This Sunday we will worship at:
- 9am: Morning Prayer with Hymns and Reflection streamed on facebook.com/parishesbythewall
- From 10am till 12noon: Private Prayer All Hallows’, Henshaw
- 10:30am: Benefice Morning Worship St Cuthbert’s Haydon Bridge:It will help our planning if you could contact the Church Wardens (Dave Thornhill: 07810 336537 or Gill Valentine:07711 110850) if you plan to be at this service
Everyday through the week: we will continue to offer Morning Prayer at 9am and Evening Prayer at 6pm streamed on facebook.com/parishesbythewall
1 Jesus calls us: o'er the tumult
of our life's wild restless sea,
day by day his sweet voice soundeth,
saying, ‘Christian, follow me’:
2 As of old Saint Andrew heard it
by the Galilean lake,
turned from home and toil and kindred
leaving all for his dear sake.
3 Jesus calls us from the worship
of the vain world's golden store,
from each idol that would keep us,
saying, ‘Christian, love me more.’
4 In our joys and in our sorrows,
days of toil and hours of ease,
still he calls, in cares and pleasures,
that we love him more than these.
5 Jesus calls us: by thy mercies,
Saviour, make us hear thy call,
give our hearts to thine obedience,
serve and love thee best of all.
Cecil Frances Alexander (1818–1895)
Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land,[a] for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind,[b] he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Bless the Lord, the God of Israel,
who has come to set us free.
He has raised for us a Saviour
sprung from royal David’s tree.
Through his prophets God had spoken
of the hope the Christ would bring;
of his faithfulness and mercy
let each generation sing.
Long ago God made a promise
he would set his people free,
that in all our life and worship
we might know true liberty,
to be holy, to be righteous
in his sight throughout our days;
now this child will be a herald
making ready all God’s ways.
Let all people know salvation
through forgiveness of their sin,
as our God in his compassion
bids a shining dawn begin.
So may all who dwell in darkness
see the shadows disappear
while he guides our feet in pathways
where his peace is ever near.
To the Father be all glory
with the Spirit and the Son,
as it was, is now and shall be
while eternal ages run.
Words: Anne Harrison, based on 1:68-79 © The Archbishops' Council 2005
Reflection for the Ninth Sunday after Trinity
Over the last few months, we have tried to use this period when we have been at home more than we might have planned to get on with a few things we have been meaning to do. The Vicarage has been thoroughly spring cleaned and de-cluttered, the garden has never been better, and we have been able to encourage the children to develop new skills, not least to learn to ride their bikes.
This has been something which we have achieved with mixed success. As many of you will remember the process of learning to ride a bike is not so much about the mechanics of riding the bike. Rather it is about trust and confidence. It is about trusting that something that seems counter intuitive in the first instance will actually work and then having the confidence to step out into the unknown overcoming all the fear and anxiety which might be holding us back.
One of the abiding experiences of these last few months has been the sudden and unwanted loss of confidence. Some of will have lost the confidence to do the things that seemed second nature – walking down the street, going to a shop, visiting friends of relatives. Some of us will have lost confidence as we discover that we are more vulnerable, more at risk to this hidden enemy than we realised. Some of this loss of confidence was well founded as we all had to make sacrifices for the common good during the lock-down. However, as we begin to emerge, we need to find our confidence again and that is not always an easy thing to do. And it is a challenging thing to do because so many of the things we lack to the confidence to do all of a sudden are so familiar.
Our Gospel reading today is a story of the loss of confidence in the face the familiar. The disciples find themselves in a boat on a lake. This should be something that they were not only familiar with, but as fishermen something that was second nature to them. Even as the storm began to blow and the waves grew this should have been something that they were used to as experienced men of the water. But as the sky turned black and night fell, they fell into the grip of fear. They had lost their confidence.
Then from nowhere they see Jesus walking to them across the water. Some of them fear that he is a ghost, but others, Peter chief amongst them, recognise him for who he is. And as if out of nowhere Peter finds his confidence and leaps out of the boat walking towards Jesus. Although he begins to fall, when he puts his trust in Jesus, when he literally focuses on him, Peter’s lack of confidence melts as he steps out into the unknown which, only moments before had paralysed him.
As we begin to move out of lock down this is an image what we can all hold on to. That as we all seek to find our confidence again, in whatever way that might be, we all need to keep our focus on Jesus.
Keeping our focus on Jesus might sound like the sort of thing we ought to be doing, but in reality what does this actually mean?
Well we can keep our focus on Jesus by being prayerful through this time. If we are fearful asking God for strength through prayer is something we can all do. If we reach for God, God will reach for us as Jesus reached out his hand and caught Peter.
In practical ways we can be courageous in what we do. Drawing on an example of Peter is always a dangerous one to do in a sermon because Peter’s actions are so vivid, but also so reckless that they do not always provide the sound and sensible advice that we could want to give. As you listen to these words it is important to know that your Vicar is not advising you to take whatever the Covid-19 recovery version of leaping out of a boat might be. But we can be sensible as well as courageous. For instance, we went out a few weeks ago for a meal for the first time, something we were anxious about. So, we found somewhere where we could eat outside to get used to the idea of going to places again allowing us as a family to build that confidence in small but courageous ways.
Finally, the task of finding our confidence is not something we do alone. As we have been teaching the children to ride their bikes is it the knowledge that we are there with them that gives them the confidence to set out through their fear and anxiety into the unknown. Similarly, in our story it was Peter’s focus not on the idea of walking on the water, but on Jesus that gave him the space to step out. So, we can find our confidence in one another. Perhaps two friends making a journey together for the first time. For those of us who are younger or less vulnerable going out of our way not to just help people in a practical way by doing something for them, but to be their partner as you find that simple and practical confidence together.
As we move through this period, we need to rebuild many things, but our personal and collective confidence will be chief among them. Sometimes this will be built on grand moments and shared experiences – like if a vaccine becomes widely available. But more often than not the confidence will come from building small steps together: wearing a mask to come to church; visiting a friend in their garden; making a familiar journey for the first time. These seem trivial to some, but they are great mountains to climb for those who have been stripped not just of their freedom but also their confidence and sense of self by this terrible virus. And as we do this we to keep our eyes eyes fixed on Jesus, not as an idea or thought, but as the one who reaches into our anxiety and fear, and pulls us into the calm and hope and light he brings to us all.
Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you.
I have called you by your name;
you are mine.
1 When you walk through the waters, I’ll be with you.
You will never sink beneath the waves.
2 When the fire is burning all around you,
you will never be consumed by the flames.
3 When the fear of loneliness is looming,
then remember I am at your side.
4 When you dwell in the exile of the stranger,
remember you are precious in my eyes.
5 You are mine, O my child; I am your Father,
and I love you with a perfect love.
Gerard Markland (b. 1953) based on Isaiah 43.1-4
Collect for ninth Sunday of Trinity
you give us gifts and make them grow:
though our faith is small as mustard seed,
make it grow to your glory
and the flourishing of your kingdom;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Please keep in your prayers: Those in need… Lesley Tower, Dorothy Hartley, Margaret McAllister, Allan Munns, Peter and June Henrikson.
Those who have died… Stuart Sim, Sheila Spence,