Today's prayers, readings and reflections are available below.
TRINITY IV SUNDAY 5th JULY
Teach me, my God and King,
In all things thee to see;
And what I do in anything
To do it as for thee!
A man that looks on glass,
On it may stay his eye;
Or if he pleaseth, through it pass,
And then the heaven espy.
All may of thee partake;
nothing can be so mean,
Which with this tincture, 'for thy sake',
Will not grow bright and clean.
A servant with this cause
Makes drudgery divine;
Who sweeps a room, as for thy laws,
Makes that and the action fine.
This is the famous stone
That turneth all to gold;
For that which God doth touch and own
Cannot for less be told.
O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that with you as our ruler and guide we may so pass through things temporal that we lose not our hold on things eternal; grant this, heavenly Father, for our Lord Jesus Christ's sake.
Zechariah 9:9-12, Romans 7:15-25a, Matthew 11:16-19, 25-end.
Lord come with healing into the discontent of the world, to take away the suspicion that separates people and sets them against each other.
Make us wise, gentle and humble in our dealings with others.
Have mercy on those bowed down and wearied by the burdens of poverty, hunger, sickness and sin.
We pray especially for the sick and by name for Charlie Chesser, Otto Lein and Bill Scott.
May the dead find eternal rest.
A picture of the Last Supper showing a black Jesus has recently been installed in St Albans Cathedral. It is a print of a work by the artist Lorna May Wadsworth. She used a Jamaican-born model for the basis of her interpretation of da Vinci's original fifteenth century work and said she wanted "to make people question the Western myth that (Jesus Christ) had fair hair and blue eyes". The Cathedral said that it was displaying the picture in "support of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement".and called on people to "look with fresh eyes at something you think you know".
In the Gospel today Jesus uses the image of children singing sad and happy songs as they play. Their choices of songs are fickle and changing and Jesus uses this image to illustrate the way in which humans try to make God dance to their tune.We often want God to fit into our comfortable, familiar picture.
Jesus knew that some people grumbled about his own ministry and John the Baptist's. Neither John nor Jesus matched the grumblers' picture of someone who had truly come from God. Fasting and repenting, as advocated and practised by John, did not appeal at all. But neither did the way Jesus seemed happy to mix with "sinners" and to lack a sense of dignity.
Among the listeners some would be comfortable with the status quo. They made the required Temple sacrifices, attended synagogue regularly, kept the commandments. What need then for fasting and repentance? Others saw themselves as superior to those who did not follow the same rules and regulations. They would not associate with these "sinners" - and neither, surely, would the Son of God!
Jesus challenges all these comfortable onlookers, thinking themselves so wise and intelligent, so sure they know God. He does so because he is the one who knows God's nature and purpose because he shares them. And if he chooses to reveal the true image of God to "sinners" then so be it!
Jesus tells the onlookers, "Wisdom is vindicated by her deeds" - in other words the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The cross and the resurrection would reveal that Jesus really had come from God. And those events would make some people at least reconsider their picture of God. For here was a God not demanding sacrifice, but making it; a God not keeping strict account of rules followed or broken, but a God who invites us all, all, to come to Jesus.