Eucharist – 2nd Sunday after Trinity 21st June
Service with Rev Neil – YouTube Link Sunday 21st June
The Second Sunday after Trinity: Reflections on the readings from Jeremiah 20: 7-13 and Matthew 10: 24-39
Our photo today (one of my favourites) is a postcard I received some years ago and it shows a circle of Indian hands from the Himalaya region. The message is our togetherness, our unity in love. Take time to look at the detail on the hands, and how, when the very ordinary and every day come together, something beautiful is shown.
The photo speaks to us of what many of us have longed for in this last three months: close contact with those whom we love, to hold , to be hugged. Family life has been under the stress of separation in recent times, and a report I read this week spoke of two out of every 5 adults having experienced loneliness in the last three months. I really hope that these weeks have led us as Jesus’ disciples into a deeper reflection on who it is and what it is that is really important to our sense of who we are. If you haven’t done this, draw a circle on a piece of paper and write within it what is really important for you, and pray with what you have written.
And now reflect that what Jesus says in Matthew 10:37 is a very hard saying indeed. “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me”. Jesus is preparing the disciples for persecution that will follow, and a great deal is at stake. And so it is for us, for whereas we may find the saying difficult because we love our families….I hope we can also see that the violence of nations, disputes within our community, arguments on Facebook…. are often justified in the name of protecting our loves – our way of life. Yet it is exactly these loyalties that Jesus calls into question as he instructs his disciples. This is why I like my photo of the hands….because they are together and not divided, within the theme of prayer (there are praying hands on the reverse of the card), a union in love.
We read that the prophet Jeremiah faced persecution and hostility for his witness to God’s message. He was tempted to just give up and give in. Why doesn’t he give up? Because ‘If I say: I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name, then within me there is something like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot’. What do we learn from the prophet Jeremiah? That our relationship with God is one of deep love – not church going, not duty, not habit, not just meeting our friends…but love. Think back to the words on your paper circle. If we have ‘fire in our bones’ (Jeremiah’s words) then others will feel its warmth, and be drawn to the love of God; and we will have courage for all that our churches face in the future.
Pedro Arrupe (1907-1991) a former Superior General of the Society of Jesus said: “Nothing is more practical than finding God,that is than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your week -ends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with love and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love and it will decide everything”. (Finding God in All Things: A Marquette Prayer Book 2009)