Collect and Readings for the Sixth Sunday after Trinity – Hosea 1.2-10, Genesis 18.20-32, Psalm 85, Psalm 138, Colossians 2.6-19, Luke 11.1-13
The Prayer for today
Merciful God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as pass our understanding:
pour into our hearts such love toward you that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may
obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; 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.
It is not God’s will that anyone should be lost; God longs for us all to be saved. Each one of the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah was part of God’s loving creation and made in his image. Each person in Israel was known and loved. Those in every generation, who deliberately turn away and feed their selfish nature until they can no longer hear God’s prompting, are all cherished and of God’s making.
Today’s readings remind us of that immense parental tenderness that God has for us. He creates us full of potential and watches over our spiritual growth, ready to bathe us in his light, and drench us in his Spirit. The tragedy is that we so often refuse to let him give us the gifts necessary for our growth.
In the Genesis reading we are given this lovely example of a close relationship shared by Abraham with his God. He is full of respect, and perfectly understands the justice of the threatened destruction, but he feels with his God’s love the terrible sadness of waste and pleads for mercy on behalf of those cities. How his pleading must have made God’s heart sing, for here was a man loving in the broad and generous way he longed to see in all his creation.
The passage from Paul’s letter to the Colossians urges his readers to let their growth in faith continue to flourish in Christ so that their lives overflow with thankfulness. It is not a question of everything happening at the beginning of our journey when we first commit ourselves. To grow, and to remain in close fellowship with God, we need constant filling up, feeding and guiding on a daily basis. The Bible, prayer and communion are gifts provided for us to use, and without taking God up on these gifts, our spiritual growth will weaken and become stunted.
In the Gospel for this week, the disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray, and the guidelines they are given have been valued by Christians of all denominations and traditions through the centuries. Luke links this teaching on prayer with a whole passage encouraging us to ask for what we need and ask persistently. God will never force himself on anyone; he waits for us to invite him into our lives, and that is why it is so vital that we do ask and seek and knock at the door.
If we look at many of his acts of healing, we find Jesus often gets people to state what they want; that is part of the healing because God likes to work in partnership with us, not as a take-over bid. So, he wants us to wake up each morning and ask that the kingdom may come, that we may have our daily needs provided – both physical and spiritual – and that we may have our sins forgiven and be guided safely through temptation. That way we shall be actively seeking the God who made us and loves us and has already all the gifts we need to bear fruit.
Some things to reflect on:
· Do we assume God to be more tolerant of wrong than he really is, or doubt that he can really be as forgiving as he is?
· How would you help someone to understand God’s character when they’ve prayed for something faithfully and it hasn’t materialised?
God bless and stay safe and well.
Rev’d Fiona Robinson