The Parishes of Crail and St Ayle

Reflections from Rev. John Murray 

Sunday 24 January 2021: My soul finds rest in God alone.

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

Be still and know that I am God’: 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 24th January

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 we are thinking about what Jesus refers to as ‘the kingdom of God’.  Jesus is opening up his ministry: unveiling what his kingdom will look like, and what it will involve by way of response.  The time is come, he says.

 

Psalm 62:5-12  Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.  Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress; I will not be shaken.  My salvation and my honour depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.  Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Surely the lowborn are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie.  If weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath.  Do not trust in extortion or put vain hope in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them.  One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: "Power belongs to you, God, and with you, LORD, is unfailing love"; and, "You reward everyone according to what they have done."

God grant us wisdom to know when to row and when to drift in your currents.

Mark 1:14-20  After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.  "The time has come," he said.  "The kingdom of God has come near.  Repent and believe the good news!"  As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will send you out to fish for people."  At once they left their nets and followed him.  When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets.  Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

Kingdom of God: come, follow me

The Israelites of Jesus’ day generally thought of God’s kingdom as a restoration of the ‘old glory days.’  Whereas, Jesus sees the kingdom as a radical re-working of the Old Testament idea of God’s sovereign rule.  Now coming in a way where God exercises power in union with responsive followers.  All this will take place out in the ordinary public domain.

 

Prayers

Lord as we come to you today, we hear in faith your call on our lives to follow you: not to physically get up and go somewhere, (we are restricted in that regard anyway!), but rather to arise up of the comfortable couch of our old ways of being and thinking, and to respond in our hearts, minds and bodies, living anew in the call and light of your kingdom: in this time of favour.  Hear us as we commit to doing that in this significant moment, by saying afresh these familiar words;

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever

Lord, teach us how to pray

 

Here are some tips from Tear Fund workers throughout the world.  Tearfund is a Christian charity which partners with churches in more than 50 of the world’s poorest countries.
 

No matter what was going on around him:  Jesus would slip away and pray, and we can get the same peace, strength, purpose and joy from following his example and forming our own rhythm of prayer.  As we get into the habit of sharing what’s happening in our day with God, we will begin to see him even more at work in our lives.  Our conversations with God will become deeper as we build on previous stories and answers to prayers during the times spent together.  God will never leave us or forsake us.

Choose a time and style that works for you:  Each of our days look very different, and we are all different: it’s important that we find times that work for us to make space to connect with God.  This could be at the beginning or at the end of your day.  Kneeling, sitting or standing.  Eyes shut or open.

Include God in what you’re already doing:  We can open our daily activities with prayer and close them with prayer.  We can do this by inviting God to bless the conversations we’re about to have, the time you’re spending with others, or even the task you’re about to begin.  Afterwards, you can share with God how it went.

You can listen to worship music or sing some hymns to yourself - even just hum a favourite hymn or think on the words: or write out a hymn.

Use the Bible as a foundation for your prayer: The Bible is not an ordinary book.  It is a word of power, it is a word of God, it heals our soul and our emotions.  The Psalms and Gospels are good places to start.  It’s good to have a daily reading routine.

How to continue to pray when times are tough:  There are going to be times when it feels difficult to pray and to hold a conversation with God.  Times when we’re experiencing exhaustion, sadness, anger and despair.  Many of us will have only seen an increase in these emotions over the course of this last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, on top of life’s other very real challenges.  You don’t have to hide any of these emotions from God.  He understands and he cares for you.  You can shout, whisper, sob or be still in his presence.

Take it one day at a time:  Remember how God has always been there for you in the past and this helps us strengthen our faith that everything will be alright.  We may not understand why things are the way they are but it's enough to know that if we hold on to our faith the storm will pass.  And also, when times are difficult, try to focus on all the blessings we still have.

Remember that you are valuable:  You are created in God’s image and we matter to God.

It may help you to look outside of your window, go for a walk or sit out in a peaceful place, if you have one, your garden or balcony: Just being surrounded by God’s creation helps us refocus and ground ourselves.

Finally, remember that you’re not alone.  Try every week to help someone, sometimes it doesn't have to be something big, sometimes it's just about being present for another person.

Blessing

 

Lord, we come to you with repentance

We come to you in belief, and we come to follow you with our lives

To live freely in your kingdom

May the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be with us and with all those who are dear to us: Amen

 

Reflections

There’s clock time and there’s significant time

The number of days that a ship takes to go from one port to the next is clock time, but when we say, “when my ship comes in,” we are talking about significant time.  Jesus says that with his coming, the significant time is fulfilled.  The decisive moment has arrived.  God’s reign is at hand.  We believe as Christians that we are always living in the significant times of Christ’s kingdom.  Many of the photos that we will have around us mark significant times in our clock times: yet all times are significant with God; the Psalmist prays ‘Teach us, dear Lord, to number our days; that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom…’

On Hope: “The New Year was never going be to the line in the sand for Covid, but there is genuine hope.  Hope for vaccines, hope for communities, hope for churches and hope for you.  Your hope was never in an easy life, but in a redeemed life.  Don’t lose sight of the hope you have found in the love of God.

The Mind and Soul Foundation: www.mindandsoulfoundation.org

Romans 5:1-5:  We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

 

A pouring in… and a pouring out

The Psalmist invites us to ‘pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge’.  John Calvin wrote this in commentary of this verse: ‘to pour out is all the more necessary considering the mischievous tendency which we have naturally to keep our troubles pent up in our hearts till they drive us to despair.’  I think we all know about that!  So, let’s be pouring- we could even fill a jug and pour water out into another jug as a prop as we pray.

Feel free to give me a call if you would like me to pray with you or would like to chat about anything that’s bothering you: 01333 311630.

                    

Rev John

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