Sunday, 9 August 2020
Let us pray:
O give thanks to the Lord and call upon his name (Psalm 105: 1).
We pray for the universal Church of God;
We pray for the bishops of the Church of Ireland
and the staff of the diocese and the Representative Church Body,
who have continued to work throughout this crisis.
We pray for our own bishop, Kenneth.
In the Anglican Cycle of Prayer,
we pray for the Anglican Church in Rwanda,
and the Most Revd Laurent Mbanda,
Archbishop of Rwanda and Bishop of Shyira.
Throughout the Church of Ireland this month,
we pray for the Diocese of Dublin and Glendalough,
for Archbishop Michael Jackson,
and for the people and priests of the diocese.
In the Diocesan Cycle of Prayer,
we pray for the Kilmoremoy Union of parishes in the Diocese of Killala,
their rector, the Ven Stephen McWhirter,
and the congregations of Saint Anne’s, Easkey,
Saint Michael’s, Ballina,
and the churches in Kilglass and Killanley (Castleconnor).
We give thanks for the years of faithful service and ministry
given to this parish and diocese by Edward Buckingham
We pray for our neighbouring churches and parishes,
and pray for the Revd Bernie Daly as she prepares to
come to Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick, as Dean’s Vicar.
Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy.
When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified … But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid’ (Matthew 14: 26-27)
We pray for the nations of the world:
We pray for our own government and all governments
that have tried to find ways of dealing with this crisis,
thanking God for the blessings
of wise decision makers and advisers …
We pray for the people of Beirut and Lebanon …
the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki …
We pray for the local community:
We give thanks for frontline workers,
essential services that have kept working …
for our schools … the gardai …
for community volunteers who keep in touch with the housebound …
for those who return to work … those who wait to return to work …
those who have no work to return to …
for business owners who try to keep going …
for those who still live with fear …
for the people of Kildare, Laois and Offaly …
In this time, known in the Church as Ordinary Time,
we give thanks for all the ordinary things
we have taken for granted.
Christ have mercy,
Christ have mercy.
‘Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his face continually’ (Psalm 105: 4)
We pray those in need:
In our hearts, we name individuals, families, neighbours,
care homes, hospitals, voluntary groups …
We pray for those who are sick or isolated, at home or in hospital …
Brian … Alan … Lorraine …
We pray for those we have offered to pray for …
We pray for all who grieve and mourn at this time …
We remember, and give thanks for, the faithful departed …
including Jack and Eileen Ryall, whose anniversary is this week …
We pray for the Casey and Byrne families,
the Ryall and Shorten families …
the Helen family …
may their families find comfort and support in the prayers of friends …
May their memories be a blessing to us …
Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy.
A prayer for peace on the 75th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,
written by the Revd Dr Elizabeth J Smith of the Anglican Church of Australia:
Let us pray for an end to all violence and war,
and especially for the abolition and prohibition of nuclear weapons.
We ask forgiveness for all the wars ever fought
in anger, greed or hunger for power,
with conventional or nuclear weapons.
Teach us just and gracious ways to live as neighbours.
God of peace, hear our prayer.
Merciful Father …
These intercessions were prepared for Castletown Church, Kilcornan, Co Limerick, and Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale, Co Limerick, on Sunday 9 August 2020 (Trinity IX)
Sunday, 9 August 2020,
The Ninth Sunday after Trinity (Trinity IX).
9.30 a.m.: The Parish Eucharist, Castletown Church, Kilcornan, Co Limerick.
11.30 a.m.: Morning Prayer, Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale, Co Limerick.
The Readings: Genesis 37: 1-4, 12-28; Psalm 105: 1-6, 16-22, 45b; Matthew 14: 22-33.
There is a link to the readings HERE.
May I speak to you in the name of God, + Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.
Today [9 August 2020] marks the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki on 9 August 1945.
It came three days after the bombing of Hiroshima, in the closing days of World War II. Within a week, the Japanese emperor had surrendered, and the war came to an end.
Perhaps there was added poignancy in Nagasaki as this was one of the oldest and one of the largest Christian communities in East Asia, and the cathedral was 500 metres from ground zero.
Throughout this year, we are marking the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II: the liberation of the concentration camps and the end of the Holocaust, but also the first use of nuclear weapons: at the ‘Trinity’ test site in the New Mexico desert, at Hiroshima, and at Nagasaki.
But many of us may be asking: what have we learned about war and peace, hatred and justice, since then?
The nuclear arms race continues apace, so that earlier this year the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists said the hands on the Doomsday Clock are now at 100 seconds to Midnight … ‘closer to apocalypse than ever before.’
They say, ‘humanity continues to face two simultaneous existential dangers – nuclear war and climate change – that are compounded by a threat multiplier, cyber-enabled information warfare.’
And they warn, ‘Civilisation-ending nuclear war – whether started by design, blunder, or simple miscommunication – is a genuine possibility.’
These are our worst nightmares. As we fall further and further into the pit, into the abyss, we see too a rise in racism, antisemitism and far-right populism that leaves us unable to cope as the Covid-19 pandemic sweeps across the globe.
Too much money is being spent on the arms race and hatred, not enough on hospitals, health and reaching out to one another.
In the face of the pandemic lockdown, many have descended to social, spiritual and psychological depths that we rarely experience, that we usually come to know only at times of great and intimate crises, such as family tragedies.
Social and spiritual isolation seem to bring us deeper into the abyss, and many people must be asking: ‘Where is God in all this?’
This is the context in which I find myself reading today’s lectionary readings.
The Joseph we meet (Genesis 37: 1-4, 12-28), ‘Joseph the Dreamer,’ is going to be thrown into the deepest depths and abandoned by his family. He is rejected by his brothers who go on to plot to murder him, then throw him into a deep pit, leaving him to die, but then selling him into slavery.
Yet we know, with the benefit of hindsight and through faith, that God is not neglecting his people.
Joseph’s experiences are recalled by the Psalmist (Psalm 105: 1-6, 16-22, 45b) as he ponders his own plight. But he too sees God’s hand at work, knowing that all who seek the Lord can rejoice.
In the Epistle, Saint Paul asks, ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (Romans 10; 7), a reference from the Septuagint (Deuteronomy 30) to crossing the seas. But he too knows that descending to the abyss is not the end: it leads to the end of oppression and to liberation and freedom.
In the Gospel reading (Matthew 14: 22-33), the disciples feel abandoned as they face their worst fears and face the abyss in the sea, the fear of drowning in the storms of life, of falling into the pit.
What are your worst fears?
Most of us have recurring dreams that are vivid and that have themes that keep repeating themselves. They have many common, shared themes, and most of us deal with them in our sleep at various stages in adult life.
Two of the most common themes or nightmares involve drowning and falling, falling into an abyss. Each and every one of us is overwhelmed by the pressures of life, by the demands of others, by the state of the world today.
In the Gospel reading it is early in the morning, before dawn, and the boat is far from the shore when it is battered by waves and the wind.
The disciples have lost control and are frightened. They see Jesus walking on the sea, and are terrified even more, thinking they are seeing a ghost. They cry out in their fears, but Jesus seeks to calm their fears: ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’
In other Gospel accounts, Jesus says, ‘Peace! Be still!’ (see Mark 4: 39).
Both frightened humanity and disorderly nature listen to the word and obey. In their response, the disciples acknowledge Christ as ‘the Son of God’ (verse 33). He is in control of their fears and of the created order, offering to bring a new creation out of chaos and darkness.
‘The world is sleepwalking its way through a newly unstable nuclear landscape,’ the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists warns us.
But concern for the plight of the world in these dangerous times is not an add-on to mission – it is at the very heart of mission, not only for USPG but for all Anglicans.
Two of the five marks of mission – hallmarks of Anglican identity and mission – are ‘to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation’ and ‘to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth.’
In words quoted recently by Helen Mirren and written inside Anne Frank’s Diary, we must ‘be kind and have courage.’
There is no need to fear the abyss, the pit, the nightmares we face now, 75 years after the Holocaust and Nagasaki. We are in this boat together as disciples, and Christ offers the hope he brings with calming the storm, a way out of chaos and darkness into light and peace.
And so, may all we think, say and do be to the praise, honour and glory of God, + Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.
Matthew 14: 22-33 (NRSVA):
22 Immediately [after feeding the crowd with five loaves and two fish,] he [Jesus] made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. 25 And early in the morning he came walking towards them on the lake. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out in fear. 27 But 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.’ 29 He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came towards Jesus. 30 But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’ 32 When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’
The Collect of the Day:
who sent your Holy Spirit
to be the life and light of your Church:
Open our hearts to the riches of his grace,
that we may bring forth the fruit of the Spirit
in love and joy and peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Collect of the Word:
Mighty God and ruler of all creation,
give new strength to our faith,
that we may recognise your presence even when all hope seems lost.
Help us to face all trials with serenity
as we walk with Christ through the stormy seas of life
and come at last to your eternal peace.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
The Post-Communion Prayer:
who gathered us here around the table of your Son
to share this meal with the whole household of God:
In that new world where you reveal the fulness of your peace,
gather people of every race and language
to share in the eternal banquet
of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised 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
This sermon was also made available worldwide by the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) to cathedrals, churches and parishes as part of a series of recorded sermons