St. Mary's Church

Twelfth Sunday after Trinity

Twelfth Sunday after Trinity

21 Aug 2021 • General news

1 Kings 8. 22-30, 41-43

22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands to heaven. 23He said, ‘O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and steadfast love for your servants who walk before you with all their heart, 24the covenant that you kept for your servant my father David as you declared to him; you promised with your mouth and have this day fulfilled with your hand. 25Therefore, O LORD, God of Israel, keep for your servant my father David that which you promised him, saying, “There shall never fail you a successor before me to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your children look to their way, to walk before me as you have walked before me.” 26Therefore, O God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you promised to your servant my father David.

27But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built! 28Have regard to your servant’s prayer and his plea, O LORD my God, heeding the cry and the prayer that your servant prays to you today; 29that your eyes may be open night and day towards this house, the place of which you said, “My name shall be there,” that you may heed the prayer that your servant prays toward this place. 30Hear the plea of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray towards this place; O hear in heaven your dwelling-place; heed and forgive.

41 Likewise when a foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a distant land because of your name – 42for they shall hear of your great name, your mighty hand, and your outstretched arm – when a foreigner comes and prays toward this house, 43then hear in heaven your dwelling place, and do according to all that the foreigner calls to you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and so that they may know that your name has been invoked on this house that I have built.’

Ephesians 6. 10-20

10Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. 19Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.

John 6. 56-69

Jesus said to the crowd: 56‘Those 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.’ 59He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.

60When many of his disciples heard it, they said, ‘This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?’ 61But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, ‘Does this offend you? 62Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64But among you there are some who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. 65And he said, ‘For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.’

66Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. 67So Jesus asked the twelve, ‘Do you also wish to go away?’ 68Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’

 Thought for Trinity 12 (22nd August 2021) by Malcolm Tyler

Today’s reading from St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is one of those purple passages of the Bible. Whilst perhaps not as well known as say the Good Samaritan or the Parable of the Sower, nor even Daniel in the Lion’s Den or Noah’s Ark, the idea of the whole armour of God is generally well known by those who attend church regularly.

Paul encourages to stand firm in our faith clad with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation and shoes enabling us to proclaim the gospel of peace. For weapon we have the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God and for defence the shield of faith.

The imagery of a soldier going into battle is perhaps one that many of us do not warm to but it does remind us that the truth of the gospel is not universally acknowledged and that Christians will find opposition to it. As I am writing the takeover of Taliban forces in Afghanistan reminds me forcibly that a Christian way of life is challenged by another ideology in that place. Similarly in China a western form of government is not accepted.

For me, it seems sensible to say that any way of life needs to face challenge. People are the most precious part of God’s creation and the way we live our lives must surely take that into account and look for to their best interests. Where we see abuse of God’s people, a challenge has to be made. This is where the whole armour of God comes into its own. Challenge is rarely easy. Vested self-interest can often stifle the acknowledgement of wrongdoing. Sadly, we only have to remember the child abuse scandals in our own Church of England and others to see that. Further back in history, struggles over whether slavery was acceptable or not remind us that a Christian view of the ordering of life can change.

Truth, righteousness and the gospel of peace are wonderful concepts but are far from easy to defend at all times. At the moment the Church of England is trying to come to some understanding of sexuality, gender and identity through it report Living in Love and Faith. What many of us have taken for granted in terms of marriage, identity and sexual practice has been turned on its head in my lifetime. Whilst we may not wish to ‘go to war’ with those who believe differently from ourselves on this issue, we do at least wish, I hope, to have all views challenged to see how they align with what we believe God is calling us to.

If you have access to the internet and are interested to think afresh about some of these issues do google ‘Church of England Living in love and faith’. There you will find excellent resources which will help you to think about some of these issues. And the Church wants to hear what people think. Some of the short videos (less than five minutes) really make you think as do the podcasts and other more in-depth resources. What the truth is in such issues is far from easy to decide!

Prayers St Mary Walsgrave 12th Sunday after Trinity 22/8/21, prepared by Sue Morton

Let us pray to Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, trusting in his power and love.

Lord our God

You love us with an everlasting love.

You give us the freedom to turn to you or turn away from you.

You do not compel us to believe in you but invite us to know you and to love you.

Help us in our desire to know you and to be faithful to you.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Lord our God

We bring to you all those new to faith and those who are seeking to deepen their faith.

We pray for all who are tempted to turn their back on you, those troubled by doubt,

and those who are finding their faith a challenge.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Lord our God

Thank you for the gift of power you have given to peoples and nations.

May we use all of our powers for your glory and the benefit of others.

We bring to you those who suffer from misuse of power, who are oppressed or wrongly imprisoned, who suffer from violence.

We especially pray for the Afghan people as their suffering and oppression continues.

We pray for peace in our hearts and for peace in the world.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Lord our God

Thank you for those who have brought us to know you and to love you.

We remember our teachers and preachers, our families and friends.

May our relationships reflect a good relationship with you.

We give thanks for those throughout the world who have committed themselves to work for your glory and for the benefit of others.

May the Holy Spirit be with them.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Lord Jesus

You understand human suffering.

We pray in your name for those who feel let down, deserted or lonely; the persecuted and the marginalised in the world.

We pray for your blessing on all who are ill at this time, for those who seek healing or deliverance.

You, Lord, are the giver of life eternal.

We remember before you the faithful departed.

We ask your blessing upon loved ones and friends who are at rest with you.

May they share the fellowship of St Mary and all the saints and the fullness of life eternal.

In the stillness of silence, let us be with Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, and share with him our worries and concerns.

S I L E N C E

Merciful Father

Accept these prayers

for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen