Good News Sheet
28th JUNE THE THIRD SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY
Almighty God, you have broken the tyranny of sin
and have sent the Spirit of your Son into our hearts whereby we call you Father:
give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service,
that we and all creation may be brought to the glorious liberty of the children of God;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
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.’
A successful man known for his generosity was driving his new car through a poor part of town. A boy tried to flag him down. The man didn’t want to get involved, so he pretended he didn’t see the child. As he slowed for a red traffic light, he heard a loud crash. Someone had thrown a brick at his car, denting the boot.
The man stopped, jumped out of his car and grabbed the boy that threw the brick. “You juvenile delinquent!” he yelled. “You’ll pay for this or go to jail!”
“I’m sorry, mister,” the boy cried. “My mum’s lying on the floor in our apartment. I think she’s dying. Our phone’s been cut off and I’ve been trying for ten minutes to get someone to stop. I didn’t know what else to do! Take me to jail, but please, call a doctor for my mum first.”
The man was filled with shame. “I’m a doctor,” he said and asked, “Where is she?” The boy took him to his mother and the doctor administered CPR and called an ambulance.
“Will she live?” the boy sobbed. “Yes, son, she will,” the doctor said. “Then it’s worth going to jail. I’m sorry I ruined your car. You can take me in now.”
“You’re not going anywhere,” the doctor said. “It was my fault you had to throw a brick to get my attention.”
The doctor made sure the boy was taken care of, and as he drove home he resolved not to fix the dent. He would keep it as a reminder that not everyone in need has a brick to throw.
What Jesus is telling us to do in the Gospel reading is similar to the famous Golden Rule: “Do unto others”. A cup of cold water is a gift that everyone can give because it is the smallest of gifts. Even this, the smallest of gifts, is precious to the person receiving it, because sometimes it is the gift of life.
We are to do this for everyone we meet, because the recipient could be an angel, prophet or Jesus in disguise. It can mean providing material support such as food, clothing or shelter. It can also mean accepting the truth of our guest’s message.
Those who do God’s work can be assured that those who help them will be rewarded. Doing God’s work includes healing and those who are in the health care profession, caring for others, often sacrifice personal comforts to care for their needs. When they care for them, they show the love Jesus showed us when he lived among us. When we serve others, we serve Jesus, just like Jesus and his disciples served others.
We are to show compassion for others by caring for the sick, comforting those who mourn, visiting or calling the lonely or distressed, donating to those less fortunate and caring in any way for those in need. This is contrary to our “me-first”, selfish culture. It will loosen our hold on our possessions, lives, and so on, but these small beginnings are the seed of a different kind of happiness-the happiness that the Christian life provides.
Even small gifts can make a big difference. It is a reminder of the old adage that “big things come in small packages”. To offer hospitality, care and compassion, we simply have to bring who we are and what we have to where we are. It requires attention to the person receiving the hospitality. We have to receive the person first before they can receive the benefit of the gift we offer.
To Jesus, hospitality meant acceptance, even those who, in his society and in his day, were deemed to be unacceptable. That is why he put his arms around lepers, ate with tax collectors and sinners, forgave adulterers and broke Sabbath laws. Hospitality was not only important to Jesus, it was at the very heart of being God, and it didn’t make any difference to him where such hospitality took place, or to whom, or on what day.
When it comes to hospitality, we take turns being the host and being the guest. Sometimes we are the ones who simply need the hug or cup of water and kindness comes. Other times, we are the ones providing the hug or cup of water. The “little ones” Jesus refers to are frequently the scapegoats or victims in our society. They are the powerless, the weak, the hurting, the abused, the abandoned, the elderly or children, and they are often the easiest targets. They need the help and compassion that Jesus offers through us. When we help them, we have the power to bring others into a relationship with God, the power to show others God’s love by showing them our love, the power to bring them face to face with God by bringing them face to face with us. And we will receive the promised reward. Amen.
Let us pray to God, the source of all prophecy and all righteousness.
Give to the Church the gifts that inspired the prophets of old, to warn and to encourage your people. Make us worthy to be prophets of your word and counted as righteous through your grace.
Be with those in the world who speak the words of truth and the message of salvation. Open the hearts of the powerful and the humble alike to receive those who come in your name.
Grant us grace to discern the presence of Christ in those we know and in the stranger. May we be hospitable and welcoming, may the doors in our homes, churches and communities be open to the Lord who comes in many ways.
We pray for those who are suffering from drought, all who are thirsty and must go far to find water. Guide and enable those who work for their relief and grant the blessing of clean water where it is lacking.
May the faithful departed receive their reward and share in the fountain of living water in heaven. Grant that we may be constant in this world and enter at last into the world to come.
May our prayers be accepted in the name of Christ who has called us to be his messengers.
FOR YOUR PRAYERS ……
All who have recently been bereaved, and especially:
the families and friends of Jagan Asthana, Bob Rae and Raymond Burdfield.
Those who are sick, and all who care for them, remembering:
Pamela Campbell, Peggy Johnson, Lucy Dalrymple, Adrian Skeates, Matt, Ian McBean, Jacqueline Dacey, Heather, Alex, Anna Holmes, Jane Busby, Becky, Linda Howard, Barbara, Sarah, Molly Bonsor, Louis Venni, Christine Lister, Martin, Diana Metson, Frances Aldridge, David Glaister, Michael Barling, David Bourn, Ashlyn, Ann Godfrey, Geoff Fuller, Madge, Chris Godfrey, Hazel, Jenny, Sally, Helen