Weekly worship: Sunday 30 September
Points for sermons and prayers for the nineteenth 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: Isaiah 40:21-31 Psalm 24 Revelation 21:1-7 Luke 7:1-1
Isaiah 40:21 Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
Our Judeo-Christian faith is based on a vision of the world which is counter-cultural to many. At the heart is the assertion that God created the world. From this simple statement we understand that all things come to us as gifts from God, who wants life for the whole of creation. It grounds us in the affirmation that in God’s creation we are all connected, because the same Spirit has formed us all. This connection brings with it a responsibility not only for our own wellbeing but for the wellbeing of all things. It is a responsibility that we should view not as a burden but as an invitation to join God in the constant process of creation.
Our sisters in Ethiopia take their place in this re-creation by developing solar hubs, a sustainable and clean means of creating energy for the community. The women also renew one another in strength and spirit. Aster says: ‘Coming together as a women’s group, it’s like adopting sisters; another family. We share happiness and sorrow together.’
Luke 7:6-7 ‘I am not worthy to have you come under my roof… but only speak the word…’
There are not simple divides between goodies and baddies in the gospel stories. It would be easy to think of the Pharisees or the occupying Roman forces as the enemy, but it’s not that simple. In Luke’s story, the call for help comes from a high-ranking Roman soldier. The centurion might seem like the enemy, but Jesus’ friends reassure him that he is in fact a friend of the Jews. The centurion himself recognises he has no right to call on the Rabbi Jesus but nevertheless hopes his urgent request might be heard. He does not ask for himself but for his slave. Despite the ambiguity of his position, he wants to do the right thing.
In a world of injustice, few of us are saints and few of us come with clean hands. Nevertheless, we too are called not to allow our sense of unworthiness to get in the way of doing the right thing. Luke records no comment from Jesus about the centurion’s occupation nor about slavery, only that the request for healing is heard. Justice is done in small steps by those least expecting to be heroes.
God of justice,
you call us to stand together,
to walk side by side,
to share ideas, dreams and burdens,
to work together for a just harvest of your good gifts.
Together, we have the power to grow hope,
to plant seeds that yield a better future.
This season, we pray with our global family.
May we embrace the gift of each other
and walk side by side with our sisters and brothers to bring about change.
Together, we’re stronger.
May we offer our gifts this season.
Prayer taken from the Harvest Appeal resources; more harvest resources can be found here.
Points for prayer
The International Day of Non-Violence is observed on Tuesday 2 October on the date of Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday.
Gandhi’s salt march was the inspiration for the land rights marches organised by partners in India that enabled thousands of landless poor to get access to land in 2012. Give thanks for Christian Aid’s work in India for over five decades and for the 41 ongoing projects there.
Pray for a lasting legacy from the Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS) programme which concluded in 2017. Pray that the work begun in 90 districts in seven of India’s poorest states will help these communities continue to claim their rights for years to come.
Pray for the Christian Aid Salt Business Network 2018 conference happening on 5 October. Pray that the Christian business leaders who gather will be inspired and equipped to be a force for good in the world.
Points for prayer are taken from the prayer diary. You can read the prayer diary in full here