SUNDAY 18th JULY: THE SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY
Jeremiah 23: 1-6
Mark 6: 30-34 and 53-56
People who lead busy lives need to get away for a break from time to time, but some
have a really hard time doing that. They think that when they go away they have to
take their mobile phones and laptop computers so that they can check their voice
mail and emails and even get caught up on some work that they didn't get finished
before they left home. In fact, they might as well stay at home!
Jesus recognized that we need to take some time off once in a while and catch up
on our rest. An example of his concern is found in today's Gospel Reading from St.
Mark. His disciples had just returned from a long and exhausting ministry trip, so
he instructed them to rest for a while. Prayer was likely involved. We know that
Jesus prayed at all times and in all locations, sometimes by himself and sometimes
with other people. He prayed when he was in trouble, he prayed for other people and
he offered the disciples a model for prayer – The Lord's Prayer. For Jesus, prayer
goes hand in hand with faithfulness. In our story today, the disciples needed to
slow down, to eat a proper meal and reflect on everything that had happened on their
journey. Jesus knows that in order to do this, he and his disciples had to take a
break. He probably told the disciples that they must take care of themselves if they
are to take care of other people. Jesus knew that wherever he and his disciples went,
the crowds would follow them. But despite his own weariness, Jesus ministered to
the needy crowds because he saw them as sheep not having a shepherd. He saw the same
signs in the crowd that he saw in a flock of sheep that had lost its shepherd. They
wandered aimlessly and without hope and were defenceless. Jesus reached out to the
crowd by teaching them, organising them, speaking for them and feeding them. He then
left them free to decide whether they believed he was the Messiah or just a miracle
worker who served a good meal.
Jesus continues to teach us many things today. He wants to teach us about eternal
life and eternal love. He wants to teach us about the dangers of following the crowds
who are lost, hassled and hurried. He wants to teach us about the necessity of rest.
But how can we rest when people are homeless, families are starving and children
are suffering due to injustice? If we want to be used by God, we have to imitate
him and have compassion for those in need. We are sent into the world to be the presence
of Christ. We go to places where we can get rest and let God heal and renew us. Then
we can go back out again for another chance to be God's presence in the world. Going
to church refreshes us, fills our spiritual gas tanks and equips us to do God's work.
Maybe we will find it difficult to get away from emails, the calls we have to return
and the meetings we have to attend. But sometimes we need to stop and listen to God's
voice. While it is important for us to engage in God's mission, it is also important
for us to take time for rest. We can take time out each day to put away the distractions
and tense restlessness and reflect in gratitude on the wonder of God's love and faithfulness.
God created us with internal reserves of physical, emotional and spiritual energy,
but we need frequent recharging or we will wear ourselves out. How can we love ourselves
and others when we are always going and doing and not pausing for rest? If we aren't
rested, how can we do well for the people we serve?
Lord Jesus Christ,
may your grace redeem us,
your power renew us,
your example inspire us,
and your love shine from us.
Send us out, renewed in faith,
to walk each day in your way and to make you known,
to the glory of your name.
Canon Dave 17th July 2021
Canon Dave’s Weekly Message
I must tell you an amusing story about something Raya did while we were on holiday
a few weeks ago in Filey. We had been rock pooling for most of the afternoon in very
cool weather. To warm up before returning to the cottage, her mum and dad allowed
her to spend some time in the amusement arcade on the sea front. She really enjoyed
feeding 10p coins into a machine that slides a pile of money forward and, if you
are lucky drops coins and prizes into the well below. It was amazing how much money
she accumulated. She noticed a bracelet on top of the 10p coins
which she was desperate to win but never succeeded. However, better than that, she
won a £5 note. She was so excited and mum told her it would go into her savings account.
She was aware that mum had put the £5 note into her purse for safe keeping. However,
one night whilst mum wasn't looking, Raya took it out of the purse and transferred
it into her nursery bag. At nursery the following week, she overheard two teachers
discussing how little money they had to spend on everyday things. Immediately Raya
said, “I have got some money, why don't you have this” and handed over the £5 note.
How innocent and how generous.