Revd. Ren's Reflection for Sunday August 30th 2020


Church buildings can open for public worship now, but I will continue to send a short reflection, for those of you who must continue to ‘shield’. It will be based on the topic of the Sunday Sermon, but not a transcript of it.

Let me know if you want a full transcript and I’ll get one to you.


SUNDAY 30 August 2020


Romans 12.9-end

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practise hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’[d] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’[e]

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

This is the Word of the Lord.  Thanks be to God.


Matthew 16.21-end

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to MATTHEW

Glory to you, O Lord.

21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. ‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you!’

23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.’

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life[f] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

28 ‘Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.’

This is the Gospel of the Lord.  Praise to you, O Christ.



Last week I had day with Steve at Great Dixter Garden, near Rye, a garden created by the late Christopher Lloyd, whose home it was.


In a very free gardening style, ‘Christo’ as he was known by his many friends, massed all sorts of plants together, letting them grow in freedom and profusion with the flowers tumbling over each other and the foliage even encroaching on the pathways through the garden.


Looking out of my window this week at my own garden, I have watched the trees, heavy with green leaves, tossed by the strong winds that we have been having.  I have watched the movement of the birds amongst the foliage, enjoyed the clouds scudding across the panorama of the sky.  I love the richness of colour at this time of year, the sense of life bursting at the seams, all the glory of the summer come to maturity and the coming harvest.


But as August moves into September, the August Bank holiday forecast to be wet and windy, we move our minds to the future.  In just a few months the trees will be bare of leaves, the plants will have faded, the flowers will be blackened by the first frosts of winter.


Yet all those trees and shrubs, and the perennial plants that we love, will have their roots securely in the good earth and when the spring comes again, will come into a new time of leaf and flowers.


So it is with human life. 


Our span of years which will be lived (it is to be hoped) in good ways, and through that being a blessing to others. Years made up of days, hours, minutes which have been lived with sincerity and devotion, honour and service, care and kindness, hospitality and generosity, patience and prayerfulness, beauty and harmony.


A life held, not as our own possession to do with as we want, indulging every selfish whim.


But a life held ‘gently’ knowing that our very existence, and every moment we are granted to spend here on earth, comes from God, is rooted in the God who created us, and will return to God as our earthly life comes to its ending.


For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

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