Faith Daily | 8 November 2021
PRAYER of the DAY - PENTECOST
you have caused all holy Scriptures to be written
for our learning:
grant that we may so hear them,
read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them,
that, by patience and the comfort of your hold word,
we may embrace and ever hold fast
the blessed hope of everlasting life,
which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ.
GOSPEL for the Day: Luke 17: 1-6
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come! 2It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3Be on your guard! If another disciple* sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive. 4And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, “I repent”, you must forgive.’
5 The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’ 6The Lord replied, ‘If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea”, and it would obey you.
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Pamela Davey
I needed some help with this passage, and so turned to Richard Rohr. He says Ch 17 in Luke is about leading others astray, and how we need good theology to be aware of the manipulative use of religion by toxic people.
He also says Luke is presenting a teaching on forgiveness and admitting the existence of failure in the Christian community. It needs to be acknowledged that good people can hurt one another because we all come at reality in different ways. That’s why for Jesus, the only way to achieve union is through forgiveness, not through making sin impossible.
This strange ‘religious holiness’ that came later from churches is what Rachel Held Evans speaks about in her book ‘Looking for Sundays’. She recalls her upbringing in the Bible Belt in America in the Evangelical tradition, and leaving a church that she didn’t connect with -in contrast with the church Alcoholics Anonymous find together, a community of people so honest with one another about their pain, so united in their shared brokenness.
Rachel responds to why she is a Christian “because Christianity names and addresses sin. It acknowledges the reality that the evil we observe in the world is also present within ourselves. It tells the truth about the human condition – that we’re not okay.”
Thank God for forgiveness.
FINAL PRAYER: Michael Leunig
We pray for the fragile ecology of the heart and the mind. The sense of meaning. So finely assembled and balanced and so easily overturned. The careful, ongoing construction of love. As painful and exhausting as the struggle for truth and as easily abandoned.
Hard fought and won are the shifting sands of this sacred ground, this ecology. Easy to desecrate and difficult to defend, this vulnerable joy, this exposed faith, this precious order. This sanity.
We pray that we shall be careful. With others and with ourselves.