Lord, you have taught us
that all our doings without love are nothing worth:
send your Holy Spirit
and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love,
the true bond of peace and of all virtues,
without which whoever lives is counted dead before you.
Grant this for your only Son Jesus Christ’s sake,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Psalm 86 v 1 – 10
Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and in misery.
Preserve my soul, for I am faithful;
save your servant, for I put my trust in you.
Be merciful to me, O Lord, for you are my God;
I call upon you all the day long.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
For you, Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer
and listen to the voice of my supplication.
In the day of my distress I will call upon you,
for you will answer me.
Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord,
nor any works like yours.
All nations you have made shall come and worship you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.
For you are great and do wonderful things;
you alone are God.
Romans 6 v 1b – 11
Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Matthew 10 24 – 39
Jesus summoned the twelve and sent them out with the following instruction: ‘A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!
So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.
Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
For I have come to set a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.
Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.’
Thought for the Day by Father Tony
Now here’s a thing! Jesus said: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” (John 14.27). Yet in the Gospel passage for today Jesus says: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth I have not come to bring peace, but a sword”. (Matthew 10.34) Did one of the Gospel writers get it wrong? Did Jesus change his mind about peace and conflict? Neither of these is the case.
The peace about which Jesus spoke when he talked with his disciples on the night of his betrayal, as they sat together at the Last Supper, was a peace which would suffuse their being, a peace ‘of the soul’ which was God’s gift to them. One of the key factors in the climate of Britain is the Gulf Stream, a current which flows from the Gulf of Mexico across the Atlantic ocean, bringing warm water to wash our western shores and keep our temperatures much warmer than they would otherwise be. It runs deep in the ocean, and is not affected by turbulence and storms which may rage on the surface. The peace which Jesus spoke of in the Upper Room is like that: something which exists despite the conflicts or turbulence which may swirl around us.
Tomorrow (Monday), the Church Commemorates St Alban, Britain’s first martyr, who dies in about 250 AD. He was a Roman soldier in Verulamium (later renamed St Alban’s) who gave shelter to a priest who was fleeing persecution. The Venerable Bede wrote: ‘In the days that followed Alban observed this man’s constant faithfulness in prayer and vigil, and was touched by the grace of God… and wholeheartedly accepted Christ.’ When a house to house search was being made for the priest, Alban put on his (the priest’s) cloak, and allowed himself to be taken so the priest could escape. Brought before the judge, Alban declared his faith, to which he remained steadfast despite torture, and he was put to death. Last Thursday was the commemoration of one of Africa’s saints – Bernard Mizeki, who was martyred in modern day Zimbabwe in 1896, and on Friday it was the turn of Sundar Singh, an Indian convert to the faith, who became an evangelist and met his death in Tibet in 1929. These three are reminders of that peace which Jesus spoke of to his disciples, and which remains constant in the face of war and strife.
Chapter 10 of St Matthew’s Gospel (from which today’s reading is taken) is often called the missionary discourse. It names the twelve apostles, and tells how Jesus prepared them to go out to proclaim the Good News in his name. They had made their choice to follow him and now he was entrusting them with the task of challenging others to do the same. And this would inevitably bring conflict. It was not that Jesus wanted conflict, but his message of peace and love would disturb as well as bring hope. The Psalmist of old had said: ‘I am for peace; but when I speak of it, they make ready for war’. So it has been throughout history. Those who first read Matthew’s Gospel would have known conflict – within communities and even within families – as some accepted and others rejected the faith. Sadly, we know that even within the Christian family there has been bitter conflict and though less bitter for the most part nowadays, divisions and differences still mar the peace and unity for which we long.
Jesus’ message is of peace. Conflict is inevitable as we search for truth, as selfishness drives us apart, as competing loyalties sometimes set us at odds. But our call is to constancy and humility, in the knowledge that we are indeed precious to our heavenly Father.
Intercessions led by Maureen West
For the last weeks we have all sat at home alone, praying to you Lord, but your ears are always open to us, so you have received these prayers as if from one congregation, you have heard the unity in us saying the same words, and we know that if we say these words with belief and an acknowledgement of your glory then you will answer them.
So today we lift up the world to you, and we pray for each and every country, for those suffering from wars, from famine, from illness and disease, from a lack of crops or lack of water. During these last weeks we have had an opportunity to see what is important in our lives, so we ask that you guide us to give generously in financial and time and through our gifts to those countries in the world that need our help, so that we might all share in the gifts of your world.
Lord in your Mercy – Hear our Prayer
We pray for our Royal Family, for the Queen who celebrated her birthday, for our government that they will take the time to hear your word, and to follow where you are leading them. This is a time of unprecedented change, a time when no rules are there to follow, so please Heavenly Father be with each one of them, and be a shield and guide.
We pray for all church leaders and for our Archbishop, our Bishops our Diocese, and Deanery that they will guide us through this time. We think especially for the priest who will come for a second interview to this parish, we pray that he will see the living potential in the parish and feel moved to take on this role.
Lord in your Mercy – Hear our Prayer
We think of our local community, of the shops trying to reopen, of the schools trying to facilitate learning, of all the organisations and charities that have kept us going during the lockdown. And especially we pray for everyone living in Church Lane, Church Square, Church Court, Pow’s Orchard, The Island and Mill Court, we ask that your love and peace will flow into these homes and that your compassion will support all of the residents
Lord in your Mercy – Hear our Prayer
Father we pray for all those who are sick, in hospitals in care homes and at home. You know the pains they are feeling, please Lord help to take the pains away, to let them feel the love and support from their families friends and carers at this time, even if they are not able to see them, let them know that the love is still being poured out to them. This week we pray especially for Rachael Macfarlane, Judy Flook, Miranda Cooper, Rose Stenner, Paul & Margaret Knott, Irene Leet, Faye McDermott, Anne Hatton, Rob & Glyn Gilliland, Gerrard Monks, Trevor & Elizabeth Bell, Fr Roy Boots, Nicholas Hambleton, Mary Hickmott, Helen Plummer & Daniel Plummer, Betty Chiplin, Ethan Horwood, John Lewis.
(please add the names of anyone you know who need our prayers)
Lord in your Mercy – Hear our prayer.
We ask for your arms to be around everyone who has lost a loved one this week, to help them through the coming weeks, to help with the sorrow they are feeling, for the stress of the funerals which should be a celebration of someone’s life, but at this time have so many restrictions. And in our Years Mind we remember Arthur Meadows, Jackie Fear, Hilda Tincknell (M) William Smith, Gwendoline Carter (T) Robert Scott (W) Florence Pinchin, Mary Thomas (T) Timothy Winstone, Ron Williams.
Lord in your Mercy – Hear our Prayer
We ask all of these things in the name of Jesus Christ your Son, and through his love for us, knowing that you will hear and receive these prayers.
Merciful Father Accept these prayers for the sake of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen