‘Happy Fathers Day’ – 20th June 2021 – 3rd Sunday after Trinity

The order of service:

The order of service as a word document:

21 06 20 3rd Sunday after Trinity Eucharist

The order of service as a pdf:

21 06 20 3rd Sunday after Trinity Eucharist

The Livestream link

To participate in the service through YouTube, please click here:

The Readings

Job 38.1-11

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind:
‘Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Gird up your loins like a man,
I will question you, and you shall declare to me.

‘Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone
when the morning stars sang together
and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?

‘Or who shut in the sea with doors
when it burst out from the womb?—
when I made the clouds its garment,
and thick darkness its swaddling band,
and prescribed bounds for it,
and set bars and doors,
and said, “Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stopped”?


Mark 4.35-41

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 Kath, a Reader at St Mary's. 

In the not too distant past, when we had more actual bookshops including the Christian Literature shop, where we could enjoy browsing real books and the other items they stocked, I occasionally used to buy some of the little cards with interesting verses or prayers or sayings on them. They can be quite comforting or inspiring or encouraging and last week a few words from one of them came to mind as I struggled to relate our readings from Job & Mark to the fact that today is Father’s Day. The verse went something like “don’t give up though the going seems slow, for you may succeed with another go” and so it proved to be. In fact it has been true of the whole process of writing this sermon. I’ve really had to beat it into shape! I knew that I wanted to speak about fathers and indeed the importance of all people in parental type roles but somehow it just wasn’t coming together in a meaningful or coherent way or saying what I wanted to say. However, I stuck at it and gave the readings another go and then with the passage from Job, the penny suddenly dropped and I could see the relevance. What a relief!
God, the Father, is speaking to Job, one of his children, and by the sound of it, he seems to be really putting him in his place. I suppose it depends how you read the passage and where you put emphasis on the words but the way it sounded to me indicated that God was not entirely happy or impressed. “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements- surely you know! Not a talking to you’d want to be on the receiving end of and by the end of it, some 71 verses later, I imagine Job was pretty uncomfortable and shamefaced.
I found the story of Job a very difficult one to read and I have to admit that he’s a character I have a lot of sympathy with. Perhaps this was partly because at the time when I read it, I could identify with his efforts to do the right things, only to be met with one disaster and disappointment after another. He isn’t perfect, none of us are, but he tries to be faithful and good but eventually, after many painful trials and tests he begins to crack and challenge God about the unfairness of what is happening to him. The response he gets is probably not what he was hoping for. What God is effectively saying is “Who are you to speak of what you don’t know or understand?”
The brief passage we’ve heard demonstrates the relationship between parents and children very well. Children don’t always appreciate that parents know and understand far more than they do and that this usually comes from wisdom acquired through life experience. Being told that an unpopular decision is “for your own good“ doesn’t necessarily make it more palatable or easy to accept though. Children may feel that the parental figure doesn’t acknowledge or understand their situation or point of view and they often feel aggrieved about this. I’m sure we can all remember such feelings when as young people we couldn’t get our own way. What we probably didn’t realise at the time, is just how hard it can be, to be the one having to disappoint or say no.
The importance of good role models in the form of parental figures cannot be overstated and just as we celebrate mother figures so we should celebrate father figures too. Whether as fathers, grandfathers, Godfathers, stepfathers, uncles or friends, all have a part to play in nurturing and developing and inspiring those who need their loving care and guidance. Perhaps at this point I should say that I’m well aware that these relationships aren’t always easy; not everyone has a good relationship with their father, some fathers find their role difficult, I’m sure they all do at times, or they may feel inadequate. For many men who long to be fathers, it doesn’t always happen and they have to find other ways to play a fatherly role. However they may feel about their situation though, they all have the potential to play a very positive and important part in the lives of the children who look up to them and depend on them. I’m sure Joseph’s experience of fatherhood was not quite what he thought it would be but without his faithful and loving care, what would have become of Jesus?
It may seem obvious for young people as they are growing up but in truth we all continue to need and benefit from good role models throughout our lives. My own dad died nearly fourteen years ago and I still miss his wisdom, huge enthusiasm and encouragement, especially when we were working together on a new project. I miss being able to ask his advice and to talk things over with him, likewise with my mum and other family and friends who have died. I’m sure you all have people who were special to you whose loving guidance and support you miss.
That said, as adults we are usually the ones with the life experience and the wisdom and the ones making decisions so it can be hard to find ourselves in what can feel like a “junior” role, especially if the person we feel “junior” to is younger than we are. Maybe it’s not so strange with people like doctors and other health professionals or others who are trained in their particular fields but at other times it doesn’t sit so well with us. But in truth we shouldn’t be too proud or stubborn to learn from or be guided by anyone who has more knowledge and wisdom than we do, regardless of age or any other factor. As a nurse I remember learning a lot from auxiliaries and technicians who I was supposedly senior to and let’s be honest, when anything computer or tech related goes wrong, most of us are thinking “where’s a young person when you need one to fix it”!
We need a degree of humility to recognise and accept when we are the ones needing guidance and support and this is especially so in our relationship with God. As with Job, we may not always find some of God’s promptings entirely comfortable, indeed they may very challenging, painful and costly. However worldly wise we think we are, whether we are nine, nineteen, fifty nine or ninety nine we are never too young or old to be in need of God our Father’s loving and guiding presence in our lives.
So to God and to all of you who have loving fatherly roles, I’d like to say thank you for all the good that you do, and Happy Father’s Day.

The Prayers
Prepared by David, adapted from Common Worship.

We pray for the flourishing of God’s gifts to his Church, saying:
Lord of the Church,
in your mercy hear us.

God our Father, you give us gifts that we may work together
in the service of your Son:
bless the leaders of your Church, our Bishops, Pete and Sophie,
that they may be firm in faith,
and humble before you.
Lord of the Church,
in your mercy hear us.

Bless those who teach, who break open God’s word in preaching
that they may increase our understanding,
and be open to your word for them.
Lord of the Church,
in your mercy hear us.

Bless those who minister healing during this time of pandemic
that they may bring wholeness to others,
yet know your healing in themselves.
Lord of the Church,
in your mercy hear us.

Bless those through whom you speak, prophets and the voices crying out in the wilderness
that they may proclaim your word in power,
yet open their ears to your gentle whisper.
Lord of the Church,
in your mercy hear us.

Bless those who work in your world today,
that in the complexity of their daily lives
they may live for you, fulfil your purposes,
and seek your kingdom first.
Lord of the Church,
in your mercy hear us.

Bless those who are uncertain of their gifts
and those who are powerless in this world’s eyes,
that they may be made strong in your gift of the Holy Spirit.
Lord of the Church,
in your mercy hear us.

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