July 2018

1st July           Trinity 5           Mark 5 v. 24-34

So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ” But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

“Who touched me?” Jesus was surrounded by a jostling crowd and yet He asked that question!  However, He knew that someone had benefited from touching His robe.  God gave us five senses- hearing, sight, taste, smell and touch. It is the last of those which often seems the least important but Jesus used it a lot in His ministry.  Communicating by touch needs no words and is often the most meaningful.  There is the touch which calms, the touch of greeting, encouragement, support, sympathy, rejoicing and healing.  In some Churches, Christians share Christ's peace with a handshake during the service.  For some, it may be the only time in the week that they have physical contact with another human being.  Who knows how it helps them?

Think of a time when a touch has helped you.  How did you feel? Look out for an opportunity to use your sense of touch to help someone else.


8th July          Trinity 6          Mark 6v. 7-13

Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town.  And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

Jesus gave us only three actual commands  - “Love God and your neighbour”, “Do this in remembrance of Me” and “Go into all the world”  In this reading, we hear how Jesus helped His disciples to obey the third of those.   He told them not to carry luggage! - to trust God for all their needs.  He told them to reach out to those who welcomed them because it would be they who would listen to the message.  He told them to move on from those who did not welcome them because they would not be receptive to their message. 

Who can you reach out to this week? As you do so, be aware that God will be there for you, supporting and guiding you.


15th July     Trinity 7         Mark 6 v.14-15

King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known. Some were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.” Others said, “He is Elijah.”

The people had followed John the Baptist and heard his message, but John the Baptist was now dead.  Jesus had begun His ministry, preaching and performing miracles.  Some of the people thought He was John the Baptist returned from the dead.  John and Jesus had things in common - both were charismatic and could draw the crowds,  Both preached about God.  There was one vital difference, though.  John was preaching about Jesus, trying to prepare the people for His coming by confessing their sin and being ready for the Messiah.  Jesus was that Messiah and He was proclaiming exactly what God was like. 

John the Baptist was like a signpost, pointing the way to Jesus.  That is our task too.  How can you point people to Jesus?  Does it always need words?


22nd July       St Mary Magdalene          John 20 v. 11- 16

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

It was very early on the first Easter morning. Mary Magdalene went to the tomb in which she knew Jesus' body had been laid.  Grief often takes psople to a grave, or to some place that has been very special to the one who has died.  In her grief and through her tears, Mary thought that someone had moved the stone and taken away the Body of Jesus.  She thought she was speaking to a gardener.  Then she heard her name, “Mary”.  It was when she heard His voice that she knew it was Jesus.  Voices are very distinctive.  Even if a caller on the 'phone does not give a name, we know immediately who it is.  Jesus said only one word “Mary” but even in the depths of grief Mary recognised His voice. Think about that one word from Jesus.  What did it convey to Mary – comfort? reassurance?, encouragement? Peace? or something else?   Maybe all of those.

Read the passage again and this time substitute your own name for “Mary” What might Jesus be saying to you today?  Is He comforting, reassuring, encouraging – or perhaps challenging?  Spend a few minutes just listening.


29th July            Trinity 9          John 6 v,5-11

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

Two of Jesus disciples were issued a challenge  -  how to feed 5000 people!  Philip's reply dismissed altogether the possibility of meeting the challenge.  There was not enough money to feed so many.  It couldn't be done.  Andrew's reply was slightly more positive. He had found a lad with a small picnic, but then the doubts crept in  What use was such a little food?  From time to time we face challenges in life.  We know that God is always there, just as Jesus was for the disciples  He will guide us if we ask Him, although He doesn't always tell us exactly what to do!!

Have you had to face a challenge recently? Did you dismiss it as impossible, or did you see a possible answer before letting doubt creep in?  Or – did you turn to God and listen for His reply?  ( Sometimes it doesn't always come immediately, you may have to wait! )     

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