Weekly worship: Sunday 16 September
Points for sermons and prayers for the seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost.
This month we deviate from the Revised Common Lectionary to mark Creation Time. You can read more about Creation Time here.
The weekly pointers this month are based on the Creation Time Lectionary (CTL). This lectionary was produced for use in the Church of England parishes of Pilton, Croscombe, North Wootton and Dinder in the Diocese of Bath and Wells. It is used with permission.
CTL Year B: Deuteronomy 8:7-18, Psalm 126, 1 Timothy 6:6-10, Matthew 6:25-34
Deuteronomy 8:10 ‘You will eat your fill and bless the Lord your God for the good land that God has given you.’
The communities featured in our Harvest Appeal would dream of the farmland described in Deuteronomy. Instead, the land they farm has been affected by climate change and successive droughts. Creating a livelihood in these conditions is challenging. The reading from Deuteronomy reminds those who have good lands not to forget that it was not always like this.
Once, the Israelites were enslaved; once, they were wandering in the wilderness; once, life was hard and uncertain. Present comfort can bring a sense of complacency and entitlement. The reader is reminded not to imagine that their success is all their own doing. The Earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it. This means that those who are doing well should not forget their obligation to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God. Climate change is a global problem that requires a global solution. It’s no good those who are currently less affected saying: ‘the boat isn’t sinking at my end’.
Matthew 6:33 ‘Strive first for the kingdom of God, and God’s righteousness…’
Matthew’s Gospel echoes the theme of ownership from Deuteronomy. The world, and all that is in it, always belongs to God and is for the benefit of all. But perhaps this is easy for us to forget. Sharing always seems more attractive when you’re receiving and not giving. It also seems to be true that no matter how much we have, we want more. Jesus challenges this selfishness and says that the love of money is the root of all evil.
As a global family, we each have responsibility for one another. Injustice somewhere is injustice everywhere. How can we combat our desire to want more and more, always focusing on our own wellbeing at the expense of others?
Jesus teaches the kingdom of God should be your first priority. Focus on the wellbeing of all and secure the common good. Turn away from a focus on your personal security and comfort - because that can only be achieved when all have fullness of life.
Help us to value the things of Earth
with the perspective of heaven.
To stand with you on the mountainside
and see the wealth of creation,
the worth of all people
and to invest in a flourishing future
to the glory of God.
Prayer taken from the Harvest Appeal resources; more harvest resources can be found here.
Points for prayer
Pray for healing from trauma for those who have had to flee their homes in Nigeria because of attacks by Boko Haram. Pray for the UN Assembly beginning on 18 September, where they will be working on two new agreements on refugees and migration. Pray for an an outcome that includes support for the 40 million people displaced within their own borders.
Points for prayer are taken from the prayer diary. You can read the prayer diary in full here