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Sea Sunday Studio Service July 12th 2O20

Introduction Music Amazing Grace (3.00)

Good morning to you and a warm welcome to our studio service on this the 2nd 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: Come let us join our cheerful songs 1.44
Lincoln Minster School Chamber Choir

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.

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.

I am the Revd Canon Stephen Miller, Senior Chaplain of The Mission to Seafarers. And joining us this morning for this service today are Revd Canon Andrew Dangerfield and Revd Kim Kee Lee from the Mission to Seafarers, Father Valan Arockiaswamy from the Apostleship of the Sea, and Revd Margith Pedersen from the Danish Seamen’s Church.


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. Father forgive us,
All: Save us and help us.

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. Father forgive us,
All: Save us and help us.

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.
Father forgive us,
All: Save us and help us.

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.
Father forgive us,
All: Save us and help us.

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: Lead us heavenly Father, Lead us Christ Church Cathedral Oxford (2.00)

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.
All: Amen



Our First 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!

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

We continue our worship as we hear the words of Psalm 121  (3.19)
All Souls’ Church, Langham Place, London.

The Gospel
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. Matthew, Chapter 13, verses 1-9 and 18-23.

All: Glory to you Lord Christ.

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the lake. 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!’
‘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.’

The Gospel of the Lord
All: Praise to you, Lord Christ

Hymn: I the Lord of sea and Sky. Tewkesbury Abbey School Choir  (4.41)

Good Morning!
I am Fr. Kim Kee Lee, a Port Chaplain with the Sailors’ Home and Mission to Seafarers here in Hong Kong.
Introduction
There was a patch of deserted rocky soil in the rear garden of our house when we first moved in.  We had a choice of either leaving it as it was or turning it into something we could appreciate and enjoy as a family. We turned it into a rock garden.
We read this morning from the Gospel of St Matthew chapter 13 verses 1 to 9 and 18 to 23.  
Quite often, we focus solely on the four types of soil in the parable of the sower and ignore the generosity of the sower.
The generous sower wanted His words of love, encouragement, comfort, acceptance, appreciation and above all, His words of transformation to be sown generously.
Let’s put this into the perspective of our caring work for the seafarers.
1.   The hidden and forgotten world of seafaring
I have to admit, before joining Mission to Seafarers, the world of seafaring never crossed my mind. Sea blindness, you could call it! I never appreciated the hard work of the seafarers, working day and night, round the clock, 365 days all year round to ensure the clothes to keep us warm, the food on our table, the mobile phone to help us to connect with others, and many other essential supplies reach us when we need them.
Seafarers often spend months away from their families and homes. They have to endure isolation, loneliness, working in difficult areas and are faced with money worries, mental health issues as well as piracy, shipwreck and abandonment. Some of them have been forced into working in horrendous conditions.
In a recent case, some Indonesian crew were forced to work as modern slaves on a fishing vessel for months. They endured physical abuse, surviving on very little food and close to no pay. Thank goodness, the survivors were rescued but sadly three died onboard the ship and their
bodies were simply thrown into the deep sea. Their families never had the chance to bid them farewell let alone embrace them again in their arms.
 
 
Talking of isolation, we have all experienced the impact of the covid-19 pandemic.  Lockdown, Isolation, Social distancing, and Quarantine have become the norm in today’s society, globally.
 
 
The pandemic has impacted our daily lives in one way or another. It has caused more disruption to the lives of seafarers.  With shore leave suspended, they have been forced to stay onboard ships with no chance to step on solid ground since the pandemic began.  One seafarer jokingly said; he would probably have to relearn how to walk again when he gets ashore after months of lockdown onboard the ship, otherwise onlookers might think he was a drunken man swinging from side to side on the streets!
 
 
In their efforts to fight the pandemic, governments are putting up precautionary measures including closing down airports. The repatriation of seafarers has become impossible as a result.  They are therefore forced to extend their contracts. We learned that a good number of them have been working onboard ships for more than twelve months.  This has caused some to fall into a deep depression.
 
 
The hidden and forgotten world of seafaring is definitely a place where we should respond as the generous sower, to spread the caring kindness and love of the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
 
2.   The Forgotten World Is Tended With Love
 
 
The sower in the story seemingly scattered seeds carelessly, knowing full well that some would come to nothing. Why on earth did he do that? Well, the seeds are His words, love and grace, and the world is the field. This sower spared not His seeds but wished that they would be scattered in all corners of the world. He knew that some would produce one hundred-fold crops, and therefore he sowed with outrageous generosity.
 
 
In one incident, while I was chatting with some Myanmar crew in one ship visit at the anchorage, the Chinese captain came in and asked ‘who are you and what you are doing here?
 
‘I am from the Seamans club, bringing some snacks for your crew.’ I replied.
 
‘This means nothing and is not important to us.’ he commented.
 
I replied, ‘however big or small the items, they mean something to the one who requested it.’ He nodded and then invited me to his cabin. He opened up and talked about the difficulties he faced, trying to calm his irritated crew who were being affected by the lockdown. He was so depressed himself. I made no comments but lent my ears to him to release his frustration.
 
 
As mentioned above, there is currently no shore leave for seafarers. We run a Shop2Ship programme to supply snacks and personal hygiene items at near cost price, that is the lowest price possible, on top of the internet cards which we have been supplying all this while. Often, we receive extra requests from seafarers to help them to get some other items, such as basketballs, mobile phones, game consoles, a 51 inch game monitor, runners, polo shirts, vitamin supplements... the list goes on!
 
 
Of course, our main objective is to advocate for the rights of the seafarers.  We have dealt with issues concerning the crew, being the voice of the seafarers to the ship owners regarding certain unfair treatments and channelling the concerns of their families to the relevant parties.
 
 
What the Mission to Seafarers and our mission partners are doing at the Mariners Hong Kong is to ensure the forgotten world of seafaring is tended with love. We just need to generously sow words of comfort, encouragement, assurance, acceptance and appreciation, and to plant seeds of life transformation into the lives of those we care for.
 
 
3.   The Harvest Is Plentiful
 
 
The sower knew he would reap a plentiful harvest. His word had the power to transform even the hard soil where it fell, believing year after year the falling seed could bring about a change, if the soil were willing - if the hearer responded. He sowed not for the crop - though he would celebrate that. No, he sowed because he loved, and gave with an outrageous generosity of grace, and he tended each plant with gentleness and care, and none was disregarded.The reward is plentiful!
 
 
I will never regret joining this meaningful mission. The reward is endless. No, not in monetary terms, but witnessing for example, a seafarer’s smiling face when their request is met. When they feel released from the problems they faced, when the problems are solved. When the worries of their families are eased knowing that their loved ones are in good hands.
 
 
We do not look for something in return, but when we hear words of appreciation from the lips of those we care for and when we receive emails, messages on WhatsApp and Facebook messenger to thank us for the work we do, it is an encouragement to see lives are being touched by the grace and love of the good Lord through our caring actions.
 
 
Conclusion
 
 
The deserted rocky soil, when it is sown with care, radiates a breath of life. Similarly, the hidden and forgotten world of seafaring is radiating cheerful lives when the seafarers are being cared for and their dignity is upheld.
 
 
Thanks for tuning in to worship with us on this Sea Sunday.  I pray that you would join us in responding to the call of the Lord to be a generous sower, sowing the word of the Lord generously with practical action, to cause life transforming seeds to germinate in those that the Lord has entrusted into our gentle care.  Amen
 

Anthem: An Irish Blessing by James Moore (1.40)
Sung by the Klaus Fischbach Madrigal Choir.

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 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 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 and storms with little time in port and dealing with isolation and loneliness.
In this uncertain time of Corona Virus we remember the many seafarers who do not know when or where they can finish their contracts and return home, help them to keep safe and well waiting for their time when they will be reunited 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 so that we can enjoy the fruits and commodities of the world.
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.

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 Ely Cathedral Choir (3.06)


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 Seafarers 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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