St. Mary's Church

Second Sunday after Trinity

Second Sunday after Trinity

21 Jun 2020 • General news

READINGS

Genesis 21:8-21

Hagar and Ishmael Sent Away

8 The child grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. 9 But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac.[a] 10 So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac.” 11 The matter was very distressing to Abraham on account of his son. 12 But God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed because of the boy and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be named for you. 13 As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a nation of him also, because he is your offspring.” 14 So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered about in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.

15 When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, “Do not let me look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. 17 And God heard the voice of the boy; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be afraid; for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. 18 Come, lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make a great nation of him.” 19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. She went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the boy a drink.

20 God was with the boy, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow. 21 He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

Romans 6:1-11

Dying and Rising with Christ

6 What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For whoever has died is freed from sin. 8 But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 10.24-39 (NRSV)

24 ‘A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; 25it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!

Whom to Fear

26 ‘So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. 27What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. 28Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. 30And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

32 ‘Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; 33but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.

Not Peace, but a Sword

34 ‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
35 For I have come to set a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
36 and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.
37Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

Thought from Tony Thistlewood

I enjoy the stories in Genesis about Abraham. He could be brave, he could be cowardly. We read how valiant Abraham set out with his family for a strange new land, leaving behind the comfortable and the familiar. Stepping into an uncertain future is so like our current situation. We don't know what new land, what “new normal” awaits us.

I don't feel very bold. Anchoring myself to old familiarities seems more important, so on many days during this lockdown I've sat in our churchyard on a table-tomb near the big magnolia tree with the birdsong and squirrels for company. We often say church isn't the buildings, it's the people, but when we can't go into church it's like we're drifting, like a boat cut from its moorings.

C.S.Lewis once wrote that people who lost their faith most likely were not reasoned out of it; they just drifted away.

I wonder if Abraham felt he was drifting and it was time to do something about it; to face what was, from a human perspective, an insecure future. What Abraham knew was that any future was a future filled with God. Whatever our new normal is like we can be sure God will be there.

This week's Genesis story is about Hagar and her son Ishmael by Abraham. The cowardly Abraham gives in to the jealous Sarah when she insists that Hagar and Ishmael are banished to the desert. Hagar fears the worst but despite their desperate circumstances, God is there to rescue them and allay any more fears about their future.

As Jesus taught his disciples, if God cares so much for two sparrows, how much more does he care about us.

Intercessions by Nicola Harwood

On this Father’s day, let us draw close to our Heavenly Father who loves us, cares for us and is always by our side.

We thank you for the blessings of fathers everywhere, for all our fathers have done for us to guide us, support and encourage us. We give thanks for the many sacrifices fathers make for their children and families and the ways- both big and small – in which they lift their children to achieve dreams thought out of reach.

We pray for new fathers learning to care for and enjoy their little ones, for experienced fathers learning to let go of their children and for fathers whose unseen presence continues to guide their adult children.

We pray especially for dads bringing up their children alone. Be with them as they care for their sons and daughters. We pray, too, for those who have borne the pain of losing a child and those whose arms yearn desperately to hold a child of their own. Surround them with your love and give them strength to face each new day.

We pray for all those whose father has died. May they be comforted by your love as they remember happy times spent together. We think and pray for all those deprived of their father through illness, violence, separation or war. And we bring before you those men who are fathers unable or unwilling to fulfil their role as a dad. Support and encourage them that they may grow in passion for you and for their families.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

Heavenly Father, as we remember Jo Cox MP who was killed four years ago this week and whose birthday it would have been on Monday 22 June, help us to use every moment of our lives to nurture and love every one of your children. Give us energy and a zest for life to fight against hatred wherever we find it. Give us wisdom and strength to unite against a hate which does not have a creed, race or religion. We yearn for a world where black lives matter, where similarities are used to unite rather than differences used to divide.Give us confidence to defend the vulnerable, stand up to the bullies and work each day for an inclusive society where everyone is accepted and valued.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

Father we ask for your healing hand upon this and every nation as we continue to tackle the coronavirus. Be with doctors, nurses, researchers and all medical professionals as they seek to heal and help those affected and who put themselves at risk in the process. May they know your protection and peace. Be with the leaders across this land and beyond as they deal with the unknown. Give them the foresight and wisdom to act with true concern for those they are meant to serve and to seek long term solutions together for the benefit of all. Help us all to play our part in preventing the spread of this disease.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

Father we give thanks for the life of Dame Vera Lynn and for the way in which she brought hope and joy to so many during the most challenging times. As she inspired people through her music and compassion, may we use the gifts you have given us to reach out to others.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

Father we give thanks for your unending, unwavering love for us.For your patience with us when we struggle to see the way ahead, for the wisdom you impart and for the comfort and security you provide in times of difficulty. Be with us this week whatever it brings as we work to reflect your love in the world.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your son our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen