13Sep2020

Services for Sunday 13th September

 

Land’s End Benefice

13th September 2020

Holy Cross Day Eucharist

 

Please join in with the words in bold. The bold with underlining is to mark the sections. You may remain seated throughout or sit or kneel or stand when we usually do so in church.

The Eucharist

The Greeting

The president greets the people

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you and also with you.

Jesus said, ‘When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself.’ John 12.32

Prayer of Preparation

Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Invitation to Confession

Brothers and sisters, as we prepare to celebrate, let us call to mind our sins.

Christ himself carried up our sins in his body to the tree, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds we have been healed.       1 Peter 2.24 Let us confess our sins.

We accept your forgiveness for our sins, but do not see the price you paid on the Cross. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

We fail to choose to carry our own cross, and try to burden others. Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.

We spend too much time following our own way and not the way of the Cross. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

May almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you your sins, and bring you to everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Collect

Almighty God, who in the passion of your blessed Son made an instrument of painful death to be for us the means of life and peace: grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ that we may gladly suffer for his sake; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Gospel Acclamation we stand

Alleluia, alleluia. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. Alleluia.

Gospel Reading

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John 3.13-17.

Glory to you, O Lord.

Jesus said to Nicodemus: 13‘No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

16‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

17‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.’

At the end the reader may say

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, O Christ.
 

Sermon

Reflection and Prayers for Holy Cross day

Each week I have tried to offer something either from my own thoughts or from someone who has offered a way to think about the scriptures that is helpful. Each Sunday there is a different reflection in church so that I can keep things fresh for those attending worship. This week the writing comes from a series of lectures on baptism and confirmation, author known to God.

Reference
Church of England (1662) Book of Common Prayer.
The Ministration of Public Baptism of Infants to be used in the church.  Available:  http://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-worship/worship/book-of-common-prayer/public-baptism-of-infants.aspx (Accessed 29 August 2020) (Internet).
Holy Faith – helping people on their Christian Journey Unpopular Christianity
And Jesus said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (NRSV, Luke 9:23)

Holy Cross Day is a feast which was originally instituted to commemorate the dedication of the first Church of the Holy Sepulchre on September 14th 335 AD, upon the site of the Saviour’s Crucifixion.  But the feast also serves to recall the essential character of the Christian religion by reminding us of the Cross which is its specific symbol.

We are accustomed to crosses and crucifixes.  But in Christ’s day there were no crucifixes, only crucifixions.  Public crucifixion was an everyday punishment for dangerous criminals; and so, for a cross to be placed on God’s altar then, would have caused the same feelings of revulsion that we should experience today if we saw on our altars a model of a gallows.

The crucifixion of a man is a hideous sight and the cross, the gallows of the ancient world, would still be a horrible thing were it not for the fact that in his immeasurable love, God himself was impaled on one to save your soul and mine.  Thus the specific symbol of the Christian Faith is the reverse of comfortable, and it is not surprising that the Christian Faith itself when fully and faithfully presented will always be unpopular.  How could it be otherwise when its Divine Founder, Jesus Christ, was himself so unpopular?

His fellow villagers at Nazareth resented him and were thankful to see the back of him.  The members of the Jewish Government hated him because, so far from toeing the official line, he attacked their avarice and dishonesty and love of power.  The city mob yelled for his crucifixion because they were sick of hearing him preach about the renunciation of self and the Kingdom of God, when the only Kingdom that appealed to them was national independence under which they would never have had it so good.

They did not object when Jesus was the Great Healer, curing their sick and diseased, though even that roused official opposition and envy.  No, it was Jesus the King and Judge, the denouncer of human sins, who roused their hostility and malice; and in the end it was human sin that crucified him – not against his will.

For the Crucifixion was what his mission to this sinful world cost him; it was the price which in his love he willingly paid for coming down from Heaven for us men and for our salvation.  So he declared, “…I lay down my life for the sheep…No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord” (NRSV, John 10:15,18).

There is every reason, therefore, why the Christian religion, when presented fairly and squarely, should be unpopular today.  For God’s love for us is inseparable from God’s hatred of our sins – and no one takes kindly to that except those who, out of love for God, are themselves trying to hate their sins, and hating them to make a wholly new start in their thinking and in their living.  For Christ demands not that a person should be a better person but that he or she should be a new person altogether; not an improvement on his or her old self but a true and lifelike imitation of Christ.

I remember a remark which a garage proprietor once made to me.  “I am reasonably honest”, he said.  Christ has no use whatsoever for such an attitude.  Reasonably honest means reasonably dishonest; reasonably truthful means reasonably untruthful; reasonably forgiving means reasonably unforgiving.  In short, such an attitude means following Christ only when it happens to suit one to do so.  That is not what Christ means by his call, “Follow me”.

Thus, human nature being what it is, the salvation which Christ died on the Cross to obtain for us, fails to find favour with any except a small minority.

It is no accident, therefore, that what keeps people from fully embracing the Christian religion, is not that they are doubtful about such truths as Our Lord’s Divinity and Resurrection, but rather that they do not want to change their mental attitude and their way of life.  One is either like the Pharisee in the parable and feels in no need of salvation; or else, like the tax collector in the same parable, takes the first firm step in accepting the Christian religion – and that step is penitence: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (NRSV, Luke 18:13).

The plain truth is that, unless a person’s heart has been touched by God, sins – whether respectable or otherwise – are vastly more attractive than Christ-likeness. No wonder that so many hesitate for years, perhaps for ever, before embracing the Christian religion when, to do so, sincerely and wholeheartedly, means trying to be a new kind of person. 

And this requires making a determined and persistent effort to say goodbye to grudges, to send all vile thoughts packing as soon as they present themselves, to curb evil temper and evil speaking, and in penitence to seek God’s forgiveness for these and every other moral failure; and so “to follow the example of our Saviour Christ, and to be made like unto him…”.

And being made like him means sharing his attitude of goodwill towards all, and bringing forth in one’s own thinking and life the fruit of his own character – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  It means being the sort of person that St Paul described when he said, “...once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light.  Live as children of light – for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true” (NRSV, Ephesians 5:8,9).  In a word, it means no longer to be the plaything of one’s lower nature, but to do and be what the all-holy God requires, and to dedicate to him a purified soul and a Christ-like life.

That is the calling of every Christian, for as Our Blessed Lord himself has told us, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (NRSV, Luke 9:23).

Prayers concluding with the Lord’s Prayer:

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, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Peace

Words of introduction to the peace are used concluding with:

The peace of the Lord be always with you

And also with you.

A prayer is said over the bread and wine

Blessed be God, by whose grace creation is renewed,
by whose love heaven is opened,
by whose mercy we offer our sacrifice of praise.
Blessed be God for ever.

The Eucharistic Prayer

The Lord is here His Spirit is with us.

Lift up your hearts. We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right to give thanks and praise.

It is always right to give you thanks, God our Creator, loving and faithful, holy and strong. You made us and the whole universe, and filled your world with life.
You sent your Son to live among us, Jesus our Saviour, Mary’s child. He suffered on the cross; he died to save us from our sins;
he rose in glory from the dead.

You send your Spirit to bring new life to the world and clothe us with power from on high. And so we join the angels to celebrate and say:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

Father, on the night before he died, Jesus shared a meal with his friends. He took the bread, and thanked you. He broke it, and gave it to them, saying: Take and eat; this is my body, given for you. Do this to remember me.

After the meal, Jesus took the cup of wine. He thanked you, and gave it to them, saying: Drink this, all of you. This is my blood, the new promise of God’s unfailing love. Do this to remember me.

Great is the mystery of faith

Jesus Christ has died. Jesus Christ is risen. Jesus Christ will come again.

Father, as we bring this bread and wine, and remember his death and resurrection, send your Holy Spirit, that we who share these gifts may be fed by Christ’s body and his blood.

Pour your Spirit on us that we may love one another, work for the healing of the earth, and share the good news of Jesus, as we wait for his coming in glory. For honour and praise belong to you, Father, with Jesus your Son, and the Holy Spirit: one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

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, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Breaking of the Bread

We break the bread of life, and that life is the light of the world.
God here among us, light in the midst of us,
bring us to light and life.

Giving of Communion

Christ is the true bread which has come down from heaven.
Lord, give us this bread always.

St. Alphonsus Liguori in the 18th century:

My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the most Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.

Faithful God, whose Son bore our sins in his body on the tree and gave us the sacrament to show forth his death until he comes: give us grace to glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, for he is our salvation, our life and our hope, who reigns as Lord, now and for ever.

Acclamation

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you; by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.

We preach Christ crucified, the power of God and the wisdom of God.

By your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you; by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

cf 1 Corinthians 1 and Galatians 6

The priest receives the bread and wine on behalf of the community

Final Prayer and Blessing

Christ crucified draw you to himself, to find in him a sure ground for faith, a firm support for hope, and the assurance of sins forgiven;

and the blessing …

A suitable blessing is given, and usually concludes with:

… and may the blessing of almighty God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

Live in the peace of Christ. Thanks be to God.

Lord our God,

Amid the uncertainties of our human life,

May we pause and draw strength from you,

Trusting in your faithful love,

We ask through Jesus, your Son our Lord. Amen

The Celtic Primer

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above):
Short Passage of Scripture (Holy Cross Day 1) © 1989 National Council of Churches, USA
Some material included in this service is copyright: © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA
Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops' Council 2000
Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops' Council 2002
Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops' Council