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Sunday 14th June 2020- Trinity 1

posted 12 Jun 2020, 08:35 by Church Office   [ updated 14 Jun 2020, 04:08 by CHS Info ]

You can download the order of service here, and a printable version of the readings, sermon and prayers can be downloaded here.

Sunday 14th June 2020

First Sunday after Trinity

This Sunday is the start of “ordinary time” in the church.  All the festivals and feasts are over and now it’s time to just get on with the day to day work of living as God’s people.

It’s a tough start though.  The readings speak of one particular people being special and chosen, “you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples” our first reading from Exodus states.  The gospel of Matthew has Jesus sending his disciples only to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” and forbids them from ministering to the gentiles and the Samaritans.  How are we to respond? Should we skip over these bits because they make us feel uncomfortable? Should we explain them away? Or should we question the text, argue with it, seek to enter into a dialogue with what it means to be a people who trust God sufficiently to question God and allow God to question us.

Pram Service (8am)  Baaaaa or Roaaaah?  This week we will explore being sheep and being wolves.  Story,  prayer and  song for our littlest members. Head over to the Children and Youth tab to see this week’s service.

Sunday School (9:30am) This week we are focusing on the Lord’s Prayer. What is prayer? We will do a bit of chatting to God and we will have a look at the Lord’s Prayer template given us by Jesus.  With Father’s Day next week, we will also be thinking about our fathers and father figures who we trust and love us dearly. Bring crayons, pencils, felt tips, paper and glue - bring any stories or pictures of good things that fathers can do! See you there! Join us here: https://zoom.us/j/578055716, you’ll need the password which can be found in our newsletter. To subscribe please go to our homepage to subscribe.

Readings

Exodus 19:2-8 

They had journeyed from Rephidim, entered the wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness; Israel camped there in front of the mountain. Then Moses went up to God; the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the Israelites: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites.”

So Moses came, summoned the elders of the people, and set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. The people all answered as one: “Everything that the Lord has spoken we will do.” Moses reported the words of the people to the Lord.

 

Matthew 9:35-10:8

35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

10 Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.

These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.

Seeking out the lost and cleansing the lepers. How are we getting on with that? Raising the dead. How about that one? Again, God invites us, in this passage, to think and see differently. But also to live differently - more freely, boldly, faithfully, and abundantly - in light of what Jesus has shown us and in light of what he has given us in the Spirit.

 

Sermon

 A few weeks ago a couple of neighbours were having a fairly good natured political argument about something Kier Starmer had or hadn’t said on our neighbourhood whatsapp group.  Several other neighbours weighed in, not with their views on Kier Starmer, but with instructions to please keep the neighbour chat positive and uplifting. 

I am not knocking my neighbours, this is something we all do.  When the conversation get awkward, when someone says something that makes us uncomfortable, our first reaction is often to restore peace by bringing the conversation to an end, by changing the subject, smoothing over any differences.

This morning we have such a moment in the Gospel: Jesus is sending out his disciples to proclaim the nearness of the kingdom of God, but only to their people, “the lost sheep of the House of Israel”, not to the gentiles, not to any Samaritans, just to the Israelites.

We could easily skip over this bit because the passage is full of other great stuff: the call to poverty and reliance on hospitality, the healing of the sick and calling out of demons, the generosity of sharing what you have with others.

But what if we don’t skip over it?

What if we question what it means for Jesus sent his disciples to bring all this good news to one group and not another?

Throughout the whole story of scripture there is the story of one nation, one people, being chosen, being special as our first reading puts it to “be my treasured possession out of all peoples”. 

There is a way of reading this story that says that God chose the Jews because they were the underdog, an example of choosing the weak over the strong, the oppressed over the oppressor. 

There is another way of reading it that says that Israel was only called so that it could serve the rest of the world.  When God first covenants with Abraham to bless his people it is in order that they may be a blessing to all nations.

Still another way is to read the people of Israel as some kind of divine pilot project: test salvation with one group first and iron out any kinks before rolling it out to the rest of the world.  A bit like trialling the coronavirus tracing app on the Isle of Wight. 

I am not sure that any of these explanations are truly satisfactory. 

It just doesn’t seem right does it?  

Someone else doesn’t think its right either: later in the gospel a Samaritan woman asks Jesus to heal her daughter and is told “it is not right to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs”.  The children, we are to understand, are the Jewish people, the dogs are rest.  The woman does not back down, she questions, why, why shouldn’t the dogs at least get some of the crumbs? She seems to be more aware of the abundance of God’s mercy than Jesus is.

Here is an outsider who speaks up and challenges Jesus, challenges his privileged position as Jewish male over a foreign female.  An outside who insists on having the conversation.  

The result is that Jesus changes his mind.  Or that’s how it seems. At the end of the conversation with this brazen foreign woman Jesus commends her faith, he heals her daughter – it turns out that there is enough grace and mercy to go round. 

We often perceive of God as God as unchanging, eternal and all-knowing but that is not the God we see here. 

Here we see Jesus expressing views that are common to one group and being challenged to take account of the lived experience of another group and changing his mind.

Here we see Jesus enter into conversation, argue, discuss and change his behaviour. 

In Jesus we see God becoming fully present in one particular human being.  The particularity of Jesus is important, his maleness is important, his Jewishness is important.  Important not because God can only be fully present in men or fully present in Jews but important because God can be fully present in any human life.  Which means that no human life is incapable of being the place where God is present. 

For me Jesus’s very maleness which shows me that God is present in all genders, his very Jewishness that shows me that God is present in all races. 

The presence of God in Jesus allows Jesus change, allows Jesus to learn, allows Jesus to transcend his Jewishness and maleness to stand and argue with this Samaritan woman as an equal.

Perhaps more than anything this passage shows me that if the Samaritan woman can challenge Jesus, can interrogate the Son of God, then we too can challenge the church, we too can interrogate the scriptures.  When we do so we find a that God is always bigger, always more inclusive, always more just than we imagined.  And in finding that God we also find that we too can become a bigger, more inclusive and more just humanity.

 

Prayers

God of compassion,
you have opened the way for us
and brought us to yourself.
Pour your love into our hearts,
that, overflowing with joy,
we may freely share the blessings of your realm
and faithfully proclaim the good news of Christ. Amen.

 

Prayers of intercession

Let us pray to God through his Son and in the power of the Spirit

Let us pray for the church in its strength and weakness. We pray for its ministry in places of persecution – in the Middle East and in China. We ask God’s blessing on churches here without a vicar or leadership, that labourers may be found for God’s harvest. May the church in Clapham continue to proclaim the good news that all lives matter.

Lord in your mercy – Hear our prayer


Let us pray for the world in all its fragility. We pray for those working in the media, uncovering news that the powerful would prefer to leave buried. We remember journalists imprisoned or censored because of their commitment to the truth and pray that those controlling print or social media will act responsibly and in the interest of the common good.

Lord in your mercy – Hear our prayer

 

Let us pray for our families, friends and our local community. May we look out for each others’ needs particularly those bearing heavy responsibilities caring for adults or children. We offer to God’s care Bonneville and Macauley Schools, Clapham Academy and Lambeth College and all places of learning, especially in these times where education is difficult.

Lord in your mercy – Hear our prayer

 

Let us pray for those suffering from sickness of body mind or spirit, particularly those lonely or grieving for loved ones. By name we pray for

Jane Bell, Heidi Bell, Albert Bell, Sara Carter, Ruby Mitchell, Monika Maciejko, Bernard Maciejko, Jane Taylor, Linda Parker, Christine Harris, Jane Roberts, Damien Harte and,  Jonathan Aubrey. 

Lord in your mercy – Hear our prayer

 

Let us pray for those who have died recently and those whose anniversaries of death occur around this time. May we all find ourselves made whole in God’s loving and eternal care.

 Lord in your mercy – Hear our prayer

 

Uniting our prayer with Bernard Mzeki, missionary and martyr, and St Richard of Chichester, we pray Thanks be to thee, Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits thou hast given me, for all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me. O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother, may I know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more nearly, day by day.

Merciful God, accept these prayers for the sake of your son our saviour Jesus Christ, Amen

 

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Church Office,
13 Jun 2020, 00:09
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Church Office,
13 Jun 2020, 05:21