Reflection for Trinity 5 2 July 2021 #ThankYouDay

‘Jesus left that place and came to his home town, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, ‘Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offence at him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honour, except in their home town, and among their own kin, and in their own house.’ And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.

Then he went about among the villages teaching. He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. He said to them, ‘Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.’ So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.’

Mark 6:1-13

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At the heart of today’s Gospel is the reminder that we never follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ on our own. We see here Jesus sending out his disciples in pairs. They are asked to share the transforming good news of Jesus Christ not alone but with another person. Ministry is always a collaborative endeavour; it can never be just the vicar’s task, rather a task that is shared with each and every person by virtue of their baptism.

So what might this have to do with #ThankYouSunday? One of the many lessons of the past 15 months is that whilst we are indeed thankful for the technology that keeps us connected, we would rather spend time face to face. Human beings are created for relationship with God, with each other and with creation. We need one another in order to flourish, in order to be fully human.

There have been so many examples of care and prayer during the pandemic. Much of it goes unrecognised, as Jesus was not recognised by those who knew him best. So #ThankYouSunday is an opportunity intentionally to thank someone who has reached out to help you: shopkeepers, teachers, those who recycle the rubbish, the post-people, friends, families, next door neighbours and people from our places of worship and community groups. As we thank others, let us also ponder the fact that the cultivation of a spirit of thankfulness is not simply something for one day only, rather a spiritual discipline that can shape the whole of our lives.

I take this opportunity to thank all of you who have made a difference to my life during the viral pandemic. I am grateful for faith. I am grateful for you all.

Rev Canon Nikki Arthy, Rector

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