Trinity 4 Sunday 10th July

Sunday Morning Prayer – Forth Sunday After Trinity – St. Laurence’s Church, Church End Ansley – 10th July 2022

Hymn O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing

  1. O for a thousand tongues to sing
    My great Redeemer’s praise,
    The glories of my God and King,
    The triumphs of his grace

  2. Jesus! the name that charms our fears,

That bids our sorrows cease;
‘Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
‘Tis life, and health, and peace


  1. He breaks the power of cancelled sin,

He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean;
His blood availed for me


  1. He speaks, and listening to his voice,

New life the dead receive
The mournful, broken hearts rejoice,
The humble poor believe


  1. Hear him, ye deaf; his praise, ye dumb,

Your loosened tongues employ;
Ye blind, behold your saviour come,
And leap, ye lame, for joy


  1. My gracious Master and my God,

Assist me to proclaim
To spread through all the earth abroad
The honours of thy name
(by Charles Wesley – 1707-1788)

Preparation

The night has passed, and the day lies open before us; let us pray with one heart and mind.

Grace mercy and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you

All: And also with you.

This is the day that the Lord has made.

All:  Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

We have come together in the name of Christ to offer our praise and thanksgiving  to hear and receive God’s holy word, to pray for the needs of the world, and to seek the forgiveness of our sins, that by the power of the Holy Spirit, we may give ourselves to the service of God.

All: We say Sorry

Jesus says, ‘Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.’

So let us turn away from our sins and turn to Christ, confessing our sins in penitence and faith.

All: Lord God, we have sinned against you;

We have done evil in your sight.

We are sorry and repent.

Have mercy on us according to your love.

Wash away our wrongdoing and cleanse us from our sin.

Renew a right spirit within us and restore to us the joy of your salvation;

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

May the Father of all mercies cleanse us from our sins, and restore us in His image to the praise and glory of His name through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

All: Amen.

Blessed is the Lord,

All: For He has heard the voice of our prayer;

Therefore shall our hearts dance for joy

All: And in our song will we praise our God. 

Blessed are you, Lord our God, creator and redeemer of all;

to you be glory and praise for ever.

From the waters of chaos you drew forth the world, and in your great love fashioned us in your image. Now, through the deep waters of death, you have brought your people to new birth by raising your Son to life in triumph.

May Christ your light ever dawn in our hearts as we offer you our sacrifice of thanks and praise.

Blessed be God, Father Son and Holy Spirit.

All: Blessed be God for ever.  

Hymn – There is a Redeemer

Collect for the Forth Sunday after Trinity 

O God, the protector of all who trust in you,

without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy:

increase and multiply upon us your mercy;

that with you as our ruler and guide

we may so pass through things temporal

that we lose not our hold on things eternal;

grant this, heavenly Father,

for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

All: Amen

Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead.

All: And Christ shall give you light.

You have died and your life is hid with Christ in God.

All: Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead.

Set your minds on things that are above,

not on things that are on the earth.

All: And Christ shall give you light.

When Christ our life appears

you will appear with him in glory.

All: Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light. 

Hymn – Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart

Our First Reading id taken from Deuteronomy Chap: 30

9 The Lord will make you prosperous in all that you do; you will have many children and a lot of livestock, and your fields will produce abundant crops. He will be as glad to make you prosperous as he was to make your ancestors prosperous,

10 but you will have to obey him and keep all his laws that are written in this book of his teachings. You will have to turn to him with all your heart.

11 “The command that I am giving you today is not too difficult or beyond your reach.

12 It is not up in the sky. You do not have to ask, “Who will go up and bring it down for us, so that we can hear it and obey it?’

13 Nor is it on the other side of the ocean. You do not have to ask, “Who will go across the ocean and bring it to us, so that we may hear it and obey it?’

14 No, it is here with you. You know it and can quote it, so now obey it. 

This is the Word of the Lord

All: Thanks be to God

Here the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to – Luke Chap: 10

25 A teacher of the Law came up and tried to trap Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to receive eternal life?”

26 Jesus answered him, “What do the Scriptures say? How do you interpret them?”

27 The man answered, ” “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind’; and “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ ”

28 “You are right,” Jesus replied; “do this and you will live.”

29 But the teacher of the Law wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?”

30 Jesus answered, “There was once a man who was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when robbers attacked him, stripped him, and beat him up, leaving him half dead.

31 It so happened that a priest was going down that road; but when he saw the man, he walked on by on the other side.

32 In the same way a Levite also came there, went over and looked at the man, and then walked on by on the other side.

33 But a Samaritan who was traveling that way came upon the man, and when he saw him, his heart was filled with pity.

34 He went over to him, poured oil and wine on his wounds and bandaged them; then he put the man on his own animal and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.

35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. “Take care of him,’ he told the innkeeper, “and when I come back this way, I will pay you whatever else you spend on him.’ ”

36 And Jesus concluded, “In your opinion, which one of these three acted like a neighbor toward the man attacked by the robbers?”

37 The teacher of the Law answered, “The one who was kind to him.” Jesus replied, “You go, then, and do the same.” 

This is the Word of the Lord

All: Thanks be to God 

Benediction

Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel,

All: who has come to his people and set them free.

He has raised up for us a mighty Saviour,

All: born of the house of his servant David. 

Through his holy prophets God promised of old  

All: to save us from our enemies, from the hands of all that hate us, 

To show mercy to our ancestors,

All: and to remember his holy covenant.

This was the oath God swore to our father Abraham:

All: to set us free from the hands of our enemies,

Free to worship him without fear,

All: holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life. 

And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,

All: for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,

To give his people knowledge of salvation

All: by the forgiveness of all their sins. 

In the tender compassion of our God

All: the dawn from on high shall break upon us,

To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,

All: and to guide our feet into the way of peace.                        (Luke 1.68-79)

All: Glory to the Father and to the Son

and to the Holy Spirit;

as it was in the beginning is now

and shall be for ever.

Amen. 

Sermon 

Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone

From Deuteronomy Chap 30 and Luke Chap: 10

When I first looked at the readings for today, I thought, “They feel familiar.”  So I checked in my files, and sure enough, I’ve preached on them before.  “That’s easy,” I thought, “I’ve got a ready-made sermon for Sunday morning at Ansley.”

But then, as I was reading through that particular sermon, a lingering suspicion sent me to check my old diaries and it turns out that I preached that sermon at Ansley, almost three years ago in July 2019, which really put the kibosh on me using it again.

Oh well, back to the drawing board, or the word processor, anyway.  No familiar sermon for me. Time to see what else I can find.

As we walk the Way of Christ, one of the ever-present dangers that we must constantly be aware of is that danger of familiarity.

It’s possible, if you organise it correctly, to read the entire Bible from cover to cover, from “In the beginning” to the New Heaven and New Earth, over the course of a single year, and again, next year and the year after that.

The church, meanwhile, follows a three-year lectionary which then repeats, so every thirty-six months or so, the same readings come up in the same combinations.  What this all means is that there are certain passages with which we become very familiar and that familiarity is comfortable.

We know these passages.

We know these stories.

That point, we have also stopped listening to them.

And when we stop really listening to the stories, they stop being able to tell us anything new.

So we need to stop being familiar, stop being comfortable; we need to learn to listen again and to find fresh questions to ask.

Over the three years of his ministry, Jesus was asked a lot of questions.  It seems that people asked him questions for any of four different reasons.

Some people asked him questions because they were genuinely puzzled about life, or God, or people think of Nicodemus, visiting Jesus late at night, to ask his questions about how he can enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Some people asked Jesus questions in order to make a point, the most famous of these being Pilate, demanding of Jesus at his trial, “What is truth?” 

Some people ask Jesus what they think are trick questions, in order to trap him.

The Pharisees were often at that stage, attempting to goad Jesus into giving confusing advice, or teaching against the Jewish faith, or blaspheming God; and they never seemed to work out that Jesus was a whole lot cleverer than that!

Some people, like the Teacher of the Law in our Gospel for today, ask questions because they want to be validated, or to justify themselves.

The Teacher of the Law wants Jesus to tell him something he likely already knows.

After all, when he asks, “what must I do to receive eternal life?” Jesus is quick to throw the question back at him, asking in return, “What do the Scriptures say?”

This is Jesus effectively saying, “Come on, you know this,” and sure enough, the teacher replies, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind’; and ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself.’”

Of course he knows it.

It is in response to the man’s further questioning, his pressing on the issue of just exactly to whom he needs to be neighbourly, that Jesus tells the story with which we have become so familiar.  The main thrust of the story, that the ‘good neighbour’ was a hated Samaritan, would not have been lost on his audience.

At the end of the story, Jesus tells his questioner, “You go, then, and do the same.” 

The piece in the gospels goes no further.  We get no reaction from this nameless Teacher of the Law; we don’t know what he thought of Jesus’ answer, or the story, or the clear implication that we must be neighbourly to those people that we dislike.

We don’t know whether the man went off to do the same, whether he changed his life or whether he stayed in his own narrow rut.  But when this gospel passage is paired with the piece from Deuteronomy a piece this mysterious man would also have known and be familiar with, I have to wonder.

In our Gospel, Jesus commands, “You go, then, and do the same.”  In the passage from Deuteronomy, God states, 

 “The command that I am giving you today is not too difficult or beyond your reach.”

Because that’s the key, isn’t it?

God asks us to do the uncomfortable, not the impossible.

For Jesus’ Jewish audience, extending kindness to those scummy Samaritans and receiving kindness from them, would put them right out of their comfort zones.

Perhaps, for some of them, the idea of taking a wounded person to a place of care and saying, 

“Whatever the bill comes to, send it to me,”

was the point of discomfort.

But the basic act of rendering care to a person in need would not be beyond their capabilities or heir desire.

When God issues us with a challenge, the ‘what’ is perfectly within our grasp it is the ‘who’ and the ‘how’ that will push us beyond ourselves.

Ten years ago, I quit a teaching job tat I had been in for thirteen years.

I had grown stale and complacent.

I could have stayed there, still been there now and spoon-fed privileged children until I retired and died.

But I decided instead to push myself, to find new things.

I ended up teaching children with complex needs, some of the most difficult children in the country have passed through my classroom over the last six years.

I decided to go and be a neighbour to those children.

The educational speaker Ria Pierson says,

“Every child needs a champion.”

I decided that she’s right.

A huge chunk of my ministry as a Reader is, as far as I am concerned, being with those young people that the world has rejected, children who might have been excluded from half a dozen schools and gone through at least that many care placements; being with them, sitting alongside them, and saying to them,

“Do you know what?  You’re valuable.  You are worth something.”

Because I might be the only person in their lives telling them that and how can they believe it, if they never hear it?

God doesn’t give us tasks that we can’t do; what he asks of us isn’t up in the sky, or on the other side of the ocean, or behind the moon.

He does, however, delight in giving us tasks that we might not want to do, things that are difficult, or uncomfortable, or embarrassing.

Because that is how we grow.

That’s how we push through the barriers that we have erected, because God certainly didn’t put them up between us and the Kingdom.

Doing God’s Will might make us uncomfortable, especially in the face of an increasingly secular world where faith marks us out as something strange, a bit weird, the ‘God botherer’s.

But the God who pushes us out of our comfort zone is the God who never asks us to do anything of which we are not capable.

Was the Teacher of the Law ready to step up and go beyond his comfort zone?

Are we?

When God calls, are we ready to “go, then, and do the same”?

Amen 

Hymn – Here is love, vast as the ocean,

 Time of Silence …..

We Say Together:

The Creed.

I believe in God, the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried;

he descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again;

he ascended into heaven,

he is seated at the right hand of the Father,

and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting.

Amen.

Prayers and Intercessions

We pray for God to fill us with his Spirit.

Generous God,

we thank you for the power of your Holy Spirit.

We ask that we may be strengthened to serve you better.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the wisdom of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to make us wise to understand your will.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the peace of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to keep us confident of your love wherever you call us.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the healing of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to bring reconciliation and wholeness

where there is division, sickness and sorrow.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the gifts of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to equip us for the work which you have given us.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the fruit of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to reveal in our lives the love of Jesus.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the breath of your Holy Spirit,

given us by the risen Lord.

We ask you to keep the whole Church, living and departed,

in the joy of eternal life.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit. 

All: Generous God,

hear our prayer,

and make us one in heart and mind

to serve you with joy for ever.

Amen.

We gather our thoughts and prayers in the words our Saviour gave us 

All: Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Amen. 

Hymn – How lovely on the mountains (Our God Reigns)

Closing Blessings

May God give to you and to all those you love

his comfort and his peace,

his light and his joy,

in this world and the next;

and the blessing of our Lord Jesus Christ

and the Love of God

and the fellowship  of the Holy Sprit

be with us all evermore. 

All: Amen. 

Hymn – In Christ alone 

The Grace 

All: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

And the love of God,

And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,

Be with us all evermore.

Amen

Go in joy and peace to love and serve the Lord

All: In the name of Christ Amen.

© 702211

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