Sunday 13 September Trinity 14

Today is Holy Cross Day traditionally we celebrate this as the Patronal Festival of Holy Saviour.
There will be a service at Holy Saviour at 10.30am but as space is limited we would ask that only members of the Holy Saviour congregation join us.

There will be a service of Holy Communion at 9.30am at Holy Trinity, Dilton Marsh led by the Rev’d Caroline Husband.

There will be a Cafe Church service using Zoom at 10am with Ashley Jones and Rev’d Rebecca Harris. If you wish to join us please contact us for the joining information.

Collect for the 14th Sunday after Trinity

Almighty God,
whose only Son has opened for us
a new and living way into your presence:
give us pure hearts and steadfast wills
to worship you in spirit and in truth;
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

Genesis 50: 15 – 21

15 Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, ‘What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?’ 16 So they approached Joseph, saying, ‘Your father gave this instruction before he died, 17 “Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.” Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.’ Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, ‘We are here as your slaves.’ 19 But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? 20 Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. 21 So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.’ In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.

Psalm 103: 8 – 13

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he keep his anger for ever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love towards those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far he removes our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion for his children,
    so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.

Romans 14: 1 – 12

14 Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarrelling over opinions. Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgement on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. Who are you to pass judgement on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. Those who observe the day, observe it in honour of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honour of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honour of the Lord and give thanks to God.

We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

10 Why do you pass judgement on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgement seat of God. 11 For it is written,

‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
    and every tongue shall give praise to God.’

12 So then, each of us will be accountable to God.

Matthew 18: 21 – 35

21 Then Peter came and said to him, ‘Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’ 22 Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.

23 ‘For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; 25 and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. 26 So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.” 27 And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow-slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, “Pay what you owe.” 29 Then his fellow-slave fell down and pleaded with him, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you.” 30 But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow-slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32 Then his lord summoned him and said to him, “You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Should you not have had mercy on your fellow-slave, as I had mercy on you?” 34 And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he should pay his entire debt. 35 So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.’

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash

Reflection

We begin with prayer:

Father, Son and Holy Spirit – Help me to be open to your love and to allow it to flow through me and the people I am with. Amen

Matthew is a Gospel -telling us the good news of Jesus Christ. Matthew goes to great lengths to ensure that we understand exactly who Jesus is -the long awaited Messiah, the Saviour, the Chosen One, God’s anointed to bring healing and reconciliation to the world. Fully Man and fully God. Jesus, God incarnate, shows us through his teachings, works, prayers, companions, family, political interests, interaction with various communities and with the church of the day that the kingdom of God is close at hand and in order to experience that more fully we need to change our ways, change our perspective on life: rather than being all about me, it’s about what we can do together with God.

In today’s passage, we remember that Matthew is writing to the church, he is writing to a church that is struggling to live well with all its members, earlier in the chapter we read that when one sheep goes astray the good shepherd goes and seeks the sheep…the church is in conflict. We all know what that can be like! It’s not pleasant for anyone. It is the single biggest factor why people visit a church and never return -they pick up on bad vibes and do not want to stay. Jesus’s approach when conflict happens -and let’s be honest about this, it is always going to happen…conflict is simply the word we give to two people having a different idea from each other…but how we deal with difference- opinions, ideas, traditions, expectations is what matters. Jesus does not want us to get all huffy about it, gossip about the other person, roll our eyes or gripe behind their back, rather he says “if another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone…..” he continues: ”For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” (Matt 18:15,20 NRSV). We often think this last verse refers to a small gathering in the church building but it is actually a promise that Jesus is with us when we try to resolve our differences. It is in his spirit that we approach reconciliation and, perhaps, some compromise.

Spend some time with God today, recalling the times you have gone behind someone’s back and rather than speaking words of grace and compassion have given in to temptation and thought words of complaint. Have any of these led to long-term hurts? Is there a single action you could take today to try and make peace with them? Ask God to show you the path to reconciliation, giving thanks for his mercy and love. Bless those whom you love, but bless those you struggle with all the more. Amen

Rev’d Caroline Husband

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