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Sunday 28th June 2020- Trinity 3

posted 26 Jun 2020, 04:37 by Church Office   [ updated 28 Jun 2020, 07:56 by CHS Info ]


You can download the order of service here
, and a printable version of the readings, sermon and prayers can be downloaded here.

Sunday 28th June 2020

Third Sunday after Trinity

This week we reach the conclusion of the long section in Matthew in which Jesus instructs the disciples before sending them out in his name, with only the clothes on their backs, like “sheep into the midst of wolves”. In this Sunday's reading Jesus turns his attention to those who will receive - or reject - the twelve as they go from place to place proclaiming the Kingdom of God. To welcome, or reject, Jesus’s disciples as they come in poverty will reveal the state of their own hearts. Jesus' words challenge us, too - are we able to recognise Him in the faces of those who are overlooked and marginalised today? And Jeremiah warns against false comfort, leaving us in no doubt that those who speak truth to power are courting unpopularity; but the world needs people who have the courage and determination to speak out about critical issues, in the hope that eventually they will be heard, and a more just society will come about.

Pram Service (8am) WELCOME, WELCOME, WELCOME! This week in Pram Service we are exploring what it feels like to be made welcome and how we make others feel welcome too. Story, song, prayers and activities to make our littlest members feel welcome. Head over to the Children and Youth tab to see this week’s service.

Sunday School (9:30am) We’re looking at the second line of the Lord’s prayer: “Hallowed by thy name” so praise, praise praise! We’ll be listing places and feelings which show us heaven here on Earth and then drawing our very own heavenly places! You will need to bring paper, colouring pens/pencils, you may want to use paint or pastels for your art. Join us here: https://zoom.us/j/578055716, you’ll need the password which can be found in our newsletter. To subscribe please go to our homepage to subscribe.

Readings

Jeremiah 28:5-9

Then the prophet Jeremiah spoke to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the Lord; and the prophet Jeremiah said, “Amen! May the Lord do so; may the Lord fulfil the words that you have prophesied, and bring back to this place from Babylon the vessels of the house of the Lord, and all the exiles. But listen now to this word that I speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people. The prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and great kingdoms. As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes true, then it will be known that the Lord has truly sent the prophet.”

 

Matthew 10:40-42 

40 “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; 42 and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”

Here we are called to welcome, to take into our protection, to provide for and support the Little Ones. Ones (including but not exclusively children) who can offer us nothing, no prestige, no status, no reward. In doing so we receive our reward already for we have welcomed Christ and God is in our midst.

Sermon

Today’s brief and in some ways rather impenetrable gospel reading speaks about welcoming others, from God herself, to prophets, to the “little ones” (the powerless). Extending a welcome to any of these is the same - the status of the recipient has no bearing on the value of our actions.

I am puzzled by the idea of reward. How would you place value on these actions? Extending a welcome to those who in general are unwelcome, who don’t belong, in any given context can be costly, because you run the risk of making yourself unwelcome too. If you break the ‘rules’ of who should belong, or disrupt the conventions of who is permitted to be an insider, maybe you will find you are not so welcome yourself.

Matthew mentions welcoming a prophet. Jeremiah speaks about the legitimacy of prophets - those who prophesy peace, when peace comes about then can be said to be genuine. It’s interesting that this passage is a conversation between Jeremiah and another prophet, Hananiah. I haven’t checked, but I think that’s pretty unusual.

Anyway, Jeremiah accuses Hananiah of not exactly being the real thing, suggesting that Hananiah’s claim that the people can expect restoration of their lands any time soon is kind of ridiculous. Prophets who had gone before had been preoccupied with anything but peace, rather with “war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and great kingdoms”. So to prophesy peace between nations would be counter-cultural.

We may ask, why wouldn’t you want peace? But if to survive as a nation you have to be on the offensive, then peace is actually probably a path to destruction. Peace between nations was not generally how things worked then. Or now, of course.

So the prophets who prophesy peace are in keeping with the tradition that prophets have unpopular things to say. It is an obvious homiletical strategy, I suppose, to ask who are today’s prophets - and the answers are even more obvious: Greta Thunberg … and it seems unsurprising to me anyway that they come from the tech world, too - Bill Gates said in 2015 that the world was not prepared for a pandemic, and we have seen this is true. Neither message is one that enough people wanted or still want to hear.

The Greek word translated ‘welcome’ in fact means receive. What then if we put ourselves in the shoes of the person in need of welcome? To ask to be welcomed is to put ourselves at risk of rejection. In today’s gospel Jesus speaks at the end of a long set of instructions about how his disciples are to go out into the world, and he says “whoever welcomes you, welcomes me.” This suggests that to be a disciple of Christ, one should put oneself in the way of the gift of another’s generosity, and hospitality, and welcome. And by implication, that one must be prepared to risk rejection. To risk feeling the pain of being an outsider, unwelcome, not belonging.

What if you are systemically ‘not welcome’ day by day, in society, because of the colour of your skin? To return to my question of who are the prophets of today, maybe you don’t have to have a platform on the world stage, like Thunberg or Gates. The people marching and chanting “we can’t breathe” in the days after the deaths of black men whose last words, devastatingly, were “I can’t breathe” - of whom George Floyd was not the first but the latest, and must be the last  - they are anonymous, they are ordinary people, but their message could not be clearer nor more urgent. And what they have in common with Thunberg, Gates and the prophets of old is that they bear a message that for those of us for whom it is intended, for those of us who needed to hear it, is a hard thing to hear; and rightly so.

Surely welcome and hospitality are close to the heart of any vision for the Church, and that is what we strive to practise. In today’s gospel, it is interesting that the bar seems to be set pretty low - just a glass of cold water. Even that much, Jesus says, matters. And yet the gospels contain many instances of extravagance: if a Roman soldier demanded that you carry his pack one mile, carry it two. If someone is in need of a coat, give them not just your coat but your shirt as well. The unnamed woman who anointed Jesus’ feet did so with the most expensive perfume there was; and at the wedding in Cana in Galilee Jesus changed water into wine of inordinate quality, in great quantities.

May we learn welcome and hospitality and inclusion that provides everything that is needed by anyone who asks, be it akin to a drink of water, or to the costliest perfume imaginable.

Amen

Prayers

To fulfil the ancient promise of salvation, O God,
you made a covenant with our ancestors
and pledged them descendants more numerous than the stars.
Grant that all people may share in the blessings of your covenant,
accomplished through the death and resurrection of your Son
and sealed by the gift of your Spirit. Amen


Prayers of Intercession

Let us pray for the Church, both nationally and locally, as we continue to struggle with the changing world around us and the gradual emergence from lockdown with all of the uncertainty that brings. May we ever be ready to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus however we can and meet the needs of those for whom Good News comes all-too rarely. As we remember the two great apostles, Peter and Paul this weekend, the very foundations on which the Church was built, we give thanks today for our own church, our parish community and for Mother Ruth and all the clergy as they continue to guide us and minister to us.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer


Let us pray for our world and for all people who suffer all manner of human rights abuses. For those who live amid conflict or persecution, or in poverty or with little provision for healthcare. We remember the people of Israel and Palestine, amid rising tensions once again in that region. For journalists persecuted in Egypt. For the fragile democracy in Malawi. For the United States, dealing with a rise in Covid-19 cases and continuing tensions around race relations. That God will come close to all who suffer and all who are scared, and bring his peace to all nations.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer


Let us pray for the needs of the people of our own country. For the Prime Minister and government as they try to lead us out of lockdown amid all the medical, political and economic pressures that beset us. For those who are in precarious housing or employment. For those who are worried about their children’s education. For those who have been shielding and who continue to be at greatest risk of the virus. We pray for families as they come back together. May they experience pure joy and happiness in their hearts as they reunite with loved ones. Let us always be thankful for those that surround us and give everlasting gratitude for their health and wellbeing.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer


For the people of Clapham and the surrounding areas where we’ve seen various frictions erupting in recent days. For our Christian neighbours in other churches and people of all faiths and none. In this pride month we pray for our LGBT friends especially, for whom Clapham has been a haven of sanctuary and safety for so long. May we reach out to all our neighbours and may they find sanctuary and hospitality, acceptance and affirmation in God.

Lord, hear us

Lord, graciously hear us


For constable David Whyte, critically injured among six others late last week as he responded to reports of multiple stabbings at a hotel in Glasgow. For those who continue to fall ill or who struggle to recover from Covid-19, and for those who care for them, and for all in our own community who are sick or infirm for any reason, at home or in hospital. Let us pray they will find enduring strength and healing in the name of Jesus Christ. We remember especially in our prayers:

Jane Bell, Heidi Bell, Albert Bell, Sara Carter, Ruby Mitchell, Monika Maciejko, Jane Taylor, Linda Parker, Christine Harris, Jane Roberts, Damien Harte, Jonathan Aubrey and Jo Harvey.

We also remember in a moment of silence those known only to us: let us pray that they be sustained by God’s merciful help.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer


We remember James Furlong, Joe Ritchie-Bennett and David Wails, killed in the recent terrorist attack in Reading. And we think, especially, of those who have recently died in our own communities or families:

Ralph Baer

Bernard Maciejko,

And for those whose anniversary of death occurs at this time:

            Charles Lyon

As we pray for all bereaved families, let us remember their loss and show compassion to their needs, and travel beside them on their journey through grief. 

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

 

Almighty God,

We pray and ask you to hear our prayers

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Rejoicing in the fellowship of St Peter and Paul,

and of all your saints,

We commend ourselves and the whole of creation

to your unfailing love.

 

Merciful Father,

Accept these prayers,

For the sake of your Son,

Our saviour, Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Ċ
Church Office,
26 Jun 2020, 04:37
Ċ
Church Office,
27 Jun 2020, 11:13