Sunday 16th August 2020 – 10th Sunday after Trinity

While our video-editor is away, we have a text and hymn only version of our local service. If you would prefer a video service, here is a link to the national Church of England service, which goes live at 9am on Sunday mornings.

Welcome

Welcome to our online service this Sunday.

Revd Liz is away and we are not able to put together our regular Sunday service in its normal format of printed words plus video clips of those taking part. Today we will simply have the words of the service, plus links to our hymns.

You may read the words of the service silently or out loud as you wish.If there are two or more of you, you might consider reading the Psalm antiphonally ie two people or groups reading one set of light or dark print lines alternately.

When we come to the Lord’s Prayer, it may be said in any alternative version or language you prefer.

At ‘After Church’ time, 11.30 there will be our usual Virtual Coffee by Zoom. Revd Stephen will be hosting it and you will find the link details for joining us on our Byland churches notice sheet. Any problems with getting on to Zoom please phone him – his phone number should be on the notice sheet too.

Opening Hymn – Praise, my Soul, the King of Heaven

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.

This is the day that the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

We have come together in the name of Christ
to offer our praise and thanksgiving,
to hear and receive God’s holy word,
to pray for the needs of the world,
and to seek the forgiveness of our sins,
that by the power of the Holy Spirit
we may give ourselves to the service of God.

Confession

Let us take a moment to keep silence and reflect on the past week

Jesus says, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’
So let us turn away from our sin and turn to Christ,
confessing our sins in penitence and faith.

Lord God,
we have sinned against you;
we have done evil in your sight.
We are sorry and repent.
Have mercy on us according to your love.
Wash away our wrongdoing and cleanse us from our sin.
Renew a right spirit within us
and restore us to the joy of your salvation;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

May the Father of all mercies
cleanse you from your sins,
and restore you in his image
to the praise and glory of his name,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Blessed is the Lord,
for he has heard the voice of our prayer;

therefore shall our hearts dance for joy
and in our song will we praise our God.

Psalm 67

1    God be gracious to us and bless us  
and make his face to shine upon us,

2    That your way may be known upon earth,  
your saving power among all nations.

3    Let the peoples praise you, O God;  
let all the peoples praise you.

4    O let the nations rejoice and be glad,  
for you will judge the peoples righteously
and govern the nations upon earth.

5    Let the peoples praise you, O God;  
let all the peoples praise you.

6    Then shall the earth bring forth her increase,  
and God, our own God, will bless us.

7    God will bless us,  
and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.

Old Testament Reading – Isaiah 56: 1, 6-8

 This is what the Lord says:

1 “Maintain justice
    and do what is right,
for my salvation is close at hand
    and my righteousness will soon be revealed.

6 And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord
    to minister to him,
to love the name of the Lord,
    and to be his servants,
all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it
    and who hold fast to my covenant—
these I will bring to my holy mountain
    and give them joy in my house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and sacrifices
    will be accepted on my altar;
for my house will be called
    a house of prayer for all nations.”
The Sovereign Lord declares—
    he who gathers the exiles of Israel:
“I will gather still others to them
    besides those already gathered.”

In our Psalm, we asked that God would let his face to shine upon us.

In our next hymn we are reminded of some of the different ‘faces of God’

Hymn – Meekness and Majesty

Gospel reading – Matthew 15: 21-28

21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

Sermon – Revd Stephen Pope

Do you have a family photograph album or two? Do you look through it occasionally, remembering how children (and adults) change over the years…all those different expressions on their faces?

As I’ve been preparing the services for these three Sundays while Rev Liz has been having a break, I’ve realised Jesus has been in some very different situations, and I’ve got a different impression of Him each time.

The first was his response to hearing the news that his relative, John the Baptist, the one who had baptised Him had been summarily executed on a whim of Herod. He looked like he needed catch up time to adjust fully to the shock, and escape to somewhere he can be alone.

Except he can’t, as he is seen setting off and is followed by thousands of people, many of whom are ill and want to be healed. I saw the compassion on his face as he breathed deeply and set about curing them. Then as it is getting late and a long way home for them he multiplies the bread and fish the disciples have tracked down. There is a bit of a weary sense about him.

Jesus sends off the disciples by boat and dismisses the crowd. I can see the relief in his face and in his posture!

Now he can go to somewhere quite solitary to pray…. to talk things through with his heavenly Father….to refocus.

It’s still dark and I can’t get a proper picture of him until catches up with disciples, struggling in the boat because of a strong headwind and a choppy sea. He tells them not to be afraid, and when Peter asks if he can walk on the water too, I hear him say “Come”. I also hear him say “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”, when Peter is distracted by the wind and starts to sink, and needs Jesus rescuing hand to save Him. I could hear the chiding, but also Jesus revealing the root cause of the smallness of his faith – he needs to stop the doubts taking him over in threatening situations and build up his faith.

In today’s gospel reading we find Jesus has taken his disciples to a place some 30 to 40 miles away. Tyre and Sidon are well away from Judea and Galilee, gentile country where they are unlikely to be hit on by Pharisees trying to make life difficult for him, or large crowds wanting healing miracles. Jesus looks a bit more energised again.

However, the picture is about to change again. A local woman has heard of Jesus and his reputation. She is a Canaanite woman whose daughter is demon-possessed. The Canaanites were the people who were occupying the country that the Jews took over as their Promised land after they left Egypt. Mark’s gospel account of this story tells us this woman also had Greek ancestry, and the ancient Greeks did believe in education. This woman was certainly well educated enough to know how to address Jesus when she came begging for help for her daughter – “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me”

It is the same appeal two blind men had made to Jesus on an earlier occasion (Matthew 9 verse 27). ‘Son of David’ has Messianic implications, ‘Have mercy on me’ regularly came into Jewish prayers. She calls out that her daughter is demon-possessed and is suffering terribly.

And Jesus doesn’t say a word.

I can’t read Jesus’ expression at the moment. Many people struggle with this, too. Having seen Jesus so compassionate to everyone up to now..( well, perhaps not the Pharisees and unjust judges)…how could He even consider ignoring her?

We know that Jesus has other priorities, but compassion still drew miracles out of him before – the woman with bleeding problem that was healed but delayed him while he was on his way to save a young girl’s life, the ‘extra mile’ of feeding the 5000 after healing so many of them, longing as he was to catch up with himself and his Father after the shock of hearing of John the Baptist’s sudden beheading.

The Canaanite woman is determined – her daughter is worth fighting for. She won’t stop crying out. The disciples have been trying to protect Jesus from being pestered, trying to turn her away but she will have none of it. In the end the disciples go to Jesus and ask him to send her away. The woman sees her opportunity and gets close to Jesus. He just says “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” It is true….. but where is the compassion?

The woman kneels at his feet, to say she acknowledges her position before him. She keeps it simple. “Lord, help me!” she says.

“It is not right to take the children’s bread and feed it to the dogs”, says Jesus.

[To explain this riddle: ‘Dogs’ is the insulting epithet Jews used to describe gentiles. Dogs in those days were scavengers, usually wild and generally unwelcome. But the Greek word here is not the generic word used for dogs in general. The word used here is the diminutive term for dogs, usually used for whelps or puppies. It could also be used for a fairly small dog.

These puppies or small house dogs might well be allowed in the house and wait under the table to be fed scraps that the children didn’t want to eat.]

“It is not right to take the children’s bread and feed it to the dogs”, Jesus had said.

It’s not a blunt “Go away”. It’s not a gentler “Sorry it would be better if you left now, I’m too tired”.

Jesus simply stands there, patiently, waiting to see how she will respond.

Jesus had said “It is not right to take the children’s bread and feed it to the dogs.” What was she to say?

“Yes it is, Lord”, she replies. “Even the dogs get to eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

The faith in him behind that reply is amazing.

Jesus responds:, with words and action. “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted”.

And her daughter was healed at that moment.

Had Jesus needed to hear her give that reply? Did the woman need to know she had the courage and right to say it? Did the disciples need to hear Jesus give this accolade in response to it……Peter, perhaps??

Either way, my last picture in this story is of Jesus looking out for an opportunity to be amazed by this woman, so he could give her the glory for it in addition to healing the daughter.

+ + + + +

Has looking at this story this way given you a different feeling about it?

We get a lot of pictures of God in the Old Testament, and because the Israelites were a stubborn and all-too-frequently rebellious people, regularly reaping God’s wrath, it is fairly easy to get an unbalanced picture of God, especially those of us with pessimistic tendencies. Sometimes, we need actively to look out for the places where God expresses his love for his people and how He loves to take delight in them. Today’s Psalm 67 would be one good place to start.

William Cowper, a fine English poet, who wrote our third hymn, was subject to depression, which may be why he wrote “ behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face”.

Please remember God is is not permanently frowning. I like to look out for that ‘smiling face’, remind myself that God is not looking out to condemn us but to rejoice in us.

I hope you look out for that ‘smiling face’ too.

And also smile back.

Affirmation of faith

Let us declare our faith in God.

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
Amen.

This is the hymn by William Cowper that was quoted in the sermon. The tune is not a familiar one in our churches, but I found it set the words off very well.

Hymn – God moves in a mysterious way

Intercessions

Loving God,
We bring before you this morning all those
who have been given a mistaken impression of your character.
Give us a fuller picture of your love at work in our lives
That we may more easily share it with those we meet:

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

Loving God,
We thank you for the faith You have given us already.
We ask you teach us how to practise it that it may grow stronger
and the courage to put it into action,
that its fruit may be an increased usefulness to those around us

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

Loving God,
As the risks of Coronavirus are still present in our country and our planet
guide and guard our families and all we meet
keep us safe, guard our health carers
and guide our researchers looking for an effective treatment.

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

Loving God,
We pray for all those with disorders of the mind and spirit
and for those who care for them.
Give peace to their unquiet minds
And to their troubled spirits;

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

Loving God,

We pray too for those who are ill and struggling….

Take a moment to bring before God those you know of who are ill, those working to care for them, those near death, and those mourning the death of loved ones.

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer

Finally, rejoicing in the fellowship of all your saints,
we commend ourselves and the whole of creation to your unfailing love.

Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer,
and make us one in heart and mind
to serve you with joy and courage for ever.
Amen.

The Collect

Let your merciful ears, O Lord,
be open to the prayers of your humble servants;
and that they may obtain their petitions
make them to ask such things as shall please you;
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.

The Lord’s Prayer

Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who 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.

Offertory Prayer

Generous God, we thank you for all you have given us. We thank you for all the ways that we can give to you in return. We ask that through our gifts we will see your kingdom grow in our hearts and our homes, our neighbourhoods and our nation, to the glory of your name. Amen

There no choir singing, musicians and lyrics only with this video, the only one I could find with a familiar tune. It is up to you whether you join in or not.

Hymn – There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy

Blessing and Sending Out

The love of the Lord Jesus draw you to himself,
the power of the Lord Jesus strengthen you in his service,
the joy of the Lord Jesus fill your hearts;
and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit
be among you and remain with you always.
Amen

Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord
In the name of Christ, Amen.

A Sung Blessing – The Lord Bless You and Keep You

Words taken from today’s Psalm

Copyright Notices

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Common Worship, material from which is included in this service, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council.

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