30th June 2024 10.30am – 5th Sunday after Trinity – Eucharist

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The Readings

2 Corinthians 8.7-24

Now as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you—so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking.

I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something— now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means. For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has—not according to what one does not have. I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. As it is written,

‘The one who had much did not have too much,
and the one who had little did not have too little.’

But thanks be to God who put in the heart of Titus the same eagerness for you that I myself have. For he not only accepted our appeal, but since he is more eager than ever, he is going to you of his own accord. With him we are sending the brother who is famous among all the churches for his proclaiming of the good news; and not only that, but he has also been appointed by the churches to travel with us while we are administering this generous undertaking for the glory of the Lord himself and to show our goodwill. We intend that no one should blame us about this generous gift that we are administering, for we intend to do what is right not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of others. And with them we are sending our brother whom we have often tested and found eager in many matters, but who is now more eager than ever because of his great confidence in you. As for Titus, he is my partner and co-worker in your service; as for our brothers, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ. Therefore, openly before the churches, show them the proof of your love and of our reason for boasting about you.


Mark 5.21-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered round him; and he was by the lake. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.’ So he went with him.

And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, ‘If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.’ Immediately her haemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ And his disciples said to him, ‘You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, “Who touched me?” ’ He looked all round to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.’

While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, ‘Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?’ But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, ‘Do not fear, only believe.’ He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, ‘Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.’ And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha cum’, which means, ‘Little girl, get up!’ And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.


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.

Sometimes, the gospel for the day is so familiar that we don’t always notice
everything that it might be saying to us. Today’s gospel is like that.

It has two intertwined stories – about a woman who is burdened by a
continuous flow of menstrual bleeding. And a twelve year old girl who is
gravely ill. We take in what the stories are saying – that both the woman and
the girl are made well through the intervention of Jesus. But we may miss
much else that is there, things that should matter to us and to the continuing
life of the church.

In this case. while we focus on the healing, we may overlook something else
that the two stories have in common: they are both about people who are not

That’s easily done anyway because we are so used to thinking about Jesus
with the twelve apostles who are all male, and their opponents – the scribes
and Pharisees – who are also male. Jesus comes into what these days we
would call a patriarchal society.

But if you stand back from the story of Jesus as we have it in all the gospels
and look at it as a whole – from what we know of its beginning to its end –
what we see is that women played a key role, from its beginning to its end -
and indeed beyond.

Mary gives birth to Jesus, she’s with him at various points during his teaching
ministry and she is there at the foot of the cross. Jesus talks to women. The
unnamed woman at the well. The unnamed woman in today’s gospel. Those
who go with him from the Galilee to Jerusalem - not just eleven male disciples
but also a wider group of women. After all, who baked the bread and set the
table for the Last Supper if it wasn’t this group of women.

And its the women who are there when the body of Jesus is taken from the
cross and placed in the tomb. That’s why they, not the men, can bring spices
to put round the body when the Sabbath is over: they alone know where it
has been taken. And this is why it is a woman, Mary Magdalen, who is the
first to encounter the risen Lord on the morning of the resurrection.

The women were always there and rather more reliable, more faithful, than
the men.

It’s easy to overlook this and to fail to recognise how significant it all is.

At the time of Jesus, rabbis did not have conversations with women. And in
that society few men would risk their reputation by having an extended
conversation with a woman as she drew water from the village well.

Similarly with children.

People thought children were important to have. One of the psalms sums it
up rather well, comparing children with arrows – Happy is the man who has
his quiver full of them. The man - the man - is happy because it means his
line will continue and he will have someone to look after him in old age.

But the idea that children might have value for their own sake, seems

But Jesus sees things differently. On one occasion when people bring
children to Jesus for him to lay his hands on them and pray with them, the
disciples tell them off. Jesus intervenes. Let the children come to me,
because this is what the kingdom of heaven looks like.

If we can understand this bigger context to the life and ministry of Jesus, we
can see more clearly why the two stories we have today are so significant.

First, the woman in the crowd with the utterly debilitating menstrual condition.
In her distress the woman seeks out Jesus. But she is not sure what sort of
reception she might get. After all, she is a woman; and she will also know that
the Jewish scriptures are very clear that menstruating women should not
touch other people – it defiles them. But she is so desperate that she comes
up behind Jesus and touches him.

Jesus notices. Despite the crush of bodies, he is aware of what this touch
means for this woman. He senses her despair. And he is clear that the
healing that comes for the woman is possible because whatever he brings,
she also brings something: her determination, her refusal to give up, her
bravery – all summed up as her faith. Daughter, your faith has made you well.

And then there’s the twelve year old girl – a child and female. Jesus makes
the time to go to her house, ignoring all those who say it’s not worth the
bother, and, in the room with her parents, she is made well. And afterwards,
when everyone else is focussed on him and the amazing thing that has
happened, he is still thinking of the child: Get her something to eat.

All these things in these two entwined stories have enormous implications for
all Christian who come after, including us. They go to the heart of how we
should treat one another – male and female, adults and children.

Things which, down the Christian centuries we have not always got right.

The Prayers
Prepared by Barbara.

In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ, let us pray to the Father.

O God, the creator and preserver of all, we pray for people in every kind of need; make your ways known on earth, your saving health among all nations …

We pray for all those affected by war, thinking particularly of people in Ukraine, Russia, the Gaza Strip and Israel, but not forgetting conflicts such as those in Myanmar and Sudan. Please bring strength and comfort to all those affected and help every one of us to be part of a path to peace throughout the world.

We pray for all those who will be voting this year to choose a new government for their country, thinking particularly of those in France, the USA and the UK. Help us to consider the future we want for our countries and what governments would be best placed to achieve that future, rather than just considering our own immediate fortunes. Help us to vote for a world that is more considerate of all its inhabitants, both human and non-human.

We pray also for all those involved in trying to fight the climate crisis, as we approach 1.5 degrees of warming throughout the world. Please give all governments the political courage to resist further use of fossil fuels and to invest in sources of renewable energy instead.
Lord, in your mercy
hear our prayer.

We pray for your Church throughout the world; guide and govern us by your good Spirit, that all who profess and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace and in righteousness of life …

We pray especially for our worshipping community of St. John’s Ranmoor, St. Mark’s Broomhill and St. Mary’s Walkley, that we may continue to bear witness to our faith in the way we live our daily lives.

We pray for all those here in Walkley, as we celebrate Walkley Festival. Please help us to participate fully and to use the events and activities to help to build a stronger and more compassionate community for all to enjoy. We pray for all those involved in organising the Festival, that they may feel that they have achieved their goals successfully and that they can enjoy a rest when it is through.
Lord, in your mercy
hear our prayer.

We commend to your fatherly goodness all those who are in any way afflicted or distressed, in mind, body or estate; comfort and relieve them in their need, give them patience in their sufferings, and bring good out of their troubles …

We pray for all those caught up in waiting lists for health care. Please bring them healing and future good health.

In moments of peace and contemplation, we name to you all those known to us who are suffering. Please care for them and for all those of whose suffering we are unaware.
Lord, in your mercy
hear our prayer.

We remember those who have gone before us in the peace of Christ, and we give you praise for all your faithful ones, with whom we rejoice in the communion of saints …

We name to you in our hearts all those known to us both near and far who are suffering the loss of friends and loved ones, asking that you bring your comfort and healing to them at this time of grief.

Merciful Father,
accept these prayers
for the sake of your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.


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