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SUNDAY SERMON 29th JANUARY: PRESENTATION

by The Reverend Clive Thrower

 

READINGS

Malachi 3: 1-5

Luke 2: 22-40

 

SERMON

 

Quite often my sermons are about social justice and Church structural issues so for today I have decided to talk about prayer and its importance to being a Christian.  Next month will see us enter into the Lenten period, a time of particular prayerfulness and contemplation for us as individuals and us together as a church.

 

There is much to pray about and each one of us will feel more strongly about some issues above others that currently tug at us to be remembered.  For instance two weeks ago I was talking to my daughter Gemma who has just returned to Turkey having crossed over the border into Syria to take gifts of clothes and sanitary products to those living in the refugee camps just inside the border.  She reported on how sad it seemed and how the people were telling her that they feel forgotten now that Ukraine is all the headline news yet they are still living in a war-torn country displaced from their homes.  Let us not forget the many other conflict areas of this world – Syria, South Sudan, Somalia and the sub-Saharan area.

 

Daily prayer is expected of all Christians and the experts in this field usually recommend setting aside a special time for this.  However, not all of us find our days running to a regular pattern and things just crop up that we cannot ignore or leave till later.  My time is when I’m in bed just before going to sleep but there are nights when the urge to sleep is just too strong.  

 

When we pray is it formal scripted prayers that are most helpful, there are plenty of daily prayer cycles available (e.g. on the CofE web site) or is your practice like mine – the Lord’s Prayer then free form intercessions and contemplations.  I don’t restrict myself to one time in the day but can find doing a chore such as washing up the dishes, pots and pans an ideal time to let my mind run over the affairs of the day and days to come in prayerful contemplation.  I stare out of the window, looking at the garden and the birds or even the mouse which lives in the wall, it brings a smile to my face.  There’s a popular place for many to let their thoughts turn to higher things, namely out in the countryside.  One of our most popular hymns has this second verse:

When through the woods and forest glades I wander

And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;

When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,

And hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze: 

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,

How great Thou art! How great Thou art!

Pause for sharing how, when and where to pray

 

I’d like to end with looking at a line of the Lord’s Prayer – Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. It is important because it sets the framework for all else we pray about – ‘Thy will be done’.  For the best of prayer is not asking God to do things for us and our neighbours but asking God to direct our thoughts to what we can do for God.

 

On the Mount of Olives Jesus prayed to the Father as recorded by St. Luke in chapter 22 v42 "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done."  So when we pray ‘Thy will be done’ mentally add in ‘not my will but yours’ just to get us into the right frame of mind concerning the content of our intercessions.  It reminds us of the moment that Jesus uttered those words, as he contemplated what lay ahead for him – the cross.  Perhaps that should be the test for what is the Father’s will, if there is not pain or cost to what we ask for then is it truly the Father’s will?  

One last thought about private prayer – make it intimate, like talking one to one.  When Jesus taught his disciples to pray it was revolutionary in its directness.  To us ‘Our Father’ as an address sounds very formal whereas Jesus was more like ‘Hi Dad’!  Revd David Watson when he was at St. Michael-le-Belfrey encouraged his flock to this intimacy with God by illustrating the text on the reredos. On it was the Lord’s Prayer written hundreds of years earlier, when they didn’t bother about getting whole words on the line, it reads

‘Our Father which art in heaven, hallo’.

Amen.

Chatty Crafts in St. Peter’s, Edensor

Last Thursday in every month  10-30am - 12noon

All welcome, any craft and any ability or if you are not feeling crafty then come along anyway and have a chat!

LENTEN MEETINGS 2023

Coffee/ Tea at 10:15am, talk at 10:30am

in the Cavendish Chapel, St.Peter’s, Edensor - Everyone welcome!

 

Wednesday 01 March

The Padley Centre

Jill Bryan (Padley Centre Ambassador)

Wednesday 08 March

Trying to serve in God’s church

Revd Tony Kaunhoven

Thursday 16 March

Snapshots of my life in the Diocese

Christine McMullen (Lay Chair of Peak

Deanery, Lay Chair of Diocesan Synod)

Wednesday 22 March

Life as Archdeacon of the Isle of Man

Canon Andie Brown

Wednesday 29 March

The Road to Confirmation

Peter Davie (St Peter’s congregation)