St. Mary's Church

Third Sunday after Trinity

Third Sunday after Trinity

19 Jun 2021 • General news

1 Samuel 17: 32-39

David said to Saul, ‘Let no one’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.’ Saul said to David, ‘You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are just a boy, and he has been a warrior from his youth.’ But David said to Saul, ‘Your servant used to keep sheep for his father; and whenever a lion or a bear came, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after it and struck it down, rescuing the lamb from its mouth; and if it turned against me, I would catch it by the jaw, strike it down, and kill it. Your servant has killed both lions and bears; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, since he has defied the armies of the living God.’ David said, ‘The Lord, who saved me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will save me from the hand of this Philistine.’ So Saul said to David, ‘Go, and may the Lord be with you!’

Saul clothed David with his armour; he put a bronze helmet on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail. David strapped Saul’s sword over the armour, and he tried in vain to walk, for he was not used to them. Then David said to Saul, ‘I cannot walk with these; for I am not used to them.’ So David removed them.

2 Corinthians 6.1-13

As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says,
‘At an acceptable time I have listened to you,
and on a day of salvation I have helped you.’
See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labours, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honour and dishonour, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. In return—I speak as to children—open wide your hearts also.

Mark 4.35-41

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great gale arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’

Thought for 20 June 2021 (Lorraine Baker)

Our church calendar can be quite confusing. In only just over half of the year, from Advent to Pentecost, or perhaps Trinity Sunday, we go from the expectation of the child Jesus to his birth; his death and then his legacy. As much as I love the promise of Advent, the joy of Christmas and the changing emotions which we experience during Passiontide to the resurrection, life shouldn’t always continue at such a pace – we need some downtime, an opportunity to catch our breath and to just “be”. We each need time to take stock, to allow ourselves some rest and recuperation.

The reasons behind a “Sabbath” day, even if we do not follow the Jewish ideas strictly, are very important. We all need time to rest, to feed our souls as we can spend time reading our bibles; or enjoy poetry, or a good science fiction thriller. Whatever it is we do to rest and to refill our batteries, taking that time out is important.

I like to use the imagery of a reservoir or a pool of water. If we spend all our time “giving out” – serving people; working around the home or in employment; caring for others etc. we can very quickly get tired and the more tired and drained we are, the more effort it takes to keep going and if we are not careful all our reservoir has dried up and we are exhausted and can sometimes fall ill.

It may be that taking a Sunday off doesn’t work for your schedule. Those of us who minister in the church need other times off. But taking time off is important and while it may feel like an indulgence, or something selfish, if I am tired and grumpy, my family certainly notice and will tell me so!I know I have to take time and to surrender to God.

I was talking to my spiritual director last week, and was saying how much I was aware I needed a break. I needed space, to make a bit more time for God than my usual morning and evening prayer. I hoped to be going on retreat tomorrow (Monday 21st) but it has not been possible, but I am still taking a few days off work, just to try and relax.

Our Gospel reading comes from only the 4th chapter of Mark’s account of Jesus’ life. It describes a time when the relationship between Jesus and his followers is still quite new and perhaps a little fragile. As we heard last Sunday, Jesus has been spending all his time preaching and teaching and now he is exhausted. When the end of the day comes, several of his followers decide to use the fishing boats to travel out across the Lake Galilee. Several of the disciples and no doubt other unnamed followers are fishermen and are practised sailors. Jesus himself climbs into one of the boats, and curls up on a cushion and goes to sleep.

As those who know Lake Galilee can confirm, squalls and storms can suddenly appear almost from nowhere, and suddenly a vicious storm is whipping the waves over the sides of the small boats, so that they are in danger from capsizing or sinking. Those on board the boats recognise that their lives are very much in danger, but Jesus is still asleep, his repose not disturbed by the wind and the waves crashing around him. Stressed and angry, and more than a little frightened, those on the boat wake Jesus up:

“Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

It is then that the amazing happens, as Jesus comes to and realises the perilous nature of the situation, he stands up and rebukes the wind and waves.

“Quiet”, he says, “Be still!”

The storm ceases, and those in the boat with Jesus and possibly those in the accompanying boats as well, look at Jesus in amazement, but more than that they are terrified – no longer at the danger and possible loss of life, but instead at the power that Jesus has just demonstrated.

“Who is this?” they exclaim. “Even the wind and waves obey him…”

This episode would certainly have stayed with those present as they continued on their journey around the countryside, walking and talking with Jesus, listening to his preaching and observing how he deals with all the different people they encounter.

This is actually one of my favourite stories from Jesus’ life. It isn’t a parable, or an example of amazing preaching such as the Sermon on the Mount; it is just a description of a simple journey across the lake, to visit the towns that occupied the other shore. But instead of what should have been a mundane trip within all the highs and astonishment of Jesus’ healing and preaching ministry, this one boat trip also becomes so memorable that Mark chooses to include it in his description of Jesus’ life.

When I feel that life is raging all around me, when I can hardly catch myself up for the lists of things I should achieve, the places I am supposed to be, meetings to attend and work to be completed; then I try to remind myself (or have others remind me!) that I need to stop: to take time to breathe and to calm my heart and to refocus. I sometimes imagine this boat trip. I take time to read the story from my Bible, and as I read, I imagine myself on that boat, with Jesus and his followers as that storm blows up and the wind and waves are crashing around.

In all the busyness; panic; stress and anxiety that modern life can be, if we allow him in, Jesus will come and stand in the centre and says to each of us “Quiet, Be Still”.

All the worries and concerns melt don’t just melt away as that storm ceased that evening, but taking time; taking stock allowing ourselves just to refill our reservoir that little bit can help us to see things more clearly and to be better able to focus, to prioritise, to be able to cope with whatever life is throwing us at that moment.

So I encourage each of you, just to try and ensure a balance of busyness and rest. Time to pray; to read our bibles. Time spent just catching up with friends; sharing support and care. Taking for a walk or going to the gym – whatever our own way of relaxing is – try and find time for your own “Sabbath” day in whatever form that takes. I will be trying to be better at that too!

Amen.

Intercessions for Sunday 20 June 2021 (Stephen Baker)

Mighty God, when the waves of life threaten to overwhelm us, forgive us if we blame You or others for our troubles. Teach us to find You in the storms of life and give us the faith those early disciples lacked: to believe that You will bring us calm, peace and stillness.

Everlasting God, we pray for Your church here in Walsgrave; for all who minister here, for all who worship here, and for all those who are absent members of our community. We ask for Your blessing on our work as we seek to create a church community that lives the truth of Your love; that welcomes visitors and strangers; that provides a refuge for those who feel threatened or alone and a shelter from life’s troubled waters. We pray for all who have not been made welcome in our churches, our communities, our homes, or our hearts. We remember especially the homeless, the imprisoned, the poor, members of minority ethnic or LGBTQ communities, and all whose mental health has suffered because of exclusion, prejudice, discrimination, rejection, bullying, or cruel words.

Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Loving God, as we see the brokenness of our world we pray for healing among the nations; for fair shares of the Coronavirus Vaccines; for food where there is hunger; for freedom where there is oppression; for joy where there is pain; that Your love may bring peace to all Your children. We pray for those who continue to be anxious, isolated, lonely, or grieving because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We pray for all for whom social distance, self-isolation or shielding has caused separation from the ones they love. We pray for those whose mental health has suffered because of the impact of the pandemic on our lives, our jobs and our economy.

We pray for places around the world where COVID-19 seems to be out of control and for those who are working hard to control the epidemic. We pray that this and other countries which have good supplies of vaccines, and the medical equipment needed for those who are suffering most, may be generous in offering help to those most in need.

Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Holy God, we thank You for the joy of human love, and for all those among whom we live and work. We especially pray for those among our friends and families who do not know You, or whose faith has been shaken. Help them to see that “We have an Anchor that keeps the soul, steadfast and sure while the billows roll, fastened to the Rock which cannot move, grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love!”

Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Merciful God, when our lives feel chaotic and desolate because of illness or sorrow, help us to hear Your holy word; for by that word Jesus calmed the storm and by it He healed and made people whole. We pray for those who have requested our prayers; for those whose thoughts or feelings are troubled; for those who are depressed, anxious, or afraid; for those who feel that You are far away from them; for those who feel that life is not worth living. We pray for those whose bodies betray them; for those who struggle with addiction; for those for whom life is a struggle for other reasons. We ask that You be with them, calming the storms that rage around and within them, bringing them calm, peace and healing.

Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Loving God, we pray for those saddened by the death of someone close and dear to them, for members of our families who have died and whose anniversary we recall. Help us to experience the comfort of the Holy Spirit within us, and the fellowship of the church family around us until we are reunited once more in Your heavenly kingdom.

Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Gracious God, help us to know that the One who calmed the waves on the Sea of Galilee is present with us day by day and that He cares for us and can calm the waves of our lives. Help us to trust more fully and more deeply in You in all that we are involved with in the days to come.

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