Rev Olwen Woolcock

Eleventh after Trinity 23rd August 2020

Eleventh after Trinity 23rd August 2020

Eleventh after Trinity       23rd August 2020
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Good Morning everybody. Welcome to our service of worship on this Eleventh Sunday after Trinity. Thank you to Caroline and Julia for reading and leading intercessions. The theme of the service is – when do you recognise Jesus? 

 HYMN: All hail the power of Jesus name

In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you
And also with you.

Prayer of Preparation
Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Prayers of Penitence
The sun of righteousness has dawned
with healing in his wings.
Let us come to the light of Christ,
confessing our sins in penitence and faith.

Confession
Lord Jesus Christ,
we confess we have failed you as did your first disciples.
We ask for your mercy and your help.

Our selfishness betrays you:
Lord, forgive us.
Christ have mercy.

We fail to share the pain of your suffering:
Lord, forgive us.
Christ have mercy.

We run away from those who abuse you:
Lord, forgive us.
Christ have mercy.

We are afraid of being known to belong to you:
Lord, forgive us.
Christ have mercy.

May the God of love and power
forgive you and free you from your sins,
heal and strengthen you by his Spirit,
and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

Glory to God
Enjoy this different way of giving glory to God  

You are the king of glory

The Collect
O God, you declare your almighty power
most chiefly in showing mercy and pity:
mercifully grant to us such a measure of your grace,
that we, running the way of your commandments,
may receive your gracious promises,
and be made partakers of your heavenly treasure;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen

New Testament Reading
Read by Caroline Longlands

Romans 12: 1-8 (New Living Translation)

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God.

HYMN: Jesus, name above all names

Gospel Reading
Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew
Glory to you O Lord.

Matthew 16:13-20

13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ 14 And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ 15 He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ 16 Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ 17 And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter,[d] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’ 20 Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

This is the gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.

Sermon
Matthew 16:13-20 –  When do you recognise Jesus?

One of the strange experiences I have had since coming to Ketton and Tinwell is getting to know people on zoom and then meeting them in the flesh.  The screen image doesn’t match the reality of seeing a person face to face and there was this moment when I first met them when I didn’t quite recognise Julia or Caroline or my colleague Jo Saunders. They were different to the way I expected them to be and I had to keep doing a double take and of course people’s height is an issue too. When I met them in reality, I had to get to know them again in 3D instead of 2D. You may have felt the same about me – when I was no longer the virtual vicar and stood in front of you!

Jesus is getting his disciples to do a double take. He is inviting them to look at him once again. He wants them to think about who he is. To see him in 3D. Those men know Jesus as a Rabbi, a wandering preacher and teacher. They have seen Jesus heal the sick. They have seen signs and wonders. They watched as five loaves were broken and fed five thousand people. They were there in the tossing boat and watched in fear and amazement as Jesus walked across the sloshing fierce waves towards them.  The disciples have known Jesus as a leader and as a friend; they have eaten together with him, they have travelled together and camped together. They must have wondered about him.

But now, while they’re away in Caesarea Philipi Jesus is leading them on, he wants them to look again. ‘Who do people say that the son of man is?’, he asks. They know he is talking of himself and they come up with some answers based on their religious experience and the idea that somehow Jesus is a returning prophet or even another incarnation of John the Baptist. Evidently the speculation about his identity is out there. Of course, he is already being talked about. If there had been social media in his day the speculation would have been rife. But Jesus needs to ask them the question directly and when Jesus says to them – but who do you say that I am? Peter has a eureka moment as he realises, recognises, understands and sees Jesus as he truly is for the first time. And Peter proclaims – you are the Messiah, the son of the living God.

The screen image has gone, the reality has come. This is why Jesus is the way he is and does the things he does – because of who he is. The long-promised Messiah, the one who God has sent.  This is a moment of awe and joy when a knowledge is given to Peter and a truth understood that that is almost too deep to face. Revealed, as Jesus says, by his Father in heaven. The recognition of Jesus’ identity is like the haze clearing. Do you remember that moment of suspense at the end of the film The Railway Children, when the smoke and the steam clears away and Rebecca’s father is revealed standing there on the platform. Jesus is revealed.

The question to ask today in response to Peter’s eureka moment is – is there a moment when we truly recognise Jesus and understand in our heart and our spirit, and not just our heads, that Jesus is the Messiah, the one who is sent by God? The Christ.

Can we see beyond the film image that we have of Jesus? I watched some vox pops of children being asked what they thought Jesus was like, and they talked about his long hair and his beard, until one bright girl said he wasn’t painted or photographed so we don’t really know. Our image of Jesus is often left over from Children’s Bibles and Sunday School – and not just our physical image but also our impression of what he is like – gentle Jesus, meek and mild. There can be a mist in our thoughts about Jesus; we have hazy ideas about him; – he is the baby in the manger, or we think of him as a good teacher or a good man. Then there are the words we use each week to name Jesus, the labels – our Saviour, our Lord, the Son. And then we often end our prayers – in the name of Jesus.

But these labels and prayers can be like a haze which obscure Jesus and prevent us from truly recognising him for our ourselves, each one of us.   Even our religious language and our religious habits can get in the way of us knowing who Jesus truly is. The 3D Jesus. We may not even know that we can recognise Jesus – and that he is more than a figure from long ago.

But we can. That moment of recognition may come when we have searched for Jesus and wondered about him, perhaps read about him, maybe prayed to him, and wanted to know in our hearts if he is true. Or the moment of recognition may come when we are in some kind of need. In a sad place or a hard place and we cry out in our prayer. Or we may be looking for someone to follow, to respect, whose values and way of being offer us a way through the challenges and difficulties of life and working out how to live it. And then in our prayer, or in the quiet or in the words of scripture, or in someone else’s story, Jesus meets us and we recognise him, truly as the one whom God has sent as God’s chosen one, as the Christ, and as truly our Lord.

Those moments come. And when they do, they change us and they form us into disciples, followers of Jesus, because we know in that moment that we are at the feet of the Lord of heaven and earth. We can but serve. But something else happens when we recognise Jesus- we realise that he recognises and knows us too. And that is profoundly encouraging.

When Peter confessed Jesus as the Messiah, Jesus turned and told Peter all sorts of things about himself that he himself had yet to discover. Jesus recognised who Peter truly was, his nature and his calling. Jesus recognised what was in him. And he tells him so.  Jesus had already named Simon the fisherman as Peter – meaning rock, but now he tells him that he will be the rock on which the whole church will be built. Jesus tells Peters him that he will have authority on earth and in heaven, God’s authority. Jesus tells Peter all those things that he will have to come to understand for himself as he discovers and lives out the calling God has on his life.

This is a two-way recognition. When we come to recognise Jesus and own him as Lord, then it changes us as we realise that we are his person – and that Jesus recognises and knows us too. And that’s when we hear who we are and what God has for us. That’s when we begin to understand how we can follow and how we can serve – that’s when we begin to find our calling. These are the moments that are life changing. 

Most of the time we live, we pray, we work, we study, we practice our faith, we love our families and live in them, but there will be other times when we have a eureka moment and we recognise Jesus again in a very real three-dimensional way. Let’s pray for such times and have our hearts open to recognise Jesus in unexpected people and unexpected places and let’s allow our encounters with him change us.

Let us pray….  

Lord Jesus, give us open hearts that we might recognise you and know you. Thank you that you know us too. Keep us faithful to you and the calling that you have on our lives. Amen.

The Creed
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Prayers of Intercession led by Julia Freeman
Lord, transform us by your love,
that we may know and do your will,
that we may live and work to your praise and glory.
Lord, you give us life, you give us love, you give us yourself.
May we give our lives, our love, ourselves to you.
We pray for the unity of your church,
that we may work together for the good of all.
We give thanks for the gifts you have given to us;
let us use them to your glory.
We pray especially for all who exercise the gifts of ministry,
teaching and healing.

We pray for all people, that their talents and abilities may be able to be used.      
We remember with gratitude the doctors, nurses, health and care workers,
for those striving to find a vaccine for Covid19
Bless each in their vocation and work.
We remember those who have been made redundant, furloughed,
and the unemployed.We remember all whose talents are wasted and thwarted.

Bless our homes with holiness and hospitality,
with cheerfulness and kindliness,
with generosity and with goodness.
We pray for our loved ones, our neighbours and our friends,
the communities to which we belong and the places where we work.
We pray for our young people as they plan for their future.

We pray for all who suffer through the cruelty of others,
for all who have no confidence in themselves or in the world.
We pray for those who are lonely, still isolating,
and those who have been rejected or betrayed.
We pray for all who are in trouble, need, sickness or any other adversity.

We give thanks for all who have been strengthened by their faith.
for all who have died in faith.
We give thanks for the life’s of Hans Haefeli and Vic Henry and pray for their families,
as they walk in grief.
Lord, grant us with them a share in your heavenly kingdom.

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

HYMN Jesus refuge of the weary

The Peace
We are all one in Christ Jesus.
We belong to him through faith,
heirs of the promise of the Spirit of peace.
The peace of the Lord be always with you.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.
And also with you.

Although we’re apart let us hold one another in the peace of Christ in a moment of prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer
Let us pray with confidence as our saviour has taught us

Our Father, which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come; thy will be done,
in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,

the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.  

Amen

The Blessing
The peace of God,
which passes all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds
in the knowledge and love of God,
and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.
Amen

HYMN Name of all majesty

Dismissal

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord
Thanks be to God.


Mendelssohn Sonata 1: Allegro Assai Vivace


BACS Details for St Mary’s, Ketton
Barclays Bank Stamford
The account is in the name of Ketton Parochial Church Council
Sort code 20-81-20
Account number 60547522

BACS Details for All Saints, Tinwell
Barclays Bank
The account is in the name: Tinwell Parochial Church Council
Sort code: 20-81-20
Account number: 70875244

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