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Zoom 'Sea Sunday' Liturgy

Submitted by Dean on Sat, 01/08/2020 - 11:12

Sunday 2nd August 2020 ‘Zoom’ Sea Sunday

Worship for the congregation of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Murrayfield

Organ Voluntary: AD 1620 from Sea Pieces by Edward MacDowell, played by Thomas Murray Introit: Psalm 95 sung by Wells Cathedral Choir, chant by William Boyce

Welcome and Introduction

“The sea is his, for he made it and his hands have moulded the dry land.” Psalm 95: 5

‘Sea Sunday is when we have the opportunity to remember and pray for seafarers, their

families and all who support them. It is a day of remembrance, prayer and celebration, and

an opportunity to think about and thank those seafarers who work tirelessly throughout the

year bringing us goods we often take for granted.’ Seafarers are some of our key-workers

and this time of pandemic has reminded and sheen us all, just how inter-connected we all

are and how much we depend on others for the things we take for granted.

Sea Sunday has been a day set aside each year for the past 170 years for us to give

thanks to the seafarers (1.6 million today) who quietly, and often anonymously, transport

up to 95% of the world’s goods. Seafaring can be a dangerous, lonely and demanding job,

with little in the way of official support for the workers who keep the global economy afloat.

The Mission to Seafarers, whom we pray most especially for this morning, was set up to

cater for the welfare and pastoral care of seafarers, and Sea Sunday is one of the most

important dates in our calendar. It represents a chance to bring seafarers and sea-faring

ministries into the heart of our communities, and for us to celebrate all they do for us.’

With that in our hearts and minds we welcome to our worship the Rev’d Tim Tunley, the

Mission to Seafarers Chaplain based at Grangemouth. Tim will lead us in our intercessions

later in this service.

A Prayer for Seafarers

O Eternal Lord God, who alone spreads out the heavens and rules the raging of the

seas, receive into your protection all those who go down to the sea in ships and

occupy their business on the great waters of the world. Preserve them both in body

and soul, prosper their labours with good success, in all times of danger, be their

defence, and bring them to the haven where they would be. We ask this in the

name of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

HYMN

Eternal Father, strong to save, whose arm hath bound the restless wave,

who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep its own appointed limits keep:
O hear us when we cry to thee for those in peril on the sea.

O Christ, whose voice the waters heard, And hushed their raging at thy word, who walkedst on the foaming deep, and calm amid the storm didst sleep: O hear us when we cry to thee
for those in peril on the sea.

O Holy Spirit, who didst brood upon the waters dark and rude, and bid their angry tumult cease, and give, for wild confusion, peace: O hear us when we cry to thee for those in peril on the sea.

O Trinity of love and power,
our brethren shield in danger’s hour; from rock and tempest, fire and foe, protect them wheresoe’er they go: thus evermore shall rise to thee glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

Words by William Whiting 1825-78 Tune MELITA by John B Dykes 1823-76

Time to reflect

Heavenly Father we come together to bring our praises and love to you. We come to hear your word, to pray for the world that you have given to us and to ask your forgiveness for the times we let you down. We pray that your Holy Spirit will fill our hearts with love, that we may always praise you. Amen

For turning away from you, and ignoring your will for our lives

Father forgive us; save us and help us.

For behaving just as we wish, without thinking of you;

Father forgive us; save us and help us.

For failing you by what we do, and think and say;

Father forgive us; save us and help us

May the God of love bring us back to himself,

Forgive us our sins and assure us of his eternal love, in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

 

Bible Reading: Matthew 14: 23-33

23...After Jesus had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray.

When evening came, he was there alone, 24but by this time the boat, battered by the

waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. 25And early in the morning he

came walking towards them on the lake. 26But when the disciples saw him walking on the

lake, they were terrified, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out in fear. 27But immediately

Jesus spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’ 28 Peter answered

him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ 29He said, ‘Come.’ So

Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came towards Jesus. 30But

when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried

out, ‘Lord, save me!’ 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to

him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’ 32When they got into the boat, the wind

ceased. 33And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’

HYMN

Refrain

I, the Lord of sea and sky,
I have heard my people cry.
All who dwell in dark and sin
my hand will save.
I, who made the stars of night,
I will make their darkness bright. Who will bear my light to them? Whom shall I send?

Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night. I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.

I, the Lord of snow and rain,
I have borne my people’s pain.
I have wept for love of them. They turn away.
I will break their hearts of stone, give them hearts for love alone. I will speak my words to them. Whom shall I send?

 

I, the Lord of wind and flame,

I will send the poor and lame.

I will set a feast for them.
My hand will save.

Finest bread I will provide

till their hearts be satisfied.

I will give my life to them.

Whom shall I send?

Words and music by Dan Schutte

Sailor's Paraphrase of the 23rd Psalm

The Lord is my pilot, I shall not drift.
He lighteth me across the dark waters.
He steereth me in the deep channels.
He keepeth my log.
He guideth me beneath stars of his holiness for his name's sake. Yea, though I sail 'mid the thunders and tempest of life,
I shall dread no anger, for thou art with me;
Thy love and thy care, they shelter me.
Thou preparest a harbour for me in the homeland of eternity. Thou anointest the waves with oil
My ship rideth calmly.
Surely sunlight and starlight shall favour me on the voyage I take, And I will rest in the port of God forever.

Intercessions: The Rev’d Tim Tunley

The Lords prayer:

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. And 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

HYMN

God is working his purpose out as year succeeds to year.

God is working his purpose out,
and the time is drawing near.
Nearer and nearer draws the time,
the time that shall surely be,
when the earth shall be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea.

From utmost east to the utmost west Where’er man’s foot has trod,
By the mouth of many messengers
Goes forth the voice of God:
‘Give ear to me, ye continents,
ye isles, give ear to me,
that the earth may be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea.’

What can we do to work God’s work,
to prosper and increase
the brotherhood of all makind,
the reign of the Price of Peace?
What can we do to hasten the time,
the time that shall surely be,
when the earth shall be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea.

March we forth in the strength of God,
with the banner of Christ unfurled,
that the light of the glorious gospel of truth may shine throughout the world;
fight we the fight with sorrow and sin,
to set their captives free,
that the earth may be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea.

All we can do is nothing worth
unless God blesses the deed;
vainly we hope for the harvest-tide
till God gives life to the seed.
Yet nearer and nearer draws the time,
the time that shall surely be,
when the earth shall be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea.

Words by A. C. Ainger 1841-1919 Tune BENSON by Millicent Kingham 1866-94

Concluding prayer

Creator and Father of all, we pray for those who go down to the sea in ships and serve you upon the waters of the world. Bless them and those who serve their needs, that they may put their whole trust in you and find in you a strong anchor for their hopes, and so be filled with your peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

The Blessing

May God the Father watch over you; may the Lord Jesus smile upon you and be gracious to you, and may the Spirit of God help you to live justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with him, all the days of your life; and the blessing (+) of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, come upon you and remain with you and all whom you love and pray for this day and for ever more. Amen

Concluding music: March we forth in the strength of God, the Newsong Group

Sea Sunday reflection by the Rev'd Tim Tunley Mission to Seafarers Chaplain

Submitted by Dean on Sat, 01/08/2020 - 11:04

I am taking as a text today, two verses from Acts 28

Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. 2 The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.

Mission to Seafarers Scotland at this time of year would normally be in the middle of visiting the cruise ships as they come into the port at Rosyth and the anchorage at South Queensferry. All our other work like coming to preach in the churches and the regular ship visits would be dovetailed around them. On a typical morning at Rosyth we would expect to have contact with many cruise ship crew members.

At South Queensferry we hire the large back room of the pub and there we host the crew from the cruise ships as they come ashore by tender. On average we would expect to see fifty or so crew. Although we did see well over a hundred at one visit last year. We have many conversations with crew who are a long way from home and who are earning small wages in return for long hours.

We often find seafarers who are suffering from anxiety about there families at home. Sometimes things may not be going well on board. We offer a listening ear and a helping hand.

In South Queensferry we offer free wifi and tea and coffee a listening ear and we assist as much as we can with the equipment that seafarers need to be able to contact home. Of course, every seafarer who comes through the door is given at least one wholly hat. Last year we gave out over 5000 wholly hats to those on cruise ships. It can be very touching when a seafarer picks up a hat and says “How much is this” we always give the same answer “free It is a gift of love, from the people of Scotland”.

I have been thinking a lot about those hats while we have been in lockdown. The knitted pattern reminds us of how interconnected our whole world has become. As a nation we buy and sell goods across the world. 95% of all we consume is imported by sea our exports from Scotland not least our whiskey goes right across the planet.

The hats also remind us of the interconnected nature of our family lives. The ties and bond that connect us one to another. Seafarers go to sea for the families they love and rarely see. Contracts at sea range from a few months to a whole year. Now we are seeing seafarers who can not return home as there are either very few flights or countries are in lockdown.

I have been dealing with a seafarer who has been involved in an accident and is stuck in a hotel in Edinburgh waiting for a flight home to India. We are in contact online with Ghanaian seafarers who can not go home as Ghana has shut its borders. There is also a rise in the kind of accidents that happen when seafarers get tired. These accidents range from the small to the life threatening and life changing.

Now in the midst of Covid 19 the vision of Mission to Seafarers Scotland remains the same. Which brings us to the reading from acts. “Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. 2 The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold”. It is the calling of Mission to Seafarers Scotland to offer “unusual kindness” to those who do not find themselves shipwrecked by a storm, but who find themselves in the storms of life in the rain and cold, left on the beach.

We express the vision by keeping in touch with seafarers on Facebook messenger. We send the top up vouchers so seafarers can get internet access, so they can keep in touch with there families. We are keeping in touch with those who are waiting for flights home. I am shopping for seafarers and sending the goods to the ships via the shipping agents. We are keeping in touch with our volunteers so that when we can get back to work, we have a team to go back to supporting seafarers.

We are also working on improving the centre in which I am sitting in now. This is the Seafarers centre down in Grangemouth docks. In usual times when we are open, we offer free wifi and tea and coffee. The centre is open 24/7 and has either myself the Chaplain or some volunteers here some of the time. Our plans are to improve the inside and outside so that the whole place is much more inviting. What is most valued about the centre is that it is an easy to get to safe space for seafarers to use.

At the heart of all that we do is a question. That question is how we share the love of God with seafarers from all over the world. Those with some faith and those with none. Every hat you knit and every pound you so generously give brings us one step nearer. Nearer not to answering the question but living the answer.

Amen

Commentary on the readings for 2nd August 2020

Submitted by Dean on Sat, 01/08/2020 - 10:56

Trinity VIII Year A Proper 13  2nd August 2020

A few thoughts on each of the readings appointed for today.

Isaiah 55:1-5

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. 2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. 3 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. 4 See, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. 5 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.

On first reading one might well wonder what Isaiah is on about in this portion of Scripture. How can you buy anything without money? And why does he tell you not to buy anything that does not feed you?

Actually, I think Isaiah is on to something. He has a a real message for those of us living in the developed world in the 21st century.

All too often we read or see, in the media, people spending money to excess buying ‘stuff’ to fill holes in their lives. Stuff they think will bring them lasting happiness. It is a shallow, materialistic way of life and I think one to be guarded against. ‘Stuff’ can never bring you happiness and as they say; ‘you can’t take it with you’ either.

What brings happiness and contentment is that which feeds the soul. Such things as friendship, love, peace and joy – intangible things and things which no matter how much money you have do not cost a penny. But then neither are they for sale, they are freely given.

It is these free gifts that Isaiah rightly recognises as being the things we thirst for and more often overlook when we try to replace them with material ‘stuff’. What Isaiah is encouraging us to do is to develop discernment – the ability to see what it truly is that we desire, need or want and to identify those things that we think we need but do not actually want.

“Listen so that you may live.”

It is not material things that give one life, it is the things intangible and freely given that do and if anything this pandemic time has taught us it is that the simple things in life are the most precious. How much have we come to really value our loved ones and the opportunity to spend time with them. Conversations across the internet or handwritten cards and letters have lifted our spirits far more than any delivery of ‘stuff’. Isaiah is right, it is the things you cannot but that are the most important.

Romans 9:1-5

I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit— 2I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3For 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. 4They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; 5to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

As short as this gobbet is from Paul’s epistle to the Romans is, it is none the less full of Paul’s pain. Paul is being persecuted for his conversion to Christianity by those from whom he comes – the Jews. Paul was once the zealous, totally committed Jew, probably the Saul who is mentioned in Acts chapters 7 and 9 and who was present at the stoning of Stephen.

Saul’s conversion and his renaming as Paul, was painful, even violent and like all converts he wanted more than anything else to see his fellow Jews come to follow Jesus, to know the Christ as he has come to know him. He is in real agony that his kindred have cut themselves off from recognising Jesus as the Messiah and he wishes that he could forget his past and his people – for it would make the pain he feels less. Yet, he can’t forget that he is a Jew and that his people think he is mad for following Christ:

“To them belongs the adoption...and comes the Messiah”

To them belongs Christ but they reject him. They cannot see who he is and Paul mourns for those he loves. I don’t always agree with what Paul has to say (but this is the real Paul, not a later writer using his name) and here he is writing from the heart and his pain is obvious. I warm to him in his turmoil.

In my youth, when my conversion or return to faith, was still fresh, it was like Paul’s also raw. I grieved that those I loved didn’t love Christ like I did, and nor did they want to worship him either in the manner I did. As I have grown in my faith, my feelings have changed but I still remember the pains of my conversion. What about you? Have you ever felt pain because of your faith? Have you ever wished your loved ones could love Christ as you do? I you have then you can probably emphasise with Paul in this short extract from his epistles.

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. 14When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. 15When 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.’ 16Jesus said to them, ‘They need not go away; you give them something to eat.’ 17They replied, ‘We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.’ 18And he said, ‘Bring them here to me.’ 19Then 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. 20And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. 21And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

This is such a familiar passage of Scripture to most of us. How many of you had this read to you as a child be it, at home or at school. Were you as amazed as I was with what Jesus did with five loaves and two fishes in the face of feeding 5000 people?

I think this miracle of Jesus is one of my favourites. Why? Simply because as I have lived with it for most of my life I have come to see so much more in it than it first appears to contain. For a start more than 5000 people were fed. The text says; ‘about 5,000 men besides women and children’. In counting heads only the men were deemed important enough to count (in the society of the time women and children were outside the covenant and therefore not worth counting) it was only the free-born Jewish males who literally counted. If you consider that each man was probably there with a wife and children and/or younger siblings too, the feeding perhaps should be entitled the ‘feeding of the 25,000’! So then how did five loaves and two fish feed that lot with basketfuls left over?

Once I had realised that there were woman present during this miraculous feeding I began to think that no woman would have left home that day without packing provisions for the day. The men, being singled minded, as we men can be, might have decided to go and hear the

preacher but the women, perhaps being more being practical, would have thought ahead and prepared the picnic. Yes, I am stereotyping but perhaps there is something in my musings. If the women had picnics packed then when it came time to eat, the picnics could and would have been shared, for one always packs more than enough. In a happy crowd it is also natural to want to share what you have with those you have gotten to know. The miracle for me is the generosity of people towards each other – sandwiches for two can usually feed three.

If every picnic present was shared then no wonder there was more than enough to go round. The fact that there were baskets of crumbs left over is also very significant. Significant in that they show that there is always room for more in Christ. Christ’s love and message is not just for a select few – the 5000 men - but for ALL God’s people and like love there is always enough of Christ to go round. If other people had suddenly turned up

at the feeding then they too could have been fed with both food and the words of Christ.

What I believe is important in this story is that it tells us that there will always be enough to share and that no one will ever be turned away from Christ. What we have to do daily, is to share what we have, knowing that to share is blessed and that in sharing we will always have enough left over to do other things with and sharing has become a big part of our lives own lockdown. I hope as a society and individuals we won’t in the future forget what sharing means or the joys it can bring.

A reflection for Sunday 26th July by the Rector

Submitted by Dean on Sat, 25/07/2020 - 11:40

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
 And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveller, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could
 To where it bent in the undergrowth;



Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim
 Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
 Though as for that the passing there
 Had worn them really about the same,


And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.
 Oh, I marked the first for another day!
 Yet knowing how way leads on to way

I doubted if I should ever come back.


I shall be telling this with a sigh
 Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,


I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

How often have you faced a similar dilemma in your life?

Whatever choice you make will have consequences and will change your life and perhaps the life of others as well. Choosing between what our conscience tells us is right or wrong is easy but choosing which path to follow when either path is equally good is incredibly difficult. One can often be overwhelmed by indecision by the fear of making a poor choice.

When the choice is between two sides of the same right the choice is almost impossible. Sometimes you will need to ask for an objective view by a detached observer to help you in your choice. Solomon obviously realised this:

“O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in..... Give your servant, therefore, an

understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil..”

1Kings 3:7-9

and sensibly knew to ask God to grant him wisdom in his decision making. Wisdom is perhaps the greatest gift from God, far more valuable than riches or power:

“It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. God said to him, ‘Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right.... In deed I give you a wise and discerning mind..”

1Kings 3:10-13

I have never wanted to belong to a church that dictates to me what to believe, what to say, how to vote or whatever. This desire for independence is the thing that has kept me as an Episcopalian and any suggestion of being dictated to fills me with abject horror.

I respect the views of those whose interpretation of scripture and the traditions of the church are different to mine. Their faith may tell them that X is X and I believe they have the right to hold those views. I may not agree with them because for me X could perhaps be interpreted as Y or Z depending on the circumstance, context and theological understanding. It is the interpretation of Scripture that leads to debate and sometimes sadly conflict but it can also lead to wonderful conversations and God given insights.

Scripture, for me, contains the essence of God written in human language codes which are in themselves inadequate vehicles to explain God and God’s ways and thus therefore need to be interpreted through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. For others Scripture should not nor cannot be interpreted. To say this or even to adopt this stance is in fact a choice not to interpret Scripture.

It is this dilemma of ‘interpretation’ that takes me back to the beginning of this homily and Solomon’s request of God to grant him:

“ an understanding mind, able to discern between good and evil.”

All of us need to pray for discretion and discernment and that these gifts will be poured by God upon all of us today. We all need to be able to think clearly and logically in these days as we come out of lockdown. We all need to be blessed by the Spirit with wisdom as to how we can move forward and to re-build our society in ways that will ensure each individual's dignity and worth.

Pray to God for discernment of his will for us in these coming days, months and years that we will always be able to tread the right path.

A thought for the week from the Rector

Submitted by Dean on Thu, 23/07/2020 - 15:27

Gardening

Are you a gardener? Do you love the feel of the soil running through your hands? Do you have ‘green fingers’ and seem to get anything you plant to grow? Or do you just enjoy sitting in a garden that somebody else has created as a little bit of heaven on earth? I fall into both categories. I always thoroughly enjoy sitting in my garden or visiting gardens such as Saughton Park or the Botanics but I love above all, actually gardening. Tending and tilling the soil encouraging plants to grow, especially roses and other flowers. Whenever I garden I often think of the earth’s first gardeners. Adam and Eve in that fabled Garden of Eden.

“11Then God said, ‘Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.’ And it was so. 12The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. 13And there was evening and there was morning, the third day ... 2:15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.”          Genesis 1:11-13 and 2:15

As we know, all went well in that garden until the gardeners were tempted by forbidden fruit. I bet they wished that had not eaten that ‘apple’ and had just continued to care for the garden as God intended. Those of us who are gardeners are following in Adam and Eve’s footsteps and I like to think that we are daily sustaining that Garden of Eden, that has now spread across the world.

Creation is a wonderful thing and we are called to share with God the stewardship of the Earth. So by gardening we do just that. By caring for plants we care for the Earth and the whole of Creation in the little bit of God’s Kingdom that we live in. What we need to do is to encourage those who don’t garden to do so, or to care for Creation in ways that do not exploit it or damage it. We can turn the climate crisis around by gardening more, by planting more trees and flowers and sustainable crops and we do it for future generations as well as for our own enjoyment. Imagine planting a sapping tree today, none of us will see it come to maturity but the generations below us will thank us for our foresight and efforts.

Lord God, Creator of heaven and earth, and of all living things, please bless our gardens and the gardens of the world that have been so carefully and lovingly prepared. Bless the seeds we have planted, that they will bring forth a plentiful crop. Bless the sun and water you provide to us, so our crop can be nourished. Bless our labour that we may continue to learn and grow through this experience. Amen.