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Worship, Prayer, Sermons and Bible Teaching Notes

Ordinary 20 - Year B

Liturgical Colour - Green

Desert rejoice Introduction

The lectionary readings over the past few weeks have spoken a lot about bread. Jesus has made the bread multiply so that he has fed thousands with a few small loaves. Then he has told people that they must eat of the living bread. The message doesn't seem to get through to some people who just follow Jesus around so that they can get free loaves.Perhaps to make the point most forcibly, Jesus is at his most dramatic and offensive this week when he tell the crowd that they must eat his body and drink his blood.

Eating human flesh and drinking blood was as obnoxious then as it is now and some of the people who heard Jesus were clearly upset. However Jesus wants to make the point that it is no good just following him around for fringe benefits. Those who are serious will consume and be consumed by God. There are no half measures and Jesus will literally give of his own flesh and blood by his death on a cross. Those who follow Jesus today draw closer to him as they take the bread and wine of communion, powerful gifts of Jesus of his body and blood which was given for them.

Opening Verses of Scripture  

Fear the Lord, you His saints, for those who fear Him lack nothing. Psalm 34 v 9

Collect Prayer for the Day —Before we read we pray

O God, you declare your almighty power most chiefly in showing mercy and pity: mercifully grant to us such a measure of your grace, that we, running the way of your commandments, may receive your gracious promises, and be made partakers of your heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. CW

God of glory, the end of our searching, help us to lay aside all that prevents us from seeking your kingdom, and to give all that we have to gain the pearl beyond all price, through our Saviour Jesus Christ. CW

First Bible Reading  1 Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14

David slept with his ancestors, and was buried in the city of David. The time that David reigned over Israel was forty years; he reigned seven years in Hebron, and thirty-three years in Jerusalem. So Solomon sat on the throne of his father David; and his kingdom was firmly established.

Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of his father David; only, he sacrificed and offered incense at the high places. The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the principal high place; Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt-offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, ‘Ask what I should give you.’ And Solomon said, ‘You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart towards you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. And now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?’

It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. God said to him, ‘Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honour all your life; no other king shall compare with you. If you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your life.’ NRSV

Alternate Reading Proverbs 9:1-6

Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn her seven pillars. She has slaughtered her animals, she has mixed her wine, she has also set her table. She has sent out her servant-girls, she calls from the highest places in the town, ‘You that are simple, turn in here!’ To those without sense she says, ‘Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Lay aside immaturity, and live, and walk in the way of insight.’NRSV

Second Reading Ephesians 5:15-20

Brothers and sisters, be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. NRSV

Gospel Reading   John 6:51- 58

Jesus said to the Jews: ‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’

The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live for ever.’ NRSV

Post Communion Sentence

Lord of all mercy, we your faithful people have celebrated that one true sacrifice which takes away our sins and brings pardon and peace: by our communion keep us firm on the foundation of the gospel and preserve us from all sin; through Jesus Christ our Lord. CW


As we’ve seen over the past few weeks, Paul wants the Ephesians to be wise, steeped and immersed in God and His teaching so that they can understand what the Lord’s will is for their lives through the power of the Holy Spirit.  In the reading today, Paul picks up the theme of wisdom.  He makes the link between wisdom and making the most of every opportunity by being immersed in God and knowing His will and ways.  He shows that for Christians we have the Holy Spirit within us to help us make God oriented choices in our lives.  Over the last month in the Gospel readings for John we’ve been reading about Jesus as the Bread of Life.   We started with the feeding of the 5000, where Jesus provided physical bread for the multitude, and they followed Him for what He had done.  It was followed by Jesus walking on the water, demonstrating who He was, the one who is over all creation and the need to accept him not just as observers who are fed, but as people who are prepared to have their lives changed by Him eternally by inviting Him into their lives and inner beings.  Those passages were then followed by a long discourse in the synagogue at Capernaum, where the supposed wise of the day try to work out what this all means.  Ultimately too, they have a choice to make, the way of wisdom or of folly.  The choice is stark.  If we and they eat and drink of Christ, then we live in Christ and Christ lives in us.  ‘As the living Father sent me and I draw life from the Father, so whoever eats me will also draw life from me’ Jn 6 v 57, (Jerusalem Bible).  If we choose not to live the life of Christ then we will die, just as the ancients ate manna and died. 

In a world where we have a plethora of data and information, literally at our fingertips, true wisdom continues to be at a premium.  Many seek after knowledge to better themselves, which is not necessarily wrong, but lacks the orientation to God which turns this knowledge and experience into true wisdom.  Similarly, many are seeking after a deeper meaning in life, acknowledging that all our increased learning and knowledge has not led to a world which is more fair, equitable and peaceful.  Sadly, many are deluded by false teachings and shallow spiritualities which lack the truth, depth and holiness of worshiping the one true God.  God’s desire is that we all are wise, earnestly seeking after Him and His truths, continually opening our lives to have Christ at the centre of our very beings, that we can have life in all its freedom and abundance.  Through the bread the Israelites ate in the dessert they caught a glimpse of that freedom and life.  Through the living bread which Christ continually offers to each one of us we have the invitation to the real thing.  Day by day we too have a choice to make, a choice to be wise, a choice to be more oriented towards God and to grow in His wisdom; a choice to be radical, which then underpins all the choices we ever make every day of our lives, week by week and year by year into eternity. 

For the Jews the concept of eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking His blood were truly radical.  We can interpret them with the benefit of hindsight in the context of the Holy Communion.  But to the hearers of these words, they would be taken at face value, what did Jesus mean?  Was He implying that the believers should form some sort of cannibalistic cult?  Eating and drinking blood.  This couldn’t be what it seemed could it?  Indeed, to the Jews, drinking blood was one of the things that Levitical law (Lev 17) expressly forbade them to do so.  In saying what He did, Jesus clearly wants to generate a reaction and shock the hearers into making a choice.  For many who followed Him, He would be one of multiple options they had for teaching and for orienting their lives.  There were many ‘teachers’ of different principles and philosophies around at the time, what made Jesus different and unique?  To those who heard Jesus, many of them would have been interesting in His wise teaching at an intellectual level but wouldn’t necessarily want it to significantly impact their lives.  His teaching could inform how they lived and their choices but that was about it.  So long as His ways and teaching fitted in with their own thoughts and framework for life all was well, no need for radical change at all.  But with Jesus that was never an option on offer.  The reasons the Jews don’t eat or drink the blood of an animal is that it is the blood which is deemed to contain the life of the creature.  (You must not eat the blood of any creature because the life of every creature is its blood… Lev 17 v 14).  It was because the blood had life, it was used for atonement (Lev 17 v 11) and that the Israelites were specifically forbidden to eat it.  Jesus was saying that it’s not just a question of listening to His teaching, perhaps benefiting from the outcomes of His miracles; it’s about taking into ourselves the very life of Christ.  His blood alone would and could atone for our sins once and for all.  A radical choice, His way our ours, there were and are no others.  The way of Wisdom or the way of folly as the book of Proverbs would put it.  The way of life or the way of death.  Jesus never was taking about some cannibalistic ritual.  He was talking about a radical change of life and understanding about the Messiah that would bring eternal salvation, reconciliation with God, once and for all. 

As we come to communion and in eating of his flesh and drinking His blood (whatever our theology or understandings of what happens to the elements and what they may or may not symbolise or become, and whether we take in one kind or both) we join in the benefit of His death and we acknowledge His life in ours.  And Jesus is explicit; He says without taking His life into ours we have no life within us.  We eat, but just like the Israelites who ate manna we will die.  In eating of His flesh and blood, in taking Christ fully into our lives we have eternal life.  That was the choice Jesus lay before those hearing His words.   He still does.  Just as He has the Father’s life in Him, we have the choice to have His life in ours.  That’s a choice we have to make every day.  A God oriented choice, as the Apostle Paul would frame it, for holy living with Christ in us and around us.
Sam Cappleman


The crowds followed Jesus because of what He did.  For the last few weeks we’ve been reading the passages about Jesus feeding the 5000 and stating that He is the bread of life.  In today’s reading He states that He is the living bread that came down from heaven.  He is God.  This created great consternation among the Jews.  They seemed to miss the point that Jesus wanted them to follow Him not because of what He did but because of who He was, the Messiah, God in person.  He wanted them to understand the radical change that was being brought about in God’s relationship with all creation, exemplified by miraculous happenings as the rules of created life itself were turned upside down.   As a redeemed people we are truly grateful for what God, through Jesus, has done for each one of us and we thanks and worship Him for his goodness and generosity.  But just as for the early believers, our relationship with God will be truly transformed when we worship Him for who He is too. Sam Cappleman


  1. O worship the King

  2. For I’m building a people of power

  3. The King of love my shepherd is

  4. Great is thy faithfulness



Prayers for Sunday and the week ahead

Prayer encouragement in the Christian life

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

God our Father, may we love you in all things and above all things and reach the joy you have prepared for us beyond all our imagining. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

God of mercy, whose Son Jesus Christ is the bread of life; by the sacrament of the Holy Communion you make us one with Christ. By becoming more like him on earth, may we come to share his glory in heaven. Amen

We give thanks for your Son, Jesus, who you raised to new life, and who now offers himself to us as the bread of heaven, so that all who eat and drink of him might live forever as one with him. Amen
Nathan Nettleton

The God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, make you perfect in every good work to do His will; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be among you and remain with you always. Amen

Additional Material


As we read through John’s Gospel we are aware that frequently there are times when Jesus speaks and people take his words very literally when he is speaking at a spiritual level. This happens with Nicodemus when Jesus says that we must be born again. Obviously we cannot be physically born twice, Jesus is speaking of a spiritual awakening. It happens when Jesus meets a woman at a well and offers her living water so that she will never be thirsty again. Jesus wants to quench her spiritual thirst, he doesn’t promise never ending water.

Jesus was facing a problem in getting his message across because people were becoming preoccupied with materialistic fulfilment and missing the spiritual message. There was a problem when Jesus fed the hungry crowds from a few small loaves because the people understandably saw Jesus as ticket to a free lunch. These were poor people and when they saw somebody who was capable of mass producing food it was little wonder that they chased Jesus around Lake Galilee. We often read the suggestion that the miraculous feedings could be explained as Jesus teaching the crowd to share. On one level it appeals to us today but we need to recognise that the frenzy which followed resulted from hungry people who had suddenly found somebody who created food like magic and they wanted more. The crowds wanted full tummies and they wanted their sick people made well. Somehow Jesus had to prevent the sign becoming more powerful than the message. Jesus cares for the hungry and sick, really he does, but he needs to tell people that it is he who is the living bread, the living water. The flesh is of importance to God, but the spiritual truths are even more important, man cannot live by bread alone. The people were in danger of becoming like the Israelites in the desert, eating manna which satisfied their hunger, but not receiving the spiritual food which gave eternal life. This is surely just as true today as it ever was. Every single living body has within a soul to feed and for many people the soul has been starved of nourishment.

It is for this reason that Jesus now uses language which many have found distasteful ever since. Jesus tells them that he is offering them himself to eat, that he is the living bread. We have already been warned tat the beginning of the Gospel that Jesus is the word made flesh (1:14). Now Jesus takes this further and uses language which is powerful, confusing, perhaps disgusting but certainly shocking
"Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life
and I will raise that one up on the last day."

It was a common view in Greek philosophy that the physical world was impure and corrupt, and no self-respecting god should have anything to do with it, this later came to be the view of certain Christians - the "gnostics." Jesus associating himself so closely with the physical stuff of creation and humanity is an affirmation of the essential goodness of the God created physical world. However the description of eating Jesus flesh raises images of cannibalism, a charge which was later laid against Christians. To eat the flesh of somebody was horrible and drinking blood was considered a blasphemous act forbidden by God. In the new world order after the flood God commanded Noah ‘You shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood," (Genesis 9:4) The law of Moses equally forbade the drinking of blood, (Lev 17:10) or even meat with the blood still in it. It is verses of scripture like this which prompt Jehovah’s Witnesses to abstain from blood transfusion still today.

The words of Jesus would have been shocking, we know from the passage that the hearers at the time were confused, even though they would surely not have thought that Jesus was literally going to offer himself as a banquet. However it would become clear later in the Gospel what the spiritual meaning was. There is no way that the first readers of the Gospel could read these words of Jesus without thinking of the Lord’s Supper. They would be driven to recognise that the signs which Jesus used were there to enable his hearers to have faith in him.

We are fortunate also to be able to read this in the context of later understanding of the communion or eucharist and the words which Jesus used
"… the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."
Flesh and blood is an expression which we use to signify the whole person, so Jesus is giving all of himself to be our life – first on the cross and at our communion celebration. It is no wonder then that the Last Supper is something which we celebrate as a central part of faith for us. It is a focal point for all we believe, all we are and all we do. Here we are gathered around the Word, Bread and the Cup, Jesus’ gift of his total self. We in turn, give our whole selves to him by partaking in the Eucharistic feast. We are to come to the Eucharist then with fresh ears to hear and open hearts to receive – to hear the Word and to receive the Bread broken and shared. Charles Royden


The ups and downs of our Christian faith

The book of John is alone in the gospels in that is does not contain a lengthy exposition of the last supper. Instead of which we have John Chapter 6 where Jesus, after feeding the 5000, explains that he is the bread of life, a passage which led to early Christians being accused of cannibalism by some parties because of the phrase in the chapter where Jesus declares that ‘…unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you’. For the Jews, it was one of their best known dietary laws that the drinking of blood, or even eating meat still with the blood in it, was expressly forbidden. To understand what Jesus means we perhaps need to go back to the Old Testament.

In 2 Samuel 23 there is an account of David, who is fighting the Philistines who have their garrison in David’s home town of Bethlehem. David longs for a drink of water from the well at the gates of Bethlehem and on hearing his wish, three of his ‘mighty men’ go to the well and bring David a drink of water back. To everyone’s surprise David refuses to drink the water which has been so bravely brought to him. ‘Far be it for me’, he says, ‘that I should drink of the blood of the men who went at the risk of their lives’. David did not want to be seen to profit from the risk of those who put their lives at risk for him. By the same reasoning, if we want to profit from the risk Jesus has taken for us we need to ‘eat of his body and drink of his blood’. Jesus put his own life at risk, and eventually lost it, so that we could profit from that risk and loss.

And as we read on in the chapter, and the rest of the gospel, it is clear that John is not just talking about the here and now, the immediate future, he has an eternal perspective to his writing. John clearly understands the words of Jesus in this discourse (in a synagogue in Capernaum) to refer to the Eucharist, the sacrament in which Jesus’ body and blood are offered to all believers to be eaten and drunk. The Israelites who had eaten manna from heaven whilst they were in the wilderness survived to tell the tale, but eventually all had died. Those who in faith partake in the mystery of the Eucharist and eat and drink of the body and blood of Jesus may not die but have everlasting life.

Jesus is the bread that came down from heaven so that we could be raised up on the last day. To the hearers it was radical talk. Many people heard the message and decided it was not for them and turned away. Many presumably continued to follow for the miracles and the teaching but in reality were only going through the motions. Next week we will read that the true disciples continued to follow Jesus because they understood the life changing nature of Jesus’ words and that, ultimately, there was no one else to follow, no where else to go.

As Christians, as we share in the Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper, the Holy Communion, as we eat of the body of Jesus and drink of his blood, we are reminded in a profound way that as we profit and share in the risk that Jesus took by the breaking of his body and the shedding of his blood, so we share in His risen life. His is the life that sustains and transforms us, hour by hour, day by day, week by week. No longer are we limited by the laws of the Old Testament or the physical restrictions of our human body, through the Eucharist, and all that it symbolises for each one of us, perhaps in very different ways, we are raised up with Christ and share in h is eternal glory both now and in the world to come.  Sam Cappleman



The book of Proverbs is seen as one of the most representative works of Israelite wisdom and is made up of two main sections called ‘The proverbs of Solomon’, Sol 10 v 1 – 22 v 16 and ‘Some more of Solomon’s proverbs’, Sol 22 v 17 – 24 v 22. These sections are followed by some other sayings and closes with an alphabetical poem in praise of an ideal wife. The book of Proverbs is not just a book of pithy sayings and maxims to live by, although it does contain many of these, it’s a book which gives unique insight into the Israelite faith and the nature of God and His wisdom. The Old Testament reading today is taken from the 9 chapter long introduction to the book of Proverbs and models a classic form of Egyptian wisdom literature with the deep impression of Israelite thought imposed upon it. In this introduction a father commends wisdom to his child in a discourse where wisdom herself intervenes. The parable which unfolds in Sol 9 v 1 – 18, of which we have the first 6 verses today, lays out the 2 paths before an individual, the way of virtue and the way of vice, from which every human must choose. It echoes the choice laid out before us by Jesus, God’s wisdom personified, the choice between the way of the cross and the way of self. And, just as in the times of Solomon, we too have to make a choice.


Do this in remembrance of me

The service of Holy Communion is very special for Christians, not least because it is an occasion which Jesus specifically told his disciples to repeat.

Over the centuries it has been the source of controversy. Calvin, Zwingli and Luther were all united in their rejection of the medieval Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, yet they each believed different things!

However the importance of this sacred ceremony remains for us Christians. Jesus never gave us an explanation of how bread and wine could possibly be his body and blood. Indeed the clever philosophers sometimes seem to understand it less easily than those who simply trust.

We believe that by some divine mystery the bread and wine unite us in the death of Christ, a death which in itself brings eternal life. When Jesus took the bread and wine he promised that 

'Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life'

Opening Scripture

Psalm 111:10
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding. To them belongs eternal praise. Amen


Alternate readings

First Bible Reading Galatians 3:26-4:7
You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.

Second Reading Luke 15:11-32

Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no-one gave him anything.
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ ”

Post Communion Prayer
Holy Father, who gathered us here around the table of your Son to share this meal with the whole household of God: in that new world where you reveal the fullness of your peace, gather people of every race and language to share in the eternal banquet of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Commentary: A Glorious Inheritance
Today’s readings talk about sons and sonship. In the sense of Galatians we are all (both male and female) sons of God, for it was the sons who inherited the riches of the father. And, as we are all ‘sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus’, we too all inherit the riches of God the Father, through His Son Jesus Christ. Paul stresses how it makes no difference what our background has been, we are all ‘heirs according to the promise’ and inheritors of the riches of God’s grace.

In the gospel reading the younger son had asked His father for his share of his worldly inheritance and after the son had ‘got together all he had’, which literally can be translated as ‘turned into cash’, he left for a foreign land and a so called good time. Eventually the money ran out and he had to turn to feeding pigs to survive. Under Jewish law this made him so ritually unclean that he couldn’t even pray to God. For Luke, a non Jew, there could be no further distance between a person and God. But we see in the story that his loving father ran out to meet the prodigal son on his return (who by this time had probably acquired a very chequered background!) and slaughtered the very best beef for him to celebrate his safe homecoming. Whatever our state, however we find ourselves Jesus reminds us in this story that we have a loving Father in heaven who always cares about us, listening for our prayers, no matter how poor, dirty, lost, hurt, or headstrong we are.

The father ran out to meet the son, met him when he was still far off. He didn’t wait for him to get right back to the house, he went out to meet his son on his way back home, where the son did not expect to see or meet him. The son was probably head down, trudging along still trying to work out exactly what he was going to say when he met his father and brother! Jesus too sometimes meets us wherever we happen to be and where we least expect it. Meets us when we’re still not quite sure what we want to say to Him, but like the prodigal son know that acknowledging our sin and returning and meeting with Him is our only hope.


The elder brother was angry about his father’s kindness. Are there times when we get angry about God the Father’s compassion and kindness to others, perhaps shown to those of little or other faith or those we deem to be criminals and sinners?
How do we become more like the father and less like the elder brother?


Grant, Almighty God, that while your Son Jesus Christ is exalted to the throne of heaven, we may not be weighted down by the things of earth, but set our affection on the things above, where He is seated at your right hand, and lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen

Blessed are you, Lord God almighty, who gave your Son, Jesus Christ, to be our redeemer and the author of everlasting life; and exalted Him above all for ever; that at all times and in all places we might be partakers of His power and His glory. Amen

The God of all grace who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, establish, strengthen and settle you in the faith; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be among you and remain with you always. Amen