St. Mary's Church

Second Sunday before Advent

Second Sunday before Advent

14 Nov 2020 • General news

Zephaniah 1:7, 12-end

7 Be silent before the Lord God!For the day of the Lord is at hand;
the Lord has prepared a sacrifice,he has consecrated his guests.

12 At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps,and I will punish the people
who rest complacently[a] on their dregs,those who say in their hearts,
“The Lord will not do good,nor will he do harm.”
13 Their wealth shall be plundered,and their houses laid waste.
Though they build houses,they shall not inhabit them;
though they plant vineyards,they shall not drink wine from them.

The Great Day of the Lord

14 The great day of the Lord is near, near and hastening fast;
the sound of the day of the Lord is bitter,the warrior cries aloud there.
15 That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish,
a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness,
16 a day of trumpet blast and battle cry
against the fortified cities and against the lofty battlements.

17 I will bring such distress upon people that they shall walk like the blind; because they have sinned against the Lord,
their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung.
18 Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the Lord’s wrath;
in the fire of his passion the whole earth shall be consumed;
for a full, a terrible endhe will make of all the inhabitants of the earth.

1 Thessalonians 5, 1-1

5Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters,[a] you do not need to have anything written to you. 2 For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 When they say, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labour pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! 4 But you, beloved,[b] are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; 5 for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. 6 So then let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; 7 for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.

Matthew 24. 14-30

The Parable of the Talents

14 “For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15 to one he gave five talents,[a] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. 17 In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18 But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20 Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 29 For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 30 As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Reflection on Matthew 25.14-30 The Parable of the Talents(by Malcolm Tyler)

Whenever I read the parable of the talents, I am reminded of John Milton’s Sonnet on his blindness. I have appended it on the reverse side of this reflection so that you may see it if you don’t know it.

In the poem Milton reflects upon the importance of using our talents and wonders, I guess like most of us, on how God responds if we don’t use the talents we have. He, like me, fears that as in the parable the person who buries the talent is cast into the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

His answer is to remember the grace of God. God himself needs neither our work nor even the gifts he has given us; he is, in himself, everything. This is so hard for us as human beings.We often like to think that we are everything in our world; we control it and we deserve the results both of our own work or of what we don’t do. The Christian gospel counters this by saying that our salvation depends upon God’s grace alone and not by anything that we do to merit it.

So in his sonnet Milton suggests that those who bear God’s mild yolk serve him best and the poem ends with the famous line ‘They also serve who only stand and wait.’

Bearing the mild yolk doesn’t always seem easy, nor should it be. However, I do think that we should try to remember that the yolk is not hard but mild. God does not expect more of us than what we can give. The challenge comes because God knows better than even we, ourselves, what we are capable of. To live up to this is the issue. It means reflecting upon our strengths and our weaknesses and being honest about what we can and cannot do. It means not resting upon our laurels when occasionally we might like to let others take the strain. There is no excuse for not doing the things we believe God expects of us.

Ultimately though God is a God of love and grace. He has provided the means of our salvation and he bestows it upon us because of the faith we have in him, not because we happen to have accomplished plenty of good things. One translation of the first beatitude is ‘Blessed are those who know their need of God’. I think Milton seems to come to this conclusion as he realises that there is service in waiting upon the God in whom he so clearly believes. May it be so of each of us.

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg'd with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide,
"Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: "God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts: who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait."

Prayers, St Mary Walsgrave, 2nd Sunday before Advent, 7/11/20 [Prepared by Sue Morton]

In the hope and joy of resurrection,

let us pray to God, our heavenly Father, who loves us completely.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, for you have given us all talents and abilities.

You have created each of us in a unique way, that we may give our own unique service and talents to you.

Blessed are you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We pray for our clergy, Malcolm and Dmitry; lay ministers, Tony, Lorraine, Stephen and Trefor and thank you for their service and talents.

We pray for Barbara and John, our recently re-elected churchwardens and thank you for their service and talents.

We thank you for our recently elected members of St Mary’s Parochial Church Council – Lorraine, Gary, Nickie, Dawn, Norris, Mervyn, Jean and Val, and pray you will be with them as they use their talents in your service.

From the Coventry Diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray today for the clergy, Readers and congregations of the South Warwickshire Seven as they reach out to their communities.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Lord, giver of all good gifts, we pray for the world at this time of pandemic, this time of anxious uncertainty and worry, this time of much suffering for so many people in the world.

Bless and guide Elizabeth our Queen, we thank you for her talents, her great example of service.

We pray for the people of the United States of America, for reconciliation and unity, following their presidential election.

We pray for our political leaders throughout the United Kingdom, that they may use their talents wisely and for the common good during Covid-19 restrictions.

And in these uncertain economic times, be with us as we face whatever comes our way.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Lord, we give thanks for the gift of new life and the wonder of life.

Thank you for our parents and those who have helped us to grow and learn.

Thank you for the talents and service of people who work in care homes and in the community. Be with them we pray.

We thank you for food banks, for their volunteers and donors, involved in provision and distribution of food and other supplies to families and othersin desperate need of help. We especially pray for the food bank at Walsgrave Baptist Church and the Trussell Trust’s central warehouse in Coventry.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Lord, we carry into your presence those who are sick, in body or mind or spirit.

We pray for Tony Thistlewood, Bill Brown and others known to us who are unwell at this time. We thank you for the talents and service of all medical and support staff working in hospitals and health centres and in the community. We pray for scientists and laboratory teams seeking solutions to the Covid-19 pandemic and give thanks that research for a safe vaccine is progressing well. We pray especially for patients suffering from the virus and for staff overwhelmed and struggling with the demands of caring for their patients.

In the silence, we bring to you our concerns:

SILENCE

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Heavenly Father, thank you for the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

We give thanks for family, friends, colleagues who have died.

And we especially remember

S I L E N C E

May they be with you in your kingdom.

We pray for those who mourn. Be close to them. Help them to treasure the memories of their loved ones. Give them comfort and confidence in the power of resurrection.

Rejoicing in the fellowship of Mary and all your saints we commend ourselves and the whole creation to your unfailing love

Merciful Father,

Accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen 


Monday

Malcolm Tyler is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Morning Prayer

Time: Nov 16, 2020 09:30 AM London

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83437744057?pwd=SDlnSlora1MwWWJIMkpLKzdWRERKZz09

Meeting ID: 834 3774 4057

Passcode: MP1611

Tuesday

Malcolm Tyler is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Morning Prayer

Time: Nov 17, 2020 09:30 AM London

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84585413576?pwd=V1FKb3hPbi9JUXVCR2VKb0hUNnBZUT09

Meeting ID: 845 8541 3576

Passcode: MP1711

Thursday

Malcolm Tyler is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Morning Prayer

Time: Nov 19, 2020 09:30 AM London

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87809883267?pwd=UmFBUTlxbWtlVHUvTmFTSVpVYkFwZz09

Meeting ID: 878 0988 3267

Passcode: MP1911