Sunday, 15th November: 2nd before Advent

Welcome to our online Worship Offering which contains prayers, the readings for the day and some musical offerings.

The Prayer for today: the Collect

Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son was revealed to destroy the works of the devil and to make us the children of God and heirs of eternal life: grant that we, having this hope, may purify ourselves even as he is pure; that when he shall appear in power and great glory. we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where he is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Hymn: Be Thou my Vision

Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labuor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.

Anthem: God be in my Head

God be in my head,
and in my understanding;
God be in mine eyes,
and in my looking;
God be in my mouth,
and in my speaking;
God be in my heart,
and in my thinking;
God be at mine end,
and at my departing.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 25: 14-30. The Parable of the Talents

“For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

Jesus tells the parable of the talents | Catholic Courier

After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Song: We all have Gifts to Share

Today’s Reflection: from our Curate, Rev Suzanne Johnson. Click below to listen to the reflection or simply read it below.

When I read today’s gospel I feel envious of those who have amazing talents – singers, musicians and dancers, and, of course, those holy people we all admire; people like Pope Francis, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Romero, to name but a few.

Apparently my greatest gift is knowing the words of a song as soon as I hear the intro music and, coming a close second, my ability to reverse park!  Though I have to say knowing song lyrics and reverse parking don’t seem to be useful talents for bringing God’s kingdom into people’s lives. So is there another way to read this parable?  Or is the traditional way of reading it correct?  Let’s have a look.

Jesus is, surely, the master in this parable, and His going away for a long time definitely corresponds with our experience.  I know and love Jesus, but I haven’t met him in human form: I know him through the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

We his disciples are the workers, the workers for His Kingdom. The traditional reading of this parable tells us to use our talents, our gifts and abilities to further the kingdom. So is this correct?

In the first century a talent wasn’t a skill but an enormous amount of money, about £500,000 and Jesus uses this enormous amount of money as a metaphor for the knowledge of God, which for me, is the priceless gift of knowing Jesus.  In addition the Holy Spirit enables us to learn and speak about our faith and God, and we have the love, encouragement, and support of our fellow Christians.

So what do we do with all of this?

I believe that Jesus is telling us to take this priceless gift and share it with the world, with all the world, even those who do not want to hear about Him.  We have a lifetime to do this and Jesus has given us all the skills and tools we need to speak about Him.  

Vertical Veg Street - Spreading the Word! - Semble

These talents are the gifts of our Christian upbringing, whenever that began.  Sometimes we can combine these with our natural talents, such as being a hymn writer, sometimes our natural talents, important as they may be, such as reverse parking, just don’t cut it.

Whatever we have, are, or do, God is with us.  He will give us the talents we need to bring His Kingdom to life in this world; we don’t all have to be preachers, choristers, theologians, or great Christians: but we do have to try.

And what about the terrified man who buries his talent? I believe that being that scared, is punishment enough.  All of us have times when we’re scared, or worried, or sometimes just too embarrassed to mention our Christian faith. When we have failed, or feel that we have failed Him, we’ll still find that Jesus loves us and He always will.

But remember, Jesus has given you a great gift, priceless beyond measure, all he asks is that you share it to the best of your ability. He loves you, you love Him, let’s share this love with the world!

Amen.

Hymn: Take this Moment

Take this moment, sign and space; 
Take my friends around; 
Here among us make the place 
Where your love is found.

Take the time to call my name, 
Take the time to mend 
Who I am and what I've been, 
All I've failed to tend.

Take the tiredness of my days, 
Take my past regret, 
Letting your forgiveness touch 
All I can't forget.

Take the little child in me 
Scared of growing old; 
Help me here to find my worth 
Made in God's own mould.

Take my talents, take my skills, 
Take what's yet to be; 
Let my life be yours, 
and yet Let it still be me.

Prayers for Today: You can listen to the prayers by clicking below or simply read them below.

Loving God, we offer our prayers for all people and their situations; for lives that are going through upheaval or distress; for circumstances which only you can change.

We give thanks for our church and pray for the Church throughout the world, remembering those Christians in countries where their beliefs make them vulnerable. Uphold and strengthen all who are persecuted for their faith. We pray for hostages and their families and loved ones.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

Creator God, we pray for peace in the world: for understanding between nations, religions and factions and for an end to old scores which remain unsettled. We pray that the people of the world, regardless of religious beliefs, may live alongside one another in mutual respect and harmony.  We pray for fair shares and fair trade and that the talents of the workers of the world are rewarded fairly.

We pray for the United States of America and ask that you would give the New President-Elect wisdom beyond his own understanding and the courage to choose the right path no matter how challenging.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gifts, talents and abilities you have given each of us, praying that a deeper understanding of those talents can be used and shared within our church and community.  Set us free from the fear that makes us inward looking. Give us a renewed generosity with our time, talents and treasure. Give us a renewed concern for those who are struggling in our congregations and our communities and a renewed vision of what it is for us to be your church, in this place, at this time.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

Forgiving God, send your healing forgiveness to all who are suffering feelings of guilt, shame or regret. Help to mend broken relationships. Be with all who feel that, through advancing years or failing health, they cannot enjoy life as it used to be. May those who are learning to live a new pattern of life feel that you are walking beside them. We especially pray for the sick and suffering and give you thanks for those who are on the road to recovery.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

Father God, we remember those who have died and those who are bereaved remembering especially at this time, the family and friends of William Boyes who died last Tuesday. May the light of Christ, which eternally shines, bring hope to their dark places. 

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

Gracious God, forgive us when we only turn to you when things trouble us, and when we forget to thank you for your blessings. Help us to recognise all the wonderful things in your world for which we should be grateful and send us out into the coming week ready to show our gratitude in all that we do and say.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

Hymn: O Perfect Love

Notices for the Week

Notices of the week – ST. PETERS CHURCH, BANDRA
Click this image to go to the Notices

Final Hymn: Immortal, Invisible

Blessing:

May the blessing of the Lord rest and remain upon all his people, of every race and language; may the Lord meet in mercy all who seek Him, may the Lord comfort with tenderness all who suffer and mourn, and may the Lord hasten His coming, and give us the blessing of peace. Amen.

Final Music: reflecting on giving of ourselves.

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