9th June 2024 10.30am – 2nd Sunday after Trinity – Eucharist

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The Readings

2 Corinthians 4.13-5.1
But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—‘I believed, and so I spoke’—we also believe, and so we speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.


Mark 3.20-end

and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, ‘He has gone out of his mind.’ And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, ‘He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.’ And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, ‘How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.

‘Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin’— for they had said, ‘He has an unclean spirit.’
Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, ‘Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.’ And he replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.’

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 Catherine, Reader at St Mary's.

“The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not
know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born
of the Spirit”

These words, from John’s gospel, seem to reflect well the opening stories of
Mark’s gospel.

Following his baptism by John in the Jordan, and time of temptation by Satan
in the wilderness, Jesus barely seems to keep still. Mark’s pacey narrative has
proclaiming the kingdom of God, and
healing numerous people, and
driving out demons, and
teaching and
calling many to follow him, including the twelve named disciples.

All this in less than three chapters.

He’s attracting huge crowds wherever he goes, and seriously upsetting the
religious authorities. In this precarious time of Roman occupation, Jewish
worship and customs are allowed...but only if the people don’t stir up trouble.
Someone proclaiming an alternative kingdom, ignoring the Sabbath rules, and
attracting large crowds is not good news for the scribes.

It’s also embarrassing his family, who think he’s out of his mind. In this
conservative society, family honour matters. A family with a son drawing
attention to himself like this may be treated with suspicion and shunned.

Now Jesus returns to his home town, surrounded by a crowd so big that no-one
has space to eat. Both his family and the Jerusalem scribes learn of it and
determine to stop him. His family try to restrain him. The scribes try to
persuade the crowds not to listen to him. They declare he is casting out demons
because he is possessed by the chief demon.

Jesus rebukes both the scribes and his family. The scribes get the sterner
rebuke. He is casting out demons because he has a demon? “How absurd!”
Jesus says. “How can Satan cast out Satan? How can evil cast itself out? It’s

Then he points out that if a house is divided amongst itself, it is unlikely to
thrive. And he also says that you can’t plunder the property of a strong man’s
house unless you have first tied up the strong man. Evil won’t thrive where
there is division amongst those perpetuating it. Evil won’t thrive if it has been

Jesus says to the scribes “It is the Holy Spirit you are seeing at work here, not
Satan”. It is God’s Spirit who is working through Jesus casting out evil, and
healing the sick. Those who recognise this will have all manner of sins
forgiven. But those who declare that the Holy Spirit is Satan are committing
blasphemy! If the scribes maintain this viewpoint, there is no hope of
forgiveness – they cannot let God in to forgive them.

Harsh words against those scribes who are in league with the occupying empire
and allowing evil to take root.

Jesus’ rebuke to his family is a little softer. He won’t be restrained by them, so
he refuses to come outside to talk to them. If they won’t do the will of God,
they are not his mother or his brothers.

In the earlier stories, Jesus has called people to follow him, people of many
different backgrounds, men, women, old, young, some in powerful positions,
others on the fringes of respectable society. These are the people who surround
him now. They have said “yes” to God and “yes” to the Good News of his
kingdom. So Jesus proclaims:

“Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my
brother and sister and mother.”

The stubbornness of the religious authorities to see the Holy Spirit at work
leads to them having Jesus arrested, tried and ultimately crucified. But unlike
the strong man in Jesus’ mini parable, he won’t be kept tied down. Two days
later God raises him from the dead. The scribes cannot keep the Holy Spirit
from acting. God’s kingdom is here whether they accept it or not.

Jesus seems to distance himself from his family at the end of today’s story.

However, we know from later in the new Testament that this estrangement is
only temporary. His mother stands at the foot of the cross, standing with him
during his time of greatest need. She and his brothers are present in the upper
room, following Jesus’ Ascension, and they became an active part of the early
church following Pentecost.

So I’ll end with some questions:

Where is God’s Spirit at work today? Is the Spirit working in some unexpected
way that challenges us to rethink how we understand and practise our faith?
Who makes up Jesus’ family today? Where are they living out the good news
of God’s kingdom?


The Prayers
Prepared by Kath.

God our Father, hear us when we pray to you in faith. We give you thanks for the many wonderful gifts you have given us. May we take the time to see and truly appreciate all that we have and help us to look after it for this generation and the generations who follow us.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Father, we pray for your church throughout the world and for those of other faiths who worship you. Help us to seek ways to live together peaceably and respectfully in your name rather than clinging to what divides us.

We pray for all in our mission partnership giving thanks for the time, talents and gifts which our churches and communities benefit from.
This week we have been commemorating the 80th anniversary of D-Day. Among those whose service we remember, let us give thanks for the work of the padres or military chaplains who were alongside those they ministered to. Many of them went beyond their duties, helping to tend to and bring comfort to the wounded and dying and writing to their families. Demonstrating your love in the midst of adversity. We pray for those who continue in this quiet, courageous and loving service.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Again thinking of the sacrifices of D-Day and all it represents, we pray for our very troubled world and all peoples who are suffering because of wars and oppression. Father, guide us and especially our leaders to know what is right and strengthen us to work together for it, so that everyone can live in peace. Be with all who are courageous in standing against tyranny and help us to value the freedom and liberty we have that has been won for us at so great a price. Help us not to squander it by thoughtlessness and apathy. May we never forget that price or those who paid it.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We pray for all who are ill and those who are nearing the end of their lives. May they receive the care, comfort and compassion they need. We pray for those who accompany them on their journey who also need to be supported.
By name we pray for Anne & Michael & their family,
In a moment of quiet let us call to mind anyone known to us who is in special need of our prayers at this time and let us also pray for ourselves and our own concerns and needs.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We remember all who have died, some recently and some long ago. We pray that they are at peace and that those who love and miss them will be comforted and cared for in their grief. We give thanks for the life of Rob Burrow and for his great courage in advocating for the sufferers of Motor Neurone disease right to the end of his life.
Again in a short time of quiet let us remember those special to us who are no longer with us.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

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

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