St. Mary's Church

Third Sunday after Trinity

Third Sunday after Trinity

27 Jun 2020 • General news

Genesis 22:1-14

The Command to Sacrifice Isaac

22 After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.” 6 Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. 7 Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.

9 When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill[a] his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place “The Lord will provide”;[b] as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”[c]

Romans 6. 12-end

Dying and Rising with Christ

6 What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For whoever has died is freed from sin. 8 But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

12 Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. 13 No longer present your members to sin as instruments[a] of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments[b] of righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Slaves of Righteousness

15 What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, 18 and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations.[c] For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.

20 When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Matthew 10:40-42


40 “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; 42 and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”

Thought for 28 June

Whichever way you look at the story of Abraham being prepared to sacrifice Isaac, it is grim. Abraham can be seen as unfeeling, despite the line in the story that he loved Isaac, because he is prepared to sacrifice Isaac. God himself can be seen as a monster because he asks Abraham to sacrifice to child he loves. And even if we possibly allow ourselves to think that God knew how it would turn out that leads us to ask the question do we have free will, and if not, what is the point?

So this story is deeply distressing and possible unsatisfactory.

Taking a slightly more helpful approach, we can see that God provides the solution for Abraham and Isaac does not need to be sacrificed. Abraham decides to listen to the voice of the angel rather than to follow the original instruction. I wonder how often we are determined to follow a particular course of action and fail to hear the voice of God which urges caution of even a contrary course. So often it is easier to maintain what we have decided rather than to change course.

One of the things that has really irritated me over the last few months is the inability of government and opposition to admit to mistakes, or perhaps more generously errors of judgement that have been made. The crisis that the world is facing is beyond our experience and those in power have tried to do the thing that they have thought best and encourage us to do the same. Most people have tried to follow the advice but it would be my guess that many have broken the advice on occasions, though I recognise some will not have. This just tells me that it is hard to do the right thing. Abraham at least in the end did the right thing by not sacrificing Isaac.

I wonder in our own situation today how we know what is the right thing to do? Sadly instinct is not always right!

Sadly, having written this I have heard that Les Dakin died in the early hours of Thursday morning. Please remember Betty and David in your prayers. For many years Les and Betty were regular members of church together. As Les’ health deteriorated he became unable to make the journey to church, though was much in our thoughts and prayers.

Prayers for the 3rd. Sunday after Trinity, June 28th. 2020.

Heavenly Father, you promised through your Son, Jesus Christ, to hear us when we pray in faith .

Holy God we pray for your Church and its people through out the world; for its clergy, chaplains and Readers. We pray for Archbishop Justin, and our Bishops Christopher and John. We look to you Lord and the strengthening of your Holy Spirit as we cope with change.

Lord in your mercy......Hear our prayer.

Creator God we pray for the leaders in the world carrying grave responsibilities for the lives of their people and especially for our own government bearing the burden of decision-making.

We pray for all victims of terrorism and especially those who suffered in the Reading attacks last Sunday.

Help us to care for our world better. We pray for greater tolerance, a world where people of all ages, creed, sexual orientation and colour are not undervalued.

Lord in your mercy.......Hear our prayer.

Gracious God we pray for the people of Walsgrave; for our hospital, care homes and hospice; for NHS and emergency workers. We pray for those working in education and shops. Bless our homes Lord and be with anyone anxious and in fear made worse by the pandemic.

Lord in your mercy......Hear our prayer.

Loving God we pray for all those needing healing in body, mind or spirit. Despite any pain and distress, keep them safe and aware of your love.

Lord in your mercy.......Hear our prayer.

Merciful Father your love reaches beyond the grave. At the end of our days be with us and with those we love and those we have loved and have gone before. We pray for all those who have recently died and those bereaved by their passing.

Lord in your mercy.......Hear our prayer.

And so Heavenly Father we thank you for the opportunity to pray together wherever we may be.

Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.


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