Collect and Readings for The Seventh Sunday after Trinity 18h July 2021 Year B – 2 Samuel 7:1-14a, Jeremiah 23:1-6, Psalm 89:20-37, Psalm 23, Ephesians 2:11-22, Mark 6:30-34, 53-56;
The Prayer for today Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: graft in our hearts the love of your name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of your great mercy keep us in the same; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Have you looked at your diary or schedule recently? We have all been leading increasingly busy lives with alarm clocks or reminders on our computers or phones to ensure that we don't miss important appointments. The pandemic may have made us stop and create some space in our lives, or maybe we have been working even harder, trying to juggle home working and home schooling in a confined and contained environment. It is quite incredible that for many people the working environment has just been able to continue, with internet and mobile phones enabling us to connect with our work colleagues, not only nationally but also globally. Of course some people haven't been so lucky and have been furloughed or worse still, made redundant.
Even our faith congregations in some areas have been able to livestream their services, with people joining in from their living rooms and also watching the recording at a time which suits them. At work, I am hearing more people talk about extended days, with increasing pressure on diaries and the daily schedule of meetings starting earlier, say 8am with the last meeting finishing at 6pm or possibly later. For those in work it seems to be taking over their lives with less and less time to spend on leisure activities, relaxing or on quality time with family and friends.
More and more adverts shout at us to buy this, choose that, look like them and the papers and the media tell us what to think and how to behave and often we believe their lies. We are like a scattered flock of sheep racing in different directions, without knowing where we are or where we are going. In the Gospel reading, we heard about Jesus' busy ministry of teaching and healing, listening and encouraging. When he and his disciples had been hard at work for days and were really tired and drained, they'd get into a boat and sail across the lake for a bit of peace and quiet, but the crowds went around the lake and were waiting for them to the other side. Jesus didn't send them away or tell them that it was 'out of hours' or put them on hold. He didn't ask Peter to change course and sail somewhere else.
Instead Jesus saw the lost and struggling lives, the need for reassurance and practical wise teaching, the longing for healing and wholeness, and the hearts attracted to God but needing help to find him. Seeing all that, he loved them, with the deep affection of God's love; he climbed wearily out of the boat and fed them with the teaching and comforting they so badly needed. From stories like this of Jesus' ministry we know with certainty that God never ever turns any of us away. None of our needs or wounds or sorrows are hidden from him. Whenever we run around the lake to be there waiting for him, he will step on to our beach and minister to us, because he loves us. Like a good shepherd he is concerned for our well-being and leads us carefully and safely through time into the eternity of heaven.
Some things to do as you to reflect:
€ Take time out in your own special quiet space and listen for God speaking to you through the silence.
€ Think about your schedule, how can you make some space for the really important things in your life?
€ How can you show your children and families that quiet time and space is important?
God bless and stay safe and well.
Rev'd Fiona Robinson