Morning Worship for Third Sunday after Trinity
28th June 2020
A video of this service (26 min) is available.
Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you and also with you.
The gospel calls us to turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ. As we offer ourselves to him in penitence and faith, we renew our confidence and trust in his mercy. We have not always worshipped God our creator. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. We have not always followed Christ our Saviour. Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. We have not always trusted the Holy Spirit. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. May almighty God, who sent his Son into the world to save sinners, bring us his pardon and peace, now and for ever. Amen.
God our saviour, look on this wounded world in pity and in power; hold us fast to your promises of peace won for us by your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
Reflection by Jill Leonard
I don’t know about you but during lockdown it hasn’t always been easy to find something to either watch or, as in my case, something for company on the television. On one of these occasions I found a programme on Canterbury Cathedral and their preparations for Easter which involved building a set outside on Cathedral Green with a cross on one side and the empty tomb on the other. Passers-by were asked what they thought the symbolism meant and one young lady said ‘I think it’s wonderful because Jesus died so I could be forgiven so I can sin as much as I like and still go to heaven’ or words to that effect!
We humans don’t really change do we? Her mind-set was very much in the vein of the Romans to whom Paul was writing all those years ago. Their thought process was that by being baptised and receiving the grace bought by Jesus on the cross somehow you could increase that grace by sinning and repenting more. Poor Paul, he travelled so far and had to leave embryonic churches struggling, his only way of keeping tabs on them was by writing letters of correction and instruction. Perhaps we should be grateful that he was such a prolific writer and that so much of what he wrote has survived down through the years and is still just as relevant to us today. For Paul baptism meant the death of a person’s old life and starting a new life following Jesus and all he stood for. So our baptism signifies a change in status, one where we are no longer located ‘in sin’ but where we have met ‘grace’, not a pat on the back saying ‘you were ok as you were’ but rather ‘you are now in a new place, one which will require some effort in order to succeed’. A change of status requires that you recognize it and take the necessary steps to bring your life into line with the new person you have become. Not an easy task and we all fall short at some point and in repenting promise to change. For some it will be harder than for others and some will try to ignore their new responsibilities, a subject Paul addresses more fully in 1 Corinthians 10.
There is a lifelong process of spiritual growth for every Christian. Once we have been saved, we don’t always want or feel like doing God’s will. Growth doesn’t happen by accident it has to be nurtured. Just as Paul strove to nurture the early Christian churches he formed. Every Christian will be faced by decisions and choices. There may well be boasting and great confidence, but there is also agony and struggle. The struggles and tribulations are all part of the process. As we come out of lockdown I know that many will be facing trials and tribulations which will challenge their faith. It’s so easy to be tempted to falsify a CV when a job and your families’ livelihoods depend on it. But one lie leads to another and so on until eventually the whole tissue of lies collapses – what then? Honesty is always the best policy and will be rewarded in the end.
Evelyn Underhill is a name known to many in Chelmsford Diocese and especially to those who frequent Pleshey, the Diocesan Retreat House. It was there she led many retreats especially on prayer. She summed up the Christian life like this: ‘The Christian Life involves a ‘stern choice’; it is not a consoling retreat from the difficulties of ‘existence,’ but, rather, ‘an invitation to enter fully into that difficult existence, and there apply the Charity of God and bear the cost’.
Paul is encouraging the early Christians to enter into that difficult existence. The very same invitation that is open to each and every one of us today.
Let us pray to the Lord, who is our refuge and stronghold. For the health and well-being of our nation, that all who are fearful and anxious may be at peace and free from worry: Lord, hear us, Lord, graciously hear us. For the isolated and housebound, that we may be alert to their needs, and care for them in their vulnerability: Lord, hear us, Lord, graciously hear us. For our homes and families, our schools and young people, and all in any kind of need or distress: Lord, hear us, Lord, graciously hear us. For a blessing on our local community, that our neighbourhoods may be places of trust and friendship, where all are known and cared for: Lord, hear us, Lord, graciously hear us. We commend ourselves, and all for whom we pray, to the mercy and protection of God. Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, through the power of the Holy Spirit; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among us and remain with us always. Amen. Let us bless the Lord. Thanks be to God. Amen.
Prayers taken from Common Worship: Times and Seasons © The Archbishops’ Council 2006