23rd June 2024 10.30am – 4th Sunday after Trinity – Eucharist

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The Readings

2 Corinthians 6. 1 - 13 

As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says,

‘At an acceptable time I have listened to you,
and on a day of salvation I have helped you.’

See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labours, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honour and dishonour, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. In return—I speak as to children—open wide your hearts also.


Mark 4. 35 - end

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great gale arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’



Scripture Quotations are from: New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

The Sermon
By The Revd Canon Dr Alan Billings.

You may find this hard to believe, but I love washing up. Some people go into
the kitchen and see the chaos of piles of unwashed dishes and their hearts
sink. I go in and feel exhilarated. It brings me joy to be able to take control
and bring order out of chaos.

If I wonder why this should be, I think of the first chapter of the Book of
Genesis – the story of the creation. We tend to think that Genesis says that
God created everything from nothing – and the story is not incompatible with
that idea. But what Genesis actually says is that the Spirit of God made
something out of what was already there, taking something that was without
form and void, where darkness was over the face of the deep, and brining
order out of chaos.

The Spirit of God separated light and dark, bringing day and night, sun and
moon. The Spirit of God brought the land out of the water and populated both
with fishes, plants, birds and beasts, and people.

In other words, the Spirit of God brought order out of chaos, which is what we
do when we do the washing up. We take control and establish order. And that
gives me, at any rate, a good feeling.

I don’t know whether that will give you something to think about when you
next do the washing up – assuming you don’t just put it in a dishwasher – but
the idea of having control, of being able to overcome chaos and bring order
and stability is an interesting psychological insight. It’s something that seems
basic to human living, something we seek to do all the time.

But washing up is a trivial example. There are many ways in which chaos
threatens our lives and our well-being and they are ways that are less easy to

Foundational things.

The relationships between parents and children, between partners, between
friends. They can be fractured. The jobs we have, the homes we live in, our
savings, our health, our ability to grow old with dignity. All can be at risk. The
chaos of anxiety, worry, even fear, is never far away. And our ability to control
externals of this kind may amount to little or nothing.

Now this, I think, is what today’s gospel is getting at. The story is simple. After
a day of teaching, by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus gets into a boat with his
disciples to go across to the other side. Exhausted, he falls asleep on a
cushion. A storm gets up. The waves crash against the boat and it starts to
take on water. The disciples are frightened. They wake up Jesus. He stills the
wind and the waves.

These are, if you like, the externals. But the focus is less on the externals and
more on the disciples and what is going on with them internally. We can
imagine the emotions they would have gone through as the wind starts to
increase. They are concerned. Their concern turns to worry. Their worry
becomes fear. A fear compounded by the fact that Jesus is asleep and seems
not to care.

This is a pattern of emotions we may well recognise from things that have
happened to us in life.

Think of health. We notice something wrong with us. We spot signs and
symptoms. We are concerned. We Google it up. We become worried. We go
the GP and are referred to the hospital. Our worries become fears. Or think of
finances. We lose our job. We are concerned. We write endless job
applications. Our worries become fears.

These are journeys any of us may have made or may yet make from
something external that impacts us. And for people of faith, such as us, we
may well feel that Christ is asleep in the boat.

The disciples need to hear the voice of Jesus, his re-assuring voice: ‘Why are
you afraid? Have you no faith?’

‘Peace! Be still,’ he says – and he says it as much to the disciples at to wind
and wave.

We cannot tell whether or not we will experience any of these moments when
chaos seems about to break in and rob us of our security, our happiness, our
peace of mind.

What today’s gospel is saying to us is this. There was once an occasion when
the hearts and minds of the disciples were threatened by external factors that
almost frightened them to death. They thought they had been abandoned,
that Christ did not care. Until they heard his voice.

If our inner peace is threatened, we ned to draw on that memory and hear
that same voice: ‘Why are you afraid? Have you no faith? Peace! Be still’.


The Prayers
Prepared by David.

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.’
We pray for the church, for our Bishops Pete and Sophie, for all who minister in our Mission Area
We give thanks for the calling given to each of us to serve in many different ways. Give us wisdom and strength to fulfil our calling, working together with you for the coming of the Kingdom.
Jesus, Lord of your Church,
in your mercy hear us.

I cannot tell how he will win the nations, how he will claim his earthly heritage,
how satisfy the needs and aspirations of east and west, of sinner and of sage.
We pray for the world and the leaders of the nations.
For places where human greed, hatred and hardness of heart cause pain and suffering.
We give thanks for peace makers, peace keepers and those work for the relief of pain and suffering.
Jesus, Lord of your Church,
in your mercy hear us.

Eternal Father strong to save, whose are doth bind the restless wave,
Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep its own appointed limits keep.
We pray for all those who travel the worlds waterways in a time of increased danger.
We give thanks for the crucial role they play in the transportation of food and other goods around the world.
We pray for their safety and the free flow of marine shipping throughout the world.
Jesus, Lord of your Church,
in your mercy hear us.

I cannot tell how silently he suffered,
As with his peace he graced this place of tears,
Or how his heart upon the cross was broken,
The crown of pain to three and thirty years.
We pray for all those who suffer in body, mind or spirit, the lonely, the anxious, the depressed and those in pain.
We give thanks for those who care, offering support through companionship, diagnosis and treatment and pain relief.
We silently hold in our hearts those known to us.
Jesus, Lord of your Church,
in your mercy hear us.

O Jesus, thou hast promised to all who follow thee,
that where thou art in glory there shall thy servant be.
We pray for those who have died and those nearing the end of their earthly lives.
We give thanks for all that they have given us and the ways they have shaped our lives.
We name them silently in our hearts.
Jesus, Lord of your Church,
in your mercy hear us.

O let me see thy foot-marks and in them plant mine own;
My hope to follow duly is in thy strength alone:
And, Jesus, I have promised to serve thee to the end:
O give me grace to follow, my Master and my friend.
We pray for ourselves, for all that lies ahead of us in the coming week.
We give thanks for the people we will meet and for time spent in work and relaxation.
May we each take something of God’s love out into the world.
Jesus, Lord of your Church,
in your mercy hear us.

Merciful Father
Accept these prayers
for the sake of your Son,
Jesus Christ,


Common Worship: Times and Seasons, material from which is used here is copyright (c) 2010 The Archbishops' Council

Hymn verses copyright (c) of their respective owners.