Thoughts from the Vicarage 28th June, Trinity 3
Psalm 89.1-4, 15-18; Jeremiah 28.5-9; Romans 6.12-end; Matthew 10.40-end
In ASDA it’s “Extra Special”, in MORRISONS they are “The Best”, in SAINSBURYS you can “Taste the Difference”*. All these products are aimed at the “discerning” shopper who maybe has a little more cash. *Other supermarkets are available!
I expect we will all have our preferred favourites. Of course, over the last few months it’s not be so easy. Those of us needing to be cautious of crowds, for age or health reasons, have been relying on kind family, friends and neighbours to match our shopping requests with what is actually available on the shelves! If “discernment” is a gift we value in our shopping then it is even more important in the rest of our lives from our choice of friends to decisions on where we live and the work we do. Some of us make decisions confidently and quickly while others need more time to mull things over.
Jeremiah – one of the 3 major prophets of the old testament is able to discern that Hananiah is a people pleaser rather than a truth-speaker. As such he is false or at least a misguided prophet. He attempts to win people over by presenting what we now call “fake news”. Whether this appears on social media, amongst our family and friends or in government please pray for the gift of discernment so that we can tell the difference between fake and truth.
Romans – Paul, in his letter to the young church in Rome, is guiding the Christian community to decide or discern carefully who they are willing to follow or be subject to. The word “slave” has always been difficult and in the last few weeks it has awakened old divisions and led to violence and even deaths around the world in the context of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. In the worst sense of the word it can mean being subjected to someone or something we would never choose. Yet it can also mean a willing, life commitment to the living, loving Lord Jesus. While writing I was reminded of the hymn “Make me a captive Lord and then I shall be free” 455 Mission Praise.
Matthew – In chapter 4 of Matthew Jesus calls his first disciples, discerning who should be his companions in ministry. By chapter 10 he is sending them out and reminding them of the cost. He encourages them to accept the welcome and gifts of those they meet. When we are welcomed, that can be a blessing to us and to others as they discover they have also welcomed Jesus into their homes and lives.
Following the call of Jesus can be costly let’s pray that it will truly be worth it.
Revd Jonathan Watkins
Collect for Today
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.