Good morning everyone, last week we had our “Back to School” service and the children were given a pencil and prayer to send them on their way and a blessing of the backpacks. It was a lovely service and they had the opportunity to pray for others starting new schools and “moving up”. We also included all the adults that work in schools too.
Today’s gospel reading by Matthew talks of sin and the well known verse that tells us if two or three meet in God’s name he will be among us. The reflection and prayers are by myself this week. Hope you are enjoying the late summer sunshine. God bless Jan B.
PRAYER OF PREPARATION
Faithful one, whose word is life; come with saving power to free our praise, inspire our prayer and shape our lives for the kingdom of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
PRAYER OF PENITENCE
The Holy Spirit fills the world and knows our every word and deed. Let us then open ourselves to the Lord and confess our sins in penitence and faith.
Most merciful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we confess that we have sinned in thought, word and deed. We have not loved you with our whole heart. We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves. In your mercy forgive what we have been help us to amend what we are, and direct what we shall be; that we may do justly; love mercy and walk humbly with you, our God. Amen.
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who in his great mercy has promised forgiveness of sins to all those who with heartfelt repentance and true faith turn to him; have mercy on us and deliver us from our sins, confirm and strengthen us in all goodness and bring us to everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us. You are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Almighty God, whose only Son has opened for us a new and living way into your presence: give us pure hearts and steadfast wills to worship you in spirit and in truth;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
THE NEW TESTAMENT READING
ROMANS 13. 8-14
Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet’; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light; let us live honourably as in the day, not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew. Glory to you O Lord.
MATTHEW 18. 15-20
Jesus spoke to his disciples. ‘If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax-collector. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.’
This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you O Christ.
The two readings today are looking at reconciliation and prayer in the community. Firstly, the reading from the letter to the Romans reminds us of Jesus’ revelation that we follow two great commandments and to love your neighbour means you obey the laws of no murder, theft, adultery, covetousness and by that you will do no wrong to your neighbour.
The gospel reading is less straight forward, it puts forward the scenario of a disagreement or conflict and Jesus is giving the disciples advice on how to deal with it i.e., to try to sort it with them first and then bring in a couple of others to help or then involve the whole community in this case the church community. We know ourselves that if you don’t sort things out, they “fester” they get worse, people talk, take sides and everything gets out of hand. Lots of organisations have these problems, golf clubs, sports teams, social clubs etc. We often say it is politics! But usually, it is someone wanting to only do what they want and expecting others to agree with them.
Jesus did not want this to happen, conflict comes when we disagree, and it causes rifts in relationships which are blown out of proportion. We are all different, purposely, God made us this way. We have to listen, or agree to differ, forgiveness is if something has wronged you but often it is just a difference of opinion. First, we should see the person one to one it may need courage and prayer, if it works, great, if not then take others with you, but you have got to be prepared to listen and accept if you have some part to play. Finally, the group or church may be involved, but we are assured that God will be with us as we sort things out.
I have experienced and watched others who know just what to do when there is conflict and seen them manage it beautifully. Many of our leaders in the church handle this well and are very humble in their deliverance and maybe we should watch out when we see it and learn. The main thing is we are not left alone, Jesus was giving a promise and a warning that God will see and know the innermost truth of both sides and will be with us. Amen
I believe in God the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, and is seated on the right hand of the Father; he will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in 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.
During the intercessions, we pray for the church, our country, our government, people in difficulty and those who have died. You can use your own prayers or if you prefer here are some on today’s theme.
Blessed are you, Lord our God, for you accept us in our sin, you forgive all who are penitent and give us the opportunity of newness of life. We rejoice in your presence and remember before you all who seek to build up your church in love, those ministry teams both clergy and lay who help guide and worship you in our churches, and all who are in our team and mission community. We ask your blessing upon all who are being baptised today especially, Ronnie Lee Rainford and Albie Benjamin Cooke. We pray for all who seek forgiveness and want to start afresh.
Lord in you mercy, Hear our prayer.
Loving and forgiving God, we remember in your presence all who work for reconciliation between peoples and nations. We pray for all who seek to heal old hurts and historical grievances. Bless all peacemakers and all who work to bring unity and understanding within communities. We pray for the work of the United Nations and all who seek to bring justice and fair dealings to our world.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
Loving and forgiving God, may our homes reflect your love. Forgive our petty divisions and jealousies, our quarrelling and our anger. Lord through our homes and loved ones teach us, forgiveness, tolerance and compassion. May our homes and our community be seen as loving and caring.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Loving and forgiving God, we remember in your presence all those whose lives are spoiled by hatred and the desire for revenge. We pray for all who feel they cannot br forgiven and who cannot forgive. We ask your blessing upon all who are troubled in body, mind or spirit and all who are tempted to give up hope. We especially pray for Rev Peter Reiss, Stanley Schofield, Stephen Haslam, Thomas Causton, Sue Roberts and Colin Roberts.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Loving and forgiving God, we give you thanks that we are ransomed, healed, forgiven. We ask your blessing upon friends and loved ones departed, that knowing your forgiveness they may rest in peace with you. From our book of remembrance we pray for John Taylor Wignall, Jack Finch, Elizabeth Kay and Eric Smith. Rejoicing in the fellowship of St. Maxentius, St Anne, St Peter and all your saints, we commend ourselves and the whole of your creation to your unfailing love.
Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
THE LORD’S PRAYER
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. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the Kingdom the power and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
May the love of the Lord Jesus draw us to himself, the power of the Lord Jesus strengthen us in his service, the joy of the Lord Jesus fill our hearts and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be with us now and for ever more. Amen.