Collect and Readings for the Twelfth Sunday after Trinity – Jeremiah 18.1-11, Deuteronomy 30.15-end, Psalm 139.1-7,12-18, Psalm 1, Philemon 1-21, Luke 14.25-33The Prayer for today Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray and to give more than either we desire or deserve: pour down upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
No sooner have you missed paying a credit card bill than invitations to get further into borrowing start crashing through your letter box. We live in an age of plastic or electronic money where the planning of our finances is pressurised to include living beyond our means, and many discover too late that they have over-reached themselves and are heavily, and dangerously, in debt. Jesus' words from today's Gospel hit home to us very powerfully. It is so easy to start enthusiastically committing yourself financially to a new bathroom, car or double-glazing, and regret your decision once the 'pay later' date has arrived.
Although Jesus' words sound very strict and demanding, they badly need to be taken on board. It is essential that no one is given the impression that following Jesus is all easy and happy, with no real cost involved. Part of spreading the good news is ensuring that people are properly informed of the small print. In fact, Jesus would not have it in small print, but large letters, so that there is no doubt about what is required in the way of commitment. God wants us to make a well-informed, well-considered decision; becoming a Christian, like undertaking marriage, should never be done lightly or carelessly.
Placing God at the very centre of our lives means deliberately placing him at the centre of our thinking and working, our emotions and feelings, our energy and ambitions and in the centre of every relationship, and every decision. Just as when you look at the world through a coloured filter, everything is coloured, so when we take the decision to follow Jesus, everything is coloured by that commitment.
So far, so demanding! Of course, the wonderful, good news is that when we take this step we can trust God to lead us into the very best, most fulfilling life possible. The lovely Psalm 139 celebrates the intimate knowledge God has of us, and every stage of our growing. Never will he demand less of us than we can be. In his strength, give. Never will he push us too fast or overload us too quickly. In partnership with Jesus we can look forward to a lifetime of growing, blossoming and bearing good fruit, in an environment of total security, warm affection and the knowledge of being precious and valuable.
Some things to reflect on:
God bless and stay safe and well.
Rev'd Fiona Robinson