Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost, 13th September 2020



You can click to expand or minimise the order of service below.

The Church’s one foundation

Is Jesus Christ her Lord;

She is his new creation

By water and the word:

From heaven he came and sought her

To be his holy Bride,

With his own blood he bought her,

And for her life he died.

Elect from every nation,

Yet one o’er all the earth,

Her charter and salvation

One Lord, one faith, one birth;

One holy name she blesses,

Partakes one holy food,

And to one hope she presses

With every grace endued.

Yet she on earth hath union

With God the Three in One,

And mystic sweet communion

With those whose rest is won:

O happy ones and holy!

Lord, give us grace that we

Like them, the meek and lowly,

On high may dwell with thee.

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


And blessed be his kingdom, now and forever. Amen


From Easter to Pentecost:

Allelulia. Christ is risen!


The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia


In Lent and other penitential occasions:

Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins;


His mercy endures for ever.

The Lord be with you.


And also with you.


Let us pray:

Almighty God, to whom all hearts be open, all desires known and from whom no secrets are hidden: 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.

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

This prayer is omitted during Lent and Advent:

Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth.  Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.  Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father.  Amen.


Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal, have mercy on us.

The Collect of the day:

The priest now says the Collect for the day:




The first Reading:

Genesis 50:15-21

Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, “What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?” So they approached Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this instruction before he died, ‘Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.’ Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, “We are here as your slaves.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.” In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.

After the Reading the reader says:

This is the Word of the Lord.


Thanks be to God.

 Psalm 103: 8-13 is now said by the congregation.

8 The Lord is full of compassion and mercy, *
slow to anger and of great kindness.

9 He will not always accuse us, *
nor will he keep his anger for ever.

10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, *
nor rewarded us according to our wickedness.

11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, *
so is his mercy great upon those who fear him.

12 As far as the east is from the west, *
so far has he removed our sins from us.

13 As a father cares for his children, *
so does the Lord care for those who fear him.

The Second Reading:

Romans 14:1-12

Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarrelling over opinions. Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also, those who eat, eat in honour of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honour of the Lord and give thanks to God.

We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end, Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.”

So then, each of us will be accountable to God.

After the Reading the reader says:

This is the Word of the Lord.


Thanks be to God.

All stand for the Gospel reading.

The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew 18:21-35


Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

After the Gospel reading

This is the Gospel of the Lord.


Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Have you ever heard this warning: Be careful what you pray for – you might get it!  Watch out – you just might get what you are after.  Here’s a prayer many of us pray at least once a week – ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us’.

Is that what we really want?  We know that we want God’s forgiveness.  Of that, we are quite sure. However, we are not so sure about the second part, about the way we forgive others. We know that we are not nearly so quick to forgive others as we hope and pray that God forgives us. The Psalmist says, “The Lord is full of compassion and mercy, slow to anger and of great kindness.” Great news – we mess up – we ask God for forgiveness. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy, and so God forgives us. But… when someone does us wrong, when someone does us dirty, we say, “hey, not so fast.” We are not so full of compassion and mercy. We are not so slow to anger and of great kindness. We may be quick to anger and full of… colourful language.

And yet, this is how Our Lord taught us to pray – ‘forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us’. Be careful what you pray for – you just might get it!

In today’s Gospel, Peter comes to Jesus and asks, “Lord, if someone sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?”

Peter always asks the questions that we would like to ask. He is so earnest and so eager to do the right thing. But Peter also always seems to be getting it wrong. Maybe it’s this fallible humanity that makes Peter an exemplar for us. He had heard Jesus talk about forgiveness, so he wants to know more. And Peter must have done his homework, too. There is an ancient rabbinic tradition that says a person should forgive another who has sinned against him as many as four times. So, Peter, earnest and eager, tries to be even more extravagant than the rabbis, and he adds three more times. He asks, “Should I forgive a person even up to seven times?”

Seven times is a lot. It’s three more than the rabbis. It is a lot of times to turn and forgive someone who has sinned against you. Perhaps Peter was expecting Jesus to praise him for even suggesting such extravagant forgiveness. Perhaps Peter was hoping for a pat on the back, a gold star for the day, for an A+ in his ‘forgiveness’ exam!

This doesn’t happen. Rather, Jesus turns and says, “No, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” New Testament scholars debate whether the Greek text means “seventy-seven times” or “seventy times seven times.” But that is beside the point, because either way, Jesus is holding up an enormous number, a number so big that we can’t begin to calculate it in terms of forgiveness. Peter wants a rule, a measurement, so he holds wide his hands and says, “This much, Lord?

Should I forgive even this much?” And Jesus says, “No, much more than that. You’re not even using the right scale. As far as the east is from the west, that’s how much you should forgive.” It’s such an enormous amount of forgiveness, it would be senseless to try to calculate how much or how often.

Perhaps that’s why Jesus tells Peter the story about the unforgiving servant, a story where the numbers don’t add up because the numbers can’t be added up, when it comes to what Jesus has done for us. In the story, a servant owes the king ten thousand talents. Now, this is a crazy number. A single talent was more than 15 years’ worth of daily wages. So, when Jesus says, this servant owed the king ten thousand talents, he’s effectively saying he owed him many millions of dollars.

The servant, no surprise, couldn’t pay back the debt; therefore the king orders him and everything he has to be sold off. So, the servant falls on his knees and begs for an extension, and promises that if he gets some extra time, he will pay everything back. And, we don’t know if we are to laugh at him or to pity him, because there is no way the servant will ever be able to pay back the king. Maybe the king was amused because he responds to this ridiculous request with an amazing act: Since there is no way the slave will ever be able to pay back what he owes, the king just forgives the debt, every last cent, and sets the slave free.

Yet, when the servant, who has just been forgiven a debt of many millions of dollars, runs into a guy who owes him a hundred denarii – which amounts to a few bucks in comparison to what he owed the king – what does he do? Well, he grabs the guy by the throat and demands that he pay up. And when the king finds out that the servant, for whom he had just forgiven an unimaginable amount, wouldn’t forgive the pittance that was owed him by his fellow, he had the servant thrown into prison.

Jesus reframes the whole question about forgiveness. When it comes to forgiveness, we are all like servants who owe our Lord and King more than we can ever imagine. Try as we may to repay our debt through our character strengths or our virtues, or our willingness to forgive as many as seven times, we will never be able to pay back all that we owe to God. But the good news is that, despite our inability ever to give back to God everything we ought, God forgives us anyway, completely. In the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God has taken upon himself all our burdens, and sins and debts, and has forgiven them!

Completely, irrevocably, utterly forgiven and healed by Jesus -God is the God who forgives!

God forgives. The forgiveness that we are to extend to others is the forgiveness we have in union with Christ. Not because we are moral heroes, or because we seek our own wellbeing, but because we are forgiven, sinners!

Forgiveness may very well be a character strength and virtue. It probably does contribute to leading good and happy lives. Saints like Peter probably do score more highly on Forgiveness Likelihood Scales. But, Jesus reminds us, when it comes to our ability and need to forgive, we are, all of us, those of us who have great character strengths, and those of us who do not; penitents, debtors kneeling at the foot of the cross.

‘Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us’.

Be careful what you pray for – you just might get it!


Please stand for the Nicene Creed.

Let us together affirm the faith of the Church.

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:

was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary,

and became truly 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, the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,

who 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.

Let us pray for the world and for the Church:

Prayers of intercession are now said and at the end of each prayer the priest says:

Lord in your mercy,


Hear our prayer.


Lord hear us,


Lord graciously hear us

At the conclusion of the prayers the priest says:

Almighty God, who has promised to hear our prayers.


Grant that what we have asked in faith we may by your grace receive, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.


Jesus said: Come to me all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.


God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


God is steadfast in love and infinite in mercy, welcoming sinners and inviting them to the Lord’s table.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith, confident in God’s forgiveness.

Merciful God, our maker and our judge, we have sinned against you in thought, word and deed, and in what we have failed to do: we have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbours as ourselves; we repent and are sorry for all our sins, Father forgive us, strengthen us to love and obey you in newness of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

Almighty God, who has promised forgiveness to all who turn to him in faith, pardon you and set you free from all your sins, strengthen you in all goodness and keep you in eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.


The congregation stands.

We are the Body of Christ.


His Spirit is with us.


The peace of the Lord be always with you.


And also with you.

Please greet each other with a sign of peace.

All hail the power of Jesu’s name,

Let angels prostrate fall;

Bring forth the royal diadem

To crown him Lord of all.

Yes seed of Israel’s chosen race,

Ye ransomed of the fall,

Hail him, who saves you by his grace,

And crown him Lord of all.

Hail him, ye heirs of David’s line,

Whom David Lord did call;

The God incarnate, Man divine,

And crown him Lord of all.

Let every tribe and every tongue

To him their hearts enthral,

Lift high the universal song,

And crown him Lord of all.


Blessed are you, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have these gifts to share. Accept and use our offerings for your glory and the service of your kingdom.


Blessed be God forever.

 Let us pray

We do not presume to come to your table, merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in your manifold and great mercies.  We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under your table, but you are the same Lord whose nature is always to have mercy. Grant us, therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of your dear son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that we may evermore dwell in him and he in us.  Amen.


The Lord be with you.


and also with you.

Lift up your hearts.


We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.


It is right to give thanks and praise.

Father, we give you thanks and praise through your beloved Son Jesus Christ, your living Word, through whom you have created all things; who was sent by you in your great goodness to be our Saviour.

By the power of the Holy Spirit he took flesh; as your Son, born of the blessed Virgin, he lived on earth and went about among us; he opened wide his arms for us on the cross; he put an end to death by dying for us; and revealed the resurrection by rising to new life; so he fulfilled your will and won for you a holy people.

Proper Preface

Therefore with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we proclaim your great and glorious name, for ever praising you and saying:


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.

Lord, you are holy indeed, the source of all holiness; grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit, and according to your holy will, these gifts of bread and wine may be to us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; who, in the same night that he was betrayed, took bread and gave you thanks; he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.

In the same way, after supper he took the cup and gave you thanks; he gave it to them, saying: 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. Do this, as often as you drink it,

in remembrance of me.

Great is the mystery of faith:


Christ has died:

Christ is risen:

Christ will come again.


And so, Father, calling to mind his death on the cross, his perfect sacrifice, made once for the sins of the whole world; rejoicing in his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension, and looking for his coming in glory, we celebrate this memorial of our redemption.

As we offer you this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, we bring before you this bread and this cup and we thank you for counting us worthy to stand in your presence and serve you. Send the Holy Spirit on your people and gather into one in your kingdom all who share this one bread and one cup, so that we, in the company of [N and] all the saints, may praise and glorify you for ever, through Jesus Christ our Lord; by whom, and with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever.



Let us pray with confidence to the Father, as our Saviour has taught us:


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, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

O Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

O Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

O Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace.

We break this bread to share in the body of Christ.


Though we are many, we are one body, because we all share in one bread.

This is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world;

Happy are those who are called to his supper.


Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.


After Communion the celebrant and the congregation say


Let us pray.

Father of all we give you thanks and praise that when we were still far off you met us in your Son and brought us home. Dying and living, he declared your love, gave us grace, and opened the gate of glory. May we who share Christ’s body live his risen life; we who drink his cup bring life to others; we whom the Spirit lights give light to the world. 

Keep us in this hope that we have grasped; so we and all your children shall be free, and the whole earth live to praise your name.

Father, we offer ourselves to you as a living sacrifice through Jesus Christ our Lord. Send us out in the power of your Spirit to live and work to your praise and glory.

The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord: and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be amongst you and remain with you always.



Go in peace to love and serve the Lord:


In the name of Christ.  Amen.

O for a thousand tongues to sing

My dear Redeemer’s praise,

The glories of my God and King,

The triumphs of his grace!

He speaks, and listening to his voice,

New life the dead receive,

The mournful broken hearts rejoice,

The humble poor believe.

Hear him, ye deaf; his praise, ye dumb,

Your loosened tongues employ;

Ye blind, behold your Saviour come;

And leap, ye lame, for joy!

My gracious Master and my God,

Assist me to proclaim

And spread through all the earth abroad

The honours of thy name.

NOTE: The introductory music was Minuet from ‘Berinice’, by Handel.