St. Mary's Church

Twentieth Sunday after Trinity

Twentieth Sunday after Trinity

16 Oct 2021 • General news

Job 38. 1-7

1The LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind:2‘Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?3Gird up your loins like a man,
I will question you, and you shall declare to me. 4‘Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.5Who determined its measurements – surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?6On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone7when the morning stars sang together
and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?

Hebrews 5. 1-10

1Every high priest chosen from among mortals is put in charge of things pertaining to God on their behalf, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2He is able to deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is subject to weakness; 3and because of this he must offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. 4And one does not presume to take this honour, but takes it only when called by God, just as Aaron was.

5So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him,
‘You are my Son,
today I have begotten you’;6as he says also in another place,
‘You are a priest for ever,
according to the order of Melchizedek.’

7In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; 9and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, 10having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

Mark 10. 35-45

35James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, ‘Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.’ 36And he said to them, ‘What is it you want me to do for you?’ 37And they said to him, ‘Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.’ 38But Jesus said to them, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’ 39They replied, ‘We are able.’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; 40but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.’

41When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. 42So Jesus called them and said to them, ‘You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. 43But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, 44and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. 45For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.’ 

Thought for Trinity 20 by Malcolm Tyler

Each of the three readings set for today have something to do with power.In the first from the book of Job, we have the beginnings of a speech by God himself, asking Job where he was when the world was created.Although God takes responsibility for laying the foundations of the earth in verse 4, much of the rest of the speech asks Job to reflect on the enormity of creation which by inference is the work of God himself.Job is not belittled but the greatness of God’s power is evident from what he has done.

In the passage from the letter to the Hebrews, we have a discussion on the priesthood of Jesus himself.The power of the human priest is to offer sacrifice on behalf of the people but because of his own weakness he has to offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people.Jesus offers the once for all sacrifice having learned obedience through suffering and being perfect becomes the eternal salvation for all who follow him.His power to save comes through God himself who appointed him to the priesthood of Melchizedek rather than the Levitical priesthood of the time.

In the gospel, James and John ask for the power that goes with sitting at the right and left hand of Jesus when he comes to his glory.Perhaps, not surprisingly, the other disciples are angry with James and John when they hear of their request and Jesus concludes the episode by reminding them all that greatness must be accompanied by humility; the greatest has also to be the servant because the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve.

We see, all too often, the desire of human beings to gain or retain power and authority.I was reminded only this morning through an article on Radio 4’s Today programme as I was thinking about these passages of the efforts of Donald Trump to cling to power earlier in the year, only to read a few minutes later that there is talk of him testing the waters for a Presidential campaign in 2024 by going to a rally in Iowa where his support base is now higher than when he was elected.

Christian authority comes from God himself and the use of power is to be modelled on Jesus himself who neither sought power nor abused it.In our daily lives we may think that we do not have a great deal of power but I suspect we have more than we perhaps realise.For those with a family of young children, we model human behaviour for them.At one level, if we treat our neighbours with disdain our children are more likely to grow up doing the same.For those of us past the early family stage, the choices we make about our use of energy, the food we purchase and our demand for consumer durables has a significant effect on the demands we as a population put upon our finite world resources.

With power comes responsibility. Jesus reminds us constantly to use that responsibility carefully.

Intercessions for 17 October 2021 (by Nickie Harwood)

Let us set aside the noise and bustle of the frenetic world in which we live as we bring our prayers to our Father. Help us to ‘be still and know that you are God.’

Lord we pray for the church across the world and for the churches here in Walsgrave. As we enter a period of change, we pray for Malcolm as he prepares to retire. We give thanks for his years of service and pray for a smooth transition from the world of work to a more leisurely one for him and his family. We pray for all who take on leadership roles in our church and the gifts they bring to enhance our worship. Be with them as they support others to grow in faith and confidence. Unite us in your love and may your Holy Spirit strengthen us to love and serve our neighbours in Christ.

Lord in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray for the many and varied nations of the world, both large and small. We think of those to the north, south, east and west of us and thank you for the richness of different landscapes and cultures. We pray for the leaders of all nations that they may take the climate change agenda seriously. Open their eyes to see the part each plays in managing the resources you created for all mankind. We pray that they work together to find solutions to issues such as global warming, increased risks of flooding and fire across the world. Help them understand the seriousness of the situation and prompt them to act quickly and urgently. Help us all to do our part to protect the planet you created.

Lord in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray for our families and friends, our colleagues and neighbours. We thank you for the different communities to which we belong. We give thanks for those who know us so well and care for us no matter what we do. We thank you for the way you love us unconditionally and invite us into your family. Help us to be as giving and as forgiving in all our relationships. Help us reach out with love to those in need in the places where we live, work and play.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Lord, we bring before you all those who are ill and ask that you would be very close to them and to those who care for them. May they feel your loving presence. Work through the skills of doctors, nurses, specialists and other medical staff as they seek to heal those who are suffering. We pray for those known only to us.

We think especially of those who are lonely, sad or anxious. Help them find someone to share their worries with so that they may be reassured and grow in confidence.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Lord, we pray for all those who mourn at this time. At the end of baby loss awareness week, we pray especially for all those who have lost a baby either during pregnancy, at or soon after birth and in infancy.Be close to them in their grief, shock and sadness. Uphold them with your tender love. We pray for all those nearing the end of their life and ask that you gentle sooth them as you 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 others in our love for you. Help us find the situations where we can make a difference, where we can be the servant and share your love through the actions we take and the words that we speak.

Merciful Father,

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

Amen