United Benefice of

St Mildred’s, Whippingham

and

St James’, East Cowes

16th August 2020: Tenth Sunday after Trinity

WORSHIP IN AN UNCOMMON SEASON

We are sorry if you missed today’s service! For those who couldn’t get there, our services are a straightforward communion service with no hymns – however, we have some introductory and closing music, as well as some extra music during the service. Communion is offered in one kind, and there is the option of not receiving at all if you feel it is safer for you to let the priest receive on your behalf. Everyone follows the directions of the stewards for going up to receive communion and remain aware of the usual social distancing requirements. Communion is administered in the pews to anyone unable to walk to the altar: if you are thinking of attending and require this, please have a word with the steward on arrival. We are otherwise asked to remain standing to receive the bread.

On leaving the church, service booklets are dropped into the basket by the exit door and we leave by a different door from the way we came in. At St James’ this is via the south door at the front, and at St Mildred’s via the royal chapel.

FOR YOUR PRAYERS THIS WEEK:

Give thanks for: churches that are able to reopen; care provision for the elderly frail; PPE manufacturers and suppliers, especially private volunteers

Pray for: our government; Belarus; the Lebanon; world peace workers

PRAYERS FOR THOSE IN NEED:

Please pray for: Richard Gray; Bob Hitchens; Dave; Reg and Eileen King; Beryl; Ena Young; Olivia; Brenda; Stuart; Andrew; Maureen & Gordon; Joy and Dave; Sarah and colleagues; Beryl Carpenter; Rosie and family; Barbara Blacklock; Hilda Bell; Paul & family

Give thanks for: Victory in Japan

PRAYERS FOR THE DEPARTED:

Molly Lewis

COLLECT FOR THE TENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY

Lord of heaven and earth,

as Jesus taught his disciples to be persistent in prayer,

give us patience and courage never to lose hope,

but always to bring our prayers before you;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

READINGS

OLD TESTAMENT READING Genesis 37 : 1-4, 12-28

Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, ‘Send everyone away from me.’ So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. 2And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. 3Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?’ But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence.

4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come closer to me.’ And they came closer. He said, ‘I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither ploughing nor harvest. 7God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8So it was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. 9Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, “Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. 10You shall settle in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, as well as your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. 11I will provide for you there—since there are five more years of famine to come—so that you and your household, and all that you have, will not come to poverty.” 12And now your eyes and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see that it is my own mouth that speaks to you. 13You must tell my father how greatly I am honoured in Egypt, and all that you have seen. Hurry and bring my father down here.’ 14Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, while Benjamin wept upon his neck. 15And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him.

GOSPEL READING Matthew 14 : 22-33

10 Then Jesus called the crowd to him and said to them, ‘Listen and understand: 11it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.’ 12Then the disciples approached and said to him, ‘Do you know that the Pharisees took offence when they heard what you said?’ 13He answered, ‘Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.’ 15But Peter said to him, ‘Explain this parable to us.’ 16Then he said, ‘Are you also still without understanding? 17Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? 18But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. 19For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. 20These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.’

21 Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, ‘Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.’ 23But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, ‘Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.’ 24He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ 25But she came and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, help me.’ 26He answered, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’ 27She said, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’ 28Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed instantly.

ADDRESS

I thought today I would preach all about poo. After all, the readings are full of it. The Gospel has Jesus reminding us of what happens to food as we eat it, how it travels from the mouth to the stomach and ends up in the drain. It doesn’t go anywhere near the heart, so if you eat a meal without washing your hands, while it isn’t very hygienic, doesn’t actually affect your relationship with God. No, says Jesus: it’s the things that come from the heart that matter, and he goes on to list some things that you might call spiritual poo. Some of them are actually criminal in the legal sense – murder and theft, for example – and some of them are things that lead to bad relationships that we would and should shrink from committing. The technical word for all this, of course, is sin: so sin is a sort of spiritual poo that we need to be washed clean from.

Perhaps the most difficult thing about spiritual poo is that it doesn’t always immediately smell bad at all. If it did, we would find it easy to avoid. But it is quite possible to do the wrong thing with the best of motives, and sometimes we need to be jerked into a realisation of it. Even Jesus had to face up to it. He had thought God wanted him to go and rescue the Jewish people, and he was putting everything into that mission, preaching to the lost and outcast, telling them of God’s love, healing them….nothing wrong with that. He was offering them spiritual food, and they were virtually biting his hand off for it. But then along comes this pesky demanding woman, not a member of the faith community at all, not a Jew, just a darned nuisance at the end of a long and tiring day. She won’t go away. And she bothers Jesus because she challenges his understanding of his ministry. He tries to make it clear where his priorities are, but quick as lightning she has a ready reply: even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table. Suddenly Jesus can see just how poo-ey his reluctance is. And he immediately changes course and heals her daughter. He understands that God’s love is for everyone, just for the asking. I wonder what his disciples made of it. I wonder what we make of it, too.

If we need any help in finding another example of God’s infinite generosity, we only need to go back to the story of Joseph and his reunion with his brothers. These are the very people who sold him off to foreign traders all those years ago, told lies to make their father believe Joseph was dead and must now be squirming in abject terror that their very poo-ey past has finally caught up with them. This rich and powerful man, who has control of all the food stocks around, has got them in his grasp at last. This must be retribution. They are starving, and he is their only hope. But because of their massive sin against him, it looks as though they could now lose everything. All the soap operas in the world have got nothing on the Joseph story.

But as we know, that isn’t what happens. Joseph forgives them, falls weeping into his brother Benjamin’s arms and begs them not to blame themselves because it is all part of God’s plan. He has not allowed the poo of the past to rule his life. His forgiveness enables a whole new beginning. He is a channel of God’s love as well as a provider of life-saving food.

The point is, he didn’t have to do anything of the sort. He chose to. He chose love and generosity instead of hanging on to past grudges. Jesus chose love and generosity over hanging on to his previously defined ministry. Both of them allowed God to be God. The message for us is clear.

But are we up for it? Are we ready to get rid of the poo of grudges and resentments, of fear and anxiety, of rigid adherence to the letter of the law at the expense of the spirit of the law? With everything so strange and different at present, we have a golden opportunity to do so. So much that once seemed important has been swept away, after all.When we do let go, a whole new world cascades into being. Or, to put it theologically, the kingdom of God breaks in on us unawares. All we need to do is choose it. Say yes to God. Say yes to Life.

Amen.

INTERCESSIONS(supplied by Mary Marsh)

Lord God our heavenly Father the giver of all good gifts, we come before you today to offer our praise and to give thanks for your blessings to us. As we go about our daily lives teach us to be thankful for every precious minute of time. Help us not to take for granted your gift of life itself, our health and strength, the love and support of family and friends. We pray for your blessing to rest upon this Church. We are grateful for its worship and fellowship; for its nurture and love. Help us to have vision to see the kind of church you desire in the world today and may always be ready to respond to the many and varied needs of our own neighbourhood here

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

The news is full of stories about Coronavirus. Some people are worried that they might get ill. Others are anxious for their family and friends. Be with them and help them to find peace. We pray for the doctors and nurses and scientists, and all who are working to discover the right medicines to help those who are ill. Thank you that even in these anxious times, you are with us. Help us to put our trust in you and keep us safe.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

We pray for the most vulnerable and isolated in our neighbourhoods.Wepray for those who are currently self-isolating in our neighbourhoods. We pray for older people who are concerned about shopping, regular hospital appointments and general day to day contact with other people. We bring to God the regular activities provided by our churches. We pray for wisdom for church leaders to know how to keep people connected and safe.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Remember in mercy, our Father, those who are passing through illness, and especially those of whom we are now thinking of in our prayers- those on our pew sheet. Bless all that is being done for their good, and surround them with your healing love and power for the sake of Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Father, as we go out from your house today, we rejoice in your love for us. Lead us into this coming week knowing that you are close by us, keep us from making mistakes and help us never to disappoint you. When we face hard decisions or difficult work, may we know that you share all these times with us and may we be ready to tell others about you and your son Jesus Christ, our Saviour in whose name we pray.

Merciful Father . . . accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, Amen.

PREPARING FOR SPIRITUAL COMMUNION

In union, Lord, with the faithful at every altar of your Church, where the Holy Eucharist is celebrated, I offer you praise and thanksgiving. I present to you my soul and body with the sure hope that I may always be united to you. And since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, I ask you to come spiritually into my heart. I unite myself to you and embrace you with all my being. Let nothing ever separate you from me. May I live and die in your love. Amen.

You might like to sit in silence for a while, then pray:

God of our pilgrimage,

you have willed that the gate of mercy

should stand open for those who trust in you:

look upon us with your favour

that we who follow the path of your will

may never wander from the way of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

To conclude, rest quietly in God’s presence.

NOTICES

MASKS IN CHURCH

Sadly, it is compulsory to wear masks in church, unless you have a medical reason for not wearing one. Nobody is going to ask sensitive questions about this, but if you arrive without one you will be offered one, which we ask you to wear if possible. If you have borrowed a reusable mask, please leave it in a box by the exit so that it can be safely laundered for the following week or keep it for your own regular church use. If you have borrowed a single-use mask, please take it away to dispose of safely.

If anyone would like to volunteer to take reusable masks away and launder them, it would be much appreciated, as long as you can do this safely.

ST MILDRED’S CAFÉ

The café at St Mildred’s is open from 10.00am – 3.00pm, Mondays to Thursdays. Social distancing is in place, and although it is preferable for folks to eat outdoors, it is perfectly possible to have a table indoors for tea, coffee and cakes. The church is also open on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you would like to volunteer and are not on the current lists, please contact Peter Robinson (299230) to be allocated a slot at a suitable time.

Foodbank needs your help!……

These are the items most urgently needed in order of priority for August 2020:

• Shaving gel, Toothbrushes, Shampoo, Shower gel

• Laundry tabs, Washing up liquid

• Male/Female Deodorant

• Instant Coffee

• Rice, plain white or brown

• Tinned Potatoes

If you can help, please buy an extra item when out shopping and either leave it at the supermarket collection point or bring it to church and leave it at the back. Thank you!

CREAM TEAS WITH MUSIC!

Cream teas are being served TODAY from 3.00pm at St Mildred’s – do come along and support us! Live acoustic music is kindly supplied by Inspire (aka Jane and Nigel). We look forward to a delightful and relaxing afternoon. Many thanks to all involved in organising and providing both food and music.

SO LONG…AND THANKS FOR ALL THE PRAYERS!

We are saddened that our good friend Reg, who has been a real powerhouse of prayer and support at St James’, has decided his time has come to join our fellow Christians at Clarence Road Evangelical Church. We shall miss his cheery greeting, his unfailing support and his insistence on a vibrant contribution to our prayers: but coming as he does from an evangelical free church tradition, his yearning to return to less formal worship is very understandable and we wish him well. Eileen is remaining with us, so we shall not lose touch entirely. Clarence Road – you are blessed! We look forward to thus having an even closer link with the church there, and wish circumstances had been such for us to have a proper “leaving do”, or even a joint bash.

AND FINALLY…

Talking of bashes, St James’ congregation wish Gill Hitchens a splendid 75th birthday today. Many happy returns from us all, and thank you for providing your own birthday cake!!