Morning Service for Trinity 10

HYMN - How sweet the name of Jesus sounds - St Peter - NEH 374

1 How sweet the name of Jesus sounds

in a believer's ear!

It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,

and drives away his fear.

2 It makes the wounded spirit whole,

and calms the troubled breast;

'tis manna to the hungry soul,

and to the weary rest.

3 Dear Name! the rock on which I build,

my shield and hiding place,

my never-failing treas'ry filled

with boundless stores of grace;

4 Jesus, my Shepherd, Brother, Friend,

my Prophet, Priest, and King,

my Lord, my Life, my Way, my End,

accept the praise I bring.

5 Weak is the effort of my heart,

and cold my warmest thought;

but when I see thee as thou art,

I'll praise thee as I ought.

6 'Til then I would thy love proclaim

with ev'ry fleeting breath;

and may the music of thy name

refresh my soul in death.


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
God the Father forgives us in Christ and heals us by the Holy Spirit.

Let us therefore put away all anger and bitterness, all slander and malice,

and confess our sins to God our redeemer.   cf. Ephesians 4.30,32

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,

we have sinned against you

and against our neighbour,

through our own fault,

in thought, and word, and deed,

and in what we have left undone.

We are truly sorry

and repent of all our sins.

For your Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake,

forgive us all that is past;

and grant that we may serve you in newness of life

to the glory of your name. Amen.

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

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

FIRST READING - Genesis 45.1-15

Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, “Send everyone away from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence.

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.” And they came closer. He said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. You shall settle in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, as well as your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. I will provide for you there—since there are five more years of famine to come—so that you and your household, and all that you have, will not come to poverty.’ And now your eyes and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see that it is my own mouth that speaks to you. You must tell my father how greatly I am honoured in Egypt, and all that you have seen. Hurry and bring my father down here.” Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, while Benjamin wept upon his neck. And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him.


HYMN - God of mercy, God of grace - Heathlands - NEH 366

1 God of mercy, God of grace,

Show the brightness of thy face:

Shine upon us, Saviour, shine,

Fill thy Church with light divine;

And thy saving health extend

Unto earth's remotest end.

2 Let the people praise thee, Lord;

Be by all that live adored:

Let the nations shout and sing,

Glory to their Saviour King;

At thy feet their tributes pay,

And thy holy will obey.

3 Let the people praise thee, Lord;

Earth shall then its fruits afford;

God to man his blessing give,

Man to God devoted live;

All below, and all above,

One in joy, and light, and love.

GOSPEL - Matthew 15.[10-20]21-28

Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

SERMON

Somebody once famously said that they wouldn't join any club that would have them as a member. The whole essence of a club is that some are members and some are not. 

The people of God were a very exclusive club. So exclusive were they that you had to be born into the club to be a member. Once you're so born though they weren't too fussy, birth was all. It was a bit like the English aristocracy. There's nothing much wrong with that, you might say, every club has to have its criteria for membership. But it said certain things about God that were just not true, racism on a massive scale, and it said certain things about human beings, something about in-built inequality, which were equally not true. 

Our readings in the Gospel of Matthew, following his source in Mark’s Gospel, have brought us to Jesus's journey away from Galilee, away from Jewish rule, into very much Gentile land. We must remember that this follows directly from Jesus's arguments with the Pharisees over their definition of clean and unclean. In their terms he is now in the realm of the unclean. And Mark and Matthew would not have us miss the point, they tells us that the woman that he encounters is a Gentile and has a daughter with an unclean spirit. She begs Jesus for healing and his reply shocks and disturbs us. He calls the woman and her daughter dogs – some say a common insult hurled by Jews at non-Jews. He declares the issue, speaks what is in the mind of any self-respecting Messianic Jew. Jesus isn't content to allow these thoughts to be thought, and politely, and discreetly remain unspoken, they are given voice and shown for what they are. Jesus was no racist, remember the story of the Good Samaritan.

The woman appears to accept the situation, accept the way things are but in reality she challenges it. "What is food for your kind, is food for my kind" the bread that falls from the table is still bread. Her challenge to prejudice and exclusivity has been heard and is confirmed to be correct - her daughter is made well. The point is well made - there is no clean and unclean defined by birth, only what lies within the heart of man. The healing work of God knows no boundaries - whatever we define them to be, be it racial, national or personal.

And immediately after this healing Mark and Matthew tell us that Jesus feeds the 4000, in Gentile land. The composers of the lectionary thought fit to omit this, and the next week's passage misses it out. But it is the summation of this journey through Gentile land. Jesus has fed the Jews, fed the 5,000 in Jewish land, he now shows that his work and the good news he brings knows no boundaries either racial, national or personal. When some years later Paul writes that "there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!" he is being entirely consistent with the teaching of Jesus. 

But Jesus' doesn't just believe and pay lip service to the inclusiveness of the grace of God, he practises it. He doesn't just call the unclean clean; he embraces them and sets them free. He would approve of the epistle of James when it says that faith demands action. 

The uncomfortable thing is, however, that in order to break down boundaries between people we might have to take the first step, showing people that we welcome them by being prepared to accommodate to their needs; to metaphorically journey towards them and embrace them.

HYMN - Just as I am - Saffron Walden - NEH 294

1 Just as I am, without one plea

But that thy blood was shed for me,

And that thou bidd'st me come to thee,

O Lamb of God, I come.

2 Just as I am, though tossed about

With many a conflict, many a doubt,

Fightings within, and fears without,

O Lamb of God, I come.

3 Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;

Sight, riches, healing of the mind,

Yea all I need, in thee to find,

O Lamb of God, I come.

4 Just as I am, thou wilt receive,

Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve:

Because thy promise I believe,

O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

5 Just as I am (thy love unknown

Has broken every barrier down),

Now to be thine, yea thine alone,

O Lamb of God, I come.

6 Just as I am, of that free love

The breadth, length, depth and height to prove,

Here for a season then above,

O Lamb of God, I come.

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH 

Let us declare our faith in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Christ died for our sins
in accordance with the scriptures;
he was buried;
he was raised to life on the third day
in accordance with the scriptures;
afterwards he appeared to his followers,
and to all the apostles:
this we have received,
and this we believe.  Amen.          
1 Corinthians 15.3-7

INTERCESSIONS 

Eternal God, we thank you for the quiet rest of the night; for the morning and light of the day.  May we trust you today for all we need.  We pray for the worldwide church.  Lord we praise and worship you as one Christian family.  Bless our Benefice and all who live here.  We pray for our Rector, William, and his family.  Keep them well and bring them safely back to us.  Thank you for all those who keep things going until William returns.  We thank you that we can worship in our churches again, and for the churchwardens keeping us safe.

Lord in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

We pray you to give wisdom and guidance to those who lead in these troubling, confusing times.  Give them grace to listen to good advice when they have hard choices to make.  For all people, Lord, help us always to trust you; to keep our eyes firmly fixed on you, so whatever storms we meet we know you will protect and save us.  Keep us ever walking with you.

Lord in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

We pray for all who are sick in body, mind or spirit, for those suffering with the Coronavirus, and people whose treatment has been delayed or cancelled.  We remember those on our Benefice prayer list, and any known to us who need our prayers.  Give strength and energy to nurses, doctors and medical staff who work so hard and selflessly.  We pray for all the scientists searching for vaccines and treatments for this new illness; they need your guidance and help.

Lord in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

We pray for our families and friends.  In these testing times, we remember those separated, unable to see loved ones, and those who find living close together for so long, hard to cope with.  Help us all, Father God, to treat each other with love and respect.  You, Lord, are our Father in heaven and love each one of us.  From this time of trial we pray for a fairer, more compassionate, and kinder society.

Lord in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

We remember those who have died; grant them eternal rest and peace, and comfort all who mourn the loss of loved ones.

Holy Lord, You who guided Noah over the flood waters:  hear us

You who with your word recalled Jonah from the deep:  deliver us

You who stretched out your hand to Peter as he sank:  help us

You who did marvellous things of old:  be favourable to us in this our day also.

You, Lord, are our Father in heaven.

Merciful Father, 

accept these prayers, for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

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.

BLESSING
May we find in Christ crucified a guide in times of darkness,

a strength in times of weakness and the assurance that life is eternal;

and the blessing of God Almighty, 

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

be among us, and remain with is always.  Amen

HYMN - All hail the power of Jesus’ name - Miles Lane - NEH 332

1 All hail the power of Jesu's name;

Let angels prostrate fall;

Bring forth the royal diadem

To crown him Lord of all.

2 Crown him, ye morning stars of light,

Who fixed this floating ball;

Now hail the Strength of Israel's might,

And crown him Lord of all.

3 *Crown him, ye martyrs of your God,

Who from his altar call;

Praise him whose way of pain ye trod,

And crown him Lord of all.

4 Ye seed of Israel's chosen race,

Ye ransomed of the fall,

Hail him who saves you by his grace,

And crown him Lord of all.

5 Hail him, ye heirs of David's line,

Whom David Lord did call;

The God incarnate, Man divine,

And crown him Lord of all.

6 Sinners, whose love can ne'er forget

The wormwood and the gall,

Go spread your trophies at his feet,

And crown him Lord of all.

7 Let every tribe and every tongue

To him their hearts enthral,

Lift high the universal song,

And crown him Lord of all.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord

In the name of Christ. Amen