Racial Justice Sunday
Roman Catholic/Methodist/URC - 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Anglican - Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost, Proper 17
Proverbs 1:20-33 or Isaiah 50:4-9a • Psalm 19 or Psalm 116:1-9 • James 3:1-12 • Mark 8:27-38
I'm preaching today at the Methodist Chapel in the village where I grew up in the North East. Its their chapel anniversary and I was specially asked to come and preach and take both their morning and evening services. Its the chapel where my mum has worshipped for 40 years and I know them all extremely well as they have known me since I was tiny. Even though I have preached there before, there is always at the back of my mind the story of what happened to Our Lord when he returned to Nazareth to preach !
Its an unusual situation for me in a lot of ways. At St Catharine's and St Dominic's I preach the same sermon at all three masses, because the congregations are all different. This Sunday I need to do two sermons as there is a big crossover between the two congregations. I have also got to lead two services when my role is usually of assistant, and I have got to work from scratch where as I am used to having the formally set out services of the Catholic Church Missal to use.
Morning service will be a "birthday party" for the building complete with party games and a giant cake ( its not as irreverant as it sounds! ) The game is pass the parcel - each layer has a brick in it and on the brick is an appropriate scripture quotation. One word in each scripture passage is in read and when the wall is built and the red words are read as a sentence they spell out a message to the congregation :
Ecclesiastes 2:5 I made gardens and Parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them.
Luke 14:23"Then the master told his servant, 'Go out to the Roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full
Acts 20:28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the Church of God, which he bought with his own blood.
1 Samuel 3:4 Then the LORD called Samuel. Samuel answered, "Here I am."
2 Timothy 1 : 11-12 My work is to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher. That's why I am suffering now. But I am not ashamed! I know the one I have faith in
Isaiah 43 : 5 Do not be afraid for I am with you
Colossians 1 : 10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God
Psalm 27:13 I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
Genesis 28:3 May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples.
1 Chronicles 9 : 29 Others were responsible for the temple furnishings and its sacred objects
Jude 1 : 18 "In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires."
Joshua 4:6 In the future, when your children ask you, 'What do these stones mean?'
The evening will be more formal using the lectionary texts for the day. Because I am not used to preaching for longer than 7 minutes and find it difficult to stretch it as I am no so set in that time frame, I am going to preach twice within the service to give the 15minutes of preaching that is expected !
James is today reminding us that there is a need for good works to accompany our faith and worship. It is important, that we never forget that going to church on Sunday is not enough. Each of us is called to different tasks and has different skills but we must use them for the spread of the Gospel through our good works. However, today's gospel reminds us that being a Christian is not easy and that there will be times when we are doing those good works when we will face problems and setbacks, but we cannot allow ourselves to give up. We must pick up our Cross and follow Christ, bearing as bravely as He did, the troubles and pains placed upon us. We cannot give up.