August: An opportunity to serve

August: An opportunity to serve

Sunday 6 August Pentecost 9

Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

This is a teaching block of Jesus which involves a series of eight parables. In our reading for this week comprise six of those short parables. But before we look at what it means, it is important to understand the context of why Jesus was teaching this way. In chapter 11 and 12 of Matthew, they illustrate the growing mishap of people’s attitude about Jesus. Where Jesus made a sharp contrast about the nature of true discipleship which comes down to ones response to the news about God. So, the ultimate challenge posed by these parables, is how you and I respond to the news about Jesus, the kingdom of God.

There is something beautiful in these parables, they bring out the best in all of us. Whenever we respond to Jesus’ words, it does make a difference in our life and others. These short stories, have one thing in common. There is intentional character development in the life of the responder. Faith takes intentional effects when one put themselves into the realm of being vulnerable to trust God in the journey. A touch of faith can work in mysterious way. The outcome is different that what it was before. It can bring a sense of fulfilment and encouragement in order to fan our life of faith in God to a reality that has meaning and purpose.

These short parables create a platter of joyful synergy for the journey. Don’t take all of it at once, read one by one, reflect on it and let it soaked into your sense of worth, you may be surprise of what it does, and give thanks.      

Sunday 13 August Pentecost 10

Matthew 14:13-21

Everyone of us need time for ourselves. Especially, when things don’t go the way we often hope. Loosing a loved one, not getting the job offer you were hoping for, or one of your children had a run with the police department in town. You want time to pray, reflect or find energy for the journey ahead, and suddenly people knock at your door for help. What would your reaction be? Would you ask them to leave and come back another day? Would you complain they don’t respect your privacy or have some consideration you need time for yourself as well? Jesus did not react in frustration or anger, instead he responds with compassion.

He transforms his need to rest into an opportunity to serve. Some people will argue, setting boundaries is healthy ministry practice, otherwise we become doormats rather than prophets in shear control. But Jesus was not bound with schedule or plans, he allows space for the unexpected. What about if the unexpected becomes a challenge of, ‘Give them what you have?’ And you know what you have is not enough.

Giving ourselves and what we have to God, sometimes surprises us, when God used whatever we have and turn it to a blessing we have never experienced before. We learn lessons of faith, when the journey is rough and tough, God has a way of using you and I to serve others as we wish ourselves to be served.

Sunday 20 August Pentecost 11

Matthew 14:22-33

Part of our church life is discernment. We discern what our life and witness could be. We discern what the future might be in relation to ministry and mission. Our story this week shows the life of the church as a journey. There are times, the church faces a fair share of going through storms of life: financial difficulties, relational tensions, cultural shifts, declining and all, but as faithful members we remain there for each other praying and wondering how can we get out of the storm we face? Like the church, Jesus comes to us in ways we never anticipated. How many times God send someone and suddenly on the horizon we see a figure approaching us? We make our discernment who this person could be and what use would he be to our situation.

Some of us make our assessment and discern what this person is like: He or she is a ghost! This person is not our type. He or she is not like the one we use to. Others tries to ignore whosoever is concern. And yet some discern and believe this is God coming to us. Should we welcome this person known or unbeknown to us. Peter, jump ahead for the opportunity to meet Jesus in this space. Was it because he based his discernment on what he had witness of who Jesus is and what he is like?

The miracle Jesus performs, the dead is risen, and the hungry mass ate and satisfied through his hospitality and service. We all saw how he walks over to meet Jesus and suddenly falls back into the old way of discernment, rather than putting his trust in God, he looked at the storm and the waves and he begins to sink into the water. And Jesus said to him, ‘Where is your faith? Why do you doubt God?’ How can we learn to discern well?

Sunday 27 August
Matthew 15:21-28

How should we erase racial prejudice from our world? What is the way to address hate because of colour, sex or cultural identity? Would we ever treat all human as equal? Jesus began to face the weight of his mission was not only for the lost sheep of Israel but to all the world. It would be easy in our context to find this story shockingly prejudice. But we need to look at Jesus purpose and destiny clearly acted out here. While he focuses on Israel, the Gentile world emerges with the same need. For all creation whether male or female, Jews or Greeks, they all have needs only God can satisfy. In the verses before the readings for this week, we learn of what was to Jesus about cleanliness. Not so much a privilege right but one who is willing to let God clean their heart and mind.

Now Jesus crossing over to the border of the Gentile world, we would expect he is making a deliberate act on giving the space that was meant for the Israelite, wide open to anyone who wishes to make use of it not with a family right but with a faith right. The faith of the woman was the first attempt by Jesus to tear down the rule and regulation that stand as barriers for equal excess to the blessing of God that was for all Jews and for all Gentiles who comes to God in faith.            

Rev. Alimoni Taumoepeau


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