Friday, May 29, 2015

A Letter for Jamie: Baptismal Words on Trinity Sunday (31 May 2015)

It has become my custom to write a letter to the newly-baptized to be read on the day of their baptism.  This Sunday Jamie Toby Li will be baptized at Saint Faith's and here are my words to him.

Trinity Sunday
31 May 2015

Dear Jamie,

         I hope that in the years to come you and I will come to know each other better.  But in the event that we do not, I want to tell a few things about what happened to you today at Saint Faith’s.  It may help to read this letter with your mother and father so that they can share their story about today and answer any questions you may have.

         Today you were baptized and became a member of the Christian community.  We are a very old community reaching back two thousand years.  It is a community that has included and still includes people from every continent, from every language, from every culture.  It is a community of women, men and children, a community of rich people and poor people, a community of people who try to do good things and sometimes fails.  But when we fail, we are not afraid to say that we have failed, to ask for forgiveness from those we may have hurt and to try again to do the right thing.

         Many people will try to tell you what we believe and often they use very long words that are not always helpful.  It’s not that these people are trying to be unhelpful; it’s just that our story is both simple and complicated.  Let me tell you the simple story first.

         We believe that God is love.  Because God is love, God decided, billions of years ago, to create the universe so that God would be able to share this love with all sorts of creatures, even creatures that no longer exist in our world such as dinosaurs and pterodactyls.  God is still creating our world as continents move across the surface of our planet and as all creatures, human and non-human, continue to evolve in ways that are still a mystery to us.  Every day we are learning more about how God is at work in our world, but there is still so much to learn.

         We believe that God is love.  Because God is love, God tries in many ways to show us how we ought to live together, humans and non-humans.  Thousands of years ago God sent a teacher named Moses who led a community of people we call the Jews from slavery into freedom.  Moses shared with the people ways that they could live together in peace and harmony.  But people, being people, don’t always like to follow someone else’s rules, even if those rules might come from God.  So, two thousand years ago, God had a new idea; God would come into our world to show us how to live.  God chose to dwell in a Jewish man named Jesus of Nazareth.  For three years Jesus taught people about God’s love and compassion, about sharing and caring, about peace and justice.  When Jesus died at the hands of some powerful people who did not like what Jesus was saying and doing, God did not let Jesus’ death be the end of the story.  God raised Jesus from the dead and gathered around Jesus a community of men and women who would share the message throughout the world.

         We believe God is love.  Because God is love, God gives people courage to speak and act like Jesus, to love and be compassionate, to share and care, to work for peace and justice.  Some of these people have chosen to speak and act like Jesus as members of the Christian community and to invite other people, young and old, to join them in continuing God’s work.

         Today your mother and father brought you to Saint Faith’s so that you could join us in the work God began in creation, renewed in Jesus and continues through the Holy Spirit.  Because your parents love you, they brought you here so that you could become part of a community who tries every day to make God’s love known wherever they go.

         This is the simple part of the story, our story, your story.  The hard part comes in the days ahead.  Loving the world in the same way that God loves the world is not easy; it’s never been easy.  Loving the world in the same way that God loves the world means standing up to bullies, saying we are sorry when we hurt other people, caring for those who are hungry and homeless, treating every person with respect (even the people we don’t particularly like), making good decisions about how we use the resources of this planet.  Loving the world in the same way that God loves the world means trying to do these things twenty-four hours a day, every day of the week, every day of our lives.  And when we fail, we don’t give up.  We pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start over again.  God is very patient with us; after all, God has been working on this project for billions of years!

         Sticking with this work is not easy; some people give up after only a little while.  I hope that you won’t be one of those people, but, even if you were, it doesn’t mean that God does not love you, that we, the Christian community, don’t love you.  You can always pick up where you left off.

         Jamie, today the people at Saint Faith’s promised to support you in any way that they can.  You can trust their promise.  You can trust the promise that any Christian community, wherever you may go, wherever you may live, will support you in any way they can.  That’s how we do things; that’s how we’ve been doing it for almost two thousand years.

         Jamie, I want to share with some words from a song written by David Haas.  I’ve changed a couple of words just for today, but they are my wish for you:  “You are God’s work of art, created in Jesus the Christ.  You have been [given the light of Jesus].  Walk as [a child] of [that] light.  Keep the flame of faith in your heart, and may you meet [Christ wherever you go.]  Blessed be our God, who chose you in the light of Christ.”

Your friend for ever,


(The Rev’d Dr) Richard Geoffrey Leggett
Rector of Saint Faith’s Anglican Church


Monday, May 25, 2015

An Order for the Eucharist with Baptism on Trinity Sunday (31 May 2015)

This coming Sunday the Christian Community of Saint Faith's will celebrate the baptism of Jamie Toby Li and rejoice that he will become the newest follower of the Way among us.

trinity sunday
31 May 2015

The Gathering of the Community

Entrance Hymn

‘Wind upon the Waters’  Common Praise #408


Blessed be the holy Trinity, one God,
the fountain of living water,
the rock who gave us birth,
our light and our salvation. [i]

There is one body and one Spirit,
there is one hope in God’s call to us;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
one God and Father of all.


‘Holy God, We Praise Your Name’  Common Praise #334

Collect of the Day

Let us pray.

Holy God,
the earth is full of your love.
May we your children, born of the Spirit,
so bear witness to your Son Jesus Christ,
that all the world may believe
and have eternal life through him,
who with you and the Holy Spirit,
lives and reigns, one God,
now and for ever.  Amen. [ii]

The Proclamation of the Word of God

The First Reading

A Reading from the prophet Isaiah (6.1-8).

            1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple.  2 Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings:  with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew.

            3 And one called to another and said:  “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

            4 The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke.  5 And I said:  “Woe is me!  I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

            6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs.  7 The seraph touched my mouth with it and said:  “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.”  8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”  And I said, “Here am I; send me.”

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
Thanks be to God.

The Psalm of the Day

Psalm 29 with a refrain from Songs for the Holy One

Refrain (sung twice):  Worship the Creator in the beauty of holiness.

1 Ascribe to the Lord, you gods, *
            ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due the holy name; *
            worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
3 The voice of the Lord is upon the waters;
the God of glory thunders; *
            the Lord is upon the mighty waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is a powerful voice; *
            the voice of the Lord is a voice of splendour.

Refrain:  Worship the Creator in the beauty of holiness.

5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedar trees; *
            the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon,
6 making Lebanon skip like a calf, *
            and Mount Hermon like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the Lord *
splits the flames of fire;
8 the voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; *
            the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

Refrain:  Worship the Creator in the beauty of holiness.

9 The voice of the Lord makes the oak trees writhe *
            and strips the forests bare.
And in the temple of the Lord *
            all are crying, “Glory!”
10 The Lord sits enthroned above the flood; *
            the Lord sits enthroned as sovereign for evermore.
11 The Lord shall give strength to this people; *
            the Lord shall give this people the blessing of peace.

Refrain:  Worship the Creator in the beauty of holiness.

The Second Reading

A Reading from Paul’s Letter to the Romans (8.12-17).

            12 So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh — 13 for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.  15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption.  When we cry, “Abba! Father!”  16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ — if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
Thanks be to God.

Hymn before the Gospel

‘Baptized in Water’  Evangelical Lutheran Worship #456

The Gospel

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John (3.1-17).
Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

            1 Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews.  2 He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” 3 Jesus  answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.”  4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old?  Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?”  5 Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.  6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.  7 Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’  8 The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”  9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?”  10 Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?

            11 “Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony.  12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?  13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.  14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

            16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

            17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

The Gospel of Christ.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

The Sermon

The Baptism

The Presentation and Examination of the Candidates

The candidate for Holy Baptism will now be presented.
(Parents and sponsors)  I present Jamie Toby Li to receive the sacrament of baptism.

Will you be responsible for seeing that the child you present is nurtured in the faith and life of the Christian community?
(Parents and sponsors)  I will, with God’s help.

Will you by your prayers and witness help this child to grow into the full stature of Christ?
(Parents and sponsors)  I will, with God’s help.

Do you renounce Satan and all the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God?
(Parents and sponsors)  I renounce them.

Do you renounce the evil powers of this world which corrupt and destroy the creatures of God?
(Parents and sponsors)  I renounce them.

Do you renounce all sinful desires that draw you from the love of God?
(Parents and sponsors)  I renounce them.

Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your Saviour?
(Parents and sponsors)  I do.

Do you put your whole trust in his grace and love?
(Parents and sponsors)  I do.

Do you promise to obey him as your Lord?
(Parents and sponsors)  I do.

Will you who witness these vows do all in your power to support Jamie in his life of faith?
(All)  We will.

Prayers for the Candidates

The Deacon invites the Community to pray for the Candidates.

Let us now pray for this person who are to receive the sacrament of new birth.

The Person appointed leads the Prayers.

Deliver him, O Lord, from the way of sin and death.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Open his heart to your grace and truth.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Fill him with your holy and life-giving Spirit.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Teach him to love others in the power of the Spirit.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Send him into the world in witness to your love.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Bring him to the fullness of your peace and glory.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Grant, O Lord,
that all who are baptized
into the death of Jesus Christ your Son
may live in the power of his resurrection
and look for him to come again in glory;
who lives and reigns now and for ever.  Amen.

Thanksgiving over the Water

The Presider blesses the water.

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

Holy God, holy and merciful, holy and mighty,
you are the river of life, you are the everlasting wellspring,
you are the fire of rebirth.

Glory to you for oceans and lakes, for rivers and streams.
Honour to you for cloud and rain, for dew and snow.
Your waters are below us, around us, above us:  our life is born in you.
You are the fountain of resurrection.

Praise to you for your saving waters: 
Noah and the animals survive the flood,
Hagar discovers your well. 
The Israelites escape through the sea, and they drink from your gushing rock. 
Naaman washes his leprosy away,
and the Samaritan woman will never be thirsty again.

At this font, Holy God, we pray: 
Praise to you for the water of baptism
and for your Word that saves us in this water. 
Breathe your Spirit into all who are gathered here and into all creation. 
Illumine our days.  Enliven our bones.  Dry our tears. 
Wash away the sin within us, and drown the evil around us.

Satisfy all our thirst with your living water, Jesus Christ, our Saviour,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen. [iii]

The Baptismal Covenant

The Presider and the Deacon share in asking the questions of the Covenant.

Do you believe in God the Father?
I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God?
I believe in Jesus Christ,
God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit?
I believe in God the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.  Amen.

Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?
I will, with God’s help.

Will you persevere in resisting evil and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?
I will, with God’s help.

Will you proclaim by word and example the good news of God in Christ?
I will, with God’s help.

Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbour as yourself?
I will, with God’s help.

Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
I will, with God’s help.

Will you strive to safeguard the integrity of God’s creation, and respect, sustain and renew the life of the Earth?
I will, with God’s help.

The Baptism

Jamie Toby, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Jamie Toby, you are sealed with the Spirit in baptism
and marked as Christ’s own for ever.  Amen.

Heavenly Father,
we thank you that be water and the Holy Spirit
you have bestowed upon this your servant
the forgiveness of sin,
and have raised him to the new life of grace.
Sustain him, O Lord, in your Holy Spirit.
Give him an inquiring and discerning heart,
the courage to will and to persevere,
a spirit to know and to love you,
and the gift of joy and wonder
in all your works.  Amen.

The Giving of the Light

Receive the light of Christ,
to show that you have passed from darkness to light.
Let your light so shine before others
that they may see your good works
and glorify your Father in heaven.

Let us welcome the newly baptized.
We receive you into the household of God.
Confess the faith of Christ crucified,
proclaim his resurrection,
and share with us in his eternal priesthood.

The Exchange of the Peace

May the peace of the Lord be always with you.
And also with you.

The Holy Communion

Offertory Hymn

‘Wash, O God, Our Sons and Daughters’  Common Praise #35

The Prayer over the Gifts

Let us pray.

Holy God, gracious and merciful,
you bring forth food from the earth
and nourish your whole creation.
Turn our hearts toward those
who hunger in any way,
so that all may know your care;
and prepare us now
to feast on the bread of life,
Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen. [iv]

The Thanksgiving at the Table

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

Blessed are you, gracious God,
creator of heaven and earth;
you are the source of light and life for all your creation,
you made us in your own image,
and call us to new life in Jesus Christ our Saviour.
Therefore we praise you,
joining our voices to proclaim the glory of your name. [v]

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might. 
Heaven and earth are full of your glory. 
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. 
Hosanna in the highest. [vi]

Holy God, you alone are holy, you alone are God.
The universe declares your praise:
beyond the stars; beneath the sea; within each cell; with every breath.
We praise you, O God.

Generations bless your faithfulness:
through the water; by night and day;
across the wilderness; out of exile; into the future.
We bless you, O God.

We give you thanks for your dear Son:
at the heart of human life; near to those who suffer;
beside the sinner; among the poor; with us now.
We thank you, O God.

In the night in which he was betrayed,
our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks;
broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: 
Take and eat; this is my body, given for you. 
Do this for the remembrance of me.

Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks,
and gave it for all to drink, saying: 
This cup is the new covenant in my blood,
shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin. 
Do this for the remembrance of me.

Remembering his love for us on the way,
at the table, and to the end,
we proclaim the mystery of faith.
Christ has died.  Christ is risen.  Christ will come again.

We pray for the gift of your Spirit:
in our gathering; within this meal;
among your people; throughout the world.

Blessing, praise and thanks to you, holy God,
through Christ Jesus, by your Spirit,
in your church, without end.
Amen. [vii]

The Lord’s Prayer

As our Saviour taught us, let us 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.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and for ever.  Amen. [viii]

The Breaking of the Bread

Creator of all,
you gave us golden fields of wheat,
whose many grains we have gathered
and made into this one bread.
So may your Church be gathered
from the ends of the earth
into your reign of justice and peace. [ix]

The gifts of God for the people of God.
Thanks be to God.


Hymn after Communion

‘Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence’  Common Praise #48

The Sending Forth of the Community

The Prayer after Communion

God of abundance,
with this bread of life and cup of salvation
you have united us with Christ,
making us one with all your people.
Now send us forth in the power of your Spirit,
so that we may proclaim your redeeming love
to the world and continue forever
in the risen life of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer.  Amen. [x]

Glory to God,
whose power, working in us,
can do infinitely more
than we can ask or imagine. 
Glory to God from generation to generation,
in the Church and in Christ Jesus,
for ever and ever.  Amen.

Closing Hymn

‘Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty’  Common Praise #1

The Dismissal

The Deacon sends the People forth with a Dismissal for the occasion.

[i] Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 95.

[ii] Liturgy Task Force, ‘Trial Use Propers:  Maundy Thursday to Trinity Sunday Year B 2015’, 7.

[iii] Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 71.

[iv] Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 107 alt.

[v] The Book of Alternative Services (1986), 218.

[vi] Evangelical Lutheran Worship #525.

[vii] ‘Thanksgiving at the Table IX’, Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 68.

[viii] Songs for a Gospel People #12.

[ix] The Book of Alternative Services (1986), 212 alt.

[x] Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 114 alt.