Praying with Scripture

Our parish gatherings for lectio divina continue this Sunday afternoon.

Some may well ask, ‘what is lectio divina?’ It is simply a quiet prayerful engagement with the Lord through holy scripture.

  • We begin by listening -to the reading read to us, and then listening to it in the quiet of our hearts.
  • We then – if moved to do so – share a word or sentence that has particularly struck us – but not discussing it, just noting it.
  • We then listen to the scripture a second time, once more read aloud and then, again, pondered in the quiet of our hearts.
  • The final stage is for those taking part – if they wish – sharing something more about what they have heard the Lord say to them in the scriptures.

The reading we will use is taken from the Liturgy of the Word for this Sunday.

The sessions will begin at 4pm, and after 15 minutes for sharing virtual coffee and cake and chat, we will begin the lectio at 4.15, and continue until 5pm.

To join you will need the Zoom App on a smart phone /Tablet / or PC, and then simply click on the link below.
Meeting ID: 941 0722 8901

If you would like help getting Zoom set up please ring Fr Allen. All are welcome!

Photograph. Peterborough Cathedral> Peter getting out of the boat. (c) Allen Morris.

The Gospel for this Sunday

Living Eucharist

Impetuous Peter, terrified one moment and then eager to display his trust and confidence. And yet that trust and confidence is so insubstantial, no sooner has he begun to show it, than it is challenged – it fails and he sinks!

Jesus’ response? He doesn’t laugh , nor does he scorn. He simply asks an interesting question: ‘Why did you doubt?’

Maybe the answer is evident, and is revealed in the title Jesus applies to Peter ‘Man of little faith’.

But maybe the question stands. ‘Why are you of little faith, and why did you doubt?’

  • When did you last doubt and why?
  • What helps you to believe and to trust?

The Gospel for the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Matthew 14:22-33

Jesus Walks on the Water

14.22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed…

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Covid guidance from Birmingham City Council

West Midlands councils have warned there is no room for complacency as public health teams continue their efforts to prevent further Covid-19 lockdowns across the region.

Is your family finding Covid-19 tough?  There are lots of services in Birmingham that are here to help all families, such as parenting courses, mental health support, financial help and much more.

If you are showing any symptoms of Covid-19 – no matter how mild – then it’s essential that you self-isolate for 10 days and only leave the house for a test. You can book this either online or by calling 119. West Midlands councils stressed last week that testing will be key to preventing further COVID-19 lockdowns across the region and urged citizens and businesses to play their part.

Visit the council’s website for accessible formats, including translated audio and written coronavirus information.

The Better Health campaign has been launched to support people to live healthier lives and reduce their risk of serious illness, including Covid-19. Visit the NHS website for help and advice on losing weight, eating healthily and getting more active.

More than 73 thousand businesses have registered to the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme. See if your local has registered using the Restaurant Finder tool.

Businesses have until 17 August 2020 to apply for a Discretionary Business Grant. If you’re an eligible business, you may be awarded a grant of up to £25,000 that doesn’t need to be paid back.

Businesses reopening after lockdown have a responsibility to staff and customers to be Covid-19 safe which includes ensuring they have conducted a Covid-19 risk assessment in line with Government guidelines. Hospitality businesses including pubs, cafes and restaurants must have a pavement licence to use pathways for eating, drinking and seating.

We’re not back to normal yet, but we can start to return to some of the places we’ve missed. When you’re out and about, please make sure you’re following government Covid-19 secure guidelines and enjoy summer safely. As lockdown measures begin to ease, you must still follow government guidelines when meeting people in order to keep you and your family and friends safe. Only socialise indoors with members of up to two households.

For latest updates and advice on coronavirus, please visit the government website

Local news

Birmingham libraries are starting to re-open this month for an order and collect service.  Opening dates will vary according to local conditions; the Library of Birmingham opened on 5 August.

Do you know of any community groups needing volunteer time, small grants or construction materials to support projects? The lead contractor for the Alexander Stadium could have solutions.

The second reading for this coming Sunday

Living Eucharist

Often there is little direct relationship between the first reading and psalm and the second reading. The first is chosen to complement the gospel and the psalm to extend our response to what we hear in the first. The second reading is simply one of a sequence of semi-continuous readings from the writings of the Apostles (usually Paul)

But this week there is direct resonance.

Elijah and the psalmist reflect on the unfaithfulness of Israel, and learn to trust still more firmly in the faithfulness of the Lord.

Paul – in a different time, and in different circumstances – engages with the same matter – that God is faithful even when some of his people are unfaithful and turn from him.

This leads Paul to reflect on the nature of the covenant and its obligations. Merely being of the ‘group’ is not enough. To be of Israel – or the…

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The responsorial psalm for this coming Sunday

Living Eucharist

Yesterday I noted how the lectionary text of Elijah’s encounter with the Lord omits the context, and how recalling the context can be helpful to us as we seek to relate to what the Lord has to say, and how the Lord is.

There is something of the same to moan about with the editing of the psalm for its Lectionary purpose!

The retained verses hymn the Lord’s love. The omitted verses remind of what the Lord has had to put up with from Israel, which renders his mercy all the more remarkable, and its certain availability for us too, whatever the circumstances in which we come before him.

Psalm 84(85):9-14

(NB the text set for Sunday is given below in bold and in ‘quote sections’ below; the rest is the immediate biblical text from which the Lectionary text is extracted)

Psalm 85 (84)
1           For the Choirmaster

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The first reading for this coming Sunday

Living Eucharist

The edited version of 1 Kings 19 that appears in our Lectionary for Sunday next tells of a meetng between Elijah and the Lord. But it does not tell us the why and wherefore of the meeting, which led to Elijah’s learning to recognise the presence of the Lord in stillness and quiet.

What is the context? Elijah has recently been in cultic battle with the prophets of Baal; he is challenging the King of Israel – and he has recently fled for his life and only just been saved from virtual suicide…

The meeting with the Lord changes things. How the promise of the Lord In quiet and peace gives Elijah confidence and hope, and how it restores him to the possibility of his faithful service of the faithful remnant of Israel.

In the midst of a storm of events and fears Elijah finds again the one who is…

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The Collect for this coming Sunday

Living Eucharist

One word which came back into regular Church use in England with the new translation of the Missal is ‘dare’.

It has prominence in the newly translated introduction to the Lord’s Prayer:

At the Saviour’s command
and formed by divine teaching,
we dare to say:

Behind it lies the Greek word parrhesia, a biblical word, and a word that comes from Greek rhetoric.

It refers to a way of speaking that is frank and not circuitous. It means speaking with boldness. It describes a way of living and speaking that is enabled by confidence in the truth of the Gospel.

It is a way of speaking that could seem like impudence, that could seem like presumption. (For example: ‘Us / you a child of the Father?!?’)

But it can be also a simple, direct expression of faithfulness.

It requires courage – for, of course, even when we seek to…

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