"God amazes me constantly...."

RAMBLING RECTOR

Church buildings can open for public worship, as from Sunday 5 July, but I will continue to send a short reflection, for those of you who must continue to ‘shield’. It will be based on the topic of the Sunday Sermon, but not a transcript of it.  

 

SUNDAY 5 July

 

GOSPEL READING

A reading from the Gospel of Matthew chapter 11 verses 16 to 19

16 ‘To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the market-places and calling out to others:

17 ‘“We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.”

18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon.” 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.’

 

A reading from the Gospel of Matthew chapter 11 verses 25 to 30

25 At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to little children. 26 Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do. 27 ‘All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

28 ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’

 

REFLECTION

God amazes me constantly, because he always goes ahead of us, always shows us things we had not seen before.

 

Most of you know that I like to have my Sunday plans in place well in advance. That means that by just after Easter I had already set my Preaching outline for June, July and August. The title that I chose for today, Sunday 5 July, was going to beThe End is the Beginning”. I thought that topic seemed to fit really well with the fact that this was to be Matt and Jen’s first Sunday with us, they would have ended their time in Cambridge and would be beginning their time living and working and worshipping with the Bexley Team. 

 

Who would have guessed that Lockdown would drag on for quite so many weeks and months?  And who would have guessed that we would only be able to return to public worship on Matt and Jen’s first Sunday with us?! It is as if God had gone ahead of me and said – “you thought only about the beginning that Matt and Jen were making, but I knew this Sunday would be a new beginning for the whole church!”

 

On this first Sunday of Public Worship, some of us will be able to return to worship in our church buildings. This will be in a way that looks rather different to what we were used to before. Some of us will still need to keep to our homes and avoid too much contact with others. All this change will take some getting used to – and this is undeniably a bewildering time for every one of us. And I am quite prepared to hear people expressing their frustrations and worries about how different things are.

 

I have spoken before about how Jesus seems to draw his inspiration for his parables and stories from the scenes he sees around him…. farmers sowing seeds in the fields, fishermen with their nets, men building homes, women spinning, or kneading dough.  Here, in our gospel reading today I like to think that maybe he actually saw children playing in the market-place, unable to agree on a game to play, unable to decide whether to be happy or sad. He saw that in the crowds that were around him and perhaps we too are like that just now, unsure of how we feel or what we want to do.

 

Can I encourage you to hear Jesus words of reassurance… that all things are held by his divine authority, and that he will bear for us all the burdens of worry and distress that wear us down. There is a child-like simplicity in that understanding, which will sustain us in these difficult days. God sees further than we do, and we can trust that he will show us more than we could have imagined.


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