Trinity 5 Sunday 17th July.

Morning Service for the Fifth Sunday of Trinity from St. John’s –17th July 2022

Before we start today’s service, there is a messages we would like you to read and pray about.

As you will know by now, our advertisement for a new Minister was unsuccessful.

We ask that you will please pray for us

This is again for a fulltime minister for the two benefices of Fillongley with Corley and Ansley with Arley.

Thank you.

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Hymn – A New Commandment I Give Unto You

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A New Commandment I Give Unto You

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father

and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you

All: And also with you

Loving Lord,

Fill us with your life-giving,

joy-givingr peace-giving presence,

That we may praise you now with our lips,

and all the day long with our lives

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen

Cast your burden upon the Lord

All: And he will sustain you

Create in us clean hearts, O God

All: And renew a right spirit within us

Cast us not away from your Presence

All: And take not your Holy Spirit from us

Give us the joy of your saving help

All: And sustain us with your life-giving Spirit

Blessed be the Lord day by day

All: The God of our salvation, who bears our burdens.

We have a moment of quiet, to call to mind the things we

Have thought, said and done which we know grieve the God

who loves us

Come, let us return to the Lord and say:

All: Almighty God

Long-suffering and of great goodness

I confess to you.

I confess with my whole heart

My neglect and forgetfulness of your commandments

My wrong doing, thinking and speaking:

The hurts I have done to others,

And the good I have left undone.

O God, forgive me, for I have sinned against you;

And raise me to newness of life;

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

May the God of love and power

Forgive us and free us from our sins,

Heal and strengthen us by his Spirit,

And raise us to new life in Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

We praise God for his love and forgiveness with:-

Hymn – Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise

1)  Immortal, invisible, God only wise,

in light inaccessible hid from our eyes,

most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,

Almighty, victorious, Thy great name we praise.

2)  Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,

nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might;

Thy justice, like mountains, high soaring above

Thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.

3)  To all, life Thou givest, to both great and small,

in all life Thou livest, the true life of all;

we blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,

and wither and perish, but naught changeth Thee.

4)  Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,

Thine angels adore Thee, all veiling their sight;

all praise we would render, O help us to see

’tis only the splendor of light hideth Thee!

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,

in light inaccessible hid from our eyes,

most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,

Almighty, victorious, Thy great name we praise.  (by Walter C Smith  – 1824 to 1908))

Our First Reading is taken from – Genesis Chap: 18

1 The Lord appeared to Abraham at the sacred trees of Mamre. As Abraham was sitting at the entrance of his tent during the hottest part of the day,

2 he looked up and saw three men standing there. As soon as he saw them, he ran out to meet them. Bowing down with his face touching the ground,

3 he said, “Sirs, please do not pass by my home without stopping; I am here to serve you.

4 Let me bring some water for you to wash your feet; you can rest here beneath this tree.

5 I will also bring a bit of food; it will give you strength to continue your journey. You have honoured me by coming to my home, so let me serve you.” They replied, “Thank you; we accept.”

6 Abraham hurried into the tent and said to Sarah, “Quick, take a sack of your best flour, and bake some bread.”

7 Then he ran to the herd and picked out a calf that was tender and fat, and gave it to a servant, who hurried to get it ready.

8 He took some cream, some milk, and the meat, and set the food before the men. There under the tree he served them himself, and they ate.

9 Then they asked him, “Where is your wife Sarah?” “She is there in the tent,” he answered.

10 One of them said, “Nine months from now I will come back, and your wife Sarah will have a son.”

This is the word of the Christ

All: Praise to you oh Christ

Our Second Reading is From – Luke Chap: 10

38 As Jesus and his disciples went on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha welcomed him in her home.

39 She had a sister named Mary, who sat down at the feet of the Lord and listened to his teaching.

40 Martha was upset over all the work she had to do, so she came and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to come and help me!”

41 The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha! You are worried and troubled over so many things,

42 but just one is needed. Mary has chosen the right thing, and it will not be taken away from her.”

This is the word of the Christ

All: Praise to you oh Christ

Sermon for the Fifth Sunday after Trinity – 17th July 2022

May the words of my lips and the meditations of al, our hearts, be ever acceptable to you, O LORD, our strength and our redeemer. Amen

God must have a sense of humour- or maybe a very good sense of irony, because there are three or four stories from the Gospel accounts which I struggle with, specifically because I can feel myself being called out by Jesus – and this story about Martha and Mary is now of those stories.

I am a Martha, if there was a gold medal for worrying, I would have won it several times over. If there is something to stress about, I can stress. Waiting for something to happen, something to be resolved is very hard for me. Sitting waiting on God as Mary sat on that occasion is more difficult than I like to admit.

If there is a problem, I want to problem solve. If I can find a way to think about tackling something, even if that is only a very small part of the whole that really helps. While my hands are busy, my brain can relax, but if I am “just” sitting there, waiting, I become fidgety and annoying. If I have to sit still for any length of time, I just go to sleep, because then I don’t have to wait for the clock to tick round.

This story challenges my knowledge about myself. As this piece of the Gospel is read I can hear Jesus saying to me, as he said to Martha “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken from her.”

Jesus and his disciples have travelled to Bethany where Mary, Martha and their brother Lazarus lived and have been invited in to stay. If there is only the 12 disciples with Jesus, that is 13 mouths to feed, and we know from the other Gospel accounts that often others travelled with Jesus, so we do not know how many people had descended on the house that day, but you can imagine that Martha was very concerned about ensuring that her precious visitors were made to feel welcome and an important part of that welcome was hospitality. Sharing good food with friends and family.

I know that if I had 16 people to feed, I would have been running around for about a week previously, buying food, baking and ensuring that all different tastes; dietary requirements and allergies were catered for. I can so easily imagine Martha running around, wondering where Mary has got to when suddenly she spots her sister, in the room with the others, sat at Jesus’ feet listening to him preach. Martha is furious. By now, she is probably tired and feeling out of her depth, and where is her sister – sitting down and resting!

To Martha’s surprise though, when she tackles Jesus about it, he does not encourage Mary to help with all the chores, instead gently chiding Martha for her running around, and telling her that Mary has chosen the better way, and Jesus will not be asking her to leave anytime soon.

For us, 2000 years later, it is perhaps a difficult thing to understand, but Mary’s actions, and Jesus’ encouragement of her are revolutionary for the times. While the Middle Eastern women of Jesus’ time ran the home, and would often have had other little jobs as well, it was the role of the men, to be able to gather in the town squares, listening to the Rabbi’s or other teachers, discussing and debating points of law and making decisions about various issues in the town. Women did not have a voice, their testimony in court would not be listened too. They were not important.

By not only turning a blind eye to Mary’s joining of the men to talk about scripture and the other matters of the day, but actively encouraging Mary and reprimanding Martha for not doing similarly Jesus is turning the ideas of the day on their head.

It is why, later on, Jesus’ resurrection appearance to Mary Magdalene is also so important. Mary’s testimony of “I have seen the LORD” would not have been accepted in society – and if you read the accounts you find that the first thing Peter and John do, is to run off to check for themselves. They don’t invite Mary to explain everything that has happened, they have to see the tomb for themselves to try and understand if she is telling the truth, or if her story is just that of a delusional grief stricken woman.

Thankfully times have changed, and I can be here with you preaching and leading the service.  The first women Readers were licensed just over 50 years ago, and the celebration both coincided with, and got over shadowed by the 25th Anniversary of the Ordination of women to the Priesthood. Perhaps understandably I am very concerned that women have opportunities to lead and preach and teach in churches and beyond, but I am also aware that we need to make space for rest, for recuperation and for refocusing on God.

One of the things I have really missed since covid is an opportunity to go on retreat, to take that break away from the “real world” if only for a few days and to rest in God’s presence. It can be a really blessed time, but i have to make the decision to take that time away and to follow through, and other things can so easily crowd in and to overwhelm our thoughts with other priorities.

For Martha on that afternoon, her priorities were to ensure that her guests would have everything that they wanted, but Jesus reminded her, that what he wanted was her time and her attention. When I meditate on this passage of scripture, I can almost hear Jesus say,

“Stop Martha. Sit, listen. Spend time with your friends, share and engage. The food can be sorted later”.

I remember back when our eldest son Tom was Christened about 17 years ago, I was determined to cook and prepare all the food for the Christening. I spent the previous few days baking and preparing wanting everything to go well, but when the day arrived, not only was I exhausted, but I spent so much time ensuring everyone’s plate was full and topping up different platters, that when everyone came into go home, I had hardly had a proper conversation with anyone, and some of those who attended had travelled a long way to celebrate with us. I have tried since, to learn the lesson and to stop for a time, but it doesn’t come easily to me.

Our Old Testament story is part of the story that leads up to the birth of Isaac. Both Abraham and Sarah are getting on in years, and Sarah is all too aware, that her body is past childbearing age, and she hasn’t been able to provide her husband with the much longed for son and heir. In the passage we heard today, Abraham and Sarah are visited by three strangers, who appear near where they are camping one day.  When Abraham spots the strangers, he immediately offers refreshments and water to bathe their feet.

Sarah begins to prepare food and when everything is ready, Abraham serves the visitors, and stands near them as they eat, talking to them. As they finish their meal, the visitors ask after Abraham’s wife Sarah. “Where is she?” they wonder. On hearing that Sarah is in the tent, nearby, the strangers give their unexpected news. That in about a year Sarah will have a baby.

Next week we will hear Sarah’s reaction to the news, given to her husband, by the strangers, the Angelic visitors who came for a meal that day, but for now, let us focus on that wonderful idea that Sarah, in her old age will bear a child, because as the Angel Gabriel tells Mary, during the Annunciation scene, as he explains to her that her elderly cousin Elizabeth is also going to have a baby “Nothing is impossible for God”.

There are times in our lives when it feels as though nothing is going right. Where we wonder how we can bear the trials and tribulations that are affecting our lives and the lives of our families and friends, and we wonder if we are strong enough to keep going.

My reflection on these two passages is firstly, that God can do anything, but we need to be like Mary, to give him our attention and our focus, and like Martha, we need to remember, that when we ask for anything of our Lord, we need to be prepared to be challenged in our thinking by his response,

Amen.

Amen

Hymn – God Sent His Son They Called Him Jesus

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God sent His Son

Let us declare our faith in God.

All: We believe in God the Father,

From whom every family

In heaven and on earth is named.

We believe in God the Son

Who lives in our hearts through faith,

And fills us with his love.

We believe in God the Holy Spirit

Who strengthens us

With power from on high.

We believe in one God,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Prayers and Intercessions

We pray for God to fill us with his Spirit.

Generous God,

we thank you for the power of your Holy Spirit.

We ask that we may be strengthened to serve you better.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the wisdom of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to make us wise to understand your will.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the peace of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to keep us confident of your love wherever you call us.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the healing of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to bring reconciliation and wholeness

where there is division, sickness and sorrow.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the gifts of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to equip us for the work which you have given us.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the fruit of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to reveal in our lives the love of Jesus.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the breath of your Holy Spirit,

given us by the risen Lord.

We ask you to keep the whole Church, living and departed,

in the joy of eternal life.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

All: Generous God,

hear our prayer,

and make us one in heart and mind

to serve you with joy for ever.

Amen.

We gather our thoughts and prayers in the words our Saviour gave us

All: Our Father in heaven,

Hallowed by your name,

Your kingdom come,

Your will be done,

On earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread,

Forgive us our sins

As we forgive those who sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, ‘

Now and for ever.

Amen.

Hymn – Make Me a Channel of Your Peace

Go forth into the world to preach the Good News of the Gospel

Closing Hymn – I the Lord of Sea and Sky

The Lord bless us, and preserve us from all evil

And keep us in eternal life.

All: Amen

© 702211.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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