Readings And Sermons or Talks

This week’s Prayers and Readings :

The Collect for the first Sunday after Trinity

The Collect for the Second Sunday after Trinity

Lord, you have taught us that all our doings without love are nothing worth: send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love, the true bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whoever lives is counted dead before you. Grant this for your only Son Jesus Christ’s sake, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

The Post Communion Prayer for this Sunday

 

The Psalm for this Sunday is Psalm 130

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. 2Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications! If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem. It is he who will redeem Israel from all its iniquities.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now and shall be forever. Amen

The First reading for this Sunday is taken from the Second Letter of St Paul to the Corinthians, Chapter 4, verses 4:13 – 5:1

13 But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—‘I believed, and so I spoke’—we also believe, and so we speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. 15 Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. 16 So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18 because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

This is the Word of the Lord Thanks be to God

The Gospel reading for this Sunday is taken from the Gospel according to to St Mark, Chapter 3, verse 20 - 35

Then he (Jesus) went home; 20 and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. 21 When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, ‘He has gone out of his mind.’ 22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, ‘He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.’ 23 And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, ‘How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.

28 ‘Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin’— 30 for they had said, ‘He has an unclean spirit.’

31 Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, ‘Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.’ 33 And he replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ 34 And looking at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.’

This is the Word of the Lord Thanks be to God

The sermon this week is delivered by Denise Smith

Whether we live on our own or with others, most of us have family; we may not see them very often or we may see them nearly every day. Some of them may no longer be alive, but they are still our family. Mothers and fathers, stepmothers and fathers, parents-in-law, children-in –law, sons, daughters, grandchildren, brothers, sisters and cousins are all family.

If there is a blood connection there is often a family resemblance or family likeness. Last week Wendy’s son, Christopher recorded a prayer for us to use in our M.U. YouTube video we now call ‘A moment with God.’ He sent me the recording by WhatsApp. When I opened it there was a picture of him. I haven’t seen him for a while and I was shocked at the incredible likeness to Wendy. I had to forward the video recording to the girl who puts together our films. In the message underneath I wrote, “Gosh, doesn’t he look like Wendy!” the DNA within our families shows up right across the generations. In our family it is the high forehead, an awkward neck hairline that not many hairdressers can cope with, spatula fingers and a top lip joined to the gum so you cannot smile properly until it is cut. It is not always such peculiarities and how we look, but maybe how we walk or laugh, being clumsy or having a quick temper- all kinds of things that get passed on.

In our Gospel reading today Jesus is in a house, surrounded by a packed circle of people from all walks of life, from all different kinds of families, with all different kinds of looks and personalities. They are keen to be near him and are hanging on every word he speaks, listening to him intently. As he looks around he sees in their eyes their love for God, so he says something quite amazing:- v34/35.

Who are my mother and brothers? Here are my mother and brothers. Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

Jesus is happily counting all who were in the house listening, as close family members. He is saying that all of us, however ordinary or damaged, whatever natural family we belong to or are separated from, are all part of his family – his close family. THIS is one of my favourite verses that makes me feel wonderful and well loved. It is a verse that has strengthened my faith many times. I hope you feel it too. It also makes us in this Church part of the same family, distinguished by the family likeness of doing God’s will and living in a loving way.

Jesus’ blood family had a hard lesson to learn that day. They had arrived at the house packed with people and they were worried about him. They came to collect him and take him home. They did not think he was looking after himself - too busy to eat properly. They have come to rescue him, but cannot penetrate the crowd. They send someone to get him. Jesus responds with “ Who are my mother and brothers?” With these words he seems to knock them back. Jesus’ blood family had to learn that although Jesus belonged to them in one way – through blood, he also belonged to everyone, because his work was to gather lots of people into the family of God. He knew he had important work to do with lots of people and that he could not just live with his family, working as a carpenter.

I can relate to this and it is hard for immediate family to grasp. Once I started training for ordination I had to put God and my training first and as my main priority all the time. Once ordained my family had to learn to share me and the needs of the Church family came first.You can imagine Jesus’ family being anxious for him, having heard the reports of the crowds around him all the time, giving him no time to eat, and all the casting out of evil spirits. In this passage, we are shown that his family did not understand that his work on earth was and is very important and sometimes dangerous.

Families sometimes have to share their loved ones with a wider circle of people and Jesus wants to include as close family all those who are doing their best to live God’s way. That is the family ‘likeness’ that marks people out to be members of Jesus’ family. It is God’s will that we act like a family. Young ones love, respect and learn from older ones, such as yesterday in Messy Church. The older generation have to make sacrifices to love and train up younger people. Will you commit to following wholeheartedly? Do we show any family likeness so we are considered Jesus’ close relatives?

There is such a lot to unpack in today’s readings such as he was accused by the scribes, of using demonic powers to set people free from demons. He must have been very hurt by these accusations. To be God’s chosen one, living out God’s love, yet being accused in this way. I’m afraid I chose another favourite verse from the Corinthians reading that always jumps out at me.

Ch.5 v1 “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven not built with human hands.”

What a promise!

There is an ongoing healing for those who live God’s way and follow his will. We are renewed spiritually, even as our physical bodies are wearing out. Paul sees physical death as merely a folding up of our tents which have provided temporary accommodation during our journey through this earthly life. The permanent house is a spiritual one prepared for us in God’s heaven. These too themes have got me through all kinds of troubles all my life and they bring me such hope and God’s special peace. May they do the same for all of you! In God’s love our family extends and is no longer tied simply to blood and genetics. Spiritually we are bound together in God’s great family, as close to Jesus as his own flesh and blood.

Paul tells us to marvel on what is ‘unseen’, rather than on the ‘seen’, temporary world. Let us be thankful for the family likeness in this Church family! Amen.

As members of the family of God let us pray. Father, help us to show your likeness by doing your will that we may find forgiveness, healing of mind and body and a constant inner renewing. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen. (The hymn that buzzed in my head was ‘Jesus loves me, this I know, because the Bible tells me so.’ One from my childhood.)

This page will not be updated next week due to holidays - normal service will be resumed for the week commencing 23/06/24

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