Weekly Bible Notes, 30th June 2002
13th Sunday in Ordinary TimeYear A. Colour: Green
Opening Verse of Scripture—Romans 6:22
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Collect Prayer for the Day—before we read, we pray
Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified: hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people, that in their vocation and ministry they may serve you in holiness and truth to the glory of your name; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen
First Bible ReadingJeremiah 28:5-9
Then the prophet Jeremiah replied to the prophet Hananiah before the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the Lord . He said, "Amen! May the Lord do so! May the Lord fulfill the words you have prophesied by bringing the articles of the Lord 's house and all the exiles back to this place from Babylon. Nevertheless, listen to what I have to say in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people: From early times the prophets who preceded you and me have prophesied war, disaster and plague against many countries and great kingdoms. But the prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the Lord only if his prediction comes true." (This is the word of the Lord—Thanks be to God)
Second Bible Reading
(Please stand for the Gospel reading -- When the reading is announced,
respond 'Glory to Christ our Saviour')
‘He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man's reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward." (This is the Gospel of Christ—Praise to Christ our Lord)
Post Communion Prayer
Grant, O Lord, we beseech you, that the course of this world may be so
peaceably ordered by your governance, that your Church may joyfully serve
you in all godly quietness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Commentary: Welcoming those Christ sends
The Matthew reading today speaks of the importance of welcoming those whom Christ has sent. It is difficult for us today to grasp the importance of ‘people who are sent.’ Today we have telephones and videophones and satellite systems which enable us to make immediate personal contact.
Of course in the time of Jesus this was not possible and personal representatives were authorised to act on behalf of those who sent them. There was no alternative, you needed authorised envoys, representatives. God always had authorised messengers, the word for 'angels', in both Greek and Hebrew, comes from this background; they are sent ones, people who were to announce. So too Jesus is sent by God and Jesus sends us. We may not have wings (angels never really did) but we too are God’s messengers, sent out with a message which we carry from Jesus, the mouth of God himself.
Clearly there will be some who are more visibly recognised as God’s messengers, speaking his word and making announcements through which they seek to make God’s way known.
One such clear messenger would be the new Archbishop of Canterbury. He will speak on behalf of the whole Anglican church worldwide, but he will also represent more broadly the Christian churches in our country in an ecumenical way. Our prayers should be that the right person will be appointed for this thankless and difficult task.
Perhaps especially Christians have enormous expectations of their leaders which can never be fulfilled and we all quickly fail in our own ministry to offer prayer and support. It is interesting that on the week in which ‘the cat was let out of the bag,’ when Bishop Rowan Williams was suggested as being the next selection as Archbishop, the lesson for our readings in churches is all about challenging us to receive the man of God appropriately. Already the Church is divided and angry, debating whether or not somebody else should be chosen, who would want to be asked to lead such rebellious sheep?
The lesson also has teaching for us in our daily routine. Jesus tells us that a cup of water given to a stranger is given to him. Jesus chooses an act of kindness that is available to all, there are no excuses not to be caught up in God’s work. The ability to show hospitality both to those in need, to strangers and to those whom we call friends is the easiest way to get a glimpse of Christ. No simpler method of practicing the presence of God can be found than to serve others with welcome hospitality. The Catholics of Austria like to say, "The guest is Christ." Thus these simple acts of kindness both make others feel better and also afford us the basic possibility of the religious experience of God.
It may be that you are unimpressed by the complex theological ideas concerning God's presence in nature and history. Here is an alternative, quite simply we find God when we show to others Christian courtesy. We do not need to look hard around us to find God, he is next to us all the time in the needs of others. The Son of God is there waiting to be cared for, by you and me. Charles Royden
Meditation: Serving Christ
Though we do not have our Lord with us in bodily presence, we have our neighbour, who, for the ends of love and loving service, is as good as our Lord. -- Teresa of Avila
Hymns (Hymns and Psalms)
- All creatures of our God and King 329
- God of glory (On notices-191 M Praise) & Hosanna (On notices 242 M Praise)
- Will you come and follow me
- Lift high the cross 170
- Alleluia sing to Jesus 592
Prayers for Sunday and the week ahead
We acknowledge, O God, that we are part of a suffering world - a world where human beings experience pain and torture on a daily basis. All too often we join our cries to that of the Psalmist - how long, O God? How long will you hide your face from all those who suffer right now throughout this world? Yet, in saying this, we are forgetting that rather than hiding your face, you have revealed it in Jesus. Rather than abandoning us to all the destructive powers of evil, you chose to confront the power of evil by sharing our humanity and our suffering in and through the sacrificial love of Jesus. Through his love, lives previously overwhelmed by the fear of death and darkness have been enlightened for ever. God of grace and mercy, we pray as we worship you today, that our lives will be transformed by the light and life of Christ and renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit so that we praise and glorify you not only in words but in deeds of love and mercy performed in Christ's name and for his sake. Amen
Gracious and merciful God, over and over again you challenge us to risk becoming the people you know we can become with your love and Jesus' life within us. We know that the power of sin controls many lives in our communities today - causing people, young and old, to live lives filled with hopelessness and poverty, addiction and exploitation; lacking in self-esteem and any sense of worth. So, when our our inaction and lack of involvement with people's pain and problems leads to people still being controlled by the power of sin, and when we use aggression to get our own way, even when we know that this is destructive to others - merciful God, forgive us.
|First Reading:||Jeremiah 28:5-9|
|Second Reading:||Matthew 10:40-42|
|Commentary:||Welcoming those Christ sends|
|Prayers:||for Sunday and the week ahead|
|Sermon:||Making a difference|