Newsletter – 11 October 2020

Sunday Letter

Benefice of Padstow & Trevone,

St. Merryn, & St Issey with Little Petherick

During this extraordinary time, we thought our congregations might appreciate a 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 October 11th – Eighteenth Sunday

after Trinity (Proper 23)

Collect

Almighty and everlasting God,

increase in us your gift of faith
that, forsaking what lies behind

and reaching out to that which is before,
we may run the way of your commandments

and win the crown of everlasting joy;
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 25:1-9

The powerful and ruthless do not realise just how much God is on the side of the poor, elevating them to equality with all others for whom he provides the banquet of life.

Second Reading          Philippians 4:1-9

Let men and women rejoice as they work together in equality for the kingdom of God whose will for the good of all is paramount.

Gospel                         St. Matthew 22:1-14

When those whom the Lord has especially chosen refuse to attend his celebration of life, then others who are most unexpected are given a place at God’s table.

Reflection.

In these days when we are getting used to the rule of six, and when weddings – and wedding receptions – are limited to fifteen guests, this parable about a wedding banquet takes us on a nostalgic trip back to pre-Covid days. Receptions, parties, all kinds of gatherings with unlimited guests and no distancing required. It feels a very distant memory.

But all is not well with this particular wedding banquet. All the carefully invited guests are either not interested or too busy getting on with their own lives. No host would want to see such lavish preparations go to waste and this king is no exception. He sends out new invitations to anyone and to everyone, the good and the bad, with no regard for status or position. “And the wedding hall was filled with guests”.

Jesus introduces the parable as a comparison with the kingdom of heaven. The king is God, and the first guests invited are God’s chosen race, the people of ancient Israel. In the previous chapter Matthew had described Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem to shouts of Hosanna, yet in five days time the people would turn against him. “Crucify him” would be their cry. The people of Jerusalem did not accept God’s invitation.

But the king’s banquet, God’s kingdom, will not fail because those first guests refused to enter. The final invitation is inclusive in the extreme. A radical inclusiveness that takes no account of social status, ethnicity, law-keeping or previous sinful behaviour. Inclusive in the way that Jesus embodied throughout his ministry. All are welcome in the banquet, until one person is spotted without the correct garment and he is dramatically thrown out. This always used to puzzle me. It makes more sense if we think not so much of wearing the right garment but of being ‘clothed in Christ’. We are all invited into God’s kingdom, but to remain we need to accept the ways of the kingdom, or as Paul would say ‘to put on the Lord Jesus Christ’, ‘to be clothed in Christ’. Presumably that was something this guest had refused to do.

Having been set various tasks of self-examination during my pre-ordination retreat, I can see parallels again with this reading. Bishop Hugh invited us to think honestly about the battle within each of us between worldly priorities – like envy, pride, ambition, and greed – and the space we keep in our hearts for Jesus. He encouraged us to examine our ‘worldly clutter’ and to have a good clear out, to make more room for Jesus in our lives.

There is perhaps a danger for us in the church if we believe that we are the first invited, that we are God’s chosen people today. Rather like those first invited wedding guests, are we sometimes too preoccupied with ourselves and too busy with worldly things to accept God’s invitation? 

Post Communion Prayer

We praise and thank you,

O Christ, for this sacred feast:
for here we receive you,

here the memory of your passion is renewed,
here our minds are filled with grace,

and here a pledge of future glory is given,
when we shall feast at that table where you reign
with all your saints for ever.  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

Schools-teachers, children and parents

Colleges and students

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

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

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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