St Clement Church Community Sunday Service
Good morning to you all as we celebrate our Sunday service, whether in your own home or our church building.
This Sunday in church we will be celebrating a Eucharist service for the 18th Sunday after Trinity and during our worship, on behalf of our Archdeacon I’ll be swearing Liz in as Churchwarden.
Liz will be leading a Service of the Word next Sunday and I’ll be officiating at St Agnes and Mount Hawke.
At the bottom of this service I’ve attached an email received from Archdeacon Audrey re social distancing both during worship and afterwards.
Could you please read it through and take note if you are attending Church. The Covid virus is spreading locally to us now and we all need to be extra vigilant to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and well, especially as the colder weather approaches.
So, please look after yourselves, make sure you have your Flu jabs, and keep safe when, or if, you have to go out and about.
May Christ’s love sustain you always.
Much love to you all,
Rev Di and family xx
Let us pray;
God, our Judge and Saviour, teach us to be open to your truth and to trust in your love, that we may live each day with confidence in the salvation which is given through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Our prayers of Penitence
As we join in worship today, let us seek the renewal of our lives in the light of God’s love for us, revealed by Jesus Christ:
Jesus, Saviour of all, who revealed the breadth of God’s love, forgive us when we fail to show care to those who are different….
Lord, have mercy.
Jesus, Son of God, who revealed the depth of God’s love, forgive us when we are too busy to pray, or to seek God’s will….
Christ, have mercy.
Jesus, Son of Man, who revealed the cost of God’s love, forgive us when we have made light of our failings….
Lord, have mercy.
May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our failings, and bring us to everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Let us pray our Collect for today
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 walk the way of your commandments and receive the crown of everlasting joy; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.
Our Reading is taken from the Gospel of Matthew (22.1-14)
(Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.
Response: ‘Glory to you O Lord.’
Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come.
Again he sent other slaves, saying, “Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.”
But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, maltreated them, and killed them.
The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, “The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.” Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.
‘But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, “Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?” And he was speechless.
Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” For many are called, but few are chosen.’
(This is the Gospel of the Lord. Response: ‘Praise to you, O, Christ’)
Sermon on Matthew 22.1-14 St Clement 2020
Have you ever gone to a social function and found that you’ve got the dress code totally wrong?
I Have. One example is the very first time I attended a formal luncheon in the wardroom at Culdrose. It was tipping down with rain and I was quite soaked by the time I’d run over from chaplaincy.
There was a steward waiting by the wardroom door and he said quietly; ‘Your coat Bish…’ (The nickname for chaplains) ‘Yes my love’ I replied, ‘soaked isn’t it?’ He studied me for a further moment, with hindsight I now know he was searching for divine inspiration, and then said; ‘shall I take your coat Bish?’ Looking at him in his lovely white jacket and immaculate black trousers I said; ‘No, you’ll spoil your clothes my angel, don’t worry, I’ll just chuck it over the back of my chair……’
Luckily, the lead chaplain came to the steward’s rescue and muttered to me; ‘give him your beep beep coat.’ I now know that outer clothing, wet or otherwise, isn’t allowed in the wardroom……Oops.
That was a while ago, but I got it wrong last week too.
First day on base, I threw my stuff into the chaplaincy office and saw orders on the desk. Well, I must admit I didn’t look at them, but went straight out to take 0800 Morning Prayer. So far so good. However, after the service I decided to pop over to the shop, to see the staff there and have a coffee.
I put on a mask (my light green chicken one) before I went into the shop, and who should be in there, but the Standing Officer of the Day.
After looking at me quizzically he asked if by any chance I’d read orders. Well, I couldn’t lie, could I? ‘Nope’ I said, ‘I thought I’d get a coffee first’
He then asked if I had another mask I could wear. ‘Of course, my love,’ I replied, ‘one in each pocket, me.’ So I took off my chicken mask and put on my cat one. After a long pause he said; ‘I haven’t seen you’ and walked out.
My friends in the shop were laughing but didn’t enlighten me why.
On my return to the chaplaincy office I thought I’d better look at orders and happened to notice that masks worn when visiting buildings or sections must be of a plain dark colour……Oops again!
But being improperly dressed can be a nightmare, literally. Ever had a bad dream about it? Waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat after dreaming you were going about your business, only to realize you’re standing before God and everybody else in your pyjamas or even worse, your birthday suit!
Well, today’s sermon is about being properly dressed.
But it’s not about what you wear to church, or at work or home. It’s about being clothed in the righteousness of God.
And what I hope we’ll get out these words is this; while God is perfectly willing to clothe us in the garments of Christ, it’s up to us put them on and wear them faithfully for his glory.
Today’s Gospel comes from a couple of parables neatly tied together. The first has to do with a king who wanted to give a big wedding banquet for his son, so he invited all his friends and political allies. It was to be a royal, festive occasion, but as the servants returned from the neighbouring kingdoms, they only brought back rejections.
The king thought there must be some mistake because in those days, to reject a royal invitation was like a declaration of war, so he gave his allies the benefit of the doubt and sent servants back to say that the wedding banquet was prepared and for them to come at once.
But the would-be guests not only refused the second invitation, they made light of it and killed the king’s servants.
When word got back to the king, he was furious, he summoned his troops and went to war against his now-declared enemies, and once they were defeated, he returned to his kingdom more determined than ever to give his son a proper wedding banquet.
He sent his servants out to invite people off the streets to come to the palace, and sure enough, common folk couldn’t believe their good fortune and poured into the palace to celebrate the marriage of the prince.
In the context of Matthew’s gospel, in the parable the King is God, the Prince is Jesus, the ‘invited’ were the Jews, and the common folk were the Gentiles. This paints the picture how God offered the feast of salvation to the Gentiles: the Jews had refused the invitation.
But the same can happen to us, the kingdom of God is at hand; the table is spread, the banquet hall must be filled and if we’re not willing to accept the invitation, our seat will be given to someone else.
Whatever our excuse, the kingdom must go on. God is at work reconciling the world to himself and if for whatever reason, we’re unwilling to be part of this ministry, God will choose others to do his bidding.
The Good News is the Kingdom of God is at hand, and we’re the honoured guests, but the word to the wise is; dress accordingly, and that’s where the second parable comes in.
According to Matthew, as the king mingled with his guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing a proper wedding garment, he’s as out of place as I was in the wardroom and the shop on base.
The difference is, he wasn’t clueless like me, he was disrespectful.
In Jesus’ day, guests coming to a royal banquet were expected to wear festal garments. For the wealthy, that meant embroidered robes and gowns adorned with precious jewels. For the poor, it meant the best clothes they had, freshly washed. If they could afford it, they’d wear white, and, if they couldn’t, they’d wear as close to white as possible.
Wearing festal garments indicated the person’s full participation in the joy of the wedding, and the implication was that anyone who wasn’t wearing such garments had come along just for the ride. Not there to honour the king and celebrate the marriage of the prince, but only there for the free food and drink.
The way this man was dressed could even be interpreted as a sign of disdain, so the king had every reason to throw him out. But there’s more. In the Bible, clothes have a symbolic meaning. They’re a sign of being dressed in the righteousness of God.
To be clothed in the righteousness of God is to be devoted to the teachings of Jesus and filled with his Spirit, just as Paul told the Ephesians:
“Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil, having the belt of truth buckled around your waist,
and wearing the breastplate of righteousness.
The Good News is that God supplies all the clothes we need to fight the sin of injustice and oppression, self-centeredness and greed, and he gives such clothes as a free gift. The catch is, we have to be willing to wear them, not only on a Sunday morning, but throughout the week.
And that’s not always easy. We gather on Sundays here and in our own homes, to praise God and to talk about the forgiveness Christ offers, yet no sooner than we walk out the door, or get up to make a cup of tea, our vision is blurred by the realities of life; anxiety, stress, conflict and anger.
And before we know it, we’re so caught up in the rat race that we’re just like everybody else – clothed in the ways of the world rather than the righteousness of God.
The crux of the matter is this: God wants to clothe us in garments of Christ, but God leaves it up to us to put them on, and here’s the bottom line: We all know how embarrassing it would be to show up at a social function wrongly dressed, but what we need to remember is that the greatest social function of all – the Kingdom of God – is here and now, and we’re expected to dress accordingly. So, put on the garments of Christ. Let us clothe ourselves in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and love … and in so doing, honour and glorify the king.
As in the words of the hymn;
“Dear Lord and Father of mankind, forgive our foolish ways;
reclothe us in our rightful mind, in purer lives thy service find,
in deeper reverence, praise.” Amen.
Affirmation of our faith
Let us declare our faith in God.
We believe and trust in God the Father, source of all being and life, the one for whom we exist.
We believe and trust in God the Son, who took our human nature, died for us and rose again.
We believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the people of God and makes Christ known in the world.
This is the faith of the Church. This is our faith.
We believe and trust in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Our Intercessions this week are written by Daphne Hawkins
In the power of the spirit and in union with Christ let us pray to the Father.
O God of mercy and love as we gather this morning in the peace of our beloved St Clement Church or in the sanctuary of our homes let your divine presence be with us bringing hope and inner peace.
We are again facing an alarming increase in the number of people infected by this Covid19 disease. Dear Lord help us all to respect the findings of the scientists and medical experts and work together to overcome this silent enemy to bring down the numbers and see the light once again at the end of the tunnel.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Dear Lord, please be with your church at this most difficult of times, where congregating together and communication with each other presents many problems. Give strength and vision to all Bishops and priests as they endeavour to serve both churches and communities in the face of the problems of so many months.
We especially pray for our Reverend Diane in her commitment to the church and the communities she serves. Give her strength in her devotion and care of all forms of life human and animal alike.
We pray for our world leaders and our own government at this time. May they govern with wisdom and understanding, working to resolve economic, health, and social problems with dignity, truth, compassion and justice for all people, mindful of the poor, the hungry, the vulnerable and those in need. The homeless and the refugees, and all people who have lost hope and are in despair.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer
We pray for our loved and respected Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, her steadfast rock and all royal family as they share these difficult days with us.
Dear Lord, we bring to you all who troubled in body and spirit.
Those dear friends around us whose troubles we do not even know of.
We pray for Father Harold, Helen, Esther and Nikki.
We remember Charlotte in the loss of dear Rod both such friends of St Clement Church.
We pray for all people who have no one to love or care or pray for them. In a few moments of silence let us come to you with those troubles we can only share with you, be it here in church or in the privacy of our homes, we pray together as ONE.
Dear Lord, comfort all in despair, fear, and need, give them courage strength and peace at this time. Lay your healing hands on them and may they know your love and compassion always.
Lord we pray for all who have recently departed this earthly life, and we remember those who loved but see no more, we have memories we hold on to, words and deeds they taught us and all they accomplished on their earthly journey.
We pray for the joyful reunion in the world to come.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Lord please walk with us, guide us through this unprecedented journey and always be at our side. Give us the gift of love and compassion to help those bearing a heavy load, that with you at our side we may help to make their journey lighter.
Rejoicing in the fellowship of St Andrews, St Clements and the Blessed Virgin Mary, we commend ourselves and all Christians and all faiths and creeds to your unfailing love.
Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Gathering our prayers and praises into one, let us pray with confidence as Jesus taught us;
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.
To crown all things there must be love, to bind all together and complete the whole. May the peace of Christ always rule in our hearts. Amen.
May God the Holy Trinity make us strong in faith and love, defend us on every side, and guide us in truth and peace; and may the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among us, those whom we love, and remain with us always.
An email from Archdeacon Audrey;
It is clear that Covid-19 infections are increasing in some of our communities, and that our need for careful behaviour is needed more than ever. Please note the following information:
1. Worship is currently exempt from the ‘rule of 6’ only because of the additional restrictions which we have in place. So mask-wearing, hand-hygiene and physical-distancing continue to be most important for ministers and congregations alike. Those attending worship do so at their own risk, but should not put others at risk by their actions. As long as we keep to these patterns of behaviour our worship should be safe to attend.
2. It is evident that churches are generally keeping these requirements well (thank you), but that after-worship behaviour is sometimes dangerously relaxed. Please note that physical-distancing and mask-wearing is still required in church porches, and mixing in groups in churchyards and beyond is not permitted. We fully recognise people’s desire to interact with friends, but if churches are not seen to be abiding by appropriate limitations, our ability to worship in church may be removed.
Thank you so much for all that you are doing to keep your churches safe places, and to enable to worship of God to continue.
Ven. Audrey Elkington
Archdeacon of Bodmin