Sunday 28th June – Third Sunday after Trinity
God our saviour,
look on this wounded world
in pity and in power;
hold us fast to your promises of peace
won for us by your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.
When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Jesus said to the twelve: ‘Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever 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; and 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.’
Post Communion Prayer
O God, whose beauty is beyond our imagining
and whose power we cannot comprehend:
show us your glory as far as we can grasp it,
and shield us from knowing more than we can bear
until we may look upon you without fear;
through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
Trinity 3 2020 – Reflection
Welcome! This word is used frequently in what is a very short Gospel reading today. When I looked up its origin, I discovered that it comes from the Old English for – the pleasure of greeting a guest. What a lovely image – pleasure of greeting a guest. In short, welcome is about hospitality.
reading this morning from Matthew’s gospel is a lesson in hospitality. Jesus is so focused on welcoming the stranger that he uses the word “welcome” six times in two sentences:
“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever 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 a righteous person.”
If we look at scripture; in almost every instance, when Jesus is speaking about kindness, or generosity, or hospitality, or welcome, he isn’t describing what ought to be done only for the rich, or the famous, or the powerful; he is saying this is what ought to be done for the powerless ones too: the children, the grieving, the discouraged, the desperate.
Hasn’t God called us to be on the lookout for the weakest, or the oldest, or the youngest, or the poorest, or the most lonely, and offer offer some refreshment to them – hospitality? God’s call is to make them comfortable. God has called us to be loving to them.
You may already know that the word hospitality comes from the Latin word Hospitalitem – which means “friendliness to guests”. And it seems to me that God calls the Church to be a place where the guest may receive hospitality and where welcome is shown.
There is a delightful mutuality about hospitality. At times in our lives we find ourselves in deep need of hospitality – one has only to think of our complete dependence on a parent’s love and provision as we enter this world. At other times we are in a position to give such hospitality, and at those times we must remember how much we have received.
In other words, we take turns to be the host and to be the guest. Sometimes we are the ones who simply need the hug, or the cup of water, and kindness comes. At other times, we are the ones providing the hot meal or the coffee, or the comfort.
To be authentically hospitable we have to be filled with gratitude to God for his generosity to us; then we can surely welcome others with the same spirit of generosity that we have experienced. Sometimes it works the other way round – where we are welcomed. Either way, we are talking about the one generous spirit of hospitality and that comes from God.