Morning Prayer on the 12th Sunday after Trinity : 30 August 2020

You’re very welcome to this very simple service of Morning Prayer on this 12th Sunday after Trinity I’m back at work this morning leading worship in Annestown and Tramore but this simple Morning Prayer reaches out to you wherever you are Next Sunday we will include in the service, which will come from the cathedral, the glorious music of Simon Harden again and we’ll return to the full formal format that we have been using really for the last five months, before I took a few weeks off So wherever you are this morning, I hope that this prayer and gathering on the internet serves God’s giving of grace in your life The Lord be with you Beloved in Christ, we come together to offer to Almighty God, our worship and praise and thanksgiving, to confess our sins, and to receive God’s forgiveness, to hear his holy word proclaimed, and to bring before him our needs and the needs of the world, and to pray that in the power of his Spirit we may serve him and know the greatness of his love Let us confess our sins to God our Father. Heavenly Father, we have sinned against you and against our neighbour, in thought and word and deed, through negligence, through weakness, through our own deliberate fault, by what we have done and by what we have failed to do. We are truly sorry and repent of all our sins, for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ who died for us, forgive us all that has passed, and grant that we may serve you in newness of life, to the glory of your name. Amen Almighty God who forgives all who truly repent, have mercy on you, pardon and deliver you from all your sins, confirm and strengthen you in all goodness and keep you in eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord Amen O Lord open our lips, and our mouth will proclaim your praise O God make speed to save us, O Lord make haste to help us Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be forever Amen Praise the Lord The Lord’s name be praised And so we say the first seven verses of the Venite O come let us sing out to the Lord, let us shout and triumph to the rock of our salvation Let us come before his face with thanksgiving, and cry out to him joyfully in psalms for the Lord is a great God and a great king above all gods In his hands are the depths of the earth, and the peaks of the mountains are his also; the sea is his and he made it, his hands molded dry land O come let us worship and bow down, and kneel before the Lord our maker, for he is the Lord our God, we are his people and the sheep of his pasture Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be forever Amen Our psalm this morning is Psalm 105, beginning at verse 1 and continuing to 6 and verses 23 to 26 O give thanks to the Lord and call upon his name Make known his deeds among the peoples Sing to him, sing praises and tell of all his marvelous works Rejoice in the praise of his holy name, let the hearts of them rejoice who seek the Lord Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually; remember the marvels he has done, his wonders and the judgments of his mouth, O seed of Abraham his servant, O

children of Jacob his chosen Then Israel came into Egypt, Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham and the Lord made his people exceedingly fruitful. He made them too many for their adversaries, whose heart he turned so that they hated his people and dealt craftily with his servants Then sent he Moses his servant and Aaron whom he had chosen, that they might keep his statutes and faithfully observe his laws Alleluia! Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be forever. Amen And so this morning, we say together the Benedictus Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel, who has come to his people and set them free The Lord has raised up for us a mighty Saviour, born of the house of his servant David Through the holy prophets God promised of old to save us from our enemies, from the hands of those who hate us, to show mercy to our forebears, and to remember his holy covenant This is the oath God swore to our father Abraham to set us free, from the hand of our enemies, free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous before him all the days of our life And you child shall be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation, by the forgiveness of all their sins, and the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness, and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and shall be forever Amen A reading from the holy gospel of Saint Matthew, chapter 16, beginning to read at verse 21 Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes and be killed and on the third day be raised And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him saying, ‘God forbid it Lord, this must never happen to you!’ But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me Satan, you are a stumbling block to me, for you are setting your mind, not on divine things, but on human things’ Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me, for those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life, for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? For the Son of Man is coming with his angels, and the glory of the Father and then he will repay everyone for what they have done. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.’ And so we say together the Apostles’ Creed I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ God’s 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 again to judge the living and the dead I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting Amen The Lord be with you Let us pray Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy Lord have mercy. Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen Show us your mercy O Lord, and grant us your salvation O Lord guide and defend our rulers, and grant our government wisdom Let your ministers be clothed with righteousness, and let your servants shout for joy O Lord save your people and bless those whom you have chosen Give peace in our time O Lord, and let your glory be over all the earth O God may clean our hearts within us, and renew us by your Holy Spirit Let us pray Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear, than we to pray; and to give more than either we desire or deserve. Pour down upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask, save through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ your Son our Lord Amen May the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord my rock, and my redeemer Amen This has been an interesting week in Irish politics with Golfgate and one of the comments of one of the principal losers of this episode was, ‘I didn’t break any law.’ And it raised a huge question for me, that there is a morality and an integrity that doesn’t touch a baseline of whether it is legal or illegal but that there is an integrity inherent in the responsibility of public office and of leadership that’s not about a minimalist ‘not breaking of the law’ but a higher principle of accountability to the nation that has called you to a high office The gospel today is a chastening one, because it says that the disciples of Jesus must take up his cross, must suffer as did he Well why would any sane person take up the cross of Christ, take that burden of opprobrium and rejection upon themselves? Why? I’ve always felt that the truly Christian person

is not known by what they say, but by who they are; known that because within them is an inherent, conscious day on day desire to do what is right, what is good, over what is easy, minimal and expedient The people who inspire me day on day are people who have become the type of men and women incapable of duplicity through a life of choices that means that their words can be trusted, their actions are transparent, and that you are safe with that person A number of years ago on my 60th birthday, I gathered together 60 people that I had shared those 60 years with, beloved friends ,colleagues, and people who came from a very wide range of life experience, circumstances, interest The making of the list was quite interesting because the requirement was that they brought no gift that this was to be a party to celebrate the blessing that they had been for me When I made the list it was a joy because in each one I could thank them for in my head their friendship or their wisdom or their goodness or whatever! Many of the people in the room that day had suffered professionally and personally for their integrity They had taken on their workplaces or professions and called it to answer in cases where stuff was being done that wasn’t right Some of them had suffered financially from being people of integrity not using dodgy business dealing methods Some of them had been sidelined professionally because they were too hot to handle by calling spurious management a question Some of them were not liked because they were so honest One in particular said to me, one of my oldest friends, about the organization in which she works ‘When did dishonesty become normal?’ and for her, honesty is a tremendous cost or has a tremendous cost in her workplace The gospel requires of us to be men and women of integrity: that means that we have to have a moral compass, that we use Christ as the standard bearer of what is what is honourable and what is not, and that’s often at variance with the cronyism of organizations or the expediency of the political mindset, or the duplicity of charm and wit and the danger of people who are truly two-faced. The integrity of the gospel is that we are called to look at Christ and become like him, even to the point of suffering like him, for the values by which we live Genuinely I think to be a Christian is to be an awkward character It is not to tell people what they want to hear, but in humility before God to express your truth It demands a moral courage, to advocate for those who are on their own, or who are the victims of the duplicity of others Integrity means that your words are true; that it isn’t as a woman said to me once, just ‘words from the teeth out’ but words that are rooted in the centre of your being – this is who you are, and how you think, truthfully Integrity is about justice, it’s about moral outrage at times; it’s not just moral courage but sometimes it is that you really seriously find something reprehensible

and in as much as you can address it and advocate with and for people who are the victims of that duplicity, hypocrisy, bad management, whatever it be! So to take up our cross and follow Christ, you can understand why Peter the micro manager didn’t want Jesus to go that route because it’s quite horrific And yet I honestly believe if you do not have integrity you have nothing – absolutely nothing! You have lost yourself., you have forfeited yourself for a professional advantage, for popularity, for belonging, for acceptance or whatever! But if you seek with all your being to live and act with integrity, you have gained your life, you are your own person under God, maybe a bruised person , a hurt person, maybe somebody for whom life has not been easy, but at the end if you can look in your mirror and say, ‘ I honestly gave it my best shot, I sought to be true to those who needed me; I sought to be honest with all with whom I’ve lived and worked; I’ve sought to be authentic in my relationships; I’ve avoided duplicity and lying, avoided political shenanigans for integrity, then you have gained your life I think Jesus was on the money, that to gain your life sometimes you have to lose it You lose a lot but you gain everything And sometimes the short-term gains cause the deepest and the worst losses, the loss of your very soul May the spirit of God’s grace take root in our minds, thoughts and words, helping us to grow day on day, to do and be and think what is right as opposed to what is easy, to take up our cross as to Christ, to walk his way – whatever the cost – and to know the happiness to which we’re called This we ask in the name of Christ Amen Let us pray L Lord I pray for your church in all the world, that we who claim to be Christian would be Christian not in word but in being, and that in times of trial and adversity, by your grace, we will hold fast to what is true and witness by who we are to the truth to which we’re called in you Lord Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer We pray for all who this day are in danger, who are suffering, who are isolated, who are pilloried because of their goodness Give them strength to prevail Lord in the face of adversity May they find around them those who believe in their goodness, sustain them and carry them to green pasture Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer We pray for our frightened troubled and ill world, for all affected by this pandemic; for all whose health has been broken, whose loved ones have been taken, whose livelihoods are shattered, whose dreams have evaporated, and whose fear has grown day on day Give us the moral and spiritual strength O Lord to carry each other through this, to walk together day one day in love and companionship, that we will walk through this and find

new life, for yours is the future: by your grace help us reach it Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer We pray for the sick of mind, of body, of relationship, and of memory may your healing grace give balm and strength We pray for carers; we pray for children who are carers for their parents; strengthen those whose life work has become the care of others, give them the strength they need, the recognition they deserve, and the supports they require . Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer We remember the dead; in the community this week we remember Flo Driver and pray for her family that they will be given strength and blessing We remember all our dead that we miss, and pray for the bereft.Surround them with friendship and care O Lord and bring them to the peace that their beloved ones now know; this we ask in the name of Christ Amen The lord be with you To the God of ages, immortal, invisible, and only God be honour and glory, forever and ever. Amen And may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope; and the blessing of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with you and remain with you always Amen