Sunday Service for 16th August 2020

Pentecost 11  August 16th  2020

“If it’s not Good News for everyone, then it’s not good enough yet.

Preparation:  Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Christ our Lord.  Amen

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

Gloria:   Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away
the sin of the world; have mercy on us; you are seated at
the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are
the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father.  Amen

Collect:   Almighty God, you have broken the tyranny of sin and sent into our hearts the Spirit of your Son.  Give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service, that all people may know the glorious liberty of the children of God; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

Reading:    Isaiah 56:1, 6-8
Thus says the Lord:  ‘Maintain justice and do what is right, for soon my salvation will come and my deliverance be revealed.    And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord and to be his servants, all who keep the Sabbath and do not profane it and hold fast to my covenant – all these I will bring to my holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.’  Thus says the Lord who gathers the outcasts of Israel:  ‘I will gather others to them besides those already gathered.’ 

Gospel:    Matthew 15:21-28
Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, ‘Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.’ But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, ‘Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.’ He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ But she came and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, help me.’ He answered, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’ She said, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’ Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed instantly.

Reflection:   In a Bible study at Cornton Vale women’s prison, we discussed , ‘Was Jesus ever naughty?’ It’s a good question, because it makes us think about what it means to say that Jesus was fully human, as well as fully God.  Humans experience the growth of their bodies, minds and spirits, and their understanding of the world  – if all goes well – becomes deeper and closer to all that is true and good.

When Jesus met a pagan woman in the notoriously ‘wicked’ district of Tyre and Sidon, he can’t have expected a lesson in understanding.  He responded at first to her request for healing for her daughter with a brisk ‘I’ve come for the Jews, not for the likes of you’.  But she pointed out that there were plenty of leftovers (12 baskets?) for the rest of the world.  Perhaps this triggered a memory of the prophecy of Isaiah in Jesus’ mind: the Lord will ‘gather the outcasts of Israel’.

The woman widened Jesus’ vision of the Good News that he came to proclaim – that God is not just for one group, one type, one age or gender or ethnicity, but for all people who turn to him.  As Debie Thomas wrote: If it’s not Good News for everyone, then it’s not good enough yet.  Jesus may have heard the passage from Isaiah many times, but until it was made real in the person of the Canaanite woman, he had not fully let it sink in and become a part of him.

When we meet someone who is different and ‘other’, and find that our set views, our sense of entitlement and our bias towards those who are similar to us are challenged, will we be as ready as Jesus was to open our eyes and change our minds?

Prayers: 
God of compassion, you have shown us such great mercy.  Through the witness of your Church may all the world experience the goodness of your mercy.
Hear us, we humbly pray

Lord of all, you have created us to live together.  Help us to see that our common life depends on each other’s work and goodwill.  May nations learn to live in peace and cooperation.

Hear us, we humbly pray

Abundant God, you make the earth bring forth good food.  As you provided for the children of Israel, we pray you will also provide for all those suffering from famine and hunger in our world.

Hear us, we humbly pray

Loving God, how good and pleasant it is when your children live together in unity.  Open our eyes to those who are outcast, forgotten and undervalued in our communities.
Hear us, we humbly pray;

Lord Christ, may those who call out to you in great faith find your heart open to their cries.  We ask for healing for the sick and suffering, the desperate and disturbed.  We pray especially for …
Hear us, we humbly pray

God of blessing, bless your people with life for evermore.  May the dying find comfort; may the departed rest in your peace.

Hear us, we humbly pray

We pray in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the power of the Spirit.  Amen

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

Worship and praise belong to you, Father, in every place and at all times.  All power is yours. You created the heavens and established
the earth; you sustain in being all that is.
In Christ your Son our life and yours are brought together in a wonderful exchange. He made his home among us that we might
for ever dwell in you. Through your Holy Spirit you call us to new birth
in a creation restored by love.
As children of your redeeming purpose we offer you our praise,
with angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven,
singing the hymn of your unending glory:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.      
Hosanna in the highest.

Glory and thanksgiving be to you, most loving Father, for the gift of your Son born in human flesh. He is the Word existing beyond time, both source and final purpose, bringing to wholeness all that is made.
Obedient to your will he died upon the Cross. By your power you raised him from the dead. He broke the bonds of evil and set your people free to be his Body in the world.

On the night when he was given up to death, knowing that his hour had come, having loved his own, he loved them to the end. At supper with his disciples he took bread and offered you thanks. He broke the bread, and gave it to them, saying: “Take, eat. This is my Body: it is broken for you.” After supper, he took the cup, he offered you thanks, and gave it to them saying: “Drink this, all of you. This is my Blood of the new covenant; it is poured out for you, and for all, that sins
may be forgiven. Do this in remembrance of me.”

We now obey your Son’s command. We recall his blessed passion
and death, his glorious resurrection and ascension; and we look for the coming of his Kingdom. Made one with him, we offer you ourselves, a single, holy, living sacrifice.

Hear us, most merciful Father, and send your Holy Spirit upon us that, overshadowed by his life-giving power, we may be kindled with the fire of your love and renewed for the service of your Kingdom.

Help us, who are baptised into the fellowship of Christ’s Body to live and work to your praise and glory; may we grow together in unity and love until at last, in your new creation, we enter into our heritage in the company of the Virgin Mary, the apostles and prophets, and of all our brothers and sisters living and departed.

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

The Lord’s Prayer:   Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done;  on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.   Amen.

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

Closing prayer: 

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

Hymn:  This hymn was written by Fr. Frederick Faber, an Anglican priest who became a Roman Catholic in 1845.  He was an admirer of hymns by the Methodist leader Charles Wesley.
You can find it sung at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJwfT3SY_PU

There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
like the wideness of the sea;
there’s a kindness in his justice
which is more than liberty.

There is no place where earth’s sorrows
are more keenly felt than heaven:
there is no place where earth’s failings
have such gracious judgement given.

There is plentiful redemption
through the blood that Christ has shed;
there is joy for all the members
in the sorrows of the head.

For the love of God is broader
than the measure of our mind;
and the heart of the eternal
is most wonderfully kind.

If our love were but more simple,
we should take him at his word;
and our lives would be illumined,
by the glory of the Lord.

Notice

We have consent to Open St Mary’s again for Services- We will let you know as soon as we can what is planned and when our first suday Service can take place. There is some work to do in preparing the Churvch for Covid-19 and then of course we shall have to find a pesronb willing to take a service for us.

More news as soon as we have it.