Sunday service for 18th October 2020 – St Luke

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

      St Luke   October 18th 2020  

         Praise the Lord, all you saints!

   Praise the Lord, you heavenly hosts!

   So great a cloud of witnesses surrounds us.

       They witness to God’s mighty acts.

         They witness to God’s steadfast love.

                                       Their witness guides us in our faith.

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

      who tells of Christ’s healing power.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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