26th June 2022
Morning Worship – June 2022
What gets in your way?
The time is now, the Lord is here!
He calls us in this moment.
Rejoice in the fullness of his love.
Let our hearts be glad and our tongues rejoice.
When we walk in companionship with the Lord
we are filled with joy in his presence.
Let us praise the Lord.
Reading – Luke 9. 51-62 (The Message Translation)
51-54 When it came close to the time for his Ascension, he gathered up his courage and steeled himself for the journey to Jerusalem. He sent messengers on ahead. They came to a Samaritan village to make arrangements for his hospitality. But when the Samaritans learned that his destination was Jerusalem, they refused hospitality. When the disciples James and John learned of it, they said, “Master, do you want us to call a bolt of lightning down out of the sky and incinerate them?”
55-56 Jesus turned on them: “Of course not!” And they travelled on to another village.
57 On the road someone asked if he could go along. “I’ll go with you, wherever,” he said.
58 Jesus was curt: “Are you ready to rough it? We’re not staying in the best inns, you know.” Jesus said to another, “Follow me.”
59 He said, “Certainly, but first excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have to make arrangements for my father’s funeral.”
60 Jesus refused. “First things first. Your business is life, not death. And life is urgent: Announce God’s kingdom!”
61 Then another said, “I’m ready to follow you, Master, but first excuse me while I get things straightened out at home.”
62 Jesus said, “No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.”
Reading – Galatians 5.1, 13-25 (Good News Translation)
5 Freedom is what we have—Christ has set us free! Stand, then, as free people, and do not allow yourselves to become slaves again.
13 As for you, my friends, you were called to be free. But do not let this freedom become an excuse for letting your physical desires control you. Instead, let love make you serve one another. 14 For the whole Law is summed up in one commandment: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” 15 But if you act like wild animals, hurting and harming each other, then watch out, or you will completely destroy one another.
16 What I say is this: let the Spirit direct your lives, and you will not satisfy the desires of the human nature. 17 For what our human nature wants is opposed to what the Spirit wants, and what the Spirit wants is opposed to what our human nature wants. These two are enemies, and this means that you cannot do what you want to do. 18 If the Spirit leads you, then you are not subject to the Law.
19 What human nature does is quite plain. It shows itself in immoral, filthy, and indecent actions; 20 in worship of idols and witchcraft. People become enemies and they fight; they become jealous, angry, and ambitious. They separate into parties and groups; 21 they are envious, get drunk, have orgies, and do other things like these. I warn you now as I have before: those who do these things will not possess the Kingdom of God.
22 But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 humility, and self-control. There is no law against such things as these. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have put to death their human nature with all its passions and desires. 25 The Spirit has given us life; he must also control our lives.
In the reading from Luke’s Gospel today, Jesus’ challenge to the two people is very harsh. Jesus puts following Him above family and home commitments. A strong challenge indeed. But how much of this is because Jesus wants to stress the cost and commitment required. The priorities of being a disciple leaves no time for prevarication or excuses. Tough decisions may be needed.
How often do we say we are going do something or commit to something but something else gets in the way? How much do we prevaricate? How much does this stop us doing the things that are really important? What gets in the way?
Reflect for a moment on your past week. What has it been like and what has been achieved and more importantly what did not get done? Why not and what stopped you?
The reading from Paul’s letter to the Galatians expands on this and gives examples of sinful behaviours (verse 29 to 21) that are often the things that distract us from our true purpose. Paul wants to stress the behaviours that keeps us from following God’s will for us and those behaviours that are Spirit led (verses 22 to 23) which draw us closer to our purpose. A focus on the behaviours that make us productive and fruitful.
Paul is clear that a life that is Spirit led keeps the priority on God’s desire for us.
We spend time to reflect on our past week, reflecting on those times that we have been distracted and apart from living in accord with God’s desire for us.
We reflect on the week ahead. Think of those opportunities that might arise and pray that the gifts of the Spirit will bear fruit in our lives.
The Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours.
Now and for ever.
Give us the power of your Spirit.
Give us the wisdom to live in the Spirit,
and to show the fruit of the Spirit in who we are.
Make us people of love, joy and peace;
make us generous and kind;
and help us to shape our lives with gentleness,
faithfulness and self-control.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
And the love of God,
And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, now and evermore.
Posted by Nigel Smetham on Saturday, June 25, 2022