Pause for Thought

Sunday 5th July: 4th after Trinity:  Matthew 11 25-30

At that time Jesus declared, “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. Yes, Father, for this was well-pleasing in Your sight. All things have been entrusted 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. Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  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.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

At this time as we are hopefully coming out of coronavirus lockdown and easing our way back into something approaching normality, there are so many who are weary and burdened, worried about the present situation, about family, their jobs, their lives.  We cannot hope to know and understand what is going on around us at any time, and certainly not at the moment;  but God knows;  he understands, he cares. 

God doesn’t take away from his children their right to make their own decisions, to make their own mistakes, and to have to face difficulties in their lives.  But he is with us, beside us, at all times.  We only have to invite him to share every bit of our lives for his love and caring to surround us and make a difference, however difficult the circumstances.  Is there something you feel particularly worried about at the moment - tell God and ask him to help.

 

Sunday 12th July:  5th after Trinity:  Matthew 13: 3-9 and 18-23

And He told them many things in parables, saying, “A farmer went out to sow his seed. And as he was sowing, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Some fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun rose, the seedlings were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the seedlings. Still other seed fell on good soil and produced a crop—a hundredfold, sixtyfold, or thirtyfold. He who has ears, let him hear.” Consider, then, the parable of the sower:  When anyone hears the message of the kingdom but does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and at once receives it with joy.  But since he has no root, he remains for only a season. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The seed sown among the thorns is the one who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But the seed sown on good soil is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and produces a crop—a hundredfold, sixtyfold, or thirtyfold.”

In this well-known parable Jesus is speaking to the people in ways they would quickly understand, about seed being sown in the ground.  Over 2000 years later his words still ring true in our lives.  We can hear God’s word, but what matters is how we receive it – how we react to it, how we let it affect our lives.  It’s so easy to read or hear a bible reading, and leave it there.  But how does it relate to us?  Can we learn from it now?  Should it be changing the way we think, the way we live our lives, the way we treat other people?

God’s word isn’t always easy to read, and sometimes even harder to take on board – but it does contain all we need for our lives. How does today’s reading speak to you?  Has this story got a message – just for you?

 

Sunday 19th July:  6th after Trinity:  Matthew 13: 24-30 & 36-43

Jesus put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.  But while everyone was asleep, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and slipped away.  When the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the weeds also appeared. The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’  ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. So the servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’  ‘No,’ he said, ‘if you pull the weeds now, you might uproot the wheat with them.  Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat into my barn”.  Then Jesus dismissed the crowds and went into the house. His disciples came to Him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”  He replied, “The One who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed represents the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. As the weeds are collected and burned in the fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will weed out of His kingdom every cause of sin and all who practice lawlessness. And they will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.

It is so easy to ask why God allows bad thoughts, bad actions, bad events to take place in our lives.  Why doesn’t he stop these things happening so that everything can be simpler and easier for us to do what he wants us to do?  Jesus explains that we are given choices – to follow good, or to follow evil.  We hear from God what he wants us to do – his “Good News” – but it can so often be crowded out of our lives by other distractions, such as our jobs, our attempts to improve our lives, media attempts to influence us etc.  Jesus said that God will in due time deal with the evil in the world, but for now, we are each called to do our best to live to his glory and praise.

Is there one particular thing which you feel is keeping you from listening to and following God?  Ask him to help you deal with it – and go on listening!

 

Sunday 26th July: 7th after Trinity:  Matthew 13: 31-33 and 44-52

He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a man planted in his field.  Although it is the smallest of all seeds, yet it grows into the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and mixed into three measures of flour, until all of it was leavened.” His disciples came to Him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” He replied, “The One who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed represents the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. As the weeds are collected and burned in the fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will weed out of His kingdom every cause of sin and all who practice lawlessness. And they will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.

Jesus describes the kingdom of heaven – God’s world – as being something which is tiny to start with, yet grows and grows to be of great benefit to all who come to share it.  Looking at the church throughout the ages, we can relate to this – how it has come through persecutions, hatred, being totally closed down – yet it has grown and grown, and is continuing to do so despite all opposition.  As you cannot stop yeast enlarging flour to become dough, or a mustard seed growing from something small to a tall tree, neither can anything stop God’s church from spreading throughout the world.

What can we do to help?  Are we ready to listen and pass on the joy and wonder of knowing God in our lives so that others can share it?  What could you do today towards this?

 




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