Dear people of faith,
Another week, and we continue in prayer for this world and our own place in it, and those we love and care for.
With blessings, and hope we see you Sunday 8am or 9.30am Messy Morning.
JAMES, APOSTLE and MARTYR
Collect for the Day
O gracious God,
whose apostle James left his father and all that he had,
and without delay obeyed the call of your Son Jesus Christ:
pour out upon the leaders of your Church
the same spirit of self-denying service
by which alone they may have true authority
among your people;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen APBA p.616
GOSPEL for James, Apostle and Martyr: Matthew 20: 20-28
Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favour of him. And he said to her, ‘What do you want?’ She said to him, ‘Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.’ But Jesus answered, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?’ They said to him, ‘We are able.’ He said to them, ‘You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.’
When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.’
REFLECTION on the Gospel: contributed by Rev’d Graham
As we reflect on today’s passage, I wonder if James and his brother would have said, “We are able,’” if they knew what was in front of them. While there is speculation about how many of the disciples lost their lives because of their faith and willingness to follow in the steps of Jesus, James is the only one recorded in scripture as having been martyred (Acts 12: 2). Today we give thanks for his witness after Christ’s ascension as he journeyed across Israel and the Roman kingdom and spread the Word for nearly forty years in Spain. Later, James returned to Jerusalem but was martyred for his faith by King Herod, who decapitated him. An end none of us is likely to face for proclaiming our faith!
I wonder too what was going through the minds of the other ten at the time. How much of the interlude did they hear and appreciate? Particularly, did they contemplate the words of Jesus as a warning, when he said, “You will indeed drink my cup.” Whatever their thoughts at the time, we can be thankful that they showed their faithfulness to Jesus later.
Jesus’ response to the ten, to James and his brother, and also to us, is that true greatness (whatever that means) comes about when we do not seek it. Rather, recognition of a person’s greatness comes as a result of their willingness to act humbly, and when needed, to serve. Leadership qualities will then be recognised and bring their own “rewards”, whatever they might be. As we give thanks for the life and witness of St James, let us also thank God that all of us have been given gifts – no matter how small we might think they are – to use in the task of spreading God’s love.
FINAL PRAYER “Exciting Holiness”
Lord God, the source of truth and love,
keep us faithful to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship,
united in prayer and the breaking of bread,
and one in joy and simplicity of heart,
in Jesus Christ our Lord.