Weekly worship: Sunday 1 July
Hope in the Lord!
Nyamuot Joak with her baby daughter in South Sudan. Nyamuot's baby is malnourished, but she is getting treatment at a health clinic, thanks to Christian Aid's partner UNIDO. Photo: Andreea Campeanu
2 Samuel 1:1,17-27 and Psalm 130
Lamentations 3:22-33 and Psalm 30
David’s psalms of praise are familiar to many of us, less familiar are his cries of lamentation that we read of in 2 Samuel. He expresses deep loss over the deaths of his mentor, Saul, and dear friend, Jonathan.
The need for lamentation is beginning to be retrieved in western worship. The service of remembrance at Lampedusa, Greece, for those who have lost their lives crossing the Mediterranean in hope of a better future is one such example.
There is much cause for lamentation; the violence, hunger, preventable illness, displacement and injustice experienced by so many across our world today. These Old Testament passages in 2 Samuel and Lamentations provide an example for how to lament what grieves us today.
And to lament is not to give up in despair but it’s also a form of resistance and plea for what is good.
[A lament] is a protest so deep that it must become a prayer, for only God can provide the needed hope that justice will prevail and the future will be different.’
‘Rachel’s Cry: Prayer of Lament and Rebirth of Hope', by Kathleen D Billman and Daniel L Migliore
2 Corinthians 8:7-15
Is Paul the ultimate fundraiser? In these verses from 2 Corinthians 8 we are presented with a clear, theological, diplomatic and enticing invitation to give. By giving there may be a ‘fair balance’, so that some do not have too much and others too little.
With pervasive inequality in our communities and in our world, there is much reason to heed Paul’s words today. Paul encourages generosity as a sign of God’s grace and as motivated by the example of Jesus.
We are encouraged to give from an attitude of abundance and gratitude rather than that of guilt and pity for others. And we give in hopeful anticipation of that day when some are liberated from having too much and others from having too little.
In Mark 5 we find Jesus being generous with his time and gifts. The woman with the issue of blood, unclean and ostracised from society, who seeks to go unnoticed in the crowd, is given higher priority than the leader of the synagogue who is demanding Jesus’ time.
She is not only healed of her physical condition, but Jesus gives of his time to reinstate her in society. Naming her daughter puts her on equal footing with the daughter of the synagogue leader, of equal importance in the sight of God. He removes her shame.
This is the Jesus who inspires the work of Christian Aid that seeks for gender inclusion and justice for all. Read about Christian Aid’s gender justice strategy
grant us the grace to follow you
to give from our abundance so
we do not have too much and
none go without their needs being met,
so that we might all glorify you
by living full and abundant lives.
In the name of Jesus we pray,
Pointers for prayer
Give thanks and pray for continued generosity towards the work of Christian Aid. Give thanks for all those who give on a regular basis, who fundraise throughout the year, who have left a legacy for Christian Aid’s work in their Will
Pray for Christian Aid’s work on gender justice. Pray for persistence and sensitivity of partners working to challenge the exclusion of women from decision making and to address cultural barriers to equality.
Pray for peace in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory this week, in the lead up to the fourth anniversary of 50-day conflict that killed 2,000 Palestinians and 70 Israelis.