Monday, August 29, 2016

An Ordo for Pentecost 16 (RCL Proper 23C, 4 September 2016)

The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost
4 September 2016

The Gathering of the Community

Gathering Music


The Opening Hymn

‘The Love of Jesus Calls Us’  Common Praise #434

The Greeting

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit,
be with you all.
And also with you.

Collect for Purity

Almighty God,
to you all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from you no secrets are hidden.
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

The Hymn of Praise

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

The Collect of the Day

Let us pray.

Almighty God,
you search us and know us:
may we rely on you in strength
and rest on you in weakness,
now and in all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. [i]

The Proclamation of the Word

The First Reading

A reading from the prophet Jeremiah (18.1-11).

            18.1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord:  2 “Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.”  3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel.  4 The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.

            5 Then the word of the Lord came to me:  6 Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says the Lord.  Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.  7 At one moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, 8 but if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will change my mind about the disaster that I intended to bring on it.  9 And at another moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, 10 but if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will change my mind about the good that I had intended to do to it.  11 Now, therefore, say to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem:  Thus says the Lord:  Look, I am a potter shaping evil against you and devising a plan against you.  Turn now, all of you from your evil way, and amend your ways and your doings.

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

The Psalm

Psalm 139.1-6, 12-17 (NRSV) with refrain from Songs for the Holy One

Refrain (sung twice):  O Holy One, search us out and know our hearts.

1 Lord, you have searched me out *
            and known me.
2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; *
            you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You trace my journeys and my resting-places *
            and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Indeed, there is not a word on my lips, *
            but you, O Lord, know it altogether.
5 You press upon me behind and before *
            and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; *
            it is so high that I cannot attain to it.

Refrain:  O Holy One, search us out and know our hearts.

13 For you yourself created my inmost parts; *
            you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I will thank you because I am marvellously made; *
            your works are wonderful, and I know it well.
15 My body was not hidden from you, *
            while I was being made in secret
            and woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes beheld my limbs, yet unfinished in the womb; *
            all of them were written in your book;
they were fashioned day by day, *
            when as yet there was none of them.

Refrain:  O Holy One, search us out and know our hearts.

The Second Reading

A reading from the letter to Philemon (1-21).

            1 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,

            To Philemon our dear friend and co-worker, 2 to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:

            3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

            4 When I remember you in my prayers, I always thank my God 5 because I hear of your love for all the saints and your faith toward the Lord Jesus.  6 I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective when you perceive all the good that we may do for Christ.  7 I have indeed received much joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, my brother.

            8 For this reason, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do your duty, 9 yet I would rather appeal to you on the basis of love — and I, Paul, do this as an old man, and now also as a prisoner of Christ Jesus.  10 I am appealing to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become during my imprisonment.  11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful both to you and to me.  12 I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you.  13 I wanted to keep him with me, so that he might be of service to me in your place during my imprisonment for the gospel; 14 but I preferred to do nothing without your consent, in order that your good deed might be voluntary and not something forced.  15 Perhaps this is the reason he was separated from you for a while, so that you might have him back forever, 16 no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a beloved brother — especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

            17 So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.  18 If he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account.  19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand:  I will repay it.  I say nothing about your owing me even your own self.  20 Yes, brother, let me have this benefit from you in the Lord!  Refresh my heart in Christ.  21 Confident of your obedience, I am writing to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.

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

The Hymn before the Gospel

‘Who Would Ever Have Believed It’  Common Praise #199 vv. 1, 2

The Gospel

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke (14.25-33).
Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

                  14.25 Now large crowds were traveling with [Jesus]; and he turned and said to them, 26 “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.  27 Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.  28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it?  29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’  31 Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand?  32 If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace.  33 So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.”

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

The Hymn after the Gospel

‘Who Would Ever Have Believed It’  Common Praise #199 vv. 7

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. [ii]

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 the Creator’  Common Praise #445

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. [iii]

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. [iv]

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. [v]

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

‘Eat This Bread, Drink This Cup’  Common Praise #63

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. [vi]

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

‘Lord, Whose Love in Humble Service’  Common Praise #585

The Dismissal

The Deacon sends the Community forth with an appropriate Dismissal.

[i] Liturgy Task Force, ‘Trial Use Collects for Years A, B & C and Seasonal Prayers over the Gifts and after Communion’ (2016), 139.

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

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

[iv] Common Praise #732.

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

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

Friday, August 26, 2016

Ministry on the Fringes: Reflections on RCL Proper 22C (Pentecost 15, 28 August 2016)

Ministry on the Fringes

RCL Proper 22C
28 August 2016

Saint Faith’s Anglican Church

            About a year ago I told my ophthalmologist that I felt I was losing some of my peripheral vision.  So she arranged for me to be tested to determine whether my perception was a physical reality.

            On the day of the test I was ushered into an examination room and asked to place my head in a device that resembles a large egg with a face-size hole cut into it.  The technician gave me a little device with a button.  She instructed me to focus my eyes on the target in the centre of the field of my vision.  Each time I saw a flash of light I was to press the button.  At the end of the test a map of my field of vision would be produced.

            I am pleased to report that my perception differs significantly from the test results.  My peripheral vision is quite good.  What I need to do is to trust what my eyes are telling me rather than worrying that something is wrong.  I will say, however, I am doing a lot more shoulder-checking these days when I am driving.  And I don’t have any intention of letting up on doing so.

            Today both the writer of the letter to the Hebrews and the evangelist Luke are asking Christians to check out our pastoral peripheral vision.  When we gather around this table to listen to the Word of God and to feast upon God’s life so generously offered to us in the bread broken and the wine poured, do we notice who may be on the fringes of our community and who may be entirely absent?

            To be sure we often comment on members of our community who are not here on a given Sunday.  All of us know far too well that our congregation is older and that younger folks are a rare but welcome addition to our numbers.

            In some areas our pastoral peripheral vision is superb.  This small, vibrant congregation has always shown a commitment to ministry beyond our walls.  We’ve generously supported the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund as well as the residential schools’ settlement fund.  We collect and distribute thousands of dollars every year to organizations, agencies and initiatives locally, nationally and internationally.  Our Community Pastoral Resource Centre and our collaboration and support of food ministries at Saint Augustine’s and Saint Mary’s are widely known and appreciated.
            These are some of the lights that pop up within our field of pastoral vision.  But what lights elude our sight?

            In three weeks’ time, on Sunday evening, the 18th of September, we shall celebrate the return of Saint Hildegard’s Sanctuary, an expression of something that has appeared on the fringes of our pastoral vision.  As a contemplative, arts-based worship service within the Anglican ethos of Word and Sacrament, our hope is that Saint Hildegard’s will reach out to those on the fringes of our vision for whom traditional ways of worship do not engage.  Saint Hildegard’s may well speak to some of us who already call Saint Faith’s home but who seek, from time to time, a quiet place.

            On that same Sunday I plan to begin a new ‘Coffee Hour Seminar’ series.  We’ll be using a new resource, Wrongs to Rights, that looks at the rights of indigenous peoples, whether here in Canada or elsewhere in the world.  As a worshipping community located on unceded First Nations’ land, we need to be better informed about our neighbours and how we might participate more actively in reconciliation.

            As we begin our seventieth year of ministry in this part of Metro Vancouver, expanding our pastoral peripheral vision is central to whom we are and to whom we wish to become.  As we expand our vision to the fringes, we may discover, as the writer of Hebrews puts it, that we are entertaining angels, God’s messengers, without knowing.  As we strive to bring to this table those who have not always felt invited to be here, we will glimpse the banquet promised to all God’s children.  Working together, we are able to broaden our corporate field of vision.

            So let us keep our eyes wide open.  The flashes of light on the fringes of our vision may just well be sparks of the light of Christ and flashes of the glory of the kingdom.