Monday, June 26, 2017

An Ordo For Canada Day 2017

On Sunday, 2 July 2017, we shall offer the eucharist with the intention of remembering the 150th anniversary of Confederation and praying for God's wisdom and strength to keep our country right when it is right and to put it right when it is wrong.  May we become agents of reconciliation and transformation so that all God's children may be free and the dignity of every human being is honoured and nurtured.

The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Canada Day Weekend
2 July 2017

The Gathering of the Community

Gathering Music


Introductory Responses

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
whose glory fills all the earth.
For the natural majesty and beauty of tis country,
we praise and thank you, O Lord.
For the many resources of this nation,
we praise and thank you, O Lord.
For the women and men in this and every generation
who have made this country strong,
we praise and thank you, O Lord.
For the freedoms we enjoy,
we praise and thank you, O Lord.
For the gifts of the First Nations
on whose unceded lands we live and worship,
we praise and thank you, O Lord.
For the settler cultures and peoples who followed
and who have woven and are weaving a rich tapestry,
we praise and thank you, O Lord.
For faith that renews and sustains us,
we praise and thank you, O Lord. [i]

Hymn of Praise

‘O Canada’  Common Praise #659 vv. 1, 2, 4

The Collect of the Day

Let us pray.

Almighty God,
whose wisdom and whose love are over all,
accept the prayers we offer for our nation.
Give integrity to its citizens
and wisdom to those in authority,
so that harmony and justice may be secured
in obedience to your will;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen. [ii]

The Proclamation of the Word

The First Reading

A reading from the prophet Isaiah (32.1-5, 16-18).

            32.1 See, a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule with justice.  2 Each will be like a hiding place from the wind, a covert from the tempest, like streams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.  3 Then the eyes of those who have sight will not be closed, and the ears of those who have hearing will listen.  4 The minds of the rash will have good judgement, and the tongues of stammerers will speak readily and distinctly.  5 A fool will no longer be called noble, nor a villain said to be honourable.

            16 Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.  17 The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.  18 My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.

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

The Psalm

Psalm 85.7-13 from Songs for the Holy One.

Refrain (sung twice):  Holy One, help us to listen and follow your teachings.

I will listen to what God says.
You surely speak of well-being for loving and loyal people,
who do not turn again to foolish ways.

Your saving help is near for those who revere you,
so that your glory may dwell in our land.

Refrain:  Holy One, help us to listen and follow your teachings.

Faithful love and truth have met together;
true justice and well-being have kissed each other.

Truth springs from the earth;
true justice looks down from heaven.

Holy One, you will indeed grant prosperity
and our land will yield its harvests.
True justice goes before you
and prepares a pathway for your footsteps.

Refrain:  Holy One, help us to listen and follow your teachings.

The Second Reading

A reading from the Letter to the Colossians (3.12-17).

            3.12 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.  13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body.  And be thankful.  16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.  17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

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

Hymn before the Gospel

‘Let All the World in Every Corner Sing’  Common Praise #357 v. 1

The Gospel

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John (15.12-17).
Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

            15.12 [Jesus said to his disciples,] “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.  15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.  16 You did not choose me but I chose you.  And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.  17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.”

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

Hymn after the Gospel

‘Let All the World in Every Corner Sing’  Common Praise #357 v. 2

The Homily

An Affirmation of Faith

Let us affirm 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 the perfect love which casts out fear.

We believe in God the Spirit of 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.  [iii]

The Prayers of the Community

Intercessions, Petitions and Thanksgivings

Confession and Absolution

Come, let us return to the Lord and say:

God of compassion and mercy,
in our sin we have avoided your call.
Our love for you is like a morning cloud,
like the dew that goes away early.
Have mercy on us;
deliver us from judgement;
bing up our wounds and revive us;
in Jesus Christ our Redeemer.  Amen. [iv]

May the God of love
forgive you and free you from your sins,
heal and strengthen you by the Holy Spirit,
and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord.  Amen. [v]

The Exchange of the Peace

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

The Holy Communion

Offertory Hymn

‘You Call Us, Lord, to Be’  Common Worship #450

Prayer over the Gifts

Let us pray.

Judge eternal,
accept all we offer you this day,
and grant to our nation unity and peace.
This we ask in the name of Jesus Christ the 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.

We give you thanks and praise, almighty God, for the gift of a world full of wonder, and for our life which comes from you.  By your power you sustain the universe.
Glory to you for ever and ever.

You created us to love you with all our heart, and to love each other as ourselves, but we rebel against you by the evil that we do.

In Jesus, your Servant, you bring healing to our world and gather us into one great family.  Therefore, with all who serve you on earth and in heaven, we praise your wonderful name, as we sing,

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]

We give you thanks and praise, loving Creator, because in sending Jesus your Beloved to us you showed us how much you love us.  He cares for the poor and the hungry.  He suffers with the sick and the rejected.

Betrayed and forsaken, he did not strike back but overcame hatred with love.  On the cross he defeated the power of sin and death.  By raising him from the dead you show us the power of your love to bring new life to all your people.
Glory to you for ever and ever.

On the night before he gave up his life for us, Jesus, at supper with his friends, took bread, gave thanks to you, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “Take this, all of you, and eat it:  this is my body which is given for you.”

After supper, Jesus took the cup of wine, said the blessing, gave it to his friends, and said, “Drink this, all of you:  this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant, which is shed for you and for all people.  Do this in memory of me.”
Glory to you for ever and ever.

Gracious God, with this bread and wine we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus, and we offer ourselves to you in him.

Send your Holy Spirit on us and on these gifts, so that we may know the presence of Jesus in the breaking of bread, and share in the life of the family of your children.
Glory to you for ever and ever.

Giver of life, you call us to be your servants; fill us with the courage and love of Jesus, so that all the world may gather in joy at the table of your kingdom.

We sing your praise, God our Creator, through Jesus, our Lord, in the power of the Holy Spirit, now and for ever.
Glory to you for ever and 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

We break this bread
to share in the body of Christ.
We, being many, are one body,
for we all share in the one bread.

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


The Hymn after Communion

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

The Sending Forth of the Community

Prayer after Communion

Let us pray.

God of love,
may we who have taken holy things
grow in unity and peace.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ the 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 Blessing

May the Spirit of truth lead you into all truth,
giving you grace to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord
and to proclaim the wonderful works of God:
and the blessing of God the Author of creation,
God the Word of redemption and God the Spirit of wisdom,
be among you and remain with you always.  Amen.

Closing Hymn

‘Let Streams of Living Justice’  Common Praise #575


The Deacon sends the Community forth with an appropriate Dismissal.

[i] Introductory Litany prepared by the Rev’d Dr Richard Geoffrey Leggett and the Rev’d Paula Porter Leggett for Saint Faith’s Anglican Church (revised in 2017 by RGL+).

[ii] The Book of Alternative Services (1985), 413 alt.

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

[iv] Common Worship (2000), 128 alt.

[v] Common Worship (2000), 135 alt.

[vi] The Book of Alternative Services (1985), 413.

[vii] Common Praise (1995), #719.

[viii] The Book of Alternative Services (1985), 204-206 alt.

[ix] The Book of Alternative Services (1985), 413.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Paying the Price: Reflections on Matthew 10.24-39 (RCL Proper 12A, 25 June 2017)

Paying the Price
Reflections on Matthew 10.24-39

RCL Proper 12A
25 June 2017

Saint Faith’s Anglican Church

Matthew 10.24-39

                  10.24 [Jesus said,] “A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; 25 it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!

                  26 “So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known.  27 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops.  28 Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  30 And even the hairs of your head are all counted.  31 So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

                  32 “Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; 33 but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.

                  34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.  35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.  37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  39 Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”

            On the 23rd of June 1987 Paula, David and I entered Canada at the Peace Arch border crossing and began our life here.  Within a year we found ourselves caught up in the throes of a federal election campaign that pitted John Turner against Brian Mulroney.  For newcomers to Canada it was a fascinating short course on the political differences between the US and Canada.
            You may remember this campaign as the so-called ‘free trade’ campaign.  Mulroney was committed to a free trade agreement between the US and Canada, while Turner and Ed Broadbent were critical of the proposal.  I remember a cartoon in which a bald eagle was shown swooping down on a beaver with talons poised for the kill.

            It was during one debate that John Turner made a comment that has remained with me ever since.  Mulroney was touting the benefits of a free trade agreement with the US by arguing it would lower costs for Canadian industry and prices for Canadian consumers.  Turner pugnaciously responded, ‘If there’s a price to be paid for being a Canadian, I’m willing to pay it!’  Turner lost.  Mulroney won.  NAFTA came into being.

            Today’s gospel is not an easy one to hear because it asks each one of us this question:  Are you willing to pay the price for being a follower of Jesus?  For people living in a country such as Canada, paying the price for being a follower of Jesus is not an issue we tend to think about often.  But there is a price.

            With the rise of the so-called ‘new atheist’ movement and the growth of religious fundamentalism in all of the major religions including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism, it is now possible for reasonable and intelligent people to question whether religious faith is a force for good or a force for evil.  Are we willing to raise our voices to challenge such simplistic caricatures and talk about how our life of discipleship is committed to the common good of all God’s creatures and the whole of creation?

            Then there are the people who say that religious faith is fine so long as it stays behind closed doors and does not dare to speak in public forums.  Religious leaders who dare to make public statements about public affairs are often criticized.  Within the last month the leader of the Liberal Democratic party in the United Kingdom was forced to resign because some of his religious beliefs were not in keeping with his party’s platform.  Do we dare contradict this view of religious faith and proclaim to others that our faith, our commitment to being disciples of Jesus, informs who we are outside the confines of our homes and places of worship?

            When Jesus talks about his disciples finding themselves at odds with members of their own families, I know that there are members of this congregation who know this all too well.  Some members of our own family think Paula and me are a bit odd.  When one member of my family learned that I was going to prepare for ordination, this person said to my mother, ‘Why, Jane?  He did so well in school and now has a good teaching job.’  I have lost friends because of positions I have taken on various issues in the life of the church.

            When Jesus talks about taking up the cross, he is not talking about minor inconveniences and nuisances.  His audience knew what crucifixion looked like and may have even had members of their own extended families executed by the Romans in this fashion.  He is talking about laying one’s life on the line, spiritually and emotionally if not physically.

            These are not easy questions to ponder, especially as we move into the summer months when our minds turn to other matters.  But perhaps this is precisely the time of year when we all need to consider whether we are prepared to pay the price for being disciples of Jesus.  Each one of us will face this question in ways that are unique to our lives.  Perhaps our commitment to the stewardship of God’s creation will lead us to make decisions that add complexity at the cost of convenience.  Perhaps a conversation among family and friends will lead us to confess that we are disciples of Jesus and that our faith does influence how we live and, most dangerously, how we vote.  Perhaps a public encounter with racism or religious bigotry will test our courage to make a stand for God’s love for all of us, gay and straight, Christian and non-Christian, women and men.

            I hope that when those moments come, and they will, God will grant us the courage to say, ‘If there’s a price to pay for being a disciple of Jesus,  I’m willing to pay it.’