July 19, 2020

Patience

Passage: Scripture Readings: Gen.28:10-19a. Ps.139:1-12,23-24. Rom.8:12-25. Matt.13:24-30, 36-43.

Rev. Helen Robinson
Thoughts and Prayers, and a Hymn.
Sunday 19th July.
Scripture Readings: Gen.28:10-19a.
Ps.139:1-12,23-24.
Rom.8:12-25.
Matt.13:24-30, 36-43.
Prayer of Invocation:
Loving God,
you know who we are in the depths of our hearts.
Please hold us in your warm embrace,
Surrounded by your grace.
May there be nowhere we can go
that is outside of your love and protection.
May your constant presence be our guide.
For to you, the night is as bright as the day,
and nothing can extinguish your living light.
Amen.
Prayer of Confession:
Merciful God,
With you, we can abandon ourselves to real
honesty, knowing that you know us completely.
We know that we are not always entirely pure of
heart, nor loving, just and peaceable.
All is not perfect within our souls.
We know that in your wisdom you understand
exactly how to deal with what is undesirable in us.
Please give us the wisdom to follow your guidance
away from our mistakes and folly, and to find peace
and purity of heart in relationship with you.
We pray in Jesus’ name.
Amen.
Words of Assurance:
God guides us through the good and the painful in
life. God is light in our darkness, and peace
when we are confounded.
Through Christ, in Christ and because of Christ
we are forgiven.
Thanks be to God.
Prayer of Adoration:
Wise and holy God,
we thank you that you see everything clearly,
knowing all things for what they truly are.
In our eagerness to set things to rights
we may act rashly, assuming we know exactly how
to right wrongs.
You, Lord, know that patience, and the right action
at the right time, are the solution.
In you, we see the way to peace within ourselves,
and peace in our world.
Shine your light upon us always, we pray.
Amen.
Reflection: Matt.13:24-30, 36-43.
This parable is about patience. Something we don’t
necessarily have an abundance of. The servants see that
there is indeed a problem, and that weeds are growing with
the wheat. They want to root out the weeds straight away,
do away with them immediately. The Master has a different
perspective, and tells them to wait until harvest time, when it
will be easier to pull up the weeds without damaging the
wheat.
Certainly, there are many situations in which we
wish God would act immediately and decisively to rid the
world of evil. We abhor tyranny, oppression, war, greed,
corruption and dishonesty (especially in politics). Why
doesn’t God set it all to rights straight away? Could it be
that, given that these things arise in the human heart, God
intends to protect those whose hearts are innocent of these
things against the danger that fighting these things may
incur?
What I mean is that when there is war or revolution,
it is not possible (even likely) that in time the new overlords
could become no better than those who went before them?
Then the people who are powerless even under the new
regime may suffer just as much - or even more - than before.
It seems to me that the problem lies with our self-interested
human hearts. It’s not about changing one set of rules for
another, hoping that those “at the bottom of the pile” will be
better off because of it. It’s just not as simple as that. New
laws, however necessary, will not change the human heart.
It’s the very depths of our being that need to change. The
evil in the world cannot be eradicated solely by enacting laws
against discrimination and racism, and repealing laws which
allow the rich to get richer and the poor to sink further into
poverty.
t is hard for us to be patient while we wait for the
kingdom of God to appear in all its fullness. We long for
justice, peace, equity and harmony right now. But it can’t be
won by violent revolution in relation to any particular cause.
Remember the mustard seed, tiny as it is, eventually growing
into a large plant. Also, the yeast which makes the bread
rise - this takes time and patience. Our timetable is not
God’s timetable, perhaps for the very reason that we are
dealing with healing the evil in the human heart. All we can
do is to accept that God’s timetable is different to ours, and
do all that we can to keep our own hearts and lives pure with
the love of God and of our fellow human beings.
Please God that we are able to follow in that narrow
way.
Amen.
Hymn: T.I.S. No.674. “Inspired by love and anger”
Inspired by love and anger, disturbed by need and pain,
informed of God’s own bias, we ask him once again:
“How long must some folk suffer?
How long can few folk mind?
How long dare vain self-interest turn prayer and pity blind?
From those for ever victims of heartless human greed,
their cruel plight composes a litany of need:
Where are the fruits of justice?
Where are the signs of peace?
When is the day when prisoners and dreams find their
release?
From those for ever shackled to what their wealth can buy,
the fear of lost advantage provokes the bitter cry;
‘Don’t query our position!
Don’t criticise our wealth!
Don’t mention those exploited by politics and stealth!
To God who through the prophets proclaimed a different age
we offer earth’s indifference, its agony and rage.
“When will the wronged be righted?
When will the kingdom come?
When will the world be generous to all instead of some?
God asks, “Who will go for me? Who will extend my reach?
And who, when few will listen, will prophesy and preach?
And who, when few bid welcome, will offer all they know?
And who, when few dare follow, will walk the road I show?”
Amused in someone’s kitchen, asleep in someone’s boat,
attuned to what the ancients exposed, proclaimed and wrote,
a saviour without safety,
a tradesman without tools
has come to tip the balance with fishermen and fools.
from: Wild Goose Songs 1. ‘Heaven shall not wait’
John L. Bell 1949- and Graeme Maule 1958-2020.
Prayers of the People.
Living God,
we bring our concerns and the prayers of our hearts
to you:
(please name your own concerns)
We pray for hard hearts to be softened,
for selfishness to be changed to generosity,
for hope to overcome routine expectations,
for justice and peace to reign everywhere,
and that “a person will not be judged by the colour
of their skin but by the content of their character”. *
We pray for what is not yet, but is contained in your
new creation as we embrace hope and live out your
good news.
Amen.
* Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King jr.
Blessing:
May the wisdom of God guide us,
the love of Christ flow through us,
and may the Spirit always guide and direct us.
Amen.

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