The Desperate One

A Sermon Preached on The Fourth Sunday Before Lent
February 21, 2021 at 11:00 am
for an Online Service with The Anglican Church of St. Thomas the Apostle, Kefalas, Crete
.

The readings used were Isaiah 43.18-25, Psalm 41, 2 Corinthians 1.18-22, and Mark 2.1-11.

Have you ever been really desperate?

The word “desperate” is related to “despair,” and originally described the condition of being without hope. But it has shifted over time to mean being someone who is “extremely reckless or violent, ready to run any risk or go any length” according to the Oxford English Dictionary. It also means “suffering extreme need or having a great desire for something.”

So, I think of a parent where the family is in in great poverty, and is willing to let someone else adopt or take care of the child. This does not happen so much anymore, but a hundred years ago many children were put into orphanages , not because they had no parents, but because their parents could no longer afford to feed them, or to get them out of urban slums. Between the 1830s and the 1930s, some 150,000 of them were shipped out as adolescents to Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia, mainly to work on farms as indentured servants, and it didn’t always work out as well as in Anne of Green Gables. It must have been incredibly hard for so many of these parents to let go of their children – but they were desperate.

Desperation can lead to violence, as we know, sometimes for defensible reasons, and sometimes not. We recognise that one can use violence to defend oneself, and even kill another. However, sometimes the desperation has an unjust origin, such as a passionate relationship gone bad.

Talk to any alcoholic or addict and they will tell you that the compulsion for alcohol or their drug is overwhelming, leading them to desperate actions. They will steal money, ruin relationships, live in denial, hide booze or drugs all over the house, and allow themselves to have blackouts and overdoses. Some of them they will run any risk, including the risk of serious illness and death.

Or think of the acts of desperation of some people during the pandemic. The rushing to get back to England before the imposition of new restrictions. The huge desire to open stores and restaurants, despite the risks of infection. The people gathering despite restrictions, because they are desperate for human companionship, and to not be disturbed from their usual routine.

Desperate Friends

The gospel story today is one of desperation. There is a man who is paralyzed, but he has some great friends. They are so desperate to help him that, when they could not get through the crowd, they climbed up onto the house, broke through the roof, and lowered him down. They took a great risk. They did not seem too concerned with the possibility that the owner of the house would be upset, or that Jesus, who was staying there, might be. They were not thinking about the repercussions. They were desperate.

And it turned out okay. Jesus healed the man. He absolved him of his sins, and the man got up and walked, to the consternation of the scribes.

Why does Jesus do this? Mercy, yes, because healing and restoration is a sign of the kingdom of God. As we hear in Isaiah 35 – not today’s reading, but an earlier prophecy, we hear:

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
    the desert shall rejoice and blossom . . .
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
    and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
    and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. Isaiah 35.1, 5-6a

But I suspect that there is more to it than that.

A Desperate God

I want to suggest to you that in many ways God appears to us as desperate. In the person of Jesus Christ we seen the action of a desperate God, one who will go to any lengths to restore the relationship between the divine and humanity. The parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin are descriptions of the kingdom of God, and the emotions conveyed by those stories desperation to the point of recklessness.

We read in Isaiah 43 this morning:

Do not remember the former things,
or consider the things of old.
I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I, I am He
    who blots out your transgressions for my own sake,
    and I will not remember your sins. Isaiah 43.18-19a, 25

The Source of all being sends the Eternal Word to take on flesh and dwell among us. He lives as one of us, and suffers as one of us, and staying obedient to a desperate hope, he serves God and others even to the cost of death, death on a cross.

God blots out our sins for his own sake. Having created us, the Divine desires us, even as we might desire another person. And when we reflect on it, the proper desire of humanity is the desire for the Divine, the desperate one in whom we find rest and peace.

Jesus Christ is Always Yes

Paul tell the church in Corinth, “For the Son of God, Jesus Christ . . . is always “Yes.”” All the promises of God are fulfilled in him. And God is desperate for you and me to receive those promises, and allow that yes to work in us. God wants us to be healed. God wants us to refresh ourselves. So what will be our response?

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Resources for Worship on the First Sunday of Lent

These are worship resources for The First Sunday of Lent, 2021. The resources are gathered from a variety of sources and, while assembled mainly for The Anglican Church of St Thomas the Apostle, Kefalas, on the island of Crete in Greece, others may find them useful.

Creation Covenant from The Saint John’s Bible

Read

The readings appointed by Common Worship and the Revised Common Lectionary for the First Sunday of Lent are: Genesis 9:8-17, Psalm 25:1-9, 1 Peter 3:18-22, and Mark 1:9-15.

In the Anglican Church of St Thomas, Kefalas, Crete, we are observing February 21, 2021 as the Fourth Sunday Before Lent. The readings are: Isaiah 43.18-25, Psalm 41, 2 Corinthians 1.18-22, and Mark 2.1-11. The order of service for the Fourth Sunday Before Lent may be downloaded here:

Share

Please join us by clicking this link or by entering the following into your Zoom application: Meeting ID: 850 4483 9927 Passcode: 010209. This will be a Zoom-only service — we may start having Zoomed service in the church in the next few weeks, involving the leaders in the church with three or four congregants, and the rest of you joining in remotely on your computers.

Reflect

This is my First Sunday of Lent sermon from last year, 2020. It makes more sense with the wilderness accounts in Matthew and Luke.

Pray

Collect
Almighty God,
whose Son Jesus Christ fasted forty days in the wilderness,
and was tempted as we are, yet without sin:
give us grace to discipline ourselves in obedience to your Spirit;
and, as you know our weakness,
so may we know your power to save;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

(or)

Heavenly Father,
your Son battled with the powers of darkness,
and grew closer to you in the desert:
help us to use these days to grow in wisdom and prayer
that we may witness to your saving love
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

On the First Sunday of Lent you may wish to use The Litany or the form of intercessions below the biddings.

Biddings
I bid your prayers for the Church:

I bid your prayers for the leaders and people of the nations; especially

I bid your prayers for the sick and suffering and all who minister to their needs;

  • remembering the over twenty-two million active cases of the novel coronavirus, giving thanks that this number has begun to go down; but mourning with the families of the over 2.46 million who have died in the pandemic;
  • for the 1.64 million people in the UK with active cases of covid-19, the over 119,000 who have died of it there, and the 13,548 active cases here in Greece, and the families of the over 6249 dead here;
  • remembering those ill with other diseases, and those whose operations have been postponed;
  • all those having issues with mental health;
  • those suffering from addiction, and those in recovery;
  • those who have been affected severely by the economic effects of the pandemic, especially in food services and tourism;
  • and giving thanks for the efforts of researchers in finding vaccines, and for the rollout of vaccines across the world.

Intercession
With confidence and trust let us pray to the Father.

For the one holy catholic and apostolic Church …
let us pray to the Father.

Lord of compassion,
in your mercy hear us.

For the mission of the Church,
that in faithful witness it may preach the gospel
to the ends of the earth,
let us pray to the Father.

Lord of compassion,
in your mercy hear us.

For those preparing for baptism [and confirmation] …
and for their teachers and sponsors,
let us pray to the Father.

Lord of compassion,
in your mercy hear us.

For peace in the world …
that a spirit of respect and reconciliation may grow
among nations and peoples,
let us pray to the Father.

Lord of compassion,
in your mercy hear us.

For the poor, the persecuted, the sick, and all who suffer …
for refugees, prisoners, and all in danger;
that they may be relieved and protected,
let us pray to the Father.

Lord of compassion,
in your mercy hear us.

For those whom we have injured or offended,
let us pray to the Father.

Lord of compassion,
in your mercy hear us.

For grace to amend our lives and to further the reign of God,
let us pray to the Father.

Lord of compassion,
in your mercy hear us.

In communion with all those who have walked in the way of holiness …
let us pray to the Father.

Lord of compassion,
in your mercy hear us.

God our Father,
in your love and goodness
you have taught us to come close to you in penitence
with prayer, fasting and generosity;
accept our Lenten discipline,
and when we fall by our weakness,
raise us up by your unfailing mercy;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sing

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Touch, Touch Me Lord Jesus

A Sermon Preached on The Fifth Sunday Before Lent
February 14, 2021 at 11:00 am
for an Online Service with The Anglican Church of St. Thomas the Apostle, Kefalas, Crete
.

The readings used were 2 Kings 5.1-14, Psalm 30, 1 Corinthians 9.24-27, and Mark 1.40-45.

“Have you ever been so sick you couldn’t pray?”

You may or may not have heard of The Angelic Gospel Singers – after all, they had their biggest hit in 1949 in the United States with the song below: “Touch Me, Lord Jesus”. This kind of African-American gospel music was not well known outside the Black radio stations and churches in the United States – we certainly didn’t sing this at Evensong. And yet, among those who know this genre – the original gospel music before it was white-washed in the ’70s – these ladies were royalty. They are the roots of secular Rhythm and Blues and Motown and influencing everybody from Aretha Franklin to Elvis, the older incarnations of Fleetwood Mac, and even the Rolling Stones. In concert their performances were full of testimonies and stories, as well as some amazing singing. Have a listen:

I love the introduction here by Margaret Allison, playing the piano and talking away, and then slowly beginning to sing her testimony, and howling in a way that would make Little Richard proud. It slowly builds up and seems stream of consciousness, although I suspect she did this hundreds of times. She starts off with the question, “Have you ever been sick you couldn’t pray?” and leads into having a talk with herself and then with “Doctor Jesus” and asking him to go into the operating room with her, to “speak to the doctors and tell them what to do.” She had her challenges to learn to walk afterwards, to use her hands again, and play the piano. In the midst of her pain she found herself uttering the words of their 1949 hit:

1 Touch, touch me Lord Jesus
with thy hand of mercy.
Make each throbbing heartbeat
feel thy power divine.
Take my will forever.
I will doubt thee never.
Oh, cleanse, cleanse me dear Saviour.
Make me wholly thine.

2 Guide, guide me Jehovah
through this veil of sorrow.
I am saved forever
trusting in thy love.
Bail me through the current,
o’er the chilly Jordan
Lead, lead dear Master
to thy home above.

“If you choose, you can make me clean.”

In the gospel reading we hear of Jesus healing a leper. In countries with modern medicine available to all we do not see leprosy today, as there are antibiotics and other medicines available to deal with it, and yet decades after it disappeared from us we still seem to have a revulsion to it. Jesus stretches out his hand, daring to touch the unclean man and become unclean himself, and says, ““I do choose. Be made clean!” In a similar story we hear of Naaman, not a Jew but a Syrian general, being healed in the river of Jordan.

In another performance on YouTube you can hear Margaret Allison testify that God’s “still in the healing business. All you have to do is just call on him. Wait on him. He may not come when you want him to – but he’s always on time.” And I believe this. I have been to places where people have asked for divine intervention, and claim that they have received it – places such as Lourdes in southern France. Prayer works in conjunction with the marvels of modern medicine, but sometimes there are healings which cannot be explained by physicians.

Miraculous healing has been controversial in the history of much of post-Reformation Church of England. Under the influence of Jean Calvin and the Reformed tradition, most Anglican theologians from the 1550s on declared that the era of miracles had ended with the closing of the canon of scripture. There was no longer any need for miracles testifying to the power of Jesus, as the supposedly superstitious Catholics celebrated, as we had the holy scriptures, and that was testimony enough. This is part of what historians have called The Disenchantment of the World – the change from the 16th century on in which the supernatural is no longer seen, and God is no longer a part of any rational explanation. It may have paved the way for the rise of the hard sciences, but it also meant that sectors of the population felt more than able to dispense with God.

All of this started to change some 120 years ago, as African-American churches in the United States began to claim that the Holy Spirit was still in the healing business, just as the Catholics always claimed. Starting in the early 1900s even the establishment Church of England began participate in new organisations such as the Guild of Health and the Order of St Luke, and prayers and anointing for healing became normal parts of the liturgy. I have prayed over people for healing, and I have seen some people get those prayers answered. I have been prayed over, and I know God’s spirit moved in me.

But I look at the world and I see a world that needs healing.

  • We have this pandemic, which has long been predicted, and is a direct consequence of the globalization of the world, where a disease which in earlier eras would stay regionalized, or take years to make its way around the globe, but now took just weeks to do so last year. And yet, despite being predicted, in so many places our leadership failed to prepare, or were in denial. If it was an even worse disease just imagine how horrible things would be now.
  • We are suffering from the long-term exploitation of the resources of the globe, to the point where we are warming the world at a faster rate than at any time in the long, long history of humanity. Will we respond? Will our leaders lead us on this?
  • We are suffering from a lack of compassion. We spend vast amounts of money on things we do not need, but we have to have fundraisers for our health systems, stretched to their limits. We are indifferent to the most preventable diseases among the poor – neonatal tetanus, HIV/AID, measles, malaria, and tetanus.
  • We are in need of healing from loneliness. We are so good at being independent and autonomous that we have inadvertently cut ourselves from each other, and so we fail to reach out. It’s especially prevalent in Britain, where the joke is often told that you English need to explain to Americans that when someone says, “You must drop by sometime” they usually really mean, “Don’t ever visit me.” But in a time like now this becomes quite problematic, and people, especially those of us living alone, are starved for talk and for touch. There are definite physical effects, one study stating that “the heightened risk of mortality from loneliness equals that of smoking 15 cigarettes a day or being an alcoholic, and exceeds the health risks associated with obesity.” So we need to reach out, take the risk of communication.
  • We are in need of healing from the long-term consequences of centuries of racism, slavery, and extractive imperialism. It continues to warp our politics, our foreign policy, our empathy. I wrote about this in my soon to be resubmitted dissertation, and I see it in the politics of my home country of Canada.
  • And as individuals we need healing from the effects of sin – our hatred of others, the idols we have worshipped, our disregard of those in need, the times we have betrayed the trust given us, the occasions when we have broken the agreements solemnly contracted, the people and things we have coveted, stolen, and destroyed.

For all of these things, we healing.

But the forces that challenge such healing are strong.

  • They are the demons of “I am one person; I cannot do anything” and “This doesn’t concern me.”
  • They are the diseases of self-interest and the short term outlook.
  • But we have a Saviour who makes us part of his own body.
  • Jesus, by the power that raised him from the dead, empowers us to do more than we can ask or imagine.
  • As Jesus is concerned for all people, so we see all women, men, and children as our family.
  • We become as concerned for others as ourselves, and take the long view of the millennium.
  • As the hands of Jesus in the world we have the opportunity to say, “I do choose. Be made clean.”
  • We also stand in the place of the leper and say, “If you choose, you can make me clean.”

And each of us needs healing. It may be some complaint about our health. It may be a wound so great that it cannot be healed except by a miracle. It may not be healed in this life, not until until God breaks into history and transforms the world, and we hear the voice from the throne saying,

“Behold, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
4he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.” Revelation 21.3-4

And then we will know that this prayer has been fulfilled:

Touch, touch me Lord Jesus
with thy hand of mercy.
Make each throbbing heartbeat
feel thy power divine.
Take my will forever.
I will doubt thee never.
Oh, cleanse, cleanse me dear Saviour.
Make me wholly thine.

The Anglican congregations in Greece, for 2021 only and because of the pandemic, are observing Easter on the same day as the Greek Orthodox, which is May 2. This affects all the Sundays from February to June, and it means we are adding four weeks of Sundays before Lent (and will lose four Sundays after Trinity, when we rejoin the Gregorian calendar).

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Resources for Worship on the Sunday Next Before Lent

These are worship resources for The Sunday Next Before Lent, 2021. The resources are gathered from a variety of sources and, while assembled mainly for The Anglican Church of St Thomas the Apostle, Kefalas, on the island of Crete in Greece, others may find them useful.

Read

The Sunday Next Before Lent is known in the Anglican Church of Canada and in the United States’ The Episcopal Church as The Last Sunday after Epiphany. The theme and the readings are the same: the Transfiguration of Christ (known in Greece as The Metamorphosis). The readings appointed by Common Worship and the Revised Common Lectionary are: 2 Kings 2:1-12, Psalm 50:1-6, 2 Corinthians 4:3-6, and Mark 9:2-9.

In the Anglican Church of St Thomas, Kefalas we are in a different liturgical zone, observing Easter with our Orthodox and Catholic brothers and sisters on May 2 instead of April 4. As a result, this coming Sunday for us will be The Fifth Sunday Before Lent, and not The Sunday Next Before Lent, and the reading will be 2 Kings 5.1-14, Psalm 30, 1 Corinthians 9.24-27, and Mark 1.40-45. The Order of Service for this Sunday may be downloaded here:

Share

Please join us by clicking this link or by entering the following into your Zoom application: Meeting ID: 850 4483 9927 Passcode: 010209. This will be a Zoom-only service — we may start having Zoomed service in the church in the next few weeks, involving the leaders in the church with three or four congregants, and the rest of you joining in remotely on your computers.

Reflect

Eric Symes Abbott, Dead of Westminster Abbey from 1959 to 1974, first preached these Seven Meditations on the Transfiguration in the late 1940s.

Fr Leonard Doolan of St Paul’s Church in Athens has the following pre-recorded sermon:

A sermon for the Sunday Next Before Lent

Pray

Collect
Almighty Father,
whose Son was revealed in majesty
before he suffered death upon the cross:
give us grace to perceive his glory,
that we may be strengthened to suffer with him
and be changed into his likeness, from glory to glory;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

(or)

Holy God,
you know the disorder of our sinful lives:
set straight our crooked hearts,
and bend our wills to love your goodness
and your glory
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Intercession
That this and all our days
may be full of your praise:
All  we pray to you, O Lord.

That you will keep us this day without sin:
All  we pray to you, O Lord.

That we may walk before you
in the paths of righteousness and peace:
All  we pray to you, O Lord.

That you will bless your people
and lift them up for ever:
All  we pray to you, O Lord.

That you will guide and protect us by your Holy Spirit
and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting:
All  we pray to you, O Lord.

Let us commend ourselves, and all for whom we pray,
to the mercy and protection of God.

in communion with Thomas and with all your saints,
entrusting one another and all our life to Christ:
All  we pray to you, O Lord.

Let us commend ourselves, and all for whom we pray,
to the mercy and protection of God.

Biddings
I bid your prayers for the Church:

I bid your prayers for the leaders and people of the nations; especially

I bid your prayers for the sick and suffering and all who minister to their needs;

  • remembering the over twenty-five million active cases of the novel coronavirus, and mourning with the families of the over 2.38 million who have died in the pandemic;
  • for the 1.8 million people in the UK with active cases of covid-19, the over 115,000 who have died of it there, and the 12,400 active cases here in Greece, and the families of the over 6056 dead here;
  • remembering those ill with other diseases, and those whose operations have been postponed;
  • all those having issues with mental health;
  • those suffering from addiction, and those in recovery;
  • those who have been affected severely by the economic effects of the pandemic, especially in food services and tourism;
  • and giving thanks for the efforts of researchers in finding vaccines, and for the rollout of vaccines across the world.

Sing

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Resources for Worship on the Second Sunday Before Lent

These are worship resources for The Second Sunday Before Lent, 2021. The resources are gathered from a variety of sources and, while assembled mainly for The Anglican Church of St Thomas the Apostle, Kefalas, on the island of Crete in Greece, others may find them useful.

Gospel of John Frontispiece and Incipit, Donald Jackson, from The Saint John’s Bible

Share

Please join us for an online Zoom-only service. You can join our Zoom Service of the Word by clicking this link or by entering the following into your Zoom application: Meeting ID: 850 4483 9927 Passcode: 010209.

We at the Anglican Church of St Thomas, Crete, will not actually be using the readings for the Second Sunday Before Lent on February 7, but another set of readings. Likewise, the music appointed will be different from what is listed below. The Order of Service for this alternate set of readings and hymns can be downloaded here, although all the parts needed by the congregation – hymns and responses – will be up on the screen.

Read

The readings appointed for the Second Sunday of Lent are Proverbs 8.1, 22-31, Psalm 104.26-end, Colossians 1.15-20, and John 1.1-14.

Reflect

My sermon from Christmas 2019 refers to the gospel reading and the reading from Proverbs, so you may want to have a look at that.

Fr Leonard Doolan of the Anglican/Episcopal Church of St Paul, Athens, has sent me his pre-recorded sermon which will be preached live on February 7, 2021.

Sermon for 7 February, 2021, Fr Leonard Doolan, Athens

Pray

Collect
Almighty God,
you have created the heavens and the earth
and made us in your own image:
teach us to discern your hand in all your works
and your likeness in all your children;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who with you and the Holy Spirit reigns supreme over all things,
now and for ever. Amen.

(or)

Almighty God,
give us reverence for all creation
and respect for every person,
that we may mirror your likeness
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Intercession
That this day may be holy, good and joyful:
All  we pray to you, O Lord.

That we may offer to you our worship and our work:
All  we pray to you, O Lord.

That we may strive for the well-being of all creation:
All  we pray to you, O Lord.

That in the pleasures and pains of life,
we may know the love of Christ and be thankful:
All  we pray to you, O Lord.

That we may be bound together by your Holy Spirit,
in communion with Thomas and with all your saints,
entrusting one another and all our life to Christ:
All  we pray to you, O Lord.

Let us commend ourselves, and all for whom we pray,
to the mercy and protection of God.

Biddings
I bid your prayers for the Church:

I bid your prayers for the leaders and people of the nations; especially

I bid your prayers for the sick and suffering and all who minister to their needs;

  • remembering the over twenty-five million active cases of the novel coronavirus, and mourning with the families of the over 2.3 million who have died in the pandemic;
  • for the 1.9 million people in the UK with active cases of covid-19, the over 110,000 who have died of it there, and the over 9,289 active cases here in Greece, and the families of the over 5903 dead here;
  • remembering those ill with other diseases, and those whose operations have been postponed;
  • all those having issues with mental health;
  • those suffering from addiction, and those in recovery;
  • those who have been affected severely by the economic effects of the pandemic, especially in food services and tourism;
  • and giving thanks for the efforts of researchers in finding vaccines, and for the rollout of vaccines across the world.

Sing

All Creatures of Our God and King
Seek Ye First The Kingdom of God

          

I Feel the Winds of God Today

   

Thou, Whose Almighty Word

 

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Resources for Worship on The Presentation of Christ

These are worship resources for The Presentation of Christ in the Temple. The resources are gathered from a variety of sources and, while assembled mainly for The Anglican Church of St Thomas the Apostle, Kefalas, on the island of Crete in Greece, others may find them useful.

A Note on the Feast

The Presentation of Christ in the Temple is appointed for February 2, 2021, although many churches observe it on the Sunday before. We shall observe it on Sunday, January 31, 2021. As the Book of Common Prayer (1662) notes, it is “commonly called The Purification of Saint Mary the Virgin as it commemorates the coming of Joseph and Mary with Jesus to the Temple to offer the sacrifice required by the Torah after the birth of a male child. It is also known as Candlemas, as it is the day that candles are traditionally blessed for the coming year. In the lectionary of the Church of England’s Common Worship it also marks the end of the season of Epiphany; afterwards the Sundays are a countdown to Lent – although, as may be discussed next week, this may change for Anglican congregations in Greece. Finally, those of us from North America, and fans of Bill Murray movies, will also know it as Groundhog Day.

Readings

This coming Sunday we will use Malachi 3:1-4, Psalm 24:7-10, and Luke 2:22-40. Many churches will also use Hebrews 2.14-end.

Share

Please join us for an online Zoom-only service. You can join our Zoom Service of the Word by clicking this link or by entering the following into your Zoom application: Meeting ID: 850 4483 9927 Passcode: 010209.

The Order of Service is here for downloading, although all the parts needed by the congregation – hymns and responses – will be up on the screen.

You can always use the resources here to make your own service – just download the order of service, or read the readings and the prayers, interspersing them with the hymns and music below.

Reflect

I preached this sermon two years ago, and you can read it again, if you wish. If Fr Leonard Doolan sends me his prerecorded sermon for Sunday I will put that here.

Pray

Collect
Almighty and ever-living God,
clothed in majesty,
whose beloved Son was this day presented in the Temple,
in substance of our flesh:
grant that we may be presented to you
with pure and clean hearts,
by your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

(or)

Lord Jesus Christ,
light of the nations and glory of Israel:
make your home among us,
and present us pure and holy
to your heavenly Father,
your God, and our God. Amen.

Biddings

I bid your prayers for the Church:

I bid your prayers for the leaders and people of the nations; especially

I bid your prayers for the sick and suffering and all who minister to their needs;

  • remembering the over twenty-five million active cases of the novel coronavirus, and mourning with the families of the over 2.1 million who have died in the pandemic;
  • for the almost 1.9 million people in the UK with active cases of covid-19, the over 100,000 who have died of it there, and the over 5,922 active cases here in Greece, and the families of the over 5692 dead here;
  • remembering those ill with other diseases, and those whose operations have been postponed;
  • all those having issues with mental health;
  • those suffering from addiction, and those in recovery;
  • those who have been affected severely by the economic effects of the pandemic, especially in food services and tourism;
  • and giving thanks for the efforts of researchers in finding vaccines, and for the rollout of vaccines across the world.

Intercessions
Let us pray to the Father through Christ who is our light and life.

Father, your Christ is acclaimed as the glory of Israel:
look in mercy on your Church, sharing his light.
Lord, have mercy.
All   Christ, have mercy.

Father, your Christ in his temple brings judgement on the world:
look in mercy on the nations, who long for his justice.
Lord, have mercy.
All   Christ, have mercy.

Father, your Christ, who was rich, for our sakes became poor:
look in mercy on the needy, suffering with him.
Lord, have mercy.
All   Christ, have mercy.

Father, your Christ is the one in whom faithful servants find their peace:
look in mercy on the departed, that they may see your salvation.
Lord, have mercy.
All   Christ, have mercy.

Father, your Christ is revealed as the one destined to be rejected:
look in mercy on us who now turn towards his passion.
Lord, have mercy.
All   Christ, have mercy.

Lord God, you kept faith with Simeon and Anna,
and showed them the infant King.
Give us grace to put all our trust in your promises,
and the patience to wait for their fulfilment;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
All   Amen.

Sing

Hymn: Fling Wide the Gates

Fling wide the gates, unbar the ancient doors;
salute your king in his triumphant cause!
1 Now all the world belongs to Christ our Lord:
let all creation greet the living Word!
Chorus

2 Who has the right to worship him today?
All those who gladly serve him and obey.
Chorus

3 He comes to save all those who trust his name,
and will declare them free from guilt and shame.
Chorus

4 Who is the victor glorious from the fight?
He is our king, our life, our Lord, our right!
Chorus

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“The Kingdom of God Has Come Near; Repent, and Believe in the Good News.”

A Sermon Preached on The Third Sunday of Epiphany
January 24, 2021 at 11:00 am
For an Online Service with The Anglican Church of St. Thomas the Apostle, Kefalas, Crete
(somewhat expanded).

The readings used were Jonah 3:1-5, 10, Psalm 128, and Mark 1:14-20. I used these by mistake – they are the readings in The Episcopal Church in the USA and the Anglican Church of Canada – but not in the Church of England’s Common Worship Lectionary. Ninety-five per cent of the time the calendars match – but not this Sunday. This is what happens when you rely on North American lectionary sites.

Jonah looks over Ninevah.

“Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across.”

Whenver I read this passage from Jonah I remember my walk from Victoria to Seattle five years ago. After taking the ferry from Victoria to the Olympic Peninsula, walking along the north shore to Port Townsend and walking along the southern part of Whidbey Island, I took the ferry over to Mukilteo, a small city about 25 miles north of downtown Seattle (40 km). Since the 1960s it has been a suburb of Seattle, and I quickly crossed over the line into Everett, which is where Boeing now makes all its jets. I spent the night in a motel in Everett by the I-5, and the next day walked to another suburb, Shoreline. The next day I walked into the centre of Seattle. I did walk for three days through the greater metropolitan area of Seattle. I could have walked another three or four, I suspect. I did not stop and announce, “Forty days more, and Seattle shall be overthrown!” – although some might argue that the city could use some repentance.

Μετανοία

In Mark’s gospel Jesus inaugurates his ministry with these words:

Πεπλήρωται ὁ καιρὸς καὶ ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ · μετανοεῖτε καὶ πιστεύετε ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ.
The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

Have we repented? Do we believe the good news?

  • The good news is that God’s kingdom is near.
  • The good news is that the kingdom is not to be found in the Roman Empire of Tiberius Caesar, or Pontius Pilate, or the client ruler Herod Antipas, but in the God of Israel. It is not to be identified with the Hellenic Republic, the government of Canada, the Queen in Parliament of the United Kingdom, or the new administration in the United States. However much they may be influenced by Christianity, they are not the kingdom.
  • The good news, as Jesus’s disciple came to understand it, is that the kingdom has come in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. His healings, his exorcisms, and his various other miracles are signs of his rule and power.
  • The good news is that in the resurrection from the dead of Jesus, God the Father has inaugurated the renewing of creation.
  • The good news is that we participate in that renewal by becoming part of the body of Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection, through baptism and communion and other spiritual practices.
  • The good news is that we are no longer under the power of sin and death, but live under the forgiveness of God and the grace of the empowering Holy Spirit.
  • The good news is that God extends his grace beyond Israel and makes it available to all humanity, to you and to me.

However. If this is all good news, we are not unchanged. God’s spirit comes upon us, and we become driven by the spirit.

  • Jesus was driven into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit, and so we may enter some difficult places.
  • We might speak in tongues, or have gifts of prophecy, or be called to pray and lay hands upon people.
  • As John the Baptist did with Herod Antipas, as Jesus did with Pilate, as Paul did with governors and Caesar, so the spirit may call us to speak truth to power.

This is all change. The Greek word μετανοία is usually translated as “repentance”, but it literally means “change of mind.” At our advanced ages, are we willing to be changed and transformed? Do we understand that we are called to repent and believe every day of our life?

But many of us do not want to change. We want to run away, as Jonah did. In chapter one of that short book he receives a call to go to Ninevah, but he avoids it by getting on a ship, and we are told that the ship is lashed by a great storm by God. When the sailors discover that Jonah is the cause of their turmoil they toss him over, but God preserves him in the belly of a great fish. After Jonah prays – that’s chapter 2 – he is spat up on the shore, and he accepts his calling and goes to Ninevah, a gentile city.

Sackcloth. No, it’s not comfortable.

Are we prepared to humble ourselves, as the people of Ninevah did? Do we take seriously the way they changed their lives through fasting and putting on basic, humble clothes?

Of course, many of us probably think that we do not need to change much, or do not have much of which to repent. In the Orthodox tradition one makes one’s confession to a priest by reviewing the Ten Commandments. I suspect that if we did that there would be few of us who recently committed murder, dishonoured our parents, committed theft, were involved in adultery. I sincerely doubt that we covet our neighbour’s donkey, house, or spouse. As we worship the God of Israel, we do not worship other gods, and so we are all right there. I suspect most of us are not involved in idolatry, although perhaps we occasionally take the Lord’s name in vain – but I expect we keep our oaths and mostly tell the truth. So, while we may still be able to number our great and manifold sins, when it comes to repentance we are more like an eight year old child in the process of making their first confession, rather than a mass murderer before a court of justice.

Personal and Collective

However, many of us have benefited from the sins of others in ages past. Let me speak of my own situation. My ancestors, poor pious Presbyterians from the borders of Scotland, and Methodists from Ireland, came to what was then the province of Canada East and the colony of New Brunswick in the 1830s. They were given land to farm – land that in the preceding century, without treaty or compensation, was taken from the original inhabitants, the Abenaki and the Mi’kmaq. This land served as the foundation of the succeeding generations fortunes.

Mikmaq -CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=966044
On my father’s side my ancestors settled on the lands of the Gespegeoag, on the south shore of the Chaleur Bay, as well as on the lands of Sigenigteoag, on the banks of the Miramichi River. In 1970-1972 I lived in Bathurst, in the southern dip of the Chaleur Bay.

Do I owe something to the descendants of the people whose land was taken from them? A naive attitude is that this was all in the past, and that those who suffered should just get over it. However, as William Falkner famously said, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” In Canada the result of the taking of land resulted in almost two centuries of poverty, discrimination, and forced assimilation. This has led to inter-generational trauma, a higher rate of incarceration compared to other populations, and a plethora of diseases and addictions; while my ancestors and I have thrived, they have diminished. It did not have to be this way – the growth and development of Canada was never a zero-sum game.

The territories of the western Abenaki in what is now the Eastern Townships of Quebec, and most of the states of Vermont and New Hampshire. My maternal ancestors farmed where the “k” of “Arsigantok” is – indeed, my cousin still runs a dairy farm there.

Now, let me be clear. I do not feel guilt in this, except insofar as I have occasionally embodied racist attitudes and assumptions. I personally did not participate in action against Indigenous peoples, and so I would argue that I bear no personal responsibility. However, as part of a society built upon colonialism and imperialism – and, I would suggest, forms of genocide – I have a part to play in responding to past wrongs and present injustices; there is a collective responsibility. So as a Christian I do need to at the very least let go of some things – perhaps involving the transfer of government land, a recognition of the sovereign autonomy and rights of the Abenaki, the Mi’kmaq, and other Indigenous peoples whose territory I have lived on.

The land I grew up on is the traditional territory of the Atikamekw, one of the easternmost First Nations that uses a Cree language.
The southern part of their territory, where the St Maurice River enter the St Lawrence, was inhabited in the 16th century by a group known today as the St Lawrence Iroquoian. Between the 16th century voyages of Jacques Cartier in 1535-1536 & 1541-1542, and the foundation of Quebec City in 1608, they disappeared. It is speculated that this was probably due to the combined effects of European diseases, and warfare with other First Nations; their descendants are probably now part of the Six Nations and Wyandot (Huron).The St Lawrence Iroquoian called a settlement “kanata” – and this is the name the French gave to the new found land: Canada.

This is, of course, reparations. The idea strikes terror into the hearts of “white folk”, thinking that it means they will lose their homes or have to pay dramatically higher taxes, or that companies involved in the exploitation of natural resources will be prevented from any activity. But, in fact, reparations have been paid in the past to different groups.

  • In April 1914 the Komagata Maru, a Japanese ship carrying passengers from Calcutta to Vancouver, was forced to return to India without allowing most of its people to enter Canada. Although they were British subjects, the fact that they were Indians – mostly Sikhs, but also some Muslims and Hindus – meant that they were unwelcome in the “white” Dominion of Canada. In 2008 and 2016 apologies were offered by two different Prime Ministers, and a modest amount of federal money was made available to mark the event on its centenary.
  • As in the United States, during the Second World War Canada interned Canadians and immigrants of Japanese descent, even though they were of no demonstrable threat to national security. The internees lost their lands and, even after the war, were banned from living on the west coast of British Columbia. In 1988 the Prime Minister offered an apology, CAD $21,000 was paid to each surviving internee – a token amount in comparison to what they lost, – and money was set up to provide services for the community of survivors.
  • From the 1850 to 1980s the governments of Canada sought to assimilate Indigenous peoples through forced assimilation (which, under the Genocide Convention, is a form of genocide). The primary instrument used to do this was the network of Indian Residential Schools which were enthusiastically operated by all the major church denominations until 1970. Mortality at the schools was high, reaching 50% in some places. Children were not allowed to speak their own languages, practice any of their spiritual heritage, or interact with their parents. They were obliged to work from their early teens, but were also nutritionally deprived. The Prime Minister in 2008 offered a formal apology, following on a CAD $1.9 billion compensation plan.

But, arguably, more has to happen. 89% of Canada’s land is considered “Crown land” – public land held in the name of the monarch on behalf of the federal government and the ten provinces. Why do the various Indigenous peoples in Canada not have greater rights over these lands? Any Indigenous title over such lands seems to be obtained only through lawsuits that take years to settle. The courts have been clear that the various governments need to negotiate treaties with the many First Nations, Métis, and Inuit, but no matter how many good words the government representatives seem to make, it is slow and tortuous. Perhaps “Crown land” needs to be renamed “The Creator’s Land” so that settlers understand that they are merely co-stewards with the Indigenous of the territory, not the sovereign lords.

A demonstration near Toronto in early 2020 protesting the construction of pipelines in British Columbia with the consultation and consent of the local traditional leadership there.

Further, autonomy needs to be granted to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit. In the 1880s the federal government used the Indian Act to impose band councils, thereby undermining the traditional means of governance. These band councils are still in place, and in some places serve as a means to “divide and conquer” the population of a First Nation. The Indian Act needs to be repealed and replaced with treaties that respect the sovereignty of Indigenous peoples and acknowledges their right to govern according to their own rules.

What would reparations look like? As Christians we need to not only become allies of oppressed peoples, but we ought to examine our own roles in this. My dissertation “Unsettling Theology” identifies seven different theological ideas that legitimized the violent theft of land, the enslavement of Indigenous peoples, and the assimilation of survivors. These need to be repented of by the whole church, and more Christlike theologies held up that will prevent us from engaging in such sinful behaviour in the future.

“Follow me.”

This may feel quite removed from life here in Greece, and it undoubtedly is. I invite you to come up with examples of collective repentance that may be more meaningful to your situation. I will insist on the importance of communal repentance, though – if it was necessary for the whole of Ninevah to repent, so it is for us.

Jesus calls his disciples to follow him and go fishing for people. Much colonisation and exploitation has been justified by evangelism. True evangelism is by persuasion, not by the use of force, and the credibility of the Christian faith has been damaged by its co-opting of violence and alliance with worldly powers. As we seek to go fishing ourselves may we be conscious that in Christ Jesus we have a king who did not grasp onto divinity, but emptied himself into human form as a servant. As we seek to proclaim the nearness of the kingdom of God may we remember that his throne was a cross and his crown was made of thorns. As we receive the good news, may we “change our minds”, and become ever more like him.

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Resources for Worship – The Third Sunday of Epiphany, January 24, 2021

These are worship resources for the Third Sunday of Epiphany, January 24, 2021. The resources are gathered from a variety of sources and, while assembled mainly for The Anglican Church of St Thomas the Apostle, Kefalas, on the island of Crete in Greece, others may find them useful.

Jonah looks over Ninevah. Ninevah is on the Euphrates River, and the modern city of Mosul is adjacent to it.

Share

While some restrictions have been lifted in the lockdown here in Greece, churches are only allowed to have one person per 25 square metres at an in-person service – which for us means something like three and a half persons. So we will continue on Zoom-only until this changes. You can join our Zoom Service of the Word by clicking this link or by entering the following into your Zoom application: Meeting ID: 850 4483 9927 Passcode: 010209.

The Order of Service is here for downloading, although all the parts needed by the congregation – hymns and responses – will be up on the screen.

Read

The readings we will be using this January 24, 2021, the Third Sunday of Epiphany are Jonah 3:1-5, 10, Psalm 128, and Mark 1:14-20. Many churches will use 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 in addition, as a second reading.

Reflect

I will post my sermon for Sunday after I have preached it.

Fr Leonard Doolan of the Anglican Church of St Paul, Athens has once again sent me a prerecorded sermon for this coming Sunday, and you can listen to it below.

Sermon for the Third Sunday of Epiphany 2021

Pray

Collect
Almighty God,
whose Son revealed in signs and miracles
the wonder of your saving presence:
renew your people with your heavenly grace,
and in all our weakness
sustain us by your mighty power;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

(or)

God of all mercy,
your Son proclaimed good news to the poor,
release to the captives,
and freedom to the oppressed:
anoint us with your Holy Spirit
and set all your people free
to praise you in Christ our Lord. Amen.

Biddings
I bid your prayers for the leaders and people of the nations; especially

I bid your prayers for the sick and suffering and all who minister to their needs;

  • remembering the over twenty-five million active cases of the novel coronavirus, and mourning with the families of the over two million who have died in the pandemic;
  • for the almost 1.8 million people in the UK with active cases of covid-19, the over 91,000 who have died of it there, and the over 133,000 active cases here in Greece, and the families of the over 5518 dead here;
  • remembering those ill with other diseases, and those whose operations have been postponed;
  • all those having issues with mental health;
  • those suffering from addiction, and those in recovery;
  • those who have been affected severely by the economic effects of the pandemic, especially in food services and tourism;
  • and giving thanks for the efforts of researchers in finding vaccines, and for the rollout of vaccines across the world.

I bid your prayers for the Church:

Intercession
In faith let us pray to God our Father,
his Son Jesus Christ,
and the Holy Spirit.

For the Church of God throughout the world,
let us invoke the Spirit.
Kyrie eleison.

For the leaders of the nations,
that they may establish and defend justice and peace,
let us pray for the wisdom of God.
Kyrie eleison.

For those who suffer oppression or violence,
let us invoke the power of the Deliverer.
Kyrie eleison.

That the churches may discover again their visible unity
in the one baptism which incorporates them in Christ,
let us pray for the love of Christ.
Kyrie eleison.

That the churches may attain communion
in the Eucharist around one table,
let us pray for the strength of Christ.
Kyrie eleison.

That the churches may recognize each other’s ministries
in the service of their one Lord,
let us pray for the peace of Christ.
Kyrie eleison.

Free prayer of the congregation may follow.

Into your hands, O Lord,
we commend all for whom we pray,
trusting in your mercy;
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Sing

HYMN: I Come With Joy, A Child Of God (Tune: Land of Rest)
1 I come with joy, a child of God,
forgiven, loved and free,
the life of Jesus to recall,
in love laid down for me.

2 I come with Christians far and near
to find, as all are fed,
the new community of love
in Christ’s communion bread.

3 As Christ breaks bread, and bids us share,
each proud division ends.
The love that made us, makes us one,
and strangers now are friends.

4 The Spirit of the risen Christ,
unseen, but ever near,
is in such friendship better known,
alive among us here.

5 Together met, together bound
by all that God has done,
we’ll go with joy, to give the world
the love that makes us one.


HYMN: To Those Who Knotted Nets Of Twine (Tune: St Botolph)
1 To those who knotted nets of twine
to comb a fish-filled sea,
Christ called aloud, “Put down that line
and come and follow me.”

2 Accustomed to the tug of rope
ensnared in rocks and weeds,
they felt from Christ a pull of hope,
amidst their tangled needs.

3 They left their boats, their sails and oars,
but even more than these,
they left the lake’s encircling shores,
and its familiar breeze.

4 O Christ, who called beside the sea,
still call to us today,
Like those who fished in Galilee,
we’ll risk your storm-swept way.”

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“Speak, For Your Servant Is Listening.”

A Sermon Preached on The Second Sunday of Epiphany
January 17, 2021 at 11:00 am
For an Online Service with The Anglican Church of St. Thomas the Apostle, Kefalas, Crete.

The readings used were 1 Samuel 3:1-10, Psalm 139:1-5, 12-17, and John 1:43-51.

The child Samuel tells Eli about God’s displeasure with him. Wood engraving by A.R. Branston after R. Westall. Early 19th Century. Wellcome Library no. 18541i.

When God speaks, do we hear?

Maybe it helps to enumerate the way that God speaks to us.

  • God speaks to us through creation. The pattern and glory of the cosmos is a reflection of the creator. Some move from that to try and derive natural law, although nowadays we have moved on from Thomas Aquinas and his Aristotelian metaphysics to the sciences of physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, zoology, medicine, and the social sciences of economics, psychology, sociology, and history. If nothing else, we know that God loves detail and small things, as well as things greater than our capacity to comprehend. He also seems to have a sense of humour, given that we have discovered that most of the material in the universe is the substance known as dark matter.
  • As Christians we believe that God speaks to us through the person of Jesus Christ. We read in John that if anyone wants to see the Father, they need to look to the Son. In his incarnation, in his birth and his life, his teachings and healings, in the way he drove evil things out of people possessed, in his suffering and death, and in his resurrection and ascension, God spoke and is speaking to us about who the divine is and who we are.
  • And thus we see God speaking to us in the Old and the New Testaments, and we wrestle with all of what that encompasses.
  • God speaks to us in the human arts: music and literature, the composite arts of opera and drama, in sculpture and the pragmatic designs of architects and furniture makers.
  • God speaks to us in the mouth of friend and stranger.
  • God speaks to us in silence.
  • God speaks to us in the traditions of the church in all their variety, through the liturgical year and in the sacraments.
  • God speaks to us in the cycle of the seasons, the rhythm of the day and the restlessness of the night.
  • God speaks to us in our bodies, wonderful and marvelously made, as the Psalm puts it.
  • God may speak to us through those who are in power, but it is more likely that God speaks through those who challenge that power and speak truth to it.
  • In that vein we hear God speaking to us through the orphan and widow, the hungry child and the refugee, those who have been disempowered because of their belief, their political opinions, the colour of their skin, their sexual orientation or gender identity, their sex, class, or nationality.
  • God speaks to us through the saints, from Thomas our patron and Mary Magdalene, the apostle to the apostles, through to Martin Luther King, Oscar Romero, and the Martyrs of the Melanesian Brotherhood.
  • And, occasionally, very occasionally, perhaps we hear the voice of God speaking to us in a voice, or through the granting of a vision.

So God speaks to us in many ways, and the challenge is to hear the signal through the noise, as it were, for there are many competing voices, some claiming an authority equal to or greater than God’s.

But in many ways it is very simple. The call to us is “Follow me.” And though the path can be challenging, it is clear enough, for so many have walked it before us. The call demands a response, perhaps that of Samuel: Hinnei in Hebrew, translated “Here am I”, although I like to put it as “Yo!” “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”

God calls us to radiate God’s love in Jesus Christ on this island and beyond.In this season of Epiphany, when we remember how Jesus was manifested to the Gentiles, in his baptism, to his disciples, in his driving away evil things, and in the Temple, may we also manifest the love and glory of God in our lives, being ever more like him.

Below are a few of the ways – art, science, people, natural things – in which God has spoken to me.
The story of Christmas. An icon of Jesus from Sinai. The Hebrew of Isaiah. The White Mountains of Crete. Leonardo’s Ceiling. The humility of Francis. The Earth from space. Thomas Cranmer and the Book of Common Prayer. The poetry of George Herbert and W. H. Auden. The faithfulness of the Queen. Refugees. The reconstruction of the face of a 1st century man whose skeleton was found near Jerusalem. Handel’s Messiah. The philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas.

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Resources for Worship – The Second Sunday of Epiphany, January 17, 2021

These are worship resources for the Second Sunday of Epiphany, January 17, 2021. The resources are gathered from a variety of sources and, while assembled mainly for The Anglican Church of St Thomas the Apostle, Kefalas, on the island of Crete in Greece, others may find them useful.

Samuel Relating to Eli the Judgements of God upon Eli’s House (1780) by John Singleton Copley (1738-1815), at the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford CT.

Share

The lockdown in Greece continues on until 18th of January at least, so we will be on Zoom only for this Sunday. You can join by clicking this link or by entering the following into your Zoom application: Meeting ID: 850 4483 9927 Passcode: 010209.

The Order of Service is here for downloading, although all the parts needed by the congregation – hymns and responses – will be up on the screen.

Read

For our readings we will use 1 Samuel 3:1-10, Psalm 139:1-5, 12-17, and John 1:43-51. Many churches will also be using 1 Corinthians 6:12-20.

Reflect

If I preach something decent I will put it into a new post. In the meantime, from St Paul’s Anglican Church in Athens here is Fr Leonard Doolan’s pre-recorded sermon for this coming Sunday.

Sermon for the Second Sunday of Epiphany

Pray

Collect
Almighty God,
in Christ you make all things new:
transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace,
and in the renewal of our lives
make known your heavenly glory;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

(or)

Eternal Lord,
our beginning and our end:
bring us with the whole creation
to your glory, hidden through past ages
and made known
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Biddings
I bid your prayers for the leaders and people of the nations; especially

I bid your prayers for the sick and suffering and all who minister to their needs;

  • remembering the over 24 million active cases of the novel coronavirus, and mourning with the families of the 1.9 million who have died in the pandemic;
  • for the almost 1.7 million people in the UK with active cases of covid-19, the over 84,000 who have died of it there, and the over 131,000 active cases here in Greece, and the families of the over 5354 dead here;
  • remembering those ill with other diseases, and those whose operations have been postponed;
  • all those having issues with mental health;
  • those suffering from addiction, and those in recovery;
  • those who have been affected severely by the economic effects of the pandemic, especially in food services and tourism;
  • and giving thanks for the efforts of researchers in finding vaccines, and for the rollout of vaccines across the world.

I bid your prayers for the Church:

Sing

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