Weekly Online Service
15 November 2020 The Second Sunday before Advent

Please find below our service for this week. You can also click on the PDF button to open and download a copy of the printed generic Service booklet.

You will find an opening hymn - words are included. This is followed by the service. Finally there is a closing hymn. Please feel free to follow along in whichever way you feel most comfortable. Words in bold are for everyone to join in.

Hymn

For the healing of the nations

For the healing of the nations,
Lord, we pray with one accord;
For a just and equal sharing
Of the things that earth affords.
To a life of love and action
Help us rise and pledge our word.

Lead your people into freedom,
From despair your world release
That, redeemed from war and hatred,
All may come and go in peace.
Show us how, through care and goodness,
Fear will die and hope increase.

All that kills abundant living,
Let it from the earth be banned:
Pride of status, race, or schooling,
Dogmas that obscure your plan.
In our common quest for justice
May we hallow life's brief span.

You, creator God, have written
Your great name on humankind;
For our growing in your likeness
Bring the life of Christ to mind,
That by our response and service
Earth its destiny may find.

Service Audio

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

All say Amen.

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you

and also with you.

Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open, all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Prayers of Penitence

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son Jesus Christ to save us from our sins, to be our advocate in heaven, and to bring us to eternal life.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith, firmly resolved to keep God’s commandments and to live in love and peace with all.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you
and against our neighbour
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us, forgive us all that is past
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name.  Amen.

Almighty God,
who forgives all who truly repent,
have mercy upon you,
pardon and deliver you from all your sins,
confirm and strengthen you in all goodness,
and keep you in life eternal;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Gloria in Excelcis

Glory to God, Glory to God,
Glory to God in the highest.

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.

Glory to God, Glory to God,
Glory to God in the highest.

Lord Jesus Christ,
only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand
of the Father:
receive our prayer.

Glory to God, Glory to God,
Glory to God in the highest.

For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.

Glory to God, Glory to God,
Glory to God in the highest.

The Collect of the Day is said or sung.

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.

The Old and New Testament Readings

Zephaniah 1.7,12-18 - Read by Katie Smart

Be silent before the Lord God!
   For the day of the Lord is at hand;
the Lord has prepared a sacrifice,
   he has consecrated his guests.
12 At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps,
   and I will punish the people
who rest complacently on their dregs,
   those who say in their hearts,
‘The Lord will not do good,
   nor will he do harm.’
13 Their wealth shall be plundered,
   and their houses laid waste.
Though they build houses,
   they shall not inhabit them;
though they plant vineyards,
   they shall not drink wine from them.

14 The great day of the Lord is near,
   near and hastening fast;
the sound of the day of the Lord is bitter,
   the warrior cries aloud there.
15 That day will be a day of wrath,
   a day of distress and anguish,
a day of ruin and devastation,
   a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness,
16   a day of trumpet blast and battle cry
against the fortified cities
   and against the lofty battlements.

17 I will bring such distress upon people
   that they shall walk like the blind;
   because they have sinned against the Lord,
their blood shall be poured out like dust,
   and their flesh like dung.
18 Neither their silver nor their gold
   will be able to save them
   on the day of the Lord’s wrath;
in the fire of his passion
   the whole earth shall be consumed;
for a full, a terrible end
   he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth.

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

1 Thessalonians 5.1-11 - Read by Vic Harrington

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. 2 For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 When they say, ‘There is peace and security’, then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labour pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! 4 But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; 5 for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. 6 So then, let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; 7 for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. 8 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. 9 For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

The Gospel

Matthew 25.14-30 - Read by Pam Hagan

All sing: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

The Gospel reader says

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew

All say: Glory to you, O Lord.

‘For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15 to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. 17 In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18 But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20 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.” 21 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.” 22 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.” 23 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.” 24 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; 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.” 26 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? 27 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. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 29 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. 30 As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

This is the gospel of the Lord.

All say: Praise to you, O Christ.

All sing: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Sermon

“The Kingdom of God is like...”

Matthew 25:14-30

2020-11-15 Parable_of_the_Talents_Mironov

The parable of the talents is among the most misunderstood texts in the New Testament. Contrary to many peoples’ belief the parable does not justify a gospel of economic prosperity. Instead, it challenges us to imitate our Master by using all that God has given us for the sake of the kingdom.

The parable is found in Jesus’ end of time discussions in the previous chapter of Matthew, where Jesus instructs his disciples to endure through difficult times and to live in anticipation of his return. Like all the parables in this part of the gospel, it typifies the certainty of the Lord's coming and how the disciples were to live in the meantime.

The teaching of the talents recalls the parable of the faithful and the wise slave who continues to do the work of the master until he comes. Although the master is delayed, he arrives to find the wise slave doing the tasks that have been given to him in the master’s absence.

The foolish slave, however, has neglected his work and abused his power. He receives severe punishment. Likewise, in the parable of the talents, the master entrusts his servants with his property, and punishment awaits those who have failed to carry on the master's work.

Like the parable of the bridesmaids before it, the parable of the talents portrays, not money, but the kingdom of God. The kingdom is not simply likened to a man on a journey, but to the story that follows, a story that illustrates how the disciples are to wait until the Lord comes.

In this story a wealthy man prepares for a journey by entrusting his estate to his servants. In Luke’s version of this parable, ten slaves receive one pound each to do the master's business. In Matthew’s version, however, there are only three servants, and they receive shares according to their ability.

Although the first receives five times as much as the last, each receives a significant sum of money. A talent is equal to about 6,000 denarii. Since one denarius is a common labourer’s daily wage, a talent would be roughly equivalent to 20 years wages for the average worker. Five talents, the largest amount entrusted to any of the servants, is comparable to one hundred years worth of labour, and an astronomical amount of money.

Like the preceding two parables, the return of the master is certain, but the timing is unknown. After a long absence, he discovers what each servant has done with his property. The first two slaves do business with and capitalise on the master’s talents, doubling his money. Although the first slave earned more than the second, each has done remarkably well with what he has been given. They have performed according to their potential, and they have been faithful to do what the master has required of them. The master’s response to each is the same. He praises the slaves for being good and faithful servants, he entrusts them with more authority, and invites them to enter his “joy.”

The third servant is not so fortunate. In the response of this slave, however, we the listener, learn even more about the master. He is a man who reaps where he does not sow and gathers where he has not scattered seed. He aggressively seeks to expand his estate and takes whatever he can wherever he can to make a profit. He even reprimands the servant for failing to invest the money with the bankers so that he might have gained interest, a practice forbidden in Jewish scripture.

The master’s willingness to earn money at the expense of others challenges any metaphorical interpretation of the parable that would directly compare him with Jesus, who never acts in a way to seek personal gain. That a wealthy landowner would behave in this manner, however, makes the story all the more compelling.

The third slave admits that he was afraid to lose the master’s money. To protect himself, he buried the talent in the ground. Although this may seem odd to us, burying treasure was quite common at this time. And in modern times ‘detectorists’ continue to unearth treasures of old.

The master is furious. He had entrusted this servant with a portion of his property in order that the slave would use his skills, abilities that had helped the master in the past, so as to turn a profit for his lord. This slave, however, was too afraid to take a risk, even though risky behaviour was part of the master's business. Instead, he attempted to secure his own well-being. In the end his unfaithfulness to carry on the master's work cost him severely.

The master expected the servants to continue his business, to take risks to make a profit, and to emulate his behaviour. Two servants were found faithful, and they were rewarded. Their faithfulness had increased the master's wealth and expanded his estate.

In its literary setting, Jesus told this story to his disciples to prepare them for the days ahead when their faith would be sorely tested. This parable depicts how the disciples were to demonstrate their faithfulness as they anticipate the return of the Lord.

What does faithfulness look like in a time of waiting? We are waiting too, waiting for a vaccine to protect us from the corona virus but waiting in faith that all will be well. In Matthew's Gospel faithfulness was imitating the ministry of Jesus. Jesus had announced the arrival of God's kingdom by feeding the hungry, curing the sick, blessing the meek, and serving the least.

All who would follow Jesus are to preach the good news of the kingdom to the whole world by going about the work that Jesus has called us to do. This work includes visiting the sick and we ache to visit those who are sick at home or in hospital. We are no longer permitted to see our loved ones in a residential home, so we have to talk through a window. Prisoners are denied visits from their family members. For us all Face time and Zoom meetings have become our way of communicating, for now.

We are reminded about those who sleep rough on our streets and pray for the authorities to take them all into care. Clothing the naked for us at this time is a case of passing on outgrown clothes to the charity shops. Welcoming the stranger is limited to a kind word delivered in a socially distanced way. Feeding the hungry is to donate to the Food Bank. We have become inventive about how to do it, but follow the master’s lead is what we are called to do. Knowing that:

Those who are found faithful may hear their Master say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

The Rev’d Maureen Lunn, St Mary Magdalene, Enfield, 15/11/2020

Service Audio

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit
and the Virgin Mary, and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son
is worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Intercessions 

The Intercessions list has been circulated with petitions for the Church, The World, The Community, Our Keyworkers, The Sick and the Deceased. The Diocesan Cycle of Prayer is found at:

London Anglican Cycle of Prayer

This or another response may be used:

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ, let us pray to the Father.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, you promised through your Son Jesus Christ to hear us when we pray in faith.

Strengthen N our bishop(s) and all your Church in the service of Christ, that those who confess your name may be united in your truth,
live together in your love, and reveal your glory in the world.

Bless and guide Elizabeth our Queen; give wisdom to all in authority;
and direct this and every nation in the ways of justice and of peace;
that we may honour one another, and seek the common good.

Give grace to us, our families and friends, and to all our neighbours,
that we may serve Christ in one another, and love as he loves us.

Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit …;
give them courage and hope in their troubles; and bring them the joy of your salvation.

Hear us as we remember those who have died in the faith of Christ …; according to your promises, grant us with them a share in your eternal kingdom.

Rejoicing in the fellowship of all your saints, we commend ourselves and the whole creation to your unfailing love.

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

The Peace

We are the body of Christ.
In the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.
Let us then pursue all that makes for peace and builds up our common life.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

and also with you.

A sign of peace may be exchanged.

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray.

Service Audio

The Post Communion Collect

Gracious Lord, in this holy sacrament you give substance to our hope: bring us at the last to that fullness of life for which we long; through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

The Blessing

The peace of God,
which passes all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds
in the knowledge and love of God,
and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

The Dismissal

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

In the name of Christ.  Amen.

Recessional Hymn

How great thou art

O Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works thy hands hath made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy pow’r throughout the universe displayed:

Refrain:
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to thee:
How great thou art, how great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to thee:
How great thou art, how great thou art!

When through the woods and forest glades I wander,
I hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze;

[Refrain]

But when I think that God, his Son not sparing,
Sent him to die, I scarce can take it in,
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin;

[Refrain]

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim, “My God, how great thou art!”

[Refrain]

Material from Common Worship 2000 is included in this service and is copyright © The Central Board of Finance of the Church of England.