Collect and Readings for The Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity, Song of Solomon 2:8-13, Psalm 45.1-9, James 1.17-end, Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23;
The Prayer for today
Almighty God, who called your Church to bear witness that you were in Christ reconciling the world to yourself: help us to proclaim the good news of your love, that all who hear it may be drawn to you; through him who was lifted up on the cross, and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
It is not easy to be a Christian. We think of the early Christians and the obstacles they faced—persecution, lions in the Coliseum, crosses lining the roadside—and we are glad that in this country the government does not slay us for our beliefs. Other countries, of course, are not so lucky and numerous Christians across the world are persecuted for their faith
Even without open persecution, it is not easy to be a Christian today.
Being a Christian requires commitment, service, sacrifice. It requires living by faith even when the pathway is dark. Being a Christian requires living by principles and ideals, even when some might label us fanatics. After all, there is a whole world out there saying, “Everybody is doing it! What’s wrong with you?” We teach our children to “Just Say No,” but that requires courage and faith—and gets no easier as we grow older.
Jesus doesn’t actually make it easy for us. We like to think of Christianity as a comforting faith—and it is—but Jesus also challenges us with words like these: Forgive your enemies. Pray for them that persecute you. Be reconciled to your brother before coming to the altar. Sell all that you have and give it to the poor.
How do these words of Jesus sound against the kinds of messages that you hear around you every day, in the media, on our televisions and on social networks. These are some titles of popular books which are out there today:
Winning Through Intimidationby Robert Ringer.
Virtue of Selfishnessby Ayn Rand. Power:
How to Get It, How to Use Itby Michael Korda.
I am sure that we have all heard comments like, it’s a dog-eat-dog world. All is fair in love, war, and business.
In our reading James says, “Be doers of the word, and not only hearers” (1:22). God calls us to a high calling. He calls us to rise above the ordinary. Why should he expect so much of us?
God expects so much of us because of who we are. We are his children, created in his image, and he calls us to look and act like our father. And he wants us to look and act like our father. We all want our children to do the right things and make us proud of the people they become.
God expects so much of us because our actions make such a difference in the lives of other people. We can’t help other people to know Christ unless it is pretty obvious that we know him ourselves.
I think that we will all have been told at some time in our lives that actions speak louder than words.
James says, “But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing’. May we be worthy of God’s calling to stand in his presence and serve him and receive his blessing.
Some things to reflect on:
What do your actions say to people who are not Christians?
Could you do more to reflect Christ’s love and forgiveness?
God bless and stay safe and well.
Rev’d Fiona Robinson