September 7 – Matthew 18: 15-20
If someone in the Church sins against you, speak to them and share your concern. If you are not reconciled take a couple of people to help mediate. If that doesn’t work, share it in the community of faith. If that doesn’t work…well? Jesus, says treat them as a Gentile or tax collector. Remember, we all fall short and sin. We must be prepared to seek righteousness not self-righteousness and Matt 5: 23-24 calls us to be reconciled.
Who has sinned against you? Whom have you sinned against? Have you actually dealt with it? Who do you need to be reconciled with? May God grant us the strength and courage, grace and wisdom to forgive as we have been forgiven.
September 14 – Matthew 18:21-35
Imagine asking Jesus how much we have to forgive others! On one hand you would think the disciples would have known the sort of answer that they would get. On the other, isn’t it a question that many of us want to ask hoping that the answer might have changed? Do not judge. Love your enemies. Forgive as you have been forgiven.
What has God and others had to forgive you for, time and time again? How might we, as the Church, live as a more honest and forgiving community where we learn from our falling short and encourage each other to grow not only in grace but also in maturity and discipleship?
September 21 – Matthew 20:1-16
The Kingdom of God teaches us that God is not always fair, but God is always just. We need to remember that the workers in the parable of the landowner all need to feed their family and they all need a day’s wage in order to do this. Jesus was about justice and seeks to subvert our self-focused selfishness. However, Jesus also said that this kingdom was inside us. Blessed are those for whom life is not fair, but they will see justice.
What other stories in the gospels can you think of that deal with a similar theme to this one? How do you go about ensuring that we strive to have God’s kingdom within us, not just the values and attitudes of a selfish, materialistic world? How do we gracefully share justice with others when it means that we may not be treated in the way that we feel entitled to be treated?
September 28 – Matthew 21:33-46
Jesus is someone to whom we ascribe authority. He is the Lord, so we often look down on the priests and the elders and the Pharisees in such stories who question his authority. However, the question that they ask is an important one and they most likely had the best intentions. What authority has Jesus got?
This has two levels of answer. He has the authority to do things because he is God incarnate and is in sync with God’s will. The other level has applications for us. What authority does Jesus have over us? True most of us would affirm Church doctrine and say he has every authority as messiah and Lord. Yet there is the reality, in that he only has as much authority as we allow him when it comes to changing our behaviour. In love he chooses not to compel us and gives us free will, so we have the choice to accept him as Lord in our lives
What authority does have over us? Who gives him that authority? What authority will we give him in our lives? Having given him that authority will we say “yes” to what he asks and not do it, or will we struggle with his commands but submit to his will?
This month the Lectionary Reflection was prepared by the Rev. Jon Humphries, Chaplain at Ravenswood School for Girls.