United Benefice of

St Mildred’s, Whippingham

and

St James’, East Cowes

25th October 2020 : Last Sunday after Trinity

The length of the service became important to those having to wear masks….

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.

Please DO NOT take your service sheet away with you!

ONLINE WORSHIP

Services at Whippingham are now being shown on YouTube: you can catch recent worship via the following link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlOU-MBGngI&t=23s

Alternatively, search on Youtube for St Mildred’s Church and find all previous services.

FOR YOUR PRAYERS THIS WEEK:

Give thanks for: PCCs; music and the arts

Pray for: Nigeria’s treatment of protesters; all responsible for upholding law and order

PRAYERS FOR THOSE IN NEED:

Please pray for: Grace Lane and family; Richard Gray; Bob Hitchens; Dave; Reg and Eileen King; Beryl; Ena Young; Brenda; Stuart; Andrew; Maureen & Gordon; Joy and Dave; Rosie and family; Barbara Blacklock; Hilda Bell; Paul & family; Emily; Lilly; Jenny and Mike Abbott; Gary; Irene and Henry

Give thanks for: Robin’s successful operation

PRAYERS FOR THE DEPARTED:

David Algar

COLLECT FOR THE LAST SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY

Merciful God,

teach us to be faithful in change and uncertainty,

that trusting in your word

and obeying your will

we may enter the unfailing joy of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

READINGS

OLD TESTAMENT READING Deuteronomy 34 : 1-12

Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho, and the Lord showed him the whole land: Gilead as far as Dan, 2all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, 3the Negeb, and the Plain—that is, the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees—as far as Zoar. 4The Lord said to him, ‘This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, “I will give it to your descendants”; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.’ 5Then Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, at the Lord’s command. 6He was buried in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor, but no one knows his burial place to this day. 7Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died; his sight was unimpaired and his vigour had not abated. 8The Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab for thirty days; then the period of mourning for Moses was ended.

9 Joshua son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, because Moses had laid his hands on him; and the Israelites obeyed him, doing as the Lord had commanded Moses.

10 Never since has there arisen a prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. 11He was unequalled for all the signs and wonders that the Lord sent him to perform in the land of Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants and his entire land, 12and for all the mighty deeds and all the terrifying displays of power that Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.

GOSPEL READING Matthew 22 : 34-end

4 When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ 37He said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” 38This is the greatest and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’

41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: 42‘What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?’ They said to him, ‘The son of David.’ 43He said to them, ‘How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying,

44 “The Lord said to my Lord,
‘Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet’ ”?

45If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?’

46No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

ADDRESS

Have you ever tried to imagine a world that you really could describe as being God’s kingdom? The sort of world where not only was everyone a worshipper of God, a person of faith, who prioritised God in their life, but who also really did love their neighbour as themselves? It would be pretty amazing. Just imagine nobody being envious of anyone else, everyone having enough to be satisfied, no more disputes over land, nobody having to slave away their whole life long so that just a few could live in luxury…. No pollution, no anger, and so on. That is the vision I at least would long to aspire to, and that is the vision behind the summary of the Law. But of course these things don’t just happen, and if you are, for instance, a nation that is oppressed, you might long for some great hero to come along and rescue you all to bring that freedom about. You might even call that person a Messiah, a Saviour.

It’s in that context that we have to think about today’s Gospel reading. Jesus has confounded all his critics, and people are beginning to see him as someone who could set them free from Roman domination. He keeps telling them that the kingdom of God is at hand. But today he is making it very clear that while they might all be hoping for a Messiah in the warlike tradition of King David that is not how it is going to be. David himself is subject to a higher authority, the Lord. So it’s at best misguided to say that the Messiah is the son of David. Messiahship isn’t a matter of genealogy.

And that’s really good news, because genealogy can seriously get in the way by producing a really narrow idea of what God is like. Once we start talking about people being more or less important because of their birth and biological history, we immediately find it doesn’t square with a world where everyone might be equal. The best we can hope for is that by knowing where we come from we can understand our particular slant on life, our prejudices and where these might come from.

But where we come from is far less important than where we are going to. For me, that is the basis of salvation. God doesn’t actually care whether I am a pure-bred aristocrat with an impeccable lineage or an accident created by some human misadventure: but he cares passionately about whether I want to respond to him and search him out. I don’t think he cares whether I am straight or gay, black or white, left-handed or right-handed, and so on: what he cares about is whether I choose to show love and compassion, and whether my life reflects the process of learning to love, learning to forgive, learning to see him working in the lives of people I encounter.

But I emphasise learning in all this because I know – and Jesus knew – that the human heart and the human will don’t always co-operate with each other very well. It’s a bit like the Snoopy cartoon: “I love humankind, it’s people I can’t stand!” There are always bits of darkness in me that need to be dispelled by the light of God’s love shining on them. The person who carved me up on the road, the time I had to wait patiently in a queue for some ditherer ahead of me, the failure yet again of the rectory plumbing to work properly….so many tiny things can bring out the worst in me. I may want to be forgiving, patient and tolerant, but I still have to accept that my inner heart isn’t necessarily up to speed on this.

So it is wonderfully liberating and encouraging that, even knowing my innermost failings, God still loves me and can keep shaping me to his purposes. God still loves us and shapes us. Once we accept that truth, it’s easier to let go of things from the past. Living in the past is tempting because we are resistant to changing ourselves at all. It’s safer with what we know than it feels with what we don’t yet know. But If we once accept that it is God that is shaping us, and that he does so in absolute love, working to bring out the best in us, then our past looks less attractive. We can acknowledge it and let it go – or if we don’t let it go, we can at least keep it in perspective. Someone who learns how to bake a cake won’t always want to bake the same cake. An instrumental player doesn’t stop learning after the Grade 1 exam. A painter and decorator doesn’t always stick to the same colour paint. And so on. Experimenting and trying new things is part of our DNA. And what makes that easier is that we know and trust in a God who forgives us when we take a wrong path, when we find that we have wandered into sin, when we fail in some brave enterprise.

It’s okay for us to fail sometimes. I wonder how much we would remember to thank God for if we always succeeded straight away, how long it would be before we decided we didn’t actually need him because we could do everything ourselves. We learn from going down the wrong path and having to call on God’s mercy. Our weakness serves God, as St Paul found out. In our weakness, God is strong, and in our faithfulness Jesus is glorified. And in the power of God, his kingdom breaks in on us all. Amen.

INTERCESSIONS(supplied by Gillian Jackson)

As we approach the winter months, we thank you Lord that at present we can delight in watching the activities of the birds around us and appreciate the beautiful colours of the autumn leaves. We pray that we will use this time well, as we think of all those affected by a stricter level of lockdown than we are subject to here.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer

We pray for peace in all areas of the world where there is poverty, unrest, injustice, corruption, shortages of food, water, and medicines. Especially we pray for scientists, worldwide, working all hours to find a vaccine against this Coronavirus which is causing so much anxiety and distress.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer

Loving Lord, we particularly ask you to keep safe those working in our NHS, emergency services, and all front line and keyworkers in healthcare and animal welfare.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer

Heavenly Father we pray that your Church in the world can be a beacon of hope. We thank you for the recent prayer week set up by Susan, our Rector, and held in our church hall and we look for your guidance Lord with the new initiatives revealed.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer

Bless and guide Elizabeth our Queen, and all in Authority. Give wisdom to our politicians, our Government, and local Council leaders, and empower them to act for the common good.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer

We pray for our families, friends, and neighbours and our local community, for our shops, businesses, and for the safety of those on their half-term holiday.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer

Compassionate Father, we bring before you the sick, and those awaiting operations, or coping with long-term illnesses or disabilities. We pray for all in care homes, and the bereaved. We ask that you would comfort all who are in need, with your strengthening holy spirit.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer

Gracious Lord, in a time of silence we bring before you our own concerns. . .

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer

In looking to the time when this pandemic is over, help us Lord, not to take for granted, opportunities we will have again, to freely socialise.

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 all grace,

your Son Jesus Christ fed the hungry

with the bread of his life

and the word of his kingdom:

renew your people with your heavenly grace,

and in all our weakness

sustain us by your true and living bread;

who is alive and reigns, now and for ever. Amen.

To conclude, rest quietly in God’s presence.

NOTICES

ST MILDRED’S CAFÉ

The café at St Mildred’s is open from 10.00am – 4.00pm, Mondays to Thursday this week, and from the following week onwards will be open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Music will also continue with Inspire in church on Wednesday afternoons. A warm welcome awaits you – and we are very grateful to Sue Richmond and the catering team for continuing this valuable service to the local community out of season.

HARVEST THANK YOU UPDATE

It has been brought to my attention that the harvest collection was rather larger than quoted last week and actually totalled £62 in addition to the other donations. Many thanks from the Foodbank!

24-7 PRAYER ROOM FURNITURE

Does anyone want to have the leather chair and stool we used last week in the prayer room? It is admittedly tatty, but also extremely comfortable, and would be fine with a throw over it…. Freely we received it, and freely we will give it away – but it would be good if the recipient was not the local tip! Delivery no problem! Ring Rev Susan if you can make use of it – and feel free to try it out in the hall at St James’!

ALL SOULS SERVICE

Next Sunday (1st November) we shall be celebrating All Saints in the morning, and in the afternoon at 3.00pm there will be a special service of loving remembrance at St James’ church for All Souls. Many people who lost loved ones this year will have been denied the opportunity to attend funerals: the intention is to offer them a chance to remember by lighting a candle and thanking God for their loved ones’ lives.

Please spread the word: it would be helpful to know how many people we are to expect (social distancing will be in place) so if you are planning to attend please let Rev Susan know and encourage others to do so as well.

REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY 8th NOVEMBER

This year the services will be as follows:

St James’ ~ 9.30am Holy Communion for the Third Sunday before Advent

~ 10.50am Wreath laying and 2 minutes silence outside at the war memorial in the churchyard. Please notify us if you are planning to attend this short service as space is limited. No uniformed groups will be attending.

St Mildred’s ~ 10.45am Remembrance Service in church, attended also by Friends of Osborne. We can accommodate approximately 25 regular congregation members as well as our guests, making a total of 45-50 with social distancing. Wreaths will be presented at the altar rail and moved later to the war memorial.

ADVANCE NOTICES

The island’s evensong choir, Cantus Vesperi, have offered to provide music for a carol service in St James’ church on Sunday 13th December at 4.00pm. Admission may have to be by ticket, but you are invited to express your interest in attending in advance of any tickets going out more widely than our two congregations. This is, of course, due to limited space. Cantus Vesperi are regular winners in island choral competitions, and we can expect a most enjoyable hour of music, even if we are not currently allowed to sing as a congregation.

The following day, Monday 14th December, marks the opening of a new venture at St Mildred’s – the Whippingham Church Christmas Tree Festival. Look out for further details very soon!