Genesis 22: 1-14; Psalm 13; Romans 6: 12-end
Gospel: Matthew 10: 40-end
Today’s Gospel reading
In today’s Gospel reading when Jesus promises rewards to those who welcome/receive a prophet or a righteous person, the context is high-risk, it is a spiritual war-zone. The prophet and righteous person are taking risks for Christ, and those who help them assume similar risks. In addition to providing food, clothing, shelter, and money, they are demonstrating personal support for Christ and his Church—and are serving as encouragers of those who stand on the front lines in the war against evil. And there are costs associated with receiving prophets, righteous persons, and little ones: One cost is financial. It is no small matter to attend to the needs of other people. Another cost is personal. To invite someone to live in our home is stressful. Most of our homes have just enough room for our families. Guests invade our personal space and limit our privacy. For those of us who are set in our ways, such changes are difficult. Another cost may be danger to oneself and one’s family. Jesus warned the disciples that they could expect opposition—persecution. Host families can find themselves caught in the crossfire. We tend to imagine that great Christians will receive great mansions in the kingdom, while the rest of us will receive lesser mansions. The idea is questionable, because salvation is a gift rather than something earned. However, our Gospel lesson implies that there might be differing rewards for prophets, righteous persons, and little ones—and differing rewards for those who receive them. However, Jesus assures us that those of us who have not seen him in his human incarnation are at no disadvantage. Secondly, Jesus assures us that modest circumstances do not limit potential rewards and we are not required to be prophets to receive a prophet’s reward, but have only to receive a prophet. Those of us who are engaged in the Lord’s work are assured that those who help us are promised a reward.
I have been making a round of telephone calls this last week and I am pleased to report that everyone I have spoken to tell me that all is well and that there is much to be happy about as we witness the eventual relaxation of social restrictions. There has been much discussion about the move of the congregation of the Cathedral Church of St Andrew’s and it is so encouraging to hear that everyone at St Mary’s is determined to ensure that the transition will be as gentle and as sensitive as everyone can possibly manage. If you read today’s Gospel you will find striking similarities to the events that we are soon to see occur at both St Mary’s and St Andrew’s.
You will see attached, for those who have received this newsletter by email, the front page to The Link. For reasons unknown to me I have been unable, in the past, to include it with my own write up, however, hey presto! here it is. The problem that stopped this from happening has now disappeared as strangely as it appeared.
Final degree marks
Lots of people are currently in receipt of their final degree marks and we should remember them in our prayers. The amount of work they have put in; the sacrifice of what might be termed as a normal social life in order to study, the preparation of essays into the wee small hours and the nervousness of a major exam; all of these are exhausting and can define an individual for the rest of their academic and working lives. Three of my nieces have completed degrees and have recently received their results. The whole of the extended Taggart family could not be more proud and delighted for them, and when we get a chance to celebrate properly we most certainly will.
Ppening up St Mary’s for private prayer
I have been mulling over the possibility of opening up St Mary’s for private prayer. You might recall that I said I would not do this until the restrictions were relaxed even more, but I am now sorely tempted to open up for a few hours during the week. Of course, I will need to ensure that all of the social distancing / cleansing criteria etc, is in place and I will ensure that this is addressed before I make a final decision. I will also need to consult with Vestry before a final decision is made.
St Andrew’s Congregation and Clergy
I have had several meetings last week, all of which were connected to the temporary move of St Andrew’s Congregation and Clergy to St Mary’s here at Carden Place in September. It is important that I am able to share some of the tasks that are steadily beginning to take shape. Of course, some of these tasks are specifically related to individual Vestry roles, but there are other areas out-with the Vestry that will require more help as we progress over the next three months and I hope that there will not be a shortage of volunteers when specific responsibilities are better defined.
A week away
In a few weeks time, my wife Sam and I are hoping to travel down to Kettering to visit our granddaughter, whom we haven’t seen physically since October last year. We hope to have a week away to help my daughter and her husband get their new house in order and to connect with them after such a long time away. I am sure that this may well be the case for many of us as the restrictions on both travel and social contact are steadily relaxed.
Our ‘Zoom Breakfast’ continues to be a popular get together every Sunday at 10am. I would encourage those who are able to access a computer or suitably equipped mobile phone to join us if you can. The catch-up can also be joined by your landline and if that is your preference, please get in touch with me and I can ensure you have the necessary details required to join us. The same principle applies to those who wish to take part via the Zoom video app, just contact me and I will give you the login information.
May God give you…
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.
Fr Terry Taggart