Liturgy of the Word for the 15th Sunday after Pentecost, September 13, 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: Prelude in A flat by Jan Koetsier (1911-2006), Steven Young, organ

Welcome: The Rev’d Mark Sutherland, Rector

The Introit: “If Ye Love Me” by Thomas Tallis (c1505-1585), 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 48 “O day of radiant gladness,” (vv. 1, 4), The St. Martin Chapel Consort

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 278, The St. Martin Chapel Consort

The Collect of the Day:

O God, because without you we are not able to please you, mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; 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 14:19-31, read by Sarosh Fenn

Psalm 114, The St. Martin Chapel Consort

Refrain: Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord. Hallelujah!

1 Hallelujah! When Israel came out of Egypt, *
    the house of Jacob from a people of strange speech,
2 Judah became God's sanctuary *
    and Israel his dominion.
3 The sea beheld it and fled; *
    Jordan turned and went back.
4 The mountains skipped like rams, *
    and the little hills like young sheep.
5 What ailed you, O sea, that you fled? *
    O Jordan, that you turned back?
6 You mountains, that you skipped like rams? *
    you little hills like young sheep?
7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, *
    at the presence of the God of Jacob,
8 Who turned the hard rock into a pool of water *
    and flint-stone into a flowing spring.


The Second Reading: Romans 14:1-12, read by Amy Esposito

Hymn 383 “Fairest Lord Jesus” (v. 1-2), The St. Martin Chapel Consort

1 Fairest Lord Jesus,
ruler of all nature,
O thou of God and man the Son,
Thee will I cherish,
Thee will I honor,
thou, my soul's glory, joy, and crown.
2 Fair are the meadows,
fairer still the woodlands,
robed in the blooming garb of spring:
Jesus is fairer,
Jesus is purer
who makes the woeful heart to sing.

The Gospel: Matthew 18:21-35, proclaimed by Mark+

Hymn 383 (v. 3)

3 Fair is the sunshine,
fairer still the moonlight,
and all the twinkling starry host:
Jesus shines brighter,
Jesus shines purer
than all the angels heaven can boast.

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: “Pie Jesu,” by Andrew Lloyd Webber (b. 1948), The St. Martin Chapel Consort

The Prayers of the People: led by Linda+

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 537, “Christ for the world we sing!” (vv. 1, 4), The St. Martin Chapel Consort

1 Christ for the world we sing!
The world to Christ we bring with loving zeal;
the poor and them that mourn,
the faint and overborne,
sin-sick and sorrow-worn, whom Christ doth heal.
4 Christ for the world we sing!
The world to Christ we bring with joyful song;
the newborn souls, whose days,
reclaimed from error's ways,
inspired with hope and praise, to Christ belong.

The Final Blessing

The Postlude:  Fugue in A flat by Koetsier, 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:


St. Martin’s Parish Gathering

Last week, Linda+ quoted from Corrie Ten Boom, a Dutch Christian who survived her time at Ravensbrueck 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.

Ten Boom’s words resonated deeply for me. They are one of the clearest affirmations of my understanding of the workings of divine providence.

The 12 months between Homecoming in 2019 to Homecoming this year offers us a snapshot on the operation of divine providence in our common life together. So, for the moment hold that thought.

In my sermon Restoration for Homecoming 2019 I expressed some amazement with the gospel from Luke 14 which read:

For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish it, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying “this fellow began to build and was not able to finish”.

Having begun the costly $1.2 million restoration project in the spring of that year – a project we had had to embark upon before fully securing the necessary funds – receiving Jesus’ words at that time was both unnerving and at the same time spookily prescient.

At the time I noted the tension between Jesus’ words in Luke 14 and the predominant operational mode in his ministry. The message of prudent preparation contrasted with his more typical approach to events. For Jesus, life was not a dress rehearsal and his ministry was one of taking risks and then dealing with the consequences.

On Homecoming last year, it certainly felt to me and to others in parish leadership that we had taken a substantial risk – the consequences of which would be judged by the success or failure of a capital campaign I was about to officially announce.

I consider it providential that six years into my tenure as rector I was greatly blessed with having the right people with the right skills stepping forward at the right time to undertake the restoration project. Looking back, it seems something of a miracle to have had the team with the right skill mix in place. Who knew? Well the point is this – that unbeknownst to us, God knew! A courageous Vestry and finance subcommittee with the holy trinity of Bracken, Brookhart, and Lofgren – enabled me to focus on my responsibility to set the restoration and the following capital campaign within the spiritual context of our refusal to be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.

It’s a peculiarity of our language that the word church refers to both the building and the community that flourishes under the protection of its roof in order to announce God’s presence in the world.  Viewed from the perspective of divine providence the elemental disaster of a massive rainstorm presented challenge as opportunity. The challenge of repairing the damage became the opportunity to restore – not only the building but also the community thriving under the protection of its roof. The cosmic conspiracy of the elements presented the perfect spiritual catalyst for God to nudge us beyond the boundary of complacency.

The spiritual life has a variation of the old maxim no pain, no gain no risk, no gain. To realize the next stage in St Martin’s spiritual journey required us to be open to the thrill and terror of taking the risk to do the right thing with future generations in mind.

Fast forward one year. Our courage to entrust an unknown future to a known God, has enabled God’s providence to bless us. Opening Our Doors to the Future – capital campaign is the providential outworking of the cosmic conspiracy between God and Nature.

Facing into an opaque future, our steps are illuminated by the light of experience pouring through the rear window view of where God has – in the past – been with us – and can be expected to continue to remain faithful to us.

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

In about ten days or so you will receive information detailing the launch of the public phase of Opening Our Doors to the Future – capital campaign. The last thing many of you may recall hearing about the capital campaign was 12 months ago at the end of the discernment phase when in small cottage gatherings we shared together our future hopes and expectations for St Martin’s. In January we followed up with an electronic feasibility questionnaire which informed us that it was within our reach to aim for a campaign goal of at least $2 million with a stretch target of $2.2 million.  

Since then it may seem that all has gone quiet on the campaign front. In a manner of speaking this is the nature of the quiet phase for a capital campaign. However, the quiet phase is only quiet in terms of wider public awareness. Since February, when Mary Gray agreed to step into the role of campaign consultant – a new providential combination of the right people, with the right skills, stepping up at the right time – with Mary as chair, the campaign committee has throughout the spring and summer been quietly translating God’s providence into fruitful campaign action.

At Homecoming in 2019 I predicted that the challenge of storm, restoration project, and capital campaign would be the catalyst we needed to harness our energy to propel us across the threshold of complacency into the next stage of an exciting future.

On Homecoming 2020 I can report that my theological radar was spot on. Opening Our Doors to the Future – expresses the essence of our our concern is to ensure that as good stewards – we can pass onto future generations the providential legacy – bequeathed to us.

We are now able to launch the public phase of the campaign bolstered by the progress made during the quiet phase. The success of the quiet phase has rested on four elements:

  • the hard work of the committee
  • the generosity off a small number of members approached during the quiet phase
  • a generous estate legacy resulting from Al Howes untimely death
  • a hard-won storm insurance payout

These four factors when taken together now allow us to launch the public phase of the campaign having already received pledges for 85% of our campaign goal.

Every campaign has a narrative. This campaign is deeply rooted in St Martin’s historical story. You can visit the campaign cast statement here or go to Emily Gray has taken her creative red doors logo and reinterpreted it as the campaign barometer – depicting our progress measured in both dollar amounts pledged – and – the degree of member participation.

The focus and emphasis of the public phase is to achieve 100%-member participation!

This means that whatever the dollar amount you pledge – your pledge represents your desire to be a part of ensuring that our doors will remain open to the future. Structured over three years – some of us will be able to pledge from financial resources that are surplus to our daily needs. For others among us, our pledge will represent a sacrificial investment.

The spiritual significance for your gift lies in your participation as a measure of your courage to entrust our unknown future into the care of a known God.

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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