrifice. Hear us, most merciful Father, and send your Holy Spirit upon us that, overshadowed by his life-giving power, we may be kindled with the fire of your love and renewed for the service of your Kingdom.
Help us, who are baptised into the fellowship of Christ’s Body to live and work to your praise and glory; may we grow together in unity and love until at last, in your new creation, we enter into our heritage in the company of the Virgin Mary, the apostles and prophets, St Luke and all our brothers and sisters living and departed.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be to you, Lord of all ages,
world without end. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer:   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.   Amen.

The Communion:   draw close to Christ in spirit and thanksgiving,
and be nourished by his presence with you and within you. 

Closing prayer:    The peace of God which passes all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his son, Christ Jesus our Lord: and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among us and remain with us always.  Amen.

St Luke records Mary’s song of praise when her cousin Elizabeth greeted the Messiah in her womb, and it is sung here in a version by Bernadette Farrell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15AccZAcdpk

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit sings to God, my saving God, who on this day above all others favoured me,
and raised me up, a light for all to see.
Through me great deeds will God make manifest, and all the earth will come to call me blest. Unbounded love and mercy sure will
I proclaim for all who know and praise God’s holy name.
God’s mighty arm, protector of the just, will guard the weak and
raise them from the dust. But mighty kings will swiftly fall from thrones corrupt; the strong brought low, the lowly lifted up.
Soon will the poor and hungry of the earth be richly blest, be given greater worth, and Israel, as once foretold to Abraham, will live in peace throughout the promised land.
All glory be to God, Creator blest, to Jesus Christ, God’s love made manifest, and to the Holy Spirit, gentle Comforter, all glory be,
both now and ever more.

Sunday service for 11th October 2020

We are very grateful to our Interim Pastor, Revd Canon Alison Peden, who provides this service for you to follow should you be unable to come to Church this Sunday

Pentecost 18  October 11th  2020

 What – or Who – do you have in your mind?

Preparation:  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

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: the first commandment is this:
“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love
the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul,
with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this:  “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.       Amen.  Lord, have mercy.

Gloria:   Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s 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

Collect:   O Lord, since without you we cannot please you: let the work of your mercy in all things guide our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.  Amen

Reading:   Philippians 4:1-9
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for,
my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.
I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 
Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

Gospel:  Matthew 22:1-14
Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: 
‘The kingdom of heaven has been compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. 
Again he sent other slaves, saying, “Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.” But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, maltreated them, and killed them. 
The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, “The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.” 
Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, “Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?” And he was silent. 
Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” For many are called, but few are chosen.’

Reflection:   A couple of weeks ago, we pondered the ‘mind of Christ’ as Paul described it in Philippians:  selfless, servant-minded, humbly obedient unto death.  Today, Paul talks about how our ‘hearts and minds may be guarded in Christ Jesus’:  joyful, dependent on God, gentle, filled with the goodness of God.

Our habitual mind-set is vital to how we live.  If our minds are filled with frightening, self-obsessed images and thoughts, we will find it hard to live the free, joyful life of a Christian.  ‘Conversion’ includes changing our attitudes and assumptions – deeply changing our minds.

One way to live according to the mind of Christ is to absorb the ways of others.  Paul encourages the Philippians to let just and pure and noble excellence fill their minds – imitating what they have seen in him!  But our supreme model must be God as found in Jesus.

Jesus shows us what God is like, and some commentators argue that God is not like the king in today’s parable about the wedding feast.  That king is vengeful, violent, and unreasonably condemning a press-ganged guest for not wearing wedding-clothes.

So is God, in fact, more like that wedding-guest?  That is: silent in the face of tyranny – like Jesus at his trial;  refusing to take part in a display of entertainment that smacked of Herod’s vanity and crowd-pleasing; prepared to be cast out for having a ‘mind’ that was free of all fear and self-seeking.

Paul knew what it cost to have ‘the mind of Christ’.  When he wrote so warmly of rejoicing, gladness and peace, he was actually in prison for his faith.  We find ourselves in difficult times, when the most important thing may be what – and indeed Who – fills our mind.  As C.M. Ward wrote: “There are things I can’t force;  I must adjust.  There are times when the greatest change needed is a change in my viewpoint.”

Prayers:   O God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom you chose us, before the foundation of the world, and destined us in love to be your own: help us to pray for all your children.

For the life of the world; that your peace may be known and may prevail: praying for diplomats and peacemakers working in the heat of conflict.         Lord, graciously hear us.

For all who suffer injury, death or loss; that they may know the hope to which you call us: especially and those becoming ill with Coronavirus in the second wave and those affected economically and socially.
                             Lord, graciously hear us.

For all who exercise rule and authority; that they may acknowledge your power, and seek justice and good government, not popularity
and profit.       Lord, graciously hear us.

For the Church which is Christ’s body; that it may live for the praise of your glory, filled with joy and peace as we trust in the Spirit’s guidance.  Lord, graciously hear us.

O God, you exerted your strength and power when you raised Christ from the dead, putting everything in subjection beneath his feet: accept the prayers which we offer in his name for the world you have created and redeemed; through him in whom you have set forth the mystery of your will, to unite all things in heaven and on earth,         your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

The Great Thanksgiving
Let us lift up our hearts and give thanks to the Lord our God,
for it is right to give our thanks and praise.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord;
Hosanna in the highest!

Worship and praise belong to you, Father, in every place and at all times.  All power is yours. You created the heavens and established
the earth; you sustain in being all that is.
In Christ your Son our life and yours are brought together in a wonderful exchange. He made his home among us that we might
for ever dwell in you. Through your Holy Spirit you call us to new birth
in a creation restored by love.


As children of your redeeming purpose we offer you our praise,
with angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven,
singing the hymn of your unending 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.

Glory and thanksgiving be to you, most loving Father, for the gift of your Son born in human flesh. He is the Word existing beyond time, both source and final purpose, bringing to wholeness all that is made.
Obedient to your will he died upon the Cross. By your power
you raised him from the dead. He broke the bonds of evil and
set your people free to be his Body in the world.
On the night when he was given up to death, knowing that his hour had come, having loved his own, he loved them to the end. At supper with his disciples he took bread and offered you thanks. He broke the bread, and gave it to them, saying: “Take, eat. This is my Body: it is broken for you.” After supper, he took the cup, he offered you thanks, and gave it to them saying: “Drink this, all of you. This is my Blood of the new covenant; it is poured out for you, and for all, that sins may be forgiven. Do this in remembrance of me.”

We now obey your Son’s command. We recall his blessed Passion and death, his glorious resurrection and ascension; and we look for the coming of his Kingdom. Made one with him, we offer you ourselves, a single, holy, living sacrifice. Hear us, most merciful Father, and send your Holy Spirit upon us that, overshadowed by his life-giving power, we may be kindled with the fire of your love and renewed for the service of your Kingdom.
Help us, who are baptised into the fellowship of Christ’s Body to live and work to your praise and glory; may we grow together in unity and love until at last, in your new creation, we enter into our heritage in the company of the Virgin Mary, the apostles and prophets, and of all our brothers and sisters living and departed.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be to you, Lord of all ages,
world without end. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer:   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.   Amen.

The Communion:   draw close to Christ in spirit and thanksgiving,
and be nourished by his presence with you and within you. 

Closing prayer:    Let us rejoice always in the Lord, standing firm in Jesus Christ and of one mind in him.  And may God’s peace that passes all understanding guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, and the Holy Spirit guide us into all that is honourable, just and pure. Amen

Kate Wilkinson, an evangelist, wrote this hymn in 1925 – hear it at

   May the mind of Christ my saviour live in me from day to day,
   by his love and power controlling all I do or say.

   May the word of God dwell richly in my heart  from hour to hour;
   so that all may see I triumph only through his power.

   May the peace of God my Father rule my life in everything,
   that I may be calm to comfort sick and sorrowing.

   May the love of Jesus fill me as the waters fill the sea,
   him exalting, self forgetting, this the victory!

   May I run the race before me, strong and brave to face the foe,
   looking only unto Jesus as I onward go.

Sunday service for 4th October 2020

Creation Sunday  4th October 2020
A service of the word

We are very grateful to Revd Canon Alison Peden, Our Interim Pastor, for providing us with a service to follow in the case that you cannot attend a service at St Mary’s

The service at St Mary’s, for those who would like to attend, is at 11.15 am when we will celebrate the Reserve Sacrament

The Spirit hovered over the water and brought life to all creation. 
Come, Holy Spirit and renew the face of the earth.

Opening Prayer: O God,Creator of life, the Earth is full of your creatures, and by your wisdom you made them all. At your word, the Earth brought forth plants yielding seed of every kind and trees of every kind bearing fruit, the waters teemed with swarms of living creatures of every kind, and world was filled with every kind of winged bird, walking animal, and creatures that creep upon the ground. Mountains, plains, rocks, and rivers shelter diverse communities, and through the changing seasons your Spirit renews cycles of life. During this Season of Creation, open our eyes to see the precious diversity that is all around us. Enlighten our minds to appreciate the delicate balance maintained by each creature. Inspire us to conserve the precious habitats that nurture this web of life. In the name of the One who came to proclaim good news to all creation, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reading:  Psalm 148
Alleluia!     Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights. Praise him, all you angels of his; praise him, all his host.
Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, heaven of heavens, and you waters above the heavens.

Let them praise the name of the Lord;
for he commanded and they were created.
He made them stand fast for ever and ever;
he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.

Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and frost, tempestuous wind doing his will. Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars,
wild beasts and all cattle, creeping things and winged birds;

Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and rulers of the earth,
young men and maidens, old and young together.
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name only is exalted; his splendour is over earth and heaven.

He has raised up strength for his people,
praise for all his loyal servants,
the children of Israel, a people who are close to him. Alleluia!

Gospel:  Matthew 21:33-46


Jesus said: ‘There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watch-tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, “They will respect my son.” 
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.” So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’ They said to him, ‘He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will
give him the produce at the harvest time.’
Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures:
“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes”?
Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.’
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.

Reflection:  This warning parable offers a wake-up call to those who think they can profit from violence and exploitation.  Placed as stewards of a vineyard, the tenants want to keep its wealth for themselves and will go to any lengths to do so, thinking that they can act with impunity.

We see devastation and violence across the world today that arises from similar selfishness, from the destruction of the Amazon to pollution of pristine oceans – and it stretches even into outer space.

The owner of the vineyard wanted the land to be fruitful and productive, tended by good stewards.  The kind of behaviour that the ‘wicked tenants’ displayed led only to their destruction;  it was self-defeating.  We, too, will suffer for exploiting the environment.

But we should care for the world not (just) for economic reasons and our own survival, but because we are God’s stewards, and it is his vineyard, his Creation.  The world is precious because God created it and we love God, honouring all that he has made.

Prayers of Penitence:   The whole creation groans with eager longing for God’s redemption. We come in penitence and faith.         

We confess to you our lack of care for the world you have given us.
Lord, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.

We confess to you our selfishness in not sharing the earth’s bounty fairly.
Christ, have mercy.  Christ, have mercy.

We confess to you our failure to protect resources for others.
Lord, have mercy.   Lord, have mercy.

May the Father of all mercies cleanse us from our sins and restore us in his image, to the praise and glory of his name, through Jesus Christ our Lord.   Amen.               

Prayers of intercession:  
God said, ‘Let there be light.’ Eternal God, we thank you for your light and your truth. We praise you for your creating a universe which proclaims your glory.  Let your light shine upon our world.          
Lord of creation: hear our prayer.

God said, ‘Let there be a firmament in the midst of the heavens.’
We thank you for the vastness of the universe and the mysteries of space. We pray for scientists and astronomers who extend the boundaries of our knowledge.   Lord of creation: hear our prayer.

God said, ‘Let the waters be gathered together, and let dry land appear.’ We thank you for the beauty of the earth, for the diversity of land and sea, for the resources of the earth. Give us the will to cherish this planet and to use its riches for the welfare of all.
Lord of creation: hear our prayer.

God said, ‘Let there be lights in the sky to separate the day and the night.’ We thank you for the warmth of the sun, the light of the moon, the glory of the stars. We praise you for the formations of clouds, the radiance of dawn and sunset. Save us from wasting or abusing the energy on which all life depends.
Lord of creation: hear our prayer.

God said, ‘Let the waters bring forth living creatures, and let birds fly across the sky.’ We thank you for the teeming life of the seas, and the flight of the birds. Help us to protect the environment so that all life may flourish.    Lord of creation: hear our prayer.

God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind.’
We rejoice in the variety of animal life. Grant us grace to treat all animals with respect and care; to protect endangered species, to preserve the variety of habitats, and to honour the delicate balance of nature. Lord of creation: hear our prayer.

God said, ‘Let us create human beings in our own image.’ We pray for the human family. We exult in its diversity and we repent of its sins, divisions and violence.  Lord of creation: hear our prayer.

Heavenly Father, you have filled the world with beauty: open our eyes to behold your gracious hand in all your works; that, rejoicing in your whole creation, we may learn to serve you with gladness; for the sake of him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

What Pope Francis has said about Creation:

“God always forgives, we men forgive sometimes, but nature never forgives. If you give her a slap, she will give you one. I believe that we have exploited nature too much.”“As stewards of God’s creation, we are called to make the earth a beautiful garden for the human family. When we destroy our forests, ravage our soil and pollute our seas, we betray that noble calling.” “May the relationship between man and nature not be driven by greed, to manipulate and exploit, but may the divine harmony between beings and creation be conserved in the logic of respect and care.”
“We received this world as an inheritance from past generations, but also as a loan from future generations, to whom we will have to return it.”

The Lord’s Prayer  expanded from Scripture
Our Father
       who formed the cosmos and knit us in the womb (Ps 139:13)
who art in heaven,
        seated on the throne beneath the seraphim    (Isaiah 6:1)
hallowed be thy name.
         let everything that has breath praise the Lord    (Ps.150:6)
Thy kingdom come,
          creation waits in eager expectation  (Romans 8:19)
Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven;
        
they will beat their swords into ploughshares   (Micah 4:3)
         the wolf shall lie down with the lamb.   (Isaiah 11:6)
Give us this day our daily bread
      which earth has given and human hands have made (Eccl. 3: 13-14)
and forgive us our trespasses        
as we forgive those who trespass against us
        whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven  (Matt.18:18)
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil,
         under his wings you will find refuge  (Ps.91:4)
For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory,
         You laid the earth’s foundation   (Job 38:4)
          You bring forth the constellations in their seasons  (Job 38:32)
for ever and ever. 
          Who was, and is and is to come.  (Revelation 4:8Amen

Closing Prayer:    Lord of all, as with joy we have offered thanksgiving for your love in creation, move our hearts to be generous and wise stewards of the good things we enjoy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

This traditional hymn celebrating the harvest reminds us of the divine source of our precious natural world.  It is sung at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ha628Pj_Rns

We plough the fields, and scatter the good seed on the land,
but it is fed and watered by God’s almighty hand;
he sends the snow in winter, the warmth to swell the grain,
the breezes and the sunshine, and soft refreshing rain.
    All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above,
   then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord
   for all his love.


He only is the Maker of all things near and far;
he paints the wayside flower, he lights the evening star;
the winds and waves obey him, by him the birds are fed;
much more to us, his children, he gives our daily bread.
    All good gifts around us …

We thank thee, then, O Father, for all things bright and good,
the seed time and the harvest, our life, our health, our food;
no gifts have we to offer, for all thy love imparts,
but, what thou most desirest, our humble, thankful hearts.
    All good gifts around us …