United Benefice of

St Mildred’s, Whippingham

and

St James’, East Cowes

30th August 2020: Twelfth 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.

ONLINE WORSHIP

Services at Whippingham are now being shown on YouTube: you can catch last week’s worship via the following link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SUlR2aS1pA

FOR YOUR PRAYERS THIS WEEK:

Give thanks for: Visitors to the island and to St Mildred’s; our police; the community hub

Pray for: All threatened by Hurricane Laura around the Bay of Mexico; the Church’s ministry to refugees; teachers and all school staff; all returning to school or university

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; Beryl Carpenter; Rosie and family; Barbara Blacklock; Hilda Bell; Paul & family; Emily

Give thanks for: Improvements in Grace Lane’s health

PRAYERS FOR THE DEPARTED:

Richard Cartridge; Roy Jouning

COLLECT FOR THE TWELFTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY

God of constant mercy,

who sent your Son to save us:

remind us of your goodness,

increase your grace within us,

that our thankfulness may grow,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

READINGS

OLD TESTAMENT READING Exodus 3 : 1-15

Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. 3Then Moses said, ‘I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.’ 4When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ 5Then he said, ‘Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’ 6He said further, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

7 Then the Lord said, ‘I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, 8and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. 10So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.’ 11But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’ 12He said, ‘I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.’

13 But Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your ancestors has sent me to you”, and they ask me, “What is his name?” what shall I say to them?’ 14God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’ He said further, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “I am has sent me to you.” ’ 15God also said to Moses, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you”: This is my name for ever, and this my title for all generations.’

GOSPEL READING Matthew 16 : 21-end

21 From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, ‘God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.’ 23But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’

24 Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. 26For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? 27 ‘For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. 28Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.’

ADDRESS

Ah, the Kingdom. I wonder what that word Kingdom makes you think of? The kingdom of heaven, the second coming, the eternal banquet? The kingdom, the power and the glory, perhaps? Those are all things we might imagine. Power and glory are certainly the sort of things Jesus’ disciples would have imagined – that’s why James and John wanted the best places on each side of Jesus. Acknowledging Jesus as king surely meant great honour, and an end to the corruption and injustice imposed by the Roman authorities. I’m pretty sure that was how Judas Iscariot would have imagined it, too, and perhaps also Simon the Zealot, the political freedom fighter who found a place among the twelve. And if we go right back, it is an image that tempted Jesus in the wilderness, when the devil showed him all the kingdoms of the world and promised he could have them – if he bowed down to Satan. Yes, kingdom has associations of power and glory. Only it wasn’t going to be that way, according to Jesus. First, he would undergo suffering and death.

The mistake we all tend to make is to think that the coming of the Kingdom of God is to do with Jesus’ second coming to judge the world. So people point to Jesus saying that some of his listeners would not taste death until it had happened and say “Aha! Well, he got that one wrong then!” But Jesus didn’t make that kind of mistake. The mistake is in the assumption that the coming of the kingdom and the second coming are one and the same thing. So if they are not, then we have to ask what he meant.

It’s easy to see how the mistake has arisen. Even the gospel writer Matthew got it wrong. In putting together two separate sayings of Jesus as he has, he has assumed that they both refer to the same thing. What we have got is a saying of Jesus about how everyone will be repaid for their deeds on earth – and that is the second coming – but tacked on after it a comment on how it all starts. Remember all those other sayings – the Kingdom of God is at hand, the Kingdom of God is upon you, you are not far from the Kingdom of God….and so on. All around them people had in Jesus an example of the Kingdom of God and what it meant to live in it. And the great climax, the act of bringing in the kingdom, was Jesus’ death. That was the action that caused the kingdom to break in on us all. On that unremarkable Friday afternoon, surrounded, not by powerful allies or disciples, but flanked by two criminals near what was effectively a rubbish dump – –that was when the Kingdom of God dawned.

I can almost hear you saying: “What? Surely you mean on Easter Sunday, when he rose from the dead?” No, I don’t. I mean on Good Friday, because Easter Sunday is just the first visible consequence of Jesus’ sacrifice. Easter Sunday is a result, not a trigger – although it did obviously trigger a whole new series of events, not least the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The catalyst for the Kingdom was Jesus’ death – and it’s no coincidence that he was telling the disciples about that and preparing them at the beginning of our Gospel reading today. It was only much later that they understood what he had meant.

So – the Kingdom of God has already dawned, and by God’s grace we are free citizens within it. What are we going to do with our citizenship?

Ridiculously, and dangerously, we often take it for granted and act as if the privilege of being God’s citizens is an automatic right that we needn’t bother much about. That’s ridiculous, because the Bible (and especially the Old Testament) is full of examples of what happens when you take God’s favour for granted and forget that it matters: think of Esau despising his birth right for a hot meal, of King Saul having God’s favour withdrawn, of the Egyptians lording it over the Israelites, and so on. Sooner or later God intervenes. The mighty fall. The poor and virtuous get rewarded. As for the wannabees – well, think of Judas.

So it is not only ridiculous but also dangerous to take God’s favour for granted. I suspect we in the rich first world are beginning to see the global consequences of man’s quest for wealth, power, endless pleasure and luxury. In some areas there’s not a lot we can do to change that. But what we can do is to start a landslide of victory with those small, personal victories for Christ that are at hand. We can make a disciplined effort to follow God’s will and live as his citizens. We can commit, even when by the world’s standards and logic it makes no sense. Both spiritually and financially we can put God first. We can offer our time and energy, our buildings and our money and ask him what he wants us to do, and be confident that he will give the resources for his will to happen. As Jesus puts it, we can set our minds on divine things rather than human things. That is the challenge.

Are we up for it?

Amen.

INTERCESSIONS(supplied by Gillian Jackson)

Loving Heavenly Father, we thank you for always being with us and giving us hope for the future. Thank you for the easing of Lockdown allowing us to meet friends and family again and giving us the opportunity to move about more freely; help us to use it wisely.

Lord hear us . . .

Lord graciously hear us

We pray for all parts of the world where there is civil unrest, storms, difficulties, and escalating Coronavirus. We pray for all world-leaders and politicians that they will act for the common good. Bless and guide Elizabeth our Queen and all in Authority, our NHS and carers, all key-workers, and scientists working on a vaccine.

Lord hear us . . .

Lord graciously hear us

We pray for your Church in the world and we thank you for the benefits of modern technology enabling churches to reach a new and wider audience. Help us to listen to more music in our lives and to appreciate it as a creative way of praying.

Lord hear us . . .

Lord graciously hear us

Thank you that we live on such a scenic island, and for nature’s bounty at this time of year with hedgerows full of berries. We pray for the safety of all who are on holiday and travelling during this Bank Holiday Weekend.

Lord hear us . . .

Lord graciously hear us

We pray for our local community, the lonely, bereaved, the elderly and the very young, our neighbours, shops and businesses. We pray especially for the safety of teachers and children returning to school.

Lord hear us . . .

Lord graciously hear us

Compassionate Lord, we pray for those struggling with life and particularly those with long term illnesses or medical conditions. In a time of quiet we bring before you those people and situations known to us for which we ask your tender and merciful care.

Lord hear us . . .

Lord graciously hear us

Forgive us our human frailties Lord, and give us courage to follow the example of your disciples in denying ourselves, putting others first, and following you.

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 mercy,

in this spiritual communion you have set aside our sins

and given us your healing:

grant that we who are made whole in Christ

may bring that healing to this broken world,

in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

To conclude, perhaps pray the following prayer, supplied by Carole French, and rest quietly in God’s presence.

I carry a cross in my pocket,

a simple reminder to me

of the fact that I am a Christian,

No matter where I may be.

This little cross is not magic,

nor is it a good luck charm:

it isn’t meant to protect me

from every physical harm.

It’s not for identification

for all the world to see,

It’s simply an understanding

between my Saviour and me.

When I put my hand in my pocket

to bring out a coin or key,

the cross is there to remind me

of the price He paid for me.

It reminds me, too, to be thankful

for my blessings day by day,

and to strive to serve Him better

in all that I do and say.

It’s also a daily reminder

of the peace and comfort I share

with all who know my Master

and give themselves to his care.

So, I carry a cross in my pocket,

reminding no one but me

that Jesus Christ is Lord of my life,

if only I’ll let Him be.

Vera Mae Thomas

NOTICES

KEEPING SAFE IN CHURCH

We are delighted that many people have returned to regular worship in church! Please be aware, however, that for some more vulnerable folk this is an act of real courage, so social distancing continues to be vitally important. If possible, sit away from the aisle end of pews, so that others can go past safely, and once you have found a seat, stay with it. We cannot easily re-sanitise if you choose to move to somewhere else once you have sat down! Thank you for your understanding as we gradually acclimatise to our new situation.

If you have any issues, don’t hesitate to contact the vicar (01983 717026, revspaterson) or speak to the wardens or pastoral team.

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.

CREAM TEAS

The next cream teas will be on 13th September, so do put the date in your diary! We can safely accommodate 28 people booked within the hall itself, and more (unbooked) in the gazebos outside. Safer to book than not to!

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