St Catherine & St James’ Church Service of the Word – Environment Sunday 25 February 2024

Welcome to today’s celebration of the environment which we inhabit. We will give thanks for the gift of God’s creation and are reminded that we share it with all life on earth. The sacrament of the Eucharist is at the very centre of our Christian life. It gives us a unique opportunity to establish deep communion with God and with all material reality. It is a unique place of encounter of the Divine and the earthly. Here, we give thanks for all that is good in us and around us. Here, we express our love for the Creator and Lord of the Universe and for the great works that he unceasingly accomplishes. Here, we ask that our thoughts, our hearts, and our senses be renewed so that we can see our neighbour and nature as God does.

Hymn 542 Tune Bunessan


Let us ask our good Lord for his mercy.

Lord, who created the whole world and constantly fill it with your presence, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy.

Christ, who, through the Cross and your saving work, have united heaven with the earth, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy.

Lord, who have prepared a new heaven and a new earth for us, have mercy on us.
Lord have mercy.

Almighty God, Creator and Lord of the world,
you have blessed the whole creation
and made humanity its guardian.
Let all your children in spirit and truth rejoice with you.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Proclaiming and Receiving the Word

A reading from the Book Genesis
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, ‘As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.’ God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.’ God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.’
This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Genesis 9.8-17
Psalm 85
1 Lord, you were gracious to your land; ♦︎
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2 You forgave the offence of your people ♦︎
and covered all their sins.
3 You laid aside all your fury ♦︎
and turned from your wrathful indignation.
4 Restore us again, O God our Saviour, ♦︎
and let your anger cease from us.
5 Will you be displeased with us for ever? ♦︎
Will you stretch out your wrath from one generation to another?
6 Will you not give us life again, ♦︎
that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your mercy, O Lord, ♦︎
and grant us your salvation.
8 I will listen to what the Lord God will say, ♦︎
for he shall speak peace to his people and to the faithful,
that they turn not again to folly.
9 Truly, his salvation is near to those who fear him, ♦︎
that his glory may dwell in our land.
10 Mercy and truth are met together, ♦︎
righteousness and peace have kissed each other;
11 Truth shall spring up from the earth ♦︎
and righteousness look down from heaven.
12 The Lord will indeed give all that is good, ♦︎
and our land will yield its increase.
13 Righteousness shall go before him ♦︎
and direct his steps in the way.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son: and to the Holy Spirit;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.

A reading from the Epistle of St James.
Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. In fulfilment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness.
Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.
But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing.
If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
James 1: 17-27
Hymn 39 Tune East Acklam

Hear the Gospel of our Saviour Christ, according to St Mark
Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, ‘Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?’ He said to them, ‘Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written,
“This people honours me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching human precepts as doctrines.”
You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.’
Then he called the crowd again and said to them, ‘Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.’ For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.’

This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Mark 7: 1-8, 14-15, 21-23
Affirmation of Faith

We are not alone; we live in God’s world.
We believe in God: who has created and is creating,
who works in others and us through the Spirit.
We trust in the Creator.
We are called to be,
to celebrate God’s presence,
to live with respect in creation,
to love and serve others,
to seek justice and to resist injustice,
to seek out models for hope and peace
We are not alone.
(Source, United Church of Canada)

Hymn 549 Tune Repton

We say our prayers
With Saint Francis of Assisi, patron saint of ecologists, let us bring before the Lord our requests for all of us gathered here, for the Church and for the whole world.

We pray for the Church: to be a beacon of hope throughout the world, reminding us all of our responsibility to care for and protect God’s precious gift of creation. Lord, in your mercy…

We pray for the world, our common home: that through God’s grace we may hear its cry for the damage done and be moved to protect it for future generations to enjoy. Lord, in your mercy…

We pray for those people who are already facing droughts, floods and storms: that God may grant them strength and hope for the future as they work to adapt to the changing climate. Lord, in your mercy…

We pray for our parish and our local community: that through the grace of God we may hear the urgent cry of the earth and of the poor and be inspired to respond at this crucial time. Lord, in your mercy…

God, source of all goodness, we call you Creator; you have made our wonderful world out of nothing and constantly keep it alive. Help us to be full of care and grateful for our home received from you as a gift. May we work to keep this, our common home, filled with peace and justice. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Source, CAFOD)
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.
Prayer of commitment
Let us pray together, and say
Lord, I come to do your will

Lord, allow my ears to listen to the cry of the earth,
the voices of my sisters and brothers,
those who face the harsh reality of climate change.
Lord, I come to do your will

Lord, allow my eyes to see the beauty of creation,
in flowers, creatures, forests and cities alike.
Lord, I come to do your will

Lord, allow my voice to speak out for justice
and ensure people living in poverty are heard.
Lord, I come to do your will

Lord, allow my hands to care for the earth,
to toil, to reap, to celebrate.
Lord, I come to do your will

Lord, allow my feet to take the path less trod,
to walk the extra mile,
to take your message out to the world.
Lord, I come to do your will.
(source, Canon Michael Fitzsimmons)
The Blessing
May you be filled with God’s grace,
and keep your eyes fixed
on God’s never-ending love:
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be with you and remain with you always.. Amen.

Hymn 3 Tune Abbot’s Leigh

The Parish of Saint Catherine & Saint James with Saint Audoen
Canon Mark Gardner Tel: 01 454 2274 Mobile 087 266 0228
Diocesan Lay Reader: James Kilbey
Parish Reader: Cletus Ogbata
Organist: Olesia Borsuk
Review Distribution: Margery Bell Tel: 01 4542067

St Audoen’s Cornmarket, 10.00 Eucharist (every Sunday)
St Catherine & St James, Donore Avenue, 11.30 Service of the Word (Eucharist on the first Sunday of the month)

Lent and Easter 2024
Writing so close to Ash Wednesday, and looking down the length of the season of Lent, I observe that Easter Day will fall on 31 March. The Church of Ireland published the blue Alternative Prayer Book in 1984 with a list of the dates of Easter from 1985 to 2025, which at the time seemed impossibly far into the future. It indicates the Easter fell on 31 March in 1991, 2002 and 2013. A new (green) Book of Common Prayer was printed in 2004, with a list of Easter dates from then until 2030, which is not so far off now. Easter fell on 31 March only in 2013. Fixing the date of Easter is a complex process, described in great detail in the old Book of Common Prayer. As often as I read the small print I never understood it, but it provided a means of working out the date of Easter until 2199 in one table, and from 2200 to the year 2299 in another! To add to my confusion, the second one distinguishes between Ecclesiastical Full Moons ‘not the actual moon of the heavens’ and real Full Moons.
During Lent we will have School Assembly in the Church of St Catherine & St James at lunchtime on Wednesday 28 February, always an opportunity for the children to demonstrate in little dramas what they have learnt, in speaking and singing, and musical instruments with which they have become proficient. St Patrick’s Day this year falls on a Sunday, when I will be in residence and preaching in St Patrick’s Cathedral.

St Audoen Cornmarket
We look forward very much to the return of the OPW and the reopening of the Visitor Centre. They also keep the Church open to the public. The staff very often support the Church service. The society of bell ringers has grown in strength and they ring for about half an hour before the 10.00 Sunday Eucharist. Most of them then go on to ring at St Patrick’s Cathedral. We are very grateful to them all for ringing at St Audoen’s.
Mark Gardner
On a beautiful sunny spring afternoon in Drogheda, the inaugural Boyne Cup was held at St. Peter’s Church of Ireland on Saturday 3rd February. For the first time ever, the St. Audoen’s Society of Bellringers proudly entered the competition. Mentored by Ringing Master Robert MacDonald, the band comprised of Gillian Lynch, Lesley Hayes, Leah Bredendieck, Clodagh Canavan, Jason Lynam and Sean Waldron. Having practiced their ringing skills tirelessly for weeks, they hoped to deliver a pitch-perfect course of plain-hunt on the day. Up against six other teams from around the country; Christchurch, St. Peter’s Drogheda, Hillsborough, Kilkenny/Waterford and two from Taney, the competition was tight. All the hard work paid off in the end though, as the St. Audoen’s ringers took home the silver medal (with a score of 13 faults) coming narrowly behind the winners from Christchurch (with a score of 12 faults). A ringing success for the fledgling society only founded in May 2023.