The United Parish of Reculver

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Weekly Pew Sheet

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For Sunday  21 July 2024

The Collect

Lord God, your Son left the riches of heaven and became poor for our sake: when we prosper save us from pride, when we are needy save us from despair, that we may trust in You alone; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The readings

1. Jeremiah 23:1-6

2. Ephesians 2:11-22

The Gospel

Mark6: 30-34, 53-end

Post Communion

Strengthen for service, Lord, the hands that have taken holy things; may the ears which have heard your word be deaf to clamour and dispute; may the tongues which have sung your praise be free from deceit; may the eyes which have seen the tokens of your love shine with the light of hope; and may the bodies which have been fed with your body be refreshed with the fullness of your life; glory to you for ever.


For Sunday  14 July 2024

The Collect

Lord God, your Son left the riches of heaven and became poor for our sake: when we prosper save us from pride, when we are needy save us from despair, that we may trust in You alone: through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The readings

1. Amos 7:7-15

2. Ephesians 1:3-14

The Gospel

Mark 6:14-29

Post Communion

Lord God, whose Son is the true vine and the source of life, ever giving Himself that the world may live: may we so receive within ourselves the power of His death and passion that, in His saving cup, we may share His glory and be made perfect in His love; for He is alive and reigns, now and for ever.

A sermon By June Conabear

For Sunday 7th July 2024

The Collect is

Creator God, you made us all in your image: may we discern you in all that we see, and serve you in all that we do; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The readings

1. Ezekiel 2: 1-5

2. 2 Corinthians 12:2-10

The Gospel

Mark 6: 1-13.

Please note.

Items urgently needed for Ukraine

Mens shirts, buttoned (warm if possible) for the hospital. Insect repellent. Sun screen. Burn cream, aniseptic cream, sanitary wear.


Sermon by Rev Dr Lawrence Tuck.

Sermon – Nazareth


May the Spirit speak through my heart to yours with these words. Amen.


A very young Fox, new to exploring the world without his mother, happened to come across a magnificent Lion in the forest. The Lion, who had thankfully not seen the Fox, but happened to tread upon a thorn, let out a great roar. At that, there was no longer sight of the Fox, for he had departed with such haste that he left his heart behind in his tail and a scattering of dust and whistling leaves in his tracks. The second time the Fox stumbled across the Lion, he crept behind a tree to have a good look at him. He marvelled at the Lion’s massive frame, his bulging muscles, his fearsome teeth and daggerlike claws. The fox then slinked away deep into the forest. This time he could feel his heart beating rapidly in his chest. The third time, however, that the Fox came upon the Lion, he walked boldly up to him and, with his heart calm and disdainful, said to the Lion, “Hello there, old top!” and passed on his way.

    This story is by the Greek fabulist, Aesop, (and slightly tampered with by me) who was said to live between 620-564 BC. It was summed up by the Latin writer Publilius the Syrian (who lived between 85-43 BC), who penned the expression, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” This, then, is what happened with our friend the young fox. At first terrified by the imposing figure of the lion, he came to see him as no threat, and, in fact, as simply another of the many creatures in the forest he was equal to. The motto of “familiarity breeds contempt” can be found in another of Publilius’ sayings, which is, “no man is a hero to his valet.” If you are too familiar with someone, they may become so commonplace that you no longer see them with respect or admiration.

    There is a contemporary story with a similar message. A tourist, who is keen to see every painting in the National Gallery, flits from one masterpiece to another, scarcely taking the time to study any of them. Upon completing the final room, the tourist walks up to the security guard and says to her, “You know, I really didn’t see anything very special here”, to which the guard replies, “Sir, it is not the pictures that are on trial here—it is the visitors.” In other words, it is not the artwork that should be held with contempt, it is the person passing judgement on them without even trying to understand them.

    Jesus left Capernaum where he had healed the woman with the flow of blood and resurrected the twelve-year old girl. He arrived at his hometown with his disciples and entered the synagogue and began to teach. Many of those that heard his words were amazed and said to themselves, “Where did this man get all this knowledge and wisdom? Where did he receive the power to perform such marvellous deeds?” They remembered the young man Yeshua, who once lived among them. They thought of his family, his father the carpenter, his mother Mary, and his brothers and sisters. For them he was as familiar as the thrice-viewed lion to the fox, or the hastily seen paintings by the naïve tourist at the gallery. And he was equally underestimated and disrespected.

    In the Nazareth story found in the gospel of Luke (4:16-21), we are told that Jesus was given the scroll of Isaiah to read from. We are also informed that he found a particular passage to read, and this is that passage:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news tothe poor.

He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind,

to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.

Further, we are told in Luke that when Jesus had finished reading the passage, he said, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Now, if the people of Nazareth had truly seen the wonders that Jesus performed, and truly heard the wisdom that he spoke, they would have rejoiced at the gift they had been given in him. Instead, they saw only the person they had once known, of the family they were so familiar with. They could not appreciate him as their messiah, or even as a great prophet, despite his marvellous powers.

    What the people could not explain they rejected. Their familiarity with Jesus and his family bred contempt within them. This, of course, does not make Jesus any less the prophet and saviour that he was. He is no less a great rabbi and healer than the paintings in the National Gallery are less masterpieces because someone does not take the time to appreciate them for what they are worth. The lion is still noble and powerful (if a bit taken aback), and still the king of the beasts. The valet is still employed by a respected and lauded member of the ruling class.

    The response of the people from his homeland caused Jesus to become amazed at their unbelief. He could perform no great deed of power, we learn, beyond the healing of a few sick people by the laying on of hands. Now to us this may sound like an ample example of power, but it might be seen to pale somewhat in magnificence compared to raising the dead, stilling a storm, or healing a paralytic, all of which occur previously in Mark. It is worth contrasting Jesus’ reaction to the people of his native town with how he responded to the people at Capernaum, where he found the haemorrhaging woman and the synagogue leader to have great faith.

          We learn from these two segments of Jesus’ ministry (at Capernaum and at Nazareth) that the power of God operates best where there is great faith. Also, that those who do not display the respect and honour due to the divine saviour and prophet may preclude themselves from receiving the marvellous benefits he is capable of bestowing upon them. In other words, miracles can and do take place in a context of great faith, while, conversely, if there is no faith, such miracles will not occur. God requires that we believe in Him and in His ability and His desire to provide healing.

    The response of the people in Nazareth sadly prefaces the horror that is to come, where Jesus will be resolutely rejected by the people of Israel and nailed to a tree. We can therefore also sense a foretaste of what is to come in the following passage which deals with the sending out of the disciples. Jesus bids them to go out in pairs to proclaim to the people the need to repent, to cleanse their spirits, and to cast out demons and heal the sick. With the power of Jesus’ authority, and with his example to guide them, they began the work which they would later resume after his execution.

    We must not become complacent with our faith. It is not helpful to rush through the scriptures and think that we have understood them. A few prayers to God do not make us great believers. Instead, we come closer to God through continued prayer and through dwelling in His Word. We too are disciples of Christ with the responsibility to be examples of His grace, and we learn of this grace through prayerful study. We come to best understand God through knowing that we have yet much to learn about Him. We are the antithesis of the Fox – we grow more respectful of the Lion our God through repeated exposure. We come closer to our Lord through filling our hearts with love and imitating the mission path of his Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.



Rev Sue will be on holiday from 6 July to 20 July inc.

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