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Faith Daily | 24 February 2021


PRAYER of the WEEK Lent One


O Lord, who for our sake fasted forty days and forty nights:

give us grace to use such abstinence,

that, our flesh being subdued to the spirit,

we may ever obey your godly will

in righteousness and true holiness;

to your honour and glory,

who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,

one God, world without end.


Amen APBA p482




GOSPEL for the Day: Luke 11: 29-32


29 When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, ‘This generation is an evil generation; it asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 30For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be to this generation. 31The queen of the South will rise at the judgement with the people of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and see, something greater than Solomon is here! 32The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgement with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here!



GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by Rachel McFadyen


Once again, Jesus is asked for a sign. What kind of a sign would have satisfied the religious leaders, one wonders? – other than an army of angels driving the Roman army out of Jerusalem. Maybe they wanted the signs Moses and then Elijah did – stretching out their staff to divide the river Jordan, striking the rock and water comes out? But Jesus says the only sign they will get is that of Jonah, who spent 3 days in the darkness inside the whale before emerging and going to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh. A clear reference to the three days Jesus would spend in the tomb (with days calculated in the Jewish fashion from sunset to sunset, so Good Friday was one day and Easter Sunday the third day). Jesus further offends them by saying “something greater than Solomon is here” – King Solomon was one of their great Jewish heroes, a powerful and wise king, ruling over a prosperous and united kingdom respected by other nations as far as the regions of Ethiopia in the south, and Jesus was claiming to be greater than Solomon.


The people of Nineveh recognised that Jonah spoke from God, and they changed their ways. The Queen of Sheba recognised that Solomon’s wisdom came from God; she undertook a long and perilous journey to learn that wisdom. But the religious leaders around Jesus were unable to see that his words too were from God, and unwilling to give up their established ways and beliefs. Maybe because to do so would have threatened their status and authority, maybe because it was too perilous a leap of faith to believe this uneducated man from despised Galilee. Either way, Jesus condemns them for their lack of faith, and says their failure to believe will stand against them at the final judgement.


What about us? What holds us back from complete surrender to Jesus’ authority? Is it unbelief, or fear of consequences, of losing our comfortable lives? Either way, we pray with the father of the son afflicted by fits (Mark 9:22-24) who said to Jesus “heal him if you can” but then “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

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FINAL PRAYER: Prayer for Lent, “Bread of Tomorrow”


For our incapacity to feel the sufferings of others,

and our tendency to live comfortably with injustice,

God forgive us.

For the self-righteousness which denies guilt,

and the self-interest which strangles compassion,

God forgive us.

For those who live their lives in careless unconcern,

who cry ‘Peace, peace’ when there is no peace,

We ask your mercy.

For our failings in community,

our lack of understanding,

We ask your mercy.

For our lack of forgiveness, openness, sensitivity,

God forgive us.

For the times we were too eager to be better than others,

when we are too rushed to care,

when we are too tired to bother,

when we don’t really listen,

when we are too quick to act from motives other than love,

God forgive us.

Amen



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615 Brookfield Road (Cnr Boscombe Road)

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