* Feature image from the book “The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse”, by Charlie Mackesy.
Transcript of the above service…
Good Morning everybody. Welcome to our service of worship on this second Sunday after Trinity. Thank you to Jenny and to Chas and Antonia McDevitt who have taken part in this service. The theme for the service is: Living the New Life.
HYMN: God is love, His the care.
In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
And also with you.
Prayer of Preparation
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.
Prayers of Penitence
An invitation to confession
My brothers and sisters,
as we prepare to celebrate the presence of Christ
in word and sacrament,
let us call to mind and confess our sins.
Christ came in humility to share our lives:
forgive our pride.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ came with good news for all people:
forgive our silence.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ came in love to a world of suffering:
forgive our self-centredness.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
An absolution follows
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.
Gloria in Excelsis
Enjoy this Gloria from an acoustic mass
Gloria (Glory to God) from the Mass of Restoration – Josh Blakesley
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. Amen
The Liturgy of the Word
New Testament Reading:
Romans 5:1-8 read by Jenny Rogers
What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 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.
5 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. 6 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. 7 For whoever has died is freed from sin. 8 But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God.
HYMN: Amazing grace
Gospel Reading: Matthew 10:24-39
Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew
Glory to you O Lord.
‘A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; 25 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!
26 ‘So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. 27 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. 28 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. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. 30 And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31 So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
32 ‘Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; 33 but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.
34 ‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
35 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;
36 and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.
37 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; 38 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
This is the gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.
The world that I am required to inhabit is not this one.
During the week I was sent a book by a friend. To assuage the lockdown blues. You may have come across it already. It is called, ‘The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse.’ It is the most beautiful book, mostly in pictures with incisive reflections about life. It is a story of a strange friendship which turns out to be about discovering love and the difference another can make just by being. It is a story of unconditional acceptance of the other, a story of loving and knowing one is loved. A story about having the courage to use one’s gifts and fulfil potential. There is more in it than you first notice.
On almost the first page the boy and the mole are sitting together on a branch looking out at the wide world and the mole asks the boy ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ ‘Kind’ says the boy, in an unexpected reply. Later in the book, as the group are shown just sitting and musing together – ‘Nothing beats kindness says the horse, it sits quietly beyond all things.’ The author and illustrator is Charlie Mackesy, who I also came across as one of the most engaging speakers on the Alpha course videos a few years ago. And although his book is not overtly Christian, it moved me to prayer.
But I was struck by one of the reviews on the back cover where a person called Elizabeth Gilbert wrote ‘The world that I am required to inhabit is this one. But the world that I long to inhabit is the one that Charlie Mackesy has created.’ Her comment takes us straight into the meaning of the passage that we just heard Jenny read from chapter six of St Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. Because his whole message to those early Roman Christians – and to us is the antithesis of her comment. What St Paul is saying is that the world I am required to inhabit is not this one. But rather it is that other one where the reviewer longed to be – the world where kindness, love, acceptance, respect, beauty, flourishing and living the fulness of what God intends for you are what is important. That’s the world that God requires us to inhabit.
Paul is saying – that this is the world, the new life, that we are given as a result of baptism. For Paul – in this text, baptism isn’t just something that happened long ago when you were a baby or a child or maybe when as an adult you made your own commitment to Christ. In Paul’s theology, baptism isn’t a one-off event. It is a continuing state of being. We are baptised people and we are called to live out our baptism through embracing the new life that we have been given. Baptism is the sign and the symbol of a new life.
In this new life we receive God’s grace and the forgiveness of sin, where anything at all in our lives which was out of kilter with God’s will and purpose is turned to nought in the eyes of God. We are reconciled to God and so this new life, like the world portrayed in Charlie Mackesy’s book, is the place and space where we discover that we are accepted by God, loved by God, that we are given gifts by God, that God delights in us for being ourselves. A new life where we find brothers and sisters with whom we have a bond of care and love – because we are together in Christ. A life where the values of the old life – the old ways of being are turned on their head and instead we find that nothing beats kindness.
Here in chapter six of his letter to the Romans, Paul’s relates the act of baptism to the death and resurrection of Christ. On one level this symbolises that in our baptism the old way of being dies within us. That old way of being which centres on putting ourselves and what we want first- without regard to others, without regard to the sanctity of our own God given bodies, without regard to the resources of the earth. Getting what I want whatever the damage that is caused in getting it. And when we are raised – it is to – the new life, and the effect of the activity of God’s Spirit within us which I have just described. We have moved from one state of being to another – from death to resurrection, and we should never think of ourselves in the original mode again.
That transformation, that salvation is there for each one of us but it’s important to remember that salvation is God’s plan for the whole world. Let’s not be too individualistic in the way we engage with this passage. Our transformation, our movement from death to life cannot be separated from the redemption of the whole world. ‘For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.’ John 3:17
On a deeper level Paul is making a harder and more profound point when he writes – that all of us who have been baptised have been baptised into Christ’s death. For the death of Christ was an ugly event. It involved power struggles, the Jewish authorities going after their own agendas, Pontius Pilate giving in to a crowd. It involved betrayal, denial, mockery, the indifference of onlookers, gratuitous violence and the execution of an innocent man. It involved the deep suffering of Jesus – and yet Paul writes ‘Do you not know that all of us who have been baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death.’ We are in Christ. If Christ represents us then what is true of him is true of us. In a certain way we share in that ugly death. We have taken it on.
If you wonder at that idea – then think of the COVID 19 crisis and its impact and the suffering it has caused families and communities across the world. Think of the tragedies still unfolding. Remember the deaths and those who are still dying. Remember those who have done their jobs and died; health workers, care workers, transport workers. Think of the exhaustion of those who have worked on the front line and the trauma they have seen and that they still carry in themselves. As the lockdown eases, we rightly become involved in our daily lives and yet the impact of this disease continues – here and elsewhere. This phrase – we have been baptised into his death has been resonating within me. Surely, we have been and are being baptised into Christ’s death with all its suffering.
And that suffering is also seen in the movement that has rightly risen up from the depths of people’s beings – when they say – surely my life is significant too, I am human too, I am the way God made me, please do not see me as less than because the colour of my skin is not the same as yours.
And that suffering is also seen in the way that people are exploiting what is in and on the earth – resources and creatures. The report from the World Health Organisation yesterday indicated that the way we treat the natural world contributes to the causes of coronaviruses such as COVID 19.
All of this separateness from the ways of God and what God intends for people and the earth- is the sin, the suffering that Christ carries. As baptised people we carry it too. We are in Christ and we endure it too, we cry out to God, we yearn and pray and perhaps allow ourselves to feel it.
But we are in Christ – and that is what makes the difference – for we know that through the grace that we ourselves have experienced – that there is a resurrection, that there is a new life. Verse 5 ‘For if we have been united in him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.’
Paul’s message is that humanity can be freed from sin. In Christ we have a role in that freedom. When Paul writes ‘present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life’ verse 13, he is asking us to believe in and base our lives upon the knowledge of Christ’s resurrection for us and for the whole world. The call on our life as a renewed human being is to work towards and believe in that renewal and salvation for our broken world and for all people. That all may know God’s renewing grace and live in the world of hope, love, acceptance, respect, kindness.
Let us pray.
Christ our redeemer we stand in a place where we are assured of God’s grace.
Give us the courage to weep for the world and to feel its suffering and give us the faith to live lives that proclaim in word and deed the resurrection life that you is your gift and your intention. Amen.
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
Bidding prayers offered by Chas and Antonia McDevitt
Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer
At the end
Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen
HYMN: Christ’s is the world (A touching place)
Christ is our peace.
He has reconciled us to God
in one body by the cross.
We meet in his name and share his peace.
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.
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.
HYMN: I will sing the wondrous story
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord
Thanks be to God.
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
The account is in the name: Tinwell Parochial Church Council
Sort code: 20-81-20
Account number: 70875244
“Grand Chœur Dialogué” – Eugène Gigout