Sunday service for 11th October 2020

We are very grateful to our Interim Pastor, Revd Canon Alison Peden, who provides this service for you to follow should you be unable to come to Church this Sunday

Pentecost 18  October 11th  2020

 What – or Who – do you have in your mind?

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:   O Lord, since without you we cannot please you: let the work of your mercy in all things guide our hearts; 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:   Philippians 4:1-9
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for,
my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.
I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 
Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

Gospel:  Matthew 22:1-14
Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: 
‘The kingdom of heaven has been compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. 
Again he sent other slaves, saying, “Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.” But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, maltreated them, and killed them. 
The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, “The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.” 
Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, “Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?” And he was silent. 
Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” For many are called, but few are chosen.’

Reflection:   A couple of weeks ago, we pondered the ‘mind of Christ’ as Paul described it in Philippians:  selfless, servant-minded, humbly obedient unto death.  Today, Paul talks about how our ‘hearts and minds may be guarded in Christ Jesus’:  joyful, dependent on God, gentle, filled with the goodness of God.

Our habitual mind-set is vital to how we live.  If our minds are filled with frightening, self-obsessed images and thoughts, we will find it hard to live the free, joyful life of a Christian.  ‘Conversion’ includes changing our attitudes and assumptions – deeply changing our minds.

One way to live according to the mind of Christ is to absorb the ways of others.  Paul encourages the Philippians to let just and pure and noble excellence fill their minds – imitating what they have seen in him!  But our supreme model must be God as found in Jesus.

Jesus shows us what God is like, and some commentators argue that God is not like the king in today’s parable about the wedding feast.  That king is vengeful, violent, and unreasonably condemning a press-ganged guest for not wearing wedding-clothes.

So is God, in fact, more like that wedding-guest?  That is: silent in the face of tyranny – like Jesus at his trial;  refusing to take part in a display of entertainment that smacked of Herod’s vanity and crowd-pleasing; prepared to be cast out for having a ‘mind’ that was free of all fear and self-seeking.

Paul knew what it cost to have ‘the mind of Christ’.  When he wrote so warmly of rejoicing, gladness and peace, he was actually in prison for his faith.  We find ourselves in difficult times, when the most important thing may be what – and indeed Who – fills our mind.  As C.M. Ward wrote: “There are things I can’t force;  I must adjust.  There are times when the greatest change needed is a change in my viewpoint.”

Prayers:   O God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom you chose us, before the foundation of the world, and destined us in love to be your own: help us to pray for all your children.

For the life of the world; that your peace may be known and may prevail: praying for diplomats and peacemakers working in the heat of conflict.         Lord, graciously hear us.

For all who suffer injury, death or loss; that they may know the hope to which you call us: especially and those becoming ill with Coronavirus in the second wave and those affected economically and socially.
                             Lord, graciously hear us.

For all who exercise rule and authority; that they may acknowledge your power, and seek justice and good government, not popularity
and profit.       Lord, graciously hear us.

For the Church which is Christ’s body; that it may live for the praise of your glory, filled with joy and peace as we trust in the Spirit’s guidance.  Lord, graciously hear us.

O God, you exerted your strength and power when you raised Christ from the dead, putting everything in subjection beneath his feet: accept the prayers which we offer in his name for the world you have created and redeemed; through him in whom you have set forth the mystery of your will, to unite all things in heaven and on earth,         your Son, our Lord 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:    Let us rejoice always in the Lord, standing firm in Jesus Christ and of one mind in him.  And may God’s peace that passes all understanding guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, and the Holy Spirit guide us into all that is honourable, just and pure. Amen

Kate Wilkinson, an evangelist, wrote this hymn in 1925 – hear it at

   May the mind of Christ my saviour live in me from day to day,
   by his love and power controlling all I do or say.

   May the word of God dwell richly in my heart  from hour to hour;
   so that all may see I triumph only through his power.

   May the peace of God my Father rule my life in everything,
   that I may be calm to comfort sick and sorrowing.

   May the love of Jesus fill me as the waters fill the sea,
   him exalting, self forgetting, this the victory!

   May I run the race before me, strong and brave to face the foe,
   looking only unto Jesus as I onward go.