Morning Service for Trinity 8 2022


‘Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for; the conviction of things not seen.’ So wrote the author of the letter to the Hebrews – not St Paul as some say. At least that is the translation we have in the lectionary, which is quite well known and rolls off the tongue quite well. However, it isn’t what he wrote.

Morning Service for Trinity 8 2022

HYMN Be thou my vision – NEH 339 Slane

1. Be still, for the presence of the Lord, the holy one is here;

come bow before him now with reverence and fear.

In Him no sin is found, we stand on holy ground;

be still, for the presence of the Lord, the holy one is here.

2. Be still, for the glory of the Lord is shining all around;

he burns with holy fire, with splendour he is crowned.

How awesome is the sight, our radiant King of light;

be still, for the glory of the Lord is shining all around.

3. Be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place;

he comes to cleanse and heal, to minister his grace.

No work too hard for him, in faith receive from him;

be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place.

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.


Almighty Lord and everlasting God,

we beseech you to direct, sanctify and govern

   both our hearts and bodies

in the ways of your laws

   and the works of your commandments;

that through your most mighty protection, both here and ever,

we may be preserved in body and soul;

through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,  Amen.

FIRST READING – Hebrews 11.1-3,8-16

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith he received power of procreation, even though he was too old—and Sarah herself was barren—because he considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, “as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.”

All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.

HYMN Love is his word, love is his way H&S 65 

1. Love is his word, love is his way,

feasting with men, fasting alone,

living and dying, rising again,

love, only love, is his way.

Richer than gold is the love of my Lord:

better than splendour and wealth.

2. Love is his way, love is his mark,

sharing his last Passover feast,

Christ at his table, host to the twelve,

love, only love, is his mark.


3. Love is his mark, love is his sign,

bread for our strength , wine for our joy,

‘This is my body, this is my blood,’

love, only love, is his sign.


4. Love is his sign, love is his news,

‘Do this ,’ he said, ‘Lest you forget

all my deep sorrow, all my dear blood,’

love, only love, is his news.


5. Love is his news, love is his name,

we are his own, chosen and called,

family, brethren, cousins and kin.

Love, only love, is his name.


6. Love is his name, love is his law.

Hear his command, all who are his,

‘Love one another, I have loved you.’

Love, only love, is his law.


7. Love is his law, love is his word:

love of the Lord, Father and word,

love of the spirit, God ever one,

love, only love, is his word.


GOSPEL – Luke 12.32-40

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

“Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.

“But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”


‘Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for; the conviction of things not seen.’

So wrote the author of the letter to the Hebrews – not St Paul as some say. At least that is the translation we have in the lectionary, which is quite well known and rolls off the tongue quite well. However, it isn’t what he wrote. The words translated as ‘assurance’ and ‘conviction’ just don’t usually mean these things. The first ‘hypostasis’ usually means being or existence or reality. The second word given as conviction, ‘elegchos’, usually refers to the proof of something. I won’t labour you further with the Greek but a more literal translation would be, ‘Now is faith of things being hoped reality – of things proof not being seen.’

Ok, now you know I’ve gone mad, turned by too long in the sun. This isn’t supposed to be a lecture in abstruse biblical exposition, this is supposed to be a fairly light and easily digestible sermon fit for all. Fair enough, but there is an important point in all this which is worth a little bit of work for the little grey cells.

Now what has happened is that the sentence no longer makes the obvious statement that faith involves confidence about things that cannot be presently verified ie., ‘the assurance of things hoped for’. Now what it says is that faith already anticipates the final outcome, the reality, of what it believes – ‘faith is the reality of what is hoped’. Faith makes real the hope. 

And it goes further – faith isn’t just a ‘conviction of things not seen’, but a ‘proof of things not seen.’ Faith becomes its own proof.

So this famous sentence in Hebrews is not just a neat but unexciting definition of faith but an alarming and highly provocative claim that faith itself, ‘moves in the direction of the realisation of those things that are presently beyond demonstration.’

The author demonstrates what he means with reference to Abraham. He believed in a promise given to him by God, he had faith in it and it was his faith in that promise that drove him to act on it, that allowed, enabled the promise to become a reality – even though many years after his death. The story of Abraham illustrated a life in which belief moved to faith and so to trust, and it was his trust in the promise that caused it to come true – without his faith it could never have come true. Abraham’s faith proved itself by bringing about in reality the thing that was believed in.

This all sounds terribly New Age and dangerous – why we could believe we could fly, jump off the tower and find out otherwise! 

But if we keep an open mind just for a minute and apply the thought to what St Luke recorded as Jesus’ words. 

‘Do not be afraid, it is your father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom, sell your possessions and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven… For where you treasure is, there your heart will be also.’ 

Act in faith, act as though you believe in the kingdom and you will be in the kingdom, buy a stake in it and you will be in it.

If we are sensible we never put all our eggs in one basket, we spread our investments, have a balanced portfolio. So in life as in banking. What Jesus is saying is don’t treat the kingdom of heaven like a hedge fund – have some faith. And what Hebrews is saying is have faith in the kingdom and you will make it real – here and now – live values of the kingdom – forgive, share, etc. – then you will bring it into existence. 

Impossibly idealistic, nobody will ever give it a try? Well, think of a St Francis, a Mother Teresa, a Gandhi, anyone you have ever thought truly holy. Didn’t they have the faith to put their life where their beliefs were? Didn’t they bring the kingdom of God around them making ‘things hoped, real – things not seen, proved.’

It’s worth a thought. If you think that your faith hasn’t really helped you, ask yourself, have you tried it yet?

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 Longing for light, we wait in darkness – H&S 60

1. Longing for light, we wait in darkness.

Longing for truth, we turn to you.

Make us your own, your holy people,

light for the world to see.

Christ, be our light! 

Shine in our hearts. Shine through the darkness.

Christ be our light!

Shine in your church gathered today.

2. Longing for peace, our world is troubled.

Longing for hope, many despair.

Your word alone has power to save us.

Make us your living voice.


3. Longing for food, many are hungry.

Longing for water, many still thirst.

Make us your bread, broken for others,

shared until all are fed.


4. Longing for shelter, many are homeless.

Longing for warmth, many are cold.

Make us your building, sheltering others,

walls made of living stones.


5. Many the gifts, many the people,

many the hearts that yearn to belong.

Let us be servants to one another,

Making your kingdom come.



Father, we come to you in prayer not completely understanding how awesome you are but holding on to the promise that when we pray together you are here with us.  Thank you that no prayer goes unheard or unanswered.  Help us to trust in your purpose, your timing and your love.  We thank you for the privilege of being able to come into your presence and enjoy a relationship with you through the sacrifice of Jesus.  Forgive us when we are complacent, allowing the business of life to crowd in and come first.  Please help us to follow the example of Jesus and nurture our relationship with you in quiet times of prayer and study, enabling your love and wisdom to influence every area of our lives.  Forgive us when our own attitudes and behaviour do not reflect your values.

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer

We pray for our government and for the decisions that are being made to appoint a new Prime Minister.  Please give every member of government a strong sense of responsibility and integrity as they work to represent the people of this country.

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer

Please help us guard against indifference to the difficulties and suffering of others, not only in this country but also in other parts of the world.  We think of people caught up in the horror of war, those without democracy, freedom of speech or freedom of religion.  We pray for the many who are suffering the effects of climate change and are struggling with drought and famine.  Help us to support those affected by inflation who may be finding it difficult to provide for their families.  We bring to you the people we know personally who are having to cope with health problems, grief or other difficulties and we ask that you not only give us a sensitivity to the needs of others but also wisdom and guidance on how to give our support.

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer

Father, help us to recognise all the wonderful blessings you give us to enjoy.  May we go into this coming week with appreciation and thanksgiving and a sense of your presence with us.

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.

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 Colours of day – H&S 21

1.Colours of day dawn into the mind,

the sun has come up, the night is behind.

Go down in the city, into the street,

and let’s give the message to the people we meet.

So light up the fire and let the flame burn,

open the door, let Jesus return,

take seeds of his Spirit, let the fruit grow,

tell the people of Jesus, let his love show.

2. Go through the park, on into the town;

the sun still shines on, it never goes down.

The light of the world is risen again;

the people of darkness are needing our friend.


3. Open your eyes, look into the sky,

the darkness has come, the sun came to die.

The evening draws on, the sun disappears,

but Jesus is living, and his Spirit is near.


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