Forgiveness is a God who will not leave us after all we’ve done.

Christ Church Anglican Church Woodburn

1307 Woodburn Rd.,

Hannon, On.

L0R 1P0

Phone 905 692 3781

Reverend Trev Jones 289 649 0309

revtrev.jones@gmail.com

Greetings in the Name of Christ our Saviour and Redeemer on this

15th  Sunday of Pentecost

 Please use the following for personal worship, as desired.

It has been suggested that we all try to begin our reading and consideration of this abbreviated form of service, Sunday at 10.00 am. We will then be Christ Church together in prayer.

If you are not too far away, you may hear our bell rung at 10.00 am.

Sentence

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one

another as I have loved you. John 13.34

Collect

Almighty God,

you call your Church to witness

that in Christ we are reconciled to you.

Help us so to proclaim the good news of your love,

that all who hear it may turn to you;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Psalm  149

Hallelujah!

Sing to the Lord a new song; *

sing his praise in the congregation of the faithful.

Let Israel rejoice in his maker; *

let the children of Zion be joyful in their king.

Let them praise his name in the dance; *

let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.

For the Lord takes pleasure in his people *

and adorns the poor with victory.

Let the faithful rejoice in triumph; *

let them be joyful on their beds.

Let the praises of God be in their throat *

and a two-edged sword in their hand;

To wreak vengeance on the nations *

and punishment on the peoples;

To bind their kings in chains *

and their nobles with links of iron;

To inflict on them the judgment decreed; *

this is glory for all his faithful people.

Hallelujah!

Accept our praise, God of justice, defender of the oppressed.

Give us grace to join in this your holy work, that all the world

may see your glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to Matthew,

(Matthew 18:21-35 )

Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church 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.

“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, his 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.”

                           This is the Gospel of Christ.

Meditation:

The narrative  that preceded this week’s Old Testament lesson told us  of the cries of the Israelites when they were trapped between the sea and the Egyptian army. How they blamed Moses, and God and wished they had never left Egypt.

This week we read how God took pity on them, causing strong winds to blow on the waters of the sea and the waters to separate so they could cross safely.

The story of the Hebrews in the wilderness is one of deliverance, rebelliousness, forgiveness, drifting away from God, being welcomed back, sinning, forgiveness – just like the lives of many of us, don’t you think.

I used to think the Hebrews were an ungrateful lot. I used to think they were whiners in the bad times and arrogant so and so’s  when things went well.

Then I realised that the story of their struggle is an allegory of the struggle of each of us as we live our lives.

We too whine and blame God when things go wrong, and yet when things go well, we tend to take the credit ourselves.

We drift away from Him, and when we wander back, beaten down, remorseful, sorry about what we have done, He welcomes us back.

And isn’t it good to come back?  Isn’t it good when we know we are forgiven, and loved and wanted?

The Christian knows that, but what about those who don’t wander back?  What happens to them?

The story is told  in Spain of a father and his teenage son whose relationship had become strained.  So the son ran away  from home. 

The father, broken-hearted,  began to search for the rebellious boy.  Finally, in Madrid, in a last desperate attempt to find him, the father took an ad in the newspaper.

The ad read: “Dear Paco, meet me in front of the newspaper office at noon. All is forgiven. I love you.   Your father.”

The next day 800 Paco’s showed up outside the newspaper office.

Seeking forgiveness and love from their fathers.

And there were 799 fathers somewhere, too arrogant, or too unforgiving, or too lost themselves, to make the effort to be reconciled with their children.

I don’t know why children and parents fall out.  There seems to be a  different reason in every case.

But one lesson that we parents have to learn is something that Paul tells us in this week’s epistle. 

He is talking to people who have ‘fallen out’ over some religious ritual.

“Hey,”  he says, “ Some abstain from eating meat to glorify God, while others eat it  for the same reason.  Why should one treat the other as if he were a sinner?”

If you act one way to glorify God, and she acts another way to glorify God, then that’s fine.  Both are glorifying God.

He is saying in effect,  “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”    Don’t be too quick to judge each other. As God is not  quick to judge us.  

Jesus tells the story of one man who had done wrong against his boss, and was forgiven.

He was happy to have been let off. He had panicked and groveled, and cried for forgiveness and his boss had relented and forgiven him.

But what lesson did he learn?

He must have learned the wrong lesson. He may have thought, “Oh, he forgave me because I am such a good worker. He forgave me because I am valuable to him. Because I am special. Or, I am such a good persuader.”

That must have been the lesson he learned  – wrong! – because when he was in the position of  deciding whether or not he should  forgive someone,  he  had them  thrown into prison.   But he hadn’t been forgiven because of any personal virtue. He was forgiven because his boss took pity on him.

If he had figured that out, then he might have been a bit more forgiving of the man who offended him.

It’s hard to know how he couldn’t see it.  Everything was out in the open, wasn’t it?    Most often,  our sins are committed in secret.

It is so easy to secretly destroy a reputation by passing on something and saying that  you were only repeating what someone else told you.

It is so easy to lie about your circumstances when someone has asked you for help.   “ I am sorry. I am tapped right out.”  No-one really knows.  

There are, of course,  many ways we can sin in private,  away from the eyes of others, and still present a face of virtue to the world.  No-one need know.

And aren’t we glad, because we have all done something that we don’t want anyone else to know about?

There was a movie called, “We Know What You Did Last Summer.”

The idea  must have come from a real incident which happened fifty or so years ago, when  two girls sent an anonymous letter to a man, saying simply, “ We know what you did.” 

They weren’t aware of anything wrong that this man had done. It was just a silly joke

But the man committed suicide.

I wonder how any of us would feel  if  we thought our worst sins were public knowledge?

One welcome result might be that people would stop criticising others.  We can only criticize when we appear to be virtuous.    

That poor man  would not have killed himself if he had known that our sins don’t need to be there, even in the secrecy of our heart.  We are told that  because of what Jesus did,  then our sins can not only be forgiven, but they will be forgotten

Forgotten!

That comes about when we are once again in a loving relationship with God.

And if we are in a loving relationship with God then we won’t want to judge others.

In fact we will be forgiving and forgetting the sins of others as ours have been forgiven and forgotten.

Because we will want to be back in a loving relationship with them too.

It sounds so simple, doesn’t it?

I forgive you,  you forgive them, they forgive others, and so on.

Imagine if the sins of the Croatians against the Serbs, and the sins of the Serbs against the Croatians, and  the sins of the Albanians against the Serbs, and the sins of the Serbs against the Albanians had been forgiven – years ago – the tragedies of Bosnia and Kosovo would have been avoided.

Imagine if the sins of the Israelis against the Palestinians and the sins of the Palestinians against the Israelis, and the Catholic Irish against the Protestant Irish and the Protestant Irish against the Catholics, and so on had been forgiven. 

Instead, it has been like the famous feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys, hasn’t it?

That feud lasted for decades. Somewhere in the mountains of the southern United States.  It went something like  – ‘You killed my brother because my cousin killed your uncle, so I am going to kill you, and you will try to kill me, and if you do my father will kill you,’ and so on.

Whole peoples have been behaving that way haven’t they?    But in  broken relationships between nations, just as between individuals, someone has got to be the one who says, “Stop. It’s  enough.”

That’s what God did, didn’t he. He said, “ Enough is enough. This has got to stop!”   

And he stepped in Himself, in the person of Jesus to show us how love and forgiveness work.

And  love and forgiveness do work!

If given the chance.

Here is a lovely poem by George Roemisch published years ago, titled ‘Forgiveness.’

Forgiveness is the windblown bud which blooms in placid beauty at Verdun.

Forgiveness is the tiny slate-gray sparrow which has built its nest of twigs and string among the shards of glass on the wall of shame.

Forgiveness is the child who laughs in merry ecstasy beneath the toothed fence that closes in  Da Nang .

Forgiveness is the fragrance of the violet which still clings fast to the heel of the shoe that crushed it.

Forgiveness is the broken dream which hides itself within the corner of the mind oft called forgetfulness, so it will not bring pain to the dreamer.

Forgiveness is the reed which stands up straight and green when nature’s mighty rampage halts, full spent.

Forgiveness is a God who will not leave us after all we’ve done.

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Let us Pray  (Our continued prayer during this crisis)

Dear God, 

At this moment of our fear and anguish, come upon us.

May the body of humanity be filled with light

May the mind of humanity be filled with love.

May every cell of both body and consciousness 

be flooded with the divine.

May those who are sick be healed.

May those who fear and grieve and panic 

be comforted.

And may all humanity be purified 

of the selfishness, greed and irresponsibility that in so many ways led to this.

Bless the doctors, nurses,

the scientists, the grocers, sanitation workers, the political leaders, manufacturers,

and all those who are working so hard

to save us. Please work a miracle in our minds and hearts And take the virus from our midst.    Amen

Reopening of in- Church Worship.

Church services will resume tomorrow, Sunday September 13th at 10.00 am.

The following processes have to be observed:

On entering the church each person will be asked to read the Covid questionnaire and if any answer is ‘Yes” will have to return home.

Each person must be wearing a mask, and sanitize their hands before entering the church. Masks and sanitizing liquid will be available.

The sidesperson will note the name of each person entering to enable tracing later should a contact be noted.

Service booklets will be picked up as the worshipper enters. Instead of passing around the offering plate, the plate will be next to the service booklets. Offerings may be placed there on entering the church or upon leaving. 

On each pew, seating has been marked so as to minimize contact with the next worshipper. Each person is to sit in a marked seat, which will distance them from another to their side, behind them and in front of them. Couples who wish to sit together, may do so, but occupy a marked seat each  – spaced apart.

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The service will begin with a hymn by the choir. The congregation may not sing

The Peace: will take place at a distance, by gesture, etc.

Communion: this will be with bread only. Worshippers are to come forward, with three only at the altar rail at a time, kneeling or standing, keeping a distance when coming forward.

The service will follow its normal style except for the procedures mentioned above.

A caveat: We will be able to seat about thirty five, plus the choir, and the clergy. Not being sure how many people will want to come back right now, I haven’t asked people to register, ahead of time. I am not sure how to prepare for more people in subsequent Sundays – should I do two services? Should people attend alternate Sundays? Should you have to register and when the number of people planning to attend reaches thirty, close off the register?  Please email or text me with any suggestions you may have.

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It is my hope, and my intention, that even in these strange circumstances, which may be with us for a long time, worship will be fulfilling, enjoyable, and spirit-filled.  Please come back to church to meet with and worship with your friends.

By marking seat spacing, it is expected that we may safely seat about thirty people, not counting the choir and those up front.

It is expected that some may not be ready to come back to church at this time, and there is no compulsion to do so. The Sunday Service emails will continue as long as needed, and longer, for those who are not able to attend  because of  special circumstances,

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Prayer Requests. Please forward requests for prayer to

the Prayer Chain, c/o Tricia Puttock, at 905 692 0828 or by email: dpputtock@rogers.com )

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Thank you all for your continued support of our church, and its ministry:- 

which has helped keep us solvent during these challenging times.

Under Interac E transfer  (on line banking) :  as follows

            Send Money to:  Christ Church Woodburn

            Notify by email

            Contact email:  slaustin@rogers.com

            Message:  Parishioners should include their envelope number here. 

            Offerings can also be mailed to the church – using offering envelope inside            a normal mail envelope.

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Children’s Story

A long time ago before  cars and trucks were invented -people used animals – horses, ponies and donkeys, to carry them or their goods around.

There was a man whose job was selling salt. He would take a large bag of salt and load it onto his donkey and take it to market once a week.

The pathway he took to market led through a stream, which sometimes, if the rain had been heavy, became a river.

The donkey didn’t mind his job of carrying the bag of salt, even if it was heavy. That was his job, and his owner fed him and sheltered him. So he was fairly happy.

Then one day, as the man was taking his salt to market, and the donkey was carrying the heavy bag on his back, the stream was swollen ,and much deeper than usual. The donkey could walk through the water  but some large rocks had been washed down by the rushing water, and the donkey stumbled on them. .

He went down on his knees, and the bag on his bag was soaked. His master helped him up, onto his four feet and they continued on their way to market.

But something was different. The bag of salt didn’t seem so heavy now. It was quiet a bit lighter, and the donkey thought this was just fine. He fairly trotted along.

He didn’t know it but some of the salt had been dissolved in the water.

But when the donkey thought about it he realised that when he fell, the bag got lighter in weight. He didn’t know how, but he made the connection. So the next week, as he walked through the stream, he fell again – kind of accidentally on purpose.

His owner helped him up, and as they went to market, the donkey felt so good, the load was lighter. 

He had it all figured it out – fall down in the water and the bag will get lighter. .

And now he was ready to try the same trick again.

The donkey, thinking how smart he was, was ready to accidentally on purpose fall again, to lighten his load.

But his master was smarter. He realised what the donkey was doing, so the next  week, he loaded a bag of sand onto the animal, not salt.

This week when the donkey fell, accidentally on purpose, again,  the sand soaked up lots of water and the bag became so heavy that the donkey’s legs buckled, and he couldn’t stand up.

He was afraid he might drown!

And he panicked, snorting, and flailed around.

But the salt seller, being a kind man, having taught his donkey, a lesson, helped him up.

And the donkey had  learned his lesson.

Trying to be too smart can go wrong.

And a donkey is not smarter than his master.

The End.

Closing Blessing.

The Lord Bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord look upon you with favour and grant you His peace. Amen.