Lord God, the maker
and redeemer of all, as we come before you in grief and praise
this day, lamenting the death toll and suffering of this pandemic. Comfort us with
your presence, make us attentive to your voice, and sustain us with the hope
of your kingdom.
O Christ, Son of the
living God, help us when we are too cast down to pray, and
grant that we may trust you all our days, for you are with us in our living and our dying, Jesus, Lord and God.
In the darkness of
unknowing, when your love seems absent, draw near to us, O God,
in Christ forsaken, in Christ risen, our Redeemer and our Lord. Amen.
My hope is in God’s word.
of the depths I have called to you, Lord; Lord hear my voice.
If you recorded all our sins. who could come before you?
But there is forgiveness with you: therefore you shall be feared.
My soul is longing for the Lord, more than those who watch for daybreak.
O Israel, wait for the Lord, for with the Lord there is mercy.
My hope is in God’s word.
Father, we commend to your faithful love those who are crying from the depths; help them to watch and pray through their time of darkness, in sure hope of the dawn of your forgiveness and redemption; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at
the right hand of God,
who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
As it is written,
‘For your sake we are being killed all day long;
we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.’ (Psalm 44:22)
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else
in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Lord Jesus Christ, help
us as we lament those who have died from Covid-19, those who are sick and
weakened, and those who are mourning the loss of loved ones. May the tears shed
in your earthly life be balm for all who weep, and may the prayers of your earthly
pilgrimage give strength to all who suffer, for your mercy’s sake. Amen.
From your royal
throne, O God, you sent your living Word to pierce the gloom
of despair; so, in our souls’ night, come with your saving help and penetrate our darkness with the rays of your glory in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lord Jesus Christ, when
fear and anxiety besiege us and hope is veiled in grief,
hold us in your wounded hands and make your face shine on us again, for you are
our Lord and God. Amen
Spirit, source of life; sustain us when our hearts are heavy and
our wells have run dry, for you are the Father’s gift, with him who is our living water,
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
The Lord’s 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 Lord bless us
and keep us; the Lord make his face to
shine upon us and
be gracious unto us; the Lord lift up his countenance upon us and give us peace. Amen
The ‘parables of the Kingdom’ in our Gospel give us a timely reminder that the initiative is God’s, and the action is God’s. The first two – the mustard seed and the yeast – point to a persistent weed and an irrepressible fungus which simply get on and grow, whether you want them to or not. Nothing could stop God sending Jesus to live amongst us; nothing could stop the growth of Christian faith, and nothing will deter God’s action in the future, though it may take forms that are surprising and unexpected to us.
The second two parables – about selling everything for the treasure and the pearl – describe the kind of action God takes. Jesus prized humanity, however ‘feeble’ our frame (as the hymn puts it), and gave everything he had for us. The word used in today’s gospel for ‘bought’ means ‘redeemed’; we were redeemed for the price of Jesus’ life, because he counted us – even us – to be a treasure and a pearl of great price. God’s kingdom comes at a price that love is willing to pay.
In the face of such dedicated, persistent love and purpose, our own home-grown ideas and plans of how to ‘bring about the Kingdom of God on earth’ are misplaced. Solomon got it right when he did not ask for what he thought would be most useful, but simply for wisdom to know God’s will for his people. The Kingdom of justice, compassion, and peace will be God’s gift to us, not our own achievement.
May we commit ourselves to follow God’s lead, wherever it might take us and whatever it might cost.
Reflection for Pentecost 7 19 July 2020 Romans 8:14-25 and Matthew 13:24-30
Jesus tells a parable of a farmer who sowed good seed in his field and then found weeds growing up amongst them, sown by an enemy. He was faced with a real dilemma: remove the weeds and risk damaging the good seed, or let them grow together and risk damaging the crop? There are many times in our lives when we may be faced with choices to which there is no clear and easy answer. For Jesus too, in his deep humanity, there were complex situations: do I expel Judas from the Twelve or allow him to stay for the time being? Do I escape from Gesthemane or allow my arrest?
Reflection for Pentecost 6 12 July 2020 Isaiah 55:10-13 and Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
Reflection for Pentecost 5 5 July 2020 Romans 7: 14-25 and Matthew 11:16-19; 28-30
We groan, and try, and fail again,
We cannot come – we are but men,
Come Thou to us, O Lord.
Come Thou and find us.
Shepherd of the sheep,
We cannot come to Thee.
It is so dark.
I hear a voice that sounds across the sea.
(for full text see https://webfiles.acu.edu/departments/Library/HR/restmov_nov11/www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/texts/dasc/TUB.HTM#Page60 )
Reflection for Feast of St Peter 28 June 2020 Acts 12:1-11 and Matthew 16:13-19
Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
Reflection for Pentecost 3 21st June 2020 Romans 6:1-11 and Matthew 10:24-31
Reflection for Pentecost 2 14 June 2020 Romans 5:1-8 and Matthew 9:35-38; 10:5-8
The Greek legend of Pandora tells how she opened a jar left in her care and let out all sorts of evils into the world – war, disease and death among them. All that remained at the bottom of the jar was hope.
But what sort of hope do we need? The early Christians – apostles, disciples, St Paul, the little churches founded in Asia Minor – were faced with many trials. Their very existence was threatened by local persecution and the great might of Rome. Jesus said he was sending them out ‘like sheep in the midst of wolves’ (Mt. 10:16). And the people they were to serve lived on the breadline, afflicted with disease and demonic oppression. ‘Hope’ must have seemed an absurd luxury, flying in the face of facts. And yet St Paul insisted it was there, real and robust, in the midst of their sufferings.
Reflection for Trinity Sunday 7th June 2020 Genesis 1:1-2, 26-31 and Matthew 28:16-20
Perhaps we should not be surprised that the world continues to display both the worst and best of human activity. Racism reveals the ugly desire to dominate and assert the self against those who are different. It is clear that the Covid-19 crisis has given the opportunity to make excess profit from public need, and to flout restrictions to accommodate personal wishes and plans. Selfishness comes to the fore.
Reflection for Pentecost 31 May 2020 Acts 2:1-6; 12-17 and John 20:19-23
Reflection for the 7th Sunday of Easter 24 May 2020 Acts 1:6-11 and John 17:1-11
any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer
or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:2 –
and on a day of salvation I have helped you.’
See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!
Reflection for Fourth Sunday of Easter - 'Good Shepherd Sunday' 3rd May 2020
Psalm 23 and John 10:10-10
Reflection for Third Sunday of Easter 26 April 2020 Gospel: Luke 24:13-35
Reflection for Second Sunday of Easter 19 April 2020 Gospel: John 20:19-31
John’s gospel brings us right down to earth after the joy of the Resurrection garden. The disciples were terrified that the political or religious authorities would be out to get them as well as Jesus. They might even undergo the savage death that he did. All was not sweetness and Easter light. They were in real fear of the ‘outside’.
We need God’s peace to calm our fears and help us to be in our right mind. Whilst we must be sensible, we must also rest in God and trust in God’s care, whatever happens. When we know the peace of God’s presence – of Jesus standing among us, outside our locked doors as well as inside them – then we will recover our loving humanity and joy in human fellowship.
Reflection for Easter Sunday 12 April 2020 Gospel: John 20:1-18
Reflection for Maundy Thursday 9 April 2020 Gospel: John 13:1-17
let me be as Christ to you;
pray that I may have the grace to
let you be my servant too.
Reflection for Palm Sunday 5th April 2020 Gospel: Matthew 21:1-11 and 26:14-27:66
Reflection for Passion Sunday 29th March 2020 Gospel: John 11:1-45
Reflection for Mothering Sunday 22nd March 2020 Readings: 1 Samuel 1:20-28; John 19: 25b-27