| ©2018 St. Blasius Old Parish Church, Shanklin

Hymn: Ye servants of God
Psalm 1
SPIRITUAL COMMUNION SPIRITUAL COMMUNION St Blasius Home Page St Blasius Home Page St John’s Home Page St John’s Home Page
Hymn: God of Grace and God of Glory
Opening our hearts to God 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 Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Acknowledging our need of Forgiveness Remembering that God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son Jesus Christ to save us from our sins, to be our advocate in heaven and to bring us to eternal life: We confess our sins in penitence and faith, firmly resolved to keep God’s commandments and to live in love and peace with all. (We keep a moment of quiet for silent reflection) Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we have sinned against you and against our neighbourin thought and word and deed, through negligence, through weakness, through our own deliberate fault. We are truly sorry and repent of all our sins. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, who died for us, forgive us all that is past and grant that we may serve you in newness of life; to the glory of your name. Amen. Affirming God’s Forgiveness Almighty God, who forgives all who truly repent, have mercy upon us, pardon and deliver us from all our sins, confirm and strengthen us in all goodness, and keep us in life eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Collect Prayer 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, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Bible Readings Proverbs 31.10-end 10 A capable wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. 11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. 13 She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. 14 She is like the ships of the merchant, she brings her food from far away. 15 She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and tasks for her servant-girls. 16 She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. 17 She girds herself with strength, and makes her arms strong. 18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. 19 She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. 20 She opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid for her household when it snows, for all her household are clothed in crimson. 22 She makes herself coverings; her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is known in the city gates, taking his seat among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them; she supplies the merchant with sashes. 25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. 26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 27 She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children rise up and call her happy; her husband too, and he praises her: 29 ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’ 30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. 31 Give her a share in the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the city gates.
Reflections By Reverend Jonathan Hall Whenever we watch the Olympics on television, I am sure that we are all impressed by the skill, energy, enthusiasm and commitment of all the athletes and sports people taking part in the various events. Months and months of training culminating in the opportunity of a lifetime – to compete alongside others from so many different countries around the world. And for some, of course, there is the excitement of winning one of the Gold, Silver or Bronze medals. No doubt, for many of those taking part in the Olympic Games, this represents the fulfilment of a long held ambition. This was certainly true of both the Olympic and Paralympic Games recently held in Tokyo. It is the issue of ambition that we are thinking about in all of our readings this morning. Ambition in itself is no bad thing. All the athletes who take part in an Olympic and Paralympic Games have had a desire to be successful in their particular sport. Without this ambition – in other words, without the energy, the enthusiasm and the commitment with which they have trained, they would not have been selected to represent their country in. Who would deny that the Olympic and Paralympic Games are an important and worthwhile event? They draw together people from different countries and cultures, and do much to promote greater understanding and partnership between different peoples around the world. Of course, ambition isn’t something restricted only to the world of sport. Many other young people at this time are setting out on the path to achieving their ambitions, as they go to university or college for the first time this September. No doubt, some have the ambition to qualify for a particular profession – as a teacher or a doctor. For others, their present ambition may simply be to study hard and pass all their exams at the end of the course. Why then do our readings this morning suggest that we should be suspicious of ambition? Jesus does not condemn ambition. There is nothing wrong with being ambitious. It is good to be ambitious, to have goals, to want to be good at what we do, and to succeed in doing it. But, sometimes, ambition can get out of hand, and cause us to forget everything else in the pursuit of success in sport, business, or career. If we allow this to happen, we may be sacrificing family life, justice, kindness, even life itself. Sometimes, drive and ambition can cause us to treat others in selfish or unjust ways. In the Gospel reading today, we are reminded of the way in which the disciples argued over who would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Driven by selfishness and false ambition, they had clearly failed to understand Jesus teaching. Jesus called them aside, and explained to them the meaning of true greatness. Jesus did not abolish ambition – he redefined it. Greatness is seen not in the ambition to rule others, but in the ambition to serve others. So it is not ambition itself, which is being condemned, but false ambition. False ambition can be very damaging to the life of a community. It can lead to jealousy, selfishness, self-interest and many painful divisions. – The kind of things that James wrote about in his letter. In contrast to this, there is a good form of ambition, which as Christians we should not be afraid of. Jesus, showed, not only here in his teaching, but in his own life, that there is no higher ambition than to be the servant of others, especially the weakest and most vulnerable in our community. Recently I came across a story which tells of the way in which an ambitious young man was forced to give up one of his greatest talents, and in doing so, eventually found greater meaning and fulfilment in serving others. The story comes from a film that was first released way back in 1932. Based on a play by Jules Eckert Goodman The title of the film was “The man who played God.” It featured the great character actor George Arliss, who played the part of Monty a prominent and rich musician. A terrorist bomb exploding near him, had caused him to lose his hearing, and he became embittered and cynical. Not only did he turn his back on his friends, he turned his back on God too. Monty moved to live in a luxury apartment, where he lived as something of a recluse and learned to lip read. From the window of his apartment overlooking a park, he would look through a set of high powered binoculars and try to read people’s lips. One day, he focused on a young man’s lips which were moving in prayer. The man was sick and needed to be off work for a year in order to recover – and needed £1000 to make up for what he would lose in pay. Monty immediately instructed his butler to go to the man in the park with a note promising the money. On another occasion, he read the lips of a women talking to another about the things that she needs for her children. Just as before, a note is sent, promising to provide the things that are needed. Each time he performed one of these services, Monty would look cynically towards heaven and laugh. He found it laughable that he was playing God, despite the fact that he didn’t believe in God. But as time went by and his eccentric way of meeting people’s needs continued, something wonderful began to happen. The man who played God, found God. Through the game he was playing – the game of meeting people’s needs – the very God Monty said that he didn’t believe in, became real to him – because God is a God of Service. The same is true for us. It is in serving others that our faith becomes real. It is in serving others, that we find Christ’s presence in our lives. Finally, I would like to share with you something that I noticed on a visit to an Island Primary School. On the wall in the school hall there is an achievement board – separated into three sections – Bronze, Silver and Gold. Each week, children’s names are put on the board to celebrate their success. I was impressed that names were not put on the board solely for a good piece of work – written work, maths, or art, etc. Names were also put on the board if the children had been helpful in the classroom; If they had been kind to someone in the playground; If they had helped to cheer someone up; If they had shared something with a friend. I think it is really good that the school is in this way fostering an awareness of the values of caring for others within the life of a community. As followers of Christ, our main ambition is to serve others in the life of our community with the same drive, energy, enthusiasm, and commitment as an Olympic athlete, and as our children at school. So, lets go for Gold!
Prayers
God’s Blessing May the Lord bless us and keep us, May he make his face shine upon us, And give us his peace, now and always. Amen.
Hymn: Faith, hope and love
As we bring our prayers before God at this time, we echo in our hearts the beautiful words of this song: Brother, sister, let me serve you; let me be as Christ to you; pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant too. As your Church today, help us to love and support one another as we seek to model our lives on that of Christ… We are pilgrims on a journey, fellow trav’llers on the road; we are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load. In our daily lives, give us compassionate hearts, ready to respond to the needs of those around us… I will hold the Christ-light for you in the night-time of your fear; I will hold my hand out to you, speak the peace you long to hear. Help us bring the light of love and hope to all those who are lonely or isolated and to those who have minds filled with doubt and worries… I will weep when you are weeping, when you laugh I'll laugh with you; I will share your joy and sorrow, till we've seen this journey through. We bring before you all those who are suffering at this time and ask you to reach out in your healing love to bring comfort and strength… When we sing to God in heaven, we shall find such harmony, born of all we've known together of Christ's love and agony. We thank you for all those who have shared this earthy life with us, but have now journeyed on into your presence – rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon them. May your promise of eternal life to all who believe and trust in you, bring comfort to those who mourn… Brother, sister, let me serve you; let me be as Christ to you; pray that l may have the grace to let you be my servant too. We bring before you our own special prayers at this time… Accept these prayers, for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen. We gather together all our prayers and praises in the words that Jesus taught us… 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.
The Servant Song
Sunday 19th September 2021 Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity Worship and Prayer
Mark 9.30-37 30 They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; 31 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.’ 32 But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him. 33 Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the way?’ 34 But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35 He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.’ 36 Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, 37 ‘Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’
James 3.13-4.3, 7-8a 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. 15 Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. 16 For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for * those who make peace. 4Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? 2 You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet * something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures. 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

| ©2018 St. Blasius Old Parish Church, Shanklin

Hymn: Ye servants of God
Psalm 1
SPIRITUAL COMMUNION SPIRITUAL COMMUNION St Blasius Home Page St Blasius Home Page St John’s Home Page St John’s Home Page
Hymn: God of Grace and God of Glory
Opening our hearts to God 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 Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Acknowledging our need of Forgiveness Remembering that God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son Jesus Christ to save us from our sins, to be our advocate in heaven and to bring us to eternal life: We confess our sins in penitence and faith, firmly resolved to keep God’s commandments and to live in love and peace with all. (We keep a moment of quiet for silent reflection) Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we have sinned against you and against our neighbourin thought and word and deed, through negligence, through weakness, through our own deliberate fault. We are truly sorry and repent of all our sins. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, who died for us, forgive us all that is past and grant that we may serve you in newness of life; to the glory of your name. Amen. Affirming God’s Forgiveness Almighty God, who forgives all who truly repent, have mercy upon us, pardon and deliver us from all our sins, confirm and strengthen us in all goodness, and keep us in life eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Collect Prayer 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, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Bible Readings Proverbs 31.10-end 10 A capable wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. 11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. 13 She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. 14 She is like the ships of the merchant, she brings her food from far away. 15 She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and tasks for her servant-girls. 16 She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. 17 She girds herself with strength, and makes her arms strong. 18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. 19 She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. 20 She opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid for her household when it snows, for all her household are clothed in crimson. 22 She makes herself coverings; her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is known in the city gates, taking his seat among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them; she supplies the merchant with sashes. 25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. 26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 27 She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children rise up and call her happy; her husband too, and he praises her: 29 ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’ 30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. 31 Give her a share in the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the city gates.
Reflections By Reverend Jonathan Hall Whenever we watch the Olympics on television, I am sure that we are all impressed by the skill, energy, enthusiasm and commitment of all the athletes and sports people taking part in the various events. Months and months of training culminating in the opportunity of a lifetime – to compete alongside others from so many different countries around the world. And for some, of course, there is the excitement of winning one of the Gold, Silver or Bronze medals. No doubt, for many of those taking part in the Olympic Games, this represents the fulfilment of a long held ambition. This was certainly true of both the Olympic and Paralympic Games recently held in Tokyo. It is the issue of ambition that we are thinking about in all of our readings this morning. Ambition in itself is no bad thing. All the athletes who take part in an Olympic and Paralympic Games have had a desire to be successful in their particular sport. Without this ambition – in other words, without the energy, the enthusiasm and the commitment with which they have trained, they would not have been selected to represent their country in. Who would deny that the Olympic and Paralympic Games are an important and worthwhile event? They draw together people from different countries and cultures, and do much to promote greater understanding and partnership between different peoples around the world. Of course, ambition isn’t something restricted only to the world of sport. Many other young people at this time are setting out on the path to achieving their ambitions, as they go to university or college for the first time this September. No doubt, some have the ambition to qualify for a particular profession – as a teacher or a doctor. For others, their present ambition may simply be to study hard and pass all their exams at the end of the course. Why then do our readings this morning suggest that we should be suspicious of ambition? Jesus does not condemn ambition. There is nothing wrong with being ambitious. It is good to be ambitious, to have goals, to want to be good at what we do, and to succeed in doing it. But, sometimes, ambition can get out of hand, and cause us to forget everything else in the pursuit of success in sport, business, or career. If we allow this to happen, we may be sacrificing family life, justice, kindness, even life itself. Sometimes, drive and ambition can cause us to treat others in selfish or unjust ways. In the Gospel reading today, we are reminded of the way in which the disciples argued over who would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Driven by selfishness and false ambition, they had clearly failed to understand Jesus teaching. Jesus called them aside, and explained to them the meaning of true greatness. Jesus did not abolish ambition – he redefined it. Greatness is seen not in the ambition to rule others, but in the ambition to serve others. So it is not ambition itself, which is being condemned, but false ambition. False ambition can be very damaging to the life of a community. It can lead to jealousy, selfishness, self-interest and many painful divisions. – The kind of things that James wrote about in his letter. In contrast to this, there is a good form of ambition, which as Christians we should not be afraid of. Jesus, showed, not only here in his teaching, but in his own life, that there is no higher ambition than to be the servant of others, especially the weakest and most vulnerable in our community. Recently I came across a story which tells of the way in which an ambitious young man was forced to give up one of his greatest talents, and in doing so, eventually found greater meaning and fulfilment in serving others. The story comes from a film that was first released way back in 1932. Based on a play by Jules Eckert Goodman The title of the film was “The man who played God.” It featured the great character actor George Arliss, who played the part of Monty a prominent and rich musician. A terrorist bomb exploding near him, had caused him to lose his hearing, and he became embittered and cynical. Not only did he turn his back on his friends, he turned his back on God too. Monty moved to live in a luxury apartment, where he lived as something of a recluse and learned to lip read. From the window of his apartment overlooking a park, he would look through a set of high powered binoculars and try to read people’s lips. One day, he focused on a young man’s lips which were moving in prayer. The man was sick and needed to be off work for a year in order to recover – and needed £1000 to make up for what he would lose in pay. Monty immediately instructed his butler to go to the man in the park with a note promising the money. On another occasion, he read the lips of a women talking to another about the things that she needs for her children. Just as before, a note is sent, promising to provide the things that are needed. Each time he performed one of these services, Monty would look cynically towards heaven and laugh. He found it laughable that he was playing God, despite the fact that he didn’t believe in God. But as time went by and his eccentric way of meeting people’s needs continued, something wonderful began to happen. The man who played God, found God. Through the game he was playing – the game of meeting people’s needs – the very God Monty said that he didn’t believe in, became real to him – because God is a God of Service. The same is true for us. It is in serving others that our faith becomes real. It is in serving others, that we find Christ’s presence in our lives. Finally, I would like to share with you something that I noticed on a visit to an Island Primary School. On the wall in the school hall there is an achievement board – separated into three sections – Bronze, Silver and Gold. Each week, children’s names are put on the board to celebrate their success. I was impressed that names were not put on the board solely for a good piece of work – written work, maths, or art, etc. Names were also put on the board if the children had been helpful in the classroom; If they had been kind to someone in the playground; If they had helped to cheer someone up; If they had shared something with a friend. I think it is really good that the school is in this way fostering an awareness of the values of caring for others within the life of a community. As followers of Christ, our main ambition is to serve others in the life of our community with the same drive, energy, enthusiasm, and commitment as an Olympic athlete, and as our children at school. So, lets go for Gold!
Prayers
God’s Blessing May the Lord bless us and keep us, May he make his face shine upon us, And give us his peace, now and always. Amen.
As we bring our prayers before God at this time, we echo in our hearts the beautiful words of this song: Brother, sister, let me serve you; let me be as Christ to you; pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant too. As your Church today, help us to love and support one another as we seek to model our lives on that of Christ… We are pilgrims on a journey, fellow trav’llers on the road; we are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load. In our daily lives, give us compassionate hearts, ready to respond to the needs of those around us… I will hold the Christ-light for you in the night-time of your fear; I will hold my hand out to you, speak the peace you long to hear. Help us bring the light of love and hope to all those who are lonely or isolated and to those who have minds filled with doubt and worries… I will weep when you are weeping, when you laugh I'll laugh with you; I will share your joy and sorrow, till we've seen this journey through. We bring before you all those who are suffering at this time and ask you to reach out in your healing love to bring comfort and strength… When we sing to God in heaven, we shall find such harmony, born of all we've known together of Christ's love and agony. We thank you for all those who have shared this earthy life with us, but have now journeyed on into your presence – rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon them. May your promise of eternal life to all who believe and trust in you, bring comfort to those who mourn… Brother, sister, let me serve you; let me be as Christ to you; pray that l may have the grace to let you be my servant too. We bring before you our own special prayers at this time… Accept these prayers, for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen. We gather together all our prayers and praises in the words that Jesus taught us… 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.
The Servant Song
Sunday 19th September 2021 Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity Worship and Prayer
Hymn: Faith, hope and love
Mark 9.30-37 30 They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; 31 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.’ 32 But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him. 33 Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the way?’ 34 But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35 He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.’ 36 Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, 37 ‘Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’
James 3.13-4.3, 7-8a 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. 15 Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. 16 For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for * those who make peace. 4Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? 2 You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet * something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures. 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

| ©2018 St. Blasius Old Parish Church, Shanklin

Hymn: Ye servants of God
Psalm 1
Hymn: God of Grace and God of Glory
Opening our hearts to God 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 Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Acknowledging our need of Forgiveness Remembering that God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son Jesus Christ to save us from our sins, to be our advocate in heaven and to bring us to eternal life: We confess our sins in penitence and faith, firmly resolved to keep God’s commandments and to live in love and peace with all. (We keep a moment of quiet for silent reflection) Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we have sinned against you and against our neighbourin thought and word and deed, through negligence, through weakness, through our own deliberate fault. We are truly sorry and repent of all our sins. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, who died for us, forgive us all that is past and grant that we may serve you in newness of life; to the glory of your name. Amen. Affirming God’s Forgiveness Almighty God, who forgives all who truly repent, have mercy upon us, pardon and deliver us from all our sins, confirm and strengthen us in all goodness, and keep us in life eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Collect Prayer 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, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Bible Readings Proverbs 31.10-end 10 A capable wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. 11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. 13 She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. 14 She is like the ships of the merchant, she brings her food from far away. 15 She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and tasks for her servant-girls. 16 She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. 17 She girds herself with strength, and makes her arms strong. 18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. 19 She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. 20 She opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid for her household when it snows, for all her household are clothed in crimson. 22 She makes herself coverings; her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is known in the city gates, taking his seat among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them; she supplies the merchant with sashes. 25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. 26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 27 She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children rise up and call her happy; her husband too, and he praises her: 29 ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’ 30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. 31 Give her a share in the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the city gates.
Prayers
God’s Blessing May the Lord bless us and keep us, May he make his face shine upon us, And give us his peace, now and always. Amen.
As we bring our prayers before God at this time, we echo in our hearts the beautiful words of this song: Brother, sister, let me serve you; let me be as Christ to you; pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant too. As your Church today, help us to love and support one another as we seek to model our lives on that of Christ… We are pilgrims on a journey, fellow trav’llers on the road; we are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load. In our daily lives, give us compassionate hearts, ready to respond to the needs of those around us… I will hold the Christ-light for you in the night-time of your fear; I will hold my hand out to you, speak the peace you long to hear. Help us bring the light of love and hope to all those who are lonely or isolated and to those who have minds filled with doubt and worries… I will weep when you are weeping, when you laugh I'll laugh with you; I will share your joy and sorrow, till we've seen this journey through. We bring before you all those who are suffering at this time and ask you to reach out in your healing love to bring comfort and strength… When we sing to God in heaven, we shall find such harmony, born of all we've known together of Christ's love and agony. We thank you for all those who have shared this earthy life with us, but have now journeyed on into your presence – rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon them. May your promise of eternal life to all who believe and trust in you, bring comfort to those who mourn… Brother, sister, let me serve you; let me be as Christ to you; pray that l may have the grace to let you be my servant too. We bring before you our own special prayers at this time… Accept these prayers, for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen. We gather together all our prayers and praises in the words that Jesus taught us… 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.
The Servant Song
Sunday 19th September 2021 Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity Worship and Prayer
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Reflections By Reverend Jonathan Hall Whenever we watch the Olympics on television, I am sure that we are all impressed by the skill, energy, enthusiasm and commitment of all the athletes and sports people taking part in the various events. Months and months of training culminating in the opportunity of a lifetime – to compete alongside others from so many different countries around the world. And for some, of course, there is the excitement of winning one of the Gold, Silver or Bronze medals. No doubt, for many of those taking part in the Olympic Games, this represents the fulfilment of a long held ambition. This was certainly true of both the Olympic and Paralympic Games recently held in Tokyo. It is the issue of ambition that we are thinking about in all of our readings this morning. Ambition in itself is no bad thing. All the athletes who take part in an Olympic and Paralympic Games have had a desire to be successful in their particular sport. Without this ambition – in other words, without the energy, the enthusiasm and the commitment with which they have trained, they would not have been selected to represent their country in. Who would deny that the Olympic and Paralympic Games are an important and worthwhile event? They draw together people from different countries and cultures, and do much to promote greater understanding and partnership between different peoples around the world. Of course, ambition isn’t something restricted only to the world of sport. Many other young people at this time are setting out on the path to achieving their ambitions, as they go to university or college for the first time this September. No doubt, some have the ambition to qualify for a particular profession – as a teacher or a doctor. For others, their present ambition may simply be to study hard and pass all their exams at the end of the course. Why then do our readings this morning suggest that we should be suspicious of ambition? Jesus does not condemn ambition. There is nothing wrong with being ambitious. It is good to be ambitious, to have goals, to want to be good at what we do, and to succeed in doing it. But, sometimes, ambition can get out of hand, and cause us to forget everything else in the pursuit of success in sport, business, or career. If we allow this to happen, we may be sacrificing family life, justice, kindness, even life itself. Sometimes, drive and ambition can cause us to treat others in selfish or unjust ways. In the Gospel reading today, we are reminded of the way in which the disciples argued over who would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Driven by selfishness and false ambition, they had clearly failed to understand Jesus teaching. Jesus called them aside, and explained to them the meaning of true greatness. Jesus did not abolish ambition – he redefined it. Greatness is seen not in the ambition to rule others, but in the ambition to serve others. So it is not ambition itself, which is being condemned, but false ambition. False ambition can be very damaging to the life of a community. It can lead to jealousy, selfishness, self- interest and many painful divisions. – The kind of things that James wrote about in his letter. In contrast to this, there is a good form of ambition, which as Christians we should not be afraid of. Jesus, showed, not only here in his teaching, but in his own life, that there is no higher ambition than to be the servant of others, especially the weakest and most vulnerable in our community. Recently I came across a story which tells of the way in which an ambitious young man was forced to give up one of his greatest talents, and in doing so, eventually found greater meaning and fulfilment in serving others. The story comes from a film that was first released way back in 1932. Based on a play by Jules Eckert Goodman The title of the film was “The man who played God.” It featured the great character actor George Arliss, who played the part of Monty a prominent and rich musician. A terrorist bomb exploding near him, had caused him to lose his hearing, and he became embittered and cynical. Not only did he turn his back on his friends, he turned his back on God too. Monty moved to live in a luxury apartment, where he lived as something of a recluse and learned to lip read. From the window of his apartment overlooking a park, he would look through a set of high powered binoculars and try to read people’s lips. One day, he focused on a young man’s lips which were moving in prayer. The man was sick and needed to be off work for a year in order to recover – and needed £1000 to make up for what he would lose in pay. Monty immediately instructed his butler to go to the man in the park with a note promising the money. On another occasion, he read the lips of a women talking to another about the things that she needs for her children. Just as before, a note is sent, promising to provide the things that are needed. Each time he performed one of these services, Monty would look cynically towards heaven and laugh. He found it laughable that he was playing God, despite the fact that he didn’t believe in God. But as time went by and his eccentric way of meeting people’s needs continued, something wonderful began to happen. The man who played God, found God. Through the game he was playing – the game of meeting people’s needs – the very God Monty said that he didn’t believe in, became real to him – because God is a God of Service. The same is true for us. It is in serving others that our faith becomes real. It is in serving others, that we find Christ’s presence in our lives. Finally, I would like to share with you something that I noticed on a visit to an Island Primary School. On the wall in the school hall there is an achievement board – separated into three sections – Bronze, Silver and Gold. Each week, children’s names are put on the board to celebrate their success. I was impressed that names were not put on the board solely for a good piece of work – written work, maths, or art, etc. Names were also put on the board if the children had been helpful in the classroom; If they had been kind to someone in the playground; If they had helped to cheer someone up; If they had shared something with a friend. I think it is really good that the school is in this way fostering an awareness of the values of caring for others within the life of a community. As followers of Christ, our main ambition is to serve others in the life of our community with the same drive, energy, enthusiasm, and commitment as an Olympic athlete, and as our children at school. So, lets go for Gold!
Mark 9.30-37 30 They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; 31 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.’ 32 But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him. 33 Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the way?’ 34 But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35 He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.’ 36 Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, 37 ‘Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’
James 3.13-4.3, 7-8a 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. 15 Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. 16 For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for * those who make peace. 4Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? 2 You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet * something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures. 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Hymn: Faith, hope and love