Dear people of faith,
A reminder of the invitation for tomorrow, Saturday, to ‘drop in’ to Holy Spirit church between 12 noon and 2pm to be filmed for 10-20 seconds, “why I/we are looking forward to reconnecting with my faith community” – do hope lots of you come! This will be part of our FINAL video recording for worship, before resumption of public worship 12 July.
Also, don’t forget that you can continue to bring in your offerings for St Hugh’s pantry, and the toiletries for homeless women, men and youth (via Anglicare). Please leave outside the office.
With blessings for your day – and for the children and families, the start to the holidays, enjoy! Rev’d. Jan
Collect for the Week
Almighty and everlasting God,
you are always more ready to hear than we to pray,
and give more than either we desire or deserve:
pour down upon us the abundance of your mercy,
forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid,
and giving us those good things
which we are not worthy to ask,
save through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ,
your Son our Lord. Amen APBA p.554
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 8: 1-4
8When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him; 2and there was a leper who came to him and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.’ 3He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, ‘I do choose. Be made clean!’ Immediately his leprosy* was cleansed. 4Then Jesus said to him, ‘See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.’
REFLECTION on the Gospel: contributed by Graeme Curnow
Following the grand exposition of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus comes down from the mountain and turns to healing individuals, suffering various afflictions.
Within the crowd that followed him there was a brave, and probably desperate, leper. In the ancient world leprosy was a terrible destructive disease – (and still is in some parts of our world.)
According to Jewish Law and customs, one had to socially distance oneself from a leper. The only thing more defiling than contact with a leper was contact with a corpse.
• The leper came to Jesus of his own volition
• He knew how terrible his situation was.
• Other people had given up on him as having a hopeless condition.
• There was no prior example of Jesus healing a leper- so from whence came his hope???
• He had no invitation to come forward and no promise that Jesus would heal him.
• He honoured Jesus by kneeling before Him and addressing him as “Lord”.
• I like to think that it was his humility that caused the leper to leave his request up to the will of Jesus (rather that a subtle form of moral blackmail).
• The leper had sufficient confidence that Jesus could make him “clean”.
Jesus put out his hand and touched the leper, in order to heal him. It was against Jewish Law to touch a leper. How meaningful must that have been to the outcast to be actually touched.
(Recall the compassion of Princess Diana for AIDS sufferers in the 1980’s – 90’s and the leadership she showed the world.)
Jesus said “I do choose. Be made clean.”. (Perhaps we should always assume that Jesus is willing to heal – unless He shows us differently, as He did for St. Paul?)
Immediately his leprosy was cleansed – and the man’s life was changed forever!
Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone” – Jesus miracles were not primarily to make him famous, although they testified to His divinity and ministry. I wonder, did Jesus say this to the man to curb the excitement of the crowds until the proper time?
– but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.’ Going to the Priest should bring the former leper back into society – with the sanction of respected authority.
Further, the gift as set out in Leviticus Ch 14, was :-:
2 living birds, cedar wood, scarlet thread and hyssop; to be brought for the leper’s ritual cleansing.
and when clean, 2 unblemished male lambs, one unblemished female lamb, a grain offering of flour mixed with oil and a “log” of oil.
( If the former leper was poor then he could bring 1 lamb, a lesser amount of flour and 2 turtle doves or pigeons. and a “log” of oil.)
One wonders how a poor, outcast leper could ever accumulate enough resources to provide these gifts ?
Final Prayer Jim Cotter “Unfolding the Living Word”
Living presence, compassionate, healing,
gently quietening our guilt and our bargaining,
ever pouring upon us your mercy
and drenching us with your love,
open our hearts and minds and bodies,
even to the deepest places of our being,
that we may gratefully receive your gifts,
and delight in your presence with a light heart,
a settled mind, a spring in our step,
and the profound peace that surpasses our understanding.
We pray this in the call of Jesus on our lives
and in the power of the Spirit.