SUNDAY 9 August 2020
Prelude (Intrada - John Ireland)
Welcome and Opening Prayer
Lord, as you called Peter, you call us saying, “Come.” Let us come to you today with open hearts and open minds, ready to trust you and let your Spirit move in our lives. Amen.
STF 645 (Tune Will Your Anchor Hold :
William James Kirkpatrick (1838-1921)
Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
when the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain,
will your anchor drift, or firm remain?
We have an anchor that keeps the soul
steadfast and sure while the billows roll;
fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love!
Will your anchor hold in the straits of fear,
when the breakers roar and the reef is near?
While the surges rave, and the wild winds blow,
shall the angry waves then your barque o’erflow?
We have an anchor…
Will your anchor hold in the floods of death,
when the waters cold chill your latest breath?
On the rising tide you can never fail,
while your anchor holds within the veil:
We have an anchor…
Will your eyes behold through the morning light
the city of gold and the harbour bright?
Will you anchor safe by the heavenly shore,
when life’s storms are past for evermore?
We have an anchor…
Priscilla Jane Owens (1829-1907)
Reading: Matthew 14: 22-33 (© NIV)
"....and He walked on Water"
Anthem : Dear Lord and Father of Mankind (C.H.H. Parry)
Reflection: Listen to Rev Will Fletcher's Reflection
If you are like me, the sight of some beaches in recent weeks would have filled you with fear. I’m not the biggest fan of crowded beaches at the best of times! I looked at those pictures and longed for space away from people! Last week we heard how Jesus’ plan for space away from everyone was thwarted. Now, having enabled the disciples to feed the multitude, that need for time on his own took priority. He sent the disciples off in the boat back across the lake, and then dispersed the crowd. With everyone gone, Jesus climbed the hill and had time to pray and rest with his Father in heaven. If we take nothing else from today’s reading remember the importance to take time for yourself and to rest. It can be easy to become so focused on doing things for others or always being busy that we never take time to stop. It is not selfish. It is important. Jesus set the pattern, so we should follow.
But, for the disciples, suddenly they became very aware of Jesus’ absence. Maybe, having seen that great crowd fed, they felt invincible. Those among them who were fishermen may have pushed off from the shore with a renewed confidence as those left on the beach looked on in admiration. Maybe they believed then that they had sussed out this discipleship business. Whatever was to happen, they probably believed that they could certainly get themselves across the lake with all their experience. Yet that night a storm blew up that had their boat being buffeted about. Here they were, many of them in their comfort zone, unable to move forward or back as the wind and waves battered their vessel. And where was Jesus? He was still back where they had been. Just as Jesus was alone, so the disciples felt alone.
I wonder if this speaks to our experience in the past or today. It is not that Jesus is asleep in the boat, he is nowhere in sight as the wind and waves batter us. We do not have to be on some overseas adventure or trying something new to feel that we are in the midst of a storm. The storms of life can hit us right where we are. It might be in losing a job, in bereavement of a loved one, or watching them deteriorate physically or mentally, in economic anxiety, in the fear of others and the outside brought about by Covid-19, or something else. We can be left feeling alone. The highs of the recent past quickly becoming a distant memory.
If this does speak to your experience, or if you find yourself in a situation similar in the future, then hear the good news. For, despite being separated from them physically, Jesus perceived the troubles they were in and travelled to them in the midst of their storm. It was as the wind was still raging that they heard his voice saying, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’ This experience of meeting Jesus in the midst of our storm may come through a phone call from a friend, it may come whilst listening to music or walking in the park, it may be during a time of silence and stillness, or even through this resource! When you do meet him, listen to his words, take them into your heart. Do not be like Peter who allowed the sight of the waves to distract him from Jesus, but rather discover the peace that Jesus brings which passes all understanding. Amen.
Points to ponder:
Where have I, or might I, discover Jesus in the midst of a storm?
What will I do this week to listen for the voice of Jesus?
When and how am I going to take time to rest?
Prayers of Intercession:
Let us trust in our Faithful God…we pray for the gift of deeper faith in you, our Generous Creator, so that we may trust you in a way that alters our dependence on everything and anything else that might turn us away from you. We pray for a trust that allows us clearer vision as to the direction and role of the Church, especially during this time when we discuss the re-opening of buildings and the layout of worship and ministry moving forward. Remind us that it is your church, and not ours; it is your work, your power and your kingdom. Lord our God: Your will be done.
Faithful God, we call to mind the stormy areas of this world. Those areas where there is rage and uncertainty, confusion and bewilderment, restlessness and fear, due to illness, war, natural disasters, greed or indifference. We especially remember the people of Beirut. We ask that your calming and reassuring presence be sensed and embraced, so that peace and goodness, righteousness and hope, justice and understanding reign in the lives of your people and be the foundation which holds us up. Lord our God…
Faithful God, come to us in the storms of life, we especially lift up those storms in our own lives where… [take some time to lift up those prayers that you have for yourself]. Lord God, when we let one another down, misuse opportunities or come to the end of our strength or patience, please bless us with the love that never lets us down, just as it did not let Peter down. Come to us in calm areas of our life as well, where we celebrate the joys and the ending of the storms. Lord our God…
Faithful God, we place into your loving arms all our friends and family, our neighbours, those who are suffering in the world from sickness, loneliness or loss, and those who are searching for You. We especially life up to you… [take some time to lift up those prayers that you have or other and the world.] We thank you for all your children and their gifts to the world, and ask that we may remember to embrace the gifts that you have given us for the benefit of each other. Lord our God…
Faithful God, we thank you for your patience with us and your refusal to give up on us, even when we begin to sink in the water. Let us continue to seek growth in our faith and trust in you who taught us to pray:
Our Father in heaven…
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 for ever. Amen
May the faith that God has in you sustain you, and see you through the storms that may come and the times of peace that follow. Amen.
If you wish, please join in singing our Vesper :