Monday, September 26, 2016

An Ordo for the Eucharist on Pentecost 20 (RCL Proper 27C, 2 October 2016)

Saint Faith's continues with the second Sunday 
in what we are calling the 'Michaelmas Ordo' for our Sunday celebrations (until 30 October).

The Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost
2 October 2016

The Gathering of the Community

Gathering Music


The Opening Hymn

‘Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness’  Common Praise #397

The Greeting

Bless the Lord all you works of the Lord:
praise and exalt the Holy One for ever.
Bless the Lord you angels of the Lord:
praise and exalt the Holy One for ever.
O people of God bless the Lord:
praise and exalt the Holy One for ever.
Bless the holy and undivided Trinity, one God:
praise and exalt the Holy One for ever. [i]

The Kyrie

God, be gracious to us and bless us,
and make your face shine upon us:
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

May your ways be known on the earth,
your saving power among the nations:
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

Make known your salvation,
and reveal your justice in the sight of the nations:
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. [ii]

The Collect of the Day

Let us pray.

you weep with those who are oppressed,
with those who are uprooted from their homeland
and with those who are without shelter or security.
Grant that your faithful love may reach out through us,
so that your healing mercy may rise like the dawn.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, your Son.  Amen. [iii]

The Proclamation of the Word

The First Reading

A reading from Lamentations (1.1-6).

            1.1 How lonely sits the city that once was full of people!  How like a widow she has become, she that was great among the nations!  She that was a princess among the provinces has become a vassal.  2 She weeps bitterly in the night, with tears on her cheeks; among all her lovers she has no one to comfort her; all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they have become her enemies.  3 Judah has gone into exile with suffering and hard servitude; she lives now among the nations, and finds no resting place; her pursuers have all overtaken her in the midst of her distress.  4 The roads to Zion mourn, for no one comes to the festivals; all her gates are desolate, her priests groan; her young girls grieve, and her lot is bitter.  5 Her foes have become the masters, her enemies prosper, because the Lord has made her suffer for the multitude of her transgressions; her children have gone away, captives before the foe.  6 From daughter Zion has departed all her majesty.  Her princes have become like stags that find no pasture; they fled without strength before the pursuer.

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

The Psalm

Psalm 137 from ‘A Liturgical Psalter’ [iv] with refrain from Songs for the Holy One

Refrain (sung twice):  Loving God, help us to free all people who are enslaved.

1 By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept, *
            when we remembered you, O Zion.
2  As for our harps, we hung them up *
            on the trees in the midst of that land.
3  For those who led us away captive asked us for a song,
and our oppressors called for mirth: *
            ”Sing us one of the songs of Zion.”
4  How shall we sing the Lord’s song *
            upon an alien soil?

Refrain:  Loving God, help us to free all people who are enslaved.

5  If I forget you, O Jerusalem, *
            let my strong hand forget its skill.
6  Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you, *
            if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy.
7  Remember the day of Jerusalem, O Lord,
against the people of Edom, *
            who said, ”Down with it!  Down with it! 
            Even to the ground!”
8  O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction, *
            happy the one who pays you back for what you have done to us!
9  Happy shall be the one who takes your little ones, *
            and dashes them against the rock!

Refrain:  Loving God, help us to free all people who are enslaved.

The Second Reading

A reading from the second letter to Timothy (1.1-14).

            2.1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, 2 To Timothy, my beloved child:  Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

            3 I am grateful to God — whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did — when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.  4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy.  5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you.  6 For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; 7 for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.

            8 Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace.  This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.  11 For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, 12 and for this reason I suffer as I do.  But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him.  13 Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.  14 Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.

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

The Hymn before the Gospel

‘Alleluia’  Common Praise #710 (sung twice)

The Gospel

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke (17.5-10).
Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

            17.5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”  6 The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

            7 “Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from ploughing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’?  8 Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’?  9 Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded?  10 So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!’”

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

The Hymn after the Gospel

‘Alleluia’  Common Praise #710 (sung twice)

The Sermon

An Affirmation of Faith

Let us affirm our faith.

We praise you, O God,
we acclaim you as Lord;
all creation worships you.
To you all angels, all the powers of heaven,
sing in endless praise.

Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you:
Father, of majesty unbounded,
your true and only Son, worthy of all praise,
the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

Day by day we bless you.
We praise your name for ever.
In you is our hope:
let us never be put to shame.  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

‘People Draw Near to God in Their Distress’  Common Praise #201

Prayer over the Gifts

Let us pray.

Merciful God,
as grains of wheat scattered upon the hills
were gathered together to become one bread,
so let your church be gathered together
from the ends of the earth in your kingdom,
for yours is the glory through Jesus Christ,
now and for ever.  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.

We give you thanks and praise, almighty God,
through your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Redeemer. 
He is your living Word,
through whom you have created all things.

By the power of the Holy Spirit
he took flesh from the Virgin Mary
and shared our human nature. 
He lived and died as one of us,
to reconcile us to you,
the God and Creator of all.

In fulfilment of your will
he stretched out his hands in suffering,
to bring release to those who place their hope in you;
and so he won for you a holy people.

He chose to bear our griefs and sorrows,
and to give us his life on the cross,
so that he might shatter the chains of evil and death,
and banish the darkness of sin and despair. 
By his resurrection
he brings us into the light of your presence.

Now with all creation we 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 and gracious God,
accept our praise,
through your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ;
who on the night he was handed over
to suffering and death,
took bread and gave you thanks,
saying, “Take, and eat: 
this is my body which is broken for you.” 
In the same way he took the cup,
saying, “This is my blood which is shed for you. 
When you do this, you do it in memory of me.”

Remembering, therefore, his death and resurrection,
we offer you this bread and this cup,
giving thanks that you have made us worthy
to stand in your presence and serve you.

We ask you to send your Holy Spirit
upon the offering of your holy Church. 
Gather into one
all who share in these sacred mysteries,
filling them with the Holy Spirit
and confirming their faith in the truth,
that together we may praise you
and give you glory
through your Servant, Jesus Christ.

All glory and honour are yours,
Source of all being and eternal Word,
with the Holy Spirit
in the holy Church,
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. [ix]

The Breaking of the Bread

You gave your people angels’ food
and sent them bread from heaven,
so that your children might learn, O God,
that it is your word which sustains all who trust in you. [x]

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

The Communion of the Community

The Hymn after Communion

‘Can I See Another’s Woe’  Common Praise #544

The Sending Forth of the Community

Prayer after Communion

All your works praise you, O Lord.
And your faithful servants bless you.

Gracious God,
we thank you for feeding us
with the body and blood of your Son
Jesus Christ.
May we, who share his body,
live his risen life;
we, who drink is cup,
bring life to others;
we, whom the Spirit lights,
give light to the world.
Keep us firm in the hope you have set before us,
so that we and all your children shall be free,
and the whole earth live to praise your name;
through Christ our Lord.  Amen. [xi]

The Closing Hymn

‘Amazing Grace’  Common Praise #352

The Dismissal

The Deacon sends the Community forth with an appropriate Dismissal.

[i] Adapted by the Rev’d Dr Richard Geoffrey Leggett from the Benedicite as translated in Common Worship (2000), 778-779.

[ii] Common Worship (2000), 134 alt.

[iii] Liturgy Task Force, ‘Trial Use Collects for Years A, B & C and Seasonal Prayers over the Gifts and after Communion’ (2016), 141.

[v] Adapted from the English Language Liturgical Consultation’s translation of the Te Deum laudamus by the Rev’d Dr Richard Geoffrey Leggett.

[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), 196-197 alt.

[ix] Common Praise #744

[x] Canticle 12, ‘The Bread of Heaven’, as found in The Book of Alternative Services (1985), 81-82 and adapted for use as a fraction anthem by the Rev’d Dr Richard Geoffrey Leggett.

[xi] The Book of Alternative Services (1985), 214-215.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Now Is the Kingdom, Now Is the Day: Reflections on Luke 16.19-31 (RCL Proper 26C, 25 September 2016)

Now Is the Kingdom; Now Is the Day
Reflections on Luke 16.19-31

RCL Proper 26C
25 September 2016

Saint Faith’s Anglican Church

                  16.19 [Jesus told them this parable,] “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.  20 And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores.  22 The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham.  The rich man also died and was buried.  23 In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side.  24 He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’  25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony.  26 Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’  27 He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house — 28 for I have five brothers — that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’  29 Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’  30 He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’  31 He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

            In 1956, when I was three years’ old and newly-arrived in Colorado, William Carl Frey was ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of Colorado.  Fluent in Spanish and French, Bill went to Latin America in 1962 as a missionary of the Episcopal Church.  In those days most Anglicans in Latin America were served by missionary clergy from the United Kingdom or the United States.  In 1967 Bill was consecrated as Missionary Bishop of Guatemala.
            In those days Guatemala was in the midst of a de facto civil war.  Various opposition political groups were pitted against the government, including some indigenous communities whose lands, resources and rights were being taken from them.  Bill, as a bishop whose ministry included many of the opposition groups, joined other religious leaders in calling upon the government to honour the human rights of all citizens and to work for justice and peace.  He and several other non-Guatemalan religious leaders were accused of anti-government agitation and deported in 1971.
            Soon after his return to the United States, Bill was elected to succeed Edwin Thayer, the Bishop of Colorado.  Bill took office in 1973 and began to transform the Diocese of Colorado.  It would be fair to say that Paula and I are who we are as Christians because of the influence of Bill and his wife, Barbara, who died in 2014.
            Bill was, and still is, an interesting blend of Christian influences.  Bill is theologically conservative but a staunch champion of social justice, the ordination of women and, in the 1970’s, what some called the ‘new’ Prayer Book.  Although he is ‘high church’ in his worship style, he has been strongly influenced by the Charismatic renewal.  He’s quite content with a liturgy that includes incense, catholic ritual and speaking in tongues.  This is the Bishop who ordained me in 1981.
            He came to my defense in 1982 when a parishioner at Christ Church Denver, where I was the curate, complained to the Bishop that I was teaching heresy.  I won’t bore you with all the details, but the complaint centred on an ancient debate in the Christian tradition:  Is God’s love irresistible?
            Bill dismissed the complaint, but he did call me in to his office for a chat.  He had reminded the parishioner that the fate of every human soul, believer and non-believer alike, was in God’s hands.  Our job, Bill told him, was to followers of Jesus in this world and to bear witness to the good news of God in Jesus.  Everything else was God’s business.  ‘Some Christians,’ Bill said to me, ‘are so heavenly-minded that they are often no damn earthly good.  They major in minors.’
            Today’s parable of the rich man and Lazarus can be read as a tale about the life to come:  Do good now or you’ll go to perdition after your death!  But I prefer to read it in the light of my ordaining Bishop’s wisdom:  Do good now because the kingdom of God is already here and God is depending upon us!
            Did you notice how often Abraham reminds the rich man that he has always had what he needed to understand God’s expectations?  When the rich man asks Abraham to send Lazarus as a ghostly messenger to his brothers, Abraham reminds him that his brothers already have messengers:  the Moses and the Prophets.  When the rich man persists and suggests someone returning from the dead might have greater impact, Abraham replies that his brothers are unlikely to believe something as strange as a ghost’s advice if they won’t believe in something that they have been taught since childhood:  the Moses and the Prophets.
            We who call ourselves Christians speak of Jesus as our way, our truth and our life.  By following the way of Jesus, what one Christian writer called ‘the imitation of Christ’, we are led to the truth.  That truth is, as Archbishop Tutu has written, is that

Goodness is strong than evil;
love is stronger than hate;
light is stronger than darkness;
life is stronger than death;
victory is ours through God who loves us.

To walk the way of Jesus and to come to this truth frees us to live the life of the kingdom now and to work for its realization in the present, even as we pray and hope for its completion in the age to come.
            Every Sunday we listen to the words of the Moses and the Prophets.  Every Sunday we listen to the words of Paul and the other apostolic writers who knew this Moses and these Prophets as they were made known in the life and teaching of Jesus.  And every Sunday, we are asked to stand, as we are physically able, to listen to the words and stories the Evangelists thought were vital to our life as disciples of Jesus.
            We stand, whether physically or in our hearts, because we are ready to walk the way of discipleship, to seek the truth that is already before and among us, to live lives that give concrete and personal expression to the good news of the kingdom of God --- in these days, in this place, among our neighbours, our friends and our families.
            Yes.  Christ has died.  Yes.  Christ is risen.  Yes.  Christ will come again.  But in the meantime, in these ‘mean’ times, we who are rich already know what is expected of us.  And we are surrounded by Lazarus’ who need us.  Because now is the kingdom.  Now is the day.