St Matthew Apostle / Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, 20th September 2020


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

He sat to watch o’er customs paid,

A man of scorned and hardening trade,

Alike the symbol and the tool

Of foreign masters’ hated rule.

But grace within his breast had stirred;

There needed but the timely word:

It came, true Lord of souls, from thee,

That royal summons, ‘Follow me.’

Enough, when thou wast passing by,

To hear thy voice, to meet thine eye:

He rose, responsive to the call,

And left his task, his gains, his all.

O wise exchange!  With these to part,

And lay up treasures in the heart –

Who now with crown of light doth shine

Among the apostolic line.

Who keep thy gifts, O bid them claim

The steward’s, not the owner’s name;

Who yield up all for thy dear sake,

Let them of Matthew’s wealth partake.

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:



We thank you, heavenly Father, for the witness of your apostle and evangelist Matthew to the Gospel of your Son our Savior; and we pray that, after his example, we may with ready wills and hearts obey the calling of our Lord to follow him; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.



The first Reading:

Proverbs 3:1-6

My child, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments;

for length of days and years of life
and abundant welfare they will give you.

Do not let loyalty and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them round your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.

So you will find favor and good repute
in the sight of God and of people.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.

In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.

After the Reading the reader says:

This is the Word of the Lord.


Thanks be to God.

Psalm 119:33-40 is now said by the congregation.

33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes, *
and I shall keep it to the end.

34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep your law; *
I shall keep it with all my heart.

35 Make me go in the path of your commandments, *
for that is my desire.

36 Incline my heart to your decrees *
and not to unjust gain.

37 Turn my eyes from watching what is worthless; *
give me life in your ways.

38 Fulfil your promise to your servant, *
which you make to those who fear you.

39 Turn away the reproach which I dread, *
because your judgments are good.

40 Behold, I long for your commandments; *
in your righteousness preserve my life.

The Second Reading:

2 Timothy 3:14-17

As for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.

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 9:9-13

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard this, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”


Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

After the Gospel reading

This is the Gospel of the Lord.


Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

People leave their jobs for all sorts of reasons: more pay, better opportunity, a shorter commute.   Today’s saint left his job for a better boss. Matthew was at work in the city of Capernaum, a bustling town with a customs house.  It was just another day, and Matthew was going about his job of collecting taxes.   Nearby, Jesus was doing his job too, curing a paralyzed man.   It was an ordinary day for both of them.   But after performing His miracle, Jesus walked down the main street of Capernaum, caught sight of Matthew sitting outside of the customs house, and then…the normal day ended.   Jesus said to Matthew – simply, directly, and forcefully, “Follow me.”   And then, something quite astonishing happened.   Matthew followed Him.   Fistfuls of Roman coins may have spilt from his hands, or he may have swallowed a lump in the back of his throat, quickly adjusted his tunic, and then scurried to walk in the small clouds of dust that puffed up behind Jesus as His sandals slapped the dry ground.   In an instant, Matthew’s life changed – forever.   He had become a follower, a disciple, of the most important man in the history of the world.

The Gospel of Matthew nowhere mentions that it is written by a man named Matthew.   But it was attributed to him very early on in the life of the Church.   It was compiled certainly by the year 80 A.D., at the very latest.   Matthew’s Gospel is clearly written by a Jew, for Jews.   Matthew wrote his Gospel for Jewish people who had become followers of Christ.   He wanted his Judeo-Christian communities to know that Jesus is the Messiah that God had promised to send to save all people.   He does this by presenting the genealogy of Jesus, and describing the Incarnation of Jesus by focussing on Joseph and his dreams, rather than Mary’s conversations with the angel Gabriel, and her cousin Elizabeth. His Gospel makes clear that Jesus was truly God and truly human, and that Jesus is the fulfilment of everything said by the prophets in the Jewish scriptures.

Matthew is the only one of the four Evangelist who shares all the eight beatitudes with his readers.  His Gospel faithfully details how Jesus described who will be blessed by God in the Kingdom, and the attitudes and actions that are lived out by those who follow the new law by loving both God and neighbour.

After Jesus’ Ascension, Matthew preached the gospel in the early Christian communities that he established in Ethiopia and other parts of the African continent.   Tradition tells us that he died a martyr.   Matthew’s Gospel is the only one which identifies him as a tax collector.   Mark and Luke both refer to him as ‘Levi’, which may well have been his birth name, while Matthew (“gift of Yahweh”) was his post-conversion name.     After his big moment in Capernaum, Matthew’s name consistently appears in the Gospels’ lists of Apostles, but yet little more is said about him. 

Christ passes by in every life.   Everyone has their chance to say “Yes” or “No,” to stay or follow, to change or remain the same. That moment may come only once and never return – in my own case it was the sudden and late call to Ordination!   Sudden callings, and rapid conversions, are rare, but they do happen.   A life is more likely to plot gradually up or down like a line on a graph than to take a sharp right angle in either direction. Matthew’s life angled sharply when his personal trajectory intersected with Christ’s.   The moment is captured in all of its drama by the painter Caravaggio in his ‘Calling of Saint Matthew’. A broad shaft of light beams through the room from above Christ’s head.   His bony finger points to a well-dressed man at a table, with his hands over a pile of coins.   The scene unfolds, not in the street, but in a darkened room.   Light and darkness play. Sin and virtue tussle.   Past, present, and future hang in the balance.   Christ seems to say, “Will you take and eat, will you go and sell, will you come and follow me?”   Difficult, challenging questions.   But Matthew gave the difficult, generous answer in response, and we remember him today due to that one moment.  

Matthew was different from the other Apostles.  Many people felt, and with some justification,  that he was wholly unworthy to be a chosen as a follower of Jesus because he worked for the hated Romans as a tax collector, and therefore in their eyes he was not only a sinner but a traitor!

Once Matthew begins to follow Jesus, he holds a dinner for other tax collectors and sinners.   The Pharisees complained about Jesus eating with sinners.   But Jesus responded, “For I have come to call not the righteous, but sinners to repentance”.

The symbol for Matthew’s Gospel is a man with wings.  Matthew is the patron saint for accountants, bankers, bookkeepers and, believe it or not, tax collectors!

I believe that our own story parallels the life of St. Matthew. Despite our faults and failures, we are called by Jesus to be evangelists.   As a visible expression of God’s love to the people in our neighbourhood, with our limited but valued resources, through our dedication to the Church and to one another, we are living the beatitudes.

Let us pray:

Saint Matthew, you made the right decision at the right time, and so changed your life and those of millions of others who know Christ because of you.   Help us to recognize when a pivot point arrives in our own lives; when we must change direction, and help us to choose that direction well.  Amen

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.

Captains of the saintly band,

Lights who lighten every land,

Princes who with Jesus dwell,

Judges of his Israel:

On the nations sunk in night

Ye have shed the gospel light;

Sin and error flee away;

Truth reveals the promised day.

Earth, that long in sin and pain

Groaned in Satan’s deadly chain,

Now to serve its God is free

In the law of liberty.

Distant lands with one acclaim

Tell the honour of your name,

Who, wherever man has trod,

Teach the mysteries of God.

Glory to the Three in One

While eternal ages run,

Who from deepest shades of night

Called us to his glorious light.


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.

Disposer supreme, and judge of the earth,

Who choosest for thine the weak and the poor,

To frail earthen vessels, and things of no worth,

Entrusting thy riches which ay shall endure;

Their cry thunders forth, ‘Christ Jesus is Lord’,

Then Satan doth fear, his citadels fall:

As when those shrill trumpets were raised at thy word,

And one long blast shattered proud Jericho’s wall.

All honour and praise, dominion and might,

To thee, Three in One, eternally be,

Who pouring around us thy glorious light,

Dost call us from darkness thy glory to see.

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