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arches

Ordinary 30

Order of Service

Weekly Bible Study Notes and Worship Resources for Ordinary 30

Year C, Colour = Green

luke 1814

Pharisee and PublicanIntroduction

How do you tell if somebody is good and holy or not? From the words of Jesus in Luke today it is clear that it has nothing to do with outward appearance. Jesus is critical of those who think that they are better than others. Jesus has no time for the self-righteous, has no regard for people who wear their religious pride for others to see.

The person who receives God's mercy is the one who knows their own sense of failure and is aware that only God is truly righteous. These are comforting words for all of those who struggle with life and are conscious of their own personal weakness. However it is a shot across the bows of those who imagine that somehow they are a cut above the rest of us.

No wonder that the most harsh words of criticism which Jesus made were reserved for the religious leaders of his day. We all need to hear the words of mercy offered by the Saviour who warned that only those without sin should cast a stone.

Opening Verse of Scripture - Psalm 84:1

How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD ; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

Collect Prayer for the Day - Before we read we pray

Eternal God, giver of love and peace, you call your children to live together as one family. Give us grace to learn your ways and to do your will, that we may bring justice and peace to all people, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

First Bible Reading - Jeremiah Chapter 14:7-10, 19-22

Although our sins testify against us, O LORD, do something for the sake of your name. For our backsliding is great; we have sinned against you. O Hope of Israel, its Saviour in times of distress, why are you like a stranger in the land, like a traveller who stays only a night? Why are you like a man taken by surprise, like a warrior powerless to save? You are among us, O LORD, and we bear your name; do not forsake us! This is what the LORD says about this people: "They greatly love to wander; they do not restrain their feet. So the LORD does not accept them; he will now remember their wickedness and punish them for their sins."

Have you rejected Judah completely? Do you despise Zion? Why have you afflicted us so that we cannot be healed? We hoped for peace but no good has come, for a time of healing but there is only terror. O LORD, we acknowledge our wickedness and the guilt of our fathers; we have indeed sinned against you. For the sake of your name do not despise us; do not dishonour your glorious throne. Remember your covenant with us and do not break it. Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Do the skies themselves send down showers? No, it is you, O LORD our God. Therefore our hope is in you, for you are the one who does all this.

Second Reading   2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day. At my first defence, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Gospel Reading Luke 18:9-14

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

Post Communion Prayer

Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, and make us continually to be given to all good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Commentary Luke 18:9-14

Set in its original context, the first hearers of this story would have expected the Pharisee, not the tax-collector, to be held up as a role model. Here the Pharisee and the represent two different responses to Jesus: those who relied on their own righteousness and have hardened their hearts to Jesus and those who recognise their own shortcomings and sinfulness and come seeking forgiveness and help to change their ways. Today we find the Pharisee’s self-righteousness irritating, but in his day, he would have been honoured for his piety. His extra fasting and his tithing would have placed him as a devout man and his attendance at prayer would have been regarded as an outward sign of his undoubted inner spirituality. In stark contrast, the tax-collector is seen as unworthy and would have been vilified for his work and collaboration with the Romans. Yet in his prayerful attitude and contrite words, in acknowledging his own failings, he is held up as an example of reliance upon God’s mercy. God’s mercy is part of the Divine Nature which reaches out to all who acknowledge their need and then seeks to heal that broken relationship.

Meditation

This is the first verse of a poem by John Keats “Ode to Autumn”:

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines
that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer
Has o’er-brimmed their clammy cells.
 

Let us pray:

Lord, we give thanks for all that the earth has given in recent months, and we give thanks, too, for all the work of human hands. As the land lies fallow, at rest, remind us of our need to keep a healthy balance in our lives each day. Amen.

Hymns

  1. As the deer
  2. I am a new creation
  3. All my hope on God is founded
  4. Be still
  5. Great is thy faithfulness
      

Prayers for Sunday and the week ahead

representation of prayer as seed growing


"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."

Lord of creation, you give new strength to our faith. Grant that we may recognise your presence in all life and history, and face our trials with serenity and peace. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Lord help me to remember that nothing is going to happen today that you and I cannot handle together Sadie Patterson

We lift up our hearts, O Lord
in intercession for all who carry civic and political responsibilities.
Grant that, putting aside all merely selfish ambition,
they may seek to be instruments of your will
and carry out your purpose for the welfare of your people;
and may they both seek and see your glory
In happier human lives;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Leslie D Weatherhead
Come down, O Christ, and help me! reach thy hand,
For I am drowning in a stormier sea
Than Simon on thy lake of Galilee:
The wine of life spilt upon the sand,
My heart is in some famine-murdered land
Whence all good things have perished utterly,
And well I know my soul in hell must lie
If I this night before God’s throne should stand.
‘He sleeps perchance, or rideth to the chase,
Like Baal, when his prophets howled that name
From morn to noon on Carmel’s smitten height.’
Nay, peace, I shall behold, before the night,
The feet of brass, the robe more white than flame,
The wounded hands, the weary human face.
Oscar Wilde 1854-1900

Grant, O Lord, that in your wounds I may find my safety, in your stripes my cure. In your pain my peace, in your cross my victory, in your resurrection my triumph, and a crown of righteousness in the glories of your eternal kingdom Jeremy Taylor
 


    Additional Resources

Post Communion Prayer

God of all grace, your Son Jesus Christ fed the hungry with the bread of life and the word of his kingdom: renew your people with your heavenly grace and in all our weakness sustain us by your true and living bread; who is alive and reigns, now and for ever. Amen.

  1. Be still
  2. Lord the light of your love
  3. Make me a channel
  4. The church of Christ in every age
  5. The kingdom of God
  6. Lord thy church on earth is seeking

Commentary: (Self-)Righteousness

Paul realises his life is coming to an end and is writing to Timothy preparing him to take over the ministry Paul has carried out for the past thirty years. Earlier, in the previous verses, Paul has emphasised the importance of the Scriptures and of them being faithfully preached and received, warning that people would rather hear words which were pleasant to them.

In the passage before us, Paul compares himself to an athlete who has given everything he has to win the race he has entered and claim the victors’ crown. Paul sees his race of life is over, a life in which he has fought a good fight against severe odds, having endured all manner of physical and mental hardships, been beaten and tortured for proclaiming the Christian faith. Now he looks forward to claiming the crown of God’s reward. He has faced trial when all men deserted him, but he claims the promise of Jesus that He would never leave or forsake any of His followers.

Paul’s letters are ever timeless and his words to Timothy are in turn addressed to us. We live in desperate times when the enemies of the Church have openly avowed to destroy our faith. It is only by continued faithful preaching of the Word of God that we will be strengthened to withstand the attacks. Too often the Scriptures become the subject of academic debate or merely equated with the writings of other faiths. We should accept them as they are written, the word of the one true God. The Bible say there can be no private interpretation of Scripture.

Like Paul we have to fight the good fight. This is a world where sin abounds and the barriers of morality, decency and integrity are being pushed further and further back with few restraints remaining. Sometimes it can be difficult for people to recognise when they are crossing the line and there is the temptation to join in the world’s standards.

There is often for Church members the refusal to concede they are sinners. Like the Pharisee in the gospel, they are nice, kind, honest people, good neighbours. Only murderers, robbers, rapists and thieves are sinners. One Minister placed a notice outside his Church, ‘this church is here for sinners’. The following week two thirds of his congregation were absent. To them Jesus would say ‘you are far from the Kingdom of God.

We are all naturally self- righteous and think highly of ourselves, more than we ought to do. We are never in more spiritual danger than when we do not face this condition. It is when we are like the tax collector who said ‘Lord forgive me I’m a sinner’ that our Lord approves us. This was a personal prayer. We too have to make that prayer, ‘Lord I repent of my sins—I accept you as Lord and Saviour- I am ready to serve you faithfully’ In return our Lord says though our sins be great and many, our prayers weak and simple He is sitting at the right hand of God to receive those prayers and forgive us. Rev Eric Royden.

Meditation: Transformations

Thomas Edison, the great inventor, died on yesterday’s date in 1931. He had invented the light bulb, the film projector, and a storage battery. He improved the telephone, the telegraph and the gramophone (record player). Edison had only 3 months of formal schooling. Later in life he said: “I never used to be able to get along. I used to feel that the teachers did not sympathise with me, and that my father thought I was stupid.” He learned from his mother, and had an inquisitive mind which led him to explore and invent. When someone remarked how easy it must be for him to invent, he said: “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration!”.

God our Father, may your Spirit be at work in my life so that I may transform into something positive whatever negative experiences I will face in life. If I have been done down or treated unfairly, lead me to be concerned about fairness and justice to others. If I have felt misunderstood, inspire me to listen to others and show genuine interest. If I have been left out of things, remind me to welcome and include others. If I have felt that I have experienced little support, show me how best to encourage others. If I have not felt really appreciated, lead me to be generous in valuing and thanking others. What I pray for today, Father, I also commit myself to work at.  Amen.

Prayers for Sunday and the week ahead.

Eternal God, you have been our resting-place through the ages. Generations come and pass away, but you abide forever. We praise you for your presence among us. You bring us comfort amid our trials - clarity where confusion persists - peace in the midst of conflict - and hope of eternal life. Hear us now as we pray for your Church and the needs of the world, for you are the God of our lives. We pray for the Church of Jesus Christ; that, begun, maintained and promoted by the Holy Spirit, it may be true, engaging, glad, and active, doing your will. Let your church be always faithful, O God, and ready to promote the cause of compassionate love and peace

We pray that as Christian disciples we may be a faithful witness in word and deed to the Good News of Christ's Love. We pray for all who govern and hold authority in the nations of the word. We pray that everywhere upon this earth there may be justice and peace. We continue to pray for peace in the world, especially those involved in the fight against terrorism and those struggling to provide humanitarian aid. Lord, we pray for all people in their daily life and work - for our families, friends, and neighbours, and for those who are alone. We name before you individuals and families experiencing personal hardship or facing and uncertain future, those who are separated from loved ones, those who grieve this today, and those who are sick in hospital or ill at home. Hear us Lord as we now lift up those people and those situations you have placed upon our hearts.

May it please you, O Lord, to enlighten my heart with the fire of your love. I offer my hands to do your work, my lips to sing your praise and my life to proclaim your glory. Look upon my neighbours in their needs and guide me and bless me as I serve you in them; for Jesus' sake. Amen. Hildegard of Bingen, 1098-1179

May Jesus Christ, the King of glory, help us to make use of all the myrrh that God sends, and to offer him the true incense of our hearts; for his name's sake. Amen. Johannes Tauler, Germany, 1300-1361