Swithun, Bishop of Winchester

15 July -- Lesser Festival -- Pastor -- White

Swithun was Bishop of Winchester in the ninth century, though little is known of his life. He was bishop for ten years and appears to have been the trusted adviser of Egbert, his king in Wessex. He had asked to be buried 'humbly' and not in a great shrine and, when he died on 2 July 862, his request was fulfilled. However, when a new cathedral was being built, Ethelwold, the new bishop, decided to move Swithun's remains into a shrine in the cathedral, despite dire warnings that to move the bones would bring about terrible storms. He was duly translated on this day in the year 971 and, though many cures were claimed and other miracles observed, it apparently rained for forty days, as forecast. Thus the feast-day of Swithun became synonymous with long, summer storms, rather than as an occasion for celebrating Christian simplicity and holiness.


Almighty God,
by whose grace we celebrate again
the feast of your servant Swithun:
grant that, as he governed with gentleness
   the people committed to his care,
so we, rejoicing in our Christian inheritance,
may always seek to build up your Church in unity and love;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

A reading from the book Proverbs.

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 around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favour 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. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be a healing for your flesh and a refreshment for your body.

This is the word of the Lord.         Proverbs 3. 1-8

Responsorial Psalm

RMay the Lord answer you in the day of trouble,
[the name of the God of Jacob defend you].
The Lord send you help from his holy place
and strengthen you out of Zion;
remember all your offerings
and accept your burnt sacrifice. R

The Lord grant you your heart's desire
and prosper all your plans.
We will shout for joy at your victory
and triumph in the name of our God. R

Now I know that the Lord
gives victory to his anointed;
he will answer him out of his holy heaven,
with the victorious strength of his right hand. R

Some put their trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we will call upon the name of the Lord our God.
O Lord, give victory to the king
and answer us when we call. R         From Psalm 20

A reading from the Letter of James.

Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Indeed we call blessèd those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. Above all, my beloved, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your "Yes" be yes and your "No" be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.

Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth yielded its harvest.

This is the word of the Lord.         James 5. 7-18

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.

Jesus said to the crowds, "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

This is the gospel of Christ.         Matthew 5. 43-48

Post Communion

God, shepherd of your people,
whose servant Swithun revealed the loving service of Christ
   in his ministry as a pastor of your people:
by this eucharist in which we share
awaken within us the love of Christ
and keep us faithful to our Christian calling;
through him who laid down his life for us,
but is alive and reigns with you, now and for ever.