Second Sunday after Trinity

SECOND SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY

Readings:

Jeremiah 20:7-13

Psalm 69

Romans 6:1-11

Matthew 10:24-39

 

Collect

Lord, you have taught us

that all our doings without love are

nothing worth:

send your Holy Spirit

and pour into our hearts that most

excellent gift of love,

the true bond of peace and of all virtues,

without which whoever lives is counted

dead before you.

Grant this for your only Son

Jesus Christ’s sake,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

 

Hard stuff today!

The Gospel reading begins with what has been called,

‘the exhortation to fearless confession’,

As we hear the Apostles – the “sent out ones” – being told not to expect their message to be welcomed everywhere and not to be surprised if they face opposition.

If Jesus, their teacher, faced opposition, so will they.

So, the message to them and to all those who face opposition and persecution is,

‘do not be afraid’, ‘do not think God has forgotten you, or doesn’t care about you.

For nothing goes hidden or unnoticed by God, so do not be put off and do not be silenced.

There is then talk of division – and as for peace, they and we are not to think it will be won easily or immediately – even within your own household.

Finally, then, at the end of the passage we hear what has been called,

‘the conditions of discipleship’ – that is, the taking up of one’s cross and the losing of life in order to find life.

Let us take a moment to reflect on why this all seems so difficult.

If the Gospel is, literally, ‘good news’,

why might people not want to hear it?

why should discipleship be difficult?

What do you think?

Some may say,

‘Ah, well, people don’t want to hear because they want to go on doing wrong things and they don’t want to hear that there may be consequences.’

Or,

‘Ah, well, people don’t want to have to face their responsibilities.’

Or, how about,

‘Anything worth having must be earned by working hard and being good.’

                            

Hmmmm – how does your thinking about these questions fit with your image and understanding of God?

Of Jesus?

Of the Kingdom of God?

Of mercy?

Of forgiveness and transformation?

There are a lot of opposites in this passage – light/dark, hidden/exposed, covered/uncovered, good/bad, whispered/proclaimed, acknowledged/denied, peace/division, finding/losing.

Between each is a tension – a boundary to be crossed, maybe.

Underlying each there is also another movement and that is between the pair of opposites:

 

Love                                  vs                                                 Fear

 

 

Now, ponder for a moment longer about that image of the cross that we are called to take up:

Consider the arms of that cross, stretched out widely,

holding, holding, holding………..

and

bearing the strain of all our ‘opposites’ –

our light and our dark,

what is hidden and what is exposed,

what is covered and what is uncovered,

what we see as good and what we see as bad,

what is whispered and what is proclaimed,

what is acknowledged and what is denied,

where there is peace and where there is division,

our finding and our losing.

all our joy and our sorrow, our ease and our dis-ease

all the agony and complexity and exuberance and magnificence of creation………

Consider the arms of that cross, stretched out widely,

holding, holding, holding………..

and

bearing, bearing, bearing…………

 

The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.

Deuteronomy 23:37

 

 

Now, consider the upright of that cross, stretching between heaven and earth,

lifting and raising all that is fallen, all that is downtrodden, all that is bent in pain, loss and grief, all that is broken, sinful, guilty, ashamed and in despair………

And, know

 deep within yourself

that there is hope,

yes, even for you and me!

To take up that cross is to be raised from our own narrow concerns, that is, to be ready to lose ourselves and our concerns for our life.

It is to discover ourselves held by God – God who bears with us all that was, is and is yet to be in us.

It is to be transformed and set free.

If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

                           John 8:36

 

Free to enter more fully into the LIFE of God.

Having ‘lost’ our lives in this way, the stage is set for the adventure to really begin…….!

                          

An unusual labyrinth, which retains a continuous flow,

while offering a choice of direction at the beginning.

Let us pray:                                 

As we pass this year’s longest day, we pray,

For all things bright and beautiful,

For all things dark and mysterious and lovely,

For all things green and growing and strong,

For all things weak and struggling to push life up through rocky earth,

For all human faces, hearts, minds and hands which surround us,

And for all non-human minds and hearts, paws and claws, fins and wings,

For this life and the life of this world,

For all that you have laid before us, O God,

We lay our thankful hearts before you.

G.A. Ricciuti

 

Lord Jesus, your light penetrates the secrets of our hearts.

Give us grace to walk in newness of life.

Lord Jesus, your love exposes both deeds of darkness and light.

Give us grace to walk in newness of life.

Lord Jesus, you hold everyone precious in your sight.

Give us grace to walk in newness of life.

Lord Jesus, raised from the dead you die no more.

Give us grace to walk in newness of life.

 

Here is a prayer you could say, with Shere parish, joining in with them as they light a candle on Sunday evenings:

As I light this candle; Creator God surround my home with the warmth of your love,

fire of the Spirit burn within me, light of Christ shine from me. Amen.

The sacred Three be over me, the blessing of the Trinity.
Keep protection near, And danger afar
Keep hope within, Keep doubt without
The sacred Three encircle me, the blessing of the Trinity.
Keep peace within, Keep evil out
Keep light near, And darkness afar
The sacred Three indwelling me, the blessing of the Trinity.
Amen

 

 

 

Merciful Father,

accept these and all our prayers

for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

THE PEACE

Accept the peace that our Lord gives.

The deep peace of the Prince of peace be within you and about you.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.  Amen.

 

THE BLESSING

Let the power and peace of the presence of God

fill your life and be at work within you;

and the blessing of God almighty,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always.  Amen.

 

 

 

 

Stephanie Sokolowski            21/6/20

 

Please note that the above is not properly referenced.

It is sent to congregation members for personal use only!