Mid-week – PROPER 11 (Green)
Thursday, June 14th, 2018
Readings 2 CORINTHIANS 5:6-10 (11-13), 14-17; MARK 4:26-34
Collect Almighty God, without you we are not able to please you. Mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Alt 1 Mighty God, to you belong the mysteries of the universe. You transform shepherds into kings, the smallest seeds into magnificent trees, and hardened hearts into loving one. May your life-giving Spirit re-create us in your image and shape us into your purposes, through Jesus Christ. Amen. Revised Common Lectionary Prayers (2002) alt.
Alt 2 Creating God, you make all things new. Plant seeds of confidence and gladness in our hearts, so that, trusting your word, we may live no longer for ourselves but for him who died and was raised for us, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Revised Common Lectionary Prayers (2002) alt.
Prayer over the Gifts
God of reconciliation and forgiveness, the saving work of Christ has made our peace with you. May that work grow toward its perfection in all we offer you this day. We ask this in his name.
Prayer After Communion
Holy and blessed God, as you give us the body and blood of your Son, guide us with your Holy Spirit, that we may honour you not only with our lips but also in our lives. This we ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
THE EPISTLE LESSON IS WRITTEN IN THE 5TH CHAPTER OF THE SECOND LETTER OF SAINT PAUL TO THE CORINTHIANS, BEGINNING AT THE 6TH VERSE.
We are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord – for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.
Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences. We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast in outward appearance and not in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.
For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them. From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
HERE ENDETH THE LESSSON. (2 CORINTHIANS 5:6-17)
THE LORD BE WITH YOU. AND WITH THY SPIRIT.
THE HOLY GOSPEL IS WRITTEN IN THE 4TH CHAPTER OF THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO SAINT MARK, BEGINNING AT THE 26TH VERSE. GLORY BE TO THEE, O LORD.
Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.”
He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”
With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.
THIS IS THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST.
PRAISE BE TO THEE, O CHRIST (MARK 4:26-34)
Today – join together to welcome Gracie into the Body of Christ – that mystical union of all faithful people, across all time and distance.
Like a Family – annoying, yet endearing, maddening, yet solid, dysfunctional, yet still family, etc ….
There is a difference between like and love. I have discovered that it is very possible to love someone without much liking them at time.
My father one of 12 and mother one of 8 – and so I have come to some idea of the ways family can behave. At any one time, likely all of the ways are in force between people.
BUT, I know for a fact that when it comes right down to it Love endures. Whatever else may be going on – liking is, however, another matter.
So, we are called together in response to God’s Love for humanity. We are called together to the waters of baptism.
As we pass through the waters we are dead to the life that was before that moment. We stand refreshed and re-born to the new life that Christ Jesus offers to everyone.
We are dead to a life of solitary struggle against our fears for what comes next. We are re-born to a life lived in the sure and certain hope of eternal life.
So with eternity sorted out, we are called to live this life. Eternity begins today for Gracie, as it began for us all as we emerged from the waters of our baptism.
We are not only freed from anxiety regarding our relationship with God and what comes next. We are also freed FOR life in this world. This, also, is the heart of the gospel promise.
We are freed from fear of scarcity so that we can be generous with others.
We are freed from the fear of condemnation so that we can forgive others.
We are freed from the fear of falling short, of failing, of being unacceptable so that we can live for our neighbors, sharing with others the good news that God is pleased to give us — all of us — the kingdom.
Maybe we should give a little more attention to what God would have us DO in this life and world. We already have the Kingdom, there is no scarcity, there is nothing of real value missing in our lives – let us live in the sure knowledge of what has been given to us.
Let us share with our neighbours as though the purse will not wear out and share from the storehouses of heaven. God has granted unto us the vastness of his grace – we are called to share that with our neighbours and give thanks to God for it.
Our neighbours, especially those who do not know the comfort of being relieved of the fear of what comes next, need to hear from us. They need to know that scarcity and want are not all that there is.
Our God – our Creator – has vastness and graciousness in mind for them as he has for us. It is something that matters, something that gives us the sense of belonging and purpose that all people crave.
We are reminded of our freedom in Christ to — with a nod to the shoe company Nike — just do it:
to just love our neighbor,
to just care for creation,
to just reach out to those in need,
to just give for the sheer delight of it,
to just forgive even as we are forgiven,
to just embrace the future, and
to just receive all good things in humility and gratitude.
Why? Because we should? Certainly; this is what God wants both from us and for us. But even more, because we can; because this is what God has freed us for.
We have been freed from the eternal cares to make our lives here and now the delight that makes them worth living. So – love, care, reach out, forgive, and embrace our sure and certain future.
Let us pray.
O God the creator of all, at his baptism you proclaimed Jesus your beloved and anointed him with the Holy Spirit. Make us faithful to our calling to be your daughters and sons, and empower us with your Spirit, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.