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

14th Sunday after Trinity

5 Sep 2021, midnight

Readings:  Isaiah35v4-7a; Psalm 146; James 2v1-17; Mark 7v24-37

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: The readings tell us about the positive signs that we shall witness when God is at work in the world. These include: from Isaiah - the blind seeing, the lame leaping and the speechless singing; and from the psalm – the bound being set free, the bowed down being lifted up, strangers being watched over, orphans & widows being upheld and the righteous being loved; and from the Gospel – we heard that Jesus sent demons packing as well as opening the ears and mouth of a man who was unable to hear or speak. As a Christian and a retired nurse, I know that many signs like these can still be seen from time to time, and I am always amazed. I know that the wonders and miracles of science and health care may have led to the healings and wholeness that I have witnessed but I hope I have enough humility to acknowledge that much of the what we learn through science – is given to us by God.

The prayer for the day asks God to give us the hearts and wills to worship God in spirit and truth because God’s son has opened for us a way into God’s presence. For, in the gospel, we see evidence of the way being open to us because even though Jesus was sent to God’s people, he was willing to listen to the determined and persistent pleas of a gentile woman who came to him in humility and trust, and after listening healed her child. James also reminds us that favouritism towards the rich is misguided because God has chosen the poor of the world to be rich in faith and the heirs of the kingdom that is promised to those who love God.

It is belief in all this, that gives me the confidence to do what is asked of me in the readings.

· I am comfortable doing what the prophet Isaiah asks when he tells us to go to people with fearful hearts and tell them that God is coming to save them.

· I am content to fulfil the call of the psalm that tells us to praise the Lord who made heaven and earth, is just and keeps his promises forever; and never to put our trust in human power.

· I am willing to follow James warning and instructions. James tells us that we must not favour the rich over the poor; and to love everyone as we love ourselves; because acts of favouritism are evil. James also tells us to hear the scriptures and then take action, such as helping the poor, picking up litter, being kind to others, because these are the works that demonstrate our faith.

Based on the readings, I believe that we are being called to take notice of the signs that God has sent to show us that He is at work in the world all around us. I believe that we are being called to take the actions that God is asking of us and promised that people will be drawn to God and into God’s kingdom.

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.