.........that list of names – which is like a Roll-call of honour ...

RAMBLING RECTOR

I have borrowed the name of a strong and beautiful rose as the title for my reflection during the times when we cannot meet in the church building because of the current pandemic. I plan to offer you a short reflection each week, stemming from the impressions and inspiration I am discovering. It is my prayer that we all discover God more deeply in this time while we are ‘Together While Apart’.

 

SUNDAY 14 June      First Sunday After Trinity

 

BIBLE READINGS

Romans chapter 5 verses1 to 8

1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

 

The Gospel of Matthew chapter 9 verse 35 to chapter 10 verse 8

35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and illness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’

Chapter 10: - 1 Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and illness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: “The kingdom of heaven has come near.” Heal those who are ill, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.

 

REFLECTION

The thing that struck me from our gospel reading today is that list of names – which is like a Roll-call of honour (with the exception of Judas!) It struck me because one of the things I have done during lockdown is to go through our church Electoral Roll, holding each person listed there in prayer. They haven’t been fancy prayers, or eloquent ones, but I have simply come before God with each of you held in my heart.  In my turn, I have been encouraged by your encouragement. I am thankful for the times when I have phoned you to ask how you are coping, and you have quickly asked how Steve and I are coping! So you are each on my Roll-call of Honour, the disciples of today, sent and equipped by Jesus to speak in His name, with a message of love.

 

And we follow a tradition of loving service at St James North Cray, remembering with affection all those who have played a part in building the life and worship of our little parish church over so many years. They have served God’s church in very different circumstances to our own. Our church records (transcribed in the Collyer Ferguson Papers) show acts of financial generosity back to the seventeenth century by people who have lived out their lives in the village of North Cray, sharing times of hardship and times of joy. Nearer to our own time, and in the living memory of some, we remember those who lived through the Second World War, and those who contributed to the repairs to the bomb-damaged East End of the building and the provision of those beautiful stained glass windows. In our own time, we too contribute to the ongoing story of our church.  We too have a place in the history of God at work in our community.


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