Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
2nd July 2023
Fourth Sunday after Trinity
ORDER OF SERVICE
You can click to expand or minimize the order of service below.
All are requested to join in wherever text is GREEN or when instructed by Fr. David.
Where the is shown, all are encouraged to make the sign of the cross. The people respond with confidence everywhere which is in bold type
HYMN: Firmly I believe and truly God is Three and God is One,
Firmly I believe and truly
God is Three and God is One,
And I next acknowledge duly
Manhood taken by the Son.
Simply to his grace and wholly
Light and life and strength belong,
And I love supremely, solely,
Him the holy,
Him the strong.
And I hold in veneration,
For the love of him alone,
Holy Church as his creation,
And her teachings as his own..
Adoration ay be given,
With and through the angelic host,
Tor the God of earth and heaven,
Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
BLESSED BE GOD: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:
Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
And blessed be his kingdom, now and forever. Amen
From Easter to Pentecost:
Allelulia. Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia
In Lent and other penitential occasions:
Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins;
His mercy endures for ever.
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Let us pray:
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 Christ our Lord. Amen.
THE PENITENTIAL RITE
THE PENITENTIAL RITE
God is steadfast in love and infinite in mercy, welcoming sinners and inviting them to the Lord’s table.
Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith, confident in God’s forgiveness.
Merciful God, our maker and our judge, we have sinned against you in thought, word and deed, and in what we have failed to do: we have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbours as ourselves; we repent and are sorry for all our sins , Father forgive us, strengthen us to love and obey you in newness of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
**(Note: all are encouraged to strike their breast 3 times following the lead of the Celebrant as he utters the words: ‘sorry for all our sins’)**
Almighty God, who has promised forgiveness to all who turn to him in faith, pardon you and set you free from all your sins, confirm and strengthen you in all goodness and keep you in eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lord, have mercy
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy,
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy,
Lord, have mercy.
(This prayer is omitted during Advent and Lent)
Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, h in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal, have mercy on us.
THE MINISTRY OF THE WORD
THE MINISTRY OF THE WORD
Almighty God, you have built your Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone: Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their teaching, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Almighty God, whose blessed apostles Peter and Paul glorified you by their martyrdom: Grant that your Church, instructed by their teaching and example, and knit together in unity by your Spirit, may ever stand firm upon the one foundation, which is Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
THE FIRST READING
A reading from the book
God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.” Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.
When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God
1 How long, O Lord?
will you forget me for ever? *
how long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long shall I have perplexity in my mind,
and grief in my heart, day after day? *
how long shall my enemy triumph over me?
3 Look upon me and answer me, O Lord my God; *
give light to my eyes, lest I sleep in death;
4 Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” *
and my foes rejoice that I have fallen.
5 But I put my trust in your mercy; *
my heart is joyful because of your saving help.
6 I will sing to the Lord, for he has dealt with me richly; *
I will praise the Name of the Lord Most High.
THE SECOND READING
A reading from the first letter of Paul to the Romans
Do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.
When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God
All stand for the Acclamation and the Gospel reading.
(Response outside of Lent: “Alleluia!”)
Response during Lent: “Praise to you, O Christ, King of Eternal Glory.”
Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet
will receive a prophet’s reward
A reading from the Holy Gospel, according to:
Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple– truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”
After the Gospel reading
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ
One day last week, after work, I left school with three other teachers, and we called a Grab taxi to go home. This is our usual routine since we all live in the same apartment building. At the back gate, we found a pick-up truck waiting for us, but there was a problem: Only two seats were available, but four weary travellers. My colleague gestured to the truck bed and asked if some of us could ride there. He also tried to open the passenger’s side door, but to no avail; it was locked.
After about four minutes of confusion and gesturing through the window, the real Grab car, with almost the same license plate, pulled into the lot. Even now, I feel for this poor Thai man who, while waiting to pick up his child from school, was interrupted by four strangers attempting to negotiate—with apparent desperation—a ride in the back of his truck. But he was gracious and smiled through the whole misunderstanding. This scene came to mind as I was preparing for this homily. He was, in a word, hospitable.
Hospitality is not always the offering of shelter or the welcoming of a guest. It comes in many forms, and in this case, it was merely graciousness in handling a miscommunication.
“Whoever gives a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple, I tell you—none of these will lose their reward.” Offering a glass of water. It is a small and ordinary gesture, but it conveys immense hospitality because the boundlessness of Christ’s love plays upon the surface of that water, and whoever drinks it takes in that infinity.
The early church offers us a vivid example of hospitality, to the point that we may be tempted to refer to them as a communist society. They held all things in common, after all. And yet the reality was more subtle, for this community was not an economy: it was a body, the body of Christ. To have an economy, there must be possessions to buy, sell, and trade. But when all things are held in common, all resources shared, how can this label apply? The early church transcended economic systems; it did not instantiate them, for there, in the dynamism of fellowship, every possession was transfigured into a gift. And indeed, the slogan of the early church could easily have been: Nothing owned, all given. Christ reigned, and for that reason, hospitality reigned also.
In the first centuries of Christian history, there was a belief circulating that only the Father was truly divine, while Christ was a lesser being, the creator of the world but not on quite the same level as God. This was called subordinationism, and it met defeat at the hands of the Cappadocian fathers—St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Gregory Nazianzen, and St. Basil the Great—and others, who argued that only if Christ can only unite us to the Father if He, too, is divine.
And as Jesus’ full divinity was gradually recognized, the face of eternity began to change, and now all these centuries later as we affirm, in the Nicene Creed, that Christ is “of one being with the Father.” We affirm that the Father, in eternity, gives birth to the Son, welcomes Him, loves Him. God’s transcendence may at first have seemed far off, distant, incommunicable, but now it is the hospitality of the Trinity, the dynamism of the Father’s love for the Son, the Son’s love for the Father, and the Spirit’s rejoicing as their shared delight. And so, when we are hospitable, we share in eternity. And as we offer a cup of water to the thirsty, we are caught up in the very life of the Trinity.
Jesus also displays hospitality throughout the gospels, and he does this in a most unusual way: He steps outside of economies. I do not mean simply that He was a vagabond and relied on strangers for shelter and for his daily meals; I also mean that He did not act or think as we do today. We save our money, we plan ahead, we grow anxious about the future, but He wandered from place to place in the desert sands and trusted only in the providence of His transcendental Father. He lived submerged in God’s hospitality, trusting in it at every moment, gathering His subsistence from it.
And how often he offended against the logic of economies! We believe a day’s work should earn a day’s pay, but in the parable of the vineyard, kindness triumphs over proportion, and those who bear the heat of the day are paid the same as those join later, as the day cools and the sun fades. In this story, He showed us that hospitality is something that lies beyond the desert; it has nothing whatever to do with exchange. And here again, hospitality upends the logic of economy. For most of us it is all but impossible to imagine a world in which we never have to worry about money, but Christ imitated the lilies of the field and, like them, He never laboured nor spun, but His life unfolded in the radiant light of God’s provision.
He also stepped outside the economy of violence. We often assume that crimes should be punished and evil deserves a requital, but Jesus said, “You have heard it said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,’ but I say, ‘Love your enemies.’” He was crucified but never retaliated; He merely prayed for His abusers, and in doing so He removed Himself—and His followers—from the cycle of reward and punishment, of crime and punishment, of assault and requital, and from the violence that allegedly sustains the order of cities and nations.
It is hard to imitate Him, of course. But to shed our concern for wealth and security is to actualize our faith in God’s providence, and this is to assume that God Himself is hospitable to us, that He entertains us in this world, so to speak, and that we are His guests, having been conjured into existence with great love. And to be indifferent to justice and to prize mercy above retribution is to extend hospitality to all, regardless of who is deserving. To be hospitable is to follow Christ. And so, hospitality is more radical than we suppose.
I once read a passage from Frithjof Schuon, a writer on all things spiritual. He said that Christianity had to temper its original radicalism because, as it was practised by the early church and the desert fathers, it could never become the religion of an entire society of the West. He was not complaining about the church’s unholy flirtation with Constantinianism, nor was He saying that the compromise was a bad thing. For Schuon, all this was good and necessary and bound to happen. But this set me to thinking: What if it simply is not possible to found a society on Christianity, and what if this is the point?
At the very least, this insight makes sense of the lives of the saints. These were people who, in one way or another, simply did not fit. St. Francis of Assisi could not hold down a steady job and, instead, walked the streets as a friar begging for his food and teaching about compassion. Like Christ, he stepped out of the economy, and His wages were spiritual—communion with God—and not material. And when St. Seraphim of Sarov was attacked by robbers, he refused to strike back and did not seek revenge. He stepped out of the economy of justice and demanded no retribution. By imitating Christ, these saints were implicitly rejecting the very foundations of society: money and justice. And so perhaps Schuon is right: No society can survive if it follows the precepts of Christ. And perhaps, just perhaps, therein lies the radicalism of the gospel.
But of course, there are some who would look upon my reverence for the church and for the saints with suspicion. Is Christianity not the religion of colonialism, spreading to new lands only through conquest or at the very least with an arrogant cultural supremacism? This is a style of thinking that has become fashionable in certain postmodern schools of theology. It is true, of course, that the church is not innocent of violence, and it is also true that sometimes it was a culture—rather than the gospel—being preached. But those who embrace this ultimately Nietzschean story have forgotten the larger context.
Christianity was never self-enclosed, even from its beginning, and, in fact, the Nicene Creed was an exercise in interfaith dialogue. The doctrine of the Trinity arose in part because the church fathers were in constant and respectful dialogue with Greek philosophy. And from the early days of the church, Christian mystics drew heavily from Plato, Plotinus, and others—they did not regard Christianity as a self-contained system of beliefs and, for that reason, were able, with deep hospitality, to learn from the best in pagan wisdom.
The early church did, thankfully, reject the caste system of the Roman Empire, elevate the poor, and so on, and so I am not saying there was no apocalyptic element or no break with the surrounding culture. Of course there was. I am only saying that there is continuity as well as discontinuity and that Christian doctrine emerged—at least in part—through hospitality toward the pagan world and its philosophers. And as hospitality was extended, our doctrines emerged.
And so, despite its failures, I continue to believe that the church is a place of radical hospitality. The church is Christ’s mystical body, and this is why we strive to value love over possessions and to trust in God and not wealth. This is why we forgive. This is why we pray for our enemies. And this is why we refrain from judgment and look for good in the world. The church is not a belief system, a nation, or an economy: it is a wide embrace.
THE NICENE CREED
Please stand for the Nicene Creed. Let us individually affirm the faith of the Church.
I believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
I 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 Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became truly human.
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.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
I believe in one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.
I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
I look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Let us pray for the world and for the Church:
(Prayers of intercession are now said, and at the end of each petition the intercessor says:)
Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
Lord hear us,
Lord graciously hear us.
(At the conclusion of the prayers the priest says:)
Almighty God, who has promised to hear our prayers:
Grant that what we have asked in faith we may by your grace receive, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles:
I leave you peace, my peace I give you.
Look not on our sins, but the faith of your Church, And grant us the peace and unity of your kingdom Where you live for ever and ever. Amen.
Please stand for the greeting of peace
We are the Body of Christ.
His Spirit is with us.
The peace of the Lord be always with you.
And also with you.
Let us offer one another a sign of God’s peace, in the traditional Thai way, with a ‘wai’.
HYMN: The Church’s one foundation Is Jesus Christ her Lord;
The Church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord;
She is his new creation
By water and the word:
From heaven he came and sought her
To be his holy Bride,
With his own blood he bought her,
And fir her life he died.
Elect from every nation,
Yet one o’er all the earth,
Her charter of salvation
One Lord, one faith, one birth;
One holy name she blesses,
Partakes one holy food,
And to one hope she presses
With every grace endued.
Yet she on earth hath union
With God the Three in One,
And mystic, sweet communion
With those whose rest is won:
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we
Like them, the meek and lowly,
On high may dwell with thee.
Blessed are you, God of all creation. Through your goodness, we have these gifts to share. Accept and use our offerings for your glory and the service of your kingdom.
Blessed be God forever.
THE PRAYER OF HUMBLE ACCESS
Let us pray
We do not presume to come to your table, merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in your manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under your table, but you are the same Lord whose nature is always to have mercy. Grant us, therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of your dear son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that we may evermore dwell in him and he in us. Amen.
The Lord be with you.
and also with you.
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.
Father, we give you thanks and praise through your beloved Son Jesus Christ, your living Word, through whom you have created all things; who was sent by you in your great goodness to be our Saviour.
By the power of the Holy Spirit he took flesh; as your Son, born of the blessed Virgin, he lived on earth and went about among us; he opened wide his arms for us on the cross; he put an end to death by dying for us; and revealed the resurrection by rising to new life; so he fulfilled your will and won for you a holy people.
Therefore with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we proclaim your great and glorious name, for ever praising you and saying:
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.
Lord, you are holy indeed, the source of all holiness; grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit, and according to your holy will, these gifts of bread and wine may be to us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; who, in the same night that he was betrayed, took bread and gave you thanks; he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.
In the same way, after supper he took the cup and gave you thanks; he gave it to them, saying: Drink this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.
Great is the mystery of faith:
Christ has died:
Christ is risen:
Christ will come again.
And so, Father, calling to mind his death on the cross, his perfect sacrifice, made once for the sins of the whole world; rejoicing in his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension, and looking for his coming in glory, we celebrate this memorial of our redemption.
As we offer you this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, we bring before you this bread and this cup and we thank you for counting us worthy to stand in your presence and serve you. Send the Holy Spirit on your people and gather into one in your kingdom all who share this one bread and one cup, so that we, in the company of [N and] all the saints, may praise and glorify you for ever, through Jesus Christ our Lord; by whom, and with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever.
Let us pray with confidence to the Father, as our Saviour has taught us:
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.
O Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
O Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
O Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace.
**(Note: All are encouraged to tap their breast three times following the example of Fr. David as he utters the words ‘…have mercy, …have mercy and …grant us peace’)**
We break this bread to share in the body of Christ.
Though we are many, we are one body, because we all share in one bread.
This is the Lamb of God , who takes away the sins of the world;
Happy are those who are called to his supper.
Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.
**(Note: All are encouraged to strike breast following the example of the Celebrant as all utter the words ‘not worthy’)**
THE RITE OF COMMUNION
Please approach the altar with cradled hands if you wish to receive the sacrament, or with the hands behind your back if you wish to receive a blessing. Each communicant responds ‘Amen’ when receiving communion in either kind.
After Communion, there is time for silent prayer and meditation.
Let us pray.
Father of all we give you thanks and praise that when we were still far off you met us in your Son and brought us home. Dying and living, he declared your love, gave us grace, and opened the gate of glory. May we who share Christ’s body live his risen life; we who drink his cup bring life to others; we whom the Spirit lights give light to the world.
Keep us in this hope that we have grasped; so we and all your children shall be free, and the whole earth live to praise your name.
Father, we offer ourselves to you as a living sacrifice through Jesus Christ our Lord. Send us out in the power of your Spirit to live and work to your praise and glory.
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 amongst you and remain with you always.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord:
In the name of Christ. Amen.
HYMN: Just as I am, without one plea But that thy blood was shed for me,
Just as I am, without one plea
But that thy blood was shed for me,
And that thou bidd’st me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come.
Just as I am, thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve:
Because thy promise I believe,
Just as I am (thy love unknown
Has broken every barrier down),
Now to be thine, yea thine alone,
Just as I am, of that free love
The breadth, length, depth and height to prove,
Here for a season, then above,
Here is the music for this week’s hymns, if you would like to practice beforehand.
Performed by Fr. David Price
NOTE: The introductory music is ‘Choral Song by Wesley”.