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Sea Sunday Studio Service  July 9th  2017

In Hong Kong mission and ministry to seafarers is provided by 4
seafarers missions, working together to serve seafarers who are
visiting Hong Kong. The Mission to Seafarers, The Apostleship of the
Sea, the Danish Seamen's Church and the German Seamen's Mission.
My Name is Stephen Miller, Senior Chaplain of The Mission to
Seafarers. And joining us this morning for this service today are
Captain Luca, Zach Jeffers and Justin Davis also from the Mission to
Seafarers, Father Valan Arockiaswamy from the Apostleship of the
Sea, The Rev'd Anders Skaanning Anderson from the Danish
Seamen's Church and Mr. Hans Winklhofer.
We are grateful to the Choir and musicians of HKSKH All Saints
Cathedral, Mongkok, who are with us this morning.

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

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.
All: Amen

Hymn: Dear Lord and Father of Mankind
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
All: Amen

Our first reading comes from The Book of Genesis Chapter 24. verses

So he said, `I am Abraham's servant. The Lord has greatly blessed my
master, and he has become wealthy; he has given him flocks and
herds, silver and gold, male and female slaves, camels and donkeys.
And Sarah my master's wife bore a son to my master when she was
old; and he has given him all that he has. My master made me swear,
saying, "You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of
the Canaanites, in whose land I live; but you shall go to my father's
house, to my kindred, and get a wife for my son."
The word of the Lord
All: Thanks be to God

We continue our worship as we hear the words of Psalm 41
(Set to music by Thomas Attwood and sung by the Choir of St. John's
Elora, Toronto (3.57 mins)).

Our second reading comes from the New Testament from St Paul's
letter to the Romans Chapter 7. Verses 15-25.

I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do
the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is
good. But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. For
I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will
what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil
I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I
that do it, but sin that dwells within me.
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at
hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my
members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to
the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will
rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ
our Lord!
So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am
a slave to the law of sin.
The word of the Lord...
All: Thanks be to God.

Hymn: Love Divine all Loves Excelling (3.42) Vaughan William

The Gospel
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. Matthew,
Chapter 11, verses 16-19, and verses 25-end.
All: Glory to you Lord Christ.
But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting
in the market-places and calling to one another,
"We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not mourn."
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, "He has a
demon"; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say,
"Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and
sinners!" Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.'
At that time Jesus said, `I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and
earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the
intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such
was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my
Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one
knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son
chooses to reveal him.
`Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me;
for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your
souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.'
The Gospel of the Lord
All: Praise to you, Lord Christ

Address (Zach Jeffers)
Good morning, my name is Zachary Jeffers, and I am the intern working here
with the Mission to Seafarers, working through the Young Adult Service Corps
that is based out of The Episcopal Church in America.
I would say these few lines from Matthew are probably some of the best
known and most quoted lines Jesus says in the Gospel:
"Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I
will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and
humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my
burden is light."
Often we hear it by itself, out of context. We don't hear the things that were
said before it, and we just get the nice message, "I will give you rest". We forget
the first part we heard in the Gospel reading today, the part where Jesus scolds
an entire generation of people for acting like spoiled children. Children who cry
when they don't get what they want, children that are upset when someone
doesn't do the things they want them to do. They wanted Jesus and John to act a
certain way, they wanted the Messiah and the one preparing the way for him to
both act the way they wanted, in a way that fit into their comfortable lives, in a
way that fit into their narrow mindset. John was too extreme, eating locusts and
wild honey, living as a hermit. Jesus was too extreme in different way, loving
outcasts, and spending time with tax collectors and sinners. While the people
want to hear the Truth and see the Messiah, while they want that thing that will
bring them to the Kingdom of Heaven, once Jesus presents it to them, they write
him off as a drunkard and a glutton. The way John the Baptist lived didn't fit into
their box, into their comfortable lives, and the way Jesus lived and loved most
certainly did not fit either.
This thing that Jesus is preaching, and is telling us is the way to the
Kingdom of Heaven, seems difficult to those who aren't ready. It may seem like a
burden, to love those who are difficult to love, to spend time and touch those who
are, in our eyes, untouchable, but that's how Jesus wants us to love. "Take my
yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you
will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." ­ In
other words, He's saying, learn from my example, do what I do, take my work
upon yourselves because this work, this thing we're striving for, loving and
caring for one another, is so much better than dealing with life's burdens on our
own. Yes, it may seem like it will be difficult at first, but trust me, it's not.
This Sunday we remember a group of people who carry heavy burdens.
Seafarers deal with a lot of things that most of us never have to deal with. They
leave their families and friends for months at a time, living and working with a
group of strangers, depending on others to provide decent food and a
comfortable living space, braving the dangers of the open sea, all the while doing
it to provide us with the things we need, the things we use every day. I admit that
before coming to Hong Kong and working with the Mission to Seafarers, I knew
absolutely nothing about shipping, let alone the forgotten people that are behind
the industry. I didn't realize that over 90% of everything you and I use on a daily
basis is made available to us in some way because of shipping. I didn't realize the
burden the people that bring us those things carry and deal with just so I can
watch my TV or drive to work or drink my morning cup of coffee. I didn't realize
seafarers will leave home for up to 12 months at a time to work on the ships that
carry these things to me. I didn't realize how normal it was for seafarers to miss
their children's births, sports games, graduations just to provide for their family
and to provide me with my everyday necessities. I didn't realise that the most
dangerous thing about the open sea isn't the pirates or the storms, but the
isolation those people feel while travelling at sea for months at a time, separated
from their friends, family, and the outside world.
So while caring for a seafarer may be as difficult as helping them find a
way to secure their wages after months of not getting paid by their company, it
could be as simple as sending money back home for them, bringing them a SIM
card for their phone so they can hear their child's voice, or even just having a
conversation and being a friendly face.
Just a few weeks ago I was leaving our seafarers center that is located in
Kwai Chung, out by the shipping terminal, when I saw someone sitting on the
steps of the center, with his head down, talking to someone on his phone and
looking very distraught. I had seen him earlier in the evening when I had come
back from ship visiting and thought he was just there to use the Wi-Fi like so
many of our other visitors do. Because I was leaving and the center was about to
close for the night, I offered him a ride back to his ship. He said yes, thank you,
and then asked me if I knew how to send money to another country. It turned out
that this seafarer, Gilbert, was from the Philippines and needed to send money
back home as payment for his children's school. His wife had sent him a message
a few days before saying they needed to pay the bill for the school or else his
daughter would not be able to attend that term. Hong Kong was the first port he
had an opportunity to go ashore with a place to send money since she had notified
him. I told him I was happy to send it for him and not to worry; it would be sent
first thing the next morning. He was so grateful for my help and it was such a
relief for him that someone would come to his aide to help with this problem. He
was just trying to provide for his family, to pay the bills, do something that would
be a simple task for most of us but was so difficult and stressful for him because he
was out at sea. That stress had turned into a heavy burden to carry for Gilbert,
but luckily the Mission to Seafarers was there to help. He still keeps in touch with
me and will let me know when his ship comes to Hong Kong.
Jesus' mission for us is simple: love others as God loves us, go out and love
those that are difficult to love, love those that are isolated and distant from others,
in whatever form that may be. That's the burden we must carry, but it's so much
better than dealing with life's burdens on our own. So next time you're having a
cup of coffee, using your cell phone, sitting in a chair, remember the forgotten
faces of the people that brought those things to us, be thankful that we have them
and that there's people out there carrying those burdens for us to make it
possible. It's the least we can do. Amen

Hymn: The King of Love my Shepherd is..

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 ship 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
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
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.

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.
Hymn: Eternal Father strong to save 5.44 mins

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
Thank you for joining us for our worship this Sea Sunday, please
remember in your prayers all who go down to the sea, all who serve
in the merchant marine, all who bring us the commodities we
depend upon from around the world. May God bless them and be
close to their families and love ones now and always. Amen

Finale Sunset 1.42
2 Container Port Road, Kwai Chung
    Hong Kong, SAR China  
Tel +852 2368 8261
Fax +852 2366 0928
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