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Holy Eucharist, Rite II, All Saints Day

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Patient, Blessed, Brave, and True

 

The Celebrant and LEM stand, maintaining physical distance. There is no procession.

Opening Rites

Celebrant:   Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

LEM:           And blessed be God’s kingdom, now and forever.

Celebrant:   Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: 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.

 

Celebrant:   Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One,

LEM:           Have mercy upon us.

[accordion]
[acc_item title=”The Collect”]

Celebrant:   The Lord be with you,

LEM:           And also with you.

Celebrant:     Let us pray.

The Celebrant says the Collect.

O Almighty God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord: Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys which thou hast prepared for those who unfeignedly love thee; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

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( Click on the “+” as you go to show each part of the service )

[acc_item title=” The Old Testament Lesson:                                              Revelation 7:9-17″]

After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. 10 They cried out in a loud voice, saying,

“Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

11 And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 singing,

“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom
and thanksgiving and honor
and power and might
be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you are the one that knows.” Then he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

15 For this reason they are before the throne of God,
    and worship him day and night within his temple,
    and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them.

16 They will hunger no more, and thirst no more;
    the sun will not strike them,
    nor any scorching heat;

17 for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd,
    and he will guide them to springs of the water of life,

and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

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[acc_item title=”The New Testament Lesson:                                              1 John 3:1-3″]

See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

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The Gospel

Then, all standing, the Deacon or a Priest reads the Gospel, first saying

Celebrant:       The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.

LEM:               Glory to you, Lord Christ.

[acc_item title=”The Gospel Lesson:                                                        Matthew 5:1-12″]

1When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets before you.

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Deacon or Priest:     The Gospel of the Lord.

LEM:                     Praise to you, Lord Christ.

[acc_item title=” Sermon: Patient, Blessed, Brave, and True”]

All Saints Sunday A 2020

Odds are, bans on hymn-singing or no bans on hymn-singing, the moment you hear that phrase you can’t help but hear the twee little English children’s hymn from which it comes: “I sing a song of the saints of God, patient and brave and true…”. I’m resisting the temptation to sing it, but not by much – and a more tech-savvy preacher than I would have it cued on an electronic device to play for us as we sit, or stand, here, wishing we could sing along. But, ah, ‘tis not to be. We’ll have to sing with our minds’ lips only how they “toiled and fought and lived and died for the Lord they loved and knew.” We shall have to take silent stock of, and comfort in, the lyricist’s hope and assertion that “there are hundreds of thousands still,” in a world toiling under the weights, needs, and desires of the eight billion of us made in the image of God and a little lower than the angels who toil under the sun beneath which even the Teacher in Jerusalem in his day found there is nothing new, not really.

Of course, the life of a saint is not without its pleasures or its dangers. Children first hearing the hymn are glad to know that among the saints was at least one doctor and at least one queen, and at least one shepherdess on the green, and that one can meet them in school or in lanes or at tea. They might thrill somewhat less to know that “one was a soldier and one was a priest,” since those sound far less fun than playing with livestock or being the Queen. Children, like adults, might shudder, too, when this nursery rhyme of the faith reminds them that “one [saint] was slain by a fierce wild beast, and there’s not any reason, no not the least, why I shouldn’t be one, too.” Prick a nursery rhyme, press down a thumb on a fairy tale, or peer behind the mythic tropes and elisions in our biblical and saints’ lives’ stories, and violence wells up like blood from a wound.

Something in that hymn-writer’s mind, I’m convinced, wanted to introduce children early on to the idea that sometimes good people die because bad people want them to, because of the good that the good people do. That’s what this verse reminds us. If you choose the path of righteousness, truth, and wisdom – if you decide to do unto others as you’d have done unto you – if you walk in the ways of the good, you may well walk a path that leads to your own personal cross, your very own Calvary – or, in the case of a saint slain by a fierce, wild beast, to your own turn as some lion’s dinner in one of ancient Rome’s many gladiators’ arenas. Doomed and condemned by one foul emperor or another to being ripped to shreds because of your faith and your integrity, you the saint (and soon to be the martyr) would be forced to fight for your life against lions or tigers kept under-fed and caged until all they could think about was getting something, anything, to eat, even if all their captors had to offer was the innocent flesh of a few bewildered, panicky paisans who wouldn’t, not even to save their lives, betray themselves or their God.

Yet saints they were and saints they, we, are. Beneath all the wonder and melodrama, the hagiography and fantasies that come down to us in the tales of the lives of these people remain the fundamental truths: they lived and died for their faith. For all its obstinacies, blind spots, and intolerances, that faith at its core I think remains a good one. Three of its most beautiful and powerful texts of that faith, our faith as much as it was theirs, we just heard read to us this morning. Imagine hearing for the first time the Beatitudes, the list of blessings, and how it would change you. Most of those who heard Jesus speak these words would’ve heard them for the first time. Each blessing is a reversal of what we expect. The kingdom of heaven belongs to those who are poor, whether in spirit or in substance. Comfort will come to people who are grieving. Mercy will come to those who show mercy. The earth will belong to the meek, and those who long for righteousness will find their longings fulfilled. We do not know how, and we do not know when, but we know that – Jesus, somehow, some way, knows that. Those who make peace are God’s children – brothers and sisters of Jesus himself, in a way, sons and daughters of a loving God who wants war, strife, torment and misery to pass away, along with all tears and all sorrow. If your heart is pure, you will see God – in the mirror, most of all, as well as in the faces of your sisters and brothers, the makers of peace. In the image of God were you made, and when you can look in the mirror and see that, look in other people’s eyes and see that, you can see what is true. Those who hurt you because you are that, because you are good – those who lie about you or to you because you are that, because you are good – ah, rejoice in this, Jesus says. So do they do to all who speak the truth and are good, ‘they’ being those who refuse to be pure in heart and who refuse to show mercy, who crave evil, sow division, despise truth, serve themselves, and would corrupt and divide us in their desire to hold by force what they steal by guile. What did you expect?

Well, Jesus, to be honest, we expected something more than things going on as they always have. If the meek shall inherit, why have we not done so already? When, in fact, will mercy be shown to the merciful, or the kingdom of heaven come down that its will be done on earth and the poor be blessed and set free?

Those who wrote and heard the first letter of John had these feeling some 2,000 years ago, too – why do they reject us who speak only of love and salvation? Ah, well, you see, they did not know him, did not accept his purity or his vision, did not see that, and how, he had changed the world by showing people what could be, what had to be. They turned away, heard but did not listen, saw but did not perceive, and thus the children of God, like the Son of God, makers of peace and pure at heart, were jailed by the wicked rulers of their time and condemned to be shredded and eaten by wild beasts for the entertainment of a crowd, its members as much the victims of their rulers as were the hapless souls whose pain and slaughter they cheered. Robed in white are they now, the blessed martyrs, in song (lucky them) before the throne of the Lamb, as Revelation tell us. They have come through their time of great trial, as still might we, inshallah. Now they abide where sorrow and sighing are no more, in a place where God wipes away every tear from their eye, in the kingdom of heaven that is not of this world, and never was.

To free their minds, at least, from the unrelenting miseries of earth do people imagine for themselves a heaven. The early followers of Jesus, who saw none of his blessings come true in their lifetimes, were no different. The peace they saw in his eyes and heard from his lips did not come to reign on the earth he died to save; thus, they figured, it must do so in heaven. The meek, they noticed, did not inherit – well, then, it must be heaven that shall be theirs. Mercy sought was not always mercy found, they saw – but one day, one day. Love so often did not triumph over hate, truth so often did not triumph over lies, kindness so often did not triumph over selfishness that they gave up hope for the world that is, under the moon and stars, and turned their hearts to the world they hoped, needed to hope one day would be. In the end, in that heaven, there would be no hunger, no thirst, and no grief – no reason to grieve, even. On earth, those things abide. We know they should not, long that they should not, and yet they do. Why do we allow it?

I think it is a mistake to have thought, or to think, that Jesus’s blessings would just happen, that there was nothing that those who hear them need to do to make them happen. As St. Teresa of Avila famously said, Christ has no hands, no feet, no heart in the world but ours. If we want peace, we must make peace happen. If we want mercy to triumph, we must fight to see that it does. If we want truth on the throne, and not lies – want justice and mercy to hold the power of the law, not ignorance, wealth, and greed – then we must fight to see it done. If we would have the poor be blessed, we must bless them ourselves, or see that those who can do so better than we can, actually do so.

This reminds me of one serious flaw in that hymn, from before, the one about the saints. It says at one point that “we follow the right for Jesus’s sake.” That isn’t quite true; Jesus is not an authoritarian. We follow the right – that is, that which is true, correct, and good – for its own sake, for our own sake, and for his, and not simply because someone told us to, though that person be a savior, Lord, and God. Jesus, certainly, did tell us to – he told everybody to. But that was not merely the assertion of his authority or power, as though anything Jesus said to do becomes automatically meet and right so to do because he said to do it. Quite the opposite is the case, and must be: the things he said to do are good in and of themselves, and can prove it. That is why he said to do them.

Likewise, the blessings he said would happen are for us to make happen. They will not happen otherwise, and the charge to make sure they do is a version of the Golden Rule, which we should have learned in Sunday School as well as in civics class. ‘Do unto others as you’d have done unto you’ is axiomatically true, that is – as are the “self-evident truths” which ring from the US Declaration of Independence as from a rank of silver trumpets. Part of what it means to be alive, they show, is to have the unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – that is, what it means to be alive means to have the right to flourish as yourself and to fulfill yourself. That right may be fostered or it may be ignored, but it cannot be taken away. It may be, as Jean-Jacques Rousseau famously said, that “we are born free, but are found everywhere in chains” and even that we must at times “be forced to be free,” much as a fledged eagle must be forced to fly the nest that it might become fully what it was meant to be. Though many deny it and some work hard to block it, freedom and self-determination are the natural and normal conditions for us all, made as we are in the image of God and a little lower than the angels.

Yet to be free is not to be without expectations. Part of the moral law by which we know ourselves as free and meant to live well is the duty we have to do unto others as we’d have done to ourselves. Thus, part of what we must do with our freedom is to use our hands and hearts and feet to set others free, and to bring into being the blessings Jesus spoke of, and 1 John and Revelation lament are so long delayed. Those who are pure in heart will see God, Jesus promised – and the God they will see is love, the power that made all that is and with which we can make or remake all that is so that all becomes as it should be. Nothing else can do that; nothing else can even want to.

As we approach the end of the most consequential election of our times, remember that whatever happens in it, whatever promises or miseries emerge from the cacophonies and divisions on display this coming Tuesday and afterwards – for no result I can imagine would lessen them, and the prayers of neither side will be answered fully – God has no hands or feet or hearts in this world but ours. If we do not find a way to make God’s blessings come true, make mercy shine and justice flow, be pure in heart and make peace break out like a song of hope in troubled times, and not simply let freedom ring but make sure it does, no-one will. Amen

 

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Musical Offering

 The Deacon or Priest prepares the altar and sanctuary for the Eucharist.

There is no passing of plates and no reception the collection or other gifts.

After the offering, the Celebrant continues, saying

 

A Statement of Faith

The Celebrant says

[acc_item title=”A Statement of Faith, A Song of God’s Love  – 1 John 4:7-11″]

Beloved, let us love one another, *
for love is of God.
Whoever does not love does not know God, *
for God is Love.
In this the love of God was revealed among us, *
that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that God loved us *
and sent his Son that sins might be forgiven.
Beloved, since God loved us so much, *
we ought also to love one another.
For if we love one another, God abides in us, *
and God’s love will be perfected in us.[/acc_item]

 

The Prayers of the People

The LEM prays. In the silence after each bidding, the People offer their prayers without speaking.

[acc_item title=”Prayers of the People“]

I ask your prayers for all God’s people; for our bishops, our clergy, and this gathering, and for all ministers and people. Pray for the Church.

Silence

I ask your prayers for peace; for goodwill among nations; and for the well-being of all. Pray for justice and peace.

Silence

I ask your prayers for the poor, the sick, the hungry, the oppressed, and those in prison.
Pray for those in any need or trouble.

Silence

I ask your prayers for all who seek God, or a deeper knowledge of God.
Pray that they may seek, and pray that they might find.

Silence

I ask your prayers for the departed [especially N.N.]. Pray for those who have died.

Silence

I ask your prayers for those on the prayer list of this parish.

We give thanks today for [the LEM or Celebrant add names, etc., as appropriate].

Silence

Praise God for those in every generation in whom Christ has been honored.
Pray that we may have grace to glorify Christ in our own day.

Silence

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The Peace

The People stand.

Celebrant:  The peace of the Lord be always with you,

LEM:         And also with you

The Ministers and People greet one another in silence while keeping physical distance

 

The Holy Eucharist: The Great Thanksgiving

Celebrant:   The Lord be with you,

LEM:           And also with you.

Celebrant:   Lift up your hearts.

LEM:           We lift them to the Lord.

Celebrant:   Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

LEM:           It is right to give God thanks and praise.

Then, facing the Holy Table, the Celebrant proceeds

 

[acc_item title=”The Holy Eucharist: The Great Thanksgiving”]

It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, for you are the source of light and life, you made us in your image, and you call us to new life in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with Angels and Archangels and with all the host of heaven, who for ever sing this hymn to the glory of your Name:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.                             Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.    Hosanna in the highest.

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The people stand or kneel. The Celebrant continues

[acc_item title=”The Celebrant continues…”]

Holy and gracious Father: In love you made us for yourself, and, when we had fallen into sin, evil, and death, you, in your mercy, sent Jesus Christ, your only and eternal Son, to share our human nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you. He offered himself, in obedience to your will, a perfect sacrifice for the whole world.

On the night he was handed over, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his friends, and said, “Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this in memory of me.”

After supper he took the cup of wine, gave thanks, gave it to them, and said, “Drink this, all of you: This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this in memory of me.”

Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith: [/acc_item]

LEM:  Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

The Celebrant continues.

[acc_item title=”The Celebrant continues…”]

We celebrate the memorial of our redemption, O God, in this sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Recalling his death, resurrection, and ascension, we offer you these gifts.

Sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be for your people the Body and Blood of your Son, the holy food and drink of new and unending life in him. Sanctify us that we may faithfully receive this holy Sacrament, and serve you in unity, constancy, and peace; and at the last day bring us with all your saints into the joy of your eternal kingdom.

All this we ask through your Son Jesus Christ by whom, and with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father, now and for ever. Amen.

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Now, as Christ taught us, we are bold to say,

The LEM prays

[acc_item title=”The LEM Prays”]

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come, thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those
who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

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The Breaking of the Bread

The Celebrant breaks the consecrated Bread, and then keeps a period of silence.

The Celebrant continues

[acc_item title=”The Celebrant continues…”]

Celebrant:   [Alleluia.] Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us;

LEM:           Therefore, let us keep the feast. [Alleluia.]

Celebrant:   The Gifts of God for the People of God.

The people come forward to retrieve the hosts, maintaining physical distance. They consume the hosts upon returning to their seats.

After Communion, the Celebrant says

Let us pray. 

The Celebrant prays

Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted us as living members
of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have fed us with spiritual food in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood. Send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart, through Christ our Lord. Amen.[/acc_item]

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Blessing and Dismissal

The Celebrant says

The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.
The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

 

The LEM says

          Let us go forth, in peace, to love and serve the Lord.

The Celebrant, the LEM, and the People depart, maintaining physical distance.

 

We hope that today’s service has been a blessing to you.
We are here to serve you, and hope to see you again.
Please feel free to call us, email us, or visit us online.

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About Episcopal Worship and this Service

The audio and video of this service will be posted to the church website after the service. Please join us, either in person or online, as you are able. Commitment Sunday, when we celebrate our pledge givers for 2021, is November 8, 2020. We are grateful for your pledge support, and hope that you will continue it.

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St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Fairland, MD

12621 Old Columbia Pike

Silver Spring, MD  20904

office@stmarks-silverspring.org * 301-622-5860 ext. 1002

The Rev. Dr. Christopher Wilkins, Priest-in-Charge

rector@stmarks-silverspring.org * 301-622-5860 ext. 1001

Linda Lee, Parish Administrator

administrator@stmarks-silverspring.org  *301-622-5860 ext. 1004

Beresford Coker, Musical Director

Joyce Walker, Administrative Assistant

Charles Smith, Senior Warden

Lee Mericle, Junior Warden

For information about St. Mark’s, please visit our website:

www.stmarksfairland.org

www.stmarks-silverspring.org

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Resources (available for free online)

These resources contain the prayers and worship services used in The Episcopal Church and by Episcopalians in their daily devotions.

This source shows the readings assigned for use in Sunday worship and for daily office use for each day of the year, with links to online biblical texts.

The Revised Common Lectionary and Daily Office, https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/

Links to church websites – National, Diocesan and our church’s website.

The Episcopal Church: www.episcopalchurch.org

Episcopal News Service: www.episcopalnewsservice.org

The Episcopal Diocese of Washington: www.edow.org

St. Mark’s, Fairland: www.stmarks-silverspring.org

 

 

[1] The readings are from the Revised Common Lectionary. See: https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/.

The table for readings in Year A for the Season After Pentecost may be found at: https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/lections.php?year=A&season=Season%20after%20Pentecost