Sunday 11 October Trinity 18

This Sunday there will be

  • A service of Holy Communion at Holy Trinity, Dilton Marsh at 9.30am with Rev’ds Caroline Husband and Rebecca Harris
  • A Cafe Church service on Zoom at 10am – please join Ashley Jones and Rev’d Mel Otto any time after 9.45am

Contact us for more information and how to join our Zoom Services

Collect for the Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity

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

Isaiah 25: 1 – 9

O Lord, you are my God;
    I will exalt you, I will praise your name;
for you have done wonderful things,
    plans formed of old, faithful and sure.
For you have made the city a heap,
    the fortified city a ruin;
the palace of aliens is a city no more,
    it will never be rebuilt.
Therefore strong peoples will glorify you;
    cities of ruthless nations will fear you.
For you have been a refuge to the poor,
    a refuge to the needy in their distress,
    a shelter from the rainstorm and a shade from the heat.
When the blast of the ruthless was like a winter rainstorm,
    the noise of aliens like heat in a dry place,
you subdued the heat with the shade of clouds;
    the song of the ruthless was stilled.

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
    a feast of rich food, a feast of well-matured wines,
    of rich food filled with marrow, of well-matured wines strained clear.
And he will destroy on this mountain
    the shroud that is cast over all peoples,
    the sheet that is spread over all nations;
he will swallow up death for ever.
Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces,
    and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth,
    for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
    Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us.
    This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
    let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
    he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
    for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
    I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff—
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    my whole life long.

Philippians 4: 1 – 9

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.

I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

An anthem inspired by the words of our reading

Matthew 22: 1 – 14

The Parable of the Wedding Banquet

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.” 10 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.

11 ‘But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, 12 and he said to him, “Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?” And he was speechless. 13 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.” 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.’

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.

Reflection

REJOICE IN THE LORD! (Philippians 4:1-9)

This week, I’ve been hearing how some people are worried and fearful about a number of things. We have people who are worried about the present situation in our country, with rising levels of Corona virus cases around the country and some parts going into lockdown. The prospect of spending the winter with the dark cold nights and the fear of more lockdowns around the country fill people with dread. At the moment, we’re still not sure how we’re going to be able to celebrate Christmas – although I am sure we will celebrate in one way or another! But who knows what the coming weeks will bring?…

I’ve also heard how some are worried about the future of the church. Our income has, unfortunately, fallen since the church was closed for several months, and we were not able to have services, weddings, funerals or baptisms or other fundraising events. Although some of these have started, numbers have to be limited. And some people are cautious about coming out because of their health conditions. It’s easy to let all this get you down and feel fed up.

At such a time, it’s good to turn to Scripture and this week I’ve been reading Paul’s letter to the Philippians which is one of our readings for this Sunday. Paul wrote this letter while he was in prison. He had been arrested and imprisoned for preaching the gospel and upsetting the authorities. Paul was very fond of the Christians at Philippi. We can tell that from the way he addresses them: My brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved. Although he is writing from isolation, he is still thinking about his friends in Philippi and wants to support and encourage them from a distance and build them up in their faith and in unity. It sounds like there had been a falling out among two of the women and that they were stirring up trouble. He pleads with them to agree with each other in the Lord. For divisions and disagreements in the church, when they are aired publicly do nothing for church unity; in fact they encourage people to take sides and argue against each other. We really must make every effort to build one another up and encourage each other as much as we can.

And Paul continues: Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: rejoice! This is what he says to them, even while he is in prison and may not feel he has much to rejoice about! We were talking about this in the prayer course last night. One vital aspect of prayer is adoration. How do we, in the course of our daily lives, lift our hearts, minds and voices to the Lord in praise of Him and all he has done? We found the Psalms to be a great source of inspiration, and when we use a Psalm or a favourite hymn or song of praise, how it can lift our spirits and help us to raise our sights to the Lord, rather than be buried in our own concerns. The Lord loves it when we praise and worship him so let’s try and do it!

And finally Paul says: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Instead of being bowed down with worry, fear and concern, let us turn to the Lord, put all our faith, hope and trust in the Lord and ask for his help in our lives, in our church, in our nation and in our world. We are going through a huge upheaval in the world at this time. Let us be gentle with ourselves and with each other. Let us be grateful for all that God has given us. Let us offer our praise and thanksgiving to him and then, as Paul continues: the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

For that is ultimately what is important: guarding our hearts and minds in Christ, persevering in our faith and love for the Lord, and pointing others to the hope which is in us.

I’m going to close with the final words of Paul from this passage, as a kind of prayer: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure,, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Amen.

Rev’d Rebecca Harris, Team Rector