Welcome Bishop Kevin

An invitation to contribute to Bishop Kevin’s welcome as 15th Bishop of the United Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway on 1 July 2020

Video: Third Sunday after Pentecost

Update:

A new video with audio (!) has been uploaded. Please see click on the image below

The weekly Service Sheet and Readings can be found at this link: https://www.stmichaelhelensburgh.org.uk/2020/06/20/service-sheet-sunday-21st-june-2020-third-sunday-after-pentecost/

And enjoy this rendition of the hymn, Take my life, and let it be, this week’s offertory hymn…

Video: Second Sunday after Pentecost – 14 June 2020

Homily for the Second Sunday after Pentecost, 14 June 2020, from St Michael and All Angels Church in Helensburgh by the Revd. Dom Ind.

The weekly Service Sheet and Readings for Trinity Sunday can be found on our website at this link: https://www.stmichaelhelensburgh.org.uk/2020/06/13/service-sheet-sunday-14th-june-2020-second-sunday-after-pentecost/

Service Sheet: Sunday 5th July 2020 – Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

ST. MICHAEL & ALL ANGELS’ CHURCH, HELENSBURGH

Charity Registered in Scotland SC006468 

INTROIT HYMN – 9 All creatures of our God and King

COLLECT

Almighty God, your Son Jesus Christ has taught us that what we do for the least of your children we do also for him. Give us the will to serve others as he was the servant of all, who gave up his life and died for us, but lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

OLD TESTAMENT READING

Zechariah 9. 9 – 12

The Coming Ruler of God’s People

Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the warhorse from Jerusalem; and the battle­bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.

PSALM Psalm 145. 8­ – 15
R. I will bless you and praise you forever, O God my King.

The Lord is gracious and merciful, long­suffering and of great goodness. The Lord is loving to everyone and his mercy is over all his creatures. R

All your works praise you, O Lord, and your faithful servants bless you. They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your mighty power, R

To make known to all peoples your mighty acts and the glorious splendour of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; your dominion endures throughout all ages. R

The Lord is sure in all his words and faithful in all his deeds. The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all those who are bowed down. R

EPISTLE

Romans 7. 15­ – 25a
I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

GRADUAL HYMN – 231 I heard the voice of Jesus say

GOSPEL

Matthew 11. 16­ – 19, 25­ – 30
At that time Jesus said, ‘To what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market­places and calling to one another, “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.” For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon”; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax­collectors and sinners!” Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.’

Jesus Thanks His Father

‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’

OFFERTORY HYMN – 226 I cannot tell

COMMUNION HYMN – 201 Have faith in God, my heart

PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION

O God, may we who have shared in holy things never fail to serve you in your world, and so come to the fullness of joy, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

RECESSIONAL HYMN – 147 From glory to glory advancing

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 almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always.page2image19688

Scripture quotations from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA amended according to the Revised Common Lectionary in NRSV. Psalm from the Book of Common Worship of the Church of England. Collect, Prayer after Communion and Blessing from Scottish Liturgy 1982 with Propers and Revised Common Lectionary published by the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Edinburgh 2006.

Thought for Evensong – Fourth Sunday after Trinity, 5th July 2020

Psalms 23 and 25; Joshua 24: 26 – 33 and Acts 8: 26 – 40

Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long. Psalm 25: 4 and 5

Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and who had known all the work that the Lord did for Israel. Joshua 24: 31

Philip asked (the eunuch), ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ He replied, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ Acts 8: 30b – 31a

We have come to the end of our brief visit to the book of Joshua, telling the story of the Children of Israel from the death of Moses to the invasion and settlement of the Promised land. Now Joshua is about to die at the age of 110, and in a final act sets up a stone to testify to the fact that the words of the Lord had been heard in its presence, and it would be a reproach to them if they failed to remain faithful to God. Joshua 24: 31 tells us that, for as long as the elders who had served alongside Joshua and witnessed the works of God for Israel remained alive, Israel had continued to serve the Lord. The inference is that in succeeding generations this was not the case, and the Old Testament is full of accounts of rebellion and neglect of faith, leading to times of military defeat and harsh words from judges and prophets sent by God to restore them to their previous relationship.

Memories are short and historical perspectives become distorted. We have seen recent evidence for this where the statue of Sir Winston Churchill was daubed with slogans condemning him as a racist. Accepting that he was born in 1875 when colonial attitudes were shared by the vast majority, modern protesters forget that he stood against the most pernicious form of racism the world has seen, in the systematic extermination of Jews, gipsies and others considered unfit for life by the Nazis. We need historians and teachers to educate and remind us of past events, accepting that past views might differ from twenty first century mindsets, with their own prejudices and intolerances. 

The same applies in matters of faith. Just as the Children of Israel periodically forgot their heritage and special relationship with God, our Christian faith can wane for a number of reasons. The first reason is complacency, because we can take faith for granted or assume life will always be tolerably easy. There is nothing to challenge or threaten us, until religious freedom is curtailed or our accustomed way of life is challenged. By and large we do not have to worry about where the next meal will come from or how we will be clothed or housed; we are thankful for our health service. But when anything breaks down, we can sometimes think God is distant or not interested and our faith leeches away. Some may have been adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and blame God. Others, through lack of Christian contact with churches closed may fall by the wayside.

A second factor is that we may not be receiving adequate spiritual sustenance. The absence of church services at the present time is somewhat exceptional, but some feel irregular attendance at church a couple of times a year is doing their duty. It is not surprising if their faith is weak or they fail to understand that the Christian faith is all about a personal relationship with God, and this relationship needs nurturing. Thinking of the Ethiopian government official in our reading from Acts 8, he had access to the scriptures, was clearly interested in their content, but needed someone to explain them. This was precisely the point when the Holy Spirit directed Philip to the desert road to intercept the chariot and provide just that extra instruction to apply the text of the scripture into a form the traveller could understand. Once the Ethiopian realised the verses quoted from Isaiah 53 applied to Jesus, Philip explained the gospel message of the need for repentance and to place his trust in Jesus Christ for salvation, he felt compelled to be baptised.

The miraculous arrival of Philip on the scene at just the right moment changed the eternal destiny of the Ethiopian official. We need to challenge ourselves about our own faith. Do we truly understand the truths of the Bible? Perhaps Bible reading notes would be helpful, or to join a Bible study group. We certainly need Christian ministers to teach the word of God in a clear and systematic way, so that we all move beyond Bible illiteracy (a growing problem in society today) to a fuller understanding of God’s love and eternal provision for us. We need to follow the example of the psalmist in Psalm 25: 5 in waiting on God, eager to pray, listen and learn.

Kevin Boak, Lay Reader

The Right Reverend Kevin Pearson Becomes 15th Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway

With a Deed of Installation, signed by the College of Bishops, the Right Rev Kevin Pearson becomes our new diocesan bishop today (Wednesday, 1 July 2020). This marks the end of our episcopal vacancy which started on the 11th October 2018 with the retirement of the Right Rev Gregor Duncan.

While we cannot be together to celebrate Bishop Kevin’s enthronement due to lockdown restrictions, through a series of online offerings we hope to welcome him and his wife Elspeth to the Diocese digitally.

  • Saturday, 4th July – Diocesan Welcome Video (shared across our website and social media channels);
  • Sunday, 5th July – Bishop Kevin’s sermon from St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Glasgow. https://thecathedral.org.uk/worship/
  • Sunday, 19th July – Bishop Kevin leads the Provincial Eucharist service.

Please pray for Bishop Kevin and Elspeth, for Bishop Gregor, for the College of Bishops, for those who cared for the Diocese during the vacancy and for those who offered themselves through the discernment process. Pray also for the people of the Diocese of Argyll and The Isles, the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway, and the whole Scottish Episcopal Church.

Image: Bishop Kevin moments after the announcement of his episcopal election at St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow on the 18th January 2020.

Video: The Feast of St Paul and St Peter – 28 June 2020

Homily for the Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, 28 June 2020, from St Michael and All Angels Church in Helensburgh by the Revd. Dom Ind. The weekly Service Sheet and Readings can be found on our website at this link: https://www.stmichaelhelensburgh.org.uk/2020/06/27/service-sheet-sunday-28th-june-2020-peter-and-paul-apostles/

Service Sheet: Sunday 28th June 2020 – Peter and Paul, Apostles

ST. MICHAEL & ALL ANGELS’ CHURCH, HELENSBURGH

Charity Registered in Scotland SC006468 

INTROIT HYMN – 349 New every morning is the love

COLLECT

Almighty God, your blessed apostles Peter and Paul glorified you in their death as in their life. Grant that your Church, inspired by their teaching and example, and made one by your Spirit, may ever stand firm upon the one foundation, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

ACTS OF THE APOSTLES

Acts 12. 1 – ­11

James Killed and Peter Imprisoned

About that time King Herod laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church. He had James, the brother of John, killed with the sword. After he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. (This was during the festival of Unleavened Bread.) When he had seized him, he put him in prison and handed him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending to bring him out to the people after the Passover. While Peter was kept in prison, the church prayed fervently to God for him.

Peter Delivered from Prison

The very night before Herod was going to bring him out, Peter, bound with two chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while guards in front of the door were keeping watch over the prison. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him, saying, ‘Get up quickly.’ And the chains fell off his wrists. The angel said to him, ‘Fasten your belt and put on your sandals.’ He did so. Then he said to him, ‘Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.’ Peter went out and followed him; he did not realize that what was happening with the angel’s help was real; he thought he was seeing a vision. After they had passed the first and the second guard, they came before the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went outside and walked along a lane, when suddenly the angel left him. Then Peter came to himself and said, ‘Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hands of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.’

PSALM Psalm 125
R. Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion that stands forever.

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but stands fast for ever. As the hills stand about Jerusalem, so the Lord stands round about his people, from this time forth for evermore. R

The sceptre of wickedness shall not hold sway over the land allotted to the righteous, lest the righteous turn their hands to evil. R

Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, and to those who are true of heart. Those who turn aside to crooked ways the Lord shall take away with the evildoers; but let there be peace upon Israel. R

EPISTLE

2 Timothy 4. 6­8, 17­ – 18
As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing. But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and save me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

GRADUAL HYMN – 392 O thou who camest from above

GOSPEL

Matthew 16. 13­ – 19

Peter’s Declaration about Jesus

When Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’

OFFERTORY HYMN – 148 From heaven you came

COMMUNION HYMN – 32 And now, O Father, mindful of the love

PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION

Heavenly Father, renew the life of your Church by the power of this sacrament. May the breaking of bread and the teaching of the apostles keep us united in your love; in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord.

RECESSIONAL HYMN – 268 Jesus Christ is waiting

BLESSING

God give you grace to follow his saints in faith and hope and love; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always.page2image19032

Scripture quotations from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA amended according to the Revised Common Lectionary in NRSV. Psalm from the Book of Common Worship of the Church of England. Collect, Prayer after Communion and Blessing from Scottish Liturgy 1982 with Propers and Revised Common Lectionary published by the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Edinburgh 2006.

Thought for Evensong – Third Sunday after Trinity, 28th June 2020

Psalm 18; Joshua 6: 1-20 and Acts 5: 15 – 42

For who is God except the Lord? And who is a rock besides our God? Psalm 18: 31

So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpets, they raised a great shout, and the wall fell down flat; so the people charged straight ahead into the city and captured it. Joshua 6: 20

But if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them – in that case you may even be found fighting against God!’ Acts 5: 39

We reach the climax of the preparations for the conquest of the Promised Land, as the city of Jericho is taken. The well-defended city looked an impossible proposition to attack with the weapons of the time. Success by totally unconventional means was another lesson for the Children of Israel to learn. The instructions given by Joshua must have seemed ridiculous, as a huge procession of armed men and the Ark of the Covenant was to circle the city once each day for six days. The troops were to remain silent, with only the trumpets accompanying the Ark making a sound. A fortnight ago I mentioned psychological warfare, and this is an example of how fear was instilled in the population of Jericho. To what purpose were their enemies marching round once each day? It seems it was to raise the expectation that something was going to happen, rather like the phoney war in the early months of World War II, when the fear of bombing raids or invasion was ever present and people were full of questions. On the seventh day Joshua’s instructions were different. Jericho was to be marched round seven times, and on the final circuit when the trumpets had sounded the Israelites were to raise a great shout. What would happen? I would think they were actually as surprised as the citizens of Jericho when the walls fell flat, but they each charged straight ahead and the city was delivered into their hands; Rahab and her family were the only ones spared, according to the promise she had been given by the two spies in Joshua 2.

The reading from Acts continues the adventures of Peter and the other apostles, with the religious authorities completely perplexed about what to do with this troublesome new faction drawing such crowds and with so many healings taking place. As with the miracle of the walls of Jericho falling flat at God’s command, the jailed apostles mysteriously find the doors of the prison opened in the middle of the night. We have already seen that while the apostles were respectful of those in authority, they saw God’s authority at a higher level. Along with the impelling force of the Holy Spirit driving them, theyhadto proclaim the gospel. This situation of the misled religious powers constantly striving to silence the apostles had to be resolved somehow, and it is interesting to see how Gamaliel’s sensible suggestion in Acts 5: 35 – 39 came to be adopted. Gamaliel pointed out that there had been other leaders who had mounted insurrections or declared themselves Messiah, but that these risings had all petered out. Once the leaders had been killed, the followers would disperse or disappear. If this new Jesus cult was similar, the excitement would die down, the novelty wear off and within a short time things would return to normal. Gamaliel wisely pointed out that if this new faith was of human origin it would fail. However, he added the important point that if the words and works of the apostles were of God they could not be stopped, and they would actually be fighting against God.

Like Nicodemus before him, it seems Gamaliel did not have a closed mind and could perceive that God was behind this new religious movement declaring Jesus Christ to be the Saviour. It would be a losing battle fighting against the divine might of the Holy Spirit! Out of spite or desperation, our reading ends with the apostles being flogged and again told to stop preaching the good news of Jesus. This of course did nothing to stop them teaching and proclaiming, as the succeeding pages of Acts unfold. 

In these contrasting passages we see the unconventional ways in which God achieved his purposes. Two thousand years on and the gospel has never been silenced, whatever human authority has attempted in terror or slaughter. May we continue to pray that even through the suffering and hardship brought unexpectedly by the Covid-19 pandemic, many people will come to faith.

Kevin Boak, Lay Reader

Service Sheet: Sunday 21st June 2020 – Third Sunday after Pentecost

ST. MICHAEL & ALL ANGELS’ CHURCH, HELENSBURGH

Charity Registered in Scotland SC006468

INTROIT HYMN – 388 O praise ye the Lord!

COLLECT

O God our defender, storms rage about us and cause us to be afraid. Rescue your people from despair, deliver your sons and daughters from fear, and preserve us all from unbelief; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

OLD TESTAMENT READING

Jeremiah 20. 7­ – 13

Jeremiah Denounces His Persecutors

Jeremiah Cried out: O Lord, you have enticed me, and I was enticed; you have overpowered me, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughing­stock all day long; everyone mocks me. For whenever I speak, I must cry out, I must shout, ‘Violence and destruction!’ For the word of the Lord has become for me a reproach and derision all day long. If I say, ‘I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name’, then within me there is something like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot. For I hear many whispering: ‘Terror is all around! Denounce him! Let us denounce him!’ All my close friends are watching for me to stumble. ‘Perhaps he can be enticed, and we can prevail against him, and take our revenge on him.’ But the Lord is with me like a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble, and they will not prevail. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonour will never be forgotten. O Lord of hosts, you test the righteous, you see the heart and the mind; let me see your retribution upon them, for to you I have committed my cause. Sing to the Lord; praise the Lord! For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hands of evildoers.

PSALM Psalm 69. 14 – ­20
R. The Lord listens to the needy and his own he does not despise.

But as for me, I make my prayer to you, O Lord; at an acceptable time, O God. Answer me, O God, in the abundance of your mercy and with your sure salvation. R

Draw me out of the mire, that I sink not; let me be rescued from those who hate me and out of the deep waters. Let not the water flood drown me, neither the deep swallow me up; let not the Pit shut its mouth upon me. R

Answer me, Lord, for your loving­kindness is good; turn to me in the multitude of your mercies. Hide not your face from your servant; be swift to answer me, for I am in trouble. Draw near to my soul and redeem me; deliver me because of my enemies. R

EPISTLE

Romans 6. 1b­ – 11

Dying and Rising with Christ

Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

GRADUAL HYMN – 361 O for a heart to praise my God

GOSPEL

Matthew 10. 24­ – 39
Jesus summoned the twelve and sent them out with the following instruction: ‘A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!

Whom to Fear

‘So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. ‘Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.

Not Peace, but a Sword

‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter­-in­-law against her mother­-in­-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

OFFERTORY HYMN – 464 Take my life, and let it be

COMMUNION HYMN – 155 Give to our God immortal praise

PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION

Almighty God, guide and protect your people who share in this sacred mystery, and keep us always in your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

RECESSIONAL HYMN – 424 Praise the Lord, rise up rejoicing

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 almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always.

Scripture quotations from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA amended according to the Revised Common Lectionary in NRSV. Psalm from the Book of Common Worship of the Church of England. Collect, Prayer after Communion and Blessing from Scottish Liturgy 1982 with Propers and Revised Common Lectionary published by the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Edinburgh 2006.

Thought for Evensong – Second Sunday after Trinity, 21st June 2020

Psalms 10 & 11; Joshua 4: 1 – 24 and Acts 4: 5 – 37

Portico. The question they ask is by what name this healing has taken place, and Peter replies that it is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth whom they had crucified, but God had raised from the dead. Peter’s indictment of them was that Jesus was the stone that would be the pinnacle of the arch of His construction of salvation, based on the foundation stones of the Law and the prophets. The religious authorities of the time had failed to recognise Jesus for who he was, but by the Resurrection had been vindicated as the keystone of the whole structure. Peter concludes his answer with the masterly statement, ‘There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved’. 

Reading on in Acts 4 we see the dilemma facing the authorities, who marvel that these uneducated men, Peter and John, are now able to preach with such power. Besides, they have the evidence of the healed man standing with them. It is concluded that they should be forbidden from preaching in the name of Jesus, but public opinion prevented them dealing out a more severe sentence. After a prayer and praise meeting with all their friends, the Holy Spirit came upon them once more in great power, which gave them the answer about remaining silent. It was simply impossible not to proclaim the saving power of Jesus’ name. In the next chapter they are arrested again!

To conclude, succeeding generations of Christians have all become part of that edifice we call the Church, the body of Christ. Paul speaks in Ephesians 2: 19 that we are ‘no longer strangers and aliens, but are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundations of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the keystone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord’. 

What a magnificent picture this is and we are privileged to be part of that great building of faith, going back through so many generations. To continue this heritage, we need to maintain the integrity of the spiritual building, never doubting the foundations and trusting in the uniqueness of Jesus as the name by which the world can be saved. 

Kevin Boak, Lay Reader