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Sunday 2nd August 2020- Trinity 8

posted 31 Jul 2020, 06:08 by Church Office   [ updated 1 Aug 2020, 07:41 ]

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

Sunday 2nd August 2020

Eighth Sunday after Trinity

Our readings this week are all about abundance and feasting.  Isaiah calls the people to return from exile to a different way of life, a life of plenty and abundance, in which their needs will be met.  Such abundance is available when they trust in God and not in their own efforts.  The prophet contrasts the free wine and bread without price with the bread they pay for and work for: contrasting human economy, which prioritizes transactions, to God’s economy, which is based on relationships.  The relational element is highlighted by the gospel miracle of the feeding of the 5,000.  Here the miracle is not the provision of food but the creation of community.  In a world in which purity laws and status depended upon whom you ate with, the bringing together of so many people, including the sick and the poor, is truly miraculous.  The miracle points towards the heavenly banquet, the feast to which all are invited without condition.

Pram Service (8am) is now back in Church! Mother Ruth is looking forward to seeing you all there.

Sunday School has finished for the summer so there will be no sunday school until September. 

Readings

Isaiah 55: 1-5

55 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 labor 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 Reading: Matthew 14: 13-21

13 Now when Jesus heard this, 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. 14 When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. 15 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.” 16 Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17 They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” 18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19 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. 20 And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. 21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.


Sermon

 You have been invited to a party.

An awesome party, really fancy; the food and the wine are the best quality, there are musicians and dancers to entertain you, everything is done for you, all the preparation, the serving, the cleaning up.  You get to dress up, wear your hair high, check your nails, put on your best outfit.  At this party you get to be pretty and witty and bright; you get to be your very best self: take part in fascinating conversation, share hilarious jokes.

This is the best party in town. 

The only catch is that you have be your very best self.  Which is okay, right? because you are pretty and witty and bright.  So you’ll be fine. 

Until you’re not and then, sadly, you won’t get an invite, because this party is just for the best of the best.

You could of course work hard to get back on form and so be assured of an invite next time. 

Or you could go to another party: this party is not so grand.  Its not in opulent surrounding, there is no professional catering, the food is pretty basic and you’ll have to do your own clearing up.  And another thing, you may not get to sit next to the most handsome or amusing guests, in fact you may have to sit next to someone with depression or a communicable disease, someone who’s dress sense and table manners are sadly lacking.  But at least here you can be yourself, not just your very best shiny self, but the self that is prone to anxiety, that has aches and pains, that says the wrong thing, and sometimes does the wrong thing.

You get to choose.

If you choose the first party you will still be welcome at the second.  However, chose the second and you are not going to get invited to the first.

Whatever choice you make do not, I repeat do not ever, never ever ever suggest, even hint, that anyone at the first party might not be the best, never hint at mistakes they may have made or decisions that may be dubious because then not only will never be invited again but you might lose your head.  Literally.

Today’s readings are all about feasts.  The party, the banquet, the feast is a symbol of the good life, the kingdom. 

The feast that the prophet invites us to is not based on how successful or wealthy or well connected we are: we don’t need money, we don’t need to have worked for our place at the table.  It sounds great, wine and milk without price.

Jesus holds such a feast: the food is not as rich as the prophet foretold – bread and fish – and the company leaves much to be desired: the guests are the sick and the crippled, the poor and the depressed, the outcast, hopeless, feckless lot that followed Jesus around seeking a cure for their maladies.  Jesus does not cure them, at least not in the way that they had hoped.  They don’t get to be strong and beautiful, successful and powerful enough to be invited to the other party.  Instead they get to learn how to throw a party just as they are.

Jesus throws this party in the aftermath of John the Baptist’s beheading.  The execution resulting from Herod’s party, which was the best party, best food, best wine, best guests.

Which was the best because everything that was not the best was kept out.  And when John the Baptist intimated that the man throwing the party might have a few problems of his own to deal with he is kept out terminally.

The alternative Jesus party is not second best, it is not about charitable provision for the excluded and the rejected, it is offering us the choice of a different way of being community, a different way of living.

We have grown up with political, economic and systems which see the world as a place of scarcity and sees humans as naturally competitive, always striving for dominance and security in the face of that scarcity.  We have to fight over place and position because there isn’t enough to go round.  Yet in the feast of the 5,000 there were baskets and baskets of left overs collected.

The coronavirus pandemic is a little like John the Baptist: suggesting to us that the party we were enjoying came at a cost and that cost was way too high.

I am sure that many of you had the experience of community upsurge at the beginning of this pandemic – neighbours whatsapping you every five flipping seconds.  How long has it been since your neighbourhood whatsapp has done anything more than ask if anyone has found their lost keys?

As life, for some, returns to normal what about those whose lives are not returning to normal and what about those who have never had the chance to be a part of “normal”.

Can we envisage a new way of being community?  A way that doesn’t hanker after the biggest and the best but sees the great value in the scraps that are left over: gathering them with care so that nothing and no one is lost, so that everyone and everything has purpose.

Can we imagine a way of being that starts from the perspective of those who are left out and left behind and builds a life in solidarity with them. 

If we can, it will be a far greater miracle than merely feeding a few thousand people with one loaf of bread, but it’s party I want an invitation to.  

Prayers

Glorious God,
your generosity floods the world with goodness
and you shower creation with abundance.
Awaken in us a hunger for food to satisfy both body and heart,
that in the miracle of being fed
we may be empowered to feed the hungry in Jesus' name. Amen.

 

Prayers of Intercession

 Lord our God, your Son Jesus gave hungry people more food than they could have imagined through the simplicity of a few fish and some bread. We are hungry for your presence in our lives. Knowing your unlimited love for each one of us, we bring before you ourselves, our hearts and all those for whom we care.

 

We pray for the national Church. For our Archbishops and bishops, and others who at that level are trying to lead the way forward for all of us into a new way of giving glory and witness to God. We pray that they will continue to inspire hope and courage, not just in people of faith, but for everyone in our country.

We pray for the local church, for the churches in our diocese, deanery and in Clapham specifically. As we slowly start to open up again we pray for all who are desperately missing the opportunity to be here in church, to worship God, to have fellowship with others, and to be fed by the food of Jesus’ body and blood in the Eucharist. 

We pray for this church, of the Holy Spirit, and for Mother Ruth and all who lead us.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer

 

Let us pray for friends and neighbours around the world. Especially for those who are suffering and living in conditions that we could never imagine. We remember those who are refugees, for abandoned and orphaned children, for those without healthcare or basic human needs.

We pray for the people of Spain amid rising Covid-19 infections there, and as we face a possible second wave around the world let us pray that governments will work together for the good of all people and make wise and just decisions. We pray for the people of Malawi, with all the various tensions as the new government beds in. For the United States, as they gear up for another election season this Autumn. And for a resolution of tensions in Hong Kong and in South Africa. We pray that the Lord will unite all of creation in love for him and our neighbour, to the glory of God.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer

 

Let us pray for those closer to home. For people who are poor, wherever they may be, and those who cope with daily food shortages, that they will find enough food to live healthy and happy lives. For families, as we enter the summer holiday season, that they might stay safe, especially for those travelling around the world. May this be for them a time of growing together in peace and love. And keep them safe.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer

 

We pray for those parts of the country in a new partial lockdown. That the Lord will give strength to those who are weary and wisdom to the confused. Let us pray that all those who are facing business and job insecurity at this time will find hope and certainty as they look towards the future.

Let us pray for ourselves, that we might find God in the busy-ness and in the quiet moments of our daily lives and responsibilities. Give all of us the strength we need to resolve the difficulties and challenges that we will face after the coronavirus crisis.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer

 

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, Jo Harvey, Joshua Clark, Ann Kodz and Donald Edge

And we pray for a moment for our own personal petitions.

Silence

And we also pray for those who have died, and for all who are bereaved. 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.

 

A prayer of St Alphonsus

Grant me the gift of piety, so that I may serve You for the future with increased fervour, follow with more promptness Your holy inspirations, and observe your divine precepts with greater fidelity.

 

Loving Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with us.

Stay with us.

Feed our hungry souls with your love.

Merciful Father, Accept these prayers, For the sake of your Son, Our saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Church Office,
31 Jul 2020, 06:12
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Church Office,
1 Aug 2020, 07:40