St. Mary's Church

Twelfth Sunday after Trinity

Twelfth Sunday after Trinity

29 Aug 2020 • General news

Exodus 3. 1-15

1Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. 3Then Moses said, ‘I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.’ 4When the LORD saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ 5Then he said, ‘Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’ 6He said further, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

7Then the LORD said, ‘I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, 8and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

9The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. 10So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.’ 11But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’ 12He said, ‘I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.’

13But Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,” and they ask me, “What is his name?” what shall I say to them?’ 14God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ He said further, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “I AM has sent me to you.”’ 15God also said to Moses, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “The LORD, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you”: This is my name for ever, and this my title for all generations.’

Romans 12. 9-end

9Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour. 11Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ 20No, ‘if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.’ 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Matthew 16. 21-end

21From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

22And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, ‘God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.’ 23But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’

24Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. 26For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?

27For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. 28Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.’ 

Sermon thoughts 30 August 2020(Lorraine Baker)

I have spent the last couple of weeks reflecting on lockdown and the COVID19 pandemic and what blessings I might take from this time, as we go forward, and start a new stage with the re-opening of schools.

One of the things I have appreciated, has been the ability to “visit” other churches and to join in with their services on Facebook or YouTube or on zoom. This has been a real blessing to worship with others, to learn from other preachers and to experience different hymns or songs to what I am used to at Saint Mary’s but all from the comfort of my home.

One of the services I joined in with recently, spent time focusing on kindness, and in particular, different occasions in the bible where people are met with kindness and generosity.

When we were on holiday in North Yorkshire, a couple of weeks ago, we visited several churches, including the parish church of St Nicholas in Guisborough. What fascinated me was a stained glass window, featuring two women I don’t recall ever seeing depicted in church windows previously - Saint Dorcas (also known as Tabitha) whom the apostle Peter raised from the dead in the story described in Acts chapter 9, and Saint Phoebe.

Saint Phoebe is almost a mere foot note in the New Testament, having one brief mention in St Paul’s letter to the Romans where Paul commends Phoebe to the church in Rome, and asks them to support her. It is thought that Phoebe was the person who had travelled with Paul’s letter to Rome to deliver his greetings and letter of instruction on his behalf, which scholars believe Paul wrote when he was in Corinth some 750 miles away.

What today would have been a 5 hour plane ride, or a slightly longer by road and then boat, in the first century would easily have been a month’s journey, on potentially hazardous roads and needing food and accommodation at each step of the way and I wonder how kind and courteous people were to travellers in their midst.

As I write, refugees trying to reach Britain from France in tiny little boots is once again featuring in our news bulletins, and some of the almost callous nature of the reporters out in boats trying to intercept and speak to these obviously desperate people has horrified me.

Our reading from Romans today, reminds us to be kind to others - honouring other people above ourselves, and providing care and hospitality where it is needed. One of the parts of Jesus’ character I admire, was his ability to just come alongside people, whatever their situation and to be calm and gentle, offering them the help and support that he was able to give.

For me, this piece from Romans is a really important piece of scriptural guidance that we can use for the whole of our lives.

St Paul talks about living peaceably with one another; serving the LORD; being joyful in the hope of life to come; being patient despite whatever afflictions we find ourselves with and being perseverant in our prayers, not just giving up after the first few days when we don’t feel God has answered - or answered in the way we were expecting.

One of my friends, who due to ill health is often housebound, spoke to me the other day about feeling bad, when the pandemic first started affecting life, that they could do little to help others; that opportunities to offer those little random acts of kindnesses like opening doors or smiling at people in the street, were very much limited and even now, with social distancing and wearing of masks when we are out, it can be difficult to even smile at someone who looks like they are weighed down with the cares if the world,

Being separated from friends and family by distance and often only speak to one another by phone is something that I have found quite hard, but I have continued to try and be alongside people who are struggling; to be able to mourn with someone experiencing loss or rejoicing with someone who has received good news. This might not feel like much, but to that person we have spent time listening or chatting too, that few minutes may have been a real blessing.

Early on in lockdown, when I was furloughed from work, I took the opportunity to write letters to friends I seldom see, who either live in other countries or a distance away from me here in Coventry. Just sharing bits of news and prayers or thoughts with people, many of whom I have known for more than 25 years, was really enjoyable and receiving letters back was a real pleasure. As lockdown of some sort will no doubt continue for many more months, it is not always easy or practical to meet up with friends and relatives and finding time to write letters or to send a postcard has enabled me to keep in contact with friends, especially those I might only see once or twice a year usually.

We have been in lockdown almost 6 months now and I am only too aware that life as we knew it back at the beginning of the year may never been experienced again.

My reflection on Jesus’s reaction to Peter, in our Gospel passage today, where only a few verses after commending Peter for recognising Jesus as the Christ (see Matthew chapter 16 verses 13-20), Jesus now has to reprimand his friend for objecting to Jesus’ acknowledgement that this stage of his life, his journey, his message is coming to an end, and what lies ahead, is the painful betrayal, trial and execution.

There are times when we know that a stage of our lives is coming to a close, perhaps due to a change in employment or moving house, children growing up and leaving home or any of a number of other reasons. These times of change and transition can be hard, and the changes that we have found ourselves dealing with in the last few months are no exception, but for every closed door, there is a window of opportunity opening and we should trust in the LORD for his strength and guidance as we deal with each new situation in our life.

I pray that we may each have the courage to be open to new ideas and opportunities and to hear God’s call anew in our lives.



In joy and hope let us pray to the Father:

Today we pray,

For all who are affected by coronavirus,
through illness or isolation or anxiety,
that they may find relief and recovery,
we pray to the Father.

Hear our prayer.

For those who are guiding our nation at this time,
and shaping national policies,
that they may make wise decisions,

we pray to the Father.

Hear our prayer.

For doctors, nurses and medical researchers,
that through their skill and insights
many will be restored to health,

we pray to the Father.

Hear our prayer

That isolated and persecuted churches

may find fresh strength in the good news of Easter,

we pray to the Father.

Hear our prayer.

That God may grant us humility

to be subject to one another in Christian love,

we pray to the Father.

Hear our prayer.

That he may provide for those who lack food, work or shelter,

we pray to the Father.

Hear our prayer.

That by his power war and famine may cease through all the world,

we pray to the Father.

Hear our prayer.

That he may reveal the light of his presence to the sick,

the weak and the dying,

to comfort and strengthen them,

we pray to the Father.

Hear our prayer.

That, according to his promises,

all who have died in the faith of the resurrection

may be raised on the last day,

we pray to the Father.

Hear our prayer.

That he may send the fire of the Holy Spirit upon his people,

so that we may bear faithful witness to his resurrection,

we pray to the Father.

Hear our prayer.

Heavenly Father,

you have delivered us from the power of darkness

and brought us into the kingdom of your Son:

grant that, as his death has recalled us to life,

so his continual presence in us may raise us to eternal joy;

through Christ our Lord.


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