A reflection for the 18th July 2021
Seventh Sunday after Trinity 2021

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Offered for Sunday 18th July 2021


Stephen

Reflections Script

'Seventh Sunday after Trinity 2021'

Compiled 17th July 2021


In my Music and Film Collection I, along with most people have a
section we would rather keep secret and wrapped in brown paper bags!

One of these 'Guilty Pleasures' is my D.V.D. of the early 50's musical
'Singing in the Rain!' Not only does it have two of the most iconic
'Feel Good' set pieces in cinema history,
'Make em Laugh sung and performed by Donald O'Conner and
'Singing in the Rain' sung and performed by Gene Kelly.

The movie is also quite insightful about the time in which the movie is set,
the transition from Silent Movies to talkies in the late 1920's!
Lina Lamont is the angel-faced manipulator in 'Singing in the Rain'
and is a big star of the silent era however, in the movie her voice
is described as that of; 'a corncrake, the tongue of a viper and a
butcher's way with grammar and syntax; she is doomed'.
Like so many stars of the silent screen in real life she would not
feature in the "talkies".

One silent movie star who did make the transition was Greta Garbo.
With her smouldering looks and her often parodied catch phrase,
"I want to be alone; I just want to be alone,"
Garbo became a screen icon.



Let us Pray


Lord let us be silent, still,
alone and empty before you
Saying nothing, asking nothing
Being still being silent
you love us with an enormous love and
only want to look upon us.
Quiet and still.
Amen.



Address


Mary had had a hectic week and was exhausted.
She'd been up late every night writing a report for work and was
trying to squeeze the preparation for her Sunday young people's
group into last thing Saturday evening.

She'd just picked up her pen, when the doorbell rang.
Through the window she could see her neighbour
standing there in tears.
What emotions did Mary feel: compassion for her friend or irritation
at the interruption? How would we feel?

Jesus too led a hectic life: facing constant pressure from others
and the interruption of his plans. How did he cope?
Mark 6: 30 to 56 gives us some insight.

The disciples had been busy going from village to village preaching,
healing and casting out demons and were keen to tell Jesus all
they had done. Jesus, however, was concerned that after such work
they would be tired.

So he decided that they would escape the crowds,
taking a boat across the Sea of Galilee to a peaceful place.

What happened next shows the constant pressure Jesus faced?
People guessed where he would be heading and ran around the perimeter
of the lake, managing to reach this place before the boat.
Imagine the disciples' feelings! They were looking forward to a
well-deserved break only to be greeted by a vast, expectant throng,
Mark 6:44 records five thousand men but, with women and children,
the figure was probably considerably more!

The disciples' irritation was palpable as in Mark 6:36
they request for Jesus to send the crowd away!
Jesus' response to this disruption of his plans, however, was not
annoyance but compassion.

In fact, the Greek word for "compassion" is the same as for
"bowel" or "gut", suggesting a feeling coming from deep within.
Jesus saw their need, looking upon them as vulnerable lost sheep,
lacking the guidance and protection of a shepherd, and he responded
by teaching them "many things".

Jesus' compassion extended as far as feeding these
five thousand plus people!
Then, having satisfied their needs, he dismissed the crowd
and climbed a mountain to pray.

The narrative resumes with Jesus setting sail again, this time
to Gennesaret. Here his arrival ignited more excitement and people
ran from all over the region, many bringing those who were ill.
There must have been pushing and shoving as people wanted to touch
even the fringe of Jesus' cloak;
these continuous demands must have been overwhelming.

So Jesus' life was extremely pressured.
et rest and refreshment were very important to him: he instructed
the disciples to rest and sought time himself to pray alone after
dealing with the crowd.

We often find it difficult to achieve a healthy balance between
work, rest and prayer.
Some picture Jesus as a hard taskmaster who can never be satisfied
and those around him try to please him by working even harder.
But Jesus is full of compassion: he cared deeply for his exhausted
disciples as well as the crowd.
Some find it hard to say "no" and, indeed, Jesus didn't say "no" to
the crowds here. But Jesus acted because he recognised a genuine
need and when he had dealt with that need, he dismissed the crowd.

He followed his Father's agenda rather than the beck and call of others.
Perhaps we don't find we have time to pray.
Jesus had to take action to ensure prayer happened in his hectic life:
walking to deserted places, climbing mountains, crossing lakes,
praying at dawn and at night.

We, too, will need to take positive, practical action.
Jesus' plans for rest were interrupted in this passage and
occasionally ours will be too.
But Luke 5:15 to 16 reminds us Jesus' usual pattern,
despite the crowds, was to withdraw often "to lonely places to pray".
If space for prayer and rest is a regular part of our lives
then when we do face interruptions we will be more equipped
to handle them with Christ's compassion rather than the
disciple's irritation.

If Jesus took prayer seriously, relying on his Father for strength,
wisdom and compassion, how much more should we?



To Summarise

Life is often hectic and Jesus' life was no exception.
Despite his busyness, Jesus recognised the importance of
regular prayer and rest.
It seems likely that it is because he ensured there was space for
prayer in his life that, when interruptions occurred,
he was able to respond with compassion and not irritation.
Whatever our reasons for not making time for rest and prayer,
we should remember that Jesus took great pains to ensure he got the
space and time to pray. If he needed to, how much more do we?



Our Blessing


May our Lord Jesus Christ,
the shepherd who knows each of his flock by name,
draw us to him by his merciful love and gentle wisdom.
And the blessing of God almighty......


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