Liturgy of the Word for the 14th Sunday after Pentecost, September 6, 2020

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. Podcasts produced by Christian Tulungen.

The Prelude: Chant de Paix (Neuf pièces) by Jean Langlais (1907-1991), Steven Young, organ

Welcome: The Rev’d Mark Sutherland, Rector

The Introit: “A Prayer of St. Richard of Chichester,” L. J. White (pub. 1919), The St. Martin Chapel Consort

The Greeting: Blessed be God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and blessed be God’s Kingdom, now and for ever.

Hymn 174 “At the Lamb’s high feast,” (vv. 1, 4), The St. Martin Chapel Consort

1 At the Lamb's high feast we sing
praise to our victorious King,
who hath washed us in the tide
flowing from his pierced side;
praise we him, whose love divine
gives his sacred Blood for wine,
gives his Body for the feast,
Christ the victim, Christ the priest.

4 Easter triumph, Easter joy,
these alone do sin destroy.
From sin's power do thou set free
souls newborn, O Lord, in thee.
Hymns of glory, songs of praise,
Father, unto thee we raise:
risen Lord, all praise to thee
with the Spirit ever be.

Collect for Purity

The Gloria S 279, The St. Martin Chapel Consort

The Collect of the Day:

Grant us, O Lord, to trust in you with all our hearts; for, as you always resist the proud who confide in their own strength, so you never forsake those who make their boast of your mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The First Reading: Exodus 12:1-14, read by Pat Nolan

Psalm 149, The St. Martin Chapel Consort

Refrain: Sing to the Lord a new wong.

1 Hallelujah! Sing to the LORD a new song; *
    sing his praise in the congregation of the faithful.
2 Let Israel rejoice in his Maker; *
    let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.
3 Let them praise his Name in the dance; *
    let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
4 For the LORD takes pleasure in his people *
    and adorns the poor with victory.
5 Let the faithful rejoice in triumph; *
    let them be joyful on their beds.
6 Let the praises of God be in their throat *
    and a two-edged sword in their hand;
7 To wreak vengeance on the nations *
    and punishment on the peoples;
8 To bind their kings in chains *
    and their nobles with links of iron;
9 To inflict on them the judgment decreed; *
    this is glory for all his faithful people.


The Second Reading: Romans 13:8-14, read by Jennifer Kiddie

Hymn 518 “Christ is made the sure foundation” (v. 1/tune by Henry Purcell), The St. Martin Chapel Consort

1 Christ is made the sure foundation,
Christ the head and cornerstone,
chosen of the Lord, and precious,
binding all the Church in one;
holy Zion's help for ever,
and her confidence alone.

The Gospel: Matthew 18:15-20, proclaimed by Mark+

Hymn 518 (v. 4)

4 Here vouchsafe to all thy servants
what they ask of thee to gain;
what they gain from thee, for ever
with the blessèd to retain,
and hereafter in thy glory
evermore with thee to reign.

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: “How Beautiful Upon the Mountains,” by John Stainer (1840-1901), The St. Martin Chapel Consort

How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings,
that publisheth peace; that publisheth salvation;
that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

The Prayers of the People: led by Mark+

The Lord’s Prayer, The St. Martin Chapel Consort

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 593 “Lord, make us servants of your peace” (vv. 1, 2, 4, 5), The St. Martin Chapel Consort

1 Lord, make us servants of your peace:
Where there is hate, may we sow love;
Where there is hurt, may we forgive;
Where there is strife, may we make one.
2 Where all is doubt, may we sow faith;
Where all is gloom, may we sow hope;
Where all is night, may we sow light;
Where all is tears, may we sow joy.

4 May we not look for love's return,
But seek to love unselfishly,
For in our giving we receive,
And in forgiving are forgiven.

5 Dying, we live, and are reborn
Through death's dark night to endless day;
Lord, make us servants of your peace,
To wake at last in heaven's light.

The Final Blessing

The Postlude:  Fugue in D minor, Opus 7b, by Richard Bartmuß (1859-1910), 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:

Coming Home

St. Martin’s Parish Gathering

The Rev. Linda Mackie Griggs

Homecoming Sunday is next weekend. A harbinger of fall after a long strange trip of a summer.  In the past six years that I’ve been at St. Martin’s I’ve come to appreciate the energy and bustle of the preparations for the annual ministry showcase and first-of-the-season Coffee Hour in the Great Hall, signing up people for our programs and, especially, greeting friends we haven’t seen in a couple of months.

Of course this year it’s different. Homecoming is different because spring and summer were different; not so much relaxed and renewing as it was difficult and anxiety-filled, leaving many of us in a state of exhaustion rather than anticipation. Our new program year will be marked by hand sanitizer, masks, Zoom, and live-stream video instead of crowding around the coffee urns and trying to get a good parking space on Orchard Avenue. To be fair, planning around COVID has challenged us to thrive as we learn new technologies and discover new gifts and possibilities for engaging in the life of the community. But there is still a wistfulness that we won’t be as fully together as we would like to be. When I think of the people that I haven’t seen since March, and probably won’t see for several more months, I feel a little sad, and I suspect I’m not the only one.

We need to recommit, this year more than ever before, to our church Home. Because it is our Home that forms and equips us for the work we are called to do.

It’s not just missing the faces (and the smiles and the hugs). It’s this tiny irritating mosquito buzz of fear that this time of COVID will cause our community to drift apart, leaving us diminished. But that will only happen if we let it. Which is why Homecoming is so important this year, even if in a non-traditional guise. It’s important to remember that whenever—and however– we gather as community—two or three in Jesus’ name– we are strong and filled with potential. We support one another. We affirm and challenge each other.  We heal one another, and we reach out to heal the world. All of this is vital for our individual and communal well-being and flourishing. So how do we keep those bonds strong, especially in the coming months? How does a worshipping and serving community retain its identity during a time when worshipping and serving together are difficult and, for some of us, impossible?

This isn’t an idle question. We are in truly perilous times. And that isn’t a hyperbolic statement, though make no mistake, for the marginalized in our country and our world the times have been perilous for longer than, and in ways that, we privileged can’t fully imagine. And that’s the point. Many of us are at a time of awakening to suffering and injustice like we haven’t seen in decades, and thus the vitality and resilience of our communities and institutions are in need of shoring up and encouragement.

We need to recommit, this year more than ever before, to our church Home. Because it is our Home that forms and equips us for the work we are called to do.

And recommitting means remembering who and whose we are.

“The Lord said… This month shall mark for you the beginning of months”

The Israelites had been in bondage for generations. As God had promised, they had multiplied like the stars in the sky and grains of sand on the shore. And now the time had come for liberation from Pharaoh. God spoke to the people and instructed them in their first communal liturgical act; the sacrifice of the lamb, the marking of the doorposts with blood, the unleavened bread and bitter herbs, the girded, hurried eating; all a collective act of remembrance and witness that would be reenacted for millennia, reminding them, year after year, of the God who fought evil on their behalf and liberated them from slavery.

Paul tells us to wake up from complacent dreaming and open our eyes to the life-giving work of love that lies before us.

It is this perpetual ordinance–this remembering– that formed the Israelites as a people exhorted to love God, love their neighbor, and in so doing to be part of the healing of the world. And the Christian household is part of that legacy, loved into being and called to reconciliation with God, one another, and Creation.

Paul, in his letter to the Romans, wove these traditions together as he alluded to Jesus’ summary of the Law: “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.”  This is not sentimentalized love. It is the love that challenges us to surrender the tyranny of self-interest and selfishness to the good of another—ultimately to make existential decisions about how we live our lives individually and communally: If we are not to kill our neighbor, how do we rationalize capital punishment, or war? If we are not to steal or covet, how does that affect our decisions about how we earn and spend our money, and how we treat those whose livelihood is bound up in our political and fiscal choices? Paul tells us to wake up from complacent dreaming and open our eyes to the life-giving work of love that lies before us.

For Paul, the church was not just a voluntary association of autonomous individuals; it was a body, joined limb to limb, member to member, by Christ. Matthew saw it the same way. Matthew was the only Evangelist who used the term, “church” in his Gospel, and both times he put the word in Jesus’ mouth, first speaking of a community strong enough to withstand the gates of Hades, and in today’s passage, speaking of a community that, for all its strength, still must deal with conflict, just like any family. In the original translation Matthew says, “If a brother [or sister] sins against you” rather than “another member of the church.” The nature of the Christian community is one of deep kinship; a reflection of the Trinitarian

relationship that defines God’s interrelated Self. And it’s important to know this because this relationship informs Jesus’ instructions concerning conflict: Speak the truth in love, and always seek reconciliation. This instruction, which immediately follows the parable of the lost sheep—leaving the ninety-nine to bring back the one—this instruction’s focus is on reclaiming the offender, not on punishment. Even in the final instance, in which Jesus says, “…if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector”, even here it can be argued that, knowing Jesus’ compassion for Gentiles and tax collectors, even at the last instance the church was still called to remain open to reconciliation. Because it was bonded by Christ. Bonded by love.

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”

So. Where does all of this leave us as we approach Homecoming Sunday, a Homecoming Sunday like no other in memory, when we will gather in different and disparate ways, wondering how our ministries will be called to respond to the storms that swirl around us?

That, friends, is totally up to us. But if we remember whose we are, we will find ourselves enfolded and emboldened by the God who is our Home: The God of creation and liberation. The God of compassion and justice. The God of healing and reconciliation.

Corrie Ten Boom was a Dutch Christian who survived her time at Ravensbruck concentration camp where she was sent after she was arrested for sheltering Jews in WWII. In her book, The Hiding Place, she offered this advice for perilous times:

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”

This is the God we know, and who knows us. This is the God in whom we hope, from whom we draw courage, and in whom we will always find our true Home. 

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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