Sunday 14th June – First Sunday after Trinity
God of truth,
help us to keep your law of love
and to walk in ways of wisdom,
that we may find true life
in Jesus Christ your Son.
Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.
Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.’
Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax-collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, “The kingdom of heaven has come near.” Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.’
Post Communion Prayer
we thank you for nourishing us
with these heavenly gifts:
may our communion strengthen us in faith,
build us up in hope,
and make us grow in love;
for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Trinity 1 2020 – Reflection
Language can be a strange thing can’t it? Sometimes we use a word to convey some meaning while being quite unaware of the fact that the person to whom we are talking might not understand that word in quite the same way as we do. And our Gospel writer has cleverly used two words this morning – the difference in meaning between the two could be easily passed over. Yet these two words are arguably two of the most important in our Gospel reading this morning. The two words are ‘disciple’ and ‘apostle’. Often we hear these words being used interchangeably yet there is a fundamental difference between them. A disciple is a follower and an apostle is one who is sent… one who has a commission.
Jesus as he so often does has transformed the disciples from followers into apostles – people on a mission! But what does all of this mean for us? What does it mean to be a Church of disciples? I think it means that we need to reflect on some of the aspects of our life as church. We need to continue to be a learning church. Cardinal Newman, that 19th century scholar, often spoke about the importance of an educated church, of people who knew about their faith yet wanted to increase their knowledge not as some mere academic exercise, but so that they could live their faith more authentically and pass it on to others. Today we have many opportunities to do this in the form of the Foundations in Christian Ministry course, various courses offered at Deanery level and of course personal reading and study.
Discipleship also calls us to be a loving Church. A loving Church has a pastoral heart for its members and for the wider community which it serves – it seeks to be alongside all people and to share with them the love of God which he offers to all of his people and which is made known in Jesus and through the power of the Holy Spirit. There is a lovely Greek word (back to words again) koinonia (it rolls off the tongue beautifully) which gives us more than a gentle hint of how to be a loving church because koinonia means generosity and fellowship. Generosity of spirit, of time, of talents, of sharing God’s love and fellowship – travelling alongside our sisters and brothers ministering to others (and our baptismal vocation calls each of us to do this) and allowing others to minister to us. It also means allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, not always a pleasant thought, but discipleship has a cost, yet even when we count the cost of discipleship we are never alone because God is there to support us.
Prayer and worship are at the heart of a community of disciples. If we are to follow Christ then we need nourishment for the journey. Our prayers are important because we need this to sustain and nourish not only ourselves, but also the whole community – people rely on our prayers as much as we rely on the prayers of others. Prayer transforms and we need to hold that in our hearts.
Having got thus far I’m sure that you realise that I have outlined something of what it means to be a disciple of what it means to be a community of disciples and that is essentially what Church is. But I haven’t said much about being an apostle. Well I’m not going to. I’m actually going to leave that to the saintly missionary Bishop Leslie Newbiggin who said this: “The only interpretation and witness of the Gospel is a company of people who not only believe it, but live It.” To be a disciple is to follow the Gospel of Jesus, to be an apostle is to live it.”