Sunday, September 21, 2008

Some Authority Issues

Readings for the 26th Sunday of the Year, Sunday 28th September Exodus 17:1-7 Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16 ;Philippians 2:1-13; Matthew 21:23-32

The authority of spiritual teachers is often called into question
so we are not surprised to read this week that Jesus's authority was called into account.
In fact it happened on a number of occasions, and one thing we can see from the passage is that the question is complex.
So there are a couple of observations we might make.
One is that we often question authority, when we are trying to trip people up.
So often, as in this case, the questioners are not interested in getting the right answer
but rather in getting the replier to put himself offside
with one group or another.
We are used to this because we see it all the time in the political arena.
Second,Matthew gives us a bit of an illustration to help us better assess.
You would be better, he suggests, to look at what a person does rather than what they say.
Even if a person says I am going to do the right thing
but then doesn't do anything
we should look at the action rather than believe the words.
Even, bizarrely, if someone says they are not going to cooperate with you
but then does
Then believe the action rather than the words.
Children do this all the time
they believe what we do
rather than what we say.

It is interesting that as we read Philippians 2
and we are here reading about the nature of Jesus
again we read about what the action of being godly is like puts aside pride and selfish ambition, it is humble
it is obedient
it does not presume on greatness.
And in fact it deliberately puts these things aside.
How unlike you and me this is!
So often, full of our self-importance
we forget that we are urged to not presume
on our own rightness, goodness, holiness, intelligence or strength.

St Paul in another place reminds us
that the reason for this is because
it is not when we are strong, powerful and great
that God is glorified
But it is when we are weak
aware of our limitations
and trusting only in God
that God can be God for us.

  • Where are we guilty of not practising what we preach? Is there a way we can better put into action what being a faithful Christian means?
  • Look for one opportunity to humbly follow Christ this week, so that we may better trust.

Lord Jesus, you became obedient

you offered your life, that others may live.

May that same Spirit infuse my life this week, and every day. AMEN

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Action and Response

This Sunday 21st September is also the Feast of St Matthew some suggested readings are : Proverbs 3:1-6, Psalm 19:1-6 APBA p 239, Ephesians 4:1-14, Matthew 9:9-13

and you thought you had a bad day at work!

I am always fascinated by what makes Matthew respond to Jesus.
Had he just had a bad day (like S did yesterday) at work?
And just felt like chucking it all in!
Of course we are here seeing not just a fit of pique
but someone responding to Jesus
so as people of faith we recognise that there may be more to it.
And we also identify that
Jesus calls and we respond
(or not)
This is something in which we are caught up every day.
Matthew, on this occasion, responded
we do sometimes
Often we just ignore the call of Christ on our lives.

What follows on in the nartrative is a little reflection, which perhaps helps us to get Matthew's understanding of what Jesus is doing when he calls people
We read:
And as Jesus sat at dinner in the house, many tax-collectors and sinners came and
were sitting with him and his disciples. 11When the Pharisees saw this, they
said to his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax-collectors and
sinners?’ 12But when he heard this, he said, ‘Those who are well have no need of
a physician, but those who are sick. 13Go and learn what this means, “I desire
mercy, not sacrifice.” For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.’

There is, it would seem, purpose when Jesus calls someone!
And that purpose is that those who have been cut off from God
those who are in need of wholeness, acceptance, reconciliation
Might be able to come and receive what God will give them.
As, again, we reflect on who might we might invite to come to something like Christianity Explained
Maybe we have here a clue about what sort of person to look out for.
We are not being asked to be pedantic or patronising,
any way when a call is issued there is always the possibility that the one called may choose to sit at the table and not respond.

Asking ourselves
I wonder why, too, God might have called you and me .
Assuming that we are here because God has been here before us
what is it that he is offering to do for us
What might we receive?
St James makes the cryptic comment
You do not receive because you do not ask (James 4:2)
Sometimes I suspect we do not understand that we are being invited to receive from God,
maybe we are frightened
if we hear the call, as Matthew did,
and get up and walk away
(this may be so for some of our CE invitees)

This week
  • Continue to pray for insight into who might come to Christianity Explained
  • Ponder what God is calling me to be. Why on earth has God thought I can be a Christian, what is God wanting to achieve in my life?
  • Is there an invitation to respond more definitely, fervently even dramatically?

Living God from your Heart flows love in

Give me courage to respond to your call

Give me vision to change

Friday, September 12, 2008

Nada Te Turbe-Don't be disturbed

Nada te turbe
Nada te espante
Todo se pasaDios no se muda
La paciencia todo lo alcanza
Quien a Dios tiene nada le falta
Solo Dios basta!!!!................
Si a tanta dicha subes,repara
Que aunque haya bienes
Solo Dios basta!!!!!!!!

Let nothing disturb you,nothing afright you.
Whom God possesses
in nothing is wanting.
Alone God suffices.
All things are passing.
God never ceases.
Patient endurance attains all things.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Eucharistic Revolution

Eucharist as Revolution
Any act that provides the Bread of Heaven
and the Cup of Salvation for all - and anyone
who comes to the table - will always cause at
least a stir.
When one who has been excluded is the one
who presides at that Eucharist, or when the
one who has been excluded invites absolutely
everyone to the Table to be fed, well, it becomes,
in and of itself, the revolutionary act which
Jesus intended it to be.

We adore you O Christ

Sunday 14th September is kept as Holy Cross Day. A Day when we reflect on the significance of the Cross and the life and death of Jesus. readings can include. Isaiah 45:21-25 Psalm 98 or 98:1-4 Philippians 2:5-11 or Galatians 6:14-18 John 12:31-36a

St Paul makes the curious comment:

May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by
which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world (Gal 6:14)
This is at once curious, and yet fully understandable
When we invite people, as we will next month
To come and hear what the Christian Gospel is all about
We have to tell them about the fact that Jesus was crucified
And that we believe that by that act the world has been transformed.
At some point we understand that it as at the point of intense suffering, when we are broken
When we recognise failure and sin
That we encounter the depth of ourselves and God.
This is, of course, a mystery
There are theories (a link which is of interest here, but it is not comprehensive) which seek to explain it, they do not sit easily with our understanding.

But it is out of our experience
That we can readily discern the truth of what is being claimed here
It is when we stand in the face of death
When we seek God in our pain
When we struggle with the intense difficulties of our life
Death, depression, sadness
It is there we find that Jesus meets us having been there before us.
Perhaps as we wonder about who needs to have Christianity Explained to them
We should look for those for whom the Cross is already a reality.
And that is all of us.
This sacrament of the Cross, this Church of the Body of Christ
Is not for the strong but for the weak.
We are not vetting members to join our exclusive club,
But seeking rather to try and recognise
Who God is already calling.
This is something of the reality of the Cross.

I came, says Jesus, not to call the righteous
But the sinners to repentance
(Mark 2:17)
And He said,
"It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick".
(Matthew 9:12)

We are called to boast not in our beautiful churches, liturgy or organisation.
But that at the point of suffering
being in relationship with Jesus,
through the Cross, makes a difference to how we live our life

More on the Kingdom

If you keep the Sunday of the Year (Proper 24) then the readings are Exodus 14:19-31 or Genesis 50:15-21 Psalm:[Psalm 114 or Exodus 15:1b-11, 20-21] or Psalm 103:(1-7), 8-13 , Romans 14:1-12 , Matthew 18:21-35 but we will eb keeping the Feast of the Holy Cross (see above)