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

12th Sunday after Trinity

22 Aug 2021, midnight

Readings: Joshua 24v1-2a&14-18; Psalm 34v15-22; Ephesians 6v10-20; John 6v56-69

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. Sarum Primer (1527)

A Word from Lucy: Today’s reading from the Joshua is a call to the people of God to choose who they will serve as they stand at the threshold of a new life in the promised land. Joshua and his family declare their decision to revere the Lord and to serve Him faithfully and in sincerity. For it was the Lord their God who brought them out of slavery in Egypt and protected them and did great signs in their sight.

The psalm shows the two paths we are called to choose between: one leads to evil and the other to righteousness. The psalm warns that those who choose the path of the wicked will be killed by the evil they choose and the face of the Lord will be against them. The psalm promises that: God will look upon, hear the cries of, and deliver from trouble, all who choose the path of righteousness; and, the Lord will draw close to the broken-hearted and save those who are crushed in spirit; and the Lord will ransom the life of not only His servants but also all those who seek refuge in Him.

In the gospel, when Jesus is teaching that he is the bread of life and that all who take him into themselves will live forever; I believe that Jesus is asking all who God is calling to imitate His ways. But, this path is not easy, for as Paul teaches in his letter, if we choose this path, we need to put on the whole armour of God so that we can withstand everything that the devil will throw at us. This armour is to speak truthfully, to act righteously, to proclaim God’s gospel of peace, to believe and trust in God, to accept Jesus’ gift of salvation and to use God’s word, the Bible, to resist and fight evil. For, if we do all this, Pauls says that we shall be able to stand firm.

Now, as we move forward in our lives, we stand on a threshold too and it is time for us to choose. Which path will you choose? I choose for Jesus and I hope you do too because as the prayers for today remind, it is through Jesus that we receive mercy, forgiveness of our sins and healing for our souls; and by imitating Jesus, we are made fit to be sent out with Christ to bring healing to our broken world.

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.