A sermon/reflection for The Third Sunday after Trinity
The readings for this Sunday are those of Third Sunday after Trinity Sunday:
- Genesis 22.1-14
- Psalm 13
- Romans 6. 12-23
- Matthew 10.40-42
You might like to use the link below to find the above readings for the third Sunday after Trinity Sunday, Year A, and click on any of the reading above that you wish to use:
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.
The Gospel: Matthew 10.40-42
40‘Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; 42and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple – truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.’
We sometimes have difficulty understanding one another because of the unspoken assumptions we have, and the fact that mine are not the same as yours. It means that we can hear the same thing and interpret it in a completely different way.
A priest was talking with a family about their child’s Christening. He was going through the service and read out, “Do you turn to Christ?”. The child’s father replied, “I do sometimes.”
It was a statement of faith, perhaps only a mustard seed of faith, and it was honest. However, it was probably not the response that those who wrote the Baptism service were looking for. Those who think of themselves as faithful committed Christians see “Turning to Christ” as signifying the orientation of our whole life, not just what we do sometimes.
In today’s reading from Paul’s letter to the Romans we recognise something of the struggle between the reality of who we are now and who we want to become in Jesus Christ. Some of us will be more conscious of how far we fall short, others will recognise how far we have come.
There is a prayer attributed to St Ignatius Loyola:
Lord, teach me to be generous,
to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labour and not to look for any reward,
save that of knowing that I do your holy will.
If our assumption about ourselves is that our best is never good enough, we will hear this prayer as a reminder of how much more is expected of us than we already do, of how much further we have to go and how steep and difficult the path is. It risks becoming a prayer for workaholics to keep on doing more.
Some of us will not understand why anyone should think like that. If we were blessed with parents and teachers who praised our efforts and valued our achievements, and if we have carried a strong sense of self-esteem into adult life, then our assumptions will mean that we hear St Ignatius’ prayer very differently.
We are more likely to remember all the times we have given away something valuable, fought for what we believed in, worked hard and not thought about our own interests. With those good things at the forefront of our minds, a prayer asking God to teach us to do more of the same feels very different.
In the Gospel reading Jesus mentions rewards three times. In recent years “entitled” has been used to describe the sort of person who expects everything in life to suit their wishes or to be for their benefit. It has connotations of self-centredness and insensitivity to the needs of others.
Sometimes when something is lost, or even stolen, the owner will offer a reward for its return. If someone lost their wedding ring and you found it, then you would be entitled to the reward that was offered.
I wonder whether you think that anyone is entitled to a reward from God?
For some of us it will not be a problem to say that, if we have faith in God and live a reasonably good life then we expect to be rewarded by God. We may count our blessings in this life and look forward to a better life to come.
Others will say we can never earn a reward from God. Because of all our sins, we don’t deserve anything. We simply put our hope and faith in his “amazing grace that saved a wretch like me.”
And yet Jesus said, “whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple – truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”
We sometimes have difficulty understanding one another because of the unspoken assumptions that we have, and the fact that mine are not the same as yours. What reward, if any, do you think you are entitled to from God?
- Do you think you are entitled to a reward from God?
- What was the reward that Jesus said was the prophet’s and the righteous person?
- What is the reward that will not be lost for giving “even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones”?
- Is there anything else from the passage not already discussed that speaks to you? What is it?
What will you do this week in your Monday-to-Saturday ministry in response to what you have heard today? #everydayfaith
Spend some time in prayer, responding to what you have heard today and listening to what God might be saying to you.
[From: Diocese of Lincoln/Homily for Sunday 28th June 2020: Word file / PDF file or https://www.lincoln.anglican.org/the-homilies-project]
Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England, material from which is incorporated in this service paper, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council, 2000. Scripture passage from the New Revised Standard Version (Anglicised) copyright © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
A 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.
Some Prayers/ Intercessions for the Third 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.
My friends, let us gather ourselves in silence as we give thanks to the Lord, whose love has no end, as we with confidence and faith bring very humbly bring forward our prayers and petitions to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. (pause for silent prayer)
That the Church in this country may rediscover her origins in the Holy Spirit, that the Queen as governor of the Church and head of the government may be blessed by God’s Holy Spirit (pause for silent prayer);
That God may help the leaders of the Churches especially our archbishops Justin and John, our diocesan Bishop Christopher and area bishops David and Nicholas, the Assistant Bishops and all the priests, deacons, readers and authorised lay ministers (pause for silent prayer);
That politicians may work for the common good at all levels and that the present Covid-19 crisis and social problems be resolved adequately peacefully for the good of the country and continent (pause for silent prayer);
Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
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. (Short Silence)
Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer
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. (Short Silence)
Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer
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.
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
(after a silent, slightly longer pause …)
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.