Good morning everyone and what a busy and special weekend it was last week. We had the Cathedral service for Rev Hannah’s ordination on Saturday, followed by her first service in which she presided at Holy Communion. Here at St. Maxentius we celebrated after the service with a wonderful cake made by Nicola Pearson, showing a copy of her white stole, then we had some wine and prosecco to finish it off. Later that day she went to preside at St. Anne’s after all the Iron Man road closures were re-opened. We wish Hannah every success in her future wherever God takes her and we are so delighted that she is sharing it with us at the moment.
Today’s Gospel reading is from Luke, the parable of the Good Samaritan and the New Testament reading is Colossians when Paul is praising and thanking God for them.
Our reflection today is by Rev Peter and intercessions by myself
PRAYER OF PREPARATION
Lord speak to us. That we may hear your word.
Move among us. That we may behold your glory.
Receive our prayers. That we may learn to trust you. Amen
PRAYER OF PENITENCE
Father, we have sinned against heaven and against you. We are not worthy to be called your children. We turn to you again. Have mercy on us, bring us back to yourself as those who once were dead but now have life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
May almighty God, who sent his Son into the world to save sinners, bring us to his pardon and peace, now and forever. 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.
O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that with you as our ruler and guide
we may so pass through things temporal that we lose not our hold on things eternal;
grant this, heavenly Father, for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, 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
COLOSSIANS 1. 1-14
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
To the saints and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God. This you learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow-servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, and he has made known to us your love in the Spirit.
For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke. Glory to you O Lord.
LUKE 10. 25-37
Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What do you read there?’ He answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.’ And he said to him, ‘You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.’
But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’ Jesus replied, ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while travelling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, “Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.” Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?’ He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’
This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you O Christ
Did you notice that nowhere in this parable does Jesus call the Samaritan “good”? We have labelled him such and he certainly is remarkable. He stops on a dangerous road to help an unknown victim of robbery and assault. He interrupts what he was planning and doing to stop and assist; he takes the man on his donkey (which means he had to carry stuff himself) to a nearby inn and, in essence, leaves a blank cheque, which the inn-keeper could easily abuse – by the way inn-keepers did not have a good reputation generally – think Monsieur Thenardier and his wife in Les Miserables!
We should also notice the import of the story – it begins with the lawyer wanting to justify himself, ‘who is my neighbour?’ he asks, ‘Who is it that I should love?’ (implied is that there are obvious boundaries beyond which we do not need to go). But at the end of the story Jesus asks him who was a good neighbour to the victim and the lawyer is forced to consider what being a good neighbour looks like not just who we do or do not have to love.
I think many of us will have heard that Jews and Samaritans did not get on – there was long-standing hostility and suspicion; again we might think along the lines of the sectarian divides in N Ireland, or the suspicion of people of colour or other religions – that will help us understand the shock of this story. The Samaritan outsider bursts into our neighbourhood as the person who cares more.
A modern version – and please think of your own versions: a man falls overboard in the Channel, and is struggling to stay alive; fishing boats and leisure boats do not stop, but a refugee boat with illegal migrants stops and they hoist him out of the water and make space, gives him dry clothes (at the expense of their own warmth), and share their limited food and water. Jesus wants us to put ourselves in the life-space of those who are victims, and to think how we would want to be helped. The man in the boat might be processed and sent to Rwanda maybe .. (never sure if sarcasm works on the printed page!).
Another modern version from an American theologian.
“A woman was attacked one evening on the street – her cries for help could be heard in the flats and by passers-by. She was left for dead and died; no one went to her aid. Who then was a neighbour to the woman who was attacked?”
The parable sets us up with core values, developed from the fact that people suffer in this world and need help. It does not provide a practical programme, nor pace Mrs Thatcher, is it an argument for sufficient affluence so that we can help others, though it is an argument for those of us with sufficient affluence to help others.
This man who helped was outside the kinship group, someone the injured man would have seen as an “enemy”, as not to be mixed with. As the hymn puts it “When I needed a neighbour were you there?”
‘Who then was a neighbour to the man who fell among thieves?’ ‘The one who did something.’ ‘Go and do likewise!’
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 Holy Spirit, born of 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, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come 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.
Lord you have called us to work with you, show us the ways of your salvation. May our churches care for the weak and defenceless, the needy and the poor. May we never avoid our responsibility and pass by on the other side when others need help. We pray for the work of Samaritans and all other relief organisations.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
We pray for peace and justice in our world, we ask for your blessing for people who have suffered violence and robbery. We remember those who have been driven out of their homes by other people’s greed or power. We pray for all refugees or displaced people and all those injured during these actions.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
We give thanks for all who care for us or have given us support or comfort. We ask for blessing on our own family and friends and we pray for all who seek to live in a caring and safe community.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
We give thanks for our rescue and emergency services, we ask your blessing on all ambulance and fire services, social workers, doctors and nurses who care for those that need help. We also remember those who work quietly in our communities doing good work and care for their neighbours.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
We give thanks that you have rescued us from death and offered us a place in your eternal kingdom. We remember friends and loved ones who have departed this life and ask that they may enjoy a closer fellowship with you. We remember especially from our book of remembrance Leonard Greenhalgh, Alan Chadwick, Annie Greenhalgh, Janet Jepps, Harold Wood and John Jones.
Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son our Savoiur 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 this day 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 forever. Amen.
May God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the source of all goodness and growth, pour his blessing upon all things created, and upon us his children, that we may use his gifts to his glory and the welfare of all peoples, and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be with us now and forever more. Amen.