Home Mission Sunday
Roman Catholic/Methodist/URC - 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Anglican - Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost, Proper 20
Proverbs 31:10-31 or Wisdom of Solomon 1:16-2:1, 12-22 * Psalm 1 or Psalm 54 * James 3:13 - 4:3, 7-8a * Mark 9:30-37
Who is the greatest ? Its a trap that we may still fall into as Churches Together Groups. There are alsorts of ways in which this can happen "We've been around longer than anyone else" "We've got the biggest congregation" "Our services are the best" etc... We don't mean to but its only human nature. At the recent CTE Forum, it was pointed out that division and conflict are part of our history and we need to acknowledge it. They are part of our past and we need to live with that, that doesn't mean to say that they have to be part of our future or present ! What it does mean is that conflict and division made us what we are as denominations and we need to work harder to ensure that this doesn't raise it's head. In ecumenical terms, we are all equals. It doesn't matter what else. It's what James is talking about in his epistle "wherever you find jealousy and ambition, you find disharmony and wicked things" If we start to boast or try and prove that we are greater, then all we are trying to do ecumenically will fall flat on its face.
Jesus reminds us that we are all children and we need to act like children. The metaphor of being us being brothers and sisters is often used to describe our relationship. Its a good one, especially in the context of today's call to be like children. However, maybe a better one is cousins. That would explain our different ways and traditions. We are basically of the same stock but differences creep in over time. Some of us are older, some of us younger. We do a lot apart and some things together. What we need to do in our relationship with each other is to keep it innocent and simple like child cousins do. Put a group of related families together, and its the grown ups who bring up old rows and divisions. The children just get on with it and accept that there are some things which are different, and the things that went on before they were born, weren't anything to do with them.