Tag Archives: 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

What Would I Give For The Kingdom?

In Richard III, Shakespeare famously has him saying “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse”, he is willing to give up everything he has to get a horse after losing his own. In this weeks gospel readings we see what people are willing to sacrifice for various treasures, but actually the question is, ‘What are you willing to give for the Kingdom?’.

The one thing I remember distinctly from my ‘O’ Levels is from the Scripture classes and that is

the kingdom of God is the rule of God in the hearts and lives of his people

Thank you to Mr Gilmore for that nugget that has stayed with me!

God’s kingdom is not a place, however wonderful that might seem. It is God living in us, breathing through us, working in us. This collection of parables or analogies show both what that can do and it’s value.

A mustard seed

Such a tiny thing,
a small beginning,
hard for the eye to see,
but what it can become
when planted
and nurtured.

Then it becomes strong
and tall,
a place where others
can find safety,
refuge
and rest.

Lord,
take my faith,
however small
and fragile it fells,
grow it strong
and robust
I pray
that others may find refuge
and strength
in it
and in your presence.

Yeast

Nothing
by itself.

Only working
when activated,
mixed with ingredients
that make it grow.

Only becoming something of use
when combined with others.

And then –
what a difference it makes.
For those other elements
become something so much more too.

Lord,
my faith
is nothing by itself.
It needs other ingredients,
other people,
the right things to feed it.

Then how it grows.

Lord, may I share,
allow others to feed me
as I feed them
that together we can grow,
in faith,
in love,
in knowledge of you.

That as we do
your kingdom
will grow
in and through us,

Treasure

Your Kingdom,
your presence,
is a treasure,
valuable beyond any way we can measure.

Once discovered,
it is worthy of all that I have,
demands my everything.

For I will gain far more
than anything I have
without you.

Lord,
I offer you my all,
everything I have,
all that I am,
everything I can be

because all of that
is only worth anything
with you

and with you
what I need becomes a different question.

By Wolfgang Sauber – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62149784

A Great Pearl

I’ve been looking,
searching,
for the perfect thing.

There have been some false starts,
some things I have mistaken,
but now I have found,
the finest thing there is,
the thing that
really
completes my world.

Lord,
that is you.
Forgive me the false idols
I have chased after,
the things I thought were the answer.

But now I see
and know you.

You are what I need
and I surrender the worthless things
for The One
I really need.

By Gethmaperera – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=79652919

A net of fish

What a good catch,
the nets are full,
straining under the weight
of what we have.

Until,
we stop and look
carefully.

All we have here,
is not what we need,
what we thought we had.

Amongst the food,
there is worthless stuff,
the flotsam and jetsam of life
caught up with the good.

We need to sort it out,
to discard what is no good,
to be able to appreciate
the valuable.

Help me Lord,
to sort out what I need
and what I do not,
on this journey with you.

Help me to be clear
about what will help
and what will not.

I lay the net of my life before you
and invite you to sort through it
that I may be stronger
and useful
for you.

The kingdom of God is justice and peace
And joy in the Holy Spirit
Come, Lord and open in us the gates of your kingdom

Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

31 Jesus told them another parable: “The Kingdom of heaven is like this. A man takes a mustard seed and sows it in his field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it grows up, it is the biggest of all plants. It becomes a tree, so that birds come and make their nests in its branches.”

The Parable of the Yeast

33 Jesus told them still another parable: “The Kingdom of heaven is like this. A woman takes some yeast and mixes it with a bushel of flour until the whole batch of dough rises.”

The Parable of the Hidden Treasure

44 “The Kingdom of heaven is like this. A man happens to find a treasure hidden in a field. He covers it up again, and is so happy that he goes and sells everything he has, and then goes back and buys that field.

The Parable of the Pearl

45 “Also, the Kingdom of heaven is like this. A man is looking for fine pearls, 46 and when he finds one that is unusually fine, he goes and sells everything he has, and buys that pearl.

The Parable of the Net

47 “Also, the Kingdom of heaven is like this. Some fishermen throw their net out in the lake and catch all kinds of fish. 48 When the net is full, they pull it to shore and sit down to divide the fish: the good ones go into the buckets, the worthless ones are thrown away. 49 It will be like this at the end of the age: the angels will go out and gather up the evil people from among the good 50 and will throw them into the fiery furnace, where they will cry and gnash their teeth.

New Truths and Old

51 “Do you understand these things?” Jesus asked them.

“Yes,” they answered.

52 So he replied, “This means, then, that every teacher of the Law who becomes a disciple in the Kingdom of heaven is like a homeowner who takes new and old things out of his storage room.”

My Meagre Offering

So many similarities between this reading and the Old Testament reading of Elisha.  Funny how God keeps doing the same thing, still asks his people to do the same thing, is still a God of abundance and generosity – but needs us to work with him!

What have I got Lord?
What can I give?

The need is so vast,
I don’t have that sort of money,
I feel unprepared
and unable to help.

There are only scraps,
that’s all I have,
nothing much.

But you can have them
if you think they can help
– though I can’t see how
my meagre offering
is any use.

In your hands Lord
what I have to offer,
however small,
is somehow enough
and beyond.
You can take it,
and it becomes something
beyond my imagining,
beyond my expectations,
beyond my hope.

So I bring to you Lord,
what I have
and pray that you will
make it something
of use
and abundance
in your name
and for your glory

Take My Life

John 6:1-21 (CEV)

Feeding Five Thousand

Jesus crossed Lake Galilee, which was also known as Lake Tiberias. A large crowd had seen him work miracles to heal the sick, and those people went with him. 3-4 It was almost time for the Jewish festival of Passover, and Jesus went up on a mountain with his disciples and sat down.

When Jesus saw the large crowd coming toward him, he asked Philip, “Where will we get enough food to feed all these people?” He said this to test Philip, since he already knew what he was going to do.

Philip answered, “Don’t you know that it would take almost a year’s wages just to buy only a little bread for each of these people?”

Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the disciples. He spoke up and said, “There is a boy here who has five small loaves of barley bread and two fish. But what good is that with all these people?”

10 The ground was covered with grass, and Jesus told his disciples to have everyone sit down. About five thousand men were in the crowd. 11 Jesus took the bread in his hands and gave thanks to God. Then he passed the bread to the people, and he did the same with the fish, until everyone had plenty to eat.

12 The people ate all they wanted, and Jesus told his disciples to gather up the leftovers, so that nothing would be wasted. 13 The disciples gathered them up and filled twelve large baskets with what was left over from the five barley loaves.

14 After the people had seen Jesus work this miracle, they began saying, “This must be the Prophet who is to come into the world!” 15 Jesus realized that they would try to force him to be their king. So he went up on a mountain, where he could be alone.

Jesus Walks on the Water

16 That evening, Jesus’ disciples went down to the lake. 17 They got into a boat and started across for Capernaum. Later that evening Jesus had still not come to them, 18 and a strong wind was making the water rough.

19 When the disciples had rowed for three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the water. He kept coming closer to the boat, and they were terrified. 20 But he said, “I am Jesus! Don’t be afraid!” 21 The disciples wanted to take him into the boat, but suddenly the boat reached the shore where they were headed.

All God Is

All that you are Lord,
I want to know
all that you are,
to be filled with
your very being,
the depths of you.

I want to be
head over heels
in love with you,
rooted,
deeply
in what you are
and what you want to make me.

Live deep within me Lord,
make all I do
flow from all you are
and the depths of your love for me
and for each and every person.

I Want to be Out of My Depth In Your Love

Ephesians 3:14-21 (CEV)

Christ’s Love for Us

14 I kneel in prayer to the Father. 15 All beings in heaven and on earth receive their life from him. 16 God is wonderful and glorious. I pray that his Spirit will make you become strong followers 17 and that Christ will live in your hearts because of your faith. Stand firm and be deeply rooted in his love. 18 I pray that you and all of God’s people will understand what is called wide or long or high or deep. 19 I want you to know all about Christ’s love, although it is too wonderful to be measured. Then your lives will be filled with all that God is.

20-21 I pray that Christ Jesus and the church will forever bring praise to God. His power at work in us can do far more than we dare ask or imagine. Amen.