God of the mustard seed,
whose hidden kingdom grows in the smallest of us,
grow your kingdom in me,
that I may spread huge loving branches of hope for all whom I meet this day,
so that the secret growth of heaven may be a little greater in our world.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Son of Man
All humanity is part of you
How we long to own
judgements that do not belong to us.
To cast a negative glance and
see a weed in another
to set ourselves apart from
‘people like these.’
Son of woman
Messiah and saviour
Yet one who would not
put out a flickering candle,
nor crush a bruised reed.
There is gentleness in your
judgement, yet power and
fire in the consequence
for all those who cause harm
to the smallest of your children.
Child of humanity
dowe prefer to take the chair
set the parties count the votes
rule who is ‘in’ and who is ‘out’
Forgive us our weediness
The intrusion into the
good growth of others
that is our exclusion of them.
Our placing injustice
division above acceptance
Hold until the end times
all our judgements for us
enable us to lay them
before the winnowing angels
I see peoples all around you
Some are shallow, they won’t stay long
Some are worried, and can’t let their concerns go
Some are distracted by the crowd, on their phones, always fidgeting.
In the crowd, who am I to you?
What place can I have in your Kingdom?
If I find stillness, can I hear and understand,
Even through the crowd?
Hear my one voice among many,
May my faith grow in my heart:
one willing, seeking heart,
ready to listen and understand.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Jesus was creating a stir. Everybody was talking about him and arguing about whether this young rabbi was for real or not. John hears the gossip and sends his disciples to ask Jesus “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” (Matt. 11.3) Not that long before John was the one who baptised Jesus. But now John the Baptiser is confused – like everyone else. The great judgement that John had predicted had not materialised, and the message of Jesus is strikingly different.
Jesus sends back a message via John’s disciples, ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offence at me.’ We don’t hear how John responded.
Today’s Gospel brings together the contrasting styles and tones between John and Jesus.
God, we are shocked at the inclusiveness of your Love.
Forgive our narrowness and prejudice.
Heal those hurts which have left a legacy of fear
And hamper our capacity to trust.
Open our hearts to your love
That accepting your kind yoke
We may find in the struggles and difficulties of life
The joy and rest which you promise.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
God of transforming welcomes,
who continually reaches out to bring Good News to those who need it
And invites us to participate in the continuing work of Jesus;
May we so act in generosity of spirit, and loving concern for others
That we may become members of your community of grace,
Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.
A GOOD READ
Once upon a time our society was rich in stories. They united us and helped us to understand the world and ourselves. We called them myths. Today, we have a myth gap.
Does that matter? Alex Evans argues powerfully and persuasively that it does. In this time of global crisis and transition– mass migration, inequality, resource scarcity, and climate change – it is only by finding new myths, those that speak to us of renewal and restoration, that we will navigate our way to a better future. It is stories, rather than facts and pie-charts, that have the power to animate us and bring us together to change the world.
The Myth Gap, What Happens When Evidence and Arguments Aren’t Enough by Alex Evans, Penguin 2017.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.’ Matthew 10, 34.
God of the shining sword,
Of the Angels of ethical war
God of conflict and division
Of the Matyrs and saints
We come today full of contrition
For the conflicts we have avoided
The days we have saved our own skin
Put our own family first, justified ourselves.
We lay before you the troubled conscience
The worried mind, the anxious heart
Which is the fruit of such self–preservation
The high cost of valuing others less than sparrows.
Making peace a God, we have bought only self–delusion.
Where conflict is needed to cry your kingdom
From the rooftops, we have instead whispered
In the dark corridors of power, brokered
Compromises and dissatisfaction in the corners of the night.
Forgive us the stale air of conflict without conviction,
The tired campaign, the heartless hope extended without
Proper thought or care. The shallow commitment, easily
Seen through, the expressed desire to follow
Christ which fails in denial or in lack of action.
Forgive us, for we are truly sorry
Forgive us for we long to be worthy of your Household
Forgive us, for we wish to work for the economy of the Gospel.
Thanks be to you, merciful God, who counts each hair
Upon our heads, and loves each one,
Who values each of us and welcomes us home
To your Household.
Yours is an economy of sharing:
one day being thankful for the help received;
another day going a extra mile
to gladly give.
May we, each day, have opportunities
to be generous in giving to others
and generous in our thanks to those who give to us,
no–one should be tied solely to a story of debt.
Because you were loved by those
from whom nobody expected any good
and you loved them. Amen.