Weekly Church Service – A Service of Reflection and Thanksgiving for the Life of Queen Elizabeth II : 11 September 2022


I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Luke 15:10                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       


Merciful Father and Lord of all life,

we praise you that we are made in your image and reflect your truth and light.

We thank you for the life of our late Sovereign Queen Elizabeth,

for the love she received from you and showed among us.

Above all, we rejoice at your gracious promise to all your servants, living and departed,

that we shall rise again at the coming of Christ.

And we ask that in due time we may share with your servant Elizabeth

that clearer vision promised to us in the same Christ our Lord;

who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, world without end. 



  • Lamentations 3:22-26, 31-33
  • Ps 121
  • 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:4
  • John 6:35-40

Next week:

  • Jeremiah 8:18-9:1
  • Ps 79:1-9
  • 1 Tim 2:1-10
  • Luke 16:1-13


“The only way to live my life is to try to do what is right and to put my trust in God.”

God sent into the world a unique person – neither a philosopher nor a general but a Saviour, with the power to forgive.”

“The teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life.”

“Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace is an inspiration and an anchor in my life.”

“God sent his only son ‘to serve, not to be served’. He restored love and service to the centre of our lives in the person of Jesus


A Thought to Ponder

“Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep . . . because I have found the coin that I lost . . . because your brother was lost and has been found.”

The three “parables of the lost” in chapter 15 are unique to Luke’s Gospel.  Luke wrote his Gospel at a time when the Christian community was embroiled in a great controversy: many Jewish Christians were indignant that Gentiles should be welcomed into the Church without first embracing the traditions and laws of Judaism.

In these three parables, we enter God’s world: God communicates the depth of his love in his unconditional and complete forgiveness; his mercy breaks through and demolishes all human restrictions.  The Pharisees could not imagine a God who actually sought out men and women, a God who is more merciful in his judgments than we are, a God who never gives up hope for a sinner.

Today’s Gospel reading of chapter 15 includes three parables:

The parable of the lost sheep:  Shepherding demanded toughness and courage – it was not a job for the weak and fearful.  Responsible for every sheep in his charge, a shepherd was expected to fight off everything from wild animals to armed poachers.  Shepherds often had to negotiate the rugged terrain of the wilderness to rescue a lost sheep.  Like the responsible shepherd, God does whatever is necessary to seek out and bring back to his loving providence every lost soul.

The parable of the lost coin:  Finding a small silver coin in a dark, dusty, dirt-floored Judean house was nearly impossible, but so great was the value of any coin to the poor that a woman would turn her poor hovel inside out in search of such a lost treasure.  So great is the value of every soul in the sight of God that he, too, goes to whatever lengths necessary to find and bring back the lost.

The parable of prodigal son:  This is probably the most inaccurately titled story in all of literature.  Jesus’ tale is really about the great love of the prodigal’s father, who forgives his son and joyfully welcomes him home even before the son can bring himself to ask.  The father’s joy stands in sharp contrast to the prodigal son’s brother, who cannot even bring himself to call the prodigal his “brother” – in confronting his father, he angrily refers to the brother as “this son of yours.”  But the father is a model of joyful reconciliation that Jesus calls his disciples to seek in all relationships.

What is striking in the three stories is the joy experienced by the shepherd who finds the lost lamb, the woman who recovers the missing coin, the father who welcomes home his wayward son.  

The most extraordinary element of Jesus’ teaching is the revelation of a God who loves each and every one of us uniquely and individually, as a parent loves his/her most beloved child.  God’s love for us is eternally forgiving, constantly inviting, never limited or conditional.  

Our God is a God of inclusion – yet we sometimes make him a God of exclusion, excluding from our own presence those we deem as unworthy or unfaithful to be included among “God’s people.”

To forgive as Christ forgives is impossible to do on our own:  It calls for a spirit of humility, a generosity, a spirit of compassion that is beyond most of us.  But we are not called by Christ to create forgiveness on our own.  God has already forgiven, we are being asked to participate in God’s gift of forgiveness that surrounds every one of us.

Grace is the experience of God’s complete and unconditional love in our lives.  Sometimes we experience grace in the support and love of generous family and friends — and sometimes we are the agents of such grace, giving and doing whatever is necessary for the good of another, refusing to give up our search to find the lost and bring back those from whom we have been separated. 


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