Good morning I hope you have been enjoying the lovely sunshine this week and you are all well. We now enter the season of Trinity and which lasts 21 weeks and our altar coverings will be green.
Many thanks to Peter for doing the reflection for us today. The Intercessions are by myself.
Don’t forget the Team walk on the 10th July we need helpers and supporters for those who are walking.
PRAYERS OF PREPARATION
Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
PRAYERS OF PENITENCE
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 neighbour 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.
O God, the strength of all those who put their trust in you, mercifully accept our prayers and, because through the weakness of our mortal nature we can do no good thing without you, grant us the help of your grace, that in the keeping of your commandments we may please you both in will and deed; 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.
THE NEW TESTAMENT READING
2 CORINTHIANS 4,13-5.1
But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture–“I believed, and so I spoke” –we also believe, and so we speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
This is the word of the Lord, Thanks be to God
THE GOSPEL MARK 3, 20-35
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark, Glory to you O Lord
and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.” And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan?
If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come.
But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.
“Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”– for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”
Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
This is the Gospel of the Lord, Praise to you O Christ.
We have celebrated Easter and Pentecost; last week was Trinity Sunday, but now we are in what is called “Ordinary Time”, though we probably don’t think things are that ordinary at the moment.
Our reading from Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth reminds us that for all the apparent material reality of the world around us, it is only temporary, both the aspects which are most enjoyable, and the troubles and even the wasting illnesses which may afflict us or our loved ones.
The world is real, but so are the promises of God – in fact they are the lasting reality; the one who raised Jesus will also raise us and bring us into his presence.
The gospel reading is a strange and difficult one; it is how Mark describes the early ministry of Jesus; it begins and ends with Jesus with his family, but the central part is a confrontation with the religious leaders. At the beginning of his public ministry we find Jesus at odds with his own family who feel he is possibly out of his mind, possibly even demon-possessed, something the world then thought was common. The scribes – the religious leaders are more sure, and state publicly that he is working for the devil, though they do not say it to his face. Who is this Jesus? They asked it then and we should ask it now.
Jesus suggests that anything that is divided tends to fall apart – demons don’t attack other demons etc! However he goes on to suggest he is like a really powerful person who can bind and control the local strong-man, the local enforcer, the bully, the one who terrorises the community. Jesus’ mission is to bind and stop the forces of evil, however they are understood, whether then or now, and bring freedom. Where evil and sin bind and tie up their victims, Jesus will tie up the aggressor, so giving freedom to us.
And then there is a very strange verse about sins being forgiven, or not. What is this about? We do need to recognise that this passage is set in the worldview of the time of Jesus. If we deliberately say that the Holy Spirit is not of God, then essentially, we are saying we do not want that sort of salvation, we choose a different way, we shun the offer of an open door in favour of staying bound in a dark room. If this verse worries us, it almost certainly does not affect us; there is an arrogant approach which says “Jesus was demonic”, which wants nothing to do with him. Such an approach spurns the offer of freedom.
So what then for us. Paul reminds us that the promises of God through the resurrection are sure and true. Jesus stirred up confusion and opposition, but he was the stronger man who came to bind the bully and aggressor who was terrorising others and holding them and their things hostage. And Jesus then offers us a place in his family – God’s family is open to us – in the uncertainty of this world and instead of the captivity of ‘the strong man’ Jesus sets us free, gives us a sure hope and welcomes us as family. These are not easy readings but they offer us a deep hope and an anchor of secure faith.
Rev Canon Peter.
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.
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.
Blessed are you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for you reveal your love to us through our families and friends. We learn of your care and protection through the goodness and grace of our loved ones. Teach us to learn to love as you love us. Blessed are you, Father Son and Holy Spirit.
We rejoice in the family of the church. May all who come find love and fellowship. Lord, help your church be an instrument of peace and healing in the world. As we come together let us show unity that is ours in Christ Jesus; let us show one faith, one church, one God. We pray especially for our Turton Moorland Team Ministry, both clergy and lay teams and our bishops David and Mark. We pray for the new Deanery of Bolton and for unity among all Christians both here and around the world. Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer
We praise you O God, for the wonderful variety and talents in the world. We ask your blessing on all areas of growth in goodness and grace. We pray for schools, colleges and universities. Lord guide all who influence the minds of young people; We pray for all that work in the media, that they give the right examples to live by. Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
We give thanks for all that enriches and encourages family life. We pray for the social services and all who support any families in difficulty. We remember before you families where there is great debt or where love is absent. Lord, bless our homes with your love and care. Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer
We give thanks that you are a God who heals and restores, that you care for our whole being- body mind and spirit. We remember in your presence all who have been injured in accidents or through violence, all who have taken ill suddenly and those whose illness has no cure. We pray for their well-being and the knowledge of your love. Lord bless all who share in healing. We pray for our doctors and nurses and all who work in hospitals and care homes. Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
Lord in your power all are restored and renewed in your heavenly kingdom. We give thanks for all the saints and we pray to you for our loved ones and friends departed and from our book of remembrance, Walter Gerald Colley, Annie Dewhurst and Margaret Elizabeth Foster.
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 forever. Amen.
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 and those that we love now and forever.