Weekly Online Service
25 July 2021 Patronal Festival

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

Love Divine

Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heaven, to earth come down,
fix in us thy humble dwelling,
all thy faithful mercies crown.

Jesu, thou art all compassion,
pure unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation,
enter every trembling heart.

Come, almighty to deliver,
let us all thy grace receive;
suddenly return, and never,
never more thy temples leave.

Thee we would be always blessing,
serve thee as thy hosts above;
pray, and praise thee, without ceasing,
glory in thy perfect love.

Finish then thy new creation:
pure and spotless let us be;
let us see thy great salvation
perfectly restored in thee;

Changed from glory into glory
till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise.

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.

Almighty God, whose Son restored Mary Magdalene to health of mind and body and called her to be a witness to his resurrection: forgive our sins and heal us by your grace, that we may serve you in the power of his risen life; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Amen.

The Old and New Testament Readings

Song of Solomon 3.1-4 - Read by Jean McDonald

Upon my bed at night
   I sought him whom my soul loves;
I sought him, but found him not;
   I called him, but he gave no answer.
2 ‘I will rise now and go about the city,
   in the streets and in the squares;
I will seek him whom my soul loves.’
   I sought him, but found him not.
3 The sentinels found me,
   as they went about in the city.
‘Have you seen him whom my soul loves?’
4 Scarcely had I passed them,
   when I found him whom my soul loves.
I held him, and would not let him go
   until I brought him into my mother’s house,
   and into the chamber of her that conceived me.

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

2 Corinthians 5.14-17 - Read by Ken Cope

For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. 15 And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.

16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. 17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

The Gospel

John 20.1-2,11-18 - Read by Katie Smart

The Gospel reader says

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John

All say: Glory to you, O Lord.

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13 They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ 14 When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ 16 Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” ’ 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

This is the gospel of the Lord.

All say: Praise to you, O Christ.

Sermon

Patronal Festival 2021: St Mary Magdalene

St Mary Magdalene is our patron saint: but why do we have patron saints and what do they do for us?

The custom goes all the way back to the fourth century -1600 years! Churches were named after a local martyr, like St Alban. Sometime a church possessed the relics of a saint and so they were named after that saint. And sometimes they were named after a saint who was considered especially powerful as an intercessor, someone like the Blessed Virgin Mary or St Peter, who would pray for the people of a church that was named in their honor.

St Mary Magdalene was a particularly popular choice in the middle ages because she is such a spectacular example of a damaged person who became a saint.

[As the Anglican theologian Alison Milbank has said], that is why she holds out hope to everyone.

The tradition is that her bones were taken to the south of France after her death and from there, to Vezelay in Burgundy when a Saracen invasion threatened her original resting place. The basilica of St Mary Magdalene at Vezelay was built in the twelfth century and is one of the most beautiful churches in the world. Perhaps we should go there on pilgrimage together one day. We could see what is to be claimed one of her ribs.

Whatever you think of the medieval veneration of the saints, I believe that the key reasons why Mary Magdalene mattered to medieval Christians are equally important to us today.

Those reasons are: first, her closeness to our Lord, and secondly her closeness to suffering.

We know from St Luke’s Gospel that Christ expelled seven demons from her. The number seven here marks the severity of her illness. It was believed then that sickness was an invasion by the spirits of the dead, which was to be attacked by death itself. And Mary’s gratitude for that life saving rescue was shown in her becoming one of a group of women disciples who followed Jesus and ministered to Him out of their resources. Like Joanna the wife of Herod’s steward, she is not named for her husband or her son and so she must have been a widow and probably one with some property. She ministered to Jesus which means she gave Him money, she supported Him, and she’s named not by family ties but by where she comes from – Magdala – a fishing port on the shore of the sea of Galilee not far from Herod’s newly built city of Tiberias.

Only a widow usually had such freedom of movement, which meant Mary Magdalene could follow Jesus all the way to the cross, and beyond. A reading from the Song of Songs for her feast day emphasizes her closeness to Jesus and her sense of dereliction when he died. I sought him but I did not find him. I called him but he did not answer.

I have given you a picture today, which is a detail from a lovely charcoal drawing by Michael Cook. One side show Mary in her utter sadness. She is garlanded with thorns as if she had unwound the crown of thorns only to rewind it about herself. Even the tears from her downcast eyes have the shape of pricking needles. She is locked in desolation with her hands almost caressing the painful prickles. This is the Mary who cannot imagine hope even when she has seen the empty tomb, even when she’s heard the voice of the angels. They have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have laid him. All she can think about is the physical closeness. Even the body of her Master has been torn from her so there is no beloved body to wash and prepare for burial in a last act of devotion.

I see this picture also as an image that expresses Mary’s earlier sickness, the seven demons of death. Whatever her original condition may have been she represents for me here in this drawing so many people, especially young people that I have known and worked with, who are similarly locked away in pain, unreachable, unable to imagine any life beyond the circle of their own agony. From primary school children to students we have a generation who are suffering from mental illness like none other before them from a variety of toxic triggers, and now too conditions during the pandemic.

Mary is like the sleeping beauty who slept in a castle around which an impenetrable thorn hedge grew which no one could hack through. Depression and anxiety are illnesses that mimic that tale to which can be added an agonized self-consciousness about one’s own passivity and inability to live. The worst comes when someone accepts that black load of guilt as reality, and in touching its depths, confirms one’s own self-hatred, clutching the thorns.

From all that I imagine Christ rescuing her so that the load is shifted, the demons expelled, and she lives. How truly dangerous was it then when she saw this savior die? She was filled with shame. Her newfound confidence in the goodness of the world was ruined. And yet like a wise doctor of the spirit Jesus appears to her to guide her to a new and more radical form of life.

 

So if you turn the card over you see the other half of the image showing that Christ was close to her all the time with one hand raised tenderly in blessing while the other is ready with a gardener’s secateurs to sever the hold of the thorns on her body. Noli me tangere is the title of the drawing, from the words about not holding on to me spoken by Jesus in that garden resurrection scene. Do not cling to me He said. Here the words refer not just to Jesus but to Mary. She says, “Do not touch me.”  She has become untouchable in her embrace of distress. Jesus stands ready to cut away all that prevents Mary from really living.

She must, however, experience a further resurrection. The one she greets as rabbi and knew as her personal savior and her friend has risen to new life. Even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view we no longer know him in that way, as St Paul says. Everything has become new. Mary has to learn that the loss of the familiar rabbi, the loss of that touch, will actually become gain, that He is ascending to her father as well as His own, and that she is called to what the poet Christina Rossetti called, “a better resurrection”, urged on by the love of Christ.

Rossetti wrote:

My life is like a faded leaf,
My harvest dwindled to a husk:
Truly my life is void and brief
And tedious in the barren dusk;
My life is like a frozen thing,
No bud nor greenness can I see:
Yet rise it shall—the sap of Spring;
O Jesus, rise in me.

And Jesus does rise in Mary. Because she becomes someone who has been called the apostle to the apostles. As she tells them the good news she finds her closeness to Jesus in a new way by sharing in His life of self-giving.

As Rossetti concludes:

My life is like a broken bowl,
A broken bowl that cannot hold
One drop of water for my soul
Or cordial in the searching cold;
Cast in the fire the perish'd thing;
Melt and remould it, till it be
A royal cup for Him, my King:
O Jesus, drink of me.

On this, our patronal festival, St Mary’s day, we can all follow the one whom our soul loves, whether we are those at the beginning of a search for meaning in our lives, or those for whom it is our life’s fruition. This Eucharist is our encounter, where we receive the Risen Christ, His risen Life, and become, not just close, but united to Him. And as He becomes part of us, so we become part of Him, melted and remoulded as a cup, to give life as well as to receive it, or to use another image associated with Mary the myrrh bearer, a jar opened to share its fragrance.

We may not suffer from mental illness, though many mature and older people do as well, but we can all become like sleeping beauties, hugging our own pain and our own bitterness. So we all need to look to Mary Magdalene, to ask for the prayers of Mary Magdalene, truly our patron and intercessor, as one who suffered so much and knows what it is to be closed off in a thorny thicket of despair. Let us pray for this church, for ourselves and for all the suffering young people of this borough and this city and this nation, that they may come to know the freedom and new life of One Who felt abandonment and desolation on the cross and yet Who lives to welcome us to life that is inexhaustible, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Mary’s Lord, to Whom with the Father and the Holy Spirit be all glory and praise, now and forever. Amen.

The Rev'd Dr James Lawson, St Mary Magdalene, Enfield, 25/07/2021

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 Rob our bishop 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.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever. Amen.

Service Audio

The Post Communion Prayer

God of life and love, whose risen Son called Mary Magdalene by name and sent her to tell of his resurrection to his apostles: in your mercy, help us, who have been united with him in this eucharist, to proclaim the good news that he is alive and reigns, now and for ever. 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

Thine be the Glory

Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son,
endless is the victory thou o’er death hast won;
angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away,
kept the folded grave-clothes where thy body lay.

Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son,
endless is the victory thou o’er death hast won,

Lo, Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb;
lovingly he greets us, scatters fear and gloom;
let the church with gladness hymns of triumph sing,
for her Lord now liveth, death hath lost its sting:

Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son,
endless is the victory thou o’er death hast won,

No more we doubt thee, glorious Prince of Life;
life is naught without thee: aid us in our strife;
make us more than conquerors through thy deathless love;
bring us safe through Jordan to thy home above:

Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son,
endless is the victory thou o’er death hast won.

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