7th Sunday after Trinity

Collect

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.

 

Jeremiah 23.1-6

“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD. Therefore this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the LORD. “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the LORD.

     “The days are coming,” declares the LORD,
         “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch,
     a King who will reign wisely
         and do what is just and right in the land.
     In his days Judah will be saved
         and Israel will live in safety.
     This is the name by which he will be called:
         The LORD Our Righteousness.”

 

Ephesians 2.11-22

Remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men) – remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow-citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

 

Mark 6.30-34,53-56

The apostles gathered round Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognised them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

Later, when Jesus and his disciples had crossed over the lake again, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognised Jesus. They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went – into villages, towns or countryside – they placed the sick in the market-places. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.

 

Reflection by the Revd Sandie

The other night after 10pm when I put the dog out for a final wee before bed I could hear children still out playing in a road near where I live. And that got me thinking because when I was growing up winter or summer in school time I had to go to bed at the same time as my younger brother by 8pm every night.   I didn’t like it much even though I was allowed to read my book for a while. But, my Mum and Dad were certain that well-behaved and happy kids were well rested so strict bedtimes were adhered to

It did occur to me, many years later, that my parents were the ones who benefited most from these early bedtime hours. When they put us to bed, they knew where we were and could finally relax and enjoy some time with each other. But, at the time, it just seemed a bit mean.

Jesus certainly had some very real concerns about the health and welfare and, of course, the effectiveness of his disciples. They were tired; even Jesus was weary by the constant demands and the need around him. There were successes of course. People were being healed. The good news was being shared, but the disciples needed to be reminded through solitude, prayer and meditation, where and how they received their gifts to minister to others so, with that in mind, Jesus called them to come to a quiet place and rest. At least, that was the intent.

However, rest and relaxation were not as easy to come by as Jesus might have hoped. The crowds knew where to look for him and they arrived before he and the disciples arrived. The people who had trailed Jesus to this desired place of rest and quiet knew what they wanted; what they needed and they wouldn’t be put off or sent away. Their need was so great; the hunger they had for healing and for the power of God’s word were so intense that Jesus took pity on them. So, while he knew what he and his disciples yearned for and really needed, he accepted the fact that the needs of the hungry and ill people around him were far greater than his need to rest. He responded with help and he called upon his disciples to do the same.

 Though rest was what Christ and the disciples craved, they were also aware that the message of healing and hope was in their sacred trust. It had to be shared with compassion for those who carried the burdens of life, who were ill, in pain, in need, hungry for hope. Eventually, there would be a time when the need to pull away and reconnect would overshadow the continuing needs around them. They would take the time to be family together.

It’s not surprising how Christ chose to say his final farewell to his disciples who were his family; He did so over a meal, in an upper room, away from the crowds and the demands of his ministry. Christ made this time of coming away and eating, sacred. He blessed the elements they shared and reminded his disciples of their purpose as his followers and those who in his name would bear the message of hope he had placed in their care. It was a sacred experience, rich in emotion and filled with grace.

Well, we don’t need an upper room or a special meal to make those quiet moments with God and one another, sacred. They’re likely to happen just about anywhere if we stay open and aware of the possibility. But it doesn’t hurt to make some time, daily to intentionally build in a space and a place to be present to and with God. Like the disciples we will then be prepared to minister to others who need to feel loved who need hope who need to hear the good news of the Gospel.

Let us pray

Thank you Gracious God for this time with you and with each other. Thank you for calling us to serve and giving us the gifts to do so and the grace to know when we must rest in you. Help us to lean on your strength when ours fails. Equip us to connect with the hurt and the needy doing so with the compassion you have shown to us in your son Jesus. Give us the wisdom to know when to work for your reign and when to rest from our labours. As in all things, call us to come away with you and rest. Amen.

 

Post Communion Prayer

Lord God, whose Son is the true vine and the source of life,
ever giving himself that the world may live:
may we so receive within ourselves
                   the power of his death and passion
that, in his saving cup,
                   we may share his glory and be made perfect in his love;
for he is alive and reigns, now and for ever.

 

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above):

Ephesians 2.11-22 ©  1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Pub. Hodder & Stoughton
Jeremiah 23.1-6 ©  1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Pub. Hodder & Stoughton
Mark 6.30-34,53-56 ©  1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Pub. Hodder & Stoughton
Post Communion (7th after Trinity) ©  The Archbishops' Council 2000
Collect (7th after Trinity) ©  The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662)