The Parishes of Crail and St Ayle
Reflections from Rev. John Murray
Sunday 31 January 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.
Come to live worship on Sunday 31st 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.
In our worship today we are continuing to think about Jesus and ‘the kingdom of God’ he is unfolding: in the sphere of health and wellbeing, he is offering not just life but life in its abundance, in its fullness.
Isaiah 53:4-6 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Mark 1:21-28 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, "What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are - the Holy One of God!" "Be quiet!" said Jesus sternly. "Come out of him!" The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, "What is this? A new teaching - and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him. News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.
Romans 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
At every moment of our existence
You are present to us, Father,
In gentle compassion,
Help us to be present, to one another.
So that our presence may be a strength
That heals the wounds of time
And gives hope that is for all persons
Through Jesus, our Lord and Brother.
Health and Wellbeing: power and authority.
The four first disciples get a quick lesson in what they will see when they follow Jesus. The evil spirit sees what others do not see: that Jesus is the Messiah and has power and authority over the likes of it. These miracles were the reason that Jesus became so popular so quickly, and why his public career ended in its dramatic conclusion on the cross. The authorities in Jesus day saw them and felt threatened, and would deal with the threat to their ‘kingdoms’ in the usual way. But the kingdom of God was winning even in that. Therefore, we might ponder that healing might involve apparent failures, frustrations and setbacks: as in ‘take up your cross and follow me’, says Jesus.
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.
Meeting people where they are
That’s what Jesus did, and that’s what Jesus still does, through his Spirit and through the church which is his body, his hands and feet. From this and other healing miracles we know that Jesus cares deeply for our whole beings: soul, mind and body.
God of our hidden depths, in honest regret, in trust,
We confess our faults and recognise our frailty.
Show us that we are forgiven, so that we may forgive;
Touch our wounds with your healing
So that we may be people who heal;
Help us to be at peace with ourselves
so that we may become makers of your peace for others,
Through Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Celtic Daily Prayer Book 2
Lord, at this time of great ill-health in our nation, would you come with your healing hand, and touch all those in need of your shalom.
You have called us each by name
And hold us in the palm of your hands.
You love us just as we are.
Help us to remember that every day
So that we may be able
To share that love with others
In Jesus’s name
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
God is looking for imperfect men and women who have learned to walk in moment-by-moment dependence on the Holy Spirit. Christians who have come to terms with their inadequacies, fears and failures.
Using what we have in our hands to bring healing: Luke 10:33-34 But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.
Think of all the things you have been given to assist healing in others: compassion and the ability to identify with others in pain, money, a voice, and means of communication. God’s love in your heart: friends, family, neighbours: then you can follow the example of the Good Samaritan.
And in our relationships may we bring healing…
Read this text and consider: it has to do with health and wellbeing in our relationships with others: 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 NIV: There is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do. Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.
What is the lesson for us from this rather odd discussion from Paul about eating food dedicated to idols? A very relevant and important one for us as we relate to others. Paul is aware that the human conscience is a sensitive instrument. It can be over or under scrupulous. It is asked to balance right and wrong, but also social and religious traditions and customs which are often little to do with right and wrong. So the language of rights needs to be held up to the light: the light of love. Being right or wrong is not the issue here: it is thinking about others.
In the winter it can feel that nothing much is happening: trees are lifeless, and all is bare. Yet so much is going on we cannot see. It can be the same for us; resting in God, and taking time out will resource us to continue what God is calling us to do. It is as necessary to rest as it is to be active. This week find time to ‘be still and know that I am God’.