transcript sea sunday 2014 - Mariners Club

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Sea Sunday Studio Service July 13 th 2O14

(Introduction Amazing Grace (3mins)

Good morning to you all and a warm welcome to our studio service on this the 2 nd Sunday in July, a Sunday which is kept by many different denominations as Sea Sunday, a time when the people of God give thanks for those who go to sea and those who minister to them. Let us listen to our first hymn.

HYMN:  Christ is made the sure Foundation:
Westminster Abbey
(3.58)

OPENING PRAYER.
We come together as the family of God in our Father’s presence to offer him praise and thanksgiving for the ministry of the church among seafarers; to hear and receive his holy word; to bring before him the needs of the world, the missionary work of his church and to pray for seafarers and their families of every nation; to ask his forgiveness for our sins and to seek his grace, through his Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord, Amen.

 My Name is Stephen Miller, Senior Chaplain of The Mission to Seafarers in Hong Kong and joining me for this service today are Captain Luca Ferrerio also from the Mission to Seafarers, Father Valan Arockiaswamy from the Apostleship of the Sea and the Rev. Maria-Louize Helbo from the Danish Seamens Church and The Rev. Martina Platte from the German Seamens Mission.

It is also a great pleasure to welcome William Bryant an intern from the Episcopal Church in the USA who has been working with us in Hong Kong over the last year.
We will be hearing more from Will and Fr. Valan later in the service.

So we begin our worship this morning as we call to mind our sins and ask God for his forgiveness:

Confession
Lord of all creation, forgive us for the times we have ignored your teachings and wisdom. Help us to listen to your word and live by it each day.
Lord in your mercy,
All: Hear Our Prayer.

Lord of all creation, forgive us for the times we have ignored those in need around us. Help us to become more aware of the needs of others.
Lord in your mercy,
All: Hear our Prayer.

Lord of all creation, forgive us for the times we have ignored your will for our lives. Help us to trust you and follow you more each day.
Lord in your mercy,
All: Hear our Prayer.

Lord of all creation, forgive us for the times we have ignored the needs of seafarers and have taken them for granted. Help us to remember the vital work they do in ensuring that we have our daily needs.
Lord in your mercy,
All: Hear our Prayer.

God our loving Father, forgive us our sins, keep your word alive in us and help us to know your peace and forgiveness in our lives each day. Help us to be a people who trust and follow you wholeheartedly as we live for you each day. Amen

Hymn: Be Still my Soul:
Choir of Paisley Abbey with Neilo Mackie, Tenor (4.18)

Good morning!

My name is Will Bryant and I am a young adult volunteer currently serving with the Mission to Seafarers here in Hong Kong. The mission here does a lot of good work but before I get into that I want to ask you a very, very important question:

What are you wearing?

Now I know what you’re thinking. What kind of radio show is this? Isn’t that a very personal question to be asking a complete stranger? You’re right, so let me ask you another question.

How are you listening to this broadcast? Are you with us on your computer? On your phone? Perhaps you’re driving in the car on your way to a meeting.

Well I’ve got some news for you: All of the items I just mentioned - your clothes, your computer, your phone, your car - have made it into your possession because of the crucial work of seafarers around the world.

Today, human beings are blessed with a standard of living that has never before been achieved by mankind.

Grocery stores in the arctic regions of the world stock shelves with fresh bananas and oranges.

Red wine from Italy can be tasted in every corner of the globe.

Japanese-made cars rule the roads in the countries around the world.

How is this quality of life possible? The answer is simple: shipping.  

According to the International Maritime Organization, 90 percent of the the world’s trade is carried out at sea. Think about the things we use in everyday life that is shipped!

It extends far beyond food, clothes and technology. It is the raw materials for roads and houses; the minerals for microchips and processors; the fuel for our cars and airplanes.
Can you imagine your life without these things? Shipping makes it all possible.

This modern phenomenon isn’t just a matter of coincidence. This way of life didn’t just happen by chance.

There are over 1.5 million seafarers in the world that work months on end to make this way of life a reality. They are easily the most important work force in our world today, yet we rarely ever think of them. And we rarely ever see them. Why? Because this shadow workforce is always at sea.

I love telling people about seafarers. Quite simply because their way of life is so different from every other person that you or I know. What do I mean? Let me tell you about the life of a seafarer.

Most seafarers sign on to a ship by contract, and these contracts are often 10 to 12 months long. Imagine that! Imagine living on a massive container ship with a group of 20 guys, going from port to port, country to country without seeing your family or friends. There are no days off. There are no holidays - not even for Christmas. It is non-stop work for 10 to 12 months.

Think about where you have been for the past 10 to 12 months. Where have you traveled? What have you done? For most of us, the answer is meeting new people, getting new jobs, living new experiences. For seafarers, the answer is much simpler: they have been on a ship, doing the same thing over and over again.

Most people think that seafarers get to see the world in their time at sea. This may have been true 20 years ago, but the days of the seafarers sightseeing at cities around the globe are gone.

Container ships now spend as little as six hours in a port of call. Technology and efficiency have radically sped up the pace at which global shipping moves.

Because of their hectic schedules and isolating positions, seafarers are struggling with loneliness and depression. With contracts lasting 10 to 12 months, many seafarers only see their wives and children a month or two out of each year.

They miss birthdays and anniversaries. They miss first steps and first words.

Yet because of their hard work and sacrifice, they are able to provide for their families and send their children to school.

The worst time for seafarers is when tragedy strikes at home. In November of 2013, super-typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines. Hundreds of thousands were hurt or killed.  
Communications for most of the country came crashing down. Filipino seafarers - stuck at sea - were left to sit in their ship cabins, unable to contact home.

Many would find out after days of worrying that their loved ones had been hurt or killed. Many would find out that their house had been destroyed. It could be weeks before they are able to sign off their ships and head back home. These are the worst times at sea.

Yet there is a bright spot in the midst of this massive and exhausting industry. Seaman’s missions around the world do their best to care for seafarers when few others do.

Here at the Mariners’ Club in Hong Kong, our chaplains visit over 30 ships a day, bringing news, recent sporting events and telephone cards to crews on board. Often times we do much more than that.

We enable them to wire money to their families back home.

We visit them in the hospital if they become sick and need to leave their post in an emergency.

We contact the proper authorities if we find that they are not getting paid what is owed to them.

Why do we do this? We are merely trying to support them as much as they support all of us.


Today, July Thirteenth, we celebrate seafarers on this Sea Sunday. We celebrate and give thanks for those that sacrifice so much so that we may enjoy a more full way of life.

So please - as you bow your heads and give thanks to God for all the blessings you receive. Remember the seafarers that shadow workforce, working hard to deliver some of those blessings to you each and everyday.


Collect
Almighty God on this Sea Sunday we pray for all who go
down to the sea in ships, that you will protect them as they sail, keep them safe from all the dangers of the sea and give them courage when they face storms. May they know your blessing on the families that they leave behind. We ask this in the name of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen

Our first reading comes from The Book of the Prophet Isaiah chapter
55 verses 10-11
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
  and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
  giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
  it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
  and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

The word of the Lord…
All: Thanks be to God.



We continue our worship as we hear the words of Psalm 93
set to music by George Garrett and sung by the Choir of St. John’s Elora, Toronto(2.14 mins),

Our second reading comes from the New Testament from St Paul’s Letter to the Romans Chapter 8 verses 18-23

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.  For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God;  for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now;  and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.
The word of the Lord…
All: Thanks be to God.

Hymn: All Creatures of our God and King
(Royal School of Church Music, massed choirs) (4.40)


The Gospel
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. Matthew, Chapter 13, verses 1-23.
All: Glory to you O Lord.

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea.  Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach.  And he told them many things in parables, saying: "Listen! A sower went out to sow.  And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up.  
Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil.  But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away.  Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.  Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.  Let anyone with ears listen!"  Then the disciples came and asked him, "Why do you speak to them in parables?"  He answered, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.  For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.  The reason I speak to them in parables is that ‘seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.’  With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says: ‘You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive.  For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn— and I would heal them.’  But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.  Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.  "Hear then the parable of the sower.  When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path.  As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;  yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away.  As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing.  But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty."

This is the Gospel of Christ
All: Praise to you, O Christ



From the gospels we learn that Jesus did not have any fixed time and place for his preaching. He was at work at all times, and was intensely active throughout His public ministry. He preached in synagogues, market places, homes of people, on the mountains and by the seashore. He consistently reached out to all sorts of people regardless of their social status and disposition of heart and mind. He always used parables to illustrate his point. These parables are taken from everyday life to reveal profound truths about God and humanity, heaven and earth, good and evil, past, present and future. He spoke in parables so that openhearted and genuine seekers can understand his teachings and, that unbelievers and those whose hearts are not open to it would be without comprehension.
In today’s gospel we read that Jesus, seeing a large crowd along the shore of the Sea of Galilee gets into a boat, and tells them the parable of the sower. According to the story, a farmer scatters seed in his field. Some fall on the path and are eaten by birds. Some fall on the rocky ground and they grow at first, but are eventually killed by the hot sun. Some fall among thorns and are choked to death. But some fall on rich soil, and yield a rich harvest.
In the second part of the gospel Jesus reveals the meaning of the story. He likens Himself to a sower sowing the seed. The seed is the Word of God, and it is offered to everyone through him. However, not everyone who hears the Word of God bears fruit. Some people hear it, but it does not touch their heart and mind in any way and it quickly fades away. Some people at first rejoice when they hear it. But when turmoil and trouble arise in their lives, they abandon it. Some people hear it but material things and the pleasures of the world get in the way and strangle whatever inclination they might have towards changing their lives. And then there are the people who hear it and gladly welcome it. They understand it; believe in it and live it. Essentially, they become like Jesus. They become active participants in Jesus’s mission to spread the Word of God to others so that many more people may also come to know the only true God through Jesus Christ and understand God’s ways.  Therefore, they make every effort to bring God’s love to the world in what they do and how they live.
Yes! Our Lord Jesus has commissioned every follower to share the Word of God with the entire world. He said, "Go out to the whole world; proclaim the gospel to all creation" (Mark 16:15). However, the commission of Jesus is not just to preach the Word of God to everyone but also to make them disciples of Jesus and teach them to do all the things Jesus taught His disciples to do (Matthew 28:19-20). That includes healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, raising the dead, casting out demons (Matthew 10:8), feeding the hungry, welcoming strangers, clothing the naked, visiting prisoners (Matthew 25:35-36), and performing many other signs and wonders. The same is true of hundreds of dedicated men and women who have been carrying out one of the oldest and most far reaching ministries of our church – The Ministry to Seafarers.
Since the middle of the 19 th century port chaplains and volunteers have been protecting and seeing to the needs of the seafarers worldwide. Today they are serving in more than 350 ports around the world. They pay hundreds of ship visits a day in ports around the globe to serve seafarers regardless of their color, creed or nationality and, tell them of God’s love for them in Jesus. They welcome the sailors to their seafarers’ centres and provide all possible help and support to them. No doubt it is a great calling to share the love of God with over 1.5 million seafarers who are separated from their family and friends. They endure loneliness and long working hours for months on end. Many put their lives at risk to keep the world trade going and ensure the people on land get all their goods delivered to them. In fulfilling their commitment to seafarers, the welfare workers bear fruits in abundance for Jesus who sowed the seed of the Word of God in their hearts and minds. Their unique contribution mostly goes unnoticed as much as the contribution of seafarers to global prosperity is ignored.
Having been involved in the Seafarers Ministry for seven years, I can honestly say that the Parable of the Sower is a parable of the reality that exists among seafarers.  While it is always a pleasure to cater for their needs both on board ships and at seamen’s centres, it is quite disheartening to see seafarers rejecting or taking God’s free offer of love for granted. It is even more disappointing to see many so-called Christian sailors completely ignoring the Word of God. Some close their minds and harden their hearts against God. Some initially tend to welcome the offer of God’s love but turn their back on Him when their mind wanders to something else – telephone cards, DVD films and other material things the welfare workers provide them with. Some others want to hear God’s Word but lack the energy or the ability to understand it or are too preoccupied with worries, anxieties and fear. Because they are busy with other things, they do not hunger for God’s Word. Some are open and hungry for God’s Word and God’s Spirit in their lives. They are willing to listen and learn the Word of God. They are very grateful to Almighty God who keeps them safe and secure. They are thankful to the welfare workers for their care and support. They appreciate and recognize their affiliation with the Church. They are proud of their faith in Jesus Christ.  So, all is not lost. Jesus says of these people, "Blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear." (Matthew 13:16)
Friends, if you are a faithful follower of Jesus Christ, who is the Sower of God's Word, continue to bear fruit so the truth will be revealed to all. Let us then continue to spread the Word of God and His love to the whole world in spite of being rejected, ignored and taken for granted. Let us thank the Lord for choosing us and commissioning us to go and bear fruit. As the Apostle John says (3 John 1:5-8) let us remain faithful and committed to the Lord in helping others though they may be strangers. Any act of kindness rendered to the least of God's people is pleasing to God. Let us then in the name of Jesus and for the glory of God, continue the work we are entrusted to do and that is to bring all mankind back to God. Amen.



Hymn:
Dear Lord and Father of Mankind. Kings College Choir, Cambridge (3.34)

Intercessions
Let us thank God who has brought us together to this day, who sustains us by his power, strengthens us by his Spirit and nourishes us with his word.  May we worship him in spirit and in truth.  
Lord hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Today we pray for the work of Seafarers’ Missions, their
chaplains and ships visitors around the world as they care
for and welcome seafarers. We pray that you will help
them in their work of caring for and supporting seafarers.
Lord hear us
Lord, graciously hear us.

We pray for seafarers as they work on ships, often many
miles from home, missing their families and facing dangers
and hardships such as piracy, storms, little time in port and
loneliness. We ask that you keep them safe in their work,
protect them when they face storms and help them to keep
in touch with their families.
Lord hear us.
Lord graciously hear us.

We pray for the families of seafarers who are left at home.
We pray for wives and husbands as they miss their partners and care for their families, for children as they miss a parent and for others as they miss a boy or girl friend, grandparent or son or daughter. Bless those who remain at home whilst a loved one is away at sea.
Lord hear us.
Lord graciously hear us.

We pray for all ship owners and ship managers that they will take their responsibility seriously to care for those who crew their ships. We pray that all ships may be properly maintained and kept in a seaworthy condition.
Lord Hear us.
Lord graciously hear us.

We pray for ourselves that we may have grateful hearts
for all the food and other necessities of daily life that we so easily take for granted. Help us to remember the seafarers who work so hard that we can enjoy an easy life.
Lord hear us.
Lord graciously hear us.

Let us join together in the words that our Lord Jesus himself
taught us:
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.

Hymn: God be in my head
Kings College Choir, Cambridge (1.42)

Creator and Father of all, we pray for those who go down to the sea in ships and on whom we depend.  Bless them and those who long for their safe return and bring us all to your kingdom, where there is no sorrow, no tears, but joy and life everlasting, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Hymn:    Eternal Father strong to save –
the choir of St Mark’s Church North Audley Street.(3.07)

The Blessing.
May the love of the Lord Jesus
Draw us to himself.
May the power of the Lord Jesus
Strengthen us in his service;
May the joy of the Lord Jesus
Fill our souls.
May the blessing of God Almighty,
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit
Be amongst you and remain with you always. Amen


Finale  Sunset
(1.26)


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