Carlops Online Worship 18th July 2021

Eighth Sunday after Trinity


Lighting of candles


Call to Worship:               Murray


Lord God, You are our Master and friend, our Shepherd and guide.

Wherever we go, You are with us.

Wherever we stray, You seek us out.

Whenever we call, You hear us.

You are our promise and our hope our place of rest and peace.  

Whoever we are, You accept us.

Whatever we do, You love us.

Whenever we fall, You lift us up.


Hymn 14 (Psalm 23): The Lord’s My Shepherd

The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want.

He makes me down to lie

in pastures green: he leadeth me

the quiet waters by.


My soul he doth restore again;

and me to walk doth make

within the paths of righteousness,

ev’n for his own name’s sake.


Yea, though I walk in death’s dark vale,

yet will I fear none ill:

for thou art with me; and thy rod

and staff me comfort still.


My table thou has furnished

in presence of my foes;

my head thou dost with oil anoint,

and my cup overflows.


Goodness and mercy all my life

shall surely follow me:

and in God’s house for evermore

my dwelling place shall be.


Readings:                        Gill

Ephesians 2: 11-22         

Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth, and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands) — remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

Mark 6:  30-34, 53-56

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.


Reflection                         Murray

Peace and Protest

Our service will close, as usual, with a benediction. However, I’d like to begin this reflection by quoting a few lines of a poetic blessing often described as the “Gaelic Benediction”:

Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the gentle night to you.
Deep peace of Christ to you.

This poem, a version of which has been set as a choral piece by John Rutter, seems to have been written originally in English rather than Gaelic, but it does reflect the importance of the natural world in Celtic spirituality.

The American nineteenth century poet John Greenleaf Whittier echoed the theme of the restful and restorative power of natural beauty in the words of the famous hymn “Dear Lord and Father of mankind”:

O Sabbath rest by Galilee!
O calm of hills above,
where Jesus knelt to share with thee
the silence of eternity,
interpreted by love!

At the time in Jesus’s ministry described in today’s reading from Mark’s Gospel, the little band of disciples who were closest to Jesus were under particular stress. The terrible news of the murder of John the Baptist had just been received, and the threat to Jesus and his followers was clear. Jesus was however determinedly continuing to travel around the country preaching and healing, and was attracting huge crowds wherever he went. At the beginning of the passage we heard, Jesus had decided that it was time to find a quiet place in which he and his disciples could rest and recover their spiritual equilibrium.

We can readily imagine the disciples’ exhausted prayer in another verse of Whittier’s hymn:

Drop thy still dews of quietness
till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls the strain and stress,
and let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of thy peace.

It was not to be, however! When they arrived at the quiet place at which they had planned their retreat, they found that the crowd had forestalled them, and were already clamouring for more teaching by Jesus. He recognised that they were like sheep without a shepherd, and in his compassion all thought of peace and rest was set aside.


The Lectionary reading from Mark’s Gospel today misses out a passage which describes the momentous events which took place that evening by the lakeside. Somehow or other, Jesus was able to arrange for the feeding of the thousands of people who had come to hear him. He then sent his disciples across the lake in the boat, while he himself stayed on to bid farewell to the multitude and see them safely on the long trek home. Only then did he retreat up the hillside for his own private prayer.

Like our Master, we desperately need times when we can set aside the cares and complications of our daily lives, and find a space for quiet communion with nature and with God. We are blessed by living in a country in which natural beauty is all around us, and peaceful places are not usually hard to find. Above all, we are blessed by the promise of Jesus:

Peace is my parting gift to you, my own peace, such as the world cannot give. Set your troubled hearts at rest, and banish your fears. [John 14: 27]

And yet:

Can we really pray: “Drop thy still dews of quietness till all our strivings cease?” Faced by the urgent needs of the clamouring crowd, Jesus did not hesitate to postpone his own sabbatical, but plunged back into his work of compassion. There is a danger, against which we must guard, of seeking our own peace at the expense of the greater good of our neighbours. When we see injustice and inhumanity we must be prepared to protest and to act, even if that disrupts our “ordered lives”.

The passage we heard from the Letter to the Ephesians paints a wonderful picture of the true nature of the peaceful lives which God has intended for us. The writer (probably not Paul himself) describes how Christ has destroyed the dividing wall of hostility between peoples with different nationalities or beliefs, by creating in himself one new humanity encompassing all. We are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household.

In the light of this vision of a new humanity in which all are equal citizens, we cannot rest in peace when we see racism blighting the lives of countless people in our own country and across the world. We must urge political leaders to insist that vaccines and other essential medicines are fairly shared, rather than hoarded by the richest nations. We should surely join Christian Aid in condemning the recent cut in the UK Overseas Aid Budget, which will result in fewer children having access to a basic education, people being unable to access vital health care during this global pandemic, and more families going hungry in some of the poorest communities on earth.

The American US Congressman John Lewis, a friend and supporter of Martin Luther King, died a year ago at the age of 80. Over many decades he was an outstanding leader in the American civil rights movement. He wrote:

Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.

Jesus promised us peace, not a quiet life. As Christians, followers of Jesus, we should be prepared when necessary to make “good trouble” as we work to bring in God’s kingdom of love and justice, in our own country and throughout the world.


Prayer                     Laura

Heavenly Father, 

We thank you for the warmer, longer days of summer, and for the opportunities we have to be outdoors enjoying your creation, be that in the mountains, fields, forests, out on the water, or simply in our own garden. 

Thank you for the people we share your creation with – our friends, families, partners, church, and local community. Thank you especially for the children in our lives, and the opportunity the summer holidays afford us to spend more time with them. 

Lord, as we enjoy the sunshine, we pray for all those around the world who are currently struggling with extreme weather events, in particular our neighbours in Europe who have been hit by flooding, and those in Canada and the US experiencing extreme heat. May we keep them in our thoughts, and strive always to do whatever may be in our power to combat climate change, and safeguard our planet and its future. 

Lord, as our society continues to open up and restrictions ease, we are so grateful for the opportunities we may have to see friends and family, to travel further, and go on holiday. But we remember also those who for whatever reason cannot be vaccinated, or for whom the vaccines are not effective – the many people who will be finding this a very stressful time. We also pray for those still unable to be reunited with family – may they know your love and comfort through the people around them. 

Now in silence, we name before you those known to us who are in need, and ask that they may know your comforting presence – 

These prayers we make in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen. 


Hymn 710:  ‘I have a dream’, a man once said

‘I have a dream’, a man once said,

‘where all is perfect peace;

where men and women, black and white,

stand hand in hand, and all unite

in freedom and in love.’


But in this world of bitter strife

the dream can often fade;

reality seems dark as night,

we catch but glimpses of the light

Christ sheds on humankind.


Fierce persecution, war, and hate

are raging everywhere;

God calls us now to pay the price

through struggles and through sacrifice

of standing for the right.


So dream the dreams and sing the songs,

but never be content;

for thoughts and words don’t ease the pain:

unless there’s action, all is vain;

faith proves itself in deeds.


Lord, give us vision, make us strong,

help us to do your will;

don’t let us rest until we see

your love throughout humanity

uniting us in peace.


Benediction            Murray


Sung Blessing:      May the God of peace go with us

                                as we travel from this place;

                                may the love of Jesus keep us

                                firm in hope and full of grace.