“The Suffering Disciples”

A sermon/reflection for The Second Sunday after Trinity

The readings for this Sunday are those of Second Sunday after Trinity Sunday:

  • Genesis 21.8-21

  • Psalm 86.1-10, 16-17

  • Romans 6. 1b-11

  • Matthew 10. 24-39

You might like to use the link below to find the above readings for Trinity Sunday, Year A, and click on any of the reading above that you wish to use:

http://www.katapi.org.uk/CommonWorship/CWLectionarySelV.php

Prayer 

Loving Heavenly Father,
we thank you for the words you have given us today.
We know they are words of life and salvation.
Open our hearts Father, touch our souls,
forgive us our sins especially our lack of faith,
help us to respond to your word.
May we know that you are our Lord and Saviour
who promises us the power from on high, your Holy Spirit.
May we experience in our hearts your love and your presence always.

Amen. 

Collect of the day

Faithful Creator,
whose mercy never fails:
deepen our faithfulness to you
and to your living Word,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen

Matthew 10:34-39 (The Message Version)

“Don’t think I’ve come to make life cozy. I’ve come to cut—make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law—cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God. Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me.

“If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me. (MATTHEW 10:34-39)

The Suffering Disciples

Jesus is telling his disciples that being a follower can be pretty tough. It takes total commitment. But through the gospels these disciples don’t appear to understand exactly what is required. It’s only after Jesus’ resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit that they are transformed.

 Sources in descending order of reliability tell us that the apostles were willing to undergo agonising deaths rather than deny that they had met the risen Jesus:

  • James executed with a sword on the order of Herod Agrippa; his executioner was so impressed by James’ death and unwillingness to recant that Jesus had risen that he believed and was also executed.
  • Peter; Eusebius states Peter was crucified upside down because he felt unworthy to die the same way as Jesus
  • Andrew; Hippolytus tells us he was crucified after preaching the resurrection.
  • Matthew was beheaded for insisting that Jesus was resurrected.
  • Phillip crucified for preaching in Phrygia
  • James the Lesser: taken to the top of the Temple and threatened to be cast down if he didn’t deny that Jesus was resurrected: he wouldn’t so they threw him off. He survived, injured and still wouldn’t recant so they clubbed him to death.
  • Nathaniel (Bartholomew); Flayed and crucified
  • Simon the Zealot: witnessed in many countries but was finally crucified in Syria.
  • Judas Thadeus: Beaten to death by sticks in Mesopotamia.
  • Matthias: hung on a cross then stoned to death.
  • Thomas – killed in India

There’s a story that some policemen found some worshippers in North Korea. They invaded the premises armed with guns. “OK,” they said, “if you aren’t a Christian you can leave.” North Korea is the place where Christians are most persecuted in all the world. A quarter of Christians there are in labour camps … for years. Being “re-educated”.

What would you do? Deny your faith and walk free or go to certain suffering?

In Britain we aren’t faced with such problems. So how do we show the same total commitment? How do we put Jesus before everything else in our lives? What can we do to show our faith?

  1. Give our time. This is where we start. And the first bit of time we need to give is to spend time in the presence of God.
  2. As we’re spending time let’s ask who is missing from our church? Who is overlooked amongst my family or friends or my church? Who do I overlook? Whose needs am I simply not seeing. I ask, Lord, that you open my eyes and my heart to make me aware of those in need and show me how I can serve and include them.
  3. And money. We are the fifth richest country in the world. Most of us have money to spare. Otherwise we would not be able to buy wine, sweets, holidays, changes of clothing … Most of us can find money to spare if we put our minds to it. To support Christian aid charities, Foodbank, our own churches.

We’re not asked by God to be executed in a horrific manner, but we are asked to be totally committed in our own way. As the hymn says,

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a gift far too small,
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.                                               

[John Beverley]

 

Prayer

Prayer

Spend some time in prayer, responding to what you have heard today and listening to what God might be saying to you.

Another prayer you can say now:

Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God.
Thank you for becoming one of us.
Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins.
Thank you for rising from the dead to give me hope
and the gift of eternal life.
I repent of my sins and invite you into heart and life
as my Lord and Saviour.
Please grant me your Holy Spirit
so that I may know you, love you
and follow you every day of my life.


Amen.

in our thoughts and prayers

 

Some Prayers/ Intercessions for the First Sunday after Trinity

As services are now suspended in churches, do use/ share these intercessions at home or on line.

“Prayer is a plant, the seed of which is sown in the heart of every Christian.
If it is well cultivated and nourished it will produce fruit, but if it is neglected,
it will wither and die.”

Jesus is alive.
Love has won the victory over evil and death.

Dear friends, we come before God to pray for ourselves and our world, recognising the urgency of our mission as Christians in the world, and asking for the grace to discern God’s will for us today in these uncertain and bewildering times.   (pause for silent prayer)

Heavenly Father, the light of your revelation brought the Disciples the gift of faith in Jesus your Son. Through their proclamations from the housetops many came to faith and so we give thanks for that faith we have inherited in Christ Jesus, and for having been enriched by him in knowledge and love.

Lord in your Mercy:  Hear our Prayer

The Lord Jesus built his Church on the apostles.  United with them, in faithfulness to the Gospel’s teaching and way of life, we pray for our individual and communal roles in our Springline Parish.  We pray for our bishops, that they grow in union with all the saints, share the zeal of the first Disciples, and lead us by the grace of the Holy Spirit,

Lord in your Mercy:  Hear our Prayer

Heavenly Father we pray for all who, like the apostles, are persecuted for their faith, and for each of us, that we might be faithful when we are ridiculed or insulted for practising our religion. We pray for the poor and the oppressed, and those who live in war-torn parts of the world.

Lord in your Mercy:  Hear our Prayer

Heavenly Father we pray for the sick and the suffering.  For those undergoing treatments and surgery and those who have contracted the Corona Virus.  For those convalescing and those who are recovered, that through the intercession of the apostles, that they may all experience the light of the Gospel,

Lord in your Mercy:  Hear our Prayer

Heavenly Father we remember those who have been united to Christ in a death like his and those whose faith is known to you alone, and we pray that they will be united with Christ in his resurrection

Lord in your Mercy:  Hear our Prayer

Let us pause a moment, become aware of our breathing, relax in the presence of the Lord and humbly tell him what is deepest in our hearts for he knows us, loves us and forgives us

(pause for silent prayer);

Heavenly Father we rejoice in the call to belong to the Church, to believe in the Gospel, and to be united with Jesus your Son as  his followers and disciples and in this way to  spread around us the “good news” of salvation, like the apostles did in spite of huge hurdles and challenges.

May we draw strength from the resurrection of Jesus your son who renews our hope: listen to our humble petitions and help us as we trust you to answer our prayers through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

(after a silent, slightly longer pause …)

Father,
we feel loved,
we feel forgiven,
we feel saved.
Thank you for Jesus Christ your Son
who died for us on the cross
and rose again from the dead
and who offers us
true peace and true hope.
Help us to hold on to him
and to follow him
the way, the truth and the life.
Amen.                                                                                                            

Merciful Father: 
Accept these prayers for the sake of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen 

Other prayers you can use during these difficult times

A prayer for the Corona Virus situation

Merciful God, we pray for the many people who have contracted the coronavirus in our country and in other parts of the world.  Bring comfort to those grieving loved ones have died and peace to those worried, fearful and uncertain as the virus spreads.  We also pray for governments and authorities who are developing strategies to contain and deal with the virus and those in the health services who may be risking their own lives to care for sick patients.

Here in Lincolnshire we especially pray for the Corona Virus situation and the procedures that have been put into force to try to halt its spread. Help us all to be responsible in the things that we do in our lives to prevent the spread of the virus by taking heed of the recommended precautions and avoiding situations which may make things worse.

We make our prayer through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen.

A special prayer for healing for these times

The Jesuits in the USA have circulated this prayer below which you might find useful

Jesus Christ, you travelled through towns and villages “curing every disease and illness.” At your command, the sick were made well. Come to our aid now, in the midst of the global spread of the coronavirus, that we may experience your healing love.

Heal those who are sick with the virus. May they regain their strength and health through quality medical care.

Heal us from our fear, which prevents nations from working together and neighbours from helping one another.

Heal us from our pride, which can make us claim invulnerability to a disease that knows no borders.

Jesus Christ, healer of all, stay by our side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow.

Be with those who have died from the virus. May they be at rest with you in your eternal peace.

Be with the families of those who are sick or have died. As they worry and grieve, defend them from illness and despair. May they know your peace.

Be with the doctors, nurses, researchers and all medical professionals who seek to heal and help those affected and who put themselves at risk in the process. May they know your protection and peace.

Be with the leaders of all nations. Give them the foresight to act with charity and true concern for the well-being of the people they are meant to serve. Give them the wisdom to invest in long-term solutions that will help prepare for or prevent future outbreaks. May they know your peace, as they work together to achieve it on earth.

Whether we are home or abroad, surrounded by many people suffering from this illness or only a few, Jesus Christ, stay with us as we endure and mourn, persist and prepare. In place of our anxiety, give us your peace.

Jesus Christ, heal us.