Church of England Diocese of Birmingham St. Matthew with St. Chad, Smethwick

14th Sunday after Trinity

13 Sep 2020, midnight

Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity - 13th September 2020

Genesis 50v15-21; Psalm 103v1-13; Romans 14v1-12; Matthew 18v21-35

Let us pray: May the words of my mouth & the thoughts and meditations of all our hearts be acceptable to you Lord, our strength and our redeemer.

A word from Lucy. Today we have three different readings that all point in one direction. The OT lesson is set long ago in the time of Joseph. Long after his brothers sold him into slavery; long after Joseph ended up in Egypt; long time after the time of feast and famine that was foretold in a dream that Joseph was able to interpret; long before the time of the Exodus. At this time, Joseph was a senior figure in Egypt and he was reconciled with his family once more. But, as soon as Joseph’s father died, Joseph’s brothers’ guilty consciences got the better of them. They thought that Joseph would seek retribution against them for selling him into slavery. But Joseph not only knew and understood their worries and concerns but also went to great trouble to reassure them. For Joseph had realised and understood that God had been with him every step of the way. Bringing good out of bad things that happened to Joseph. And because of God’s compassion and mercy – Joseph showed compassion and mercy to his brothers.

In the letter of Paul to the Romans, we are reminded that there is not just one way to honour God. We are also told to stop judging one another’s religious practices because our thoughts and beliefs do not make us the only ones that are right and correct. Instead, we are instructed to respect and honour one another for one day, all of us will meet our maker: Then as the Lord himself says: “Every knee will bow; and every tongue will acknowledge God.” And, when we do meet with God we will each be asked to give an account of ourselves to God.

Finally, in the gospel according to Matthew, we hear Jesus teaching that we must be merciful towards one another, just like God is merciful towards us. For God does us an undeserved great honour - by forgiving our sins. And as God’s forgiven people, we are called to repay the debt we owe to God by showing the same kind of mercy, that God has shown to us, to others. Otherwise we may find ourselves in the terrible position of the unjust servant that Jesus spoke about in the parable. For if we who have been shown great mercy - fail to show mercy to others, God will say to us: “You wicked servant, I cancelled all that debt of yours just because you asked me to. So shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had on you?” Then God will hand us over to the jailers.

All three readings tell us that we are called to be a people who show mercy to others – just like Joseph did to his brothers in the OT lesson. For we are a people who will one day face our maker and be judged – just as said in the letter from Paul. And, as Paul said – we do not hold a monopoly on what God accepts. So being respectful towards others with different ideas – is also a way of showing mercy - by not judging others harshly. Because if we do not show mercy - we will be like the unjust servant that Jesus spoke of in the gospel. People shown mercy – who did not extend this mercy to others.

Today, I am intently listening to this word because failure to do so will lead to an unpleasant reckoning with God. And, God will win. I hope you hear what God is asking of you too – and that you will heed God’s call.

Let us pray: Thank you Lord for teaching and guiding us in the ways of your Kingdom. Thank you Lord for warning us about the dangers and risks that could befall us. Thank you Lord for constantly calling us to follow your pathway to heaven. Amen

Prayer of blessing May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, now and evermore. Amen.

Closing Note This message is sent to you with love and prayers as: a word of encouragement and a sign of hope as we live the new normal