Tag Archives: Rectors weekly Bulletin

Sunday Service for 6th September 2020


 
Sunday Service Pentecost 14  September 6th   2020

O how good it is when a family lives together in unity!  (Psalm 133:1)
 
Preparation:  Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Christ our Lord.  Amen
 
Our Lord Jesus Christ said: the first commandment is this:
“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love
the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul,
with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this:  “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.       Amen.  Lord, have mercy.
 
Gloria:   Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away
the sin of the world; have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father.  Amen
 
Collect:   Almighty and eternal God, make us grow in faith, hope and charity: and that we may be worthy of your promises, cause us to love what you command; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.  Amen

Reading:    Ezekiel 33:7-11
So you, mortal, I have made a sentinel for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked ones, you shall surely die’, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but their blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from their ways, and they do not turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but you will have saved your life.
Now you, mortal, say to the house of Israel, Thus you have said: ‘Our transgressions and our sins weigh upon us, and we waste away because of them; how then can we live?’ Say to them, As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?

Gospel:  Matthew 18:15-20
Jesus spoke to his disciples:  ‘If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax-collector. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.’

Reflection:  
The current crisis has made us acutely aware of how we need to be responsible to and for one another.  We are more and more aware that what we do affects others – whether it’s wearing a face mask on an aeroplane or supporting local businesses that might go bankrupt. 
This can involve reminding others about their behaviour, or being ourselves reminded by others.
Today’s gospel is about authentic community, not just about rebuking another’s faults.  The Church has a huge opportunity to show what good community is like and how we can be lovingly responsible.  That is so important at a time like this, when it’s hard to socialise and keep relationships going, and when it is tempting to do just what we want.
Christians are bound by love, a love that is poured into us by Christ. Such love means that we can trust one another to want what is good for us.   Christians are also responsible – like a ‘sentinel’ (Ezekiel 33:7) and are prepared to accept limits to their freedom, just as Jesus, though Son of God, accepted the limits of human life.
But the real core and power of community as we know it as a Church is the fact that Christ is among us – in our homes as surely as at church.  He binds us into a body that is so much more than a club or a network.  The Church – the body of God’s people, the Body of Christ – is the living presence of God in the world, seeking to draw all into the new life and hope of God’s Kingdom, as we live out the love and respect that characterises true community.

Prayers
Let us pray for reconciliation and responsibility amongst the communities of the world, so that all peoples may flourish.
Almighty God, we hold before you the nations of the world, in so much need of healing.  As tensions rise in the United States, bring wisdom and justice.  As reconciliation seems to emerge in the Middle East, bring peace and justice to your Holy Land. 
Lord graciously hear us.
God of mercy, help us to learn from the pandemic.  Show us how we can build true community, accepting the ways we need to live now so that the welfare of all is ensured.  Help us to support those who fear for their jobs, their incomes and their future.
Lord graciously hear us.
Loving God, be present with children and young people as they struggle to catch up with what they have missed.  May they not be held back from all they can achieve by the actions of others.
Lord graciously hear us.
Guide your Church, Lord, as we navigate stormy waters, and keep us from all that would hinder your work in the world.  Nurture through your grace all the congregations in our communities.
Lord graciously hear us.
Bless our families and friends and help us to keep close and loving bonds with them.  May we be cleansed of any ill-feeling, forgive and ask forgiveness, and rejoice in all you have given us in our lives. We pray especially for …
Lord graciously hear us.
Merciful Father, accept these prayers which we offer in the power of the Spirit and in the name of your Son Jesus Christ.  Amen

The Great Thanksgiving
Let us lift up our hearts and give thanks to the Lord our God,
for it is right to give our thanks and praise.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord;
Hosanna in the highest!
Worship and praise belong to you, Father, in every place and at all times.  All power is yours. You created the heavens and established
the earth; you sustain in being all that is.
In Christ your Son our life and yours are brought together in a wonderful exchange. He made his home among us that we might
for ever dwell in you. Through your Holy Spirit you call us to new birth
in a creation restored by love.
As children of your redeeming purpose we offer you our praise,
with angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven,
singing the hymn of your unending glory:
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.      
Hosanna in the highest.

Glory and thanksgiving be to you, most loving Father, for the gift of your Son born in human flesh. He is the Word existing beyond time, both source and final purpose, bringing to wholeness all that is made.
Obedient to your will he died upon the Cross. By your power
you raised him from the dead. He broke the bonds of evil and
set your people free to be his Body in the world.
On the night when he was given up to death, knowing that his hour had come, having loved his own, he loved them to the end. At supper with his disciples he took bread and offered you thanks. He broke the bread, and gave it to them, saying: “Take, eat. This is my Body: it is broken for you.” After supper, he took the cup, he offered you thanks, and gave it to them saying: “Drink this, all of you. This is my Blood of the new covenant; it is poured out for you, and for all, that sins
may be forgiven. Do this in remembrance of me.”
We now obey your Son’s command. We recall his blessed Passion
and death, his glorious resurrection and ascension; and we look for the coming of his Kingdom. Made one with him, we offer you ourselves, a single, holy, living sacrifice.
Hear us, most merciful Father, and send your Holy Spirit upon us that, overshadowed by his life-giving power, we may be kindled with the fire of your love and renewed for the service of your Kingdom.

Help us, who are baptised into the fellowship of Christ’s Body to live and work to your praise and glory; may we grow together in unity and love until at last, in your new creation, we enter into our heritage in the company of the Virgin Mary, the apostles and prophets, and of all our brothers and sisters living and departed.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be to you, Lord of all ages,
world without end. Amen.

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

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


Closing prayer:  May the God of peace make us perfect and holy,
and may we be kept safe and blameless, spirit, soul and body, for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God has called us and will not fail us. Amen   (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).
 
_________________
 
George Herbert (d.1633) wrote this hymn about how our least actions count when we do them for the love of God.  What we do matters!
It is sung at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHXilLgfVEU
 
Teach me, my God and King,
in all things thee to see,
and what I do in anything
to do it as for thee.

A man that looks on glass,
on it may stay his eye;
or if he pleaseth, through it pass,
and then the heaven espy.

All may of thee partake;
nothing can be so mean,
which with this tincture, “for thy sake,”
will not grow bright and clean.

A servant with this clause
makes drudgery divine:
who sweeps a room, as for thy laws,
makes that and the action fine.

This is the famous stone
that turneth all to gold;
for that which God doth touch and own
cannot for less be told.

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.

Sunday Service for 9th August 2020 – Pentecost 10

Pentecost 10  August 9th  2020

Jesus, Son of God, shows us how to navigate stormy waters

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.

Collect:   Almighty God, you sent your Holy Spirit to be the life and light of your Church.  Open our hearts to the riches of your grace, that we may bring forth the fruit of the Spirit in love, joy, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen

Reading:     I Kings 19:9-18
When Elijah reached Horeb, he came to a cave, and spent the night there.  Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He answered, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.’
He said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He answered, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.’ Then the Lord said to him, ‘Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram. Also you shall anoint Jehu as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha as prophet in your place. Whoever escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall kill; and whoever escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall kill. Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.’

Gospel:    Matthew 14:22-33
Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking towards them on the lake. But when the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’
Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came towards Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’ When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’

Reflection:   One can feel some sympathy for the disciples:  they had been shocked by the murder of John the Baptist by Herod, asked to feed a huge crowd with five loaves and two small fish, then were bundled into a boat and sent off into a storm. 

Jesus was showing them how to live faithfully in a world that was full of uncertainty, violence and danger.  Our own times are scarcely less dramatic, and we too need to look to the Master to discover how to navigate our journey through this age, and how to meet the challenges which our own lives face us with.

Jesus walked freely and securely on the water, coming to the disciples, calling Peter to him.  The reason he did so was that he knew who he was  – as the disciples proclaimed:  “Truly, you are the Son of God”. This was a direct challenge to the ‘powers that be’ – the Roman Emperors who were beginning to be called ‘Sons of god’.  It marked Jesus out as someone who had an alternative perspective on life, a loving Father in heaven and a divine mission.  The world might swirl about him in chaos and violence, but he could stand secure in its midst and know that he was utterly safe in the hands of his Father.

St Paul calls us ‘citizens of heaven’ (Philippians 3:20-21) to affirm that we, too, have a source of authority and security that is beyond this world.  We do not have to buy into its fear and violence because we know we are secure in the hands of our loving God, whatever is happening to us and around us.  We can – with God’s grace –  navigate the choppy waters of life with the same security and confidence that Jesus had.

Prayers:  From the Presbyterian Church of America:
Gracious and loving God, Creator of all things good and bountiful,
as we move into the unknown experiences of this new day which you have made, be our steady companion and guide, and help us rejoice and be glad, for we know it is a privilege to be alive today, and to have the opportunity to live into being the people you call us to be.

God of hope and healing, you promise that in the midst of suffering,
you will always be present. We pray that all who suffer in any way,
whether through illness, injury, poverty, hunger, homelessness, addiction, violence, or grief, be especially aware of your sustaining presence, and encouraged by your love to persevere.

So many places in our country and throughout the world continue to struggle with the coronavirus pandemic.  Heal those who are ill,
comfort those who mourn, and give wisdom to those who lead.
We ask for your special presence with all medical personnel
and essential workers who are tired, but still working so hard to save lives. Support them and give them strength for this journey.

Help us, God, to heal divisions, build trust, listen and learn from each other, that we may all work together for the common good. In facing conflicts in our own lives, God, we pray that you remove bitterness or resentment from our hearts, and keep us from ever returning evil for evil. Help us instead to overcome evil with love.
   
And when the way before us seems closed, and we do not know what our next step should be, lighten our darkness, Lord: make the path plain before us, and let us walk beside you with trust and confidence and joy.
Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, 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 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.

This hymn is sung at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XUYZoguhEQ

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing,
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us;
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth;
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

Sunday Service 2nd August 2020

Pentecost 9  August 2nd 2020

Today we focus on Jesus’ feeding of the multitude – a feast of life.

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.

Collect:   Almighty God, your Son Jesus Christ fed the hungry with the bread of his life and the word of his kingdom.  Renew your people with your heavenly grace, and in all our weakness sustain us by your true and living bread, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

Reading:     Isaiah 55:1-5
Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat!   Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which does not satisfy?  Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.  Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. See, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. See, you shall call nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.

Gospel:    Matthew 14:13-21
Now when Jesus heard that Herod had beheaded John the Baptist, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 
When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.’ Jesus said to them, ‘They need not go away; you give them something to eat.’ They replied, ‘We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.’ And he said, ‘Bring them here to me.’ 
Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Reflection:   A feast at which a prophet was brutally murdered, and a feast at which a crowd of hungry people were healed and fed.  It’s quite a contrast. Jesus was devastated by the news of Herod the tyrant’s deadly violence against his cousin John, and withdrew to grieve.  But the crowd, who thought that John would bring change for them, were also shocked, and they were lost sheep seeking a shepherd.  Jesus brought them healing and nourishment and hope.

Herod feared public opinion and feared for his own security, as all tyrants do.  His concern was not the people’s welfare, but his own survival.  Jesus had the security of knowing his mission and the Father’s love, and was free to turn from himself to others.  His ‘compassion’ was more than a kindly attitude;  his ‘heart went out’ to the crowd, and he was determined to share God’s abundance and love.

Herod’s birthday feast, at which John the Baptist was murdered to satisfy his step-daughter Salome’s request, served up death on a platter.  It symbolises all that is rotten and destructive in our world: the death-dealing power of tyrants, the casual dismissal of human life, the dangers faced by those who seek to challenge evil.  We are all too familiar with selfish power and frightened violence.

Jesus offered a feast of life. He gave the crowd rest, security, healing and food, a feast that Isaiah had a vision of in our first reading.  His action was a protest against all that is self-seeking, fearful and destructive, and it was a reverent, worshipful celebration of the abundant gifts of God to be multiplied and shared with everyone. 
It was truly a sign of the Kingdom of God.

To ponder:
A Russian proverb says:  When a Russian dies, the weight of all the bread that they have discarded unused is calculated.  If it is greater than their weight, they are sent to Hell.

Prayers: 
Almighty God, we pray for those in power, that they may not succumb to fear or self-seeking, but seek the common good with integrity.  We pray especially for the governments in Westminster and Holyrood, with the responsibilities and temptations they face at this time.
             Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of all compassion, we pray for those who seek healing, shelter and food, especially those for whom the support of the past months is coming to an end.  Show us ways to share the security and abundance that you have given us.
            Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of mercy, we pray for those who face threats and violent death for standing up for what is right.  We remember especially those persecuted for their faith.
            Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Holy God, bless your Church as it seeks to share the good news of your love and compassion.  Guide Bishop Ian and all Christians in our neighbourhoods as we seek your Kingdom coming among us.
           Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ.  Amen

Confession:  

God our Father, we confess to you and to our fellow members in the Body of Christ that we have sinned in thought, word and deed, and in what we have failed to do. We are truly sorry.

Forgive us our sins, and deliver us from the power of evil, for the sake of your Son who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

God, who is both power and love, forgive us and free us from our sins,

heal and strengthen us by his Spirit, and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord.  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: 
May our mouths speak the praise of the Lord,
our minds think the wisdom of the Lord,
our hands and feet do the will of the Lord:
and the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
rest upon us for ever, Amen

You might like to finish with this hymn, which you can find sung at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUVCpF8-VuE

I heard the voice of Jesus say,  “Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down Thy head upon My breast.”
I came to Jesus as I was, weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting place, and He has made me glad. 

I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Behold, I freely give
The living water; thirsty one, stoop down, and drink, and live.”
I came to Jesus, and I drank of that life giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived, and now I live in Him. 

I heard the voice of Jesus say, “I am this dark world’s Light;
Look unto Me, thy morn shall rise, and all thy day be bright.”
I looked to Jesus, and I found in Him my Star, my Sun;
And in that light of life I’ll walk, till traveling days are done. 

Sunday Service – 26th July 2020 – Pentecost 8

The coming of God’s Kingdom is a mysterious divine initiative
that we should humbly watch for and welcome.

With thanks to Revd Canon Alison Peden – our Interim Pastor

Hymn:  listen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sx1eMwlDFb8

Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven;  to His feet thy tribute bring.
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven, who like me His praise should sing?
Praise Him ! Praise Him! Praise the everlasting King.

Praise Him for His grace and favour to our fathers in distress.
Praise Him still the same for ever, slow to chide, and swift to bless
Praise Him! Praise Him!  Glorious in His faithfulness.

Father-like He tends and spares us; well our feeble frame He knows.
In His hands He gently bears us, rescues us from all our foes.
Praise Him ! Praise Him ! Widely as His mercy flows.

Angels, help us to adore Him, ye behold Him face to face;
Sun and moon, bow down before Him, dwellers all in time and space.
Praise Him ! Praise Him ! Praise with us the God of grace.

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.

Collect:   O God, protector of all who put their trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy:  fill us with your mercy and your grace that with you to rule and guide, we may so use the good things of this present life that we do not neglect things of eternal worth, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

Reading     1 Kings 3:5-12:    
At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, ‘Ask what I should give you.’ And Solomon said, ‘You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart towards you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?’

It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. God said to him, ‘Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you.

Gospel    Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52 
Jesus put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.’
He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.’
‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.’
‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.’
‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
‘Have you understood all this?’ They answered, ‘Yes.’ And he said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.’

 Reflection:   It’s tempting to react to stress, change and uncertainty with a desire to manage and control what we can, to be active and proactive.  The Church has been flung into a new world, where worship and meetings go online, and where face-to-face is risky.  It’s a world of opportunities and losses, of potential renewal and potential decline.  We don’t really know where we will be in six months’ time, let alone a year hence.  So we are tempted to say:  “But let’s start building the Kingdom of God anyway!”

These ‘parables of the Kingdom’ in our Gospel give us a timely reminder that the initiative is God’s, and the action is God’s.  The first two – the mustard seed and the yeast – point to a persistent weed and an irrepressible fungus which simply get on and grow, whether you want them to or not.  Nothing could stop God sending Jesus to live amongst us;  nothing could stop the growth of Christian faith, and nothing will deter God’s action in the future, though it may take forms that are surprising and unexpected to us.

The second two parables – about selling everything for the treasure and the pearl – describe the kind of action God takes.  Jesus prized humanity, however ‘feeble’ our frame (as the hymn puts it), and gave everything he had for us.  The word used in today’s gospel for ‘bought’ means ‘redeemed’;   we were redeemed for the price of Jesus’ life, because he counted us – even us – to be a treasure and a pearl of great price. God’s kingdom comes at a price that love is willing to pay.

In the face of such dedicated, persistent love and purpose, our own home-grown ideas and plans of how to ‘bring about the Kingdom of God on earth’ are misplaced.  Solomon got it right when he did not ask for what he thought would be most useful, but simply for wisdom to know God’s will for his people.  The Kingdom of justice, compassion, and peace will be God’s gift to us, not our own achievement. 

May we commit ourselves to follow God’s lead, wherever it might take us and whatever it might cost.

Prayers:  We pray today using the hymn ‘Thy kingdom come’. The tune can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1JmfuKNkzw

Thy kingdom come — on bended knee the passing ages pray;
And faithful souls have yearned to see on earth that kingdom’s day.
     We give thanks for Christians through the centuries who have
     handed on the gospel and built the Church that nurtures us.
     We pray for Bishop Ian and for all Christians in our neighbourhood.

But the slow watches of the night not less to God belong,
And for the everlasting right the silent stars are strong.
     We pray for all who see no hope and hear no good news:  the sick,
     the unemployed, the lonely and abused; and especially for …

And lo! already on the hills the flags of dawn appear;
Gird up your loins, ye prophet souls, proclaim the day is near.
      We pray for modern-day prophets whose vision inspires new life,
      new ways of living, new solutions to old problems, new ways to
     understand and accept each other.

The day in whose clear-shining light all wrong shall stand revealed,
When justice shall be clothedin might, and every hurt be healed.
     We pray for those who are denied justice, not treated equally,
     demeaned by prejudice, ignored, despised and rejected.

When knowledge, hand in hand with peace,
shall walk the earth abroad —
The day of perfect righteousness, the promised day of God.
      May we have the grace to share in your Kingdom, Lord,
     through the redemption we have in Christ Jesus.  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: 
Merciful God,you gave your only Son to be both a sacrifice for sin and an example of godly life:  help us gladly to receive all that he has done for us and follow in his footsteps, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

May we go in the peace of Christ to love and serve the Lord.  Amen

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 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

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.