Sunday 9th Aug

On this page 
Service, sermon, readings, prayers & hymns.


Broadcast and Live-streamed Opportunities for Worship
8.10 am Radio 4  Sunday Service Chine McDonald considers the cross as a symbol of hope and liberation.
10.00 am Chester Cathedral's Sunday Eucharist will be available on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/chestercathedralchoirandorgan
10.45 am  Christ Church Gipsy Hill continue to hold their more modern, main morning service on-line.  Please note the change of time.  https://www.facebook.com/christchurchgipsyhill/
The Prayer Book Society have not updated their webpage detailing on-line worship, but appear to continue to offer a wide variety available at: https://www.pbs.org.uk/churches-and-services/-1

Ninth Sunday after Trinity  

Introduction

God calls us to trust him through the storms and tempests of our lives. Let us worship him with faithful and thankful hearts.


Confession

Jesus challenges our fear and unbelief. Let us therefore reach out our hands to him with confidence and hope, trusting him to strengthen us, forgive us our sins and bring us to a place of safety.


We confess to our unbelief: for the times when we speak of the things of God, while living as if there were no God.

Lord, have mercy.


We confess to our selfishness: for the times when preoccupation with our own concerns has blinded us to the aching needs of our world and its people.

Christ, have mercy.


We confess to our fear: for the times when the storms of life have paralysed us, making it hard for us to reach your outstretched hand.

Lord, have mercy.




Today’s Readings

First Reading  1 Kings 19:9-18

Elijah has killed all the prophets of Baal and is fleeing for his life from the wrath of Jezebel. The word of the Lord comes to him on Mount Horeb in “a sound of sheer silence”. The Lord commissions Elijah to return to the wilderness of Damascus and anoint two kings, and Elisha as a prophet in his place.


Second Reading  Matthew 14:22-33

After the feeding of the multitude, Jesus sends the disciples ahead of him by boat, while he goes up a mountain to pray. The boat is battered by the waves, and Jesus tests the faith of the disciples by commanding Peter to walk to him on the water.





Sermon

You of little faith, why did you doubt?”  (Matthew 14:31)


Peter’s attempt to walk on the water in Matthew’s Gospel follows on immediately from the feeding of the five thousand. Jesus has dismissed the crowds and sent his disciples on ahead of him, across the lake, while he goes up a mountain to pray alone.


Early in the morning the disciples see Jesus walking towards them through the battering waves, and they cry out in fear, thinking they are seeing a ghost. He calls out to reassure them, and Peter responds, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” When Jesus does so Peter sets out confidently, but he is soon overcome by his fear of the wind and the waves. Jesus catches hold of Peter’s outstretched hand, chiding him for his lack of faith. As they get in the boat the wind drops, and the disciples worship Jesus.


This incident is paralleled in Mark’s Gospel (Mark 6:45-52), but Mark has one very significant difference: there is no mention of Peter attempting to walk on the water to Jesus. So why does Matthew record this? The usual interpretation of this passage assumes that Peter would not have sunk in the waves if he had only had enough faith, and indeed, Jesus’ words would initially seem to suggest this. But the disciples’ lack of faith is also implicit in Mark’s version of the incident.


The American scholar Eugene Boring has suggested that Jesus’ rebuke of Peter relates not to the fact that having more faith would have made walking on the water possible, but rather that Peter was demanding proof of Jesus’ presence and power.


Boring draws a parallel between the form of Peter’s words to Jesus, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water”, and the words of Satan to Jesus in the wilderness temptations: “If you are the Son of God…”  Jesus is repeatedly tempted to “prove” his divinity to the world and to himself by a spectacular display of signs and wonders.


His threefold response to Satan indicates a refusal to be drawn into displays of supernatural pyrotechnics, and instead to focus consistently on the God who alone is worthy of trust and worship. By demanding a miracle, Peter has fallen prey to the temptation to seek physical proof for his faith, and he is consequently rebuked by Jesus.



The message of today’s Gospel passage challenges our inbuilt human tendency to demand proof for our faith; to ask that God would suspend the natural laws of his creation in order to make belief easier for us. So often we seek, not for faith, but for certainty. We have no problem when all in our lives is going smoothly; but when the “wind and waves” that are the realities of every human life threaten to swamp us – the experiences of loss, sickness and ageing that are our common lot – we find it hard to hold on to faith.


So, we are all urged to hold on in faith, however bleak and unpromising are our Circumstances. However strong the winds or overwhelming the waves, God always wills and can do that which is for our greatest good, if only we will let him do so. 


Revd Donald Brockbank



INTERCESSIONS

God calls us to pray for the healing and renewal of the Church and our world. So let us open our hearts to God in confidence and trust.

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.


For the universal Church of God: for fresh courage and commitment, rooted in the life-renewing presence of Christ.

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.


For the nations of the world: for a new willingness to forgive and be forgiven, and to reach out in trust, inspired by the peace of Christ. 

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.



For ourselves and our neighbours: for a fresh openness to the Holy Spirit, who calls us from fear and distrust of one another to the beauty and freedom of relationship in Christ. 

Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.


Loving Father, you call us from despair to hope, from fear to faith. Accept our prayers, we pray, deepen our trust, and use us as channels of your generous and all-encompassing love. We ask this in Jesus’ name.  

Amen.



Blessing

May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ call you from fear to faith, from death to life, and inspire you afresh with the living reality of his presence at every moment of your lives.

And the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be with you now and always. Amen


Hymns you may like to listen or sing to are:

Dear Lord and Father of mankind https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4KnlQwzl3Y 

Do not be afraid for I have redeemed you https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAdRk9c1R1o 

Alleluia, Alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyPYJtxu8cE 

Go forth and tell https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNyDd9qtuk0