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Faith Daily | 18 January 2023

PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p528

Almighty God,

by whose grace alone we are accepted

and called to your service:

strengthen us by your Holy Spirit

and make us worthy of our calling;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.


GOSPEL for the Day: Mark 3: 1-6

Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3And he said to the man who had the withered hand, ‘Come forward.’ 4Then he said to them, ‘Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?’ But they were silent. 5He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.


One of the aspects of being Anglican that I value most is our respect for divergent views, our ability to embrace the grey. In my experience, we generally love people in all their imperfection and humanity without becoming judgmental, sanctimonious, prescriptive or condemnatory.

Jesus was “deeply upset at the hard heartedness” of the pharisees of his time. They used sabbath observance as a weapon to judge and condemn. There was only one right way – theirs. They had lost sight of the point of the commandment to keep the sabbath holy, as a celebration of God’s creation and redemption.

For pharisees of every generation, rules matter more than people. Jesus expresses his disgust for this through his ironic questions – is it legal to do good on the sabbath, or by implication, only to do evil? Is it legal to give life, or by implication, only to take it away?

When I think about the legalism of pharisees then and now, I am reminded of Jesus’ injunction to take the log from my own eye, before seeking to remove the speck from my neighbour’s. I pray that at this time of challenge for the unity of our church nationally, we Anglicans in this diocese will continue to base our understanding of God’s will for us on the three foundations of Anglicanism – scripture, tradition and reason – that we will embrace comprehensive Anglicanism and diversity in all its richness, and reject the hard-heartedness of the way of pharisees.


O God,

form the minds of your faithful people,

that we may love what you command

and desire what you promise,

so that, amid the many changes of this world,

our hearts may there be fixed where true joys are to be found;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.


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