Sunday 27th September 2020 – 16th Sunday after Trinity

Welcome

We are so pleased that you are here watching today and joining with us in worship. Our service today is prepared and led by our lay worship team. If you click on the playlist immediately below, it should all play one after the other. If you would rather take it slowly and read the service to yourself, then scroll down further.

Zoom Coffee is at half past eleven on Sunday morning. The details are listed in our weekly notice sheet or you can contact Revd Liz (see contact details above) to find them.

YouTube Playlist

Service written out in full

Call to worship

Let us worship God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Amen.

The Lord be with you,
And also with you.

This is the day that the Lord has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Lord, direct our thoughts and teach us to pray.
Lift up our hearts to worship you in spirit and in truth,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Hymn – Lord Jesus Christ, you have come to us.

Reflection from Roy Collard

This morning’s epistle, which you will hear shortly, is from Paul’s letter to the Philippians. It was written by Paul when he was in prison in Rome and is thought to be one of the last letters he wrote. Paul composed the letter ten years or so after he had founded the church in Philippi, and he is anxious about it as he hadn’t heard from there recently. He’s concerned that pride and quarrels may be damaging this fledgling church and so he writes to share his joy with them – the joy that comes from knowing Jesus Christ. The passage we will hear this morning is renowned for a poem that Paul places in the letter, a poem that we all know well through the hymn At the name of Jesus. Liz will say more about this in her talk, but I would like to say something, not about the poem, but about the last two lines of this morning’s reading in which Paul exhorts the Philippians to carry on doing as he taught them – even though he is not with them. He reminds them that it doesn’t matter that he’s no longer there with them because it’s God himself who’s the one at work amongst them, not Paul.

During the pandemic, those of us who serve as churchwardens in the benefice have been meeting regularly online and not surprisingly one of our major topics of conversation has been how we will run our churches when Revd Liz moves on – until a new incumbent arrives. We have no idea how long that will be for, as the process of replacing Liz will not begin until the new year, once Liz has left us. It seems to me that Paul’s message to the Philippians could equally be one to us during the time of the vacancy next year.

A couple of weeks ago the wardens were fortunate to share our meeting with the archdeacon and, based on her experience of vacancies elsewhere, she reassured us that these times can engender growth in churches and in individuals, not least in bringing people within the benefice together. I hope that by doing God’s work we shall have the will and the energy to achieve all these things. A vacancy need not be a period of uncertainty, but it can be one of anticipation, and one of enlightenment as we learn more about co-operating with each other and supporting one another across our seven churches. Archdeacon Sam reminded us all that the best thing we can do at this time is to pray, – and I hope that we all can – pray that we will receive a pastor who can continue Liz’s wonderful work with us, pray that we can grow together during this time and pray for guidance in how we can all help lead our churches forward. It is, after all, as Paul reminds us, God who is at work amongst us, enabling us to do what pleases HIm.

Confession

Most merciful God,
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
we confess that we have sinned
in thought, word and deed.
We have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.
In your mercy
forgive what we have been,
help us to amend what we are,
and direct what we shall be;
that we may do justly,
love mercy,
and walk humbly with you, our God.
Amen.

Assurance of Forgiveness

May the God of love bring us back to himself,
forgive us our sins
and assure us of his eternal love.
In Jesus Christ our Lord
Amen.

Praise

Blessed is the Lord,
For he has heard the voice of our prayer;
therefore shall our hearts dance for joy,
and in our song we will praise our God.

The Collect

Lord of creation
whose glory is around and within us:
open our eyes to your wonders,
that we may serve you with reverence
and know your peace at our lives’ end,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Psalm 25 v 1-8

To you O Lord, I lift up my soul;
in you I trust, O my God.
Do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.

No-one whose hope is in you
will ever be put to shame,
but they will be put to shame
who are treacherous without excuse.

Show me your ways, O Lord
teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour,
and my hope is in you all day long.

Remember, O Lord, your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;

according to your love remember me,
for you are good, O Lord.
Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.

Hymn – Fight the good fight

Readings

Philippians 2:1-13

Matthew 21:23-32

Talk by Liz Crawshaw – Reader in Training

Two caterpillars were sitting on the branch of a tree just passing the time of day, when a beautiful butterfly flew overhead. One caterpillar turned to the other and said “You’ll never catch me going up in one of those!”

How often do we fail to see ourselves as we really are, or as the people we are meant to be?

We have just heard the verses from Matthew’s gospel where Jesus challenges the Chief priests and elders and tries to show them the people that they are meant to be. The leaders are questioning Jesus in an outright attack “By what authority are you doing these things?” They are trying to trip Jesus up. Jesus diffuses the situation by replying with a question “Did John’s baptism come from heaven or from men?” They can’t answer; whatever they say could be held against them, and so they say “We don’t know” Throughout the gospels Jesus’ opponents are good at setting traps, but also good at falling into them! The answers that Jesus gives avoid arguments, either by turning a question back on his attacker or by moving the discussion to another level; think about his meeting with the Samaritan woman at the well where each of her questions is answered by another question until she sees that Jesus knows everything about her. But he’s not just a skilful debater, this is not like the cut and thrust of Prime Minister’s question time with people trying to score points. This is Jesus acting as a servant, longing to bring people to a proper understanding of who he is and what he is offering. This is God’s son, speaking with all authority and showing compassion.

And so, he tells them a parable. Parables work by putting two things side by side as a comparison. Some parables like the parable of the sower need an explanation, and this is given. Some are really difficult to understand and are open to a number of interpretations. But there are others that stimulate us to think about what Jesus is saying, and I think that this is one of them. It brings us into the story so that we can make discoveries about ourselves.

The father in the story represents God. The first son, when asked by his father to go and work in the vineyard refuses but then changes his mind and does. The second son when asked says “I will sir”, outwardly very respectful, but he doesn’t go. Jesus asks which of the sons did what their father wanted. The religious leaders say “The first”; that is the one who said no to his father and then repented and did what he asked. Without realising, the religious leaders have identified that the first son is like the tax collectors and prostitutes, the outcasts in society who at first do not offer obedience, but have repented and said “yes” to God. Jesus points out to the religious leaders that they are like the second son; they show co-operation and willingness, they “talk the talk” as the saying goes. They are more intent on following the letter of the law, than on showing love and compassion. They do not repent; they are deaf to God’s message. I wonder if in hearing Jesus’ parable some of them did begin to reconsider their lives.

So why did Jesus bother with the leaders who were only trying to catch him out. I think that we find the answer in our Old Testament reading, where Ezekiel records “For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone declares the sovereign Lord, repent and live!” And again, in today’s psalm, the psalmist says “Show me your ways, teach me your paths. Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways, according to your love remember me, for you are good O God”

God is not willing that anyone should be lost. I believe that Jesus had not dismissed the religious leaders as a hopeless case, he wants them to repent and change their lives; he wants to show them a new way of living.

It’s really hard for us to follow the right path, in fact I would say it is impossible, unless we understand what it is that Jesus did for us and how we should in turn be with each other. So, let’s look at Paul’s letter to the Philippians and at the poem or hymn to which Roy has already referred. Paul tells the people of Philippi that they should have the same attitude as Christ, that they should show compassion and tenderness, looking to the needs of others rather than to their own needs because this is what Christ did on earth. Jesus did not just act as a servant; it is in becoming a servant that he revealed himself as God. In the emptied and humbled Christ, we encounter God and see God as he really is. It’s not that Jesus set aside his majesty and became a servant. His majesty is in his being a servant. Paul says “at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow……. and every tongue confess that Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” Being a servant is the very essence of Christ’s glory.

What does it mean to bow before Jesus? Recently many people have taken, or bent the knee in remembrance of George Floyd, a man who suffered. They bend the knee in respect for him, and in a broader sense are saying that they don’t accept that some people should be treated differently. As we in our hearts bow to Jesus, we are remembering his suffering, we are showing respect and worshipping him. We are saying that in following Jesus we will not accept that anyone should be treated differently. We are declaring how we should live together as Christ’s body here on earth.

If only we had two lives; the first in which to make all our mistakes and the second to learn from those mistakes and change. But this is no dress rehearsal. This is it. But the parable of the two sons shows us that we can repent, we can change, we can have life in all its fulness. Jesus came to save sinners, he came for everyone, and no-one was to be lost.

And as we move together into the vacancy we will grow together, pray together and stay together, knowing that it is God who is working amongst us. Let’s pray that in the process no-one is lost, that we show love and compassion to all, and that we ordinary caterpillars can grow into the beautiful butterflies that we are meant to be.

Affirmation of Faith

We believe in God the Father,
From whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.

We believe in God the Son,
who lives in our hearts through faith, and fills us with love.

We believe in God the Holy Spirit,
who strengthens us with power from on high.

We believe in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Hymn – We turn to you, O God of every nation

Prayers

At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, every tongue confess him, King of glory now;

how we long and pray for this to be so in our world.

Lord Jesus, King of glory, we pray for the leaders of our world and in all walks of our life, that by living and working in your Name they will use their God given authority wisely, justly and with humble awareness of the responsibility it entails.

Lord Jesus, King of glory
Hear our prayer

Humbled for a season, to receive a name from the lips of sinners unto whom he came.

Lord Jesus, King of glory, you came into our world to save us all. How amazing that, through your grace, whatever misjudgements we make, you will always allow us to change our minds and be welcomed into your kingdom.
We pray for your help and guidance in spreading this wonderful message and in being better at Talking Jesus.

We pray for Liz as she prepares us for her leaving and prepares herself for moving on.

Be with our church leaders as they guide and support us through the process of vacancy and of finding a new incumbent.
We pray especially for Archdeacon Sam; for the clergy who will help us, especially for Stephen; for our churchwardens; and for all our lay leaders.

We pray that the vacancy will be a time of growth, in unity, as individuals and as your body in this place.
We pray and long for a new incumbent to join with us, to work with us and to grow with us.

Lord Jesus, King of glory
Hear our prayer

In your hearts enthrone him … Let His will enfold you in its light and power.

Lord Jesus, King of glory, be with us, we pray, as we try to grow in your image – in whose image we were made.
As you were servant to your Father, enfold us in your love that we in turn may be your servants in showing love to others.
Give us the grace to love our neighbours, even those we find it harder to love.

We pray for our family, friends and communities. We lift to you those who are unwell, afraid, struggling, grieving and we remember in our hearts those we know who need our prayers today; may they feel the embrace and comfort of your enfolding arms.

Lord Jesus, King of glory
Hear our prayer

Christians, this Lord Jesus shall return again…And our hearts confess Him King of glory now.

Lord Jesus, King of glory, as we wait for your sure and certain return, don’t let us forget that you are still here with us, working amongst us through your Holy Spirit.
Remind us, we pray, to hand over our concerns to you.
Remind us not to be too eager and to try and do everything by ourselves or for ourselves; but to pray and to ask for your help in the confidence that you are there working with us, together, in your Name.

Lord Jesus, at whose name every knee shall bow,
who from the beginning was the mighty Word;
your will enfolds us in its light and power
and our hearts confess you King of glory now.
Amen

The Lord’s Prayer

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 in our homes,
in our neighbourhoods and our nations;
to the glory of your name.
Amen.

Hymn – At the name of Jesus

Blessing

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

Sending Out

We go into the world in the name of Christ,
With the love of God and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
We go, but we do not go alone.
We go together and Christ goes with us.
Amen.

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.

Sunday 20th September 2020 – 15th Sunday after Trinity

Welcome

Welcome to our worship. If it is still Sunday morning where you are, I hope you will join us at Zoom coffee at 11.30am. Details, as usual, are on the emailed notice sheet – the link is the same as it was last week.

If you are watching from somewhere other than the local area, or haven’t been regular worshippers in our churches before, we would love to hear from you so do leave a comment on the blogpost or get in touch via one of our Facebook pages: Crayke or Husthwaite

Today our service is a service of the word.

YouTube Playlist

Service written out in full

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.

Loving God, we have come to worship you.

Help us to pray to you in faith,
to sing your praise with gratitude,
and to listen to your word with eagerness;
through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Hymn

O Lord, open my lips
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
When we were still helpless
Christ died for the ungodly.
The proof of God’s amazing love is this:
while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Confession

Keep silence and reflect on the week

The grace of God has dawned upon the world
with healing for all.
Let us come to him, in sorrow for our sins,
seeking healing and salvation.

Most merciful God,
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
we confess that we have sinned
in thought, word and deed.
We have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.
In your mercy
forgive what we have been,
help us to amend what we are,
and direct what we shall be;
that we may do justly,
love mercy,
and walk humbly with you, our God. Amen.

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

Old Testament reading

Jonah 3:10-4:11, read by Jacqui from Husthwaite

New Testament reading

Philippians 1:21-30, read by Alison from Brandsby

Hymn

Gospel

Matthew 20: 1-16

Sermon

I’m sure you are all familiar with the story of the reluctant prophet Jonah, who runs away from God when God tells him to go to preach to the people of Ninevah. This passage is from near the end of Jonah, after his antics with the great sea creature. God has brought him to Ninevah, despite Jonah’s objections, and Jonah has done his bit as a prophet, promising the people of Ninevah that in 40 days the city will be overthrown by God.

Let’s set aside any concerns about whether Jonah was really swallowed by a sea creature and look at this as a story. Stories are powerful and there must be a good reason why this really quite short story (only 4 chapters in total) is part of the canon of scripture.

We tell stories when there are important truths that we need to know and understand at a deeper level. We tell stories where the good guy wins out in the face of indescribable odds. We tell stories where the bad guy gets their comeuppance. When I say that Jonah is a story, it does not diminish it but rather raises up its significance.

When I was a curate, there was a stained glass window in one of my churches that was called the resurrection window. It has this quote written on it:
“As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
Now, I had never made this link before. It turns out that there are a lot more links that can be made between the book of Jonah and the Gospels so let’s have a look.
I will say that the suggestions I am going to make about the book of Jonah are not the only way to understand the story. You might disagree with some or all of it and that’s fine. However, the quote from the window is actually a quote from Matthew’s gospel chapter 12. This is Jesus making the link between himself and Jonah so it is definitely worth looking at.
Jesus describes the story of Jonah as a sign – something that points beyond itself. When we read the Old Testament, we are reading it with the benefit of knowing what happens next. We know the story of Jesus and we know how it all turns out. We know that, through Jesus, salvation will come to all people. Some people object to going back into the Old Testament and finding evidence of Jesus there, as if that is impossible. I am fairly sure that God can work beyond our understanding of time so I find it completely plausible that things that happened and stories that were told centuries earlier are able to help us to understand better what is going on in the New Testament.

Underneath this understanding is the principle that God always knew that Jesus was going to be born. Jesus isn’t a plan B which was needed because plan A failed. He was designed into the universe from the beginning, present in creation. As John’s gospel puts it: “In the beginning was the Word”. God has always known the pattern of scripture so we can find many breadcrumbs there that lead us to a greater understanding of Jesus. So, back to Jonah.

The big problem with Jonah is that he runs away from the purpose God has in mind for him. God said “go to Ninevah”. Jonah said, “not likely” and went as far and fast in the opposite direction as he could.

For the purposes of this story, let’s see Jonah as representing Israel: God’s chosen people. All the way through the Old Testament, we see Israel refusing to be faithful to God and heading as far away in the opposite direction as they can.

If Jonah represents Israel, then those around him could be all the other nations. At this point in the Old Testament, Israel has been conquered by two different empires: the Northern part by the Assyrians and the Southern part by the Babylonians. It isn’t too great a leap to see the great sea creature swallowing Jonah as a metaphor for the destruction of Israel.

The amazing thing, though, is that Israel came back from exile. After 70 years or so, the people of Israel were allowed to return to Jerusalem and rebuild. Having been swallowed up, they were regurgitated and given a second chance.
Things were going to be different though. The capture and exile had destroyed much that could not be recovered. The line of Kings from David and Solomon on down was broken and could no longer sustain the life of the Israelites. Here (and I wonder whether we are getting a bit tenuous, but I’m prepared to go along with this) we come to the strange plant that God makes to grow over Jonah. The whole organisation of Kings and temple, which had sustained Israel previously had withered away and they seemed somewhat lost. The shady plant of hierarchy and ritual was no longer giving them shade.

Jonah, at this point, is angry. He is angry because God told him to preach judgement on the people of Ninevah and, when they listened to him and changed their ways, God had mercy on them.

What happens next? Well, it is through the actions of Jonah that the 120 thousand people of Ninevah are saved. It is through the actions of Jesus, who comes out of Israel, that the whole world is saved. There are patterns in the way that God works: Jonah is thrown overboard to drown and is rescued, Israel is exiled and brought back, Jesus, the Israelite, is crucified and then resurrected. What seems like destruction becomes the seed for something far greater.

The story of Jonah can be seen as the story of Israel. The story of Jonah can be seen as the story of Jesus. The story of Jonah can be seen as our story too.

Jonah forgot that his purpose in life was to be faithful to God. Israel consistently forgot how God had asked them to live and went their own way. What about us? Is it possible that we stray from God’s way of life? Undoubtedly.

Jonah got angry when God had mercy on the city of Ninevah. Having finally got there and told them all of God’s judgement, he was furious that God showed them mercy.
What about us? Do those of us inside the Church ever judge those outside and think ourselves better than them? Do we ever resent that God is consistently forgiving and merciful to others as well as to us? Quite possibly.

The story of Jonah is the story of Israel, the story of Jesus and the story of you and me. The common thread in all of this is God: gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. A love that followed Jonah to the ends of the earth, a love that brought Israel out of exile, a love that reaches us in whatever dark places we find ourselves. Read the story of Jonah again and know that the steadfast, forgiving, love of God is offered to you, if you choose to accept it.

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.

Hymn

Intercessions

Response:
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer

Almighty God, As we hear the story of ancient Ninevah, we pray for the people Mosul, Iraq, that they too may know the steadfast love of God. We pray also for the whole of the Middle East, for peace and reconciliation among the nations.

Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer

Merciful God, We pray for all involved in government across the world, especially those who have responsibility for making decisions about the pandemic. We pray for Boris Johnson and his government, for Kevin Hollinrake and for all those in local government. We pray too for those with responsibility for implementing those decisions, and especially for all NHS workers.

Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer

Loving God, we pray for our communities. Help us to see the needs of those around us and echo your love for us in our love for them. We pray for our schools and for all those who work there, particularly Miss Bennett and Mrs Jackson as they take such responsibility for the safety of the children.

Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer

Healing God, we pray for those who are sick and for those living in fear of illness. We pray that those suffering anxiety may find peace and that those approaching death may find release in your loving care. In a moment of silence, we pray for those we know who are suffering.

Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer

Eternal God, we thank you for your promises of salvation and we pray that those who have died may know your love and your rest. We hold before you particularly Elizabeth and Mavis, that they may discover the joy of eternal life.

Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer

The Collect

God, who in generous mercy sent the Holy Spirit
upon your Church in the burning fire of your love:
grant that your people may be fervent
in the fellowship of the gospel
that, always abiding in you,
they may be found steadfast in faith and active in service;
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.

The Lord’s Prayer

In whichever version or language comes most naturally, as our Saviour taught us, so we pray.

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.

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

Blessing and Sending Out

Go forth into the world in peace;
be of good courage;
hold fast that which is good;
render to no one evil for evil;
strengthen the fainthearted; support the weak;
help the afflicted; honour everyone;
love and serve the Lord,
rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit;
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 the peace of Christ
Thanks be to God.

Hymn

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.