Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Courage to trust

Readings for Pentecost 4 (Proper 13) Today; Sunday 28th June include: 2 Samuel 1:1,17-27;Psalm 130;2 Corinthians 8:7-15; & Mark 5:21-43 (This week's reflection was also discussed during Lent)
The Gospel passage is not without its difficulties

Two accounts of people being healed. We often get sidetracked by the fact that the woman with "the issue of blood" as the KJV euphemistically put it is ritually unclean .

I think this was probably the least of her worries!

In different ways people come to Jesus seeking healing. Jairus comes as a man of prestige and religious standing seeking help from someone who is not socially acceptable 
The woman, I think,is a destroyed person whose sense of personal worth is so low that she cannot even come and front Jesus face on. 
Part of the message that Mark is communicating here is that it doesn't matter who you are 
that Jesus is open to all. More than this, because he is inviting people to respond out of faith 
we recognise that faith requires risk 
Jairus risks his reputation the woman risks being knocked back again. 
What do we risk to be challenged by the Gospel, 
or have we so controlled our experience that we have taken all the risk and challenge out of it.  
Faith will inevitably invite us to move out of the zone where we control everything 
(because we recognise in reality that nothing is actually ours to control) THIS WEEK 
Where does God invite me to trust him and him alone? 
Do I have the courage to do it? 
To risk my reputation/failure or what ever? 
Pray to trust God alone

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Awaking the sleeping Jesus

Readings for today, Sunday 21st June 2009...The Third Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 12) 1 Sam 17:1-49  (David and  Goliath), and/or  1 Sam 17:57-18:5, 10-16; Psalm 133;  2 Corinthians 6:1-13, Mark 4:35-41

I always think when I read this story in Mark  4 of Jesus calming the storm
that my life almost always feels like a boat that is about to be swamped!
It is an image the Mark uses deliberately, I think, to speak to us about the nature of our lives.
The feeling of being swamped is ever with us.
What this story reminds us of too
is that Jesus is also always with us
This is his post-resurrection promise
-I will be with you always-
but we treat him as though he is asleep
it's often more convenient for us that way!!

The gist of the story is straightforward
we awake the sleeping Jesus and he can deal with the situation,
but there is more here than that.
He actually rebukes his disciples for their lack of faith.
Is he telling them here
that they should trust their own faith?
like David or like Paul,
and not simply drop their bundle and say ...Here you sort it all out!
This is often the way we treat God.
Let him sleep until we get into trouble!
then wake him up and drop the problem in his lap.
The rebuke that Jesus utters is about God expecting more of us than this.

We are to be people of faith
and to use that faith not let God's grace be in vain...
but rather act out a life of faith.
It is Jesus's promise to us
not that he will make all our problems disappear
but rather that we will be able to live our life in God's power
to do what God wants us to do
and to be faithful.
So it's not that Jesus can't meet our needs
it's that we also need to recognise that our needs can be met
by what God has given to us.
God does not expect us to allow ourselves to be overpowered by his majesty
but rather to cooperate with him.
This is what David did
this is what Paul did.
It is the way that Jesus shows us.

I hope that we see that these stories move us on.
From a dependent immature faith
to one that acts powerfully in accord with God's will.
Our brashness, like David's needs to be tested
we should not just presume on God's mercy.
But let's not waste what God has laready done for us.
Anbd being conscious of Jesus ever with us
we also are called to act as he acts.
This is powerful and important stuff that we are called to. Let this be the character of your life.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The principle readings for this 14th June 2009 the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost are I Samuel 15:34-16:13 Psalm 20; II Cor 5:6-10; 14-17  Mark 4:26-34

Although it would be easy to think that ‘applying the Gospel’ is just common sense; we are reminded this week that we do not always see things in the way that God sees them
God looks on each human being with love and affirmation
there is nothing about me or you that God 
     does not,
     and will not love

that does not mean that God validates everything we do
in fact we are rather told that it is the other way around
We need to try and see as God sees
rather than to bludgeon God
into seeing things the way we do.
Perhaps our prayer
and spiritual effort
is better spent
trying to hear what God is inviting us to be and do
than in trying
to manipulate God
to do what we want.
St Paul says of this journey
we are called to walk by faith
That is to discern God’s will for us and to do that.
A little sign of this is given when Samuel is discerning who will succeed Saul as king, and he is reminded that so often we look at fairly arbitrary human characteristics
Popularity, success, physical stature
even age and experience
(this is the way of the world)
but Samuel is reminded to look at the heart.
Jesus uses the image of the seed
growing secretly and surprisingly
to remind us that it is
God who guides growth
and development.
and fruitfulness is often surprising
and different from what we expect

As we prepare for parish planning
can we pray for openness to God’s purpose
Pray for insight to see
where we are trying to manipulate God
instead of being open to the Spirit.

Lord of the hearts
fill me with your love 
this and every day
that I may be open 
and ready to respond to your gracious spirit
and that I may be fruitful

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Readings for Trinity Sunday, 7th June 2009 can include Isaiah 6:1-8, Romans 8:12-17;John 3:1-17;Psalm 29
Perhaps the most ‘doctrinal’ Sunday of the year we celebrate the Christian mystery that God is Trinity.
But we misunderstand Trinity if we think it is highly theoretical or speculative.
At the core of the Trinity is the idea that our God is the God with whom we are in relationship.
The language,
Father Son and Spirit
is the language of close relationships like a parent and a child
like those with a deep spiritual connection
it is not impersonal or abstract

So this week

Take a little time to nurture your personal relationship.
Listening and talking is the way to do this

The second dimension that we encounter today
is that each member of the Trinity is there as an agent of Love.
The Father loves the Son, the Son loves the Father, the Spirit is there to enable the love to deepen and grow.
This relationship or rather these relationships
are there to serve each other.
This is the nature of the Godhead
the mystery oif the Trinity
each person is there for the welfare of others
The Father loves the world so much
that he gives his Son
the Son loves the world so much
that he gives his life
the Spirit so loves us that we are filled with love for the Father and the Son.
The idea of Trinity
is that we are fulfilled in community
in so far as we give our life for others.

When Isaiah get his glimmer of God’s glory
he is reacting as Godly people have done throughout the generations
“How,” we ask “are others to hear about God?”
“Who will speak? Who will tell?”
The answer is that Trinity life...God-life is about living for others
“Here am I send me!”
the challenge

Where does God call me to live my life for others?
Is there someone who I am called specially to be here for this week?

As part of my call to be a worshipper of the Holy Trinity God I commit myself to this in this coming week.