Newsletter 23 August 2020

Sunday Letter

Benefice of Padstow & Trevone,

St. Merryn, & St Issey with Little Petherick

During this extraordinary time, we thought our congregations might appreciate an emailed letter with the prayers and readings for the Sunday and a short devotional piece, as a way of keeping us together and sharing any thoughts we may have.

Sunday August 23rd 2020 – Eleventh Sunday

after Trinity (Proper 16)

Collect

O God, you declare your almighty power

most chiefly in showing mercy and pity:

mercifully grant to us such a measure of your grace, that we, running the way of your commandments, may receive your gracious promises, and be made partakers of your heavenly treasure;

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.

Readings

First Reading              Isaiah 51: 1-6

Isaiah urges the people to look to their ancestors when they seek the Lord.   Heaven and earth will not last, and it is in the Lord alone they will find their comfort and salvation.

Second Reading       Romans 12:1-8

Paul urges his hearers not to follow the ways of the world, but to allow God to renew their hearts and minds so that they may discern God’s will for their lives.

Gospel                        St. Matthew 16:13-20

Jesus asks his disciples who the people think he is.   Peter declares,’You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God’.   Jesus commends Peter, but warns the disciples not to tell anyone.

Reflection

Many years ago Nick and I joined two friends on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.   John, a former monk, had been leading these pilgrimages for a long time, and experience had taught him the best time for us to visit the various places along the way.   So it was very early one morning that we made our way to the northernmost part of the country, where the river Jordan emerges from beneath Mount Hermon.   At that point, and at that time of year, the river was little more than a large stream, flowing steadily towards the point where it would start gathering speed as it made its way down to the Sea of Galilee. 

On the other side of the river, a footpath led up the lower slopes of the mountain, where shrines had been placed to other gods, notably to Pan,  after whom this place, Paneas, had been named.

For Jesus and his disciples this was to be a turning point on their journey, as from here on they would start heading south.   Jesus saw this as the moment when he should ask his disciples what others were saying about him.   Who did they think he was?  Simon Peter, didn’t waste any time in declaring:  ‘You are the Messiah, the son of the living God.’   Jesus knew that this wasn’t something that Peter would have recognised of his own accord, but something that would have been made known to him by God.  So knowing that he would now be heading towards Jerusalem, where he was to suffer and die, Jesus conferred on Peter the responsibility of continuing his work in the world, with the help of the other disciples.   And this is the responsibility that has been handed down to us.

Whatever our role in life, whatever our position in the Church, our starting point is the same as that of Peter and the disciples.  We have to answer the same question Jesus put to them.   Who do we say Jesus is?   Can we answer not just with our minds, but with our hearts?  It’s not only the clergy who are called in this way.   Every single one of us is called by God; but it is through daily prayer and reflection, and the help of those who know us well, to discern how we are to live out that calling in our everyday lives.  

Like Jesus and the disciples, our group of pilgrims who visited Paneas that morning had reached a turning point in our journey.   As we listened to the gospel reading, the one we have just heard today, and shared in our communion beside the river Jordan, we moved on to the next stage of our journey that would eventually bring us to Jerusalem.  

But what about us, who are here today?   I am a great believer that everything happens for a purpose, and whilst none of us would wish for a pandemic such as we have witnessed over these past months, and which continues to be experienced around the world, it has given the Church the opportunity to find new ways of doing things; through modern technology it has drawn church members and congregations together in new ways; and for this we must give thanks to God.

Post Communion Prayer

Lord of all mercy,

we your faithful people have celebrated that one true sacrifice which takes away our sins and brings pardon and peace:

by our communion keep us firm on the foundation of the gospel and preserve us from all sin;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

SUGGESTIONS FOR PRAYER

Workers in health and social care and emergency services, local GPs and all keyworkers.

Our Benefice and all its communities

Those losing jobs, or facing financial difficulty

Those with mental health problems

Young people anxious about their future

Church – worldwide, Diocese and Benefice

World – peace, equality and justice for all

            – those affected by Coronavirus

Suffering – all who are sick, anxious, lonely

– refugees and all who are homeless

– the people of Beirut.

Radio4   8.10am   Sunday Worship

Online video services:

www.churchofengland.org 

www.trurocathedral.org 

            (Video Recorded Services page)   

www.kerdh.co.uk for readings, prayers & reflections.

Facebook pages:

United Benefice of Padstow, St Merryn St Issey

St Columb Minor & St. Colan Parish Churches

United Benefice of West Kerrier

Wednesday Morning Prayer 9.00am by Zoom

Email Revd Fiona for link   giorlaf@outlook.com

Sunday 26th Teatime Service 4.00pm by Zoom

Email Revd Fiona for link   giorlaf@outlook.com

PRAYERS FOR THIS TIME

Keep us, good Lord,

under the shadow of your mercy

in this time of uncertainty and distress.

Sustain and support the anxious and fearful, and lift up all who are brought low;

that we may rejoice in your comfort

knowing that nothing can separate us

from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Let us pray to Almighty God,

who alone makes us dwell in safety.

For all who are affected by coronavirus,

through illness or isolation or anxiety,

that they may find relief and recovery …

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

For those who are guiding our nation at this time, and shaping national policies that they may make wise decisions, and that all people will be considerate of others …

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

For doctors, nurses and medical researchers,

that through their skill and insights

many will be restored to health …

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

For a blessing on our homes and families, and our local communities, that all who still need help will be known and cared for …

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

We commend ourselves,

and all for whom we pray,

to the mercy and protection of God.

Merciful Father,

accept these prayers

for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen.

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