Sunday 14th June

Second Sunday after Pentecost

 

The hymns for today are

CH4 124 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation

CH4 182 Now thank we all our God

This week we also have the addition of music – file attached - thanks to Doreen Prentice for playing and John Simpson for doing the recording. At the risk of making this too long a document, I have included the words of the hymns at the end in case not everyone has access to a hymnbook at home. Apologies to those who do not have access to IT for the lack of music.

                                           

Prayer

God, you created the world.

Shaping tall mountains and deep valleys,

flat moors and calm lochs,

creatures that fly high or swim deep.

Variety that astounds us,

a complexity beyond our comprehension.

Your creation amazes us always and at times makes us laugh with joy.

God, you created each one of us and know us through and through.

You know our names, the number of hairs on our heads,

the words on our lips before we even speak them.

God, your understanding of each individual astounds us,

its reach is beyond our imagining.

Your comprehensive recognition surprises us,

at times it makes us laugh with astonishment.

So gracious God, who allows us to laugh,

as we contemplate the world around us

and the precious life of every human being,

let us not doubt that everything is possible for You.

This morning we come to worship You and offer our joyful praise.

Gracious God, in Your good time

You appeared to Abraham by his tent,

and life was transformed.

In Your good time You appeared on earth as Jesus,

and life was transformed.

In Your good time You brought our life into being,

and it is now our opportunity to be disciples in the world today.

The direction of our lives has brought us to this place at this time.

As we reflect on the long history of the People of God

and the ministry of Jesus Christ

we are aware that millennium after millennium

people have attempted to follow You faithfully.

We are painfully aware that we stray from the path

That Jesus invites us to follow

So, where we have neglected You or neglected others,

Where we have prioritised our desires

and pushed down the agenda of the needs of those close to us,

Where we have boasted

not in You but selfishly in our own individual achievements

Forgive us we pray

(Silence)

Whether we seek forgiveness often, or hardly ever,

faithfully and repeatedly God forgives.

Know the depth of that forgiveness and be at peace

(Silence)

In Your good time, and through the encouragement of the Holy Spirit,

breathe new life into us

that our daily actions may tell the world

that we are pilgrims of the One whom death could not hold down,

Jesus Christ our Lord.

Let’s continue our prayer by praying together the words of the Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, they 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 is the kingdom, the power and the glory,

For ever and ever,

Amen.

 

Readings

Genesis 18: 1 – 15 (optional extra verses 21: 1 – 7)

Matthew 9: 35: 10:8 (optional extra verses 9 – 23)

 

Reflection

Genesis 18: 1 – 15 (21: 1- 7)

In the book of Genesis stories of the Patriarchs start with Abraham in Chapter 12, which was one of the readings for last week. God calls Abram (who becomes known as Abraham) to leave his father’s home and journey to a new country. He is told that he will have many descendants and become a great nation. This week we have moved to chapter 18 and much has happened since. For today’s reading perhaps the important intervening events relate to his offspring. When it seemed as though Sarai, his wife, would never have any children, to allow the promise God had given to be fulfilled, she gave him her Egyptian slave girl, Hagar, and suggested they sleep together and as a result Ishmael was born (chapter 16). Then the promise to make of Abram a great nation is re-affirmed in chapter 17 and he is given a new name, Abraham. Indeed, his wife also receives a new name – now not Sarai but Sarah and it is made clear they will have a son together. Our reading picks up at the start of chapter 18 and at verse 1 with the words, “The Lord appeared to Abraham”. Sitting by the opening to his tent he sees three men. He offers them water, rest, and food. After eating, one says that he will return one day and that by then Sarah will have a son. Sarah had been listening in, since both she and her husband were old, this made Sarah laugh. One of the three noticed she laughed, and although she insisted she had not (to admit it would appear as laughter arising from disbelief), he was clear that she did. If you also read the optional verses, the result of that initial encounter is outlined. Again Sarah laughs but this time because a son, Isaac, is born, and it is as though the laughter is infectious, for Sarah says, “God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.” Abraham and Sarah show kindness and hospitality to the three men who they see. Hospitality is not acceptable at the present time due to the circumstances we are living in – I guess all of us are looking forward to the time when we can offer hospitality to our loved ones and to friends from afar- as ever fellowship together over food is a time to grow together and learn together and share together. We do it as families in our homes, we do it as a church family when we share communion – even if we cannot physically do this at the moment, let’s remember and give thanks for the good things that we do have even in this time of lockdown and isolation – and never forget that God is in it with us.

 

Matthew 9: 35 – 10:8 (9 – 23)

The reading, interestingly and significantly, starts with Jesus and His ministry. Jesus is travelling around cities and villages teaching, healing and proclaiming “the good news of the kingdom”. When Jesus encounters crowds, He feels compassion for them, for they were “like sheep without a shepherd”. At the end of chapter nine another strong image emerges of a plentiful harvest but a shortage of labourers. Chapter 10 moves to Jesus giving the 12 disciples “authority over unclean spirits” and the task of curing disease and sickness. The charge they are tasked with is a rolling out of the ministry of Jesus, an extension of that ministry. Jesus is not asking them to do anything He has not done, and they have not witnessed. In this passage we get the list of the names of the 12 disciples. It is the longest list of names to appear in this gospel apart from back at the very start of it, when the writer lists the ancestors of Jesus Christ (and of course this includes Abraham and Isaac, both of whom feature in today’s first reading). The disciples are sent out by Jesus to proclaim the good news to a limited audience; not to Gentiles or Samaritans but to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel”. If you choose to read on (10: 9-23) there are further instructions for the disciples – travel light, accept hospitality, offer peace but where no welcome is received move on. Jesus offers a warning that they may meet hostility, so they should be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves”. They may be arrested and punished but they are assured that God, through the Holy Spirit, will provide them with the words they need at the appropriate moment. In other words, they will not be alone and unsupported. Jesus calls us to proclaim the good news – there  are the same difficulties to be met – but we have a wonderful opportunity open to us in these circumstances created by Covid 19 virus as people seek God in the midst of it and long to hear something of the good news of Jesus Christ. 

 

Prayer

Lord God,

in long summer evenings when light lingers

and sunsets have time to deepen from light pink to deep red –

we offer You our thanks and praise.

We remember and hold before you

people in your world where the fading of the light

brings not only darkness but sadness and discomfort.

May they know Your light.

When we gather and share food and laughter with friends,

relatives, and those whom we love

and also when we are content to eat alone –

we offer You our thanks and praise.

We remember and hold before you those who today

will share meals tainted with sadness,

those who through no choice of their own eat alone,

those who are hungry and have little food.

May they soon know joy and plenty.

We remember and hold before you

refugees and those who are strangers in a foreign land,

those for whom exceptional warmth and hospitality would mean so much.

May they know a rich welcome and ongoing support.

We remember and hold before You

Those who are sick or suffering in body, mind or spirit,

And all those who care for them wherever they are.

We pray for those who mourn,

And hear us too as we take time to remember and hold before You

those caught up in difficult situations nationally and internationally,

situations brought about by the covid 19 virus,

situations made worse by the effects of the pandemic

Minister to their needs we pray.

Ever creating, ever loving, ever encouraging God,

we offer You our deep thanks.

Use our gifts, talents and skills in the world

so that our lives may tell out Your praise

and where possible aid those whom we have remembered before You today.

Hear our prayers, through Jesus Christ our loving Saviour, Amen.

 

CH4 124

1.      Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation;

Praise God my soul, for in him are your health and salvation;

Come all who hear,

Into his presence draw near,

Joining in glad adoration.

 

2.      Praise to the Lord who, in all things is wondrously reigning,

Shields you from harm and is gently yet firmly sustaining.

Have you not seen

How your heart’s wishes have been

Granted by God’s wise ordaining?

 

3.      Praise to the Lord who, with blessing and power will defend you;

surely his good ness and mercy shall daily attend you;

ponder anew

what the Almighty can do:

God will forever befriend you.

 

4.      Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore him!

All that has life and breath come now with praises before him!

Let the Amen

Sound from his people again:

Gladly for ever adore him.

 

 

CH4 182

1.      Now thank we all our God,

With hearts and hands and voices.

Who wondrous things has done,

In whom his world rejoices;

Who from our mothers’ arms

Has blessed us on our way

With countless gifts of love,

And still is ours today.

 

2.      Oh, may this bounteous God,

Through all our life be near us,

With ever joyful hearts

And blessed peace to cheer us,

And keep us in his grace,

And guide us when perplexed,

And free us from all ills

In this world and the next.

 

3.      All praise and thanks to God

Who reigns in highest heaven –

The Father and the Son

And Spirit – now be given:

The one eternal God,

Whom earth and heaven adore;

For thus it was, is now,

And shall be ever more.