St. Mary's Church

Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity

12 Sep 2020 • General news

Exodus 14.19-end

19 The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them. 20It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. And so the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night.

21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. 22The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. 23The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers. 24At the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic. 25He clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, ‘Let us flee from the Israelites, for the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.’

26 Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers.’ 27So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, the Lord tossed the Egyptians into the sea. 28The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained. 29But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.

30 Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31Israel saw the great work that the Lord did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the Lord and believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.

Romans 14.1-12

14Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarrelling over opinions. 2Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. 3Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgement on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. 4Who are you to pass judgement on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

5 Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. 6Those who observe the day, observe it in honour of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honour of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honour of the Lord and give thanks to God.

7 We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. 8If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

10 Why do you pass judgement on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgement seat of God. 11For it is written,
‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.’12So then, each of us will be accountable to God.

Matthew 18.21-35

21 Then Peter came and said to him, ‘Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’ 22Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.

23 ‘For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; 25and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. 26So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.” 27And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. 28But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow-slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, “Pay what you owe.” 29Then his fellow-slave fell down and pleaded with him, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you.” 30But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he should pay the debt. 31When his fellow-slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32Then his lord summoned him and said to him, “You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33Should you not have had mercy on your fellow-slave, as I had mercy on you?” 34And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he should pay his entire debt. 35So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.’

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, you promised through your Son, Jesus Christ, to hear us when we pray in faith.

Reflection on Matthew 18:21-35 by Rev Dmitry Lutsenko

A few years ago when bumper stickers were popular, one stood out for me: ‘I do not get mad, I get even’. It meant to be humorous, but it had a chilling affect on me, because it stands in sharp contrast with Jesus’ teaching about Forgiveness in response to Peter’s question: ‘Lord, How many times I should forgive my brother who sins against me?’

At the start, I think that we need to look at Jewish background to understand the large issues that prompt Peter’s question. The Jewish teaching on forgiveness around Peter’s time stipulated that three times was enough to show a forgiving spirit. Peter’s question appears to be following in that line, wondering how many times he should forgive a person who repeatedly sins against him. His offer to forgive the person seven times, more than double that above mentioned statement. Peter was wondering whether the limit should be drawn on his generosity of spirit.

Jesus’ astonishing response is that Peter must forgive not seven times but countless times. Jesus seems to be saying that the number does not matter. Peter and the rest of the disciples are to continue to forgive without keeping count. The reason for such an unheard of thought is given in the parable that immediately follows – Peter should go on forgiving because the reality of his own forgiveness is demonstrated in the way in which God forgives others.Jesus’ disciples must be forgiving to others, for through God’s grace and mercy they have experienced his forgiveness.

The kind of forgiveness that Jesus articulates in this passage is difficult for the world to comprehend. It is not a conditional acceptance but unqualified removal of all that we hold against others, which is so difficult for us to do! Jesus shows that when we experience God’s unqualified forgiveness, it will influence all that we are and impact all our relationships. Mercy experienced will produce mercy demonstrated? A person who has not truly experienced God’s grace and mercy will not experience his forgiveness and in turn will struggle to forgive others. 


Holy God

As we come together today, we bring you our thanks for St Mary’s church family and its fellowship.

As our lives continue to be affected by the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, we thank you for being with us wherever we are, whether in church or at home, at work or at school, in the quiet times and the busy times, in times of worry and uncertainty, in all of the hurly burly of our lives.

We thank you for Malcolm and Dmitry as they minister to us in different ways. Be with them and their families, we pray.

We especially pray for those confined to their homes, unable to attend church services in the usual ways. We pray too for those who have drifted away from our church family and for those who are struggling with their faith.

Lord of the Church hear our prayer

God of Peace

Hear our prayers for all those in the world who seek to further your will here on earth: those who work for peace, who campaign for justice, who strive to relieve poverty and homelessness, who struggle to help the oppressed.

We pray for those with heavy burdens of responsibility in both public and private sectors of society. Give them wisdom, courage and dedication in their work.

We pray for those who work to protect us, the police, fire service, ambulance and prison staff, and many others.

We especially pray for those people who would do us harm; may they repent and turn to the light of Christ.

Lord of justice and peace hear our prayer

Loving God

We pray for young people in the world, especially those in our church and in this city of Coventry.

They have so much to offer, Lord, so many gifts and ideas, vigour and enthusiasm; and yet faced as never before by all kinds of pressures and demands, aggravated by the virus.

Help us to listen to them, to be open to their thoughts and worries, to nurture their faith, to guide them in their work and studies. Keep them safe, we pray, from the evils of this world.

Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer

Gracious God

We bring to you the sick and suffering of our world, all those struggling with illness in body, mind or spirit; especially those in hospital with the Covid-19 virus and those recovering from it at home.

We pray for your Holy Spirit to touch the lives of suffering people, to walk with them in their troubles.

We thank you, Lord, for those who work to bring help, wholeness and healing to the sick and suffering, whether in hospitals, or in the community and at home.

Together in silence, we pray for people and situations known to us who are suffering at this time.


Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer

God of Life

Lord, you promised to bless those who mourn and to give comfort to those overwhelmed by grief.

We bring to you those who have died recently. By name Dennis Huckvale.

Be with those who mourn them.

We pray for those among our families and friends who are facing such times, remembering such times, in this church and in our world. May they know that your hand, Lord, is upon them, your arms encircle them, and your heart and tears reach out to them.

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


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