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

17th Sunday after Trinity

26 Sep 2021, midnight

Readings: Numbers 11v4-6,10-14,24-29; Psalm 19v7-end; James 5v13-end; Mark 9v38-end

Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the thoughts and meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our strength and our redeemer.

A Word from Lucy:

The mission of the Church is to help people to find their way back to God and to support all who will listen to God to follow the path to heaven where God will be seen, face-to-face. The collect for this week (prayer) reminds that we are made by God, and have an embedded need of God, and our hearts will be restless, until we find our peace in God. However, as we try to fulfil our mission as a church, we need to take into account that, as the story from the Book of Numbers tell us; leading God’s people is not easy, because we all make mistakes of one kind or another; and we can at times be a cantankerous, ungrateful lot. It was the tendency of God’s people to moan and complain, that made Moses feel angry, displeased and ready to throw in the towel. But God had a plan, in which Moses was to recruit helpers who God would anoint with the spirit, to enable them to carry out the work of leading God’s people. From this, we learn that none of us can do this work alone and that we need to work together as teams of people in order to lead God’s people, the Church. And, God provided abundant help, 68 who were anointed at a great gathering that they were invited to and joined; as well as 2 others who were anointed, even though they chose not to join the gathering. So, as a Church, I believe that the scriptures are telling us that in order to fulfil the mission of the Church that we need a team of people who will work together.

I also believe that the scriptures assure us that God will anoint all chosen for his work, even if we think or choose not to believe it. For as we heard in Numbers and Mark, God can empower whoever God chooses. So as a Church we need to take notice of what Jesus said in the gospel of Mark and look out for and recognise people who are doing God’s work, because as Jesus said, they are with and not against the Church, even if they are not part of the Church, or belong to other non-Christian Communities of Faith.

So, as we move forward in our mission and ministry there is much for us all to do. In the gospel, Jesus asks us, his Church, to be peaceful with one another, generous to others and to be very careful that we do not mislead those we are given to bring into God’s kingdom. And in order to fulfil this, the psalm tells us to read and study God’s word in order to understand how to live, in accordance with God’s values and ways. And, from the letter of James, we learn much about the work of mission and ministry:

- We should sing songs of praise and thanksgiving when life makes us cheerful.

- We should pray for those who are suffering.

- We should teach people that they can be forgiven for their sins – and offer those who recognise their sins – an opportunity to confess their sins and be prayed for.

- We should search out and bring sinners back from their wanderings.

- And, when people are sick, those appointed to the role of healing ministry, should pray over the sick and anoint them with oils of healing.

And, as Jesus teaches in the gospel, when we find ourselves tested, we need to hang on to our faith by remembering what we have been given.

And, the post communion prayer reminds that we need to keep asking God to help us be diligent in doing works that are good.

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)

Let us pray: Day by day, dear Lord, of you 3 things we pray: To see you more clearly, to love you more dearly and to follow you more nearly, day by day. Amen

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.