Trinity 13

Prayers at home for the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity

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

Father of glory, holy and eternal,
look upon us now in power and mercy.
May your strength overcome our weakness,
your radiance transform our blindness,
and your Spirit draw us to that love
shown and offered to us by your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Penitence
As we celebrate the holiness and goodness of God, we remember the shadows in our own lives:

God our Father, we confess that we often take the gifts of your creation for granted, and use them to further our own interests…..
Lord have mercy.

Saviour Christ, we confess that we easily fall into temptation and forget to seek your forgiveness…..
Christ have mercy

Holy Spirit, we confess that we often close our minds to your influence, and fail to bear good fruit in our lives….
Lord have mercy.

May the Father forgive us by the death of his Son and strengthen us to live in the power of the Spirit all our days. Amen.

Collect and Readings
Almighty God, who called your Church to bear witness that you were in Christ reconciling the world to yourself: help us to proclaim the good news of your love, that all who hear it may be drawn to you; through him who was lifted up on the cross, and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Ezekiel 33 : 7-11
Psalm 119 : 33-40
Romans 13 : 8-14
Matthew 18 : 15-20

Affirmation of Faith

We believe in God the Father,
from whom every family
in heaven and on earth is named.
We believe in God the Son,
who lives in our hearts through faith,
and fills us with his love.
We believe in God the Holy Spirit,
who strengthens us
with power from on high.
We believe in one God, Father Son and Holy Spirit. Amen (from Ephesians 3)

Intercessions.

God of the universe, Trinity of love, three Persons in one God, we praise you for your glory and grace. As your people, called to serve your Kingdom, we bring our prayers to you.
Father of all, we pray for the whole human family, for all who govern and for our fellow-citizens. Grant that the peoples of the world may learn to understand and respect each other, and work together to overcome injustice, poverty and conflict….
God the Trinity, hear our prayer.
Jesus, Saviour of the world, we pray for the people you have redeemed. We pray for your Church, it’s bishops, clergy and lay ministers, for the young and old in faith, and, although we are separated for a time, for our learning, worship and fellowship together……
God the Trinity, hear our prayer.
Spirit of the living God, we remember all who are suffering in body, mind or spirit. We remember especially those throughout the world suffering in the present crisis. We pray for those who minister to them through care and medical skill. Bless all your people with the gifts of faith, hope, perseverance and love….
God the Trinity, hear our prayer.
We give thanks for those who have died…..Father, Son and Holy Spirit grant us, with them a share in your eternal kingdom. Amen.
Our Father……

(You may like to make the Act of Spiritual Communion now)

Almighty and eternal God, you have revealed yourself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and live and reign in the perfect unity of love: hold us firm in this faith, that we may know you in all your ways, and evermore rejoice in your eternal glory, who are three Persons yet one God, now and for ever. Amen

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Matthew 18 : 15-20
 
Today’s Bible readings are about being responsible for one another and to one another; often a difficult and uncomfortable task. Ezekiel in the first reading, tells us that we should urge each other to repentance. In the Gospel reading Jesus tells us that we should do everything in our power to bring community members who sin to a realisation of their wrongdoing encouraging them to seek reconciliation. “If the member listens to you” says Jesus, “you have gained that one”. Yet it is not difficult to imagine situations where someone refuses to listen and accept that they are in the wrong. And we can all recall times when we have been reprimanded in a patronising and humiliating way. Our resentment leads to a stubborn refusal to admit our fault.
 
Saint Paul in the Letter to the Romans writes that it is through giving and receiving love that we fulfil God’s commandments. Living in love leads us into debt, the debt of mutual love. The prospect of being in debt can be frightening and so, for some people, can be the prospect of being loved. Accepting the kindness of others or offering others help which they think that they may not need, makes us vulnerable. Love forces us to admit that we are not self-sufficient, not superior to others but interdependent. We should not fear interdependence for , we are told “love does no wrong to a neighbour”. Mutual love is a unique kind of debt and should not bring anxiety but security and joy.
 
It may seem that Saint Paul’s warm encouraging statements on mutual love do not sit easily with Jesus’ uncompromising words on how we should bring others to repentance. Yet forgiveness and repentance are essential if we are to live together in mutual love as a community. Jesus’ words in the Gospel for today remind us that loving someone does not mean simply indulging them or turning a blind eye to their weakness. When someone is harming themselves or others we are not showing them love by remaining silent. Confronting them in a disapproving or patronising way is not showing them love either. The challenge is to treat others with respect and love even when we believe they are doing wrong. To take the difficult path to reconciliation and shun the easy road of indifference. Conversely we need to accept the offers of help and advice which others make to us out of love for us. We need each others guidance. Each can give and receive; and the gift builds up the Christian community to which we belong.
 
Jesus acknowledges that this mutual love is not an easy business. Sometimes our attempts a reconciliation fail and we may have to accept that this is impossible for the time being. But whereas our indifference and our delusions of self- sufficiency can create harm to ourselves, to others and to the communities to which we belong, the love we have shown in attempting to heal relationships, can never do so, instead it releases more love into a world badly in need of it, and helps build up the Kingdom of God.