Weekly worship: Sunday 10 June
A reflection for the Third Sunday after Pentecost.
1 Samuel 8:4-21
2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1
Excitement is mounting about the World Cup starting this Thursday 14 June, 2018. Football fans everywhere are checking their diaries, while more disenchanted members of their families are planning alternative activities and will be keeping out of the way.
From any perspective on football, you will know that it is not just team members who get into the press, but their managers. Any fan wants to know who’s in charge, what their track record is, and how dedicated they are. It is believed that without an effective and expensive manager, the team will fail.
However, an article by Tim Wigmore in ‘The Independent’ last year, on 9 November 2017, pointed out that ‘if a struggling manager is persisted with, the team’s luck improves anyway – and their results improve by as much as if they had been sacked. That’s why, on average, Premier League sackings make no difference at all to a team’s performance.’
The powerful and the powerless – it’s not an equal playing field
This is rather like what Samuel faced at Ramah when the leaders came to him and pleaded for a king to be appointed. After all the years in the Sinai desert, they wanted to settle down and be like other nations, and they would not take ‘no’ for an answer, despite the warnings Samuel gave them that the king would take and take and take. Sons, daughters, fields, tithes will all be claimed, but they wanted someone to fight their battles for them. And the people went on to suffer as predicted.
Thursday is also the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower disaster, an example of what happens when people in charge fail to engage with the actual needs of a community, and take short cuts with housing quality. Residents were deprived of the power to manage their own building, and it was too easily overwhelmed by fire. How familiar this is for so many Christian Aid partners!
Christian Aid is working with displaced people, not only refugees forced out of their own country like the Rohingya, but also the vast numbers compelled to flee within borders, such as those in Nigeria who fled from Boko Haram. Millions of people are denied power, and become victims of remote political machinery. ‘Out of the depths I cry,’ as the psalmist describes.
O God of Grace,
the scriptures challenge us
to take responsibility
for our own lives
and for those of our neighbours on this earth.
Help us to work together
as we move towards your goal,
and not to blame others
for our failures to tackle the opposition.
Make us not just supporters of Jesus’ way
but the sisters and brothers he called us to be
for the sake of God’s kingdom.
Pointers for prayer
Pray for the work of Christian Aid partners that seek to call governments and those in authority to account.
Pray for all those displaced by the violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state last year, still living in camps in Bangladesh or within Myanmar but far from their home. Please give what you can to the Rohingya Crisis Appeal
The weekly pointers for June have been provided by Gray Featherstone, Jean Harrison, Ben Humphries, Peter West, and Timothy Woods who were colleagues at Christian Aid, and together contributed to ‘Stories Worth Telling’ (published 2013), a series of reflections on lectionary readings, inspired by Christians Aid’s partners and friends around the world.