Due to illness amid the clergy and Community of the Bmf-Church, today’s Service was Syped to everyone from the chapel of Sts Michael and Gabriel the Archangels in Winmalee in the Friary
The Blue Mountains Franciscan Church
Sermon preached via Skype by br. Andrew from Maroubra on Sunday 11th September 2016
Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost Year C
Readings 1 Timothy 2:1-10; Luke 16:1-13
“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”(NRSV)
Our readings today are about two things.
- The first – what not to do when things go wrong.
- The second is similar and that is what to do when things are not right.
What we have of Jeremiah is only a short excerpt in the saga of the life of the lands of Judah and Israel but we find them in the place they so often were, bereft of God who was not with them because they had turned from him to go after idols of wood. In other times though still without God they had filled their lives with excessive Liturgy paying vast attention to the vessels in the Temple but without the Spirit of Worship. There was no balm in Gilead, no salvation even though the harvest was past and Summer had long ended. The people expected God to do His works of Salvation within a specific time, we too have similar expectation regarding the return of Christ and we know that God alone knows when this will be.
Though God alone knew and God alone could save them from their plight the Jews turned to idolatry rather than prayer in the effort to solve their problems. They could not act in the acceptable manner to bring themselves into God’s grace.
Do not turn away from God when things go wrong.
Jesus tells us the parable of the shrewd Manager who took action to protect himself from penury when charges of misuse of goods were brought against him. His master praised him for his shrewdness in dealing with what we might call filthy lucre, and Jesus reminds us that we must know how to manage the things of this world, such as money, properly before we can be trusted to look after more heavenly things. Since we do have to live in this world we must know how to deal with the things of this world – but to keep them in perspective, remembering to whom we owe our allegiance since we cannot serve both God and money or filthy lucre.
The answer to the ‘how do we manage to keep the balance’ or in other words what to do when things are not right can be found in Timothy. Paul wrote to Timothy about prayer – we will ignore what he has to say about women’s’ clothing, hair doos, and jewellery because after all he was a bit of a prude and rather confused about some things. The main point here is what he says about prayer which is the reason I opened with the two verses from Philippians chapter 4.
Paul says “2First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings should be made for everyone” the Old testament Israelites, or rather Judeans did not give any thought to prayer when they were troubled, the dishonest Manager knew things had to change but took inappropriate action. The only action a Godly Nation or Godly people can take when they are needy for God or just in our everyday living is Prayer. To pour out our hearts to God, not forgetting also to talk to one another, we have to talk to each other to know how to supplicate and how to intercede and for whom and for what. We have our Parish list of intercessions which we try to keep updated and in our general prayers we do offer prayers for our Country and rulers just as Paul asked Timothy to pray for the king.
Prayer is the answer when things do not go right it is equally the answer when things go wrong.
Talk to God, listen to God, talk to each other and listen to each other and then talk to God and listen to God regarding each other so that we build up a Prayer life for the Parish that involves our relationships with each other and those relationships with God as they interact and are communicated in prayer and Communion. Another word for Communion is Communication. Jeremiah wanted his people to Communicate with God, not lifeless bits of wood.
Paul advised Timothy to do the same, communicate with God through prayer, and Jesus advises us on keeping the balance between earthly and heavenly things – and I maintain that we can only do this if we pray and not be embarrassed when we have to ask God silly questions. Anything for a peaceful heart and soul.