Written Service – the Seventh Sunday after Trinity

This Seventh Sunday after Trinity we worship with this written service. Services in church resume on Sunday 2nd August. This Sunday we are thankful to Revd Simon Cook, Vicar of the Parish of Kirklees Valley, for his reflection on today’s readings.

Opening Prayer
Lord of all power and might,
the author and giver of all good things:
graft in our hearts the love of your name,
increase in us true religion,
nourish us with all goodness,
and of your great mercy keep us in the same;
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.

2 Corinthians 4.7-15
Matthew 20.20-28

Reflection from Fr Luke –The Way of St James …
A man, clearly recovering from the night before, smelling of booze and cigarettes, sat down on a bus next to a priest. The man’s tie was stained, there was lurid pink lipstick on his collar and face, and a half-empty bottle of whisky was sticking out of the man’s torn coat pocket. He opened his newspaper and began reading. After a few minutes the man turned to the priest and asked, “Tell me Father, do you know what causes arthritis?”
The priest, having smelled and seen the state of the man, replied thoughtfully, “My son, it’s caused by loose living, consorting with cheap, wicked women, too much alcohol, contempt for your fellow man, sleeping around with ladies of the night, and the lack of a good bath.” The man muttered in response, “Well, I’ll be damned,” then returned to his paper.
The priest, thinking about what he had said, nudged the man and apologized. “I’m very sorry. I didn’t mean to come on so strong. How long have you had arthritis?” The man answered, “I don’t have it, Father. I was just reading here that the Pope suffers from it.”

What better to way to celebrate the life of St James than to open with a gag about arthritis, as we are all aware no doubt, that St James is the patron Saint of arthritis and rheumatism – I think the Pope in question was John Paul II. I hope that if you were not aware of St James’ patronage, you perhaps feel a little closer now to St James, especially if you yourself have arthritis or rheumatism or you know someone who does – who out of all of us doesn’t have some kind of ache or pain every now and again at least?
St James’ patronage of arthritis is perhaps not so well known, unlike the pilgrimage people undertake in his name, the Camino de Santiago. One is quite glamorous, only recently there has been a series on TV following celebrities as they walked the Camino, the other is more about queueing in the rain at the chemists getting pills for your painful bones. We are particularly blessed to have such a famous and ever popular saint as our patron – imagine if we had one of those lesser known saints as our patron, someone like Christina the Astonishing – any ideas what she is the patron of? Millers, and psychiatrists! This is a good one, how about St Dismas – what did they do? Patron saint of undertakers. Who could forget St Drogo of Sebourg – what worthy cause do they patronise? It is, of course, coffee houses and, importantly, shepherds too. Perhaps a saint we all ought to know about is good old St Vitus – the patron saint of dancers you may know about, but also of comedians.
What we see here is that God has an infinitely wide-ranging interest in the lives of His people, and the saints, and there are lots of them, their sainthood celebrates and affirms the diversity of the lives that we lead. You can name any profession or its relation and you will find a saint who is its patron, there are many, and their lives are worth reading about because they are often evidenced examples of how to live for God, and if we follow their example we hopefully live in a way too that God wants us to live.
The saints have done the heavy lifting for us with their lives and jobs, setting the examples. But even following these examples can be a hard task in its own right. We may not end up martyred like St James and many of the other saints, but it may well mean some kind of sacrifice for us. There has to be a recognition of this, and again we see that in the lives of the saints, they do make sacrifices, sometimes their lives, but always the way they live.

The difficulty of trying to live this way is in the warning that Jesus gives to the mother of the sons of Zebedee. There seems little doubt that Jesus knows of the hardship that those who follow him directly in his lifetime, just like the Way of St James, will face.
Fortunately, 2000 years later, we in the West do not typically face hardships as dangerous as those the saints faced. But we still face the difficulty of trying to live a life of service, of serving those who live in this parish, sometimes in prayer, sometimes in what we can do for them, and also being present here, now to pray for this community and area, and commend everyone who lives here, everyone whose life is part of the way of St James in this place, to serve them in way that the saints and God would be pleased with. Not easy, but it can be done in lots of little ways, which all add up. Amen.

Prayers for Ourselves and Our World
We believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven & earth. We believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven. He is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, Encouraged by our fellowship with all the saints, let us pray to the Father. Father, your Son called men and women to leave the past behind them and to follow him as his disciples in the way of the cross. Look with mercy upon those whom he calls today, marks with the cross and makes his disciples within the Church… Bless us in our calling.
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Your Son told his disciples not to be afraid and at Easter breathed on them his gift of peace. Look with mercy upon the world into which he sent them out, and give it that peace for which it longs…
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Your Son formed around him a company who were no longer servants but friends, and he called all those who obeyed him his brother and sister and mother. Look with mercy upon our families and our friends and upon the communities in which we share… Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Your Son sent out disciples to preach and heal the sick. Look with mercy on all those who yearn to hear the good news of salvation, and renew among your people the gifts of healing. Bless those who are sick or in need, full of sorrow or despair, and those who seek to care for them. Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Your Son promised to those who followed him that they would sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel and would share the banquet of the kingdom. According to your promise, look with mercy on those who have walked with Christ in this life and now have passed through death. Bless those who mourn and give them peace. Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.

The Call of Wisdom – Will Todd

The hymns is NEH 141 – Holy Spirit ever dwelling

Lord God, whose Son is the true vine and the source of life,
ever giving himself that the world may live:
may we so receive within ourselves
the power of his death and passion
that, in his saving cup,
we may share his glory and be made perfect in his love;
for he is alive and reigns, now and for ever. Amen.