Fr Adrian offers a short address for the Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity, 2020 - based on the Old Testament Lesson and the Gospel of the day - as we continue the slow and cautious process of emerging from the Covid-19 temporary suspension of public worship. We have settled down to an interim pattern of Mass on Sundays (10 a.m. – livestreamed on Facebook) and Thursdays (8:45 a.m.) but, as many people are still shielding, this scheduled message is continuing.
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▶ THE COLLECT ◀
you have made us for yourself,
and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you:
pour your love into our hearts and draw us to yourself,
and so bring us at last to your heavenly city
where we shall see you face to face;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
▶ THE OLD TESTAMENT LESSON (Isaiah 5.1-7) ◀
Let me sing for my beloved
my love-song concerning his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard
on a very fertile hill.
He dug it and cleared it of stones,
and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watch-tower in the midst of it,
and hewed out a wine vat in it;
he expected it to yield grapes,
but it yielded wild grapes.
And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem
and people of Judah,
judge between me
and my vineyard.
What more was there to do for my vineyard
that I have not done in it?
When I expected it to yield grapes,
why did it yield wild grapes?
And now I will tell you
what I will do to my vineyard.
I will remove its hedge,
and it shall be devoured;
I will break down its wall,
and it shall be trampled down.
I will make it a waste;
it shall not be pruned or hoed,
and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns;
I will also command the clouds
that they rain no rain upon it.
For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts
is the house of Israel,
and the people of Judah
are his pleasant planting;
he expected justice,
but saw bloodshed;
but heard a cry!
▶ THE NEW TESTAMENT LESSON (Philippians 3.4b-14) ◀
If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.
Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.
▶ THE GOSPEL (Matthew 21.33-end) ◀
‘Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watch-tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, “They will respect my son.” But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.” So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’ They said to him, ‘He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.’
Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures:
“The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is amazing in our eyes”?
Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.’
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.
▶ POST COMMUNION PRAYER ◀
Lord, we pray that your grace
may always precede and follow us,
and make us continually to be given to all good works;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
▶ RESUMPTION OF PUBLIC WORSHIP ◀
At St Ambrose Church we are settling down to our interim pattern of Mass on Sundays (10 a.m. – livestreamed on Facebook) and Thursdays (8:45 a.m.). Some restrictions remain but we follow our normal Common Worship liturgy as closely as is safely practical. Following a safety audit with the Diocese of Winchester the Covid-19 measures we have adopted include:
· separate entrance and exit doors,
· sanitiser stations,
· an internal one-way system with floor signage,
· roped off rows,
· availability of facemasks (now mandatory unless exempted),
· recording everyone who visits for track-and-trace purposes (records kept for 21 days),
· a thermometer-gun,
· no offertory procession or collection,
· no congregational singing yet,
· the distribution of communion from the front of the nave,
· Communion in one kind only, the host being dropped into the communicant’s hand,
· books and leaflets quarantined for 72 hours after use, and
· no refreshments afterwards (socialising is best done outdoors, weather permitting).
Access to the church at other times is still possible by private arrangement with Fr Adrian on 01202 911569 or [email protected]