Liturgy of The Word for the 9th Sunday after Pentecost, August 2, 2020

If you are not a regular St. Martin’s supporter we invite you to


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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 was recorded, edited, and produced by Christian Tulungen.

Prelude: Praeludium in C, BuxWV 137, by Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707), Steven Young, organ

Welcome: The Rev’d Mark Sutherland, Rector

Introit: “Sound Forth the Trumpet in Zion” by Thomas Morley (c1557-1602), The 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 48 “O day of radiant gladness” (vv. 1, 4), The St. Martin’s Chapel Consort with Steven Young, organ

1 O day of radiant gladness, O day of joy and light,
O balm of care and sadness, most beautiful, most bright;
this day the high and lowly, through ages joined in tune,
sing "Holy, holy, holy" to the great God Triune.
4 That light our hope sustaining, we walk the pilgrim way,
at length our rest attaining, our endless Sabbath day.
We sing to thee our praises, O Father, Spirit, Son;
the Church her voice upraises to thee, blest Three in One.

Collect for Purity

The Gloria S 280, The St. Martin’s Chapel Consort with Steven Young, organ

The Collect of the Day:

Let your continual mercy, O Lord, cleanse and defend your Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without your help, protect and govern it always by your goodness; 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 32:22-31, read by Sarosh Fenn

Psalm 17:1-7, 16

Refrain: Keep me, O Lord, as the apple of your eye; hide me under the shadow of your wings.

1 Hear my plea of innocence, O LORD; give heed to my cry;
   listen to my prayer, which does not come from lying lips.
2 Let my vindication come forth from your presence;
    let your eyes be fixed on justice.
3 Weigh my heart, summon me by night,
    melt me down; you will find no impurity in me.
4 I give no offense with my mouth as others do;
    I have heeded the words of your lips.
5 My footsteps hold fast to the ways of your law;
    in your paths my feet shall not stumble.
6 I call upon you, O God, for you will answer me;
    incline your ear to me and hear my words.
7 Show me your marvelous loving-kindness,
    O Savior of those who take refuge at your right hand
    from those who rise up against them.
16 But at my vindication I shall see your face;
    when I awake, I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness.

Keep me, O Lord, as the apple of your eye; hide me under the shadow of your wings.

Second Reading: Romans 9:1-5, read by Joshua Maria Garcia

Hymn 578 “O God of love, O King of peace” (v. 1), The St. Martin’s Chapel Consort with Steven Young, organ

1 O God of love, O King of peace,
Make wars throughout the world to cease;
Violent acts, O God, restrain;
Give peace, O God, give peace again!

The Gospel: Matthew 14:13-21, proclaimed by Mark+

Hymn 578 (v. 3)

3 Whom shall we trust but you, O Lord?
Where rest but on your faithful word?
None ever called on you in vain;
Give peace, O God, give peace again!

The Sermon: Linda+  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: “Ave verum corpus” by Josquin des Prez (c1450-1521), The St. Martin’s Chapel Consort with Steven Young, organ

Hail, true Body of Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, truly suffering in sacrifice on the cross for humankind.

Prayers of the People: led by Mark+

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.

The Peace

Hymn 302 “Father, we thank thee who hast planted,” The St. Martin’s Chapel Consort with Steven Young, organ

1 Father, we thank Thee who hast planted
Thy holy Name within our hearts.
Knowledge and faith and life immortal
Jesus Thy Son to us imparts.
Thou, Lord, didst make all for Thy pleasure,
didst give man food for all his days,
giving in Christ the Bread eternal;
Thine is the pow'r, be Thine the praise.

2 Watch o'er Thy church, O Lord, in mercy,
save it from evil, guard it still.
Perfect it in Thy love, unite it,
cleansed and conformed unto Thy will.
As grain, once scattered on the hillsides,
was in this broken bread made one,
so from all lands Thy church be gathered
into Thy kingdom by Thy Son.

Final Blessing

The Postlude:  Rondeau (Sinfonies de fanfare) by Jean Joseph Mouret (1682-1738), 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:

A Table in the Wilderness

The Rev. Linda Griggs

My husband’s Uncle Roy died a few years ago, and the scattered extended family gathered in Hartsville, South Carolina. There was a memorial service at the funeral home, followed by a reception at a local Methodist Church. Now how it came to be there is interesting. Because Roy didn’t belong to the Methodist Church. He’d been raised Catholic, spent 17 years as a Baptist deacon, and he and Aunt Jerri had been going to the Episcopal Church for years. But Jerri had been a Methodist when she was younger, and there were a couple of church members who lived across the street from where Roy’s parents had lived for a long time. And that was enough–enough for the Methodist women to put on their aprons and mobilize to serve a bunch of grieving outsiders (including Yankees) who converged on Hartsville to remember and mourn Uncle Roy. And what a feast it was. Home-fried chicken. Cornbread. Green beans and lima beans. Homemade ham biscuits. Pound cake and banana pudding if you had room, and coffee, lemonade and sweet tea (the only kind.)  And in response to the profuse thanks from the family, the ladies simply responded, “It’s our ministry.”

It’s been seven years, and that story of Roy’s funeral is still told among our family with reverence, and even a tear or two. It’s pretty special when compassion, a little teamwork, and some home cooking come together in such a way that it touches the heart. When the ordinary takes on the aura of the sacred like that, the feeding becomes a kind of Eucharist.

You give them something to eat.

Today’s story of the feeding of the multitude is the only one of Jesus’ miracles to be included in all of the canonical Gospels. All four Evangelists found profound meaning in this layered episode of feeding–this intersection between hunger and abundance, need and blessing, desire and action.

When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd…

After Jesus had learned of the brutal murder of John the Baptist, he withdrew to grieve. But no kindly church ladies came along with baskets of fried chicken and banana pudding. Nor was he to find rest; the crowd followed him—they didn’t care how far they had to go, they just kept walking until they found him, out in the middle of desolate deserted nowhere. They brought nothing for the journey but their hunger for healing, comfort and good news. And in spite of his grief Jesus had compassion on them. So he went to work. It was his ministry.

The hour grew late, stomachs began to grumble, and the disciples wanted to send the people away to find their own dinner. Isn’t that the way it is sometimes; when confronted with a big problem, it is easiest to just try to make it go away to fend for itself. Don’t get too close; don’t get involved. But that’s not Jesus. Jesus, instead of sending the problem away, brought it closer.

You give them something to eat.

As many times as I’ve read and heard this passage I’ve never until recently noticed the grass. In three out of the four Gospel accounts Jesus receives the bread and the fish, and then has everyone sit down in the grass. Not on the ground. Not in the dirt, or on a rock. In every translation I checked, it says grass—the Greek chortos—grass, herbage, hay, or provender. Maybe not a lush lawn of Kentucky fescue, but neither is it arid and infertile. It makes you wonder.

The disciples wanted to send the people away to find their own dinner . . . Jesus, instead of sending the problem away, brought it closer.

Matthew tells us this is a desolate, deserted place. We equate it with the Wilderness where the Israelites wandered and complained, or where Jesus was famished and  tempted after his Baptism. Yet Matthew also implies that it is pasture where animals graze. Perhaps it’s both– an ironic intersection of wilderness and growth. Of hunger and abundance. Need and fulfillment.

We have nothing but five loaves and two fish.

Nothing. But…

We can spend all the time in the world asking how or whether Jesus actually multiplied the loaves and the fish. But we might instead consider that this story is inviting us, today, to see two things in relationship: the hungry multitude nestled in the grass, the abundant compassion of God in the form of bread, and at the intersection of the two, we see Jesus. Blessing, and inviting and challenging us.

Jesus didn’t distribute the food. His disciples fed the multitudes from the prodigious bounty that God provided.

You give them something to eat.

The miracle of the loaves and fishes shows us how we as children of God are bound to each another and creation by both our need to be fed and our potential for compassion and generosity in feeding one another. Jesus didn’t distribute the food. His disciples fed the multitudes from the prodigious bounty that God provided.

And we are called to do the same. Especially now.

Nearly eleven percent of our neighbors in this country say that their households don’t have enough to eat. The Census Bureau reports that more than 25% have missed housing payments—rent or mortgage. People are choosing between food and medication more than ever. Oh, and the children: Over 20% of children face food insecurity at some point during the year. The pandemic has closed schools and summer camps that are sources of physical as well as intellectual nourishment.

And as of this writing the folks in Washington are ready to let vital unemployment benefits to 30 million unemployed children of God lapse rather than risk giving some of them too much money. More than they deserve. Too much of what can be made available for everyone in need if our priorities were straight.

Jesus, send them away to fend for themselves.

But Jesus says no.

Jesus assures us that it is safe to look at the world through the eyes of compassion instead of political expediency. Through eyes of abundance instead of scarcity.

Jesus has us all sitting in the grass—we just can’t collectively seem to see what that means. Jesus assures us that it is safe to look at the world through the eyes of compassion instead of political expediency. Through eyes of abundance instead of scarcity.

There’s a table grace that I learned a few years ago:

Lord, to those who have hunger, give bread; to those who have bread, give a hunger for justice.

What is our ministry to our neighbors who hunger? What shape can our hunger for justice take in this moment?

Listen to the vision of Isaiah:

“Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. …Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live.”

The prophet envisions a heavenly banquet. Every time we feed each other, whether it’s food pantry volunteers making take-out meals, Methodist ladies serving fried chicken to out of town strangers, or citizens protesting and flooding legislators’ inboxes with demands for economic and social justice—every time we draw closer to another in compassion and generosity, we participate in a foretaste of the heavenly banquet—a table set for Creation since the beginning of time. We just need to open our eyes to where we are sitting. 

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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