Sunday 21 June – Trinity 2

Join us this Sunday for a Cafe Church service on Zoom starting at 10am. This will be led by our lay worship leaders Susan Bell and Ashley Jones.
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Watch Ashley’s sermon here.

Ashley’s Sermon

Collect for The Second Sunday after Trinity

Collect

Faithful Creator, whose mercy never fails: deepen our faithfulness to you and to your living Word, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Readings for 2nd Sunday after Trinity

Psalm 86

Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me,
    for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am devoted to you;
    save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; be gracious to me, O Lord,
    for to you do I cry all day long.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
    for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
    abounding in steadfast love to all who call on you.
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
    listen to my cry of supplication.
In the day of my trouble I call on you,
    for you will answer me.

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
    nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come
    and bow down before you, O Lord,
    and shall glorify your name.
10 For you are great and do wondrous things;
    you alone are God.

16 Turn to me and be gracious to me;
    give your strength to your servant;
    save the child of your serving-maid.
17 Show me a sign of your favour,
    so that those who hate me may see it and be put to shame,
    because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

Romans 6: 1 – 11

What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 10: 24 – 39

24 ‘A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; 25 it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!

26 ‘So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. 27 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. 28 Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. 30 And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31 So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

32 ‘Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; 33 but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.

34 ‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.

35 For I have come to set a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
36 and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.

37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

Reflection for the Second Sunday after Trinity

Jumping into the Wheelbarrow

During this time of lockdown and shielding, I have been sorting out my office (boy did it need it) and came across a list I made on my 40th birthday of things I was going to do by the time I was fifty. The list went as follows

  1. Learn to play the piano properly
  2. Build my model railway
  3. Relearn a foreign language – French or German
  4. Research my Grandads war record in WW1
  5. Lose weight and get fit

How many do you think I completed?

Well I utterly failed at the first three the piano remains unplayed, the railway still has no railway and the language books are still on the shelf – it is only in lockdown I have lost weight so half a credit as I have over the years done various exercise regimes (Swimming, Badminton, Aquafit and now Joe Wicks).
I am still researching Grandpa so may be one and a half credits completed in 20 years!!! You can decide

But it got me thinking about what we mean when we say we are Christians – followers/disciples of Jesus. Do we in one sense just tick the box saying we’ve read the terms and conditions and accept them and carry on as we always have or does it actually something more to be a disciple of Jesus

In today’s Gospel Jesus lays it on the line to his disciples what it means to be a disciple. He doesn’t mince his words. It would not be an easy ride and would come at a cost. (Discrimination v24, bullying, persecution v26, friends and family disagreeing with what you believe and stand for v 34-37)

We may not face the same persecution, suffering, alienation and challenges that the disciples would and did face. However being a disciple today brings   its own challenges and pressures.

On TV and the internet we are constantly bombarded with lifestyle choices, moral choices, F.O.M.O. (Fear of Missing Out) that all cause God to be squeezed out of our lives.

It is like we have a jar into which we first place some stones to represent God and then add some gravel (family) sand (work) water (everything else) Everything fits in and fits together with the stones at its core

 Just as if we have God/Jesus at the core of our lives the rest of our life will fit together. But if we put the gravel, sand and water in first we can easily find there is no room for the stones – no room for God

So how do we put God at the centre of our lives – be a true disciple of Jesus?

In my preparation I came across the idea of taking the letters of the word DISCIPLE and use each letter to describe a quality that is needed to be a disciple of Jesus

D – Decision  Discipline
I –
S –
C –
I –
P-
L- Love
E – Evangelise (Speak out about God)
I will leave you to fill in the rest.

For me as I reflected on the letters, the most important were and L for Love and D for Decision

As the middle of our passage shows God cares about every part of our lives – no matter how big or small. The word used in verse 29 of the Gospel for ‘Fall’ in the Greek and Aramaic (the Hebrew used in Jesus’s time) is not ‘falling to the ground and never getting up again (e.g. death) but describes the moment when the sparrow lands on the ground and then quickly takes off again. In the past few weeks it seems our garden has become a mini Heathrow for sparrows with countless birds landing and taking off. Jesus says if God cares about a bird as small as a sparrow and every part of its life (its landings and take offs), we can be confident and sure that there is no aspect of our life that God does not care about.

It is a L -Love that is constant, unconditional and never ending.

So where does the wheel barrow fit in?

Well in 1859, the famous tightrope artist Blondin spanned a tightrope across the Niagara Falls from the USA to Canada.
He then proceeded to walk across it with a wheelbarrow in front of him. Having reached the other side, he stepped down to the applause of the crowd.
He went up to members of the crowd and asked: “Do you believe that I can walk back on that rope without falling off?”
“Yes” they each replied.
“Do you really believe I can make” he asked.
“Yes” they replied. “We’ve just seen you do it”
“Then” said Blondin “Get in the wheelbarrow we are going back across”.
“Oh no” they replied “It is far too dangerous”.
They believe he could do it – but they wouldn’t TRUST him.
This is the difference between simply a believer and being a disciple.
We might believe in the existence of God.
We might believe that we are sinners and that Christ died to save us from our sins.
We might believe he rose again and is alive.

But in the Bible belief is more – it means action making a D – Decision.
It is about trusting God with our lives.
It means making a decision to committing each day to be a disciple and all that that entails.
It is not just ticking the box to say we have read and accepted the terms and conditions and going on as we have before.

It means getting into the wheelbarrow

Ashley Jones, Licensed Lay Minister