Sunday 12th July 2020

Sea Sunday

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

 

Hymn CH4 260

1.      Eternal Father, strong to save,

Whose arm has bound the restless wave,

Who bade the mighty ocean deep,

Its own appointed limits keep:

Oh, hear us when we cry to thee,

For those in peril on the sea.

 

2.      O Christ, whose voice the waters heard

And hushed their raging at thy word,

Who walked upon the foaming deep,

And calm amidst the storm did sleep:

Oh, hear us when we cry to thee,

For those in peril on the sea.

 

3.      O Holy Spirit who didst brood

Upon the waters dark and rude,

And bid their angry tumult cease,

And give, for wild confusion. peace:

Oh, hear us when we cry to thee,

For those in peril on the sea.

 

4.      O Trinity of love and power,

Our brethren shield in danger’s hour.

From rock and tempest, fire and foe,

Protect them whereso’er they go:

Thus, evermore shall rise to thee,

Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

 

Prayer

Lord it is good to read your Word,

And hear the parables you told.

Help us, O Lord, to listen and learn and act.

As we come to spend this time with you Lord,

We come also to say sorry and ask for your forgiveness.

Forgive us for the times when we haphazardly

Dash into your presence,

Finding it hard to leave behind our cares and our worries.

Forgive us, good Lord,

And make us new.

For the times when we don’t learn from our experiences:

Forgive us good Lord,

And make us new.

For the times when we don’t take care of ourselves,

Or others around us,

Forgive us, good Lord,

And make us new.

For the times when we don’t see what you want us to see,

And we just take tings for granted,

Forgive us, good Lord,

And make us new.

Let’s continue our prayer with the words that Jesus taught us…

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 debts as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil.

For thine in the kingdom,

The power and the glory,

For ever and ever,

Amen.

  

Readings

Romans 8: 1 – 11

Matthew 13: 1 – 9, 18 – 23.

 

Reflection

Romans 8: 1 – 11

Here we have Paul contrasting two ways of being and living and having one’s mind-set or thoughts centred by ‘the flesh’ or by ‘the Spirit’. The former – the flesh – leads to death, the later – the Spirit – leads to life and peace. With regard to believers, they are ‘in’ the spirit and the spirit is ‘in’ them (v9). For Paul, having the Spirit within is the same as being ‘in’ Christ. And since the Spirit is the Spirit of God – who raised Jesus Christ – then we have life through that same Spirit.

 

Matthew 13: 1 – 9, 18 – 23.

This passage is from the third block of teaching in Matthew’s gospel, which consists of a set of parables that communicate certain aspects of the kingdom of God. Parables consist of short stories to illustrate a point.  Sometimes the elements in the story are openly identified as pictures of, or metaphors for, something that helps us understand the meaning. Sometimes the meanings are explained, while at other times they are not. For example, several of the parables concern seeds, but the picture language, or metaphor, of a seed is used in varying ways in the different parables. For this reason, it is perhaps important to take each parable as a whole to determine its meaning rather than focusing on single words or even perhaps taking the metaphors to far.

The first half of the reading today presents a picture that would be very familiar to those who were listening to Jesus – someone walking through a field scattering seed to either side as they walked along a path of beaten earth through a field. Jesus notes reasons within the story, why the seed falling in each of four different places might be more or less productive. He then calls on the crowd to listen (v9).

The second half of the reading jumps a few verses to where – having answered the question from the disciples about why he uses parables – Jesus calls them to ‘hear’ the parable and proceeds to explain it. And this is where our tidy categories of meaning let us down. It is meaningless to argue whether the germinating seed (v 21) or the soil type (v 19) represent the person. The wording may be ambiguous, but the meaning is clear. The different growing situations are metaphors for different responses to the word of the kingdom, and, as such, they help to explain why Jesus’ message is not accepted and received with acclaim by all of Israel. Various factors affected how the ‘seed’ of God’s word fared in different circumstances during Jesus’ time on earth: distraction by forces against God, by hostility from others, by worries of life and concern for wealth. Beyond that we may find that the parable helps us to understand why people respond to the gospel in varying ways – it may also reflect how Christians feel when they respond to the ongoing call of God on their lives. This range of potential applicability reflects the power of a good parable. It can speak to various situations in different ways – but all may be fruitful.

   

Prayer

Whilst we pray today especially for those involved with the sea and the seaman’s mission, we also remember and pray for

those who are sick,

those who mourn

those who continue to struggle with life on a daily basis,

those who suffer addiction,

those who are abused,

and remember that this weekend in the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre,

praying for peace and healing.

Lord God, creator of all that is,

Hear our prayer.

Gracious God, today, on Sea Sunday,

We offer our prayers for those whose lives

Are affected by the sea.

We pray for people whose work takes them to sea;

For those in the different branches of the navy;

For those who transport goods by ship;

For those who catch fish for their living.

Be with them as they work,

And keep them safe when the weather is bad

And seas are rough.

Lord God, creator of all that is,

Hear our prayer.

We pray for those who give help

When people get into difficulties at sea.

For the lifeboat service, and for air-sea rescue;

For coast guards, and for lifeguards.

We thank You for their courage,

And ask that You will guard and guide them

As they work for others in need.

Lord God, creator of all that is,

Hear our prayer.

Lord, the sea is a place full of beauty,

But it has also been damaged by our greed

And by our selfishness.

People are not always careful

About how they treat the sea;

Poisons are allowed to seep into it;

Rubbish endangers the plants and creatures that live in it.

Be with those whose special work it is

To make the sea clean,

And show us how we can share this wonderful resource.

Lord God, creator of all that is,

Hear our prayer.

We pray for those who may be able to visit the seaside during holiday time,

Keep them safe on the beaches and in the sea;

May they come back refreshed,

And ready for new work and activity.

Lord God, creator of all that is,

Hear our prayer.

We pray now for ourselves.

As we think of the sea,

We ask that You will help us

To value this wonderful resource,

And to play our part in caring for it,

So that those who come after us

May also have their lives enriched

By all that it can offer.

We offer these our prayers in the name of Jesus

Who called fishermen to be His friends,

And who preached from a boat

On the Sea of Galilee.

Amen

 

Hymn CH4 512

1.      To God be the glory, great things he has done!

So loved he the world that he gave us his Son,

Who yielded his life, an atonement for sin,

And opened the life-gate, that all may go in.

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord,

Let the earth hear his voice!

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

Let the people rejoice!

Oh, come to the Father through Jesus the Son,

And give him the glory, great things he has done!

 

2.      O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,

To every believer the promise of God;

For every offender who truly believes,

That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!...

 

3.      Great things he has taught us, great things he has done,

And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son:

But purer and higher and greater will be

Our joy and our rapture when Jesus we see.

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!...