Faith Daily | 7 December 2020
Dear people of faith,
A treat today! Two reflections, due to some internal confusion. Thank you Helen and Rev’d Graham.
Huge weekend – thank you all who made everything happen, from mini-market to celebratory brunch for Rev’d Jonathan. And we look forward now to Lessons and Carols next Sunday at 5pm, followed by light supper and then the parish preview of Hosanna Rock, before it goes up on the parish website.
Stay cool, and may your Advent day be of peace. Rev’d Jan
PRAYER of the Week| ADVENT TWO: APBA p.466
who sent your messenger John the Baptist
to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation:
give us grace to heed his warning and forsake our sins,
that we may greet with the joy the coming of our Redeemer,
Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
GOSPEL for the Day: Luke 5: 17-26
One day, while he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting nearby (they had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem); and the power of the Lord was with him to heal. Just then some men came, carrying a paralysed man on a bed. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus; but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in front of Jesus. When he saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven you.’
Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, ‘Who is this who is speaking blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, ‘Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, “Your sins are forgiven you”, or to say, “Stand up and walk”? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’ – he said to the one who was paralysed – ‘I say to you, stand up and take your bed and go to your home.’ Immediately he stood up before them, took what he had been lying on, and went to his home, glorifying God. Amazement seized all of them, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, ‘We have seen strange things today.’
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by Rev’d Graham
When I read this passage, I have a sense of awe at the amazing incidents that are contained within it. First, that the friends of the paralysed man went to such lengths to be in Jesus’ presence. Then without any hesitation, Jesus gave the man peace by pronouncing forgiveness for whatever may have been troubling the man. Third, that Jesus very simply confirmed God’s authority and power in him by giving back to the paralytic his ability to stand and walk. Finally, according to Luke all – not some – glorified God and were filled with awe.
When we look through history, and reflect on incidents in our own lives, we realise however that not every occasion for God’s action has demonstrated such spectacular characteristics. Even though the results may and possibly do eventuate as we desire, as believers in Christ we know that as we wait, God is always with us and upholds us. As a priest, there were quite a few occasions when I wanted to see God’s hands in action “now”, and had to realise that I was not the primary force, but merely a quiet agent. Through this, I believe that my faith grew, and my prayer was that the faith of the other also was strengthened.
Christ’s presence does not always need spectacles to be revealed. As we proceed through the Advent season and celebrate the coming of God among us in the person of Jesus, let us show our faith by glorifying God in all that we do, no matter how simple they might be.
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by Helen Menzies
Whenever there crowds around Jesus there were always Pharisees and Saducees nearby.
We don’t have many if any other that the crowds from near and far were so intense that he was forced into a friends house. The crush inside was almost as bad.
Maybe when these four generous friends set out early in the morning they were sure that Jesus would be out on the hillside. However faced with the changed situation they didn’t waste time. Up o the roof removing tiles and letting the friends bed right in front of Jesus who on assessing the situation saw their faith and says he will forgive their friends sins.. Immediately the scribes questioned this blasphemy among themselves.. ‘only God can forgive sins’ Jesus watching them says. Why do you raise such questions?
He tells the man to take up his bed and walk this done so that all may know that the son of man has authority on this earth to forgive sins. The man did just that and with his good friends no doubt go on their way glorifying God. The crowds there all rejoiced and glorified God recognising the wonder of what they had just seen.
What a wonderful story ! A challenge to our prayers for our friends and loved one in any situation. Does Jesus see our Faith on their behalf ? This does not necessarily mean health many needs come to mind. Just let us reflect quietly as we pray.
FINAL PRAYER: African prayer, WCC, 1989
Enlarge my heart
that it may be big enough to receive the greatness of your love.
Stretch my heart
that it may take into it all those who do not know him,
but who are my responsibility because I know him.
And stretch it
that it may take in all those who are not lovely in my eyes,
and whose hands I do not want to touch;
through Jesus Christ, my saviour,