Sunday, July 31, 2016

An Ordo for Pentecost 12

For the month of August we will be using a different Greeting and Opening Litany, while the rest of the Ordo remains the same.  The Greeting and Opening Litany were adapted to reflect the readings from the Hebrew Bible for August.  These readings come from Isaiah and Jeremiah.

We continue to use the Trial Use Collects and the Liturgical Psalter prepared by the Liturgy Task Force and authorized by General Synod 2016.  Please note that the versification of the Psalm follows the New Revised Standard Version rather than the Book of Alternative Services.

The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
7 August 2016

The Gathering of the Community

Gathering Music


The Opening Hymn

‘Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation’  Common Praise #300

The Greeting and Litany

Blessed be God:  Wisdom, Love, Might.
Blessed be God for ever and ever. [i]

May your loving kindness come to us, O Lord,
and your salvation according to your word:
Lord, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.

Your word is a lantern to our feet
and a light to our path:
Christ, have mercy.  Christ, have mercy.

O let your mercy come to us so that we may live,
for your law is our delight:
Lord, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy. [ii]

God of the prophets,
in every generation you call your people
to do justice, love kindness  and walk humbly with you.
Give us ears to hear you, hearts to love you,
and hands to serve you; through Christ your Word
and in the life of the Spirit.  Amen. [iii]

The Hymn of Praise

‘Bless the Lord, My Soul’  Common Praise #360 (sung three times)

The Collect of the Day

Let us pray.

Watchful God,
kindle a new flame in our complacent hearts
and take from our hands the burden of worthless things,
so that we may be ready to receive a greater gift:
the love of Jesus Christ, our Servant King.  Amen. [iv]

The Proclamation of the Word

The First Reading

A reading from the prophet Isaiah (1.1, 10-20).

            1 The vision of Isaiah son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

            10 Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom!  Listen to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah!  11 What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the Lord; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats.

            12 When you come to appear before me, who asked this from your hand?  Trample my courts no more; 13 bringing offerings is futile; incense is an abomination to me.  New moon and sabbath and calling of convocation — I cannot endure solemn assemblies with iniquity.  14 Your new moons and your appointed festivals my soul hates; they have become a burden to me, I am weary of bearing them.  15 When you stretch out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.  16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, 17 learn to do good;
seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.

            18 Come now, let us argue it out, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.  19 If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; 20 but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

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

The Psalm

Psalm 50.1-8, 22-23 (NRSV) with refrain from Songs for the Holy One

Refrain (sung twice):  Show us the way of salvation, O Holy One.

1 The Lord, the God of gods, has spoken *
            and has called the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.
2 Out of Zion, perfect in its beauty, *
            God reveals the divine glory.
3 Our God will come and will not keep silence; *
            before whom there is a consuming flame,
            and round about whom a raging storm.
4 God calls the heavens and the earth from above *
            to witness the judgement of this people.

Refrain:  Show us the way of salvation, O Holy One.

5 “Gather before me my loyal followers, *
            those who have made a covenant with me
            and sealed it with sacrifice.”
6 Let the heavens declare the rightness of the divine cause; *
            for God, God alone, is judge.
7 “Hear, O my people, and I will speak:
O Israel, I will bear witness against you; *
            for I am God, your God.
8 I do not accuse you because of your sacrifices; *
            your offerings are always before me.”

Refrain:  Show us the way of salvation, O Holy One.

22 Consider this well, you who forget God, *
            lest I rend you and there be none to deliver you.
23 Whoever offers me the sacrifice of thanksgiving honours me; *
            but to those who keep in my way will I show the salvation of God.”

Refrain:  Show us the way of salvation, O Holy One.

The Second Reading

A reading from the letter to the Hebrews (11.1-3, 8-16).

            1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  2 Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval.  3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.

            8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going.  9 By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.  10 For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.  11 By faith he received power of procreation, even though he was too old — and Sarah herself was barren — because he considered him faithful who had promised.  12 Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, “as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.”

            13 All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them.  They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, 14 for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.  15 If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return.  16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.

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

The Hymn before the Gospel

‘Adoremus Te Jesu Christe’  Common Praise  #338 (sung once in English)

The Gospel

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke (12.32-40).
Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

            32 [Jesus said to his disciples,] “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.  33 Sell your possessions, and give alms.  Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.  34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

            35 “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; 36 be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks.  37 Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them.  38 If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.

            39 “But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into.  40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”

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

The Hymn after the Gospel

‘Adoremus Te Jesu Christe’  Common Praise  #338 (sung once in English)

The Sermon

An Affirmation of Faith

Let us declare our faith in God.

We believe in God the Creator,
from whom every family
in heaven and on earth has its being.

We believe in God the Word Incarnate,
who lives in our hearts through faith,
and fills us with his love.

We believe in God the Spirit of counsel and wisdom,
who strengthens us
with power from on high.

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
now and until the ages of ages.  Amen. [v]

The Prayers of the Community

Intercessions, Petitions and Thanksgivings

The Exchange of the Peace

The peace of Christ be with you all.
And also with you.

The Holy Communion

The Offertory Hymn

‘God Whose Giving Knows No Ending’  Common Praise #601 (sung to #374)

Prayer over the Gifts

Let us pray.

God of mercy and grace,
the eyes of all wait upon you,
and you open your hand in blessing.
Fill us with good things at your table,
so that we may come to the help of all in need,
through Jesus Christ, our redeemer and Lord.  Amen. [vi]

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.

It is indeed right that we should praise you, gracious God,
for you created all things. 
You formed us in your own image: 
male and female you created us. 
When we turned away from you in sin,
you did not cease to care for us,
but opened a path of salvation for all people. 
You made a covenant with Israel,
and through your servants Abraham and Sarah
gave the promise of a blessing to all nations. 
Through Moses you led your people from bondage into freedom;
through the prophets you renewed your promise of salvation. 
Therefore, with them, and with all your saints
who have served you in every age,
we give thanks and raise our voices
to proclaim the glory of your name.

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. [vii]

Holy God, source of life and goodness,
all creation rightly gives you praise. 
In the fullness of time, you sent your Son Jesus Christ,
to share our human nature,
to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you,
the God and Creator of all. 
He healed the sick
and ate and drank with outcasts and sinners;
he opened the eyes of the blind
and proclaimed the good news of your kingdom
to the poor and to those in need. 
In all things he fulfilled your gracious will.

On the night he freely gave himself to death,
our Lord Jesus Christ took bread,
and when he had given thanks to you,
he broke it, and gave it to his disciples,
and said, “Take, eat:  this is my body which is given for you. 
Do this for the remembrance of me.”

After supper he took the cup of wine;
and when he had given thanks,
he gave it to them, and said, “Drink this, all of you: 
this is my blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sins. 
Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.”

Gracious God,
his perfect sacrifice destroys the power of sin and death;
by raising him to life you give us life for evermore. 

Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith. 
Christ has died.  Christ is risen.  Christ will comes again.

Recalling his death,
proclaiming his resurrection,
and looking for his coming again in glory,
we offer you, O Holy One of Israel, this bread and this cup. 
Send your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts,
so that all who eat and drink at this table
may be one body and one holy people,
a living sacrifice in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all glory is yours, Source of all life, now and for ever.  Amen. [viii]

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.

The Breaking of the Bread

‘I am the bread of life,’ says the Lord.
‘Whoever comes to me will never be hungry;
whoever believes in me will never thirst.’
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
happy are they who trust in him!

These are the gifts of God for the people of God.
Thanks be to God.

The Communion of the Community

The Hymn after Communion

‘Jesus Calls Here to Meet Him’  Common Praise #59

The Sending Forth of the Community

Prayer after Communion

Let us pray.

Gracious God,
in this meal you have drawn us to your heart,
and nourished us at your table with food and drink,
the body and blood of Christ.
Now send us forth to be your people in the world,
and to proclaim your truth this day and evermore,
through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen. [ix]

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.

The Closing Hymn

‘The Church of Christ in Every Age’  Common Praise #584 (sung to #541)

The Dismissal

The Deacon sends the Community forth with an appropriate Dismissal.

[i] Adapted from John Merriott, ‘God Whose Almighty Word’, Common Praise #560.

[ii] Common Worship (2000), 133 alt.

[iii] Micah 6.6-8 as adapted by the Rev’d Dr Richard Geoffrey Leggett.

[iv] Liturgy Task Force, ‘Trial Use Collects for Years A, B & C and Seasonal Prayers over the Gifts and after Communion’ (2016), 137.

[v] Common Worship (2000), 148 alt.

[vi] The Liturgy Task Force, ‘Trial Use Collects for Years A, B & C and seasonal Prayers over the Gifts and after Communion,’ 160.

[vii] Common Praise #732.

[viii] The Book of Alternative Services (1985), 193-195 alt.

[ix] The Liturgy Task Force, ‘Trial Use Collects for Years A, B & C and seasonal Prayers over the Gifts and after Communion,’ 163.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Sowing What We Have Reaped: Reflections on Luke 12.13-21 (RCL Proper 18C, 31 July 2016)

Sowing What We Reap
Reflections on Luke 12.13-21

The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost
31 July 2016

Saint Faith’s Anglican Church
Vancouver BC
         I grew up where the Rocky Mountains meet the Great Plains.  Although I grew up a city boy, I knew that my home was surrounded by people who were either ranchers or farmers or both.  Most of the produce we bought came from local farms and there is no sweeter melon in the world than a Rocky Ford cantaloupe fresh from the farm.  My childhood left in me a deep appreciation for farmers and an awareness of the hopes that farmers have for each season and for the risks that they take.

         Today Jesus tells us a story about a farmer who has won the agricultural lottery.  His crops have prospered and neither the Roman nor Jewish authorities have seized his produce for their purposes.  He has more than he needs, but he knows how things can change in a moment.  So what does he do?  He prudently builds bigger barns and looks forward to the comfort of having more than enough to face the months ahead.

         Let’s be honest.  We all want to make sure that our futures are secure.  In few months’ time our banks and other financial institutions will begin their annual campaign to encourage us to put more money into our RRSP’s.  At least once a week you and I are likely to see an advertising message from a company that promises to help us with our debts.  Do you remember the last time you saw a television message about ‘reverse mortgages’ or life insurance policies that require no health examination?  Recently even I’ve been quietly reminding my own children about the importance of saving for retirement!  And there are moments when I quietly accuse myself of not having done enough for my own family.

. . . the man in the parable is not a bad man.  He doesn’t make generous decisions, but he has what he does because his farm was very productive that year . . . . A successful person or a financially successful congregation isn’t made evil by their success. [1]

         So why is this farmer a fool?  Why does Jesus, probably speaking to an audience with plenty of successful farmers and merchants present, paint this man as having lost the plot of life?  I think Jesus knows the farmer for a fool because the man has given into the fear that consumes many of us:  the fear of scarcity.  We all are prey to this fear, that there will not be enough.  But to his audience and to us Jesus says, in so many words, that ‘to be anxious about money and power is to give them an authority they don’t deserve’. [2]

         Now don’t get me wrong.  Exercising good stewardship of the resources God entrusts to us is not the same as anxiety.  Good stewardship is characterized by generosity rather than hoarding, thoughtful planning rather than frivolity, a preference for sowing what we have reaped in order to help God’s reign of justice, compassion and humility to grow wherever we live as disciples of Christ.

         This attitude of stewardship rather than anxiety runs throughout the gospel according to Luke.  Luke doesn’t often fall into the stereotype of ‘poor equals good and rich equals bad’.  Rather Luke is constant in asking those who have resources to consider how they use these resources in God’s service and the obligation that the possession of resources places upon any individual disciple or Christian community.

         We here at Saint Faith’s are just this sort of community to whom Jesus is speaking.  We have been fortunate to sell the rectory at a time when housing values and interest rates were high.  Over the last year and in the months ahead we will be the recipients of the generosity of beloved members of our congregation who have left bequests to the Parish.

         Our task, in the months and years ahead, will be to discern how we are to use these resources wisely and generously to continue the work of ministry God has entrusted to us, whether in our neighbourhoods, our Diocese and our world.  We have a history of just such wisdom and generosity.

         There are times when I ponder the future of the way you and I have chose to follow Jesus as his disciples.  I am sure that each one of us knows or has known someone, whether friend or family member, who has questioned us about our commitment to this way of life.  And I doubt not that each one of us, from time to time, has asked that question of ourselves.  And then I think that we have been raised with Christ and seek the things that are above.  We have set our minds on God’s justice, compassion and humility.  Our life is hidden with Christ in God and each day a bit more of that hidden life is revealed in us.  And when that life is revealed in us, we transform the lives of others, whether they acknowledge this or not. 

         So let us sow what we have reaped wisely and generously, confident that the One who has given us seed to sow will bring forth the fruit of justice, compassion and humility in the fields of our lives.

[1] Sundays and Seasons:  Preaching (Year C 2016), 215.

[2] Sundays and Seasons:  Preaching (Year C 2016), 216.