Sunday 2 August Trinity 8

This Sunday there will be a short said service of Holy Communion at All Saints’ Church, Westbury starting at 9.30am.
The guidance now is that we should wear a mask whilst in church so please remember to bring a face covering and follow the instructions of the welcome team.

There will also be a service of Morning Praise on Zoom at 9.45 for 10am with Revd Melanie Otto and Graham Stevensen, LLM.
Please contact us for details of how to join.

Collect for the Eighth Sunday after Trinity

Almighty Lord and everlasting God,
we beseech you to direct, sanctify and govern both our hearts and bodies
in the ways of your laws and the works of your commandments;
that through your most mighty protection, both here and ever,
we may be preserved in body and soul;
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. Amen

Isaiah 55: 1 – 5

55 Ho, everyone who thirsts,
    come to the waters;
and you that have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
    and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
    and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
    listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
    my steadfast, sure love for David.
See, I made him a witness to the peoples,
    a leader and commander for the peoples.
See, you shall call nations that you do not know,
    and nations that do not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel,
    for he has glorified you.

Psalm 145: 8 – 9, 15 – end

The Lord is gracious and merciful,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The Lord is good to all,
    and his compassion is over all that he has made.

15 The eyes of all look to you,
    and you give them their food in due season.
16 You open your hand,
    satisfying the desire of every living thing.
17 The Lord is just in all his ways,
    and kind in all his doings.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desire of all who fear him;
    he also hears their cry, and saves them.
20 The Lord watches over all who love him,
    but all the wicked he will destroy.

21 My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
    and all flesh will bless his holy name forever and ever.

 John Paul Stanley / YoPlace.com.

Romans 9 : 1 – 5

I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

Matthew 14: 13 – 21

13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. 15 When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17 They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” 18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20 And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. 21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

The Afternoon Meal (La Merienda)ca. 1772
Luis Meléndez Spanish (The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York CC Licence)

Reflection for Trinity 8

I love food! I like preparing meals, cooking for others and eating together with family and friends. Meal times were often the occasion as a family when we talked about spiritual life.

One of my favourite memories of us on holiday was eating a meal at our relations restaurant near Pau in France. They had to bring us another dish of potage. We devoured the whole pudding bowl of pate between 7 of us with a constantly replenished bread basket! We always had steak and frites followed by glacè. The wine flowed too! Every time we visited it was the same: Lots of courses over a long time with noisy conversation and joining in the singing of other guests. All of us left the restaurant fully satisfied in body, mind and spirit.  There was always an animated conversation about the bill – whether it was to be paid by my father or not.

So the passages for today resonate with me. We are promised food at the proper time. God provides and opens his hand to satisfy the desires of every living thing, not just my tummy. Though he practically provides for our every need, He also knows that we have spiritual needs and encourages us to come and eat and drink. We can buy it even if we have no money and we then find that it is free to us. All we have to do is listen to God and eat what is good. He provides the richest satisfying food for our souls. He Himself is the bread of life and living water which alone satisfies the spiritual hunger and thirst of our souls searching for love and hope, peace, truth and purpose. All that God promises He provides for us.

We see Jesus concern for the many people in need when he feeds them with loaves and fish. He had just heard the news of John’s beheading. A head served on a platter – is it anybody’s favourite delicacy? Jesus needed time on his own. Yet when he saw the crowd, he met them at their point of need. He healed and fed them.  It was simple food yet fully satisfying. The disciples cleared up and had twelve basketfuls of broken pieces. Nothing was thrown away. Today we throw away far too much good food while there are families who only have one meal a day. We have to learn this lesson. But more than that we have to share the Good News that Jesus offers a satisfying life for all to receive.

What will you be thinking about spiritually as you tuck in to your Sunday lunch?

Revd Helen Durant Stevensen