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