The quiet reflection service is a guided meditation on the readings for the week, accompanied by a couple of hymns. It starts at 1pm on Thursdays, and runs for about 40 minutes.
Quiet Reflection for 2018 will continue every week until the 20th December.
Following is the service for the 14th June 2018. Silence 14Jun18 If you click on it, it should open in your browser. (To return to the page, press the ‘back’ button in your browser.)
Alternatively, you may just read the whole text below.
Pentecost 3 14th June 2018
The parables encourage us to defy hopelessness and to believe that nothing will serve the interests of those around us, our planet and ourselves, better than to allow ourselves to be part of God’s life and love in the world.
Hymn: 747 The Lord is my light (5 times)
Mark 4: 26-34 J.B. Phillips New Testament
Then he said, “The kingdom of God is like a man scattering seed on the ground and then going to bed each night and getting up every morning, while the seed sprouts and grows up, though he has no idea how it happens. The earth produces a crop without any help from anyone: first a blade, then the ear of corn, then the full-grown grain in the ear. And as soon as the crop is ready, he sends his reapers in without delay, for the harvest-time has come.”
Then he continued, “What can we say the kingdom of God is like? How shall we put it in a parable? It is like a tiny grain of mustard-seed which, when it is sown, is smaller than any seed that is ever sown. But after it is sown in the earth, it grows up and becomes bigger than any other plant. It shoots out great branches so that birds can come and nest in its shelter.”
So he taught them his message with many parables such as their minds could take in. He did not speak to them at all without using parables, although in private he explained everything to his disciples.
Jesus’s technique of parables consists in introducing a little subversion from within the normal imagination in order to open out our horizons a little with respect to who God is and what are his ways.
In the parable of the mustard seed, Jesus is saying that the little sign which he will bring about by going to his death, of little promise as it may appear, will produce a great result in terms of social structure, so that the birds which would normally have dedicated themselves to eating up any available seed can nest in its branches. What Jesus is bringing to existence is something which will even be capable of offering hospitality to those who would have been its principal enemies: and all this has happened! We live in a society which prides itself on making space for its own persecutors and for people who want nothing to do with the Christian religion. They may even persecute it, and, in order to do so, lay hold of all the advantages which have been produced by way of living together founded on the possibility of the innocence of the victim, Jesus.
James Alison, Raising Abel p.85
All of us are in the process of writing our own gospels — our own accounts of experiencing the Good News of the kingdom in our midst. Writing a gospel through the very act of living is part of being a disciple of Christ. It is why Jesus gave the power of the parable to all those listening to his words. Storytelling is one of the most basic practices common to all human communities. Stories connect us to one another, to our ancestors, to our world and to our God. Jesus knew that only parable power had the ability to make the Good News of the kingdom a potent reality for every listening ear. Paul Nuechterlein, giradianlectionary.net
Asserting hope can be rather meaningless unless we have some experience of fulfilment in the here and now. Without it, it is probably not even possible to hope. We live in the tension between hope-informed life, love in the here and now, and increasing exposure to the hopelessness which many people face. The parables, set within the pain of their context, are much more realistic. They encourage us to defy hopelessness and to believe that nothing will serve the interests of those around us, our planet and ourselves, better than to allow ourselves to be part of God’s life and love in the world. William Loader
|The Kingdom of heaven slips between the cracks in the meaning of words.The languages of this world cannot contain it.
In the depths of the ocean of our desperation it lies, a pearl of enormous wealth.
It fills the cavern of our need.
It is the immensity of small acts of compassion.
|It is the sea of living water contained in a single tear of our contrition.
It is the split second between the welling up of joy and the eruption of laughter.
It is dancing to our own beat.
It is the wide eyes of a child.
It is the seed for our hope of life. It is here.
It is now.
Hymn: 123 Be still, my soul