Church of England Diocese of Birmingham St. Matthew with St. Chad, Smethwick

5th Sunday after Trinity

4 Jul 2021, midnight

Readings: Ezekiel 2.1–5; Psalm 123; 2 Corinthians 12v2-10; Mark 6.1–13

Let us pray: God be in our heads and in our understanding. God be in our eyes and in our looking. God be in our mouths and in our speaking. God be in our hearts and in our thinking. God be at our end and at our departing. Sorum Primer (1527)

A word from Lucy: Last week, at Barbara’s ordination to the Priesthood, I was reminded of the new vision for the Church. In this new mission, we are being encouraged to be: humbler as God’s people, simpler in our approach to being Christians and bolder in our work as God’s body, the Church. Until today, I have pretty much thought about these ideas all on my own, alone at home; but, at Barbara’s ordination, I was suddenly struck with a new sense of its meaning for us here in this part of God’s kingdom, and I think I saw a glimpse of our mission as a Church on a path that God is calling us to.

For as a Church, we are Jesus’ followers and His body in the world, a people who should be humble with a keen sense of humility simply because God loves us so much that He sent His Son to save us. As sinners, we should be delighted by the wonderful news that: even though we are sinners, and do not deserve to be loved by God, that we are saved by Jesus’ death on a cross – because of God’s love for us and this gift is free and generously offered to us. So being humble – should be a given for us all.

Then, as a Church in a pandemic, we have learnt much about staying connected with God and other Christians in lots of simple ways. With God, we have stayed in contact through our lives of prayer. Whether that be alone or with others; whether through the groaning of our hearts or praying the prayers we have learnt by heart, or simply by praying using the materials we have had access to at home. With others, we have stayed in contact with our brothers and sisters through: phone calls, emails, letters, TV, radio, the internet, doorstep visits and coming to the Church building. So, for us the pandemic has shown lots of simple and creative ways of being a worshipping community, whether gathered in Church or dispersed in the community.

And, as a Church that has got on as best we could during the pandemic, we have had to be bold. For, most of us who lead worship here have had to work within new and ever-changing rules; and we have had to be bold enough to adapt how we worship and witness and work in a world in which has been a threat to our health and lives. But what has been the most interesting to me is the way we have had to step-up in boldness to work in a new world order in which our worship is filmed or live-streamed, and the whole world is able to draw alongside us through the amazing power of the internet. And, in this is brave new world, we must be bold, for what we say and do as Christians in worship, is now recorded for posterity, and many will see us at worship and hear our words for years to come.

So, here we are, survivors in a world that has thrown our lives upside down. People who had no choice but to try and fulfil God’s calling in new and different ways; and in so doing have learnt much about being humbler, simpler and bolder. For as the Pandemic has taught us - all things are possible with God; because most of what we have had to do - we were not trained for: either as Christian disciples, or minister of the Church, or, in my case, as the Incumbent of this Parish. So, encouraged by this, I feel very certain that whatever God has in mind for us, as His Church, is possible here in the Parish of St Matthew with St Chad.

Let us pray: Teach us, good Lord, to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labour and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do your will. Amen. (Saint Ignatius of Loyola)

Lords’ prayer: 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

The Grace: May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all, now and evermore. AMEN

Thank you for joining us today.