Good morning everyone and I hope you are well. Last week we had a team service at Canon Slade and it was so lovely to see all our friends from the other churches after such a long time. The children had activities to do during the service and sat on mats in the middle. It was so good to see everyone together at last, during “Covid lockdown” we couldn’t imagine it would happen. It shows that we will come through our difficulties and that God will help us and today’s Gospel reading is just about that, when Jesus calms the storm.
Please let us know if you would like home communion, I know the homes that I have been to were very grateful and keen to keep in touch with church. The reflection today is by Rev Peter and intercessions by myself.
Take care and God bless
PRAYER OF PREPARATION
God is spirit –Let us worship him in spirit and truth
Give us the joy of your saving help – and sustain us with your life-giving Spirit.
PRAYER OF PENITENCE
Almighty god our heavenly father, we have sinned against you, through our own fault in thought, word and deed, and in what we have left undone. We are heartily sorry and repent of all our sins. For your Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, forgive us all that is past; and grant that we may serve you in newness of life to the glory of your name. Amen.
Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ only Son of the Father, Lord God Lamb of God you take away the sin of the world; have mercy upon us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit. In the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Almighty God, you have created the heavens and the earth and made us in your own image: teach us to discern your hand in all your works and your likeness in all your children; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit reigns supreme over all things, now and for ever. Amen.
THE OLD TESTAMENT READING
GENESIS 2, 4-9, 15-25
These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground; but a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground— then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.’
Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.’ So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.’
Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke. Glory to you O Lord.
LUKE 8, 22-25
One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side of the lake.’ So they put out, and while they were sailing he fell asleep. A gale swept down on the lake, and the boat was filling with water, and they were in danger. They went to him and woke him up, shouting, ‘Master, Master, we are perishing!’ And he woke up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, ‘Where is your faith?’ They were afraid and amazed, and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?’
This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you O Christ.
This is not the first “lake” story in the gospel – you will remember (in ch5) that Jesus told the disciples to put out their nets (in the daytime) and they caught a catch too big for even two boats to manage easily. This episode is different. The disciples have put out again, but this time to cross the lake. Presumably it starts calm or they would not have set out nor would Jesus have fallen asleep. But the weather changes without warning and this time the boat is filling with water not fish. This is danger not “wow!”
Jesus seems to be in a deep sleep – remarkable – maybe it says something of his exhaustion, but this story also has echoes of Jonah, another one who was asleep in a storm when the crew were fearful for their lives. Jonah is fleeing from God and it is God who stills the storm once Jonah is overboard so there is no straightforward connection, but there is the link.
We think of the famous hymn, “
“Eternal Father strong to save, whose arm doth bind the restless wave”
God can calm storms as well as call them up, but so can Jesus – Who then is this that even the winds and water obey him? – the answer is there for the taking. It is God! No one else can rebuke a storm, as if it is a naughty child doing something out of place.
Just as the miraculous catch was both a real tangible thing – and it would have helped the families when the men left to follow Jesus – and a theological sign – that God will bring people into the Kingdom through the disciples, so the stilling of the storm is also both a real event and a profound sign.
For us, in the betwixt-times when we see signs of the Kingdom but await its fullness, it can feel as if Jesus has gone to sleep on us, that he does not care about the storms that afflict us, that we feel as if we are perishing, and in too many places people are perishing. I would like to say that we can wake Jesus up and he will sort it, but that is not how it works. This is a sign, not a regular occurrence; the way of the Cross does not have a magic by-pass, but Jesus is present, may our faith be sufficient to know that. There is a beauty and a wonder to these signs – real signs effected in real places – Jesus was tempted to make his work easier by doing wonderful things and he resisted that temptation – that is not the way of God. Let us find faith in the presence and power of Jesus even in the storms of life.
I believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again; ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
During the intercessions, we pray for the church, our country, our government, people in difficulty and those who have died. You can use your own prayers or if you prefer here are some on today’s theme.
Lord your ship the church is often buffeted by storms of oppression and violence. At all times may we affirm your abiding presence and lasting peace. We remember all who are struggling with their faith, all who do not know you or love you. May your church bring them the knowledge of your love and almighty power. We pray for our own church community and leaders both lay and ordained throughout our team.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
We give thanks for all who seek to bring peace to your world. We pray for the work of the United Nations and peacekeeping forces. We remember all who are caught up in the violence of war or tyranny. We ask your blessing upon those who are being overwhelmed by life, upon all who feel they cannot survive on their own.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
We pray for our homes and our loved ones. May we here reveal your peace in our dwellings and in our relationships. We ask your blessing on homes that are sinking into deep debt or where families are unable to cope with each other.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
We give thanks for our peace of mind and we pray for all who are disturbed or distressed. We remember those who have had a traumatic experience and those who have suffered from betrayal or violence. We pray for all who are not at peace with themselves or with others. We pray for those who are unwell at home or in hospital or care homes, especially Ann Hall.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
We rejoice that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, that through him life is eternal. We pray for friends and loved ones who have passed beyond the storms of life; thinking especially of those whose anniversaries fall at this time, Louie Greenhalgh, Gordon Edmund Pollitt, Frank Rothwell, Doris Kilne,r Bertha Bennett and Ronald Veevers; may they rejoice in the joy of your presence and in your everlasting peace.
Merciful Father. Accept these prayers for the sake of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us this day 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.
May the love of the Lord Jesus draw us to himself, the power of the Lord Jesus strengthen us in his service and the joy of the Lord Jesus fill our hearts and may the blessing of God almighty, the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit be with us always. Amen.