The Parishes of Crail and St Ayle

Reflections from Rev. John Murray 

Sunday 7 February 2021

Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The risen Christ present with us by the Spirit is our ‘temple’, our true and lasting place of worship.

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Come to live worship on Sunday 7th February

We are coming together in a new way in a live service through the medium of computer audio and video link, called ZOOM.  We are here to help others use it and if you just have a phone you can phone up a local number and dial in for free (if you have a package with free local calls with a duration of one hour).

And if you would like help in accessing zoom on the internet, or with accessing the zoom phone line, do get in touch.  We will send out the zoom link to all those already on our email lists and if you are not on their lists and would like to receive it just let the Session Clerks know.

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In our worship today here and online, we are thinking about the kingdom of God coming to us.  In this time of Epiphany, Jesus through his Spirit can bring us fresh light and understanding:  That can come in so many ways as we open ourselves to God.  Jesus continues to teach, and most of that is done outside of buildings, and in the public places.  Yet there is a private side to the life of Jesus, and that is prayer and keeping close to his Father: everything Jesus does comes out of his relationship with Father: whom he calls ‘Abba’

 

Mark 1:29 – 39:  As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew.  Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her.  So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up.  The fever left her and she began to wait on them.  That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed.  The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases.  He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.  Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.  Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed:  "Everyone is looking for you!"  Jesus replied, "Let us go somewhere else, to the nearby villages, so I can preach there also.  That is why I have come."  So he travelled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.

Silence will speak more to you in a day than the world of voices can teach you in a lifetime.  Find silence, Find solitude – and having discovered her riches, bind her to your heart.

F J Roberts 

 

The inner life powers the outer life

 

All of us have a public face, and all of us have a private side.  And these two sides have a rhythm.  The passage from Mark shows us this rhythm for Jesus.  We can see from it the importance of prayer to his life.  If Jesus felt it necessary then so should we.  Yet the word prayer can carry with it so much baggage, and we can wrongly restrict it to an ‘asking mode’.  But in truth it is about how we let God be God, to and in and from us: so that we can then go forth from that ‘house of prayer’, putting on our best public face.

Prayer

Lord as we came out of you in the beginning, and as we come out of our past, be with us as we grow into what you want us to be.

Teach us, dear Lord, to number our days.  Oh, satisfy us early with your mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.  And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish Thou the work of our hands dear Lord.  Lord may we flourish where we are planted: Amen

It’s written that the disciples followed Jesus to the place of prayer: and we know that it was Jesus’ habit to seek solitude for prayer.  The disciples were invited by Jesus to follow him, and Jesus asks us to follow too.  He taught them a prayer, 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,
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil,
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, 
now and forever.

God, we pray for the key workers on the frontline of this pandemic.  For NHS staff, carers, Police officers, cleaners, and everyone on the frontline.  Refresh them after many months of serving the public.  Refine their natural skills with supernatural strength and protect their health as they work.

Lord, we pray today for children, young people, and students across our nation: Protect them and help them navigate the emotional, social and psychological impact of Covid-19.  Make classrooms places of safety, inspiration, and learning.  And empower teachers, and all those working in education, with wisdom, creativity, and stamina.

We pray today for the economy and for those struggling financially: Provide for the unemployed, the self-employed out of work, and those under huge financial pressure.  Empower business leaders to care for their workforce and entrepreneurs to create new opportunities, inspire local and national government with wisdom as they care for the vulnerable and invest in the economy.

We pray today for all who are suffering: heal the sick; including those with Covid-19, as well as those wrestling with other illnesses and injuries.  Help those struggling with mental ill-health, give them peace in the storm of lockdown, and hold close those who have lost loved ones, comfort and strengthen them in their grief.

Lord, we pray today for the people we hold most dear: keep family and friends safe from illness and injury, connect us in a time of distance and isolation, and comfort those who are struggling with uncertainty or loss.  Hear us Lord and answer our prayers beyond our imagining, Amen

 

Blessing

Bless us, Lord, this day with vision.  May this place be a sacred place, where heaven and earth meet.

Bless to us Lord, the paths we tread: our walk with the Father, with the Son and with the Spirit: our walk with the Three-in-one.  Amen.

 

Reflections: Prayer as a two-way communication:

1. Receiving:  In John’s Gospel (John 10:1-5) we learn that sheep know the voice of the shepherd.  They recognise his voice and follow. In any given day there are various voices in our heads, and hearts.  Some of us may hear them loudly when we wake: others in the evening.  As we seek God in prayer, we listen to the voice of God.​

Listening in the storm: we have had wild weather this past week!  We can read a passage and listen for what it says to us e.g. Mark 4:35-40 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side." Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat.  There were also other boats with him.  A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.  Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.  The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?"  He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!"  Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.  He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?"

Read the passage and see what words or images stick with you.  Imagine being a disciple and feeling and speaking indignation at what Jesus is doing, or not doing. Be there in the boat, feel the ups and downs. Hear Jesus challenge you.  Then spend some time listening for God’s voice.

2. Giving: this can be with words or non-verbal communication: Paul the apostle speaks of groaning in Romans 8:22-27: ‘We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.  For in this hope, we were saved.  But hope that is seen is no hope at all.  Who hopes for what they already have?  But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.  In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God’.

 

Matthew 7:9-11 "Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him.

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