SUNDAY 25 OCTOBER 2020
Led by Rev Will Fletcher
"Au pied de l'autel (No.25)" (at the foot of the altar) Guy Ropartz
God, we give you thanks and praise for all who have had the courage to speak
boldly when sharing your good news, for all those who have come before us and
who stand now for justice and freedom. As we come to worship you this day, let
us be inspired by your Spirit so that we may join them in serving you. Amen.
STF 661 (Tune Mount Sion: ad.from J.Pleyel)
Give me the faith which can remove and sink the mountain to a plain;
give me the childlike praying love, which longs to build thy house again;
thy love, let it my heart o’erpower, and all my simple soul
I would the precious time redeem, and longer live for this alone:
to spend, and to be spent, for them who have not yet my
fully on these my mission prove, and only breathe, to breathe thy love.
My talents, gifts, and graces, Lord, into thy blessed hands receive;
and let me live to preach thy word, and let me to thy glory live;
my every sacred moment spend in publishing the sinners' friend.
Enlarge, inflame, and fill my heart with
boundless charity divine:
so shall I all my strength exert, and love them with a zeal like thine;
and lead them to thy open side, the sheep for whom their Shepherd died.
Charles Wesley (1707-1788)
Bible Reading Matthew 22:34-46 (© NRSV)
"King of Glory, King of Peace" Mack Wilberg (The Oxford Choir)
What is the one thing you would want people to remember or know about this pandemic period so far? Maybe, ‘Enjoy the simple things in life’; or ‘Make more time for friends and family’; possibly, ‘Remember to look out for others in your community.’ Whilst still in the midst of this pandemic, it is important to keep remembering and reciting the lessons we are learning so that they may form our lives going forward.
The Jewish Law, as with any legal system, is complex and long. In a final attempt to trap Jesus, the Pharisees asked him to sum up the Law in just one commandment. Once more sidestepping the trap laid, Jesus summed up the Law for the people of God as – love of God and love of neighbour. This should continue to be the guiding principle for our lives as individuals and as a community of faith.
The first part of this guiding principle, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind has been, from before the time of Jesus until today, part of the prayer Jews recite every morning and evening. It speaks of a love of God that isn’t only expressed in prayers and songs on a Sunday morning, or at other specific points of the week, but rather filters through our whole selves. It points to the fact that none of us is there yet, none of us love God fully with our whole selves. There is, therefore, a need for us all to discover ways to continue to grow in faith and love of God – to create time to reflect upon the Word of God on our own and in small groups, to make time to pray, to find ways to more fully engage in worship. This could mean taking time beforehand to read the Bible passage for the day if you know what it is, or still your mind before the worship begins; it could mean taking time when you get home to reflect upon what you heard in the reading, sermon, or hymn that really spoke to you. None of this is a waste of time when we could be doing something ‘useful’ but is essential for being able to live out our faith.
But Jesus doesn’t want us just to be people of a private faith. It isn’t just about my own experience of God and what I get out of going to church. Rather, the second part of this guiding principle is about love of neighbour – not just a little or when we have time, not just those neighbours we like, but fully as we love ourselves, and as we’d want others to love us. Experiencing the love of God, should always lead us to showing love for our neighbour – those immediate neighbours, and those people in need further away.
Jesus is our prime example of one who lived perfectly that
life of love of God and love of neighbour. Not only that, but he is now
enthroned in heaven at the right hand of God, where he prays for each of us,
enabling us to express that love of God and love of neighbour, even when it
seems tough. And let us remember his promise – to be with us always, even to
the end of the age. So I encourage you all to get in the habit of reciting
these commands each day, not as a formality, but so that they may form habits
within you that enable you to live out more fully the call to be people who
love God and love neighbour with all ourselves.
Points to Ponder:
What will you do this week to love God more fully?
What will you do this week to love your neighbour more as yourself?
Almighty God, give us the courage to tell your truth without fear, and to work for your kingdom with joy. Thank you for the support and love of our brothers and sisters who have shared their lives and faith with us, and for the richness of our varied traditions which we have inherited from those who came before us. May we focus our attention on you with such love that all unnecessary divisions between us crumble, and no false teachers or vain promises may lead us astray. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Gracious God, we pray for our law makers and peace keepers; may our laws work to uphold what is just and true, and to protect those they are meant to serve, especially as we look at further restrictions in our different communities. We pray that we may live in godly peace and goodwill through choice, rather than through fear of punishment; through the desire to live well, rather than avoiding detection. We pray for all those who are struggling with the fear of eviction, of loss of income, or the loss of their home. We also lift up those other prayers that we have for the world in a moment of silence…Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Comforting God, in all our day to day living may we reject deceit and flattery, so that our motives and behaviour are honest, and our love for one another will strengthen a spirit of good neighbourliness in our communities. We give thanks for all who share their lives with us and are dear to us. We pray that no one be neglected or forgotten. We thank you for the joys in our lives and also recognize the hardships. We now take time to lift up those prayers or praises on our hearts that we have for ourselves and for others…Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Merciful God, we pray for all law breakers and their families; for those in prison and those returning to the community. We pray for those imprisoned by guilt or shame, or trapped by physical frailty, illness or emotional paralysis. We pray for those whose lives are tragically disrupted by war and famine, poverty and disease. We remember those who have difficulty in making relationships, all those in difficult relationships and where there is a breakdown in understanding or care. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Creator God, we remember those who, dying in faith, rejoice
to see you as you are. We thank you for their example and commend them to your
peace for ever. We pray for those left behind, that they may be comforted in
their grief and wrapped in your Spirit of peace and love. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Holy God, we give you thanks for the love poured out to us
each moment of each day, and ask of you the grace to live our gratitude, as we
Our Father in heaven…
hallowed be your Name,
your Kingdom come,
your will be done,+
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
for the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours,
now and for ever.
Go forth now, in the faith which overcomes the world, in the hope which will not disappoint you, in the love which never fails. Amen.
If you wish, please join in singing our Vesper :