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St Clement Church Community Sunday Service

 

Good morning

How many of us get to the end of a day exhausted because we haven’t had time to stop, be quiet and let calmness envelop us? All of us, I suggest. Life today is often frenetic, making us distracted, irritable, unable to pace ourselves and look at things rationally.

To live the life of service that Jesus asks of us, we must set aside time to be quiet and calm. It is at such times, when we set aside the cares of the day, that not only are we able to re-charge our batteries, but we can really feel the presence of our Lord.

With my love

Liz xx

 

Lord God, we have no idea where we are going. We do not see the road ahead of us. We cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do we really know ourselves, and the fact that we think we are following Your will does not mean that we are actually doing so. But we believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And, we hope we have that desire in all that we are doing. We hope that we will never do anything apart from that desire. We know that, if we do this, You will lead us by the right road, though we may know nothing about it. Therefore, we will trust You always though we may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. We will not fear, for You are ever with us, and You will never leave us to face our perils alone.

Amen

Hymn: 339 Be thou my vision

 

Prayer of Penitence

Dear Heavenly Father, we lower our heads before you and we confess that we have too often forgotten that we are Yours. Sometimes we carry on our lives as if there is no God and we fall short of being a credible witness to You. For these things we ask Your forgiveness and we also ask for Your strength. Give us clear minds and open hearts so we may witness to You in our world. Remind us to be who You would have us be regardless of what we are doing or who we are with. Hold us to You and build our relationship with You and with those You have given us on earth.

Amen

Collect for fifth Sunday after Trinity

Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified: hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people, that in their vocation and ministry they may serve you in holiness and truth to the glory of your name; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Readings

Genesis 18. 1 – 10a

Colossians 1. 15 – 28

Hymn: 338 At the name of Jesus

(Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke (10. 38 – 42) – Response: Glory to you, O Lord)

Now as Jesus and his disciples went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.’

(This is the Gospel of our Lord – response: Praise to you O Christ)

Reflection

 

I don’t know about you, but isn’t Jesus being a bit hard on Martha who is, after all, preparing a meal for Him?

Let’s look at this a little more carefully.

We have two sisters - Mary, the calm contemplative, and Martha, the can-do activist… or that is how they seem to be portrayed here.

Now, it is important to know that hospitality, then and now, is an important cultural norm in the Near East, and it’s also a mark of the early church that Jesus follows.

It appears that Jesus is homeless and dependent on the hospitality of his disciples and also of strangers. He depends on the hospitality of people like Mary and Martha.

This is the only story about Mary and Martha that appears in the synoptic Gospels – it is only in John that they feature in the raising of Lazarus, their brother. So, on its own, we don’t know whether Jesus knows them or is a stranger. (We are told that Jesus weeps when he hears of the death of Lazarus so perhaps that suggests that they are friends.)

Anyway, Martha welcomes Jesus into her home, displaying a typical act of hospitality. She starts busying herself with providing appropriate food and drink for her guest. But then, she notices that her sister Mary just sits down on the floor at Jesus’ feet and listens to what He has to say. This annoys Martha that Mary isn’t helping in the kitchen and we can imagine her seething and banging pots and pans a little too enthusiastically to express her annoyance and get her sister’s attention.

Interestingly, Martha doesn’t ask Mary to come and help her so that they can both sit down to listen, she asks Jesus to intercede for her, saying, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’

This is a situation that happens so often today. Someone has a grievance or concern but they are afraid to go directly to the person involved so they ask a third person to intercede for them. It’s called triangulation. It does work sometimes, but more often than not, it causes the original person even more concern and stress and quite often blows a minor situation into something that can get out of hand.

Anyway, Martha is getting stressed – it’s important to her that her hospitality is ‘just so, it’s perfect – her generous hospitality is now more about her than her guest.’

Think about it – haven’t you been there? I know I have. You invite friends over and then suggest they come for a meal – you’re really looking forward to seeing them but as you prepare, the stress creeps in as somehow, the actual food has become the ‘be all and end all’ … it’s become more important than the guests who are coming. They want to see you and spend time with you – to them the food is of secondary importance and that just seems to add to the stress and grievance.

Jesus gets to the heart of the problem – He doesn’t have a go at the busy Martha but the ‘worried and distracted’ Martha. At a different time, Jesus might well have commended Martha’s hospitality. Jesus doesn’t have a one-size fits all template, but deals with each person and each situation differently. Last week he told the lawyer to ‘go and do,’ while today, He tells Martha to ‘sit and listen.’

So, it isn’t Martha’s busyness that Jesus calls to account, but her distractedness, her worry and her lack of focus.

We all have focus and attention issues – let’s face it, we all live in a distracted age, where the amount of information available to us is far more than we can take in and absorb. What did we do before smart phones, where everything is at our fingertips?

When we are distracted by information and events outside ourselves it prevents us from fully developing our interior life which is one of the factors in faith development and spiritual maturity. When we become distracted, responders only to what is outside us, our souls wither from undernourishment and disconnection from God.

We can’t worship when we are distracted. If, like Martha, we are preoccupied with our worries we remove ourselves from the here and now and live either in the past of regret, or in the future of anxiety, when the only time we really have is now, and the only place we really have is right here.

The real activity to which God calls us, the important work of loving as Jesus loved, can only be sustained by the renewing power of the Holy Spirit that we tap into when we worship and pray and draw ourselves into the presence of God. There is a kind of frenetic activism that can lead us to burnout and bitterness. Sadly, the Church too often is guilty of valuing busyness over focus.

Jesus says to Martha that Mary has chosen the ‘better part.’ It is not that Martha has chosen wrongly and Mary rightly, rather, Jesus is with them in the here and now and what is called for is attention to Him and to focus on Him.

Most of us try to do too much and when we do, it leads to frustration. If you try to be everything to everyone you will end up being nothing to anyone. Martha is so busy it becomes a burden and not a blessing. She loses the joy of serving.

We mustn’t get the wrong idea; people need to work and serve one another. In fact, the Bible teaches we are not saved by good works, but rather, we are saved to do good works. The issue in this story is that Martha took her eyes off Jesus and on to herself. We must make sure that our serving doesn’t become self-serving. Who are we doing it for - ourselves or Jesus?

Mary sits at the feet of Jesus. There is a difference in doing something FOR Jesus and being WITH Jesus. Mary hangs on every word! Sitting is an act of submission. Spending time with Jesus is about knowing God and listening to Him. Is the Christian life work or worship? It is both, but worship should be at the heart of everything we do.

The only way we can overcome stress and worry is to spend time with Jesus. Worship is worth-ship. How much is Jesus worth to each one of us? Our worship should be an expression of His worth. Every time we sing, serve, pray, give generously, we are saying, THIS is what Jesus is worth to us. THIS is how much Jesus means to me.

Amen

Affirmation of our faith

Do you believe and trust in God the Father, source of all being and life, the one for whom we exist?

We believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in God the Son who took our human nature, died for us and rose again?

We believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit who gives life to the people of God and makes Christ known in all the world?

We believe and trust in him.

This is the faith of the Church.

This is our faith. We believe and trust in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen

Hymn: 456 Teach me my God and King

Intercessions

Everlasting God, as we bow our heads in prayer, we ask for your blessing to be upon this congregation, the Diocese of Truro and worshipping congregations around the world. May we all feel your presence as we humbly offer our lives to your service.

Lord, hear us: Lord, graciously hear us

Eternal God, Light of the nations, in Christ you make all things new: guide our nation in the coming days through the inspiration of your Spirit, that understanding may put an end to discord and all bitterness. Give us grace to rebuild bonds of trust that together we may work for the dignity and flourishing of all.

Lord, hear us: Lord, graciously hear us

Father God, we pray for the young people in our families, churches and communities. May they grow up knowing love and hope, valuing life and respecting others. We pray for all those who are moving on to the next stage in their lives. Give them courage and hope as they face changes in their lives and help them to see opportunities in all the challenges that stretch before them.

Lord, hear us: Lord, graciously hear us.

Gracious God, we pray for your healing touch to rest upon all those who are sick in body, mind or spirit. May all those who are tired, feel your strength; and may those who live in despair and fear feel your wisdom and your love to encourage them. We especially pray for Terry and Dot, Ken and Diane, Maureen, Ollie, Margaret, Paul and Jan, Brian, Jenny, Annie and all those who have no one to pray for them.

Lord, hear us: Lord, graciously hear us.

Mighty God, through the ministry of your Son Jesus Christ, you have freed us from the grip of the tomb. We pray for those who have departed this life and ask you, through your loving kindness, to have mercy on their souls. We pray too for those bereaved by their passing.

Lord, hear us: Lord, graciously hear us.

Almighty God, may your presence be seen clearly in what we do each day throughout the coming week. We pray that your joy and your love will flow freely in us and through us as we take up your yoke and follow where you lead us.

Merciful Father: accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen

Gathering our prayers and praises into one, let us pray with co9nfidence as Jesus taught us:

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 trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen

 

Calm be the Soul by Valerie Dohren

 

Calm be the soul full bathed in sunlight

Soft be the heart that dwells on love

Still be the mind that thinks of kindness

Bright be the eyes that search above

 

Feared be the soul full bathed in darkness

Sad be the heart that dwells on woe

Grieved be the mind that thinks of hatred

Dull be the eyes that search below

 

Calm be the soul

 

The Peace

God will speak peace to his people, to those who turn to him in their hearts.

The Peace of the Lord be always with you.

 

Hymn: 377 Immortal, invisible, God only wise

Notices

In the busyness of life may we find space. In the worries of life may we find peace. In the beauty of life may we find joy. In the sorrows of life may we find comfort, faith be strengthened and our day be blessed. Amen


Page last updated: 15th July 2022 3:22 PM