Faithful Friday – July-August 2021

Here is the Faithful Friday word for you! 

Faithful Friday is an initiative from our clergy to further explore the Word of God and to reconnect people with Bible verses.

Please feel free to reflect on what each passage means to you and let us know if any of the passages inspire you.

This time we are also including a blog style comment for Revd David Hildred. Please see our below or our Facebook pageNewsletter for the blog post.

There are also two videos a week from the Clergy, released on a Monday and Thursday as part of the Morning Prayer Readings. Find out more on the parish Youtube account.

Also, explore our other Faithful Friday posts at:

Faithful Friday for 2.7.2021

With a bit of a sprint finish we reach the end of the book of Job this week (you might want to supplement the chapters we have jumped over in your own reading).  When God challenges Job, he has the right reaction of covering his mouth to prevent any further unwise words spilling out.  God offers to Job what he was asking for: a chance to argue with God, to get him to justify his actions in Job’s life, and therefore to correct God.  But first he wants Job to consider if he is God’s equal in wisdom and justice by thinking about two members of God’s creation (possibly identified as the elephant and crocodile).  Job is suitably awed and repentant of how he has reacted to the suffering that came his way.  Oh, and don’t miss chapter 42 … you’ve got this far, you ought to see how it all ends!

Faithful Friday for 9.7.2021

In this section of the letter Paul writes about us being clay jars and that we have a great treasure within us when we put our faith in Jesus.  Clay jars are made for a specific purpose; they are fragile, they might be chipped or cracked, might not be very attractive, because their importance is found by what is inside – the treasure of being transformed in character, attitude and behaviour to be like Jesus.  The way of the world is to focus on making the jar as beautiful and attractive as possible: is that because no attention is being given to checking what is on the inside?

Faithful Friday for 16.7.2021

In the midst of a difficult letter that Paul is having to write to the Corinthians he is able to focus their attention on the Lord Jesus and on their ministry to others.  We read the lovely phrase “God loves a cheerful giver” in the context of their giving towards some Christians who were facing a tough time.  Paul reminds us that there is no law about Christian giving, there is no compulsion; it is all based upon our reaction to God’s generosity to us.  It’s all about grace.  Let’s aim for the second bit of that other great phrase, such that we are those who sow generously and discover that we reap generously too, which wouldn’t make sense were it not for God!

Faithful Friday for 23.7.2021

Many people find the letter of James difficult (including the great 16th century reformer Martin Luther!) but we will keep on track if we remember the Anglican principle of not interpreting one section of Scripture so that it is against another section.  James is perhaps very blunt and direct, and maybe we need that sometimes in order for God’s word to break through our prejudices.  Let’s read seeking to hear what the Spirit says to us through it about God and about ourselves.  And then let’s take up James’ challenge of not being mere hearers of God’s word, but also being do-ers: those who put into action what the Spirit lays before us.

Faithful Friday for 30.7.2021

In today’s passage James offers us a couple more lenses through which to see if our life is focused in the same way as God sees things.  Firstly he invites us to think about how we plan our lives and whose timetable we are working to.  It is so easy to think that we are the masters of our every moment.  Are we?  And secondly James invites us to consider whether our lives could be described as a matter of hoarding wealth (and wealth does not need only to be defined by how much money we have).  If we are made in the image of God then ‘hoarding’ is not the way to reflect God’s character: what word would you use instead?

Faithful Friday for 6.8.2021

This Friday we celebrate ‘The Transfiguration’, which we might react to as a very strange event in the life of Jesus.  We’re in good company: Peter was so unnerved by the event that he doesn’t know what to say, or what particular action he should take.  Well, that’s OK, because it turns out that this event is meant to inspire in us one particular reaction: when God the Father speaks from the cloud (which doesn’t happen very often in the Bible, so let’s pay attention) he says of Jesus, “Listen to him”.  Let’s make sure we do that, even if we’re not sure about The Transfiguration: let’s keep reading his word and listening.

Faithful Friday for 13.8.2021

These early chapters of Mark display the authority of Jesus in all aspects of life: his authority over sickness, evil spirits, religious rules, the wind and waves (& next week add ‘death’ to the list).  With today’s passage we hear some of his authoritative teaching, and part of it refers to the Kingdom of God.  The Kingdom starts small, like a seed, and eventually grows into a large plant.  We could understand that in terms of the number of people who believe in Jesus and join the Kingdom.  What about if it is a seed planted in our own lives, and it grows as more and more parts of our life come under the rule, the kingship, of Jesus?

Faithful Friday for 20.8.2021

Here we see another kingdom at work; where King Herod holds the reigns (though this particular passage might imply that Herodias has a firmer grip on them than he does).  This king, like Jesus, also has authority to grant requests and to determine the welfare of those around him, but it is very clear that his motivation and outlook are very different from that of Jesus.  His outlook is to look out only for his own pleasures and reputation, no matter what the cost to others.  Remember the cost to Jesus of him looking out for the welfare of those who will join the Kingdom of God.

Faithful Friday for 27.8.2021

From the beginning of Mark’s gospel we see Jesus healing and using a variety of ‘techniques’.  Sometimes just a command; sometimes just a touch.  Here this deaf-mute seems to get the full works, perhaps more than we would be comfortable with, and yet with a deep sigh Jesus bring a new opening, a new start.  Does that deep sigh relate to the size of the work Jesus must do on the cross?  Are there areas of our lives that we would prefer him not to put his finger on?  Would we prefer him not to expend his spit, his sweat, his blood for us?  But then again, would we really want to miss that new opening, new start?

Faithful Friday for 3.9.2021

Mark 8:29 is understood to be a watershed moment in the gospel.  Up until this point Jesus has been showing the disciples and the crowds who he is.  Peter gets it right, “You are the Christ, the Messiah”.  From that moment on Jesus begins to teach them what it means for him to be the Messiah; it will mean his death – but that’s not the end of the story.  The disciples don’t immediately understand (there is hope for us all!): Peter gets it wrong; the 12 get it wrong.  But the father of the boy in today’s reading is on track, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”  Who’s example shall we follow?

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