Revd Linda Whetter's Sermon for Trinity 7, Sunday 18th July 2021

Trinity 7 18 July 2021 Ladock HC.

Jeremiah 23.1-6

Psalm 23

Ephesians 2:11-end

Mark 6:30-34. 53-end

 

In the name of God The Father The Son and The Holy Spirit.

 

‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever’ (Psalm 23:6)

 

 I am very aware that tomorrow is our so called ‘freedom day’ and people are approaching it with very different emotions, needs and intentions.   Today’s readings are topical. The Old Testament reading speaks of people being led astray; Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is to a group of people divided.   Mark’s Gospel presents Jesus as the long awaited Shepherd who would come to lead God’s people to peace healing and truth. Psalm 23 sums it all up.

 

 Mark describes Jesus’ exhausted disciples just back from their mission trips. After Jesus hears that they had no time to eat, He told them: ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest, and they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. We   may not have hopped on a boat, but we have all known something of spending time in quiet isolation over the past 18 months, to varying degrees, in varying situations and with varying affect.  Some have said they liked being alone, others found it unbearably lonely; others simply   don’t know how to be in isolation. Solitude can make us feel uncomfortable; resting can make us feel guilty, especially if we have been brought up to honour a work ethic that equates idleness with laziness. For others, being busy seeing to the problems of others is a distraction from their own.

 

 So, whose lead do you follow in all our decisions as we seek to do what is right for ourselves, our loved ones and for ‘our neighbour’ in every aspect of our lives. Well, it is fortunate that Psalm 23 is our Psalm for today, its images of a Good Shepherd, timely. The reality is that at times most of us behave like lost sheep, wandering aimlessly, vulnerable, uncertain, at times afraid and easily led. Psalm 23 reassures us that our Lord is there to guide and restore us. As Christians we are called to take care of ourselves and others, if they want us to! - ‘To be a Good Shepherd.’ How do we do that? Well, a shepherd once   told me that a shepherd’s crook is not designed to reach out and hook the sheep in, it is designed to be placed firmly in the ground, to enable the shepherd to become so still, the sheep learn to trust him.

 

Our Christian life is built up, by going to the presence of God for refreshment renewal and guidance, and then going to people.   As Henri Nouwen once said: ‘All Christian action whether it is visiting the sick, feeding the hungry or clothing the naked, is a manifestation of what is revealed to us in the House of God. It is not an anxious human effort to create a better world; it is a confident expression of the truth that in Christ, death, evil, and destruction have been overcome.

 It is not a fearful attempt to restore a broken order; it is an assertion that in Christ all order has already been restored. It is not an effort to bring divided people together, but a celebration of an already established unity. This action is not activism. An activist wants to heal, restore, redeem, and re-create, but those acting within the House of God point through their action to the healing, restoring, re-deeming and re creating presence of God’ So, whatever we do in life, Christ is our Shepherd, the one who leads us, guides us, calls each one by name. He will not abandon us, betray us or mislead us, and this is a wonderful image to carry with us.

 

 However, it is often overlooked that    the image in the final two verses of Psalm 23 is no longer of a Shepherd and a sheep, but rather the host and a guest. He is the Host, we are the guest, we shall not be in want, He will nourish our souls.

 

 So as we begin this new week, may our Lord Jesus Christ, the Shepherd who knows each of His flock by name, draw you to Him by His merciful love and gentle wisdom, and   lead you into the way of Peace, Healing, and Truth; and ‘ Surely goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our life: and we will dwell in the House of the Lord forever’. Amen.

 

 

 

Psalm 23:

 

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Printer Printable Version