Sunday 18 October Trinity 19

The Feast of St Luke

The Ox of St Luke German 15th century : Public Domain The Met New York

This Sunday we will have

  • A service of Holy Communion at All Saints’ Church at 9.30am

This is followed by the Parish of Westbury’s Annual Parochial Church Meeting which was originally scheduled for March 2020. This meeting reviews our work in 2019 and there will be an opportunity to hear about our plans for the future.
If you would like copies of the papers you can find them here.

  • There will be a Café Church Service on Zoom led by Rev’d Caroline Husband at 10am. For details on how we can join why not contact us?

Collect for the Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity

O God, forasmuch as without you
we are not able to please you;
mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit
may in all things direct and rule our hearts;
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

Collect for St Luke’s Day

Almighty God,
you called Luke the physician,
whose praise is in the gospel,
to be an evangelist and physician of the soul:
by the grace of the Spirit
and through the wholesome medicine of the gospel,
give your Church the same love and power to heal;
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 35: 3 – 6

Strengthen the weak hands,
    and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
    ‘Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.
    He will come with vengeance,
with terrible recompense.
    He will come and save you.’

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
    and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
    and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
    and streams in the desert;

Psalm 147: 1 – 7

Praise the Lord!
How good it is to sing praises to our God;
    for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
    he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the broken-hearted,
    and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars;
    he gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
    his understanding is beyond measure.
The Lord lifts up the downtrodden;
    he casts the wicked to the ground.

Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
    make melody to our God on the lyre.

2 Timothy 4: 5 – 17

As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully.

As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Do your best to come to me soon, 10 for Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful in my ministry. 12 I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. 14 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will pay him back for his deeds. 15 You also must beware of him, for he strongly opposed our message.

16 At my first defence no one came to my support, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them! 17 But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.

Luke 10: 1- 9

10 After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this house!” And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the labourer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.”

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

Matthew 22:15-22

During the current situation, we’re all encouraged to use our contactless bank cards, or to pay bills by direct bank transfer, and to use standing orders and direct debits for regular payments from our bank accounts. I’ve still got some of the same cash in my purse as I had back in March! However, if you have a pound coin in your purse or wallet, you will see that it bears an image of our Queen Elizabeth 2 with the words Elizabeth II DG Reg FD which means Elizabeth 2 By the grace of God, Defender of the Faith.  This says something about the Christian heritage which Her Majesty is a part of, indeed she is the Head of the Church of England, and as such was crowned in a religious ceremony, rather like an ordination, making vows to serve God and her people.

This is all a far cry from the coin which the Pharisees brought to Jesus with their trick question, after their hypocritical flattery: Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor or not?  What is behind their question is that the Jews were required to pay their taxes with this special coin that carried the image of the Roman emperor Caesar, whom the Romans called a god. This offended the Jews because it went against the first two of the Ten Commandments: You shall have no other gods but me and  You shall not make for yourself an idol (or graven image).They are trying to trap Jesus with their question. If he had answered Yes then he risks alienating the oppressed Jews under Roman occupation. If he answered No then he could be accused of stirring up a rebellion against Rome.

His answer is very clever and indeed compelling. Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.  In other words, Jesus is encouraging the people to pay their taxes, as they are obliged to. Someone once said, there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes and of the two the former is preferable as it only happens once! People may not like paying their taxes, but we (mostly) do.

What about the next part of his answer? The coin which the Pharisees brought to Jesus bore an image of the Emperor. What is it that bears God’s image? Well it’s us, of course! Genesis talks about humankind being made in the image of God.  We are to give to God that which is God’s, ie ourselves! This is a far bigger ask than paying our taxes. We are called to give our whole selves to God. Remember the first part of the summary of the law: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is what we, as Christians are called to do. And again, the Psalmist writes: The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. If everything is the Lord’s then we are to care for it and give back to the Lord a portion of it in thanksgiving. This is what we do when we contribute towards the financial offering at our church. We give a proportion of what God has blessed us with, as an offering to the Lord, demonstrating our love for and dependence on God for everything he blesses us with every day of our lives.   

So, this is not just a clever piece of banter between Jesus and the Pharisees. Jesus turns the situation around to show how we are to give the best of what we have – our very selves – back to God, in thanksgiving for all that he has blessed us with. May God bless you as you do this.

Rev’d Rebecca Harris, Team Rector

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