Trinity 19: St Luke’s Day

Our morning worship for the ninetheenth Sunday of Trinity begins with Thy Hand, O God, has Guided:

During the service our ALM Carol was recommissioned for her ongoing ministry of healing:

We finish with Lead us, Heavenly Father, Lead us:

You can read Rev Deborah’s sermon again here:

There are many themes in today’s gospel reading, but the thing that struck me is what Luke says about peace. ‘Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this house!” And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you.’ It almost makes it sound as if the peace is a tangible object, something you could hold in your hand and offer to someone. For Luke, peace isn’t a concept or an ideal, it’s something very real indeed.  

St.Luke is that he was a physician, a doctor. He laid down the tools that would heal the body in favour of those that heal the soul. The peace that Luke talks about very much relates to healing, wholeness, and restoration within us humans. Each of us has our own stories, hurts we carry with us from the past or the present, the scars that come from our mistakes and sins, our doubts and uncertainties or fears about the future particularly at this time.

Luke the physician is intimately concerned with the healing not just of the body but of the whole person and our encounter with Christ is at the centre of that process. In the Eucharist, Jesus comes among us offering us each something tangible – a peace that the world cannot give, a peace that is about forgiveness, about the healing of old wounds and a peace that is about restoration.

Luke’s gospel shows his concern for the gap between the rich and the poor, an he focuses on the outsider, the outcast, and the people who don’t fit in. Jesus ministry is seen by Luke as one of integration, that brings outsiders into the centre of the community, breaks down boundaries and restores communities to wholeness. Peace then, is not just about the healing ad wholeness of individuals, it is for the healing communities. And Jesus does this sometimes with the skill of a surgeon cutting through the trickery and hypocrisy of the religious leaders of the day and their obsession with boundaries and pecking orders, so that the people themselves can finally heal, be reconciled with one another, despite their differences, and with God who loves us all.

So as we celebrate St Luke’s concern for the poor, the sinner, the outcast, and his desire to show what reconciliation looks like in real life, we have a chance to look at the peace that is offered to our church community, our city and beyond. We have a chance to ask ourselves, where are the divisions here? Who finds it hard to fit in? How do we already welcome the stranger and the outcast, in these challenging times and how can we do more, in Jesus’ name? The gift of peace is not just for our own healing, but for the wholeness of those around us, and for the gradual mending of relationships, for the melting of old grudges and for the possibility of diversity in unity.

Luke is also concerned with the story of Jesus in history. He mentions names of the places that Jesus went to, the names of the Roman governors and the High Priests. This establishes that Jesus was a real person and that the things in the gospels happened. But, profoundly, rooting Jesus in political  history shows that peace is not limited to the individual or the local community, but it is a gift to the nations, to the whole world.

As we celebrate St. Luke, we celebrate someone who understood that the grace of God can work not just within individuals and communities but also in the political spheres and so we pray  for the peace that the world can’t give, to be given to our world, the leaders of the nations and all who hold the future of this planet in their hands to be given that peace.

Today it is Carol’s re-commissioning as ALM for worship, prayer and spirituality. The re-commissioning normally takes place in the cathedral but unfortunately, it cannot be done there at the moment. As incumbents, we have been authorised  to  re-commission our own churches. It is no coincidence that we have chosen St. Luke’s day for that. As you know, amongst the many things that Carol does as our ALM is that of the monthly service of wholeness and well-being for ourselves, our family and friends and for our world. Peace is an integral part of this.

So, what is an ALM?

Authorised Lay Ministers (ALMs) are lay people active in church life, who have been identified by their parish as having a particular gifting, vocation or calling to lay leadership. In our parish we have Carol Olive as ALM for worship and liturgy and prayer and spirituality and Andrew Ginn is our ALM for pastoral care.

ALMs are nominated by their incumbent and PCC for training in line with their parish Mission Action Plan (MAP) and diocesan selection criteria. Once trained they are authorised by the Bishop of Manchester to carry out a mutually agreed ministry role back within their local parish context. An ALM’s authorisation lasts for 3 years after which time it can be reviewed, updated and renewed.

Mission & Evangelism * Community Outreach & Social Action * Ecology & Creation * Youth Work (Plus Specialism) * Children & Families * NEW: Digital Church & Online Media * Pastoral Outreach & Listening * Prayer & Spirituality * Worship & Liturgy * Parish Admin, Finance & Governance.

If you feel that being an ALM is not for you but you are interested in a particular elective, you can do that as a stand alone. Laurel completed the Parish Admin, finance and governance elective.

If anyone would like further information, please speak to any of our ALM’s or Laurel to find out how in is in reality.

So, as we move to our re-commissioning, I would like to ask Carol stand.

 

ALM Liturgy

Re-Commission by Proxy

Deborah  We are all called to be the Body of Christ, the community of the Holy Spirit. The risen Lord Jesus pours out on his baptised people gifts and graces for the various tasks of the Church.

Deborah:

Carol you have been serving faithfully as Authorised Lay Ministers in our parish and community. I now ask you to renew your promises before God and in the presence of this congregation:

Do you promise, by the grace of God, to continue to give yourselves to this calling with diligence, energy, and love, and to be guided by the Spirit and the Word of God?

With the help of God, I will.

Will you continue to seek to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, serving Christ in all people and loving your neighbour as yourself?

With the help of God, I will.

Will you continue to proclaim by word and example the good news of God in Christ, performing your duties prayerfully and in a spirit of respect and collaboration?

With the help of God, I will.

Servant of Christ, with the authority granted to me by Bishop David, I re-commission you for the ministries of Worship and Prayer and Spirituality, to which you have been called, and assure you of his and my prayers and support.

May Christ dwell in your heart through faith, that you may be rooted and grounded in love and bring forth the fruit of the Spirit. 

All              Amen.

The Ministry Team are invited to stand.

Deborah:

Do you promise to work closely with Carol as your Authorised Lay Minister, supporting and encouraging her to use her gifts and continue to develop her ministry?

Clergy       We will, with God’s help

Will you continue to develop and support the ministry of all God’s people in your parish, in recognition that laity and clergy are of equal in worth and status, complementary in gifting and vocation, mutually accountable in discipleship, and equal partners in mission?

Clergy       We will, with God’s help

All sit

Deborah turns to the congregation:

Deborah:

You have heard your sister affirm her intentions. Will you also promise to pray for her, support and encourage her, open yourselves to her ministry, and work with her, so that Christ’s church may be built up in love?

All              We will, with God’s help.

Deborah:    Let us pray.

Almighty God look with favour upon Carol today who has affirmed her commitment to follow Christ and to serve in his name.

Give her courage, patience, and vision; and strengthen us all in our Christian vocation of witness to the world and of service to others; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

All               Amen.


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