Morning Service for Trinity 16 – Sunday 19th September 2021

Morning Service for Trinity 16

HYMN Jesus where’er they people meet NEH 390 – St Sepulchre

1 Jesus, where’er thy people meet,

There they behold thy mercy-seat;

Where’er they seek thee, thou art found,

And every place is hallowed ground.

2 For thou, within no walls confined,

Inhabitest the humble mind;

Such ever bring thee where they come,

And going, take thee to their home.

3 Dear Shepherd of thy chosen few,

Thy former mercies here renew;

Here to our waiting hearts proclaim

The sweetness of thy saving name.

4 Here may we prove the power of prayer,

To strengthen faith and sweeten care;

To teach our faint desires to rise,

And bring all heaven before our eyes.

5 Lord, we are few, but thou art near;

Nor short thine arm, nor deaf thine ear;

O rend the heavens, come quickly down,

And make a thousand hearts thine own!

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


We recall our Lord’s command to love and in a moment of silence we confess 

the many ways we fail to keep his command:

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 God of love and power
forgive us and free us from our sins,
heal and strengthen us by his Spirit,
and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.


O Lord, we beseech you mercifully to hear the prayers

   of your people who call upon you;

and grant that they may both perceive and know

   what things they ought to do,

and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfil them;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.

FIRST READING – Proverbs 31.10-31

A capable wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant, she brings her food from far away. She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and tasks for her servant-girls. She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She girds herself with strength, and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid for her household when it snows, for all her household are clothed in crimson. She makes herself coverings; her clothing is fine linen and purple.  

Her husband is known in the city gates, taking his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them; she supplies the merchant with sashes. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her happy; her husband too, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her a share in the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the city gates. 

HYMN It is a thing most wonderful NEH 84 – Herongate

1 It is a thing most wonderful,

Almost too wonderful to be,

That God’s own Son should come from heaven,

And die to save a child like me.

2 And yet I know that it is true:

He chose a poor and humble lot,

And wept, and toiled, and mourned, and died

For love of those who loved him not.

3 But even could I see him die,

I could but see a little part

Of that great love, which, like a fire,

Is always burning in his heart.

4 It is most wonderful to know

His love for me so free and sure;

But ’tis more wonderful to see

My love for him so faint and poor.

5 And yet I want to love thee, Lord;

O light the flame within my heart,

And I will love thee more and more,

Until I see thee as thou art.

GOSPEL – Mark 9.30-37

They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.

Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”


Our gospel reading today continued our progress through the gospel of Mark. Jesus journeys to Jerusalem, in no time at all he will be arrested and his fate sealed. But it is at this crucial stage that we see that the disciples have missed the point. For the second time Jesus warns them of his death, but they cannot comprehend what he is saying. His words and their expectations are so different that they just cannot take it in. 

We find this hard to understand, after all from the first moment we learnt about Jesus we learned that he died and rose again, but his disciples have only seen his power and his authority, his healings and his exorcisms, some of them have even been to a mountain-top and seen him transfigured and heard the voice of God call him his son. How can this man be betrayed and killed by mere human hands, how can he be vulnerable, a victim of human cruelty?  It was a fair point. But a point indicative of how profoundly they misunderstood who Jesus was and what he came to achieve. 

Mark tells us then that they returned to their base in Capernaum, and then Jesus asks just the 12, the ones specially chosen to spread the news of the gospel, what they were arguing about on the journey. It is interesting that once again they were silent, as if they were ashamed of their debate. But Jesus knows that instead of considering what his death and resurrection might mean, they were fully preoccupied with the fruits of victory, the places of power and prestige in the new Israel that their king Jesus will reign over. They wanted to know who was superior to whom – what the pecking order was – they wanted to know who was above whom.

Jesus then tells them that the hierarchies of this world will be inverted in the Kingdom of Heaven, it is the slave that will be most honoured. In telling them to welcome a child, he is telling them to care for the child. But why a child, why is a child the symbol for he who is to be served? Children in first-century Palestine had no status, no power; they were just a nuisance until they grew up and could be put to work. To demand a place for them was to demand a place for all the marginalised and powerless, those on the edge of society, without position, without influence, dependent upon others for their very life. In deed the Aramaic for child, talya was the same as the Aramaic for servant.

In the context of the disciples’ discussion this child is an anathema. They have been talking about who is to be on the top table of the Messianic banquet, and in response Jesus produces a child, the very least likely kind of person to be in the room at all, let alone in a position of honour, and he says that in accepting someone such as this you are not only accepting Jesus, but God himself. The message is plain and it’s not about being kind to sweet innocent children – Jesus is saying, struggle against the normal patterns of power and honour and give up the addiction of seeking to dominate, for that is not the way of God.

If the disciples had properly heard Jesus tell them that he was going to die they may well have twigged that Jesus was to have no crown, that he was just not heading that way, then they would have stopped arguing about non-existent power and started to grapple with the idea of a world turned upside down, of a God who regards first the marginalised and the victim. 

The sad thing is that the church has always preferred to discuss issues of authority and power, rather than how it can fully live up to Jesus’ command to welcome, to serve, to honour, to make first those of no account to the world. Those who have understood this we have made into saints and put them on a pedestal – I fully realised just how remarkable Mother Teresa of Calcutta was when I heard that she had disbanded the word-wide group of her supporters, the friends of Mother Teresa – she didn’t want a group of followers, only women who would join her as Missionaries of Charity and share in her work of humble service to the destitute.

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

HYMN And now, O Father, mindful of the love NEH 273 – Unde Memores

1 And now, O Father, mindful of the love

That bought us, once for all, on Calvary’s tree,

And having with us him that pleads above,

We here present, we here spread forth to thee

That only offering perfect in thine eyes,

The one true, pure, immortal sacrifice.

2 Look, Father, look on his anointed face,

And only look on us as found in him;

Look not on our misusings of thy grace,

Our prayer so languid, and our faith so dim;

For lo, between our sins and their reward

We set the passion of thy Son our Lord.

3 And then for those, our dearest and our best,

By this prevailing presence we appeal;

O fold them closer to thy mercy’s breast,

O do thine utmost for their souls’ true weal;

From tainting mischief keep them white and clear

And crown thy gifts with grace to persevere.

4 And so we come: O draw us to thy feet

Most patient Saviour, who canst love us still;

And by this food, so awful and so sweet,

Deliver us from every touch of ill:

In thine own service make us glad and free,

And grant us never more to part with thee.


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.

The Lord bless you and keep you.

The Lord make his face to shine upon and be gracious unto you.

The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

The Lord God almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

the holy and undivided Trinity, guard you, save you,

and bring you to that heavenly city,

where he lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen


HYMN All my hope on God is founded NEH 333 – Michael

1 All my hope on God is founded;

He doth still my trust renew.

Me through change and chance he guideth,

Only good and only true.

God unknown,

He alone

Calls my heart to be his own.

2 Pride of man and earthly glory,

Sword and crown betray his trust;

What with care and toil he buildeth,

Tower and temple, fall to dust

But God’s power,

Hour by hour,

Is my temple and my tower.

3 God’s great goodness aye endureth,

Deep his wisdom, passing thought:

Splendour, light and life attend him,

Beauty springeth out of naught.


From his store

New-born worlds rise and adore.

4 Daily doth th’Almighty giver

Bounteous gifts on us bestow;

His desire our soul delighteth,

Pleasure leads us where we go.

Love doth stand

At his hand;

Joy doth wait on his command.

5 Still from man to God eternal

Sacrifice of praise be done,

High above all praises praising

For the gift of Christ his Son.

Christ doth call

One and all:

Ye who follow shall not fall.

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