St. Mary's Church

Eleventh Sunday after Trinity

Eleventh Sunday after Trinity

15 Aug 2021 • General news

1 Kings 2. 10-12; 3. 3-14

10David slept with his ancestors, and was buried in the city of David. 11The time that David reigned over Israel was forty years; he reigned seven years in Hebron, and thirty-three years in Jerusalem. 12So Solomon sat on the throne of his father David; and his kingdom was firmly established.

3 Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of his father David; only, he sacrificed and offered incense at the high places. 4The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the principal high place; Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt-offerings on that altar. 5At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, ‘Ask what I should give you.’ 6And Solomon said, ‘You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart towards you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. 7And now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. 8 And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. 9Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?’

10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11God said to him, ‘Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you. 13I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honour all your life; no other king shall compare with you. 14If you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your life.’

Ephesians 5. 15-20

Brothers and sisters, 15be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, 16making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, 19as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, 20giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

John 6. 51-58

Jesus said to the Jews: 51‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’

52The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ 53So Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. 56Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live for ever.’ 

Thought for Trinity 11 (15th August 2021) by Malcolm Tyler

In today’s lesson from his letter to the Ephesians Paul encourages us to live as wise people. I have great difficulty in knowing quite what this means. Several people, including Claire McArthur and those who know me through my work with ordination candidates, have suggested that I am wise but personally I don’t see it. I continually make mistakes; I misunderstand on occasions what people are telling me and I get angry when I see injustice but do little about it so that my anger does little but make me stressed. Surely, I think to myself, if I were wise I would learn and make these mistakes less often!

In the context of today’s reading, I think wisdom is about placing God as a high priority in our lives. Don’t get drunk on alcohol, Paul says, but effectively be drunk with the Holy Spirit. Make melody to the Lord in your hearts and give thanks to God at all times. In other words place God himself at the centre of our lives.

One of the things that I have missed particularly during the lockdowns of the past 18 months is the inability to sing hymns in church. Whilst there are plenty of hymns that are dreadful in my view there are others which are very special. Having sung some for over 60 years, there are a few whose words are so familiar that I no longer need a book to sing. Leaving aside Christmas Carols, ‘Immortal Invisible’ and ‘When I survey the wondrous cross’ are hymns that I can sing without needing the words in front of me. These and others, for which I know specific verses, if not all, keep me going at difficult times. Often, they speak of God’s nature which is so much bigger than my own, but they remind me too of the things God has done and promised. At a time when I may not be able to reach for a Bible to remind myself of these things, hymns can be a great comfort. I seem to remember too that when in captivity Terry Waite would sing hymns to himself to keep his spirits up and it is often said that when in severe difficulty people will sing hymns for the same reason.

Hymns too can often be prayers and at times, when it seems difficult to pray, they may come to our aid. Somehow the music and poetry combine to lift us from ourselves and enable some communication with God. And it is this communication with God that is so important. If we stop communicating with God, he will disappear from our thinking and I believe our lives will be so much the less.

I often say to ordination candidates that my top tips for keeping in touch with God are to say your prayers, read your Bible and attend the eucharist regularly. Perhaps I will add commit a few hymns to memory and sing them from time to time.

Intercessions for Sunday 15 August 2021

As we come to you in prayer Lord, join us together - whether we pray in church or at home, with others or alone, receive our thanks and hear all that is on our hearts.

Lord, we pray especially for young people who this week and next receive results from examinations that may determine their next step. Be with them as they celebrate their successes or come to terms with disappointments. Help them know their own worth and how loved they are in your eyes. Be with them as they make decisions for the future and give them confidence as they set out in a new direction.

Lord in your mercy,

Hear our prayer

Lord, we thank you for the beauty of your created world, for its fantastic variety of creatures and plants and landscapes. We thank you for the opportunity to delight in its bounty and enjoy all that it provides. Help us to carefully consider how we can be good stewards of this wonderful earth so that we limit the impact of climate change. Be with leaders in their decision making and in their commitments to carbon reduction – encourage them to consider the whole earth and not just their tiny part of it.We pray for the parts of the world already experiencing disaster as a result of global warming, we think of those fleeing their homes as fire or flood advances taking away all that they have. Help us all to play our part and work together to prevent further disaster and limit the impact we have on the wonderful world you gifted to us.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Lord, we bring before you those parts of the world experiencing war, conflict or unrest. We think of the ongoing fighting in Syria and also that now accelerating in Afghanistan. We ask that the innocent and vulnerable may be protected and that leaders work together to bring about peace and harmony and a respect for one another. Help leaders across the world to focus on similarities not differences, to look for opportunities to support and build up communities rather than tear them down.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Lord, we give thanks for this summer holiday period, for the chance to step away from work for a while and enjoy time doing something else. We thank you for the opportunity to travel and discover new places. We pray for those unable to go away or have a holiday and pray that they may find ways to relax and rest and re-energise before the autumn arrives.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Lord, be with all those who continue to suffer because of Covid-19, for those with long Covid still debilitated by the effect of this virus and those recently diagnosed. We pray for medical staff continually dealing with new cases or having to try to catch up on other work. Give them the energy they need to remain calm, positive and able to provide the treatment patients need. We give thanks for all those on the road to recovery and for the miracle of healing. We bring before you all those known to us who are in need of your healing hand.

May your peace and love surround them bringing strength and a renewed hope for tomorrow.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

Lord, we think of all those whose lives have been shattered by the death of someone close and dear to them. We pray for those who have quietly slipped away and are no longer with us. We think of those we have lost and whose anniversary may be near. Be with all those who grieve and help them adjust to life without that special someone.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

As we go out into the world this week, Lord, be with us. Give us wise and discerning hearts so that we can distinguish between right and wrong. Support us and encourage us and help us make the most of every opportunity to live our lives as you would want us to.

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