Matthew 11.16-19, 25-30 

For Gospel from July 5th 

"We played the flute for you, and you did not dance" 

It is tempting to subtitle versus 16-19: 'some people are never happy' In this passage Jesus pinpoints 

with characteristically uncomfortable accuracy a human tendency that we must all recognise, that tendency to grumble and groan on the sidelines rather than join in with joy and delight. 

Jesus' comment about his generation bring like children in a market-place calling to each other is thought by many scholars to be an allusion to the vision of the old and young alike being in the market square, the old with a staff to mark respect and the children playing together. In Matthew the children aren't playing; they are simply sitting there grumbling. 

In other words, the day of rejoicing has come, John came to point the way to the glorious new future 

Jesus, the Messiah, is here, but his generation, rather than getting up and celebrating , sat around complaining that others wouldn't do as they were told - wouldn't dance when the music played nor mourn when they wailed. Their reproach didn't end there : John was criticized for eating and drinking too little and Jesus for eating and drinking too much. 

It is all too easy to miss the good news of the kingdom, not because it is missing but because we are too busy carping and complaining to see it. Such attitudes are not restricted to Jesus' generation. 

                                                                                                                                     Reflection by Paula Gooder 

                                                                                                      ******

 

Lockdown Psalm by Martin Wroe 

I lift up my eyes from this lockdown
Outside, I cover my face
My friends become danger
I become threat
Inside, these walls close in
This safety and this cage
Inside, we’re too close
And, a little distant
Inside, I’m alone, I’m scared
Outside, I step aside from you
Hold my breath as you pass

I lift up my eyes from this lockdown
I thought plagues were the tantrums
Of a petulant god, we no longer believe in
So why can’t I see my parents,
Can’t hold my grandchildren,
Except on this screen
That frees me as it captures me

I lift up my eyes,
They are wet from my tears
Why wouldn’t I break down?
We had our differences but, what I said,
It came out wrong, I have these regrets
My days slip through these dried out fingers
Raw from washing, Wet from tears
I lift up my eyes from this lockdown
From where will my help come

I don’t know if I believe in you
You don’t make it easy,
I don’t have the strength to carry much belief
Is there someone who believes in me,
Who might carry me, hold me
Might be present in ways I never knew
Might be looking toward me,
As I lift up these eyes,
With Faith, with Hope, with Love
Is that too much to ask?
Is that a prayer?

My help comes in a window box
The shy defiance of a yellow daffodil
On a street, the mauve wisteria, showing off
The discreet conversation of the trees
- what must they say about us -
The dance of every season, the dawn, the dusk
How they carry us

My help comes hidden inside PPE,
From those who heal, protect,
Deliver food, run errands, who call me,
On the phone, across a street,
Can you believe this? How’s your day?
My help comes from those who sit and listen
When I no longer make sense
Who wash me clean, and break a broken blessing over me
Who walk beside us when we die
They neither slumber nor sleep
No wonder they look exhausted
How they carry us

My help comes when I notice those who love me
I hold them tenderly, in all this silence,
The being held, the holding, the weighted joy
That cradles all the sorrow, all the loss
All this love in all this life
How they carry us

I hold them all, they hold me
Wherever I go, they go with me
At my going out and my coming in
My end and my beginning
From this time forth, for evermore
Even when I cannot catch another breath
Still they breathe my life that I
May breathe easy again

I lift up my eyes and find my help comes
From knowing Love is present
Against the odds, and carries us
I lift up my eyes and see
That Love will keep our lives
From this time forth, for evermore

*****

 

For the haling of bodies we pray for a holy healing

which deals with both pain and its causes, for healing,

which leads to a new love for the body, a new care for the body

and also, where mortal life wearies for the end, for the healing of death. 

 

Lord hear us, Lord graciously hear us

 

For the healing of minds we pray, for a holy healing 

which deals with memories as well as madness, abuse as well as anxiety.

Depression as well as dementia, stigma, as well as the suffering of a tortured mind, 

and also, where people have been hurt by religion, for the healing of faith.

 

Lord hear us, Lord graciously hear us

For the healing of relationships we pray, for a holy healing, 

which will not  make things nice, but will make things possible 

for the mending of love, which has been fractured, 

for the cherishing of those whose true sexuality has been deemed aberrant, 

and for the holding in brokenness of those whom love has been undermined by deceit.

 

Lord hear us, Lord graciously hear us

 

For the healing of our world we pray for a holy healing, 

for the tearing down of cruel barriers and the building of bridges for peace

for the ending of needless exploitation and the growth of reverence for our planet

for replacing what the wealthy want, with an abundance of what the world needs

Lord hear us, Lord graciously hear us

So we pray, so we trust, so we will do in Jesus' name 

AMEN 
 

******

Each thing we pray for - FROM GOD IT WILL BE GIVEN

 

God of Life, you are the source of all goodness

and the satisfaction of all our desires.

 

Our understanding of you is small, increase it. 

Our desire to do your will is weak, enliven it.

The seed you have planted has yet to bear fruit, ripen it. 

But first, create in us clean hearts, as, in your sight, we unburden ourselves of guilt, 

of anger, of fear, of pride, of hardness heart, of weakness of intention. 

Jesus, Son of Mary, have mercy upon us.

Jesus Saviour of the World, make peace within us.

Christ, King of Glory, be with us and for us, wherever life takes us. 

in the common path of our calling, whether it be easy or uneasy to tread, 

whether it be bright or dark to follow, let your perfect guidance protect us 

******

Prayer for a Pandemic 

May we who are merely inconvenienced 

Remember those whose lives are at stake 

May we who have no risk factors 

Remember those most vulnerable

 

May we who have the luxury of working from home 

Remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent

May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close 

Remember those who have no options .

May we who have had to cancel our trips

Remember those who have no safe place to go

 

May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market 

Remember those who have no margin at all

 

May we who settle in for a quarantine at home

Remember those who have no home 

As fear grips our country 

Let us choose love

During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, 

Let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbours 

*****

 

© 2015 St Matthew's Church, Lightcliffe ,all rights preserved.