“Of the same mind?” – 11th October 2020 – 18th Sunday after Trinity

Image credit - by Brunswick Monogrammist - cyfrowe.mnw.art.pl, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23207722

The Order of Service

Here you will fine an order of service for this mornings Eucharist in PDF format:

20 10 08 order of service

Here is a link to the YouTube channel where the service will live streamed:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCv0KDKmAwGyIsE1i07xmiiw


Here you will fine an order of service for this mornings Eucharist in Word format:

20 10 11 order of service

The Readings

Philippians 4.1-9

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.

I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.


Matthew 22.1-14

Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. Again he sent other slaves, saying, “Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.” But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, maltreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, “The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.” Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

‘But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, “Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?” And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” For many are called, but few are chosen.’


New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

The Sermon
By Catherine, Lay Reader at St Mary's.

“Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say Rejoice”

The words of Phillippians 4:4 as expressed in a popular chorus with a jolly tune.

“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….” - The words of Phillippians 4:7 paraphrased in the blessing given at the end of our service of Holy Communion.

Two very familiar bible quotes.  But taken out of context they can be less than helpful.  The jolly chorus sounds nice and happy, dare I say it, trite even.  The words of the blessing give the impression that all is full of peace and love.  All is well.  But when all is not well, this can cause problems for those who hear or sing these words.

However, if we look at the passage from which these quotes are taken, it’s clear that the context is not all jolly, and maybe not so full of peace and love.  Maddeningly, we don’t know exactly what has been going on, but Paul is concerned about two women, Euodia and Syntyche.  At some point in the past, they have been his co-workers and together as a team, he, they, Clement and others have struggled together sharing the gospel and building the church.

But now something seems to be causing friction between Euodia and Syntyche.  Have they quarrelled?  Have they completely fallen out with each other, or are they just disagreeing over something which is difficult to resolve?  We don’t know.  Actually, we don’t even know if there’s a problem between Euodia and Syntyche at all – perhaps the two of them are disagreeing with the rest of the community over something!

Whatever it is, the problem is serious enough that Paul feels these women need help and support.  He urges each of them to “be of the same mind in the Lord”.  Does Paul want them to think the same way about whatever the problem is?  Does he want this from the rest of the church community?  Not necessarily!  It’s interesting that he doesn’t say “I urge Euodia and Syntyche to be of the same mind….”, he addresses each woman individually.  He respects them each as a person in her own right, with her own view.

But Euodia and Syntyche, along with Clement and the rest, are part of a community.  Life as a pioneering community in the earliest days of Christianity was not easy, and indeed not always safe.  It was vital that despite difference, the community could hold together.  Despite difference, a collective way forward through difficulties had to be agreed.  It is in this context that the group are encouraged to Rejoice in the Lord always, and that their hearts and minds be filled with the Peace of God.  God is to be at the centre of their lives individually and as a group, whatever their individual differences.

With cases of Covid-19 rising seriously again, along with hospital admissions, things are not well in our country at the moment, nor indeed in the world.  And while it seemed in March that most people in Britain were “of the same mind” with respect to the lock-down restrictions, and bore the resulting hardships with patience and understanding, it is clear that this is not the case now.  There is much disagreement about how to control the spread of the virus.  People are confused by the different restrictions in different places.  People’s livelihoods, businesses, relationships, education, physical and mental health are all being affected by the restrictions.  It doesn’t help matters when some of those in the public eye are discovered to have broken the rules.  It doesn’t help when some of the scientists don’t agree with the rest.

Does this evening’s reading from Philippians have anything to say to today’s church in pandemic Britain?

One of the things that outsiders noticed about the early church, was the love Christians had for each other.  It was so unusual that people commented on it.  Here was a community of people from diverse backgrounds and opinions that nevertheless managed to see beyond these differences.  Here was a community of people who, despite the odds, managed to work together enough of the time to arouse the curiosity of others and draw them in.  They drew on the knowledge, love and peace of God and modelled to the world what it looks like to “be of the same mind in the Lord”.

If today’s church can do the same, this will indeed be cause for rejoicing.

The Prayers
Prepared by Hope.

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

Oh God the creator and preserver of all, we pray for people in every kind of need.
Bless all those around the world who are suffering from the effects of climate change, war and Covid-19
Bless those whose homes have been destroyed by wild fires, bombing or other violence.
Bless those who are now faced with the challenges of rebuilding their homes, businesses and lives.
Bless those whose endurance seems to have come to an end and who can see no future now.
Bless all the powerful leaders of our world.  Grant them renewed compassion.
Grant them the skills and wisdom needed at this critical time, so that those citizens who are suffering most may be supported and not forgotten.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We pray for your church throughout the world.  Guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit
Bless all those called to leadership in your worldwide church.
Bless all those carrying special responsibilities at this time of Covid-19.
Bless those who minister in parts of the world where war and deprivation add vastly to people’s struggles
Bless our local leaders, here at St.Mary’s, and at St.John’s Ranmoor and St.Mark’s Broomhill
Bless our Bishops, Peter and Sophie, and all who work with them across the diocese of Sheffield
Bless all those who lead and support their churches, and other faith communities too, across this country.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We commend to your fatherly goodness all those who are in any ways afflicted or distressed, in mind, body or estate.
We ask your blessing on all those whose lives and livelihood are being torn apart by the Covid-19 virus.
Bless those who are very sick and being admitted to hospital at this time
Bless those who are suffering in the long term from this disease, afraid that they may never fully recover
Bless the younger people, including children, who are unexpectedly suffering severely from Covid-19
Bless the carers. The parents, adult children and all those who are looking after family members, sick and perhaps infectious at home.
Bless those who are facing the loss of their work and livelihood.
With faith in your presence with us, with hope for the future, grant us all patience, endurance and compassion at this time.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We remember those who have gone before us in the Peace of Christ. We remember our own friends, family and those who have inspired us over the years, who are no longer with us.   We give you praise for all your faithful ones, with whom we rejoice in the Communion of Saints.

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