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Order of Service - 18 October 2020

The Sunday Eucharist readings, prayers and reflections are available below.

ST LUKE SUNDAY 18 OCTOBER

 
St Luke Sunday

Today's sermon is available as an audio recording here. Press play to start.

Audio file

COLLECT

Almighty God you called St Luke the physician, whose praise is in the gospel, to be an evangelist and physician of the soul: by the grace of the Spirit and through the wholesome medicine of the gospel, give your Church the same love and power to heal; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.

 

READINGS

2 Timothy 4:5-17, Luke 10:1-9.

 

PRAYERS

We pray

- for all who like St Luke seek to heal the body.

- for those who seek to spread the gospel

- for peace and understanding between different peoples and communities

- for the sick and especially Mary Maxwell and Gerald Lewis.

We give thanks for St Luke and for all who have left us a pattern of holy living.

May the dead find refreshment, light and peace.

 

REFLECTIONS

S.Luke - Missionary, Writer, Physician

When we hear those words in this morning’s Gospel, “Do not move about from house to house,” we might mistake them for the latest government directive, advice, suggestion, recommendation, whatever the status might be. Many of the restrictions, however necessary, however temporary, however unavoidable, are inhuman, in that they strike at the root of what it is to be a human being, a human person; what it means to be a community, to be a follower of Christ.

Movement and engagement are essential to our being. Part of what it is to be a human being is human interaction, human relationship. “It’s the little things you do together … that make human relationships. / The hobbies you pursue together, / Savings you accrue together, / Looks you misconstrue together.”[1] And the song goes on more sardonically and wittily. Human relationships, however successful but also, from time to time, unsuccessful are what make us who and what we are. One of society’s most stringent sanctions is to restrict our human contact, to curtail our freedom of movement and association, to lock up, to isolate us from one another and from society.

Christian life is about community. S. Paul’s Letters are mainly to communities, addressing their concerns, highlighting what is good, condemning human failings. Think of that splendidly bland sentence that speaks volumes: “Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will pay him back for his deeds.”

Community is the vehicle of a Christian life. Communion is the heart of any Christian relationship. Communion with God in Trinity, the perfect relationship of the Godhead. Communion one with another day by day. And especially when we celebrate together the Holy Communion of Christ’s Body and Blood.

S. Luke, whose Feast we keep this morning, is one of those among Paul’s companions. He was one of the first missionaries. He was also one of the Gospel writers who shaped our understanding of Christ’s ministry. By tradition he was a physician, a doctor perhaps. The coming together of these attributes in S. Luke, missionary, writer and doctor means that this year his Feast seems to have greater resonance. He roots us in the Scriptures. He reminds us of our mission to live out the Gospel, the Christian ideal and to value the relationship with Christ and with one another, and, crucially, beyond the confessional boundary to bear witness. And he reminds us of the healing that is needed, not only physical and psychological but the healing that only faith, hope and love can effect.

For some time we were exiled to a virtual reality. We adapted, as we had to do. Fr Barry and I conquered our technologically multi-incompetence by recording sermons for the Parish website during the Easter Season. We had to make do with virtual church. It remains much in vogue in influential sections of the Church. But there is nothing virtual about Christ’s religion in Christ’s Church.

Physicality, human relationships and contact are integral to and essential for the Christian life. He was incarnate. The Word was made Flesh. He was born of a pure Virgin. He went about among us. He touched the poor, the hungry, the damaged and the outcast. He suffered under the lash. He felt the spittle. He was nailed to the Cross. He bled, he suffered, he died. He rose again. His everlasting sacramental memorial is physical, tangible, substantial: bread and wine. Body and Blood.

We may have more to endure of the dark night of the soul but we must never allow the darkness to overcome the light, allow the shadow to occlude the Son of God made flesh for the sake of humankind.

 


[1] Stephen Sondheim, Company