Church of England Diocese of Birmingham St. Matthew with St. Chad, Smethwick

2nd Sunday after Trinity

13 Jun 2021, midnight

Readings: Ezekiel 17v22-end; Psalm92v1-end; 2Corinthians 5v6-17; Mark 4v26-34

Let us Pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in thy sight, Lord our strength and our redeemer. Amen

A Word from Barbara: I started a journey a few years ago a discernment process reluctantly I might add, to find out what my calling was, (having debates and discussions with God) telling myself this was a mistake, I felt my parish priest had made a mistake in putting me forward. When I reflected things were pointed out to me. I had started to sing a hymn ‘Here I am Lord’, it is I Lord I have heard you calling in the night, I will go Lord if you lead me I will hold your people in my heart’, this was pointed out to me as I wasn’t aware I was doing it. I DIDN’T REALISE GOD WAS SPEAKING TO ME. I gave excuses as to why I may not be able to attend things I needed to on this journey, yet I managed to attend, enjoyed and grew from all the different experiences. I visited other Churches as part of placements where I met incumbents who were very welcoming and again I learnt many things and increased my faith. I DIDN’T REALISE GOD WAS SPEAKING TO ME.

I went onto a three-year Theological College Course and I feel at this stage that I knew God wanted me to do this, but it was in God’s strength not mine, the course was a big challenge in so many different ways yet by the grace of God I managed to complete it and again increased my faith and my knowledge. I had to have a church in which to train and I was given a choice of visiting a church, and speaking to the priest, a place I would train for the next three years. I placed it in God’s hands for guidance, and I came to you. I visited and I was welcomed very warmly by Rev Lucy and by you, (I know there was a lot going on when I came but you still made me and my family feel loved and welcomed) the building had a warm welcoming feel, I can’t explain it and maybe I am not supposed to be able too, but I wanted you to know. I brought my girls, as you know children do not mince words, and are very direct, they liked the Church too. When I met you, you made me feel so welcomed and loved and we, I hope have grown to know each other more, I have found you to be a church of faith, a people of prayer, people with whom I feel honoured and blessed to walk my journey with and I thank you for that and know you are always in my prayers.

God speaks to people through prayers, silence, the still small voice (Holy Spirit), through people, songs and still through the parables which we read in the Bible. I wasn’t ready to understand what was happening in my life initially and why, I understand a bit more as I continue, as much as God wants me too, somethings I may never understand. I didn’t understand what God was leading me too, although I realised on reflection God has been speaking and preparing me through my experiences as a nurse, a Sunday School Teacher and many other experiences and this had been happening for a while. I followed reluctantly at first and my reluctance turned to accepting God’s plan and living this journey by faith, I could not see what God was doing, or why. My plans were not God’s plans.

Sometimes God speaks to us, and we don’t quite understand and that’s okay, we just need to be faithful and put our trust in God, it can be hard (especially if we have our own plans). Jesus tried to teach the people and he used a lot of parables. In our Gospel today in Mark it states, “with many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables but he explained everything in private to his disciples. God meets us all as individuals at our level of understanding, as we are able to hear.

As Christians we know our God is a powerful God, a God who loves us and guides, a God who will give us understanding when he knows we can cope with it, and as I said in my last sermon it is not everything we will understand we just need to have faith and walk, leave room for God to do what he does. 2 Corinthians “for we walk by faith, not by sight”. We have a powerful, loving caring God, we need to believe and trust and the Lord will accomplish through us what is to be. In our reading today words which stood out for me when I read the passage in Ezekiel were “I the Lord have spoken; I will accomplish it”.

I didn’t see what was coming, I am human I struggled, but I also grew in faith and I continue to do so, God led me to the right people on my journey and to people who like Rev Lucy, and you who continue to pray, embrace, teach and walk with me and here I am, to be Ordained Priest by the grace of God on the 27th June. God speaks to us, you and me more often than we realise in many different ways, we just need to be still listen and walk by faith. Amen.

Let us pray: Loving God, help us to walk this journey of life with you faithfully, to have open hearts and minds, to spend time in your presence as you guide and strengthen us to do your will. Amen

Lords’ prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen

The Grace: May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all, now and evermore. AMEN

Thank you for joining us today.