St. Mary's Church

Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity

Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity

11 Sep 2021 • General news

Proverbs 1. 20-33

20Wisdom cries out in the street;
in the squares she raises her voice.21At the busiest corner she cries out;
at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:22‘How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
and fools hate knowledge?23Give heed to my reproof;
I will pour out my thoughts to you;
I will make my words known to you.24Because I have called and you refused,
have stretched out my hand and no one heeded,25and because you have ignored all my counsel
and would have none of my reproof,26I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when panic strikes you,27when panic strikes you like a storm,
and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
when distress and anguish come upon you.28Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;
they will seek me diligently, but will not find me.29Because they hated knowledge
and did not choose the fear of the LORD,30would have none of my counsel,
and despised all my reproof,31therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way
and be sated with their own devices.32For waywardness kills the simple,
and the complacency of fools destroys them;33but those who listen to me will be secure
and will live at ease, without dread of disaster.’

James 3. 1-12

1Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. 3If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. 4Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.

How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! 6And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, 8but no one can tame the tongue - a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. 10From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. 11Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? 12Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.

Mark 8. 27-end

27Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am?’ 28And they answered him, ‘John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’ 29Jesus asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Messiah.’ 30And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.

31Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’

34He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’ 

Thought for Trinity 15 by Malcolm Tyler

This week’s gospel is really hard stuff! After asking the question ‘Who do you say I am?’, and receiving Peter’s answer that he is the Messiah, Jesus goes on to outline what messiahship would mean. Poor old Peter gets in wrong yet again. He tells Jesus off only to get a severe reprimand himself and in the following paragraph we hear that our own discipleship is likely to be costly. As I say, hard stuff.

Whilst at one level it is straightforward to acknowledge Jesus as our Saviour, the ramifications of that decision can be much harder. As I am sure I have said before one of my more favourite modern hymns is O Lord all the world belongs to you (reprinted overleaf).Its repeated refrain Is what’s turning the world upside down reminds us that the way of life advocated by Jesus is very different from the way of life the world assumes. In his teaching, the meek will inherit the earth and the powerful will be cast down. Messiahship will not mean a fine palace for Jesus but the way of suffering, rejection and a very cruel death.

We, as disciples of Jesus, can find following him difficult on occasions. What does it mean to ‘take up our cross and follow him’? What does it mean ‘to lose our life for his sake’? I am not sure that I have any easy answers to these questions but I do believe that a partial answer is to stand up for those who are marginalised in our society and to fight against injustice wherever we see it. Some years ago, the Church of England published a report on Mission and defined five marks of mission, the fourth of which is ‘to challenge the unjust structures of society’. For many Christians in this country a very practical way of doing this has been to contribute to local foodbanks or to help at refugee centres. But, of course, we do not have to be Christians to do this. I have no knowledge of Marcus Rashford’s religious beliefs but his work on child food poverty was significant in changing government policy – no mean feat in itself.

The hymn overleaf suggests some other ideas about how taking up our cross or losing our life for Jesus’ sake might be achieved. Forgiveness, loving our enemies, fellowship and servanthood are part of the mix Patrick Appleford (the author of the hymn) suggests. At least three of these are not easy, but perhaps an important thing to remember is that it can be done through the aid of the Spirit of God. Through the Spirit working in people like ourselves God is changing the world – turning it upside down.

O Lord all the world belongs to You

And You are always making all things new

What is wrong You forgive and the new life you give

Is what’s turning the whole world upside down

The world’s only loving to its friends,

But Your way of loving never ends

Loving enemies too and this loving with You

Is what’s turning the whole world upside down.

The world lives divided and apart

You draw men together and we start

In your body to see that in fellowship we

Can be turning the whole world upside down

The world wants the wealth to live in state

But You show a new way to be great

Like a servant You came and if we do the same

We’ll be turning the whole world upside down.

O Lord, all the world belongs to You

And You are always making all things new

Send your spirit on all in your Church whom You call

To be turning the world upside down.

Intercessions for 12 September 2021

Let us draw together in faith as we bring our thoughts, prayers and all that is on our hearts to our Father God.

Lord we pray for the worldwide family of your church of which we are part. We give thanks for the fact that we can worship you openly and enjoy doing so in the company of others. We think of all those in our congregation here at St Mary’s – for those who worship midweek or who join in a zoom morning prayer and those who have returned to church on Sundays. We pray for those not yet confident enough to return to the church building, for those who are struggling with their faith at the moment or those feeling overwhelmed by the return to ‘normality’. Help us to reach out to encourage and support one another so that all feel accepted and involved.

Lord in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray for the nations of the world and think especially at this time of Afghanistan. We pray for your hand to be on the changing situation there, work through the leaders as they move from guns to government. Bring stability and peace built on respect for all. We pray especially for the rights of women and girls to be treated equally. We think especially of all those who have left Afghanistan and who seek a safe haven elsewhere in the world. May we be generous in our support for them. We pray for world leaders and all those who make decisions which affect others. Give them wisdom to do what is right to protect the weak and vulnerable.

Lord in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray for all those who have started school this week and think especially of those going into nursery or Reception or moving to a new school. We bring before you the young people who are going away to university and maybe leaving home for the first time. Be with them as they begin this new life away from all that is familiar. May they make new friendships that are positive and supportive. Help them make the right choices and have confidence when faced with a new challenge.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Lord, we bring before you all those who are ill and ask for your healing hand to be upon them. We pray for those waiting to see a doctor or specialist and anticipating the worst. Relieve their anxieties and fill them with hope. Be with medical staff as they work to treat patients day after day. Give them patience and the energy they need for their job.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Lord, we pray for all those who have recently died whether through illness or an accident. We think of the families and friends they leave behind and pray that they find comfort in the memories they treasure of their loved ones. Be close to all those nearing the end of their life, calm and relieve their fears of the unknown and bring them peacefully into your glory.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Lord be with us this week as we go out to serve you. Help us to use our tongues to praise you, to speak words of kindness and encouragement to those we encounter and to help others know of your love for them.

Merciful Father,

Accept these prayers, for the sake of your son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.