Sixteenth Sunday in Trinity

You are most welcome to join us this Sixteenth Sunday in trinity as we worship in church with a Eucharist and online with this written service. Today we are led in worship by Rev Robert Frede.

The Collect for the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity

O Lord, we beseech you mercifully to hear the prayers of your people who call upon you; and grant that they may both perceive and know what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfil them; 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.

The Readings

Old Testament Lesson: Ezekiel 18: 1-4, 25-end
New Testament Lesson: Philippians 2: 1-13

The Gospel Reading:  Matthew 21: 23-32

Sermon – in the name of The Father, The Son and The Holy Ghost, Amen

 What do you believe?
This question may seem very simple to answer at first.

But if we are being truthful, it is not an easy question to answer unless, of course, we have memorized the answer from catechism or intentionally discerned the answer and have practiced articulating it to others.

The gospel today demonstrates why it is important to know the answer to this question. Without knowing exactly what you believe, you are sure to be caught in the situation that the priests and elders are in as they are confronted by Jesus.
It would have served them well if they had been prepared and could answer confidently. But more importantly, they would have brought together the community if their interests were not self-serving, selfish, and without integrity.

Based on where we are in our corporate lives in the church, articulating our beliefs has become essential. But before we can be building blocks for growing a larger community of faith, we must know what it is in our hearts and souls. This is not to say that our focus should remain there, only that it must begin there. In the end, we are still called into a corporate life in Christ where, together with our sister and brother believers, we continue the work of building up the Kingdom of God in our world.

If Paul’s letter to the Philippians has any ring of truth for us today, then there cannot be community without unity in a corporate belief. Paul tells us that we must be of the same mind as Jesus, and the only way to accomplish that is through love, humility, and reconciliation and not through conceit or selfishness.

It is very difficult to be a community in our world today. Yet it is essential for a holistic, healthy, and happy life.

The world we live in today causes us to struggle for balance between the individualism that is encouraged by society and our desperate need to belong. We struggle to reconcile ourselves and be at peace in a world that is connected by technology but knows little about anyone outside our circles.

Let us not trivialize Paul’s message of love, humility, and reconciliation – they are not just buzz words. They are deeply connecting words that speak through our hearts and souls. They are foundational words used throughout the gospels as Jesus models love, humility, and reconciliation for us.

These characteristics are evident in the parable we heard in today’s gospel. The father, who is the owner of a vineyard, has two sons, and he asks them both to come to work with him. The first son refuses to honour his father’s request but he changes his mind, repents, and then goes to work in the vineyard. The son has a change of heart that he acknowledges through his repentance as a sign of humility, love, and his willingness to discern and reflect reconciliation. The second son says he will go to work but he does not. His actions are an example of selfishness and lack of integrity.

Jesus does not just tell the story about the father and his two sons, but further describes community-building to the elders and chief priests in the temple through their own attitudes about John the Baptist.

Jesus tells them that they had a chance to hear what John had to say about justice and righteousness, but they chose to remain fixed on their laws and those things that secured their power. He confronted their selfishness and lack of integrity directly while simultaneously demonstrating that this did not build up the community of faith.

Jesus uses the faith of the tax collectors and prostitutes who heard John’s message and changed their ways to show community-building at its best. They model the personal responsibility we each have to change, seek justice, listen, and hear the truth in differences. The prophetic words of Ezekiel say clearly that those who have considered and turned toward a change for justice and willingness to hear truth in difference will live. They will find a new heart and a new spirit.

As we listen to these readings and discern our own hearts and souls, we begin the process of answering the question

What do you believe?

Listening and hearing our readings in the context of celebrating our corporate lives is another step. The next step requires that we share our hearts with each other and then with everyone we encounter in our lives. This does not mean that we are evangelizing to everyone everywhere. But as St. Francis is attributed as saying

Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.

What do you believe?
It needs to be evident in the way we live and relate. Living with integrity means that there is no break between our words, actions, and faith. Living with integrity means that we can discerns God’s voice in those expected and unexpected places and that we not only listen but are willing to change as we grow in our personal and corporate faith.
We want to be people who, when asked who we are, can reply with confidence because we know our hearts and souls and live accordingly. We want to be a people who dismantle injustice and practice humility as we listen to the Spirit’s call on our lives.
In short, we want to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.

We just need to begin with knowing what we believe.




In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ,
let us pray to the Father.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
you promised through your Son Jesus Christ
to hear us when we pray in faith.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer..

Strengthen Robert and David our bishops, Dirk our host bishop, Robert, our visiting clergy during this interregnum, and all your Church in the service of Christ,
that those who confess your name may be united in your truth,
live together in your love, and reveal your glory in the world.

In our diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for the Church of Sweden, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (Turkey), for Patriarch Bartholomew and the autocephalous Orthodox Churches and their leaders. We pray for threatened Syrian Orthodox communities in Turkey and for persecuted Christians of all communities in the Muslim world. We also pray for those being ordained deacon or priest at this time. Enable them too to will and to work for your good pleasure.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Bless and guide our Monarchs Elizabeth and Willem-Alexander; and our leaders in all walks of life, particularly our key workers at this time of crisis. We pray for peace and stability throughout the world; that self aggrandisement be replaced with humble service, and that unthinking use of power be replaced with thoughtful intervention.
give wisdom to all in authority;
and direct this and every nation in the ways of justice and of peace;
that we may honour one another, and seek the common good.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Father, you gave us free will to turn and choose you. Help us now to make the right personal choices; to lead by example in the way re interact with others, to understand, to support and to sustain.
Give grace to us, our families and friends, and to all our neighbours,
that we may serve Christ in one another, and love as he loves us.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit – everywhere in the world, and those close to us…;
give them courage and hope in their troubles;
and bring them the joy of your salvation.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Hear us as we remember those who have died in the faith of Christ …;
according to your promises,
grant us with them a share in your eternal kingdom.

Rejoicing in the fellowship of Anna and Mary and all your saints,
we commend ourselves and the whole creation to your unfailing love.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom,
you know our needs before we ask,
and our ignorance in asking:
have compassion on our weakness,
and give us those things
which for our unworthiness we dare not,
and for our blindness we cannot ask,
for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
All Amen.

Merciful father, accept these prayers for the sake of your son, our saviour Jesus Christ, Amen
Anthem: O Thou the Central Orb – Charles Wood

Hymn: NEH 296 – Lord, enthroned in heavenly splendour


The Blessing
Priest: The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always.  Amen.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen.