SIXTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 17TH SEPTEMBER 2023

Forgiveness is a pure gift from God | The Apopka Voice

OPENING SENTENCE-

Tremble O earth, at the presence of the Lord.

HYMN

GREETING

Grace and peace to you from God our Father

and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

COLLECT FOR PURITY

Almighty God

to whom all hearts be 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 Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

SUMMARY OF THE LAW

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: The first commandment is this: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”

The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these. Amen. Lord, have mercy.

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CONFESSION

God is love and we are God’s children.

There is no room for fear in love.

We love because God loved us first.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith.

God our Father, we confess to you

and to our fellow members in the Body of Christ

that we have sinned in thought, word and deed,

and in what we have failed to do.

We are truly sorry.

Forgive us our sins,

and deliver us from the power of evil,

for the sake of your Son who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

ABSOLUTION

May the God of love and power

forgive you and free you from your sins,

heal and strengthen you by his Spirit

and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

GLORIA sung Dougie Byers

COLLECT

O Lord,

may your grace at all times go before us,

and follow on behind:

and so continually direct us to good works;

through Jesus Christ, our Lord

who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, world without end. Amen

FIRST READING Exodus 14:19-31 read by Peter Boreham

The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them. It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. And so the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night.

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. The Egyptians pursued and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers. At the morning watch the Lord, in the pillar of fire and cloud, looked down on the Egyptian army and threw the Egyptian army into a panic. He clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the Israelites, for the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.”

Praying the LectionaryDrinking God's Word...together.Exodus 14:19-31 – The  Lord saved Israel that day from the Egyptians

The Pursuers Drowned

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers.” So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, the Lord tossed the Egyptians into the sea. The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained. But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.

Thus, the Lord saved Israel that day from the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Israel saw the great work that the Lord did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the Lord and believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.

SECOND READING Romans 14:1-12 read by Kate Lidwell

Do Not Judge Another

Welcome those who are weak in faith but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions. Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat, for God has welcomed them. Who are you to pass judgment on slaves of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. Those who observe the day, observe it for the Lord. Also those who eat, eat for the Lord, since they give thanks to God, while those who abstain, abstain for the Lord and give thanks to God.

The Living... on Tumblr

For we do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.”

So then, each one of us will be held accountable.

HYMN

GOSPEL READING Matthew 18: 21-35 read by Rev Steven Ballard

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St Matthew chapter 18 beginning at verse 21

Glory to Christ our Saviour.

Forgiveness

Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if my brother or sister sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.

Matthew 18:21-35 - Holy Textures

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

“For this reason, the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him, and, as he could not pay, the lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him by the throat he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So, my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

SERMON

A frequently quoted passage from Scripture is 1 Corinthians 13 on the theme of love. We are given the ideal recipe for loving, and one of the ingredients is that “love keeps no records of wrongs.” It is so easy to read that verse: “Love keeps no record of wrongs” but it is so hard to practise and live out in the real world. I suspect Jesus foresaw this difficulty when he taught his disciples in the Lord’s Prayer “to forgive those who have sinned against us.”

Love Keeps No Record of Wrongs | Sunday School Lesson for Kids | 1  Corinthians 13 - DouglasTalks.com

Being sinned against unfortunately is part of our human journey. It is inevitable, that at some point someone will say or do something or not do something that leaves us feeling hurt and sinned against. The issue before us today in our gospel is how do we respond to such behaviour?

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, poet and author, probably best known for her poem “How do I love thee?” felt sinned against by her father. Her father Edward was a controlling man who forbid any of his 12 children to marry, and when Elizabeth married Robert Browning, her father never spoke to her again. He disinherited her.

Elizabeth wrote weekly letters to her father in the hope of forgiveness and that they might be reconciled but for ten years there was no response. Then one day, after a decade of silence, a box came in the mail from her father. Her excitement quickly turned to anguish however when she opened it and found it contained all her letters– unopened. Edward Barrett’s heart was so hardened towards his daughter that he didn’t open one single letter of the hundreds of letters she wrote to him.

Satan's Great Tool of Destruction: Unforgiveness-Birthed From an Offended  Heart - Goodness Of God MinistriesGoodness Of God Ministries

Unforgiveness does that. It hardens the heart. It closes the heart. It enlarges the perceived offense to the point we can’t see a person’s value because all we see is their violation. If forgiveness is one of the most powerful forces for redemption in the Christian faith, unforgiveness is one of the most powerful forces for destruction. Our parable this morning is two pronged. Initially the parable focusses on the theme of forgiveness but the sting in the tail comes when we refuse to forgive.

This theme of forgiveness and unforgiveness follows hot after last week’s passage which focussed on Jesus’ discussion with his disciples about reconciliation. So perhaps this conversation was still playing in Peter’s mind when he asks Jesus the question: “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive?” Peter appears to be asking a practical question. He envisions repeated offences against him by a member of the Christian Community. At the beginning he forgives the offender, as a follower of Jesus is encouraged to do, but this forgiveness is not met by effective repentance. The offender continues.

At this point, we might like to know more. Is the offender malicious? Is he taking advantage of Peter’s commitment to forgiveness, or is he simple weak and unable to change? What is the offence- is it major or minor? Is the hurt deeply wounding to Peter or is it just an irritant?

We are not enlightened in this matter, probably because it has no bearing on the parable, for what matters is the theological point about forgiveness. The emphasis is on the limits of forgiveness.

In a way Peter’s is asking when can I stop, when can I retaliate? When people hurt us, we instinctively feel a desire for vengeance, and choosing to let go of the offence does not come naturally. We are all faced with the choice, of whether to forgive or not. Peter is of the mind that to forgive seven times is sufficient.


A Prodigious Love – Seventy Times Seven | St. Margaret Mary Church

In Jesus’ day, there was a popular belief that three was the limit to forgive someone and so Peter probably thinks that he is being generous here by offering to forgive seven times. But Jesus tells him to forgive seventy-seven times. It’s Jesus’ way of saying- keep on forgiving and don’t keep counting. To illustrate this, Jesus tells the parable of the unmerciful servant.

This parable is about a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. The money belongs to the king and one of his servants, probably a tax collector, owes him ten thousand talents. Now that is a lot, but it does not really capture our imagination. The footnote in my Bible tells me that a talent was about 20 years’ wages for a day labourer. In our terms, that is around £500,000 a talent and the servant owes ten times £500,000. In other words, he owes the king a colossal amount of money to the tune of £5 billion. Jesus’ point is that the servant owes such an enormous amount that it can never be repaid.

The Unforgiving Servant

The servant pleads with the king for more time. However, even if this is granted, his life would continue to be dominated by this debt. The amount is so huge that he will be eternally in debt. Suddenly compassion appears and it releases a flow of mercy in the king. This mercy comes as a shock for nothing the king has previously done prepares us for this. By his mercy he completely cancels the servant’s debt. When the mercy is given, it changes everything. The man is both released from bondage and forgiven his debt. What previously dominated and threatened his life is no longer there.

I believe we are meant in this story to see yourselves. We are that servant. This is your state and my state before God, the King. We are hopelessly in debt, with no means of paying that debt. We are like the servant in the parable, we are ruined. This is our spiritual state before God. Our sin corrupts everything we are and do and the degree of our failure to reach God’s standards- “keep no record of wrongs” is breath taking. All we can do is rely on God’s mercy, and Jesus teaches us to expect God’s forgiveness.

Now it is important to note that just because the king cancels the servant’s debt doesn’t mean the debt goes away. After all, it is the king’s money that has been lost or embezzled. Someone needs to bear that cost. In this parable, the king chooses to bear that cost. Jesus is telling a story in which the king pays the price, bears the cost himself, cancels the servant’s debt and sets them free.

How and to Whom Did Jesus Pay Our Ransom?

I think the parable is clever in how Jesus uses the metaphor of money and debts. When someone hurts you wittingly or unwittingly, there is a debt that is created. When you are wronged, there is a debt, and someone has to pay. The natural response is to make the one who offended you pay. When we decide to get revenge, we are saying: “I am not paying for this one”. You will pay for this one.

We make them pay through gossip, slander, the cold shoulder, abuse, withdraw friendship, or ruin their reputation among other things. Maybe you feel that works, for over time, the debt goes down and you no longer feel the need for revenge but in the process, by making them pay for what they have done, it has twisted you into a bitter, spiteful person. Worse than that – is that the revenge becomes a back- and- forth cycle. They hurt you, so you hurt them back, and then they hurt you back again. Nothing good has been achieved and you are worse off than before, for you have ended up a bitter and spiteful person.

When there is conflict and hurt, there is a debt created, and someone must pay it. Either you will pay it, or you will make them pay. In other words, the choice is between unforgiveness when you make them pay or forgiveness, when you choose to pay the debt yourself. Forgiveness is choosing to bear the cost yourself and not to punish the offender, but rather to treat them with love, and leave everything in God’s hands. Choosing to bear the cost yourself is the Christian way and this follows Christ’s example, who, when on the cross, said “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.”

Forgiveness – C.S. Lewis | flowersontherubbishheap

Forgiveness received, means forgiveness offered by us, to others. So, as we receive forgiveness, we then need to offer mercy to others. The servant is forgiven, but he learned little. He may no longer be a debtor, but he is still a creditor. He may plead for himself, but he is demanding and violent with his fellow servant. He wants his money, and he wants it now. Although the amount is smaller, and not huge, the debt is still not payable. The debtor pleads with his creditor, but his pleading falls on deaf ears. Symbolically the servant who has been forgiven by God does not forgive his neighbour and the consequences are dire. His lack of forgiveness rescinds God’s forgiveness.

To be forgiven people, to have our debt before God cancelled through Christ’s death in our place, means we must stand in a new relationship with others. Knowing the value of forgiveness, and how great our debt was, we should be willing to cancel the debt of others. Indeed, the point is sharper: Jesus frames the prayer “forgive us as we forgive those that sin against us,” so that we actually ask God to apply to our forgiveness, the degree that we ourselves offer to others. It is a dangerous prayer for it makes our forgiveness conditional on our forgiving others.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses As We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us -  LSESD

In this prayer we ask God only to forgive us in the way that we forgive others. So, if we hold debts against them, then we should expect God to do the same with us. It would be wise for us to take seriously, Jesus’ teaching and to consider whether we harbour bitterness and an unforgiving spirit. If we do, we need to realise that it is ourselves most of all that are endangered by it. Let us reflect afresh on the scale of mercy shown to us and by God’s grace, offer that mercy today and every day to one another. Amen

Christ The Savior Lutheran Church

NICENE CREED

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one substance with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven;

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory

to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father.

With the Father and the Son,

he is worshipped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism

for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Praying Moms – LRPC HOME

God of all love, you have shown in Jesus your love for us,

so, we entrust to you now our cares and concerns.

God of all mercy, we thank for your patience with us

and for the forgiveness

you so graciously extend daily to us.

When we have been wronged against

help us to forgive.

When we have sinned against our neighbour,

give us courage and strength,

to seek forgiveness.

Open our eyes Lord

and direct us in the truth

God of all truth, we come before you

with our faltering faith

with our doubts and anxieties,

with any delusions we might have

and ask that you will strengthen us in the truth

and rekindle within us your love and gentleness.

Open our eyes Lord

and direct us in the truth

14,199 Word Wisdom Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from Dreamstime

God of all wisdom,

we pray for our government

and all political parties in our land,

may you guide them to govern truthfully.

May you steer them away

from any delusions of importance or grandeur,

and guide them to look out for the weak in our society.

Open our eyes Lord

and direct us in the truth

God of all love, we lift to you those

whose homes and families

have been crushed by disaster.

We pray especially for families in Canada and Greece

struggling after the wild- fires

and ask that you may grant them the support

and resolve required to rebuild their lives.

Open our eyes Lord

and direct us in the truth

24,339 Compassion Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from Dreamstime

God of all hope, we lift to you the countries of Ukraine and Russia

caught up in a futile war of power,

and ask that negotiations might bring peace and security.

We think too of other parts of the world in conflict

and pray for Yemen, Sudan, Afghanistan, and Syria,

that new life, purpose and direction might be found,

and a greater equality of life may be secured for all who live there.

Open our eyes Lord

and direct us in the truth

God of all compassion,

we lift to you those who are frail or weak.

We remember those who are ill in hospitals,

and those who are weary in nursing homes,

may you bring them your comfort, strength, and healing.

We pray especially for those with cancer

that your presence, your touch

and strength will be with them

in the days of treatment ahead.

Be with all who are undergoing surgery

and may you guide the surgeons

so that the operations will be successful.

Be close to all in their time of recuperation.

Open our eyes Lord

and direct us in the truth

God of all faithfulness and hope, we pray for all

who are under stress or strain at this time,

we ask that they may experience your faithful presence and love.

Give them coping skills and mechanisms

and grant them your peace and comfort.

Open our eyes Lord

and direct us in the truth

36,828 Gratitude Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from Dreamstime

Holy God, with great thankfulness we praise you

for your constant faithfulness to us,

your recognition of our deepest thoughts

and your desire for a close and deep relationship with us.

Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ who taught us to pray together

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Do not bring us to the time of trial

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.

HYMN

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BLESSING

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 the Father,

the Son and Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always. Amen

DISMISSAL

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

Welcome

St John the Evangelist, Dumfries, is a parish of the Scottish Episcopal Church also serving Methodist parishioners locally.

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Notices

Contemporary Service

Contemporary Service

The Contemporary Service is at 6pm, on the second and fourth Sundays of the month, followed by refreshments in the hall.

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St John's Church

5 days 39 minutes ago

Sunday 16th June 2024 is our Eucharistic Service at 11: 00am. You are most welcome to come along. Be great to see you. There is no Choral Evensong at 6pm

St John's Church

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Sunday 9th June 2024 is our Eucharistic Service at 11: 00am. You are most welcome to come along. Be great to see you. There is NO Contemporary Service at 6pm

St John's Church

2 weeks 5 days ago

Everyone is very welcome to come along to St John’s Church, Newall Terrace, Dumfries DG1 1LW, at 6pm this Sunday, 2nd June, when the choir of St John’s Church will

St John's Church

3 weeks 2 days ago

Everyone is very welcome to come along to St John's Church, Newall Terrace, Dumfries DG1 1LW, at 6pm this Sunday, 2nd June, when the choir of St John's Church will