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Sunday 16th August 2020- Trinity 10

posted 14 Aug 2020, 05:03 by Church Office   [ updated 15 Aug 2020, 08:27 ]
You can download the order of service here, and a printable version of the readings, sermon and prayers can be downloaded here.

Sunday 16th August 2020

Tenth Sunday after Trinity

‘Your soul is who you are in God and who God is in you.’ R. Rohr

Readings

Isaiah 61:10-11 

10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
    my whole being shall exult in my God;
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
    he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the earth brings forth its shoots,
    and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
    to spring up before all the nations.

This passage tells of all the saving things that God has done (or will do, hopefully). But before it does so, the writer tries to articulate something of how he feels about God. As we will hear, there is clearly something deep within him that longs to connect with God, to have reason to hope in God, to be with God - even in the bleakest of times.


Gospel Reading: Luke 1:46-55 

46 And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
    Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.
50 His mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
    and lifted up the lowly;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
    and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
    to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

Mary tells us that her soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord. In the verses just before this announcement, she is made aware of and bravely claims the truth of who she is and what she is about. In realising and releasing God’s in-tended and unique identity for her, Mary immediately magnifies the character of God for us. Her soul sings out and her spirit rejoices!

 

Sermon

 I’d like us to think this morning about Our Lady and in particular Our Lady’s wardrobe. 

At her assumption she generally is seen wearing a elaborate crown – wrought of gold, encrusted with jewels – echoing the queen heaven outfit described in revelation: clothed in the sun, shod in the moon, with a crown of 12 stars on her head.

The psalm for Mary’s feast day describes a woman glorious in cloth of pure gold, adorned with a raiment of needlework. 

In CHS our statue sees our lady sporting her traditional blue – a colour she has favoured only since the early renaissance when patrons wished to show off their own extravagance by clothing their Marys with the most expensive of pigments lapis lazuli – and, of course, atop the blue are the three gold stars of her perpetual virginity.

We might ask - Are these appropriate outfits for the mother of God?

I don’t think so.

I have an issue with Mary’s wardrobe choices.

They remind me of one of the once very popular legends of Mary – that she grew up as a child in the precincts of the temple where he companions were angels she was fed exclusively on a diet of heavenly mana and devoted her time to sewing. Weaving the costly and ornate fabric that was used to veil the holy of holies in the sanctuary – that most awesome and sacred of places - lined in gold, adorned with carved cherubim – so ornate, so awesome that no human being was allowed to step inside except for one single priest carefully prepared and purified on one day of the year.

We might ask - Is this a fitting occupation for the mother of God?

I don’t think so.

God chose Mary precisely because God doesn’t want to hide behind gorgeous embroidered veils and dwell in splendid golden isolation. God wants to dwell with us. In us.                                                                    In the places that are not special and beautiful and exclusive – but in the real places where you find real people – in shanty towns with open sewers, in bombed out cities, in the communal bins on the housing estates where the homeless bed down when the nights in our city grow cold. 

Mary was the one who showed us God with us – God standing with the poor and lowly, the unrespectable and the undesirable. Mary was the one who defied her parents, shamed her family, risked her reputation and life itself in order to allow God to be where God wants to be more than anywhere else – under our skin. 

When we insist on dressing Mary in glorious apparel: sticking a crown on her head and packing her off to holy places – whether the precinct of the temple or the assumption into heaven – we pack God off with her.  Safely contained and out of the way, far removed from the mess and distress of human experience.

This is a good strategy: it keeps God all godly and we can visit on a Sunday or once in a while a feel reassured. It also keeps God out of the way so we can get on with the business of being in control of our own lives our own world – because, of course, we are doing such a great job.

If Mary had kept God at arm’s length she would not have faced shame and disgrace, she would not have had to rely on the pity of her husband nor face his mistrust and disappointment, she would not have had to grieve the lack of sons from her first born or his absence from the family home, she would not have had to watch him tortured and killed in front of her.

But Mary was foolish enough to let God get under her skin and so allow God to walk with her into all the painful and all the shameful places in her life.

Clothing matters because it tells people who we are – what tribe we belong to. 

Mary does not belong to the tribe of golden crown wearing royalty, she belongs to God,

A God who longs to be clothed not in gold but in nothing more than us: our faces, our bodies, our lives.

Prayers

Eternal God,
you are present with us throughout our lives,
even when others plot to do us harm.
May we learn to live together in unity,
that in all we do,
we may sing your praises now and forever. Amen.

 

Prayers of Intercession

As we pray to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

we say with Mary:

Lord, have mercy on those who fear you.

Holy is your name.

 

Your prophet of old foretold a day when a virgin would conceive

and bear a son who would be called God-with-us.

Help us to look forward to your deliverance

and to seek the fullness of your kingdom.

Lord, have mercy on those who fear you.

Holy is your name.

 

Your angel declared to Mary that she was to be

the mother of the Saviour.

Help every Christian person to be open to your word

and obedient to your will.

Lord, have mercy on those who fear you.

Holy is your name.

 

Mary rejoiced with Elizabeth and sang your praise,

‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.’

Help us to live joyful lives that sing your praise.

Lord, have mercy on those who fear you.

Holy is your name.

 

Mary bore a son of David’s line,

a king whose reign would never end.

Bless all the nations of the world with Christ’s gift of peace.

Lord, have mercy on those who fear you.

Holy is your name.

 

The child Jesus grew in wisdom and stature

in the home of Mary and Joseph.

Strengthen our homes and families,

and keep under your protection all those whom we love.

Lord, have mercy on those who fear you.

Holy is your name.

 

At the foot of the cross of Christ stood his mother,

and from the cross she received his lifeless body in her arms.

Give comfort and healing to Jane, Heidi, and Albert Bell; Sara Carter, Ruby Mitchell, Monika Maciejko, Jane Taylor, Linda Parker, Christine Harris, Jane Roberts, Damien Harte, Jo Harvey, Joshua Clark, their families and to all those who suffer

and all who watch the suffering of those they love.

Lord, have mercy on those who fear you.

Holy is your name.

 

The apostle John saw a vision of a woman in heaven,

robed with the sun.

Bring us with all those who have died in the faith of Christ

to share the joy of heaven with Mary and all the saints.

Lord, have mercy on those who fear you.

Holy is your name.

 

Almighty and everlasting God,

your handmaid Mary magnified your name

and rejoiced in your saving love:

trusting in that same love,

we ask all these our prayers

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Amen.

Ċ
Church Office,
14 Aug 2020, 05:03
Ċ
Church Office,
15 Aug 2020, 08:26