Friday, 12 February 2016

40 Acts 2016 - Day 3 Roots

We can live somewhere for decades and never really put our roots down there. What does it look like to get more deeply rooted in our home community?

Today's act will help you to explore ways of generously investing in your home town.

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.                                  (1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT)

from Nathan McConnell, Downfield Mains Parish Church

Recently, I looked at my US passport. Inside is my UK visa and I noticed some peculiar words written next to my status. They read, ‘Migrant’. As a Minister who has come to serve in Scotland, I had never considered myself a migrant, but I do know what it feels like to leave a community and attempt to create a new one.

In our transition to Scotland, we have felt isolated, misjudged and misunderstood and have carried the weight of unfamiliarity. At times, we too have longed just to be ‘known’. But to be known means we have to be in communion (from the same root word as ‘community’). Our desire was to press into God for his communion, and lean on others for friendship within our new community.

As newly arrived Americans, we celebrated Thanksgiving Dinner last November and each of our children invited one or two friends from school. I then began the labour-intensive search for canned pumpkin (available at Tesco Online, for all you homesick Americans who like me were unable to find it) as we attempted to recreate the recipes our family holds so dear.

Traditionally we eat a turkey dinner and reread the story of the Mayflower, Squanto and the providential salvation of the pilgrims. This year was different from normal Thanksgivings, because of the people around the table. No longer family in America or Macy’s Day parades, there were secondary and university students and the godparents of my daughter Ellie. Included were Dundonians, a Glaswegian, the godparents from Aberdeen, and a beautiful Nigerian girl (also a family of migrants).

We laughed, were loud, had great conversations and in our different ways revelled in the goodness of God. I was thankful, not only for Jesus Christ, but for those he has brought to our family. It was a joyful attempt at enhancing community. Even so, I am reminded that he is the one who creates our communities because he knows us, everything we need and our lives completely.

Today's blog was written by Nathan McConnell from Downfield Mains Church.

Find out more about them and support their chosen charity HERE.

To visit today's web challenge - click HERE

A plea to Nicky Morgan and STEM evangelists

It seems, if the reports I have read are true, that the Education Secretary,  Nicky Morgan*, has warned schoolkids that choosing to study Arts subjects, "Could hold them back For the rest of their lives."

It seems she said this at a 'Your Life' event to promote and encourage kids to study the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths). She told the gathered masses that studying arts and humanities closed our children's career options rather than opened them. She continued by saying that those kids who have no idea what they wanted to do tended towards the arts and humanities stuff but this closed so many options whilst STEM subjects meant doors would be one for you to pursue careers in medicine (bit of a silly example after the comments from yesterday's doctor's strike) and engineering (wonder if she's visited the former manufacturing centres recently).

She said that employers valued maths as the most desirable subject, which is a fair comment because being numerate is important, but then put any spark of intelligent thinking out before it could catch fire by adding, "People who study maths to A level will earn 10% more over their lifetime."

The last nail in the coffin was banged in with the observation that too many kid are making the wrong career choices at 15 - perhaps this means that we need to give them more information and let them make their choices a little later?

It seems to me that the three foundational subjects derive their status because everyone needs to be able to read, write and count - I don't think many would disagree with this - but the event was about the STEM subjects (maths and physics in particular) so I guess we can write off Morgan's comments as mere marketing. But I don't think we can ignore them because in her words we find more of the same old tosh that is damaging our kids and making our nations poor as we disregard the arts and humanities. Mind you, looking at some of the tosh that gets wheeled out in the unmade beds, concrete hours and other 'art' that some competitions parade and applaud, perhaps the arts are doing the work for her!

Now I am someone who studied maths and science and had pretty useful careers in engineering and technology. I am a STEM person and I have enjoyed the world I inhabited before swapping it out for a dogcollar, but have to make a few observations and issue a few correctives:

i. Education is about imparting knowledge in a way that enthuses and informs. It's goal is to discover in each of our children those things that attract them (so we need teaches to understand and make them attractive) and things they have natural gifts and attitudes towards- and maximise them.

School is about discovery, nurture, excitement and enabled and fulfilled kids - not blessed grades!

ii. Whilst I, as a kid, wondered about those who 'don't do science' I soon came to realise that we are all different and my spending every available minute in London's Science Museum (I'd walk their and back from Stoke Newington most Saturdays as a kid) was something that shaped me. I wonder what I'd have done if I'd discovered the V&A first (was nineteen before I lived there for a week listening to Wagner) or stumbled into the National Portrait Gallery - would I have become captivated by music and art then rather than fifteen years later?

Taking up the STEM subjects in favour of the 'soft' subjects might, as Morgan says, get you a career in medicine, science or technology BUT if you don't have additional languages you'll function at a disadvantage and need those who did humanities to speak and listen for you. Oddly, most of my medical friends were musicians and book readers - loves that began at school and saw them get better grades in English and mUsic than they did in Maths and some of the sciences.

What we are heading for with this eschewing of the 'soft' arts and humanities is a bland, uncreative and dismally grey world.

iii. This is not about enabling kids and seeing them fulfilled, this is (in my humble opinion) about creating a country who are at the forefront of technology and science: It's about Gross National Products and out 'taking our place' as a major technological and scientific force. Because this generates money and wins worldwide approval.

This is about more than making our children numerate - it's about guaranteeing income and marketable goods for future. Isn't that why we worry abut out the advances in technology from the East?  We buy their stuff because they use cheap labour and high technology whereas where once might ocean-going vessels were built we now find a few men welding shopping trolleys (I kid you not!).

What I think Ms Morgan should have said is this:

'Kids, find the things that excite you and put everything you have into making them yours. Become the best person you can be at the things that excite you and seek to understand the world around you. Learn that we are all different and understand that 10% extra earnings over a lifetime is a lot to pay to deny who you really are!'

Going on, she should end with:

'Teachers, excite and enthuse those in your care. Help them to explore the whole world before them: Take them to the theatre, concerts, museums, art galleries and more beside (this is where she apologises that they can't really do this because of the lack of government funding and the deconstruction of the state education system). Take you children and watch them and as the flame flickers in them, fan it into a fire that consumes them and help them to blaze with passion for those subjects.

Some are called to be actors whilst others are called to be doctors - both bring cheer to the soul.

Some are called to be artists whilst others creat computers that enable to who aren't to be creative.

Some will build and do technology, but without the copy writers and journalists, who will read about them or buy the products?

Some will make music and sing, others will dance and all, regardless of their occupation will find solace, comfort and inspiration in this.

Dear Ms Morgan - don't condemn our children (or our nation) to a grey stodgy future.

When I was doing Physics we were told to buy the book 'Scientists must write'
By the time we're finished will it be 'Scientists need to learn to read?'

+ 'Your life' is a campaign to encourage the kids to study maths and physics; their goal being a 50% increase of kids taking exams in the subjects over the next three years.

* perhaps from henceforth that should be amended to 'moron' (should we have a poll?)

Morning Prayer - 12 February 2016

Psalm 3
Lord, how many are my adversaries; many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say to my soul, ‘There is no help for you in your God.’ But you, Lord, are a shield about me; you are my glory, and the lifter up of my head.

When I cry aloud to the Lord, he will answer me from his holy hill; I lie down and sleep and rise again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not be afraid of hordes of the peoples that have set themselves against me all around.

Rise up, O Lord, and deliver me, O my God, for you strike all my enemies on the cheek and break the teeth of the wicked.

Salvation belongs to the Lord: may your blessing be upon your people.

Psalm 7
O Lord my God, in you I take refuge; save me from all who pursue me, and deliver me, Lest they rend me like a lion and tear me in pieces while there is no one to help me.

O Lord my God, if I have done these things: if there is any wickedness in my hands, If I have repaid my friend with evil, or plundered my enemy without a cause, Then let my enemy pursue me and overtake me, trample my life to the ground, and lay my honour in the dust.

Rise up, O Lord, in your wrath; lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies. Awaken, my God, the judgement that you have commanded. Let the assembly of the peoples gather round you; be seated high above them: O Lord, judge the nations. Give judgement for me according to my righteousness, O Lord, and according to the innocence that is in me. Let the malice of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous; for you test the mind and heart, O righteous God.

God is my shield that is over me; he saves the true of heart.
God is a righteous judge; he is provoked all day long.

If they will not repent, God will whet his sword; he has bent his bow and made it ready. He has prepared the weapons of death; he makes his arrows shafts of fire. Behold those who are in labour with wickedness, who conceive evil and give birth to lies. They dig a pit and make it deep and fall into the hole that they have made for others. Their mischief rebounds on their own head; their violence falls on their own scalp.

I will give thanks to the Lord for his righteousness, and I will make music to the name of the Lord Most High.

Genesis 40
Some time after this, the cupbearer of the king of Egypt and his baker offended their lord the king of Egypt. Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, and he put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the prison where Joseph was confined. The captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he waited on them; and they continued for some time in custody. One night they both dreamed—the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison—each his own dream, and each dream with its own meaning. When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were troubled. So he asked Pharaoh’s officers, who were with him in custody in his master’s house, ‘Why are your faces downcast today?’ They said to him, ‘We have had dreams, and there is no one to interpret them.’ And Joseph said to them, ‘Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me.’

So the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, ‘In my dream there was a vine before me, and on the vine there were three branches. As soon as it budded, its blossoms came out and the clusters ripened into grapes. Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand; and I took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.’ Then Joseph said to him, ‘This is its interpretation: the three branches are three days; within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office; and you shall place Pharaoh’s cup in his hand, just as you used to do when you were his cupbearer. But remember me when it is well with you; please do me the kindness to make mention of me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this place. For in fact I was stolen out of the land of the Hebrews; and here also I have done nothing that they should have put me into the dungeon.’

When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was favourable, he said to Joseph, ‘I also had a dream: there were three cake baskets on my head, and in the uppermost basket there were all sorts of baked food for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating it out of the basket on my head.’ And Joseph answered, ‘This is its interpretation: the three baskets are three days; within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head—from you!—and hang you on a pole; and the birds will eat the flesh from you.’

On the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, he made a feast for all his servants, and lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants. He restored the chief cupbearer to his cupbearing, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand; but the chief baker he hanged, just as Joseph had interpreted to them. Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.

Galatians 3.1-14
You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly exhibited as crucified! The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? Did you experience so much for nothing?—if it really was for nothing. Well then, does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?

Just as Abraham ‘believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness’, so, you see, those who believe are the descendants of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.’ For this reason, those who believe are blessed with Abraham who believed.

For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the things written in the book of the law.’ Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law; for ‘The one who is righteous will live by faith.’ But the law does not rest on faith; on the contrary, ‘Whoever does the works of the law will live by them.’ Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’—in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

The Collect
Holy God, our lives are laid open before you: rescue us from the chaos of sin and through the death of your Son bring us healing and make us whole in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

40 Acts 2016 - Day 2

Alright. Some of us are clean freaks. Others prefer to live in organised chaos.
One thing we can all agree on, though, is that our communities feel like nicer places when they're litter-free. It's better for the environment, and easier on the eye.

Roll your sleeves up and make your world cleaner today.

'The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.'
(Genesis 2:15 NIV) 

 It had been years since I’d seen one of these. Like a near-extinct bird, the lesser-spotted Christian bumper sticker caught my eye last summer. It was old and peeling around the edges, but the ‘This is not my home, I’m just passing through’ sticker was still intact. Some of us have been thinking about creation and the planet so long we have forgotten that there are those who still believe that planet earth is only a stopgap before the main performance on the stage of heaven.

Genesis 2:15 makes clear that from the start we were made to ’work, dress and care for creation’. So the plan was never that the bumper sticker would be true.

Earth isn’t a stop-off; it is our home and – as shown in Revelation 21– heaven is going to invade earth. There isn’t going to be some mass evacuation, but heaven is coming to us.

Which means we need to roll up our sleeves because we have work to do. We need to be involved in working, dressing and caring for creation. It’s not something to consume and then destroy, but to care for and restore. Our role is to be stewards of the great gift of earth, stone, water and air. We are to work to bring about a restored creation, a beautiful creation, a creation that reminds us of Eden.

Where is your Garden of Eden? What are your Eden streets called? Eden scrub ground and Eden car parks? We each have a Garden of Eden to love, treasure, clean, restore, dress, preserve and bring justice for. So let’s not wait for someone else to do our job; let’s get involved and live up to the first challenge in the Bible.

Today's blog was written by Cris Rogers from All Hallows Bow. Find out more about them and support their chosen charity here.

To visit today's web page, click here

Morning Prayer - 11 February 2016

Psalm 77
I cry aloud to God; I cry aloud to God and he will hear me. In the day of my trouble I have sought the Lord; by night my hand is stretched out and does not tire; my soul refuses comfort. I think upon God and I groan; I ponder, and my spirit faints. You will not let my eyelids close; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I consider the days of old; I remember the years long past; I commune with my heart in the night; my spirit searches for understanding.

Will the Lord cast us off for ever?
Will he no more show us his favour?
Has his loving mercy clean gone for ever?
Has his promise come to an end for evermore?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he shut up his compassion in displeasure?
And I said, ‘My grief is this: that the right hand of the Most High has lost its strength.’
I will remember the works of the Lord and call to mind your wonders of old time.
I will meditate on all your works and ponder your mighty deeds.

Your way, O God, is holy; who is so great a god as our God?
You are the God who worked wonders and declared your power among the peoples. With a mighty arm you redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph.
The waters saw you, O God; the waters saw you and were afraid; the depths also were troubled.
The clouds poured out water; the skies thundered; your arrows flashed on every side;
The voice of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lit up the ground; the earth trembled and shook.

Your way was in the sea, and your paths in the great waters, but your footsteps were not known.
You led your people like sheep by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Genesis 39
Now Joseph was taken down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there. The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man; he was in the house of his Egyptian master. His master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hands. So Joseph found favour in his sight and attended him; he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in house and field. So he left all that he had in Joseph’s charge; and, with him there, he had no concern for anything but the food that he ate.

Now Joseph was handsome and good-looking. And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, ‘Lie with me.’ But he refused and said to his master’s wife, ‘Look, with me here, my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my hand. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except yourself, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?’ And although she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not consent to lie beside her or to be with her. One day, however, when he went into the house to do his work, and while no one else was in the house, she caught hold of his garment, saying, ‘Lie with me!’ But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside. When she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled outside, she called out to the members of her household and said to them, ‘See, my husband has brought among us a Hebrew to insult us! He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice; and when he heard me raise my voice and cry out, he left his garment beside me, and fled outside.’ Then she kept his garment by her until his master came home, and she told him the same story, saying, ‘The Hebrew servant, whom you have brought among us, came in to me to insult me; but as soon as I raised my voice and cried out, he left his garment beside me, and fled outside.’

When his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him, saying, ‘This is the way your servant treated me’, he became enraged. And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined; he remained there in prison. But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love; he gave him favour in the sight of the chief jailer. The chief jailer committed to Joseph’s care all the prisoners who were in the prison, and whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. The chief jailer paid no heed to anything that was in Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper.

Galatians 2.11-end
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood self-condemned; for until certain people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But after they came, he drew back and kept himself separate for fear of the circumcision faction. And the other Jews joined him in this hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not acting consistently with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, ‘If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?’

We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law. But if, in our effort to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have been found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! But if I build up again the very things that I once tore down, then I demonstrate that I am a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.

The Collect
Holy God, our lives are laid open before you: rescue us from the chaos of sin and through the death of your Son bring us healing and make us whole in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

40 Acts 2016 - Day 1

All of us have circles: friends, family, immediate and wider communities – the list goes on. Today's act will prepare you for a generous Lent of connecting with and serving these circles of people.

"He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?” 
(Luke 10:27-29)
from Michael O'Neill, Stewardship

As we start 40acts – whether this is your first time or your sixth – let’s begin by thinking about the people in our lives . . .and the people around our lives.

I suspect there will be many loved ones in our inner circles who will feel warmly affirmed and cared for throughout the next 40 days. Beneficiaries of coffee, cake, impromptu meals and visits, hand-written notes and even active listening! But what about the people around us? Those you come into fleeting moments of contact with each week?

Your neighbour? The shop assistant who offers to pack your bags and counts out your change? The cleaner you pass each night as you leave work? The bin men? The receptionist in the doctor’s surgery?

You know their face, and perhaps their name, but we rarely know their story.

The next forty days will be fun, rewarding, challenging and profoundly counter-cultural. Are you prepared to be counter-cultural?

Jesus was. And 2,000 years later, Redemption is just as counter-cultural as it was at the time of the crucifixion. It is still free. It is still available in abundance and it is still available to everyone in – and around – our lives.

So who are you connected to?

You already know the inner circle. They are your friends, family and colleagues. But just how deep are these relationships? And what about those in the wider circles around you? What might God have in store for them – through you – over the next forty days? And what might God have in store for you – through them?

Our vision at Stewardship is to see the world encounter Jesus through the generosity of His church. It’s what inspired us to create 40acts six years ago and what drives us to make this Lent the most generous yet.

Today's blog was written by Michael O'Neill from Stewardship.

Ash Wednesday 2016

So here we are at the beginning of another Lent and the challenges that lie before us are perhaps tempered by the failures that lies behind us or diminished by our triumphs. Each of us create a patchwork quilt of our lives - some of the patches bring joy, others tears and others still, regret.

Some will take us back to the times when we have blessed God and those around us, others will bring back the pain of failure and separation; from God, from those around us, from those special people in our lives.

Today as Lent's forty days call us to examine our lives, what will we find and who will we have become at the end of this road?

Will the cross be on our shoulders or in a ditch?

Lord, how can we stand in your presence?
Our sins lie behind us and the accuser stands before us.
People, clamour round to hear the words and add their scorn;
Where blessing should be found, there is but contempt.
Those who would call themselves Church become one with those who cried out; "Crucify HIm, crucify Him!"
The homeless are passed by (on the other side of the road);
The hungry go unfed (perhaps it wasn't our ministry);
The poor, will always be with us (and 'we' have so little, what can 'we' do?)
The 'straight' are crooked and the 'gay' are sad,
The woman up the road with four children - none of them have a Dad,
The man who cries out about what should be done - continues to do nothing!

Today - in the ashes of the same palm crosses waved in triumph - is found our failings.
Today - in the ruins of our lives thus far - is found the reminder that we too are dust.
Today - a day of hope, not sorrow - for there is one who speaks for us.
Today - as the path to the cross become clear - there is forgiveness.

Give us the strength to take up our cross

To lay down our sins

And truly follow Him

Who is, for us, the Christ.


Morning Prayer - 10 February 2016

Ash Wednesday

Psalm 38
Rebuke me not, O Lord, in your anger, neither chasten me in your heavy displeasure. For your arrows have stuck fast in me and your hand presses hard upon me. There is no health in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no peace in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities have gone over my head; their weight is a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds stink and fester because of my foolishness. I am utterly bowed down and brought very low; I go about mourning all the day long. My loins are filled with searing pain; there is no health in my flesh. I am feeble and utterly crushed; I roar aloud because of the disquiet of my heart.

O Lord, you know all my desires and my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart is pounding, my strength has failed me; the light of my eyes is gone from me. My friends and companions stand apart from my affliction; my neighbours stand afar off. Those who seek after my life lay snares for me; and those who would harm me whisper evil and mutter slander all the day long. But I am like one who is deaf and hears not, like one that is dumb, who does not open his mouth. I have become like one who does not hear and from whose mouth comes no retort. For in you, Lord, have I put my trust; you will answer me, O Lord my God. For I said, ‘Let them not triumph over me, those who exult over me when my foot slips.’ Truly, I am on the verge of falling and my pain is ever with me.

I will confess my iniquity and be sorry for my sin. Those that are my enemies without any cause are mighty, and those who hate me wrongfully are many in number. Those who repay evil for good are against me, because the good is what I seek. Forsake me not, O Lord; be not far from me, O my God. Make haste to help me, O Lord of my salvation.

Daniel 9.3-6,17-19
Then I turned to the Lord God, to seek an answer by prayer and supplication with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, ‘Ah, Lord, great and awesome God, keeping covenant and steadfast love with those who love you and keep your commandments, we have sinned and done wrong, acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and ordinances. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land. Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his supplication, and for your own sake, Lord, let your face shine upon your desolated sanctuary. Incline your ear, O my God, and hear. Open your eyes and look at our desolation and the city that bears your name. We do not present our supplication before you on the ground of our righteousness, but on the ground of your great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, listen and act and do not delay! For your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people bear your name!’

1 Timothy 6.6-19
Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will bring about at the right time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honour and eternal dominion. Amen.

As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.

The Collect
Holy God, our lives are laid open before you: rescue us from the chaos of sin and through the death of your Son bring us healing and make us whole in Jesus Christ our Lord.Amen.