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 will be this Service of the Word led by Liz, (St Agnes and Mount Hawke have to put up with me this week…..) next Sunday will be a Eucharist Service.
I am still waiting to hear from the Archdeacons as to whether we will be able to hold our APCM in church on Tuesday, I will endeavour to let you know as soon as possible.
Please continue to keep yourselves safe when you go out and about and may Christ’s love sustain you always.
Much love to you all,
Rev Di and family xx
Let us pray;
Almighty God, send down upon your Church the riches of your Spirit, and kindle in all who minister the gospel your countless gifts of grace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Our prayers of Penitence
In a moment of quiet reflection, we lay aside all pretence towards God and bring our fears and failings to our risen Christ:
Jesus, Emmanuel, God-with-us, forgive our unwelcoming hearts..
Lord, have mercy.
Jesus, Son of God, Servant of humanity, forgive our self-centred lives..
Christ, have mercy.
Jesus, Prince of Peace, Hope of the nations, forgive our bitter conflicts..
Lord, have mercy.
May Almighty God, who sent his Son into the world to save fallen humanity, bring us his pardon and peace, now and for ever. Amen.
Let us pray our Collect for the 15th Sunday after Trinity
God, who in generous mercy sent the Holy Spirit upon your Church in the burning fire of your love: grant that your people may be fervent in the fellowship of the gospel that, always abiding in you, they may be found steadfast in faith and active in service; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Our Reading is taken from the Gospel of Matthew (20.1-16)
(Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew. Response: ‘Glory to you O Lord.’)
‘For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the labourers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard.
When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the market-place; and he said to them, “You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” So they went.
When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, “Why are you standing here idle all day?” They said to him, “Because no one has hired us.” He said to them, “You also go into the vineyard.”
When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, “Call the labourers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.” When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage.
Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, “These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.”
But he replied to one of them, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you.
Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?”
So the last will be first, and the first will be last.’
(This is the Gospel of the Lord. Response: ‘Praise to you, O, Christ’)
Our Reflection is written by Liz Davies
REFLECTIONS Matthew 20 v. 1 – 16
I wonder – when you read, or hear, the Gospel reading for today, do you think … ‘how wonderful!’ Are you delighted that those who work all day in the extreme heat get paid the same as those who work for just one hour? I suspect not!
In recent years we have read a lot about the different rates of pay paid by the BBC, and many other organisations, to men and women – doing exactly the same jobs, but men being paid considerably more than the women. In fact, it is still so – men are often paid more than women and yet, the jobs are exactly the same.
In the ‘furore’ at the BBC – everything was fine while no one knew what anyone else was earning. I t was only when someone learnt that the person working as their co-host on a programme was earning so much more – and he was a male – that the flood gates opened and women across the organisation were up in arms! Justifiably – I’m sure you’ll say.
In the parable of the labourers in the vineyard everyone hired early in the morning agrees to the usual daily rate of pay … it was just when, at the end of the day, when those who have only worked for an hour are generously paid – a full day’s wage - that those who have worked longer assume that they will be paid more - after all, it’s only fair, isn’t it?
It’s a difficult story, isn’t It? It’s certainly not one of Jesus’ most popular parables! Let’s be honest, it goes totally against one of our most cherished values – just reward for hard work. The more you work and the more productive you are, the more you ought to get paid. I don’t think anyone would disagree with that, would they? And that, is the complaint of those who have worked all day.
This parable provokes one of the most common cries of childhood – ‘But that’s not fair!’ How is it that some seem to get more than they deserve when others get less. It’s just not right!
It would be easy to ignore this parable – put it away with a label on it – ‘Bible story not to be taken seriously!’ BUT – perhaps we should look again at this story. Is there a lesson for us to learn? Is this about human justice and God’s justice? Is this about us feeling we should have more than we deserve?
Let’s look at this story once more. A land owner hires workers early in the morning, and promises to pay them what amounts to the minimum wage – one denarius. This is considered to be the basic amount a man can support his family on for one day. The landowner then goes back at 9 o’clock, at noon, at 3 o’clock and at 5 o’clock and hires more workers. He tells them that he will pay them what is right.
So far – so good! In. our mind, we’ve already worked it all out – they will be paid a pro rata share of one denarius. According to our standards, that is fair. At the end of the day the land owner has all the workers line up, starting with those who started at 5 o’clock. He pays them a denarius – a full day’s pay.
Still, no problem. If he pays one denarius for one hour’s work, then he must be going to pay one denarius per hour. That’d be generous, but fair. But, this is where the story takes an unexpected turn, for, as the workers file by to receive their wages, he pays them all the same, one denarius, no matter how long they have worked.
‘That’s not fair!’ they complain. The landowner is not playing by the rules.
Never mind that they are getting exactly what they have been promised. The fact that everyone else is getting the same is too much to bear.
The land owner replies, ‘Don’t I have the right to do with my money as I wish? Are you jealous because I am generous? Take your pay and go home.’
So, what was it that made the workers who had worked all day so angry that the others are being paid the same amount? The first problem is that they are obviously working for the pay and not out of any sense of purpose or pleasure.
This is a good question for us to ask ourselves. ‘What is it that motivates us to do the things we do? Whether we are employed full - time or serve as a volunteer, whether we work in the community or around the house, what motivates us to do what we do? If it’s money or recognition or the praise of others, we need to be careful. Most jobs don’t pay enough to satisfy a healthy ego. If what we do isn’t self – satisfying and self-fulfilling, we’re likely to harbour resentment and anger about doing it, and when someone comes along doing the same job and gets paid more, we’re likely to feel as resentful as the workers in the vineyard. It is only when we truly enjoy what we are doing that we will not look over our shoulder to compare our situation with others.
The second problem with the vineyard workers is that they lack a healthy sense of gratitude. Have you ever been out of work? Have you ever applied for a job and been turned down? I can tell you, it’s no fun. Can you remember how thankful you felt when you got a call or a letter offering you a job? Well, what happens to that thankfulness once you’re on that job for a while and the newness wears off? Isn’t that when we complain and start to find fault? Those who are thankful to be employed have little to complain about. It’s when thankfulness gives way to the routine that we become disgruntled and begrudge those who seem to have it better. If we’re not careful, we lose our enthusiasm and start to see our work, not as a chance to be fulfilled and to get ahead, but as a necessary evil to be endured. The more grateful for the opportunity to serve and contribute and work, the less concerned we’re likely to be over working conditions or fringe benefits.
There’s something else about thankfulness: it keeps one humble when one stops to consider those less fortunate than oneself. You know the old adage: ‘I complained because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.’ The same holds true for every level of work. Are you able to clean your house and mow the lawn? Are you able to buy your groceries and pay your bills? Remember, there are those who are not able to do any of those things. The more one considers how blessed one is, the more one is able to look upon those less fortunate with compassion rather than resentmen.t
In the parable, God’s justice is that everyone got work and everyone was given the essential earnings to feed his family. It may be that the 5 o’clock people standing idle all day were so, not because they didn’t want to work or didn’t try to get a job, but because they were the least fit for work. God’s justice is that everyone got to work, and everyone was given the essential earnings to feed his family. The inequity of their varying hours of work is offset by the inequity of their varying strengths and abilities. This is God’s justice, not that we get what we deserve, but that we get what we need.
Finally, the problem with the workers who complained the loudest is that they failed to recognise their relationship to each other. The offence of God’s justice is softened when the ‘all day’ workers and the ‘eleventh hour’ workers stop seeing each other as ‘us and them’ and start seeing each other as ‘we.’
The story is told of a man who died and went to heaven. St Peter met him at the pearly gates and asked to examine his qualifications. ‘We have a points system,’ St Peter said, ‘and only those with enough points are allowed to enter.’
‘Points?’ the man asked, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’
St Peter explained, ‘It’s simple. We determine how many points you have by the life you’ve led. We require a hundred points to get in. Tell me about your life and I’ll add up your points.’
The man thought for a moment and said, ‘Well, let’s see. I was a faithful member of my church for over 47 years. I served as a Churchwarden, a Reader and I taught in Sunday School.’
St Peter said, ‘Very good. You get one point.’
The man said to himself, ‘Oh my! Well, let’s see – I was a good husband and a good father. I contributed to the church and all sorts of charities. I helped with various civic projects and I served on several committees. Doesn’t that count for anything?’
St Peter said, ‘Indeed it does. You get another point.’
The man’s face sank and he said, ‘I can see now – I’ll never make it. The only way I’d ever get into this place is by the grace of God.’
St Peter smiled and said, ‘And that, my friend, is worth ninety-eight points. Welcome!’
Perhaps now, this parable makes sense.
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 Liz Davies
INTERCESSIONS SUNDAY 20TH SEPTEMBER 2020
Dear Lord, as we gather our thoughts to offer You our prayers, we thank You for the opportunity to be still, to let our thoughts wander, to open our hearts to You and to listen for Your voice.
Dear Lord, in the calm and peace of this time, we bring before You all those around the world who are suffering through man’s inhumanity to man. We ask Your blessing on all those who cannot live in peace and harmony; those who are constantly in fear of violence in all its forms; those who are suffering through hunger and lack of medical care; those who are tortured for their beliefs or just for the satisfaction of their tormentors.
Dear Lord, we pray that those in authority may always seek the good of the people that they represent and not their own importance and dominance. We pray that ideology should never be at the expense of the welfare of ordinary families.
Lord, we bring before You the many thousands of people in Washington State, California and Oregon who have lost their homes in the fires that have swept their states. We cannot imagine the pain, agony and hopelessness that they must be feeling. We remember those whose lives have been turned upside down by floods, earthquakes and tornadoes; those for whom there is no certainty of the next meal because of drought. We ask Your comfort and blessing on them all and may we never forget just how fortunate we are.
Dear Lord, as communities become more concerned at the spike in the Covid pandemic, we pray that each and every person will take seriously the dangers that are before us. Each of us needs to take care of ourselves and our communities by social distancing, wearing masks and washing our hands frequently. The risks and dangers are very real and each of us needs to take them seriously.
Dear Lord, forgive us when we waste our lives by being too busy to enjoy Your creation. Teach us to make spaces in the day to do the things we most enjoy. Just as You rested from Your work, help us to practise the discipline of recreation and help us to become Your hands and feet in our streets so that our neighbours will one day ask us to tell them more about You.
Dear Lord, help us to see and understand that it is only through Your grace that we receive Your justice which is over and above what we deserve.
Loving Lord, help those we know and love to turn away from habits which are harmful to them. Help them to turn to You in times of crisis, rather than reaching for ‘quick-fix’ solutions. Lord, we also bring before You those we know who are ill or suffering in any way. Give them healing and restore them in body, mind and spirit. We especially pray for: Father Harold, Esther, and all those known to each one of us.
Lord, we remember in Your presence all those who have died, and particularly those we have known and loved – Edward, Jack and Marion. Thank You for them and thank You for Your promise of eternal life and peace. Be close to those who are recently bereaved - Armorel and family, Maureen and family, John and family - strengthen them with the knowledge that You are always there to lean on and to be carried through difficult times.
Dear Lord, we do not always live our lives as we should; we do not always treat others as we would be treated; we do not follow in Your way as we should.
We ask Your blessing on each and every one of us; lead us along the paths You would have us follow; stretch forth Your hand when we falter, and may we feel Your presence at all times.
We believe, please help our unbelief.
We listen, please help us to hear.
We look, please help us to see, and in so doing, let us be true and faithful followers of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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.
We are the body of Christ. In the one Spirit we were all baptised into one body. Let us then pursue all that makes for peace and build up our common life. May the peace of God be always with us. 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 presence of God watch over us, the power of God protect us, those whom we love, and may we never forget that wherever we are, God is with us always.