If you are not a regular St. Martin’s supporter we invite you to
Thank you for supporting our ministry during this period of physical distancing.
A note about the structure of this webpage:
This page is set up to enable you to participate in the Liturgy of The Word, during which you will hear the sermon in its natural liturgical context or you can scroll down the page to hear the stand alone sermon webcast accompanied by the written text.
You can also view our return to eucharistic worship by clicking here.
Order of Service for the Liturgy of the Word
The Liturgy of the Word begins on page 355 of the Book of Common Prayer or online Eucharist Rt II here. Liturgy of the Word podcast recorded, edited, and produced by Christian Tulungen.
Prelude: “Prière” from 24 pièces en style libre by Jean Langlais (1908-1992), Steven Young, organ
Welcome: The Rev’d Mark Sutherland, Rector.
Introit: “If ye love me” by Thomas Tallis (c. 1505-1585), St. Martin’s Chapel Consort with Steven Young, organ
The Greeting: Blessed be God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and blessed be God’s Kingdom, now and for ever.
Hymn 388 “O worship the King” (vv. 1, 5), St. Martin’s Chapel Consort with Steven Young, organ
1 O worship the King, all glorious above! O gratefully sing his power and his love! Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days, pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise. 4 Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail, in thee do we trust, nor find thee to fail; thy mercies how tender! how firm to the end! Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend!
Collect for Purity
The Gloria S 280, St. Martin’s Chapel Consort with Steven Young, organ
The Collect of the Day:
O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
First Reading: Genesis 29:15-28, read by Marty Flaherty
Refrain: Steady my footsteps in your word. 129 Your decrees are wonderful; therefore I obey them with all my heart. 130 When your word goes forth it gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. 131 I open my mouth and pant; I long for your commandments. 132 Turn to me in mercy, as you always do to those who love your Name. 133 Steady my footsteps in your word; let no iniquity have dominion over me. 134 Rescue me from those who oppress me, and I will keep your commandments. 135 Let your countenance shine upon your servant and teach me your statutes. 136 My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law. Steady my footsteps in your word.
Second Reading: Romans 8:26-39, read by Ian Tulungen
Gradual Hymn 488 “Be thou my vision” (vv. 1, 2), St. Martin’s Chapel Consort with Steven Young, organ
1 Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart; all else be nought to me, save that thou art-- thou my best thought, by day or by night, waking or sleeping, thy presence my light. 2 Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true word; I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord; thou my great Father; thine own may I be; thou in me dwelling, and I one with thee.
The Gospel: Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52, proclaimed by Linda+
Gradual Hymn 488 (v. 3)
3 High King of heaven, when victory is won, may I reach heaven's joys, bright heaven's Sun! Heart of my heart, whatever befall, still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.
The Sermon: Mark+ A stand-alone sermon recording and full text also appear below on this page.
The Nicene Creed: We recite together. Please note italicized inclusive language changes.
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:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made human.
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, God, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified
and 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 Anthem: “Blest are they whose spirits long” by George Frideric Handel (1685-1759, arr. Hopson), St. Martin’s Chapel Consort with Steven Young, organ
Blest are they whose spirits long, whose trust is in the Lord, and on whose lips is praise unending. They shall mount up like eagles, lofty on high. They, too, shall walk and not be weary.
Prayers of the People: led by Linda+
The Lord’s Prayer
The General Thanksgiving
Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we your unworthy servants
give you humble thanks
for all your goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all whom you have made.
We bless you for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable
love in the redemption of the world
by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace,
and for the hope of glory.
And, we pray, give us such
an awareness of your mercies,
that with truly thankful hearts
we may show forth your praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up our selves to your service,
and by walking before you in
holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.
Hymn Hymn 635 “If thou but trust in God,” St. Martin’s Chapel Consort with Steven Young, organ
1 If thou but trust in God to guide thee, and hope in him through all thy ways, he'll give thee strength whate'er betide thee, and bear thee through the evil days, who trusts in God’s unchanging love builds on a rock that nought can move. 2 Sing, pray, and keep his ways unswerving; so do thine own part faithfully, and trust his word, though undeserving thou yet shalt find it true for thee; God never yet forsook in need the soul that trusted him indeed.
The Postlude: Fugue (excerpt) from Sonata XI, Op. 148 by Josef Rheinberger (1839-1901), Steven Young, organ
Permission to podcast/stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE with license #M-400498. All rights reserved.
Stand-alone Sermon podcast
I keep wondering if I should be worrying more about the future of the Church and in particular the future of our parish? Since the 3rd Sunday in Lent this March when in the face of an escalating public health crisis I took the decision to stop in-person worship – everything about being Church has changed. Since then, we have been on a steep social and virtual media learning curve. We’ve been learning how to be a virtual church – using virtual tools that are now thankfully, available to us at a time of greatest need.
Signing in – logging on -whether it be to a medium like Zoom – something completely new to most of us – or recalibrating our brains to think of the St Martin’s website rather than our red doors as the portal through which we enter into an experience of weekly worship – the challenge has not only been a technical one. Having logged-on or signed-in –we negotiate our way through the digital red doors where our expectations of what it feels like to be a church are challenged by new frustrations but also new discoveries.
Once through our digital red doors we are presented with the challenges of operating in digital meetings, groups, and fellowships where if too many people speak up at once no one gets to hear what is said. Once logged on to the Sunday morning Liturgy of the Word – both a different and yet familiar experience of the Sunday morning worship – how do we orient to an experience of corporate worship when there’s only ourselves and whoever else may be in the room listening along with us; when no matter how distracted we might have felt sitting in the pews, no matter how much our minds used to wander, the temptation of multi-tasking while participating in virtual worship is something quite other?
New questions arise. What is the correct body posture for virtual worship? Should I sit upright, alternating between standing, sitting, maybe kneeling, or is it ok to slouch in the armchair or even remain in bed? Should I bother to get dressed or is worshiping in my PJ’s acceptable to God?
Episcopalian brains have been conditioned by the centrality of the Eucharist as our principal experience of worship. Eucharist is a form of worship that demands not only presence but more importantly, communal participation. It’s hard to feel engaged when the visual cues are not the priest at the altar and the people around us – but the webpage on the screen in front of us and the sounds of worship reduced to an audio experience of worship pre-recorded by others. Adjusting to these changes requires a deeper and more careful listening – a creative use of imagination –capacities we may not have engaged much when worshiping in the past.
Sacramental worship is the outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace? The movement from outward action to inward grace is a journey that has always been taken in the imagination – the experience of creative and deep listening.
One way I suggest approaching the Sunday webcast of the Liturgy of the Word is not to participate in the structure of the service as if you were in church, but to close your eyes and simply let the experience speak through your senses and imagination. Worship – whether virtual or in-person remains for us not only the time we enter into the conversation God wishes us to have, but an invitation to listen more deeply to the needs of a world – to use Paul’s language in Romans 8 – to listen amidst the labor pains for the hope that heralds rebirth.
Br. Keith Nelson SSJE asked in a posting this week:
Are you listening? I hear you, even as I type this, and I know that you are. Somehow, I hear us, gathered in our listening. It is the sound of a single heart learning, re-learning to listen to the Word, and to the world.
The upheaval of our world in the wake of Covid-19 presents us with a demand to reimagine ourselves as a people – a society – a nation – a community – and to my point this morning – as a church. The upending of old familiarities and comfortable certainties demands a revitalizing of a capacity to listen with imagination.
Of the need for such listening Br. Keith writes:
I am listening more deeply, more intently, and with a greater sense of urgency, than I have ever listened. I am listening to the lonely cry out for human touch and the holy cry out for sacraments shared. I am listening to words of joy and lament from the masked mouths of strangers and friends alike. I am listening to Black, Latinx, Asian, and Native American people cry out afresh an old, old song of unspeakable trauma, yet refulgent with hope. I am listening to slow-motion sounds of collapse as political maneuvers falter and fail. I am listening to ice melting beneath the paws of the polar bear. I am listening to the inhalation and exhalation of breath, rhythmically reminding me that every moment is precious, and none is a given. I am listening to the heart of God beneath it all.
The Apostle Paul, in our continued reading from Romans 8 – building on his description of nature and humanity groaning in labor pains (see last week’s entry Labor Pains) awaiting new birth speaks of:
the Spirit help[ing] us in our weakness: [speaking to us through our imaginative listening] for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words – and God, who searches the heart, knows what is in the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for [energizes and inspires to action] the saints according to the will of God.
Paul proclaims that no amount of hardship and suffering, no degree of uncertainty and fear can separate us from the love of God in Christ:
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, … nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, height, or depth – not anything in all of creation will separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In facing up to new ways of worshiping together, new ways of being church, we are those whom Jesus in Matthew 13 identifies- as scribes trained for the kingdom of heaven? The scribal person spec. calls for skills to fashion new responses from the rich storehouse of old experience.
We are learning to listen in new ways. Along with the familiar fearful questions: how long will we endure present sufferings – Paul’s things present); how will we manage the anxiety of growing fearfulness – Paul’s things to come? – we begin to hear another quality of voice sounding deep within us saying: thank you! We hear a voice that reminds us that this crisis is what we’ve been waiting for.
For some time, many of us have been waiting with a growing apprehension – waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop – that is, waiting for what we know has been coming. This crisis is nothing short of a rude awakening to our dangerous complicities with multifaceted social and environmental injustice and oppression, corruption and greed. Paradoxically it comes as a relief when God calls us out and tells it how it is. Through our imaginative awareness – our deeper listening – in the amidst of our present suffering and future fear we are also learning to hear – thank you – as we listen with increased longing for the God of unchangeable power to change our hearts so that we can let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new!
As we question what it now means to be a people of God – to be the church – in a world that has precipitously shifted on its axis our listening takes on new urgency.
If you’re hearing what I’m hearing, maybe we’re listening to the Church becoming more. In this place “within listening distance of the silence we call God” (R.S. Thomas) and within shouting distance of one another, we are finding something precious: a deep church. Br. Keith Nelson, SSJE.
If you are not a regular St. Martin’s supporter, we invite you to
Thank you for supporting our ministry during this period of physical distancing.
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