Author Archives: Stmary

About Stmary

St Mary's Episcopal Church serves the Trossachs and Strathendrick area in Central Scotland

Sunday Service for 12th July 2020 Trinity 6

Trinity 6

12th July 2020

The Scottish Episcopal Church will this Sunday at 11.00 broadcasting video coverage of its Eucharistic service via its website, social media channels and YouTube channel.  The web page for the broadcast is located at www.scotland.anglican.org/broadcast-sunday-worship The website will also contain a downloadable video and audio format of the service.

SERVICE

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

Collect

Almighty and everlasting God,

by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church

is governed and sanctified:

hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people,

that in their vocation and ministry

they may serve you in holiness and truth

to the glory of your name;

through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever

Gospel

Matthew 13:1-9

13 That same day Jesus went out of the houseand sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boatand sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore.Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

The Nicene Creed.

I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And of all things visible and invisible:
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God; Begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God; Begotten, not made; Being of one substance with the Father; By whom all things were made: Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man: And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered was buried: And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures: And ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of the Father: And he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, The Lord, and Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the Prophets: And I believe one Catholic and Apostolic Church: I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins: And I look for the Resurrection of the dead: And the Life of the world to come. Amen.

The Sermon

When Boris Johnson won the last General Election, his government was to enjoy a few weeks ‘honeymoon’ The media spared his administration criticism. It was called ‘Boris Bounce’ Since Covid though, the nation’s mood has quickly reverted. The Government now faces daily denunciation from many quarters.

Christ was granted a positive reception at the outset of his ministry: accordingly, he was invited to preach in the Jerusalem Temple and synagogues. There he painted word pictures for his listeners, lilies of the field, salt, and light. Later, the attitude of his hearers altered and opposition sprung up from many quarters. Jesus was no longer welcomed by the establishment. His ministry then became of necessity itinerate. In today’s gospel Christ is found preaching from a boat. His method of instruction also changed. Dispensing with word pictures, he taught instead by parable, an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. This then is the backdrop to one of the best-known parables, that of the sower.

Except that the story is not so much of a sower, but rather the variety of soil found by the sown seed. The sower is anyone who faithfully proclaims Christ’s message.  The seed is the gospel or the good news of the Kingdom. 

In Palestine, fields were formed in long, narrow strips. The ground between them were pathways whose surface was trampled.  The hardness of the soil precluded the seed from penetrating the earth.  This soil represents any hearer with a closed mind.  Prejudice induces blindness.  An unteachable spirit can erect barriers that cannot easily be broken down.  Both pride and fear can close a mind.  There are none so blind as those who deliberately will not see. 

Another kind of soil was the stony ground.  In Palestine, a thin layer of soil on top of an underlying shelf of limestone was common.  On such ground, the seed might germinate rapidly in the sunshine. Then, lacking depth of soil, it would die for want of moisture or nourishment. This is the person who fails to think: here today and gone tomorrow. Many followed Jesus only for what he might give: healings, feedings, or miracles. 

The third type of soil was good but contained thorns and weeds.  Despite best effort, soil is never free of weed, often growing faster than the seed itself. Human life is busy, crowded, and cluttered.  Work is good and essential but can be an intrusion to devotion. Leisure is good and healthy, but that too can become all consuming. Both, often unnoticed, can overcome God’s word.

The fourth type of soil was deep, clean, and soft.  Here the seed gained an entry and found nourishment.  Good ground is willing to hear, learn and to be corrected. It is never too proud nor too busy to listen.  Priorities are in order and the word received readily translated into action and so bearing fruit.  This is the kind of disciple that God requires. As Jesus concluded, “Let anyone with ears, listen.”

A closing thought. Clergy and their congregations often become dispirited, mistakenly believing that through their own inadequacy, little impression is being made on those about them. This parable is a reminder that not everything said or done even with the best of intention will fall on fruitful ground. This is not caused either by fault or shortcoming, but simply reflects a fact of life. It should not though encourage complacency.

Reflection

We reap what we sow.” Good seeds bear good fruit.

Weeding involves careful judgement like most decisions in life

Pruning and trimming, as painful as it seems, works eventually to the good.

Without rains and storms, both in life and in the garden, there will be no growth.

Deep roots are essential to growth.

In gardening, as in life, short-cuts, slipshod efforts, and neglect are readily evident.

Prayer

Jesus, you sow yourself
The Word of Truth, generously
The Word of Life, graciously

Defend us from the Evil One
Who seeks to snatch us away

Fortify us for hard times and costly discipleship
That we may endure

Deliver us from distraction
From worldly desires and
All that would lure us and choke us with false promises

Till us
Turn us
Enrich us with every blessing of your Spirit
That we may be good, good soil
Forever faithful and fruitful for you
Amen

Confession

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against Thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly Thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent and are heartily sorry for these our misdoings: The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please Thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of Thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Absolution

The Almighty and merciful Lord, grant me pardon and absolution of all my sins. Amen.


The Comfortable Words, Preface. and Sanctus.

Hear what comfortable words our Saviour Christ saith unto all who truly turn to Him.
Come unto Me, all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. St. Matt. xi. 28.
So God loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, to the end that all that believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. St. John iii. 16.

Hear also what Saint Paul saith.
This is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be received, That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. 1 Tim. i. 15.

Hear also what Saint John saith.
If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous; and He is the Propitiation for our sins. 1 St. John ii. 1, 2.

Therefore with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Thy glorious Name; evermore praising Thee, and saying,
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, Lord God of hosts, Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory: Glory be to Thee, O Lord Most High. Amen.

In union, O Lord with the faithful, I desire to offer Thee praise and thanksgiving. I present to Thee my soul and body with the earnest wish that may always be united to Thee. And since I can not now receive Thee sacramentally, I beseech Thee to come spiritually into my heart. I unite myself to Thee and embrace Thee with all the affections of my soul. Let nothing ever separate Thee from me. May I live and die in Thy love. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer:

Today’s hymn

With today’s recurring theme of nature, an obvious hymn to sing might be ‘All things bright and beautiful’. There is however a delightful anonymous Dutch carol translated by the nineteenth century hymnist G. R. Woodward.

Each verse of the text uses a different flower as its primary image and receives a contrasting musical setting before the celebratory refrain. While this is often sung at Advent and Christmas, there is nothing about the text to limit it to those seasons. The source of the tune remains anonymous, but it was harmonized by Dr Charles Wood. A professor of music both at Cambridge and in London, his pupils included Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Listen on You Tube Charles Wood or Rutter

1. King Jesus hath a garden, full of divers flowers,
Where I go culling posies gay, all times and hours.

Refrain:
There naught is heard but Paradise bird,
Harp, dulcimer, lute,
With cymbal, trump and tymbal,
And the tender, soothing flute.

2. The Lily, white in blossom there, is Chastity:
The Violet, with sweet perfume, Humanity. Refrain

3. The bonny Damask-rose is known as Patience:
The blithe and thrifty Marigold, Obedience. Refrain

4. The Crown Imperial bloometh too in yonder place,
‘Tis Charity, of stock divine, the flower of grace. Refrain

5. Yet, ‘mid the brave, the bravest prize of all may claim
The Star of Bethlem-Jesus-bless’d be his Name! Refrain

6. Ah! Jesu Lord, my heal and weal, my bliss complete,
Make thou my heart thy garden-plot, fair, trim and neat. Refrain

Blessing

Jesus the sower
whatever I am today, whatever the mix
of path, rock, thorns, or soil
help me to become good ground
for you, for your word and for your presence and the blessing of God Almight the Father Son and Holy Spirit be with us always

Amen

Service for Sunday 5th July 2020 – Trinity 5

Trinity 5

Sunday 5th July 2020

The Scottish Episcopal Church will this Sunday at 11.00 broadcasting video coverage of its Eucharistic service via its website, social media channels and YouTube channel.  The web page for the broadcast is located at www.scotland.anglican.org/broadcast-sunday-worship The website will also contain a downloadable video and audio format of the service.

SERVICE

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

Collect

Almighty and everlasting God,

by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified:

hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people,

that in their vocation and ministry they may serve you in holiness and truth

to the glory of your name;

through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

For the gospel

Ephesians 2:19-22

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

The Nicene Creed.


I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And of all things visible and invisible:
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God; Begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God; Begotten, not made; Being of one substance with the Father; By whom all things were made: Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man: And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered was buried: And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures: And ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of the Father: And he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, The Lord, and Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the Prophets: And I believe one Catholic and Apostolic Church: I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins: And I look for the Resurrection of the dead: And the Life of the world to come. Amen.


Sermon

There are doubtless mixed feelings of fear and eagerness as the long period of lockdown starts to change. A desire to reopen our buildings sits alongside the anxiety of charting the unknown.

Our churches first shut their doors on 23 March. They have now been closed longer than any time since Pope Innocent III banned church services between March 1208 and May 1213.

Some within the church have regarded the locked door to be a positive development. One recent report describes the worshipping church as having changed in a matter of weeks from being an “Odeon” to a “Netflix” What precisely does that mean? The typical 1950s cinema offered one film with no alternative. Pre pandemic, choice of church worship was similarly limited. After the 23rd March, a vast variety of service suddenly became available; all at the touch of a button and without the discomfort of a pew.   Now, as a Linkage worshipper, if both the Bulletin Service as well as the Province’s weekly offering prove unacceptable, then a choice of service from churches and cathedrals up and down the land is readily available. We are told that there have been several instances of people coming to faith through this new medium.

Consequently, in some circles this development has emboldened opinion towards abandoning buildings that some simply regard as millstones. An Archdeacon in the Church of England wrote recently “We can’t go back . . . to preserving bricks and mortar” She argued that congregations and weary wardens long to be “released to be church, rather than being burdened with the responsibility of preservation, so that “the new life we have seen emerge in lockdown might blossom and flourish”. These same people are perplexed as to why church buildings need ever be open for prayer, because God listens wherever prayer is offered. The argument of course is nothing new: it is simply that the pandemic has sharpened its focus.

There are of course two sides to any discussion. Many still believe the place of worship essential to spiritual life. The poet T.S Eliot summed up the inviolability of a holy building thus:

. . . wherever a saint has dwelt, wherever a martyr has given his
blood for the blood of Christ,
There is holy ground, and the sanctity shall not depart from it
Though armies trample over it, though sightseers come with
guide books looking over it. . .

For many, it matters greatly that the church door has remained locked during the pandemic. Everyone, believer or not, needs a focal point in time of need. Nothing though is so simple Technically our own churches could now reopen for private devotion. However, there are many onerous conditions imposed by government legislation before this might happen. Both vestries have therefore, wisely decided to defer further consideration until the situation becomes clearer.

At a loose end, I decided a few summers ago to repaint the church railings at Callander. Naturally, passers-by stopped and chatted. None were churchgoers, but readily admitted the comfort derived from seeing St Andrews and its manicured garden as a constant in an ever-changing word. One even donated a pot of paint!

As for St Mary’s I once received a complaint from a cashier working at the then Aberfoyle Motors. It was about the church bell. Why wasn’t it being rung? Although not a churchgoer, he confessed comfort from the knowledge that prayers were being said nearby.

What the novelist Susan Hill writes of cathedrals could equally be said of our churches: “Where else . . . is such a place, where the sense of all past, all present, is distilled into the eternal moment at the still point of the turning world?” She asks another rhetorical question, which amplifies the point: “But surely there are other places that will serve the purpose? To which people may come freely, to be alone among others? To pray, to reflect, to plead, gather strength, rest, summon up courage, to listen to solemn words. What though and where are these other places to which the pilgrim or the traveller, the seeker, the refugee, the petitioner, or the thanksgiver may quietly come, anonymously, perhaps, without fear of comment or remark, question or disturbance?” Her question is perhaps answered by the poet Philip Larkin. A church is “a serious house on serious earth”

With all these hopes and anxieties in mind, Bishop Ian will be leading discussion with vestry members in August to explore this question in practical and spiritual terms. This might frame thought in readiness.

Prayer:  

Thank you, gracious God, for the privilege of being part of your building, your dwelling, your temple. Today, I offer myself to you, so that you might put me exactly where you want me to be, so that I might contribute to the building of your home on earth. I pray for my home church, that we might truly live as your dwelling in the world. Amen

Confession

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against Thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly Thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent and are heartily sorry for these our misdoings: The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please Thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of Thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Absolution

The Almighty and merciful Lord, grant me pardon and absolution of all my sins. Amen.


The Comfortable Words, Preface. and Sanctus.

Hear what comfortable words our Saviour Christ saith unto all who truly turn to Him.
Come unto Me, all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. St. Matt. xi. 28.
So God loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, to the end that all that believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. St. John iii. 16.

Hear also what Saint Paul saith.
This is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be received, That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. 1 Tim. i. 15.

Hear also what Saint John saith.
If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous; and He is the Propitiation for our sins. 1 St. John ii. 1, 2.

Therefore with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Thy glorious Name; evermore praising Thee, and saying,
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, Lord God of hosts, Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory: Glory be to Thee, O Lord Most High. Amen.

In union, O Lord with the faithful, I desire to offer Thee praise and thanksgiving. I present to Thee my soul and body with the earnest wish that may always be united to Thee. And since I can not now receive Thee sacramentally, I beseech Thee to come spiritually into my heart. I unite myself to Thee and embrace Thee with all the affections of my soul. Let nothing ever separate Thee from me. May I live and die in Thy love. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer:

Today’s hymn (Listen on Yoube ?)

1 We love the place, O God,
wherein thine honour dwells;
the joy of thine abode
all earthly joy excels.

2 We love the house of prayer,
wherein thy servants meet;
and thou, O Lord, art there
thy chosen flock to greet.

3 We love the sacred font;
for there the holy Dove
to pour is ever wont
his blessing from above.

4 We love thine altar, Lord;
O what on earth so dear?
for there, in faith adored,
we find thy presence near.

5 We love the word of life,
the word that tells of peace,
of comfort in the strife,
and joys that never cease.

6 We love to sing below
for mercies freely given;
but O we long to know
the triumph-song of heaven.

7 Lord Jesus, give us grace
on earth to love thee more,
in heaven to see thy face,
and with thy saints adore.

The author, The Revd William Bullock was born in 1797 at Prittwell, Essex, but later emigrated to Canada. He died in March 1874 at Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Bullock was first the Anglican rector of St. Paul’s in Trinity, Newfoundland and later of St. Luke’s Church, Halifax, Nova Scotia. When the church was designated a cathedral in 1864, Bullock was appointed St. Luke’s first dean.
Bullock’s descendants relate a family story that the author was criticized for not including a verse in the hymn about the pulpit. He replied with characteristic wit: “Perhaps this is what I should write:
We love thy pulpit Lord,
For there the word of man
Lulls the worshiper to sleep
As only sermons can.”

The hymn is sung to Quam Dilecta

Blessing

Grant, O Lord, we beseech you,

that the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered

by your governance, that your Church may joyfully serve you

in all godly quietness; through Jesus Christ our Lord

and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father Son and Holy Spirit be with us always

Amen

St Mary’s & St Andrew’ s Service for Sunday 28th June 2020

Sunday 28th June 2020

St Peter and St Paul’s Day

Richard writes

Great gratitude is due to Mark Seymour whose skill and dedication enables this Bulletin service to be circulated. If for any reason you fail to receive a copy, please let him know.

The Scottish Episcopal Church will this Sunday at 11.00 broadcasting video coverage of its Eucharistic service via its website, social media channels and YouTube channel.  The web page for the broadcast is located at www.scotland.anglican.org/broadcast-sunday-worship The website will also contain a downloadable video and audio format of the service.

TODAY’S SERVICE

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

Collect

Almighty God

Whose blessed apostles St Peter and St Paul

Glorified you in their death as in their life

Grant that your church

Inspired by their teaching and example

And made one by your Spirit

May ever stand form upon your one foundation

Jesus Christ your Son our Lord

Gospel

Matthew 16:13-19

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[a] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[b] will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[c] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[d] loosed in heaven.”

The Nicene Creed

I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And of all things visible and invisible:
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God; Begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God; Begotten, not made; Being of one substance with the Father; By whom all things were made: Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man: And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered was buried: And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures: And ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of the Father: And he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, The Lord, and Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the Prophets: And I believe one Catholic and Apostolic Church: I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins: And I look for the Resurrection of the dead: And the Life of the world to come. Amen.

The Sermon

Ordinary Time in the Church is, as the title suggests, a period when little in the manner of Feast Days occur. There are though exceptions to every rule, and tomorrow, the 29th June is notable because the Feasts of St Peter and St Paul will be jointly celebrated.  

It is curious that this will be shared by two giants of Christian faith, when lesser known saints command a day all to themselves. There is though good reason for joint celebration, as will become clear.

Saints Peter and St Paul have a great deal in common. Apart from sharing leadership of the early church, both were imprisoned in Rome, albeit at different times. Tradition records that both were martyred on the same day, although not at the same place nor by the same means. Their deaths were responsible for consecrating Rome as the new holy city. Lastly, their respective Christian names changed after conversion.

Although overshadowed by the current crisis, the seventy fifth anniversary of VE Day was commemorated last month. Shortly after those celebrations, a General Election was called. It resulted in an unexpected landslide victory for the Labour Party, led by Clement Atlee.  Two differing men were chosen by Atlee to be members of his cabinet.  Ernest Bevin was born of a single mother and received little formal education. He worked first as a labourer and then a lorry driver. By 1922 though, he had risen through the ranks of the Transport and General Workers Union. Having served Churchill’s war cabinet, Bevin was appointed Foreign Secretary by Atlee at a time when Britain was near bankruptcy. Bevin played a key role in securing a large loan from America to avert a national crisis. He skilfully dealt with the myriad of other difficulties that beset the nation at the time until his premature death in 1951.

Sir Stafford Cripps’ upbringing was a complete contrast to Bevin. Educated at Public School and then University, Cripps first served at the Board of Trade until his later appointment as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Cripps’s severe manner and harsh austerity measures as Chancellor made him unpopular, but he eventually won respect for the sincerity of his convictions and tireless energy.

In private, Bevin scorned Cripps’ intellectual loftiness. Cripps in return exhibited disdain of Bevin’s humble origins. Nevertheless, both managed to set aside these differences for the sake of a common cause, the wellbeing the nation.   

St Peter was akin to Bevin: he was of humble origin with little formal education. By contrast St Paul like Cripps was an intellectual, born into a wealthy family that allowed him extensive learning.

The authorship of the Acts of the Apostles is attributed to St Luke. Towards the middle of Acts, Peter’s role as leader fades from Luke’s account, and Paul becomes increasingly prominent. This was not before Peter and Paul met for the only time in Jerusalem. It is a matter of conjecture whether Peter welcomed Paul’s conversion and indeed whether the two were rivals rather than partners in ministry. It is a trait of human nature that where strong personalities exist in the same sphere of influence, there will be a risk of destructive rivalry. During the 1960’s St Giles Kirk in Edinburgh engaged a second minister to work alongside the first: the experiment was never repeated.

Certainly, Peter and Paul would have exercised different styles of leadership. Paul was highly motivated, as his missionary journeys and the Epistles testify. By contrast, Peter for all his virtues was in truth little more than an uneducated fisherman.

The two nevertheless co-existed because God’s kingdom requires widely differing strengths of personality in its service. Peter used his impetuous love to unify the church, whilst Paul used his considerable intellect and energy to ensure that Gentiles too were welcomed into the church. The joining of the two for a common Feast Day is a reminder of God’s appeal to all believers for unity and mutual respect. God works through each of us, different as we are, just as he did with Peter and Paul.

Prayers

Grant, we pray, O Lord our God, that we may be sustained

by the intercession of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul,

that, as through them you gave your Church

the foundations of her heavenly office,

so through them you may help her to eternal salvation.

Amen

Lord Jesus Christ,
you taught us to love our neighbour,
and to care for those in need
as if we were caring for you.
In this time of anxiety, give us strength
to comfort the fearful, to tend the sick,
and to assure the isolated
of our love, and your love,
for your name’s sake.
Amen.

Confession

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against Thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly Thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent and are heartily sorry for these our misdoings: The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please Thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of Thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Absolution

The Almighty and merciful Lord, grant me pardon and absolution of all my sins. Amen.


The Comfortable Words, Preface. and Sanctus.

Hear what comfortable words our Saviour Christ saith unto all who truly turn to Him.
Come unto Me, all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. St. Matt. xi. 28.
So God loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, to the end that all that believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. St. John iii. 16.

Hear also what Saint Paul saith.
This is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be received, That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. 1 Tim. i. 15.

Hear also what Saint John saith.
If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous; and He is the Propitiation for our sins. 1 St. John ii. 1, 2.

Therefore with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Thy glorious Name; evermore praising Thee, and saying,
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, Lord God of hosts, Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory: Glory be to Thee, O Lord Most High. Amen.

In union, O Lord with the faithful, I desire to offer Thee praise and thanksgiving. I present to Thee my soul and body with the earnest wish that may always be united to Thee. And since I can not now receive Thee sacramentally, I beseech Thee to come spiritually into my heart. I unite myself to Thee and embrace Thee with all the affections of my soul. Let nothing ever separate Thee from me. May I live and die in Thy love. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer:

Today’s hymn (Listen on Youtube ?)

   1    For all the saints who from their labours rest,
        who thee by faith before the world confessed,
        thy name, O Jesu, be for ever blest. Alleluia.

   2       Thou wast their rock, their fortress, and their might;
        thou, Lord, their Captain in the well-fought fight;
        thou, in the darkness, still their one true light. Alleluia.

   3       O may thy soldiers, faithful, true, and bold,
        fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
        and win, with them, the victor’s crown of gold. Alleluia.

   4       O blest communion, fellowship divine!
        we feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
        yet all are one in thee, for all are thine. Alleluia.

   5       And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
        steals on the ear the distant triumph-song,
        and hearts are brave again, and arms are strong. Alleluia.

   6       The golden evening brightens in the west;
        soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest:
        sweet is the calm of paradise the blest. Alleluia.

   7   But lo, there breaks a yet more glorious day;
        the saints triumphant rise in bright array:
        the King of glory passes on his way. Alleluia.

   8      From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
        through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
        singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost Alleluia.

Why the extraordinary number of verses? More still than printed here were penned! It was because the hymn was written as a processional, to be sung by a robed choir making its stately way along the aisle of some vast cathedral. To reflect the more modest size of our buildings, some verses are omitted when sung here, although not always to universal approval!

The hymn’s author, William Walsham How (1823-1867) was the son of a Shrewsbury solicitor, After education at Oxford and Durham, he was ordained in 1846. After a curacy at Kidderminster, he became Rector of Whittington. During of his lengthy stay, he wrote the bulk of his published works including this hymn. He was also acknowledged as an authority on British flora and wrote several papers on the subject. His energy and success made him legendary. He initially refused all offers of preferment, but in time became the first Suffregan Bishop of Bedford and latterly Bishop of Wakefield.

The hymn when first published was set to a worthy, but uninspiring tune composed by a cathedral organist  With the publication of the English Hymnal in 1906,  Ralph Vaughan Williams offered a tune called Sine Nomine literally, “without name”.  Coupled with Walsham How’s hymnody, it has since been acknowledged as one of the finest ever written.

Blessing

May God, who gives patience and encouragement,

give us a spirit of unity

to live in harmony as you follow Jesus Christ,

so that with one voice

we may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ;

and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father Son and Holy Spirit, be with us always

Amen

St Mary’s Service for Sunday 21st June 2020

Trinity 2

Sunday 21st June 2020

The Scottish Episcopal Church will this Sunday at 11.00 broadcasting video coverage of its Eucharistic service via its website, social media channels and YouTube channel.  The web page for the broadcast is located at www.scotland.anglican.org/broadcast-sunday-worship The website will also contain a downloadable video and audio format of the service.

SERVICE

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

The Collect

Faithful Creator,

whose mercy never fails:

deepen our faithfulness to you

and to your living Word,

Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Gospel

Matthew 10:34-39

34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36     a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’[b]

37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

The Nicene Creed.

I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And of all things visible and invisible:
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God; Begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God; Begotten, not made; Being of one substance with the Father; By whom all things were made: Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man: And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered was buried: And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures: And ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of the Father: And he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, The Lord, and Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the Prophets: And I believe one Catholic and Apostolic Church: I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins: And I look for the Resurrection of the dead: And the Life of the world to come. Amen.

The Sermon

The church is in Ordinary Time, when, in the absence of major festivals and celebration, believers are encouraged to ponder fundamental aspects of faith. Perhaps the most crucial is one of precedence. Who or what has first claim upon a believer’s love, talents, and other resources?

The teaching of scripture is quite clear. “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; said Jesus (Matthew 6:24) A similarly unequivocal message is conveyed by today’s gospel. “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me’

Christ’s teaching may be a surprise, as one of the Ten Commandments decrees that parents should be honoured. Furthermore, children and friends are God’s gifts in creation. Surely these might be accorded equally the love and affection that is given to God?

Should we choose to place love and devotion to anything or anybody on an equal footing to our love for God, then we enter an imaginary love triangle with its attendant difficulties. As in any triangle, it will have three points. The first will be God and the second, ourselves. The third will be the object with which or whom we choose to share our love and devotion.

The pitfalls of any love triangle are illustrated by an extraordinary three-cornered relationship that existed during the last century. It was unwittingly formed by Carrington, an artist. From her time as a student, she was known simply by her surname as she considered her first, Dora, to be “vulgar and sentimental” In 1916, Carrington met the writer, Lytton Strachey at a house party.  Struggling to make a reputation at the time, he would later establish it with the publication of “Eminent Victorians” Carrington was initially repulsed by Strachey’s unfashionably long beard. Early next morning, she crept to his bedroom with scissors, determined to remove the offending object. Instead she fell in love with the slumbering figure. In the following year Carrington and Strachey set up house together at Tidmarsh Mill House, in Berkshire.

Later, Carrington was introduced by her brother to a university friend, Ralph Partridge. Partridge fell in love with Carrington and, in the hope of nourishing courtship, spent weekends at Tidmarsh planting a vegetable garden. Carrington though was too absorbed with painting and keeping house to reciprocate Ralph’s attentions, but not so Lytton.  He cherished Ralph, and his presence at the house became necessary for his comfort and inspiration.  Fearing Lytton’s peace of mind should Ralph ever leave Tidmarsh, Carrington reluctantly agreed to marry Ralph. Strachey paid for their wedding and accompanied them on honeymoon.  

Later, the three moved to Ham Spray House in Wiltshire. Partridge’s frustration, created by his wife’s divided loyalties, slowly drove him to seek the affection of another woman.  Thenceforth, during the week Ralph lived in London but resumed his married life at Ham Spray with Carrington at weekends. Lytton affected by Ralph’s increasing absence found solace by taking rooms near him in London. He too returned to Ham Spray at weekends. Left largely on her own, Carrington’s life became diminished and empty of purpose. Thus she turned to Bernard Penrose a friend of Ralph. The affair initially energized Carrington’s artistic creativity.  Penrose in time demanded Carrington’s affection exclusively: she though demurred for both Strachey and Ralph were still claiming her being. Penrose departed from Carrington’s life opening the void still further.  Shortly after, Lytton became terminally ill and was nursed by Carrington.  For two months after his death, she struggled with a tangle of emotion. With a gun borrowed to ostensibly keep rabbits from the vegetable garden, Carrington died.

What is the most important relationship and who or what is loved the most? After reading today’s gospel the answer should be obvious. Life alas is never that simple.

My late father was inordinately proud of his son’s struggles to qualify as a solicitor. He carried a newspaper cutting in his wallet for anyone who showed an interest. Some years later, I felt a call to ordination. I still recall my father’s bitter disappointment. This was my own love triangle. We are commanded to love Christ more than our own parents. In short, we love each other best when we love God most.

Reflection

  • Whoever loves power, reputation, or wealth more than me is not worthy of me.
  • Whoever loves country and flag more than me is not worthy of me.
  • Whoever loves politics, agendas, or ideology more than me is not worthy of me.
  • Whoever loves church, denomination, beliefs and practices more than me is not worthy of me.
  • Whoever loves self more than me is not worthy of me.
  • Whoever loves anyone or anything more than me is not worthy of me.

    The Prayer

    Guide me Lord to know what is worthwhile, that I may acquire strength through the power of truth. As I am going to rest tonight Lord take full control of my life. Wake me with strength and wisdom to continue with the new day. Amen

Confession

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against Thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly Thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent and are heartily sorry for these our misdoings: The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please Thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of Thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Absolution

The Almighty and merciful Lord, grant me pardon and absolution of all my sins. Amen.


The Comfortable Words, Preface. and Sanctus.

Hear what comfortable words our Saviour Christ saith unto all who truly turn to Him.
Come unto Me, all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. St. Matt. xi. 28.
So God loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, to the end that all that believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. St. John iii. 16.

Hear also what Saint Paul saith.
This is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be received, That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. 1 Tim. i. 15.

Hear also what Saint John saith.
If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous; and He is the Propitiation for our sins. 1 St. John ii. 1, 2.

Therefore with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Thy glorious Name; evermore praising Thee, and saying,
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, Lord God of hosts, Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory: Glory be to Thee, O Lord Most High. Amen.

In union, O Lord with the faithful, I desire to offer Thee praise and thanksgiving. I present to Thee my soul and body with the earnest wish that may always be united to Thee. And since I can not now receive Thee sacramentally, I beseech Thee to come spiritually into my heart. I unite myself to Thee and embrace Thee with all the affections of my soul. Let nothing ever separate Thee from me. May I live and die in Thy love. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer:

The Hymn – Listen on YouTube ?

  1     Take my life, and let it be
            consecrated, Lord, to thee;
        take my moments and my days,
            let them flow in ceaseless praise.

   2       Take my hands, and let them move
            at the impulse of thy love;
        take my feet, and let them be
            swift and beautiful for thee.

   3       Take my voice, and let me sing
            always, only, for my King;
        take my lips, and let them be
            filled with messages from thee.

   4       Take my silver and my gold;
            not a mite would I withhold;
        take my intellect, and use
            every power as thou shalt choose.

   5       Take my will, and make it thine:
            it shall be no longer mine;
        take my heart: it is thine own;
            it shall be thy royal throne.

   6       Take my love; my Lord, I pour
            at thy feet its treasure-store;
        take myself, and I will be
            ever, only, all for thee.

Frances Ridley Havergal (1836–1879)

 Frances Havergal was born into an Anglican family, at Astley in Worcestershire. Her father, William was a clergyman. She led a quiet life, but not enjoying consistent good health.

Because her voice was lovely, Frances was in demand as a concert soloist. She also was a talented pianist and learned several modern languages as well as Greek and Hebrew. With all her education, however, she maintained a simple faith and never wrote a line of poetry without first praying over it.

One of the lines of her hymn asks, “Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.” Frances wrote to a friend, The Lord has shown me another little step, and, of course, I have taken it with extreme delight. ‘Take my silver and my gold’ now means shipping off all my ornaments to the Church Missionary House, including a jewel cabinet that is really fit for a countess, where all will be accepted and disposed of for me…Nearly fifty articles are being packed up. I don’t think I ever packed a box with such pleasure.”

Blessing

Lord God,
we rejoice in your greatness and power,
your gentleness and love,
your mercy and justice.
Enable us by your Spirit
to honour you in our thoughts,
and words and actions,
and to serve you in every aspect of our lives;

And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with us always
Amen.

Sunday Service 14th June – First after Trinity

The first Sunday after Trinity

Sunday 14th June 2020

The Scottish Episcopal Church will this Sunday at 11.00 broadcasting video coverage of its Eucharistic service via its website, social media channels and YouTube channel.  The web page for the broadcast is located at www.scotland.anglican.org/broadcast-sunday-worship The website will also contain a downloadable video and audio format of the service.

SERVICE

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

Collect

Lord Jesus Christ,

we thank you that in this wonderful sacrament

you have given us the memorial of your passion:

grant us so to reverence the sacred mysteries

of your body and blood

that we may know within ourselves

and show forth in our lives

the fruits of your redemption;

for you are alive and reign with the Father

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Gospel

John 6:51-58

51 I am the living bread(A) that came down from heaven.(B) Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”(C)

52 Then the Jews(D) began to argue sharply among themselves,(E) “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh(F) of the Son of Man(G) and drink his blood,(H) you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.(I) 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.(J) 57 Just as the living Father sent me(K) and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”(L)

The Nicene Creed.

I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And of all things visible and invisible:
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God; Begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God; Begotten, not made; Being of one substance with the Father; By whom all things were made: Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man: And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered was buried: And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures: And ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of the Father: And he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, The Lord, and Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the Prophets: And I believe one Catholic and Apostolic Church: I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins: And I look for the Resurrection of the dead: And the Life of the world to come. Amen.

The Sermon

The second phase of the Church year begins today.  As previously explained, the Sunday Gospels between Advent and Trinity have been akin to jigsaw pieces which, when assembled, depict a picture of Christ on earth. During this time, church colours both on the altar and celebrant change frequently: mauve for Lent, red on Palm Sunday and Pentecost, and white during the seasons of Christmas and Easter.  Now in this second phase, the colour will remain predominantly green, a period known as Ordinary Time. Like animals in a field, believers are at leisure to graze the scriptures meditatively and reflect upon other aspects of faith.  One, for example, is the significance of Corpus Christi, observed by the church upon the Thursday following Trinity.

One of the last letters received from David Miller before his death was concern about the weekly Eucharist. As the sacrament was being celebrated so frequently, he feared that receiving the body and blood of Christ was becoming as routine and perfunctory as brushing teeth after a meal. David was quite justified in his questioning and bears testimony to his thoughtful and deep faith.

Until the 1960’s, the Communion service was an exception rather than the rule. Matins and evensong were the staple Sunday services, with perhaps Holy Communion just once a month. After that point, its frequency grew to become the focal point of Sunday worship.  As David mused, regularity and routine risk indifference.  For that very reason The Church of Scotland celebrates the Sacrament perhaps just four or five times a year.  

David’s thoughts and fears accord with those of Juliana of Liège, a 13th-century Norbertine canoness. Orphaned at the age of five, she was entrusted to the care of Augustinian nuns at a convent, where Juliana, in adult life, developed a special veneration for the act of Holy Communion. She feared too that through familiarity, its deepest meaning would become flawed. In 1208, she saw a vision of Christ in which she was instructed to plead for the institution of the feast of Corpus Christi, a time when believers might be reminded anew of the greatest gift of Christ. Eventually she confided the vision to her confessor, who in turn relayed it to the Bishop of Liège.  In 1246 Bishop Robert ordered a celebration of Corpus Christi.  In time Corpus Christi became included in the calendar of the Anglican Church.

The act of Communion began at the Last Supper when Jesus gave the disciples bread and wine as his body and blood in anticipation of his death the next day. Thus, the Eucharist takes place under the shadow of the cross and so commemorating Jesus’ death and the sacrificial love which Jesus showed both during his life and in his death. Members of Christ’s body commit to a life of self-sacrificing love and the receiving of Communion should nourish that resolve.

 Food from our tables strengthens and sustains. The Eucharist though is not consumption of physical food. Christ chose the form and the imagery of a meal, and the symbolism of eating and drinking, as the way of continuing his active, transforming presence among his followers. It is a reminder that Christ is the source of our life and health, similar to the way that ordinary food gives physical life and health. We can though only appreciate this symbolism if we treat the Eucharist as partaking in the extraordinary, rather than the ordinary.

The closing of churches has of course given new emphasis to Corpus Christi.  Easter and Pentecost in particular have passed without a service of Holy Communion. Am I the only one anguished to view the cup and wafer standing unshared in the course of the Provincial Zoom service?  As I write, there is still no indication when churches might fully open again. What safeguards might be required before Communion can again be celebrated? We can only hope and pray. One of the rare benefits of lockdown might be to cherish anew the sacrament of sharing one with another the body and blood of Christ our Saviour.

Reflection

by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger Pope Benedict XVI 2005-13

What does Corpus Christi mean to me? It does not only bring the liturgy to mind:

for me, it is a day on which heaven and earth work together. In my mind’s eye it

is the time when spring is turning into summer; the sun is high in the sky, and

crops are ripening in field and meadow. The Church’s feasts make present the

mystery of Christ, but Jesus Christ was immersed in the faith of the people of

Israel and so, arising from this background in Israel’s life, the Christian feasts are

also involved with the rhythm of the year, the rhythm of seedtime and harvest.

How could it be otherwise in a liturgy which has at its centre the sign of bread,

fruit of earth and heaven? Here this fruit of the earth, bread, is privileged to be

the bearer of him in whom heaven and earth, God and man have become one.

The Prayer

Let us pray for the willingness to make present in our world the love of Christ shown to us in the Eucharist, Lord Jesus Christ,
we worship you living among us
in the sacrament of your body and blood.
May we offer to our Father in heaven
a solemn pledge of undivided love.
May we offer to our brothers and sisters
a life poured out in loving service of that kingdom where you live with the Father and the Holy Spirit one God for ever and ever.

Amen

Confession

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against Thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly Thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent and are heartily sorry for these our misdoings: The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please Thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of Thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Absolution

The Almighty and merciful Lord, grant me pardon and absolution of all my sins. Amen.


The Comfortable Words, Preface. and Sanctus.

Hear what comfortable words our Saviour Christ saith unto all who truly turn to Him.
Come unto Me, all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. St. Matt. xi. 28.
So God loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, to the end that all that believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. St. John iii. 16.

Hear also what Saint Paul saith.
This is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be received, That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. 1 Tim. i. 15.

Hear also what Saint John saith.
If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous; and He is the Propitiation for our sins. 1 St. John ii. 1, 2.

Therefore with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Thy glorious Name; evermore praising Thee, and saying,
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, Lord God of hosts, Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory: Glory be to Thee, O Lord Most High. Amen.

In union, O Lord with the faithful, I desire to offer Thee praise and thanksgiving. I present to Thee my soul and body with the earnest wish that may always be united to Thee. And since I can not now receive Thee sacramentally, I beseech Thee to come spiritually into my heart. I unite myself to Thee and embrace Thee with all the affections of my soul. Let nothing ever separate Thee from me. May I live and die in Thy love. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer:

Todays hymn Listen on YouTube ? Just skip the Ads – sorry

   1    Jesu, thou joy of loving hearts,
            thou fount of life, thou light of men;
        from the best bliss that earth imparts
            we turn unfilled to thee again.

   2       Thy truth unchanged hath ever stood;
            thou savest those that on thee call;
        to them that seek thee thou art good,
            to them that find thee, all in all.

   3       We taste thee, O thou living bread,
            and long to feast upon thee still;
        we drink of thee, the fountain-head,
            and thirst our souls from thee to fill.

   4       Our restless spirits yearn for thee,
            where’er our changeful lot is cast,
        glad when thy gracious smile we see,
            blest when our faith can hold thee fast.

   5       O Jesu, ever with us stay;
            make all our moments calm and bright;
        chase the dark night of sin away;
            shed o’er the world thy holy light.

Ray Palmer (1808–1887)
based on Jesu, dulcedo cordium, (Latin, 12th century)

The nineteenth century witnessed a renewed interest amongst hymn compilers for those dating from the medieval period. This hymn was written by Bernard of Clairvaux, a twelfth century nobleman and translated by Ray Palmer, an American pastor in 1858.

Blessing

Christ, who has nourished us with himself the living bread,

make us one in praise and love,

and raise us up at the last day;

and the blessing of God almighty,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among us and remain with us always.

Amen


This weeks Resources from the Diocese

Newsletter for St Mary’s – 6th June 2020

News from St Mary’s

6th June 2020

Letter from Bishop Ian  5th June 2020

Dear sisters and brothers,

Pentecost is the feast of the ’new normal,’ life in the Spirit poured out on the apostles and on all creation. As we celebrated Pentecost this year people were talking about a different ‘new normal’ – our life after the Pandemic. When we rebuild our lives, will we have a better sense of what is important? Or will we just rush back to the same old life? What will ‘new normal’ mean for the Church? What will our priorities be? How will we welcome those who have been joining us online? How will we support those who are sad about people and things that have been lost? What will we need to do if we are to open our churches but keep people safe? 

A week ago over 40 clergy and lay readers shared in an online CMD Conference about exactly these questions, organised for us by Michael Paterson. Our discussions began from his reflections on the Four Hallmarks of Ministry in Luke 24 (Jesus and the Disciples on the Road to Emmaus) in the context of the pandemic. I’d like to thank all of you who attended (and those who tried to but couldn’t due to broadband problems), to thank Michael for organising it and for guiding our reflection, and to Carrie Applegath and Elaine Garman for managing the event. The text and a video of Michael’s presentation is available on the Diocesan website. https://standrews.anglican.org/clergy-development-resources/

The Scottish Government’s ‘Route Back’ outlines 4 Phases for opening up public life. As we know, it is measured and cautious, and the timing of each Phase will be announced when the Government decides the time is right. Phase 2 does envisage the possibility of churches being opened for individual prayer and for funerals, but the requirements of physical distancing, provision of handwashing and masks, deep cleaning, and support and training of volunteers, will make this challenging and demanding for churches who decide to offer this. And many of our active members, and some of our active clergy and lay readers are ‘vulnerable’, and may be  ‘shielding’ by staying at home for longer than others. Very shortly the Advisory Group set up by the College of Bishops will send out detailed practical Guidance on what Episcopal churches would be able to do (and not do) once Phase 2 is announced by the Government. I (assisted by the Dean) will be ready to talk to clergy and vestries who decide they want to take any of these steps when the time comes. We all want to see the opening of our churches, but we also know that opening them safely will require care and patience. Globally, the pandemic is still in its early days, as we know from the present situation in Brazil and India from our link bishops in Amazonia and Calcutta (letters sent to you last week, and in the current Diocesan E-News.

Also in the E-News, with Trinity Sunday and a version of Rublev’s icon in mind, I have written about ‘Black Lives Matte’r and the reality of racism. It is in all of our minds, in wake of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week, as are the protests that have sprung up in the USA and in other countries (the article is attached to this email). The fact is that Racism is as real in Scotland as anywhere. Many people have said that the death of George Floyd at the hands of police is a reminder of the equally unacceptable death of Sheku Bayoh in Kirkcaldy in 2015.  Mr Bayoh also died from asphyxiation in the process of being detained. Accusations and counter-accusations have circulated ever since, but it is only now, 5 years later, that a public enquiry has been established. Mr Bayoh’s sister said, “If he was a white man that is not the way his life would have ended. … We are black people but we are not bad people. So why do our children have to feel afraid walking in the streets?”

Like you I am horrified by Racism, and by how hard it still is for Black and Asian people to be treated justly even here in Scotland. But as a White male person I also know that I have a lot to learn about my own attitudes formed by growing up in a world that privileges people like me. I chose to write about Racism this month because even in the situation of pandemic and lockdown, the Church has to engage with the other deep evils that continue to oppress and destroy people’s lives, and to witness to the love of God that calls us to overcome them. As clergy and lay readers we need to take opportunities to think and pray together about enabling our churches to engage. I hope that future CMD discussions and study gatherings will help us to do this, even while we are struggling with Covid. 

Racism, the abuse of women and children, homophobia, the exclusion of disabled people, the neglect of older people – these evils are in reality the same evil, the same sin: our refusal to respect and love every human being, regardless of difference, as our equals in humanity, and as the image of God. After Pentecost we have to pray that the Spirit will lead us and all humankind into all the truth, that we may proclaim the word and works of God.

Also attached to this are some further resources for you:
– the Diocesan Cycle of Prayer for 2020-21, revised with corrections received after the draft was sent out recently.
– 2 more resources from St Luke’s Trust on the well being of those in ministry.
– the latest edition of the SEI Newsletter.
– information about bursaries offered by Ecclesiastical Insurance for clergy study.

As always, please accept my great admiration and thanks for the love and prayer you are bringing to help our congregations to continue in prayer and service. Thank you for all your faithful work which is making this possible.
 
With my greetings and blessings for Trinity Sunday,

Bishop Ian

Attached to Bishop Ian’s Letter were the following – click on each link to download

SEI Newsletter

Black Lives Matter

Rythms & Wellbeing

Relatedness & Wellbeing

Diocesan Cycle of Prayer

Also from the Diocese

Diocesan Resources for week 1st June 2020

————————————————————————————————————————–

St Mary’s Heating project

Christopher Roads has been working incredibly hard to raise the funds for the Heating Project which has been approved by the Vestry and the Diocesan Building Committee.

Christopher writes this week;

“The SEC Building Grants Fund has awarded a grant of £8,000 towards this project. This brings the funds raised to date to £16,800 against a target of £18980.

“This sum includes three anonymous donations totalling £3050 which with Gift Aid can be increased to £3,660.

“Further fund-raising has stalled until the Covid epidemic is over as most funders, e.g. the Heritage Lottery Fund, will not entertain applications before October.”

Church Opening

The Church is still closed because of Covid-19.

But we see in the news that plans are being discussed to at least open Churches for Private Prayer in the first instance.


We will let you know as soon as we have information on this

.

Hopefully we shall be allowed to hold a form of service in  the Church in due course

Richard and Melanie – Covid -19

Poor Richard and Melanie are still unable to move into their lovely new house.  In the meantime, Richard is very kindly continuing to provide the congregation with Pastoral support.  As a part of this, he is  preparing a weekly Sunday Service, which we hope you like and enjoy.


We are VERY grateful to Richard for his continued work on our behalf.

News and Information from Bishop Ian Paton – 5th June 2020

Dear sisters and brothers,

Pentecost is the feast of the ’new normal,’ life in the Spirit poured out on the apostles and on all creation. As we celebrated Pentecost this year people were talking about a different ‘new normal’ – our life after the Pandemic. When we rebuild our lives, will we have a better sense of what is important? Or will we just rush back to the same old life? What will ‘new normal’ mean for the Church? What will our priorities be? How will we welcome those who have been joining us online? How will we support those who are sad about people and things that have been lost? What will we need to do if we are to open our churches but keep people safe? 

A week ago over 40 clergy and lay readers shared in an online CMD Conference about exactly these questions, organised for us by Michael Paterson. Our discussions began from his reflections on the Four Hallmarks of Ministry in Luke 24 (Jesus and the Disciples on the Road to Emmaus) in the context of the pandemic. I’d like to thank all of you who attended (and those who tried to but couldn’t due to broadband problems), to thank Michael for organising it and for guiding our reflection, and to Carrie Applegath and Elaine Garman for managing the event. The text and a video of Michael’s presentation is available on the Diocesan website. https://standrews.anglican.org/clergy-development-resources/

The Scottish Government’s ‘Route Back’ outlines 4 Phases for opening up public life. As we know, it is measured and cautious, and the timing of each Phase will be announced when the Government decides the time is right. Phase 2 does envisage the possibility of churches being opened for individual prayer and for funerals, but the requirements of physical distancing, provision of handwashing and masks, deep cleaning, and support and training of volunteers, will make this challenging and demanding for churches who decide to offer this. And many of our active members, and some of our active clergy and lay readers are ‘vulnerable’, and may be  ‘shielding’ by staying at home for longer than others. Very shortly the Advisory Group set up by the College of Bishops will send out detailed practical Guidance on what Episcopal churches would be able to do (and not do) once Phase 2 is announced by the Government. I (assisted by the Dean) will be ready to talk to clergy and vestries who decide they want to take any of these steps when the time comes. We all want to see the opening of our churches, but we also know that opening them safely will require care and patience. Globally, the pandemic is still in its early days, as we know from the present situation in Brazil and India from our link bishops in Amazonia and Calcutta (letters sent to you last week, and in the current Diocesan E-News.

Also in the E-News, with Trinity Sunday and a version of Rublev’s icon in mind, I have written about ‘Black Lives Matte’r and the reality of racism. It is in all of our minds, in wake of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week, as are the protests that have sprung up in the USA and in other countries (the article is attached to this email). The fact is that Racism is as real in Scotland as anywhere. Many people have said that the death of George Floyd at the hands of police is a reminder of the equally unacceptable death of Sheku Bayoh in Kirkcaldy in 2015.  Mr Bayoh also died from asphyxiation in the process of being detained. Accusations and counter-accusations have circulated ever since, but it is only now, 5 years later, that a public enquiry has been established. Mr Bayoh’s sister said, “If he was a white man that is not the way his life would have ended. … We are black people but we are not bad people. So why do our children have to feel afraid walking in the streets?”

Like you I am horrified by Racism, and by how hard it still is for Black and Asian people to be treated justly even here in Scotland. But as a White male person I also know that I have a lot to learn about my own attitudes formed by growing up in a world that privileges people like me. I chose to write about Racism this month because even in the situation of pandemic and lockdown, the Church has to engage with the other deep evils that continue to oppress and destroy people’s lives, and to witness to the love of God that calls us to overcome them. As clergy and lay readers we need to take opportunities to think and pray together about enabling our churches to engage. I hope that future CMD discussions and study gatherings will help us to do this, even while we are struggling with Covid. 

Racism, the abuse of women and children, homophobia, the exclusion of disabled people, the neglect of older people – these evils are in reality the same evil, the same sin: our refusal to respect and love every human being, regardless of difference, as our equals in humanity, and as the image of God. After Pentecost we have to pray that the Spirit will lead us and all humankind into all the truth, that we may proclaim the word and works of God.

Also attached to this are some further resources for you:
– the Diocesan Cycle of Prayer for 2020-21, revised with corrections received after the draft was sent out recently.
– 2 more resources from St Luke’s Trust on the welllbeing of those in ministry.
– the latest edition of the SEI Newsletter.
– information about bursaries offered by Ecclesisatiacal Insurance for clergy study.

As always, please accept my great admiration and thanks for the love and prayer you are bringing to help our congregations to continue in prayer and service. Thank you for all your faithful work which is making this possible.
 
With my greetings and blessings for Trinity Sunday,

Bishop Ian

________________________________  

The Right Revd Ian Paton

Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane

Sunday Service fro 7th June 2020 – Trinity Sunday

Trinity Sunday

7th June 2020

The Scottish Episcopal Church will this Sunday at 11.00 broadcasting video coverage of its Eucharistic service via its website, social media channels and YouTube channel.  The web page for the broadcast is located at www.scotland.anglican.org/broadcast-sunday-worship The website will also contain a downloadable video and audio format of the service.

SERVICE

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

Collect

Holy God,

faithful and unchanging:

enlarge our minds with the knowledge of your truth,

and draw us more deeply into the mystery of your love,

that we may truly worship you,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever

The Gospel

Matthew 28:16-20

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.(A) 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.(B) 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,(C) baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,(D) 20 and teaching(E) them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you(F) always, to the very end of the age

The Nicene Creed.

I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And of all things visible and invisible:
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God; Begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God; Begotten, not made; Being of one substance with the Father; By whom all things were made: Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man: And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered was buried: And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures: And ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of the Father: And he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, The Lord, and Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the Prophets: And I believe one Catholic and Apostolic Church: I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins: And I look for the Resurrection of the dead: And the Life of the world to come. Amen.

The Sermon

John Spilsbury, the London cartographer and engraver, has been credited with creating the first jigsaw puzzles around 1760. Why though a jigsaw puzzle? Since the first Sunday of Advent last year, the Gospel readings have acted as pieces of an imaginary jigsaw puzzle. These weekly passages have been gradually revealing a picture both of the life and nature of Christ.  Last week, Pentecost became the next but last piece of the imaginary puzzle. Here Christ first manifested his risen presence to believers through the Holy Spirit. Today the final piece of jigsaw is placed to complete the picture. This is the complex image of God Christ and the Holy Spirit within the concept of what is referred to as the Trinity.

First things first; Tri, the first letters of the word Trinity naturally mean three. From this is derived for example, the three wheeled cycle, the tricycle, and the three-sided geometric shape, the triangle.  In the Christian context of the Trinity the tri or three is God the Creator, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. These three as separate entities are not difficult to understand. In the Trossachs, God can readily be appreciated as creator.  Placed in the imaginary jigsaw already are pieces depicting Christ, God the Son, on earth.  Finally, the Pentecost narrative describes how frightened and disheartened followers were revived by the appearance of the Holy Spirit.

In Cambridge, I once heard what I judged an excellent sermon about The Trinity. The preacher illustrated his sermon with a visual aid, which, he explained that was capable of performing three functions. He produced a radio that could also play a tape and a CD. It illustrated perfectly, or so I thought, the concept of the Trinity. God the Creator can also God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.

Over coffee though, the preacher was taken to task by a lecturer in theology who had been sitting in the congregation. ‘What’ the theologian asked the preacher ‘would you do if you wished to listen to the wireless, but found that it was no longer working and could not be repaired?’ The preacher had to admit that he would have to replace the faulty equipment. This though was the theologian’s point: God is always working within the Trinity. If he is not working as Creator, then he will be working as the Son of God or as the Holy Spirit. God in the Trinity is therefore, three in one, but also one in three. I still preferred the sermon.

Sometimes prayer is addressed to God the Father, as for example in the Lord’s Prayer ‘Our Father who art in Heaven’.  By contrast, John Henry Newman’s famous prayer is addressed not to God, but to Jesus.  ‘O Lord support us all the day long of this troublous life’. Most Pentecost prayers are addressed to God as Spirit starting with words like ‘O Holy Spirit of God’. We can though address prayer to any part of the Trinity and wherever we send it, it will be answered.

Some doubtless remain unconvinced. Why bother with the Trinity? Why not simply believe in God and be done with it?  Alas, the Chelsea flower show has become a victim of the lockdown. How the wonderful colours that characterise the show are being missed. So, it is with faith: to experience God’s glory in full, He must be seen and believed not in monochrome, but in the rich variety and glory of the Trinity.

Reflection

The Trinity is the unique relationship of creative love that exists between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Through the gift and grace of our baptism and confirmation we are personally invited to be part of this dynamic and life-giving union. The love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which we have received. Romans 5:5

Prayer

To the one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
Father,
you sent your Word
to bring us truth
and your Spirit to make us holy.
Through them we come to know
the mystery of your life.
Help us to worship you,
one God in three Persons,
by proclaiming and living our faith in you.
We ask you this, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

Confession

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against Thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly Thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent and are heartily sorry for these our misdoings: The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please Thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of Thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Absolution

The Almighty and merciful Lord, grant me pardon and absolution of all my sins. Amen.


The Comfortable Words, Preface. and Sanctus.

Hear what comfortable words our Saviour Christ saith unto all who truly turn to Him.
Come unto Me, all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. St. Matt. xi. 28.
So God loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, to the end that all that believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. St. John iii. 16.

Hear also what Saint Paul saith.
This is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be received, That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. 1 Tim. i. 15.

Hear also what Saint John saith.
If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous; and He is the Propitiation for our sins. 1 St. John ii. 1, 2.

Therefore with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Thy glorious Name; evermore praising Thee, and saying,
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, Lord God of hosts, Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory: Glory be to Thee, O Lord Most High. Amen.

In union, O Lord with the faithful, I desire to offer Thee praise and thanksgiving. I present to Thee my soul and body with the earnest wish that may always be united to Thee. And since I can not now receive Thee sacramentally, I beseech Thee to come spiritually into my heart. I unite myself to Thee and embrace Thee with all the affections of my soul. Let nothing ever separate Thee from me. May I live and die in Thy love. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCnRYj3lMlQ Today’s hymn

   1    Holy, holy, holy!  Lord God Almighty!
            early in the morning our song shall rise to thee;
        holy, holy, holy!  merciful and mighty!
            God in three persons, blessèd Trinity!

   2       Holy, holy, holy!  all the saints adore thee,
            casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
        cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,
            which wert and art and evermore shalt be.

   3       Holy, holy, holy!  though the darkness hide thee,
            though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,
        only thou art holy, there is none beside thee
            perfect in power, in love, and purity.

   4       Holy, holy, holy!  Lord God Almighty!
            all thy works shall praise thy name in earth and sky and sea;
        holy, holy, holy!  merciful and mighty!
            God in three persons, blessèd Trinity!

The choice of today’s hymn has not been difficult as it has long been associated with the Trinity. It was written in the early 1800’s by Reginald Heber then vicar of Hodnet in Shropshire. The author was prolific during this period, writing more than a hundred hymns. More to the point, many have survived. Heber was plucked from the obscurity of Hodnet to become Bishop of Calcutta in October 1823. He travelled widely and worked to improve the spiritual and general living conditions of his flock. Arduous duties, a hostile climate and poor health led to his collapse and death after less than three years in India. Memorials were erected there and in St Paul’s Cathedral, London

The tune for this hymn, Nicaea, was composed by John Bacchus Dykes The tune name is a tribute to the First Council of Nicaea – held by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in 325 – which formalized the doctrine of the Trinity. Dykes was first appointed a church organist at the age of ten. Forsaking a promising musical career, he chose instead to be ordained. 

Sunday Service and Bulletin for 31st May 2020

Sunday 31st May 2020

Pentecost Sunday

The Scottish Episcopal Church will this Sunday at 11.00 broadcasting video coverage of its Eucharistic service via its website, social media channels and YouTube channel.  The web page for the broadcast is located at www.scotland.anglican.org/broadcast-sunday-worship The website will also contain a downloadable video and audio format of the service.

SERVICE

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

Collect

God, who as at this time

taught the hearts of your faithful people

by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit:

grant us by the sa9me Spirit

to have a right judgement in all things

and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort;

through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever

For the Gospel:

Acts 2 1-21

2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,[b] 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”

14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 “‘In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
    and they will prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
    blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood
    before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21 And everyone who calls
    on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

The Nicene Creed.

I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And of all things visible and invisible:
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God; Begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God; Begotten, not made; Being of one substance with the Father; By whom all things were made: Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man: And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered was buried: And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures: And ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of the Father: And he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, The Lord, and Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the Prophets: And I believe one Catholic and Apostolic Church: I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins: And I look for the Resurrection of the dead: And the Life of the world to come. Amen

The Sermon

Once upon a time, Pentecost Sunday was known as Whitsun. Whit Sunday was not merely observed; rather it was celebrated in style equal to Christmas and Easter. The annual Sunday School treat often occurred at Whit, frequently involving a journey, either by steam train or on a hay wain pulled by a farmer’s traction engine. Soot smuts played havoc with the white frocks and shirts customarily worn for the day    It did not matter that children were late to bed on Whit Sunday, because the next day was a rare holiday.  Alas in 1967, the secular world spoilt everything. Whitsun was changed to become the ‘Late Spring Bank Holiday’ a Monday fixed at the end of May rather than being governed by the church calendar. Whit changed its name to Pentecost and somehow since then it has become a normal Festival.

Normal?  No Christian Festival commemorates a routine occurrence. A child born to a virgin at Christmas and a man returning from dead at Easter. The same man ascending to heaven in a cloud at Ascension and now Pentecost, another unique happening as evidenced by today’s reading from Acts.

It was no coincidence that at the first Pentecost, believers were gathered in Jerusalem. Pentecost was already established as a Jewish festival: a celebration of the harvest. For that reason, the disciples were gathered as they had always done before.

Perhaps the disciples were craving the familiarity and certainty of this ancient festival to make amends for the turmoil they had experienced during the previous weeks. Nearly sixty days before, they had entered Jerusalem with their master and witnessed a crowd waving palms and giving a hero’s welcome. They then saw Jesus arrested. After being falsely tried and tortured he was crucified.  The disciples ran away to hide, only then to hear about the resurrection from Mary Magdalene. Later, in the Upper Room, they again saw Jesus in the flesh. Then forty days after that, they witnessed his Ascension to heaven. Their experience had been emotionally exhausting. Alas for the disciples, there would be no respite. God would use Pentecost to again surprise them.

 Those present at Pentecost experienced wind like a tornado and saw tongues of fire. Each believer then felt compelled to speak uncontrollably in tongues.  Hearing this seemingly bizarre outpouring, bystanders naturally judged the believers to be intoxicated. But Peter assured them: what they were experiencing was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

We all receive strange presents from time to time. We smile graciously at the source, but secretly ponder why the gift should be given and how it should be used. The Spirit is a precious gift from God, given to fulfil a divine promise that believers will never be left alone but have the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit is manifest in its activity, akin to a jewel that when held to the light, reveals different hues at every turn. As today’s reflection, the words of the nineteenth century hymnwriter Harriet Auber describe the many aspects of the Spirit.  

Reflection

Our blest Redeemer, ere he breathed
his tender last farewell,
a Guide, a Comforter, bequeathed
with us to dwell.

He came in tongues of living flame,
to teach, convince, subdue;
all-powerful as the wind he came,
as viewless too.

He came sweet influence to impart,
a gracious, willing guest,
when he can find one humble heart
wherein to rest.

And his that gentle voice we hear,
soft as the breath of ev’n,
that checks each fault, that calms each fear,
and speaks of heav’n.

And ev’ry virtue we possess,
and ev’ry victory won,
and ev’ry thought of holiness,
are his alone.

Spirit of purity and grace,
our weakness, pitying, see;
O make our hearts thy dwelling-place,
and worthier thee.

Prayer

Lord, you challenge us with Pentecost.
Do we believe that this
was a once in eternity experience,
never to be repeated?
That the Holy Spirit was poured out
on your followers for a single purpose,
and ended His work at that instant?
If so, then maybe that is why the Church
seems so powerless in this age,
helpless when faced with the needs
both spiritual and physical,
that we see in the world.
Lord, as we meet together ,
and celebrate once again
the memory of that first Pentecost,
may it be for us as it was then
an awareness of your Glory in this dark world,
 and a life changing experience.

 Amen

Confession

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against Thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly Thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent and are heartily sorry for these our misdoings: The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please Thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of Thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Absolution

The Almighty and merciful Lord, grant me pardon and absolution of all my sins. Amen.


The Comfortable Words, Preface. and Sanctus.

Hear what comfortable words our Saviour Christ saith unto all who truly turn to Him.
Come unto Me, all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. St. Matt. xi. 28.
So God loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, to the end that all that believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. St. John iii. 16.

Hear also what Saint Paul saith.
This is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be received, That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. 1 Tim. i. 15.

Hear also what Saint John saith.
If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous; and He is the Propitiation for our sins. 1 St. John ii. 1, 2.

Therefore with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Thy glorious Name; evermore praising Thee, and saying,
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, Lord God of hosts, Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory: Glory be to Thee, O Lord Most High. Amen.

In union, O Lord with the faithful, I desire to offer Thee praise and thanksgiving. I present to Thee my soul and body with the earnest wish that may always be united to Thee. And since I can not now receive Thee sacramentally, I beseech Thee to come spiritually into my heart. I unite myself to Thee and embrace Thee with all the affections of my soul. Let nothing ever separate Thee from me. May I live and die in Thy love. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer:

Today’s hymn Listen on Youtube ?

   1       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.

   2          O let it freely burn,
            till 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.

   3          Let holy charity
            mine outward vesture be,
        and lowliness become mine inner clothing:
            true lowliness of heart,
            which takes the humbler part,
        and o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.

   4          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 he become the place
        wherein the Holy Spirit makes his dwelling.

Bianco da Siena (d.1434)
translated by  Richard Frederick Littledale (1833–1890)

Bianco da Siena born circa 1350 was an Italian poet and wool worker. In 1367 he entered the Order of Jesuates, who followed the rule of St. Augustine. Within the order, he wrote his hymn Discendi, amor santo. The words might well have passed to obscurity, but for the renewed interest in ancient hymnody by translators such as Richard Littledale born in Dublin in 1833. The words are sung to the tune ‘Down Ampney’. Its composer Ralph Vaughan Williams named it after his birthplace in Gloucestershire. He became the chief figure both in the realm of British and church music during the first half of the twentieth century. Despite the latter, he remained, as a friend once described him, ‘a cheerful agnostic’ all his life.

Weekly news – recent emails and messages

College of Bishops Message 28th May 2020

Bishop Ian Message 26th May 2020

Episcopal Resources 26th May 2020

Linkage Bulletin and Sunday service for 24th May 2020

Sunday after Ascension Day 2020

SERVICE

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

Collect

O God the King of glory,

you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ

with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven:

we beseech you, leave us not comfortless,

but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen us

and exalt us to the place where our Saviour Christ is gone before,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

The Ministry of the Word

The Epistle

Acts 1:4-10

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with[a] water, but in a few days you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.”

Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them

The Gospel

John 17:1-11

17 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

“I have revealed you[a] to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of[b] your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.

The Nicene Creed.

I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And of all things visible and invisible:
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God; Begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God; Begotten, not made; Being of one substance with the Father; By whom all things were made: Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man: And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered was buried: And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures: And ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of the Father: And he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, The Lord, and Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the Prophets: And I believe one Catholic and Apostolic Church: I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins: And I look for the Resurrection of the dead: And the Life of the world to come. Amen.

The Sermon

The events of the past weeks prove that life can change quite unexpectedly, and remarkably fast. But then, life itself is a process of transformation, dictated by any number of situations and circumstances.   

In the early part of human life, change comes thick and fast. A child will hopefully morph to adulthood and takes its place in society. In later years, the pace of change slows.  Therefore, when circumstances do alter, they often prove unwelcome and bring apprehension and threat to a perceived security.

Alas, it is impossible to flourish in life without acceptance of the inevitability of change, whether for good or ill.

Last Thursday was Ascension Day, the thirty ninth after Easter. The Ascension itself marked a moment of dramatic change for early Christians. The scriptures describe the Ascension in words every bit as mysterious and magical as the account of the Nativity. Mediaeval and Renaissance artists depict the Ascension as Christ’s figure departing to the clouds with humanity gazing at his rapidly disappearing feet. The artistic perception will have been based upon an understanding of a flat earth with the sky above encompassing the heavens. At the time, Jesus’ departure and return to God could naturally only be explained in these terms. Scientific discovery has since proved the earth neither to be flat nor the centre of the universe. Ancient theological imagery therefore has its limitations when set against modern rationalist understanding. What today then is the true meaning of the Ascension?

Mrs Alexander beautifully summarised the nativity in her Christmas carol ‘Once in Royal David’s City’

   He came down to earth from heaven
            who is God and Lord of all,
        and his shelter was a stable,
            and his cradle was a stall;
        with the poor and mean and lowly
        lived on earth our Saviour holy.

The words tell of the entry of divinity, the Christ child, into human experience. By Ascension Day thirty or so years later, events had turned full circle. Jesus’ earthly life had finished, and his humanity become one with the Divine.

Christ’s departure naturally wrought great change to the lives of the earliest believers. Jesus’ immediate, visible presence was at an end. Jesus had though previously warned of change. “In a little while you will see me no more. But a little while after that, you will see me again.” (John 16:16).  Nevertheless, his followers must have found both their lives and understanding changed, as his presence would now be felt in a vastly different way. They had to recognize that Jesus’ life could stilltransform theirs – even though he could no longer be seen.

The Ascension therefore marks a change and one that needs not to be ignored but addressed. Change inevitably leaves the past and familiar behind. Ascension was and is a time of change and transformation. The first believers could not cling to the dangling feet to pull Jesus back down to earth and neither can we.

This momentous change has though only just begun. Pentecost has yet to arrive. 

The Reflection

We saw his light break through the cloud of glory
Whilst we were rooted still in time and place
As earth became a part of Heaven’s story
And heaven opened to his human face.
We saw him go and yet we were not parted
He took us with him to the heart of things
The heart that broke for all the broken-hearted
Is whole and Heaven-centered now, and sings,
Sings in the strength that rises out of weakness,
Sings through the clouds that veil him from our sight,
Whilst we ourselves become his clouds of witness
And sing the waning darkness into light,
His light in us, and ours in him concealed,
Which all creation waits to see revealed

A prayer

Lord, give Your people Your peace that we may shine brightly in a dark world. Grant us the courage to live faithfully even amid hard times. Let our fear of You be the beginning of wisdom rather than allowing the fear of the world to drive our actions. Help us to embrace our heavenly citizenship and live strangely in the midst of a world that needs to know You.  

Show Your mercy and heal those who are suffering in Your fallen creation. Most of all Lord, come. Restore the world You have made and make all things new. We pray that Your will would be done. Amen.

Confession

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against Thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly Thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent and are heartily sorry for these our misdoings: The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please Thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of Thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Absolution

The Almighty and merciful Lord, grant me pardon and absolution of all my sins. Amen.


The Comfortable Words, Preface. and Sanctus.

Hear what comfortable words our Saviour Christ saith unto all who truly turn to Him.
Come unto Me, all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. St. Matt. xi. 28.
So God loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, to the end that all that believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. St. John iii. 16.

Hear also what Saint Paul saith.
This is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be received, That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. 1 Tim. i. 15.

Hear also what Saint John saith.
If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous; and He is the Propitiation for our sins. 1 St. John ii. 1, 2.

Therefore with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Thy glorious Name; evermore praising Thee, and saying,
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, Lord God of hosts, Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory: Glory be to Thee, O Lord Most High. Amen.

In union, O Lord with the faithful, I desire to offer Thee praise and thanksgiving. I present to Thee my soul and body with the earnest wish that may always be united to Thee. And since I can not now receive Thee sacramentally, I beseech Thee to come spiritually into my heart. I unite myself to Thee and embrace Thee with all the affections of my soul. Let nothing ever separate Thee from me. May I live and die in Thy love. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer:

The Hymn Listen on YouTube

   1    Hail the day that sees him rise, Alleluia,
        to his throne above the skies; Alleluia,
        Christ, the Lamb for sinners given, Alleluia,
        enters now the highest heaven. Alleluia!

   2       There for him high triumph waits;
        lift your heads, eternal gates.
        He hath conquered death and sin;
        take the King of Glory in.

   3       Lo, the heaven its Lord receives,
        yet he loves the earth he leaves;
        though returning to his throne,
        still he calls mankind his own.

   4       See, he lifts his hands above;
        see, he shews the prints of love;
        hark, his gracious lips bestow
        blessings on his church below.

   5       Still for us he intercedes,
        his prevailing death he pleads;
        near himself prepares our place,
        he the first-fruits of our race.

   6       Lord, though parted from our sight,
        far above the starry height,
        grant our hearts may thither rise,
        seeking thee above the skies.

Hail the Day that Sees Him Rise” by Charles Wesley (1707-1788) was published in 1739 One upon a time the BBC Home Service would play this before broadcasting began on an Ascension Day morning. Alas, this is no longer possible in our politically correct age.
The first verse explains Jesus’ ascension and the second his destination, the gates of heaven, which accept Christ in glory. The fourth verse assures believers of Christ’s continued investment in the lives of those on earth. in comparison to his heavenly inheritance described in the previous lines. The final stanzas present Christ as the continuous intercessor for humankind, leading us finally to eternal union with God.