Good morning everyone. We continue with Matthew’s Gospel and we have the story of Jesus walking on the water, Peter walks out to meet him and loses faith as he walks. Sounds a familiar story? I will explore it a little more in the reflection and I have also done the intercessions this week. Don’t forget the coffee evening at Helena and Mike’s at 7pm on the 22nd August, no worries if you don’t have a ticket you are still welcome. Don’t forget the Safari supper on the 9th September.
God bless – Jan B.
PRAYER OF PREPARATION
Almighty God your Son has opened for us a new and living way into your presence. Give us new hearts and constant wills to worship you in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
PRAYER OF PENITENCE
The Holy Spirit fills the world and knows our every word and deed. Let us then open ourselves to the Lord and confess our sins in penitence and faith.
Most merciful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we confess that we have sinned in thought, word and deed. We have not loved you with our whole heart. We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves. In your mercy forgive what we have been help us to amend what we are, and direct what we shall be; that we may do justly; love mercy and walk humbly with you, our God. Amen.
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who in his great mercy has promised forgiveness of sins to all those who with heartfelt repentance and true faith turn to him; have mercy on us and deliver us from our sins, confirm and strengthen us in all goodness and bring us to everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. 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 on 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, who sent your Holy Spirit to be the life and light of your Church: open our hearts to the riches of your grace, that we may bring forth the fruit of the Spirit in love and joy and peace; 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.
THE NEW TESTAMENT READING
ROMANS 10. 5-15.
Moses writes concerning the righteousness that comes from the law, that ‘the person who does these things will live by them.’ But the righteousness that comes from faith says, ‘Do not say in your heart, “Who will ascend into heaven?”’ (that is, to bring Christ down) ‘or “Who will descend into the abyss?”’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. The scripture says, ‘No one who believes in him will be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew. Glory to you O Lord.
MATTHEW 14. 22-33
Immediately after feeding the crowd with the five loaves and two fish, Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking towards them on the lake. But when the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’ Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came towards Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’ When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’
This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you O Christ.
This well known story follows on from the feeding of the 5,000 where Jesus showed a little bit more of who he really was. It was for all to witness, but in particular the disciples, of the fact that he indeed had been sent by God. This time he pushes them out of their comfort zone, especially Peter and tests their faith.
Setting the scene, immediately after the feeding of the great crowd, Jesus must have been exhausted as he had talked almost into the evening and he goes away somewhere quiet to pray to have some time with God, to come into God’s presence and that is something we could find valuable in our busy lives too. The disciples go out in the boat as fishermen they were probably hoping to catch fish for breakfast. There were no signs of a storm and they were probably trying to work out how they had just managed to feed all those people and how Jesus had done it. They were probably buzzing with excitement about all the days happenings.
The story also shows that we never know when the bad times are going to occur, and our faith helps us to know that we are not alone and God is with us. It wasn’t a test for Peter, but the experience he has during this storm shows that next time he is in trouble, God will be with him. Hopefully next time Peter will be more confident and his trust and faith will be much stronger, but also that storms or difficulties will come and he will find a way through them. The story tells us that Jesus is there for us to calm the storm to perform the impossible and to take our hand and lead us to safety. Peter didn’t focus and when he realised he was walking on the water panicked, then Jesus took him by the hand.
It does not mean that Peter didn’t trust Jesus after all he climbed out of the boat straight after the storm not to walk on water to a ghost but to walk to Jesus. His faith however was in its early days and they were still learning about the power of that faith.
One commentator on this story said that the conclusion in this passage is that “Jesus can be found in the boat but can also be found when we are ready to leave the shelter of the boat to find him in the world”. I think that says it all. Amen.
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 Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, and is seated on the right hand of the Father; he will come again in glory 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 as we have heard in your Gospel you are with us at our time of need, you hear our cry and calm our storms. Help us to put our trust and hope in you, may we rejoice for ever in your love and care.
Lord you have created us out of love and for your love. We ask for your protection in the trouble and storms of life. Bless all Christians who are struggling against the odds. Help us to provide learning, help and support within our own churches both in our team and mission community.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
We ask your blessing for those that work and travel on our seas. Those who work and volunteer to help others on the sea, the Royal Navy, the Merchant Seamen, the coastguards, the lifeboats, and the work of the Seaman’s Mission. We remember today all who are caught up in storms, earthquakes, floods and refugee boats.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
We give thanks Lord for our homes and families and our security. We ask for your blessing on those who are struggling with life, money or relationships. We pray for the work of Shelter, Urban Outreach and all those charities helping others on the streets of our towns and cities.
Lord in our mercy. Hear our prayer.
We pray for the sick, the lonely and those in pain or distress. We remember all who care and look after them and especially we pray for Rev Peter Reiss, Thomas Causton, Stanley Schofield, Sue Roberts, Colin Roberts and Stephen Haslam.
Lord, stand by us when the last great storm seeks to overwhelm us and we feel we are sinking beneath the waves. Help us to know that in you we will not perish but have everlasting life. To you we commit our loved ones departed; and from our book of remembrance we think of John Telford and James Walsh. May they rejoice in your presence and in your 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 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 forever. Amen.
May the Lord bless us and watch over us; the Lord make his face shine upon us and be gracious to us; the Lord look kindly on us and give us peace and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be with us now and forever more. Amen.