Weekly Church Service – Pentecost 8: 4 August 2019


Sentence:

If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Colossians 3:1  


Collect of the day

Living God, Judge of us all,
you have placed in our hands the wealth
we call our own:
through your Spirit give us wisdom,
that our possessions may not be a curse,
but a means of blessing in our lives.
Grant this through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity
of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen


Today’s readings

  • Hosea 11:1-11
  • Psalm 107:1-9, 43
  • Col 3:1-11
  • Luke 12:13-21

next week

  • Isaiah 1:1, 10-20
  • Psalm 50: 1-8, 23-24
  • Heb 11:1-3, 8-16
  • Luke 12:13-21

A thought to ponder upon

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost – Luke 12:13-21

The parable of the foolish rich man: “’You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’”

Rabbis were often asked to arbitrate conflicts within families and communities. In today’s Gospel, Jesus has been approached to settle such an argument over an inheritance. Jesus responds not by taking sides but by addressing the greed that has brought both sides to near blows. He tells the parable of the rich man who, in the midst of his good fortune, loses his sense of what is really important. Possessions create the illusion that we can control our lives; the drive for gain makes us oblivious to the needs and dreams of others. The “foolish” rich man in today’s Gospel sadly discovers that wealth in the reign of God has nothing to do with stock portfolios, bank accounts or the social register.

We tend to live our lives believing that there will always be enough time to right our wrongs and to atone for our negligence and insensitivities to others – but, in fact, our days are numbered, death is an inevitability for all of us.  

We are often as short-sighted as the rich farmer in today’s Gospel: we can become so self-centred and self-sufficient that we shut ourselves off from the seemingly simple aspects of life in which we find the love and presence of God.  Faith is the constant awareness that life is not a destination in itself but a journey to God and that death is the final passageway.

Our lives are not about amassing fortunes or achieving great celebrity – our lives are about finding and embracing selfless and affirming love, about discovering how to love one another as God loves us: totally and completely, without condition nor limit. Today’s Gospel is more than an indictment of wanton consumerism; it’s a challenge to consider how we use things, the value we place on “stuff.”  Jesus calls us to take an inventory of our lives and the things that “clutter” them and refocus on the treasures of God: compassion, mercy, forgiveness, peace.                                             

Sermon Audio

The Reverend Josie Steytler preaches from the text after the gospel reading.

  •     Pentecost 8

You can download a copy of the Pew Sheet here

Weekly Church Service – Pentecost 7: 28 July 2019


Sentence:

Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.   Luke 11:9


Collect of the day

Provident Father,
with the prayer your Son taught us
always on our lips, we ask, we seek,
we knock at your door: help us so to seek
that we may truly find,
so to ask that we may joyfully receive,
and so to knock that the door of mercy
may be opened for us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


Today’s readings

  • Hosea 1:2-10
  • Psalm 85
  • Col 2:6-15
  • Luke 11:14-28

next week

  • Hosea 11:1-11
  • Psalm 107:1-9, 43
  • Col 3:1-11
  • Luke 12:13-21

A thought to ponder upon

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost – Luke 11:1-13

“When you pray, say, Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come …”

In today’s reading from Luke’s Gospel, the disciples ask Jesus to teach them how to pray. What is important to grasp is not the words of the prayer (Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer is shorter and more concise than Matthew’s version), but the attitude of prayer Jesus teaches. To pray is not to impose our will on God but to ask God to make us open to his will; in other words, we pray not to change God’s mind but for God to change ours.

Authentic prayer, as taught by Jesus and contained in the Lord’s Prayer, has three elements:

acknowledging the goodness and love of God: Jesus teaches us to call God “Father.” God is not the cosmic tyrant out of whom gifts have to be extracted through humiliating pleading; God is the loving eternal Parent who delights in providing for his children’s needs.

asking that we may do God’s will: Prayer worthy of God asks for the grace to do the work he calls us to do (forgiveness, reconciliation, justice), to become the people he calls us to become (brothers and sisters under our heavenly Father).

voicing our hope in the providence of God: We come before God knowing that, just as parents will provide for their children a good friend will aid another friend, God will hear our prayers and provide us with what we need. Even if it seems as if our prayers are unanswered, we live with the confident faith that the God hears and responds in ways that assure us of his presence in our lives.

We often approach prayer as if we are trying to wring gifts from an unwilling God; in fact, we come before a God who knows our needs better than we do ourselves.
Authentic prayer is not a formula or ritual but an awareness of God’s presence in our lives, of God’s hand as sustainer and nurturer of creation, of God’s love giving breath to every moment of our existence.

Prayer is to realize the connection between the compassion of God and the love we experience in our lives, between God’s forgiveness and the forgiveness we extend, between the holy creativity of God and the work we do for our daily bread. © Connections/MediaWorks  

Sermon Audio

The Reverend Josie Steytler preaches from the text after the gospel reading.

  •     Pentecost 7


You can download a PDF of this weeks pew sheet https://greenwoodanglican.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Pew-Sheet-Pentecost-6C.pdf

Weekly Church Service – Pentecost 6: 21 July 2019


Sentence:

In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and trust shall be your strength.   Isaiah 30:16


Collect of the day

Eternal God,
you draw near to us in Christ
and make yourself our guest:
amid the cares of our daily lives,
make us attentive to your voice and alert to your
presence, that we may treasure your word above
all else. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity
of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.


Today’s readings

  • Amos 8:1-12
  • Psalm 52
  • Col 1:15-29
  • Luke 10:38-42

next week

  • Hosea 1:2-10
  • Psalm 85
  • Col 2:6-15
  • Luke 11:14-28

A thought to ponder upon

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost – Luke 10:38-42

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.  There is need of only one thing.  Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

The sisters Martha and Mary mirror the two expressions of the disciple’s call: loving service to others (Martha) and prayer and contemplation (Mary).  But as Martha comes to realize in today’s Gospel, discipleship begins with hearing the Word of God, with opening our hearts and spirits to the presence of God.

We are all like Martha in our own anxiety over making all the pieces fit; we obsess about the details and peripherals at the expense of the important and lasting.  “The better part” embraced by Mary transcends the pragmatic and practical concerns of the everyday and sees the hand of God in all things; the “better part” is to realize the gratitude all of creation owes its loving Creator for the gift of life.

With so many agendas demanding our time and attention, Jesus calls us to consciously choose and seek out “the better part”: to make a place in our lives for the joy and love of family and friends that is the presence of God. It is a motto of Benedictine monasteries around the world: “Let all be received here as would Christ” (The Rule of St. Benedict, chapter 53).  Like Abraham’s welcome of the three strangers (today’s first reading from Genesis 18) and the welcome Martha, Mary and Lazarus extend to Jesus in Bethany, hospitality is not only a holy responsibility but also a joyful opportunity to welcome and serve Jesus in the persons those who come to our tables.
© Connections/MediaWorks  

Sermon Audio

The Reverend Josie Steytler preaches from the text after the gospel reading.

  •     Pentecost 6


You can download a PDF of this weeks pew sheet https://greenwoodanglican.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Pew-Sheet-Pentecost-6C.pdf

Weekly Church Service – Pentecost 5: 14 July 2019


Sentence:

Do to others as you would have them do to you. Love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.     Luke 6:31, 35


Collect of the day

Eternal God,
you have taught us through Christ
that love is the fulfilment of the law:
help us to love you with all our heart, with all
our soul, with all our mind, and with all our
strength, and our neighbour as ourself;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Today’s readings

  • Amos 7:7-17
  • Psalm 82
  • Col 1:1-14
  • Luke 10:25-37

next week

  • Amos 8:1-12
  • Psalm 52
  • Col 1:15-29
  • Luke 10:38-42

A thought to ponder upon

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost – Luke 10:25-37

The parable of the Good Samaritan: “ . . . a Samaritan traveller who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight.”

A lawyer’s question about who is – and, by implication, who is not– one’s neighbour sets the stage for one of Jesus’ most beloved parables, the story of the Good Samaritan (found only in Luke’s Gospel).  Jesus stuns his hearers by making a Samaritan the hero of the story – especially in light of the inhospitality of the Samaritans during their journey to Jerusalem (the Gospel for the 13th Sunday of Year).  Jesus’ hearers would expect a Samaritan to be the villain of the story, not the hero.  While the two clerics do not help the man for fear of violating the Torah by being defiled by the dead, the compassionate Samaritan – a man presumably with little concern for Jewish belief or morality – is so moved by the plight of the poor man that he thinks nothing of stopping to help regardless of the cost of time or money.  

The Jews of Jesus’ time defined “neighbour” exclusively as other Jews, but Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan expands such a limited concept.  One of the key principles of Christianity is the concept that all men and women are “neighbours”: children of the same heavenly Father, brothers and sisters in Christ.  The Samaritan and the traveller illustrate that Jesus’ concept of “neighbour” is not limited to one’s own clan or community.  Christ-like compassion must be manifested in deeds of kindness; morality, in the light of the Gospel, cannot be guided by laws inscribed in stone but ultimately by the spirit of the heart.

The Good Samaritan is the Gospel prototype of Gospel charity, of service to our “neighbour.”  “Good Samaritans” are, quite simply, people who recognize every human being as their neighbour and then permit nothing – not prejudices, stereotypes, complications or costs – prevent them from hearing their cry for help and responding to their plight.

The parable of the Good Samaritan calls us to embrace a vision of faith that sees every man, woman and child – regardless of whatever labels society has assigned to them – as our “neighbours.”  Christ teaches us, his disciples, to look beyond what divides us from one another and focus on what unites us; to put aside our own needs and wants to embrace the needs and wants of others; to see our own wealth as a means to bring healing and hope into the lives who have little. Every day, we encounter people who are in a ditch of discouragement, who have been beaten and bruised by the abuse and anger of others, who have been left near dead in frustrating hopelessness.  We don’t have to look very far to find such “victims” — and we can become Good Samaritans by extending to them compassion, understanding and a support. © Connections/MediaWorks  

Sermon Audio

The Reverend Josie Steytler preaches from the text after the gospel reading.

  •     Pentecost 5


You can download a PDF of this weeks pew sheet https://greenwoodanglican.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Pew-Sheet-Pentecost-5C.pdf

Weekly Church Service – Pentecost 4: 7 July 2019


Sentence:

The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; ask therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.   Luke 10:2


Collect of the day

God of the covenant, in our baptism you called us
to proclaim the coming of your kingdom:
give us courage, as you gave it to the apostles,
that we may faithfully witness to your love and
peace in every circumstance of life;
in the name of Jesus Christ our Redeemer,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of
the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Today’s readings

  • 2 Kings 5:1-14
  • Psalm 30
  • Galatians 6:7-18
  • Luke 10:1-12, 17-24

next week

  • Amos 7:7-17
  • Psalm 82
  • Col 1:1-14
  • Luke 10:25-37

A thought to ponder upon

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost – Luke 10:1-12, 17-24

“Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’”

Jesus commissions 72 messengers to go before him to prepare for his arrival in the towns along his route to Jerusalem.  The number 72 symbolized for the Jews the number of the world’s Gentile nations.  In keeping with Luke’s use of symbolic numbers and his Gentile perspective, the 72 disciples represent the new Church’s mission to every nation and people under heaven.

Jesus instructs the seventy-two:

  • to keep focused on the ways and values of God – travel light, accept the simple hospitality of those you visit;
  • to proclaim God’s peace “amid wolves”;
  • to offer hope and healing, not judgement and condemnation;
  • to find satisfaction not in what they have done in God’s name but to rejoice in what God has done through them.

Jesus’ vision of Satan’s fall assures the disciples of every age that, despite the dangers of “serpent and scorpion” (First Testament symbols of evil); the good that they do out of faithfulness to their call will ultimately triumph.

Jesus instructs his disciples to “travel light” – not to clutter up our lives with material things and material values, like the pursuit of wealth, status and power.  

The Gospel challenges us to make the hard choice and the unpopular decision, to endure the raised eyebrows and suspicious stares of those whose lifestyles and power bases are challenged by the demanding teachings of Jesus.  

Jesus sends the seventy-two forth with no magical powers; he invests them with no special authority.  They are to go about their work with humility and joy.  They are to offer peace to all.  They are to accept whatever hospitality is offered to them with gratitude. They are to be Jesus’ agents for healing and reconciliation.  And Jesus promises that they will make a difference in people’s lives — and their dedication to the work of the Gospel will make a difference in their own lives, as well.  

Jesus commissions the seventy-two disciples of the Gospel – and us – to proclaim peace – peace that is centred in embracing Christ’s attitude of servanthood and his spirit of compassion, peace that enables us to bring forth the good that exists within everyone, peace that is returned to us in extending the blessing of that peace to others.

© Connections/MediaWorks     

Sermon Audio

The Reverend Josie Steytler preaches from the text after the gospel reading.

  •     Pentecost 4

You can download a PDF of this weeks pew sheet https://greenwoodanglican.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Pew-Sheet-Pentecost-4C-1.pdf

Weekly Church Service – Pentecost 3: 30 June 2019


Sentence:

Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for Jesus’ sake will find it.   Matthew 10:39


Collect of the day

Collect of the Day

O God, the light of the minds that know you,
the life of the souls that love you,
the strength of the thoughts that seek you:
help us so to know you that we may truly love
you, and so to love you that we may fully serve
you, whose service is perfect freedom;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


Today’s readings

  • 2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14
  • Ps 77:1-2, 11-20
  • Gal 5:1, 13-25
  • Luke 9:51-62

next week

  • 2 Kings 5:1-14
  • Psalm 30
  • Galatians 6:7-18
  • Luke 10:1-12, 17-24

A thought to ponder upon

Third Sunday after Pentecost – Luke 9:51-62

“No one who sets a hand to the plough and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”

The journey to Jerusalem is the focus of today’s Gospel.  Jesus proceeds to Jerusalem to take up the cross that awaits him there.

The most direct route to Jerusalem took Jesus and his company through a Samaritan town.  The Samaritans and Jews despised one another.  Their hatred dated back to the eighth century B.C., when Assyria conquered northern Israel (Samaria).  Those northerners who survived the disaster intermarried with foreigners resettled by the Assyrians.  The Jews of Jerusalem considered such accommodation with their hated enemy treason and, worse, a betrayal of the holy faith.  Jerusalem banned the Samaritans from the temple and synagogues, refused their religious contributions and denied their legal status in court proceedings.  The spurned Samaritans would do everything they could to hinder and even attack pilgrims to Jerusalem.  Although it was the most direct route from Galilee, most Jews avoided the territories of the Samaritans.  Jesus, however, proceeds through Samaria, regardless of their inhospitality and responds to their bitterness with tolerance and reconciliation.

Along the way, three would-be disciples ask to join Jesus.  To the first, Jesus asks if he clearly understands the cost of discipleship; Jesus urges the second not to find excuses or rationalisations for avoiding the call of God; Jesus reminds the third that discipleship demands a total dedication and commitment to seeking God in all things.

To claim the title of disciple demands that we abandon our own safety and security for the sake of the reign of God.  The call to discipleship demands a total, conscious acceptance of the hard demands of the Gospel.  

Jesus calls those who would be his disciples not to look back with regret or fear to what we leave undone but to look forward to the possibilities we have to establish and build the reign of God in our own time and place.

The Gospel of forgiveness, reconciliation, justice and peace is not a collection of pious words we commit to memory; it is a spirit-centred attitude and perspective to which we commit our lives.

We cannot be disciples by being mere spectators of God’s presence; authentic discipleship calls us to become involved in the hard work of making the reign of God a reality.      

© Connections/MediaWorks     

Sermon Audio

The Reverend Josie Steytler preaches from the text after the gospel reading.

  •     Pentecost 3

You can download a PDF of this weeks pew sheet here https://greenwoodanglican.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Pew-Sheet-Pentecost-3C-1.pdf

Weekly Church Service – Day of Pentecost: June 9, 2019

Includes Sermon Audio

Sentence

God’s love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Romans 5:5


Collect of the day

O God,
who in smoke and fire upon Mount Sinai
gave the law to Moses;
and who revealed the new covenant in the fire of the spirit,
grant, we pray,
that, kindled by that same spirit
which you poured forth upon your apostles
we may fulfill with joy your commandment of love.
We ask this through Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


Continue reading “Weekly Church Service – Day of Pentecost: June 9, 2019”

Weekly Church Service – Easter 4: May 12th, 2019

 Includes Sermon Audio

Sentence:

The lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd and will guide them to the springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
Revelation 7: 17


Collect of the day

Gracious God,
you sent Jesus, the good Shepherd to gather us together,
may we not wander from his flock, but follow wherever he leads us, listening for his voice and staying near him,
until we are safely in the fold, to live with you forever,
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.


Continue reading “Weekly Church Service – Easter 4: May 12th, 2019”

Weekly Church Service – Easter 3: May 5th, 2019

Jean II Restout – Ananias Restoring the Sight of St Paul

Includes sermon Text


Sentence:

To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb the blessing and honour and glory and might for ever and ever.
Revelation 5:13

Collect of the day

Almighty God,
through your only son you overcame death and opened us to the gate of everlasting life:
Grant that we who celebrate our Lord’s resurrection, may, through the renewing is power of your spirit, rise from the death of sin to the life of righteousness;
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Amen

Continue reading “Weekly Church Service – Easter 3: May 5th, 2019”

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