Let us pray: God be in our heads and in our understanding. God be in our eyes and in our looking. God be in our mouths and in our speaking. God be in our hearts and in our thinking. God be at our end and at our departing. Sarum Primer (1527)
A Word from Lucy: The gospel shows us that even as Jesus is being complained about, he continues to teach those who will listen. Jesus says that no-one can come to faith unless God the Father draws them; and that everyone taught by God will come to Jesus; and that everyone who believes in Jesus has eternal life and will be raised up on the last day. This gospel shows me that even though the Church is sent out to bring the good news to each generation, that people will only come to faith if they are drawn to faith by God. From this, I learn that whilst it is our duty as a Church to keep on sharing the good news, that I must leave the salvation of souls to God who will do the rest.
So how does God draw and teach people? In the account from Kings, we see an example of God teaching the prophet Elisha. God sent his angel to provide him with a message and some food. In echo of this event, and others like it, the psalm is a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to God because we can trust God to hear our prayers, to send angels to help us and to intervene for us in our troubles. These readings show me that God sends angels into the world to help us - whether that be in dreams, face-to-face or a combination of dream and miracle in the world. From these readings, I learn that God can be trusted to take care of us and this challenges me to think about the way we are to respond.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul says that we should imitate God, and the example of Christ, by living lives of love and self-sacrifice. Paul tells us to stop letting our anger control us, to stop stealing, to stop speaking evil and to stop grieving the Holy Spirit. Pauls suggests that instead of doing wrong that as an alternative we should take control of our anger and earn a living so we can share what we have with those in need. Pauls also says that we should be kind to one another and forgive each other, just as Christ forgave us. This reading shows me that there is no list of rules that will help me to live the Christian life. Instead, it points me in the direction of God and Christ and asks me to imitate what I see there. And, when I fall short, Paul’s teaching shows that I must work out what to avoid and what I could do differently, as a better alternative, as I try to amend my life. However, we need to be realistic, because changing is not easy, and to help us we need to turn to God in prayer.
And, as the collect reminds us, we should be praying for things that will please God. And, as the post communion prayer sets out – we need to ask God to help us to stay on the path leading to the place where the gate of mercy stands wide open to receive us and not wander away from it. For this is the journey we all have to make in our pilgrimage of life, if we wish to be welcomed into eternal life.
Let us pray: Teach us, good Lord, to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labour and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do your will. Amen. (Saint Ignatius of Loyola)
Lords’ prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen
The Grace: 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
Thank you for joining us today.