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| ©2018 St. Blasius Old Parish Church, Shanklin

Sunday 18th October 2020 Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity / St Luke Worship and Prayer
Hymn: Be still for the presence of the Lord
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 neighbour in 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 Almighty God, you called Luke the physician, whose praise is in the gospel, to be an evangelist and physician of the soul: by the grace of the Spirit and through the wholesome medicine of the gospel, give your Church the same love and power to heal; 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 Isaiah 35.3-6 3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. 4 Say to those who are of a fearful heart, ‘Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you.’ 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6 then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;
2 Timothy 4.5-17 5 As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully. 6 As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 9 Do your best to come to me soon, 10 for Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, * Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful in my ministry. 12 I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. 14 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will pay him back for his deeds. 15 You also must beware of him, for he strongly opposed our message. 16 At my first defence no one came to my support, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them! 17 But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.
SPIRITUAL COMMUNION SPIRITUAL COMMUNION
Luke 10.1-9 10 After this the Lord appointed seventy * others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. 2 He said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. 3 Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. 4 Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. 5 Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this house!” 6 And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. 7 Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the labourer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. 8 Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; 9 cure the sick who are there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” *
Prayers Leading us into your time of prayer we listen to the words of this well-known hymn
Reflections By Reverend Mark Whatson Almost every service in which we share includes a Creed a statement of belief. My question for today is: Do you actually believe the words you say when the creed is recited? And what difference does that belief make to you as you live your day-to-day life? When I moved from Cheshire to Gloucester in the ‘90s, whilst working within the electricity supply industry, I bought a house on a fairly modern estate - that had previously been used as a doctor’s surgery. Rather than adopt the name “Ye Olde Surgery” or similar, I renamed it “Credo” (I believe). Shortly afterwards I met my wife to be. Helen and I married the following year at which point we clearly should have renamed the house again to “Credimus” (We believe), but did not. A few weeks ago, in my previous reflections, I asked what makes us members of the Church of England (CofE). Part of my answer was the profession of the creeds that appear in our doctrinal statement, the Book of Common Prayer (BCP). Looking at the creeds as they appear in the BCP, both the Apostles’ creed and the Nicene creed begin with the words ‘I believe’. The third great creed, that of St Athanasius, begins ‘Whosoever will be saved; before all things it is necessary that he(she) hold the Catholic Faith’** which sounds to me more like the ‘We believe’ version. That is, we need (collectively) to believe the things that the Church holds in common. The ‘I’ and the ‘We’ represent something more than single or plural. As an individual we may think differently to a group of which we are a member. An example of this is the supposed collective responsibility of the cabinet in government. The 39 Articles of Religion includes one (No.8) on these ‘Three creeds’ in which it states that they ‘ought thoroughly to be received and believed; for they may be proved by most certain warrants of holy scripture’. It is part of our (CofE) commitment that these central tenets are believed and taught. There can be a tension between our faith as an individual (I believe) and the faith community (we believe) to which we belong. And that is OK: It does not mean that we are isolating ourselves from the collective because of our inability to believe a certain thing in a certain way. Neither does it mean that the congregation are in error in holding any particular doctrine, so long as it is consistent with the teachings of Christ as revealed to us. Helen and I are both Christians, and have been so since our teenage years. However we do not hold identical faith. I was born and bred CofE, having joined the local Church choir age 7. Helen’s early experience was in the Baptist tradition. The two have quite different views on a number of faith issues including Baptism. For example, a former bishop of Durham, David Jenkins (one of my spiritual hero’s!) was (mis)quoted in the press in his time for reportedly declaring that he did not believe in the virgin birth of Christ. At the risk of putting words into his mouth, what I understand David Jenkins as meaning was that Christ’s birth to a virgin was not essential to his faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. That whether Mary was a virgin at the time or not, God was just as capable of revealing himself to the world through his son. And he did! He, David Jenkins, found that particular phrase in the creeds problematic but recognised that it was something that the wider church found important. He did not want this issue to become a stumbling block for others. Another example of the I/We tension for me personally, appears in the BCP Communion prayer of confession, which contains these words when describing our sins: ‘The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; the burden of them is intolerable’. As a teenager I always had problems with these words and actually did not say them for some years, reasoning that although I was indeed sorry for the bad things I had done the ‘burden’ was not, in fact ‘intolerable’. Later, as a minister I was (and am) able to say them as referring to the collective Christian community rather than to me as an individual and at a specific time. Interestingly, our current services - Common Worship, have changed the ‘I believe’ to ‘We believe’ in the Nicene creed but leaves it as ‘I believe’ where the Apostles’ creed is used. It also introduces another creed, one that is often referred to as the Baptismal creed, which takes the form of three questions: “Do you believe and trust in God the Father (God the Son)(God the Holy Spirit)?” To which the prescribed answer is “We believe and trust in Him” in each case. It then concludes with the proclamation “This is the faith of the Church”. So next time you read the words of any of the creeds, be it during a service or not, I urge you to consider each phrase. Ask yourself firstly: What does this actually mean? And then: Do I really believe this for myself or is it one of those phrases that is better described as ‘The faith of the Church’. Today is the feast day of St Luke the Evangelist also believed to be a physician. When the NHS was set up by Nye Bevan in 1948 it was intended to meet all of everyone’s health needs: Physical, mental AND spiritual. This is why all hospitals are required to include a chaplaincy. St Luke, a close friend of Paul and one who accompanied him in prison, knew that to be ‘whole’ a person needed to be healthy in body, mind and spirit. Just as the right medicine can help to cure a physical ailment so a Creed is one of the tools that can aid spiritual health. That is why they are so important to believers. So important in fact that the Apostle’s creed is one of the three texts that are supposed to be learnt by heart by all offering themselves for confirmation (along with the Lord’s prayer and the ten commandments in order!). All are included in the BCP Catechism, which was still the primary preparation when I was confirmed at age 12. ** ‘Catholic’ here means ‘universal’ not Roman Catholic.
Psalm 142: As the deer pants for the water
Hymn: We have a Gospel to proclaim
Father I place into your hands
We gather together all our prayers 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.
Hymn: Praise my soul the King of Heaven
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.
A Gaelic Blessing – Deep Peace by John Rutter
Loving Heavenly Father, we thank you that you promise to hear us whenever we pray to you in faith. We ask you to pour down your blessing upon your church throughout the world. Help us and all who follow in the way of Christ to be a sign of your love at work amongst us. Lord in your mercy… HEAR OUR PRAYER We pray for the nations of the world. Bring peace where there is conflict; relief to those who are suffering and direction wherever there are difficult decisions to be made. May your Spirit bring healing in all the brokenness of our world. Lord in your mercy… HEAR OUR PRAYER We bring before you now in our hearts, those known to each one of us in need of your healing grace. Be especially close to those who are ill in hospital or at home; give courage to those who are in any kind of difficulty or distress; and comfort all those who mourn the loss of a loved one at this time. Lord in your mercy… HEAR OUR PRAYER Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray and to give more than either we desire or deserve: pour down upon us the abundance of your mercy, through the love of your dear Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

| ©2018 St. Blasius Old Parish Church, Shanklin

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Sunday 18th October 2020 Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity / St Luke Worship and Prayer
Hymn: Be still for the presence of the Lord
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 neighbour in 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 Almighty God, you called Luke the physician, whose praise is in the gospel, to be an evangelist and physician of the soul: by the grace of the Spirit and through the wholesome medicine of the gospel, give your Church the same love and power to heal; 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 Isaiah 35.3-6 3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. 4 Say to those who are of a fearful heart, ‘Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you.’ 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6 then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;
Psalm 142: As the deer pants for the water
2 Timothy 4.5-17 5 As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully. 6 As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 9 Do your best to come to me soon, 10 for Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, * Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful in my ministry. 12 I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. 14 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will pay him back for his deeds. 15 You also must beware of him, for he strongly opposed our message. 16 At my first defence no one came to my support, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them! 17 But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.
Hymn: We have a Gospel to proclaim
Luke 10.1-9 10 After this the Lord appointed seventy * others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. 2 He said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. 3 Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. 4 Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. 5 Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this house!” 6 And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. 7 Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the labourer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. 8 Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; 9 cure the sick who are there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” *
Reflections By Reverend Mark Whatson Almost every service in which we share includes a Creed a statement of belief. My question for today is: Do you actually believe the words you say when the creed is recited? And what difference does that belief make to you as you live your day-to-day life? When I moved from Cheshire to Gloucester in the ‘90s, whilst working within the electricity supply industry, I bought a house on a fairly modern estate - that had previously been used as a doctor’s surgery. Rather than adopt the name “Ye Olde Surgery” or similar, I renamed it “Credo” (I believe). Shortly afterwards I met my wife to be. Helen and I married the following year at which point we clearly should have renamed the house again to “Credimus” (We believe), but did not. A few weeks ago, in my previous reflections, I asked what makes us members of the Church of England (CofE). Part of my answer was the profession of the creeds that appear in our doctrinal statement, the Book of Common Prayer (BCP). Looking at the creeds as they appear in the BCP, both the Apostles’ creed and the Nicene creed begin with the words ‘I believe’. The third great creed, that of St Athanasius, begins ‘Whosoever will be saved; before all things it is necessary that he(she) hold the Catholic Faith’** which sounds to me more like the ‘We believe’ version. That is, we need (collectively) to believe the things that the Church holds in common. The ‘I’ and the ‘We’ represent something more than single or plural. As an individual we may think differently to a group of which we are a member. An example of this is the supposed collective responsibility of the cabinet in government. The 39 Articles of Religion includes one (No.8) on these ‘Three creeds’ in which it states that they ‘ought thoroughly to be received and believed; for they may be proved by most certain warrants of holy scripture’. It is part of our (CofE) commitment that these central tenets are believed and taught. There can be a tension between our faith as an individual (I believe) and the faith community (we believe) to which we belong. And that is OK: It does not mean that we are isolating ourselves from the collective because of our inability to believe a certain thing in a certain way. Neither does it mean that the congregation are in error in holding any particular doctrine, so long as it is consistent with the teachings of Christ as revealed to us. Helen and I are both Christians, and have been so since our teenage years. However we do not hold identical faith. I was born and bred CofE, having joined the local Church choir age 7. Helen’s early experience was in the Baptist tradition. The two have quite different views on a number of faith issues including Baptism. For example, a former bishop of Durham, David Jenkins (one of my spiritual hero’s!) was (mis)quoted in the press in his time for reportedly declaring that he did not believe in the virgin birth of Christ. At the risk of putting words into his mouth, what I understand David Jenkins as meaning was that Christ’s birth to a virgin was not essential to his faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. That whether Mary was a virgin at the time or not, God was just as capable of revealing himself to the world through his son. And he did! He, David Jenkins, found that particular phrase in the creeds problematic but recognised that it was something that the wider church found important. He did not want this issue to become a stumbling block for others. Another example of the I/We tension for me personally, appears in the BCP Communion prayer of confession, which contains these words when describing our sins: ‘The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; the burden of them is intolerable’. As a teenager I always had problems with these words and actually did not say them for some years, reasoning that although I was indeed sorry for the bad things I had done the ‘burden’ was not, in fact ‘intolerable’. Later, as a minister I was (and am) able to say them – as referring to the collective Christian community rather than to me as an individual and at a specific time. Interestingly, our current services - Common Worship, have changed the ‘I believe’ to ‘We believe’ in the Nicene creed but leaves it as ‘I believe’ where the Apostles’ creed is used. It also introduces another creed, one that is often referred to as the Baptismal creed, which takes the form of three questions: “Do you believe and trust in God the Father (God the Son)(God the Holy Spirit)?” To which the prescribed answer is “We believe and trust in Him” in each case. It then concludes with the proclamation “This is the faith of the Church”. So next time you read the words of any of the creeds, be it during a service or not, I urge you to consider each phrase. Ask yourself firstly: What does this actually mean? And then: Do I really believe this for myself or is it one of those phrases that is better described as ‘The faith of the Church’. Today is the feast day of St Luke the Evangelist also believed to be a physician. When the NHS was set up by Nye Bevan in 1948 it was intended to meet all of everyone’s health needs: Physical, mental AND spiritual. This is why all hospitals are required to include a chaplaincy. St Luke, a close friend of Paul and one who accompanied him in prison, knew that to be ‘whole’ a person needed to be healthy in body, mind and spirit. Just as the right medicine can help to cure a physical ailment so a Creed is one of the tools that can aid spiritual health. That is why they are so important to believers. So important in fact that the Apostle’s creed is one of the three texts that are supposed to be learnt by heart by all offering themselves for confirmation (along with the Lord’s prayer and the ten commandments in order!). All are included in the BCP Catechism, which was still the primary preparation when I was confirmed at age 12. ** ‘Catholic’ here means ‘universal’ not Roman Catholic.
Father I place into your hands
Prayers Leading us into your time of prayer we listen to the words of this well-known hymn
We gather together all our prayers 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.
Hymn: Praise my soul the King of Heaven
SPIRITUAL COMMUNION SPIRITUAL COMMUNION
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.
A Gaelic Blessing – Deep Peace by John Rutter
Loving Heavenly Father, we thank you that you promise to hear us whenever we pray to you in faith. We ask you to pour down your blessing upon your church throughout the world. Help us and all who follow in the way of Christ to be a sign of your love at work amongst us. Lord in your mercy… HEAR OUR PRAYER We pray for the nations of the world. Bring peace where there is conflict; relief to those who are suffering and direction wherever there are difficult decisions to be made. May your Spirit bring healing in all the brokenness of our world. Lord in your mercy… HEAR OUR PRAYER We bring before you now in our hearts, those known to each one of us in need of your healing grace. Be especially close to those who are ill in hospital or at home; give courage to those who are in any kind of difficulty or distress; and comfort all those who mourn the loss of a loved one at this time. Lord in your mercy… HEAR OUR PRAYER Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray and to give more than either we desire or deserve: pour down upon us the abundance of your mercy, through the love of your dear Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Shanklin Isle of Wight St. Blasius Old Parish Church

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Sunday 18th October 2020 Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity / St Luke Worship and Prayer
Hymn: Be still for the presence of the Lord
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 neighbour in 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 Almighty God, you called Luke the physician, whose praise is in the gospel, to be an evangelist and physician of the soul: by the grace of the Spirit and through the wholesome medicine of the gospel, give your Church the same love and power to heal; 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 Isaiah 35.3-6 3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. 4 Say to those who are of a fearful heart, ‘Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you.’ 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6 then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;
Psalm 142: As the deer pants for the water
2 Timothy 4.5-17 5 As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully. 6 As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 9 Do your best to come to me soon, 10 for Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, * Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful in my ministry. 12 I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. 14 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will pay him back for his deeds. 15 You also must beware of him, for he strongly opposed our message. 16 At my first defence no one came to my support, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them! 17 But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.
Hymn: We have a Gospel to proclaim
Father I place into your hands
SPIRITUAL COMMUNION SPIRITUAL COMMUNION
Luke 10.1-9 10 After this the Lord appointed seventy * others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. 2 He said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. 3 Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. 4 Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. 5 Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this house!” 6 And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. 7 Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the labourer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. 8 Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; 9 cure the sick who are there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” *
Reflections By Reverend Mark Whatson Almost every service in which we share includes a Creed a statement of belief. My question for today is: Do you actually believe the words you say when the creed is recited? And what difference does that belief make to you as you live your day-to-day life? When I moved from Cheshire to Gloucester in the ‘90s, whilst working within the electricity supply industry, I bought a house on a fairly modern estate - that had previously been used as a doctor’s surgery. Rather than adopt the name “Ye Olde Surgery” or similar, I renamed it “Credo” (I believe). Shortly afterwards I met my wife to be. Helen and I married the following year at which point we clearly should have renamed the house again to “Credimus” (We believe), but did not. A few weeks ago, in my previous reflections, I asked what makes us members of the Church of England (CofE). Part of my answer was the profession of the creeds that appear in our doctrinal statement, the Book of Common Prayer (BCP). Looking at the creeds as they appear in the BCP, both the Apostles’ creed and the Nicene creed begin with the words ‘I believe’. The third great creed, that of St Athanasius, begins ‘Whosoever will be saved; before all things it is necessary that he(she) hold the Catholic Faith’** which sounds to me more like the ‘We believe’ version. That is, we need (collectively) to believe the things that the Church holds in common. The ‘I’ and the ‘We’ represent something more than single or plural. As an individual we may think differently to a group of which we are a member. An example of this is the supposed collective responsibility of the cabinet in government. The 39 Articles of Religion includes one (No.8) on these ‘Three creeds’ in which it states that they ‘ought thoroughly to be received and believed; for they may be proved by most certain warrants of holy scripture’. It is part of our (CofE) commitment that these central tenets are believed and taught. There can be a tension between our faith as an individual (I believe) and the faith community (we believe) to which we belong. And that is OK: It does not mean that we are isolating ourselves from the collective because of our inability to believe a certain thing in a certain way. Neither does it mean that the congregation are in error in holding any particular doctrine, so long as it is consistent with the teachings of Christ as revealed to us. Helen and I are both Christians, and have been so since our teenage years. However we do not hold identical faith. I was born and bred CofE, having joined the local Church choir age 7. Helen’s early experience was in the Baptist tradition. The two have quite different views on a number of faith issues including Baptism. For example, a former bishop of Durham, David Jenkins (one of my spiritual hero’s!) was (mis)quoted in the press in his time for reportedly declaring that he did not believe in the virgin birth of Christ. At the risk of putting words into his mouth, what I understand David Jenkins as meaning was that Christ’s birth to a virgin was not essential to his faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. That whether Mary was a virgin at the time or not, God was just as capable of revealing himself to the world through his son. And he did! He, David Jenkins, found that particular phrase in the creeds problematic but recognised that it was something that the wider church found important. He did not want this issue to become a stumbling block for others. Another example of the I/We tension for me personally, appears in the BCP Communion prayer of confession, which contains these words when describing our sins: ‘The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; the burden of them is intolerable’. As a teenager I always had problems with these words and actually did not say them for some years, reasoning that although I was indeed sorry for the bad things I had done the ‘burden’ was not, in fact ‘intolerable’. Later, as a minister I was (and am) able to say them as referring to the collective Christian community rather than to me as an individual and at a specific time. Interestingly, our current services - Common Worship, have changed the ‘I believe’ to ‘We believe’ in the Nicene creed but leaves it as ‘I believe’ where the Apostles’ creed is used. It also introduces another creed, one that is often referred to as the Baptismal creed, which takes the form of three questions: “Do you believe and trust in God the Father (God the Son)(God the Holy Spirit)?” To which the prescribed answer is “We believe and trust in Him” in each case. It then concludes with the proclamation “This is the faith of the Church”. So next time you read the words of any of the creeds, be it during a service or not, I urge you to consider each phrase. Ask yourself firstly: What does this actually mean? And then: Do I really believe this for myself or is it one of those phrases that is better described as ‘The faith of the Church’. Today is the feast day of St Luke the Evangelist also believed to be a physician. When the NHS was set up by Nye Bevan in 1948 it was intended to meet all of everyone’s health needs: Physical, mental AND spiritual. This is why all hospitals are required to include a chaplaincy. St Luke, a close friend of Paul and one who accompanied him in prison, knew that to be ‘whole’ a person needed to be healthy in body, mind and spirit. Just as the right medicine can help to cure a physical ailment so a Creed is one of the tools that can aid spiritual health. That is why they are so important to believers. So important in fact that the Apostle’s creed is one of the three texts that are supposed to be learnt by heart by all offering themselves for confirmation (along with the Lord’s prayer and the ten commandments in order!). All are included in the BCP Catechism, which was still the primary preparation when I was confirmed at age 12. ** ‘Catholic’ here means ‘universal’ not Roman Catholic.
Prayers Leading us into your time of prayer we listen to the words of this well-known hymn
We gather together all our prayers 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.
Hymn: Praise my soul the King of Heaven
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.
A Gaelic Blessing – Deep Peace by John Rutter
Loving Heavenly Father, we thank you that you promise to hear us whenever we pray to you in faith. We ask you to pour down your blessing upon your church throughout the world. Help us and all who follow in the way of Christ to be a sign of your love at work amongst us. Lord in your mercy… HEAR OUR PRAYER We pray for the nations of the world. Bring peace where there is conflict; relief to those who are suffering and direction wherever there are difficult decisions to be made. May your Spirit bring healing in all the brokenness of our world. Lord in your mercy… HEAR OUR PRAYER We bring before you now in our hearts, those known to each one of us in need of your healing grace. Be especially close to those who are ill in hospital or at home; give courage to those who are in any kind of difficulty or distress; and comfort all those who mourn the loss of a loved one at this time. Lord in your mercy… HEAR OUR PRAYER Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray and to give more than either we desire or deserve: pour down upon us the abundance of your mercy, through the love of your dear Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Shanklin Isle of Wight St. Blasius Old Parish Church