O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
your Son left the riches of heaven
and became poor for our sake:
when we prosper save us from pride,
when we are needy save us from despair,
that we may trust in you alone;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Remember not against us our former sins;
let your compassion make haste to meet us,
for we are brought very low.
Help us, O God of our salvation,
for the glory of your name;
Deliver us, and wipe away our sins
for your name’s sake.
Why should the heathen say,
‘Where is now their God?’
Let vengeance for your servants’ blood that is shed
be known among the nations in our sight.
Let the sorrowful sighing of the prisoners come before you,
and by your mighty arm preserve those who are condemned to die.
May the taunts with which our neighbours taunted you, Lord,
return sevenfold into their bosom.
But we that are your people and the sheep of your pasture
will give you thanks for ever,
and tell of your praise from generation to generation.
Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.
Jesus left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, ‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.’ He answered, ‘The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!’
In today’s reading Jesus is reminding us that when he comes in glory (on a day and at a time we cannot predict) there will be a time of judgement. Those who reject the love and the call of God cannot expect to then revel in the glorious light of His Kingdom. This may sound straightforward: good people this way; bad people that way! But … can it really be that simple?
The Rectory in Corby Glen is very well appointed. It is built with a very accurate East/West orientation. In the morning we see the sunrise in all its glory; in the evening we benefit from the most amazing sunsets. Surely, this must be a foretaste of the sun shining in the Kingdom of our God. But … whilst our sunrise and sunset may fill us with a warm glow, Jesus’ audience would not have shared in our sense of restful self-satisfaction. As I know from personal experience, the sun in the Middle East, on almost every day of the year, isn’t just dazzling, it can be terrifying in the intensity of its heat. From dawn to dusk those who heard Jesus’ words would have been used to constantly seeking protection and shade. When Jesus says that the righteous will shine like the sun he is making an enormous statement about the power of the relationship the righteous will have entered into with God himself.
As we journey through this life we are all called to reflect and embody the love and glory of God himself. In Genesis we read that humanity was created by God, in his own image. Because we are all different people, and yet share in being created in God’s image, we are called to accept that God intends that each of us should be reflectors of different facets of his glory.
So often, I hear of people being described as ‘good Christians’ simply because they have a reputation for being ‘nice’. Sadly, as we can learn from today’s reading, just being ‘nice’ is not enough. To enter into a true relationship with God is about acknowledging and accepting that we are made in his image. We must then live every moment of our lives in the certainty of that knowledge. Then, our commitment to reflecting the love and glory of God will truly shine out as a dazzling example to others. Then, through us, the Lord’s harvest might grow and grow. Thanks be to God!
Prayers of intercession
Let us pray to God, giver of all good gifts and our only defence against evil.
Lord, your love surpasses all understanding. Fill your Church with your bountiful Spirit that it may make known your glory. We will rejoice and sing your praises.
Lord, your justice confronts the scheming and plotting of violence and corruption. Transform our politics to serve your will and advance your peace. Help us to see through the storms of our fear to the land of promise you hold out before us.
Lord, your provision exceeds our need and we share in your rich bounty. Give us grace to display the same generosity and thanksgiving in how we share the fruits of blessing. Unite us as members of your family.
Lord, your foresight reaches out to our desires before we have approached you. Stretch out your hands to bless all who long for healing and release from their sufferings. Grant that we may find a voice to praise you for your mercy and goodness.
Lord, your life holds us through the darkness of death and grief. Bring to fulfilment the promise of your glory. Deliver us from death to life.
Prayer for the week
Lord and heavenly Father,
make us mindful of your presence with us;
that we may draw near to you
with holy and humble hearts,
and offer prayers and praises
acceptable in your sight;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore.