19 July 2020 is the 7th Sunday after Pentecost and Rev. Geoff McKee continues his series of sermons from the Book of Genesis.
Today it’s the story of Jacob’s Dream.
Geoff draws our attention to some aspects of this story which might inform our understanding of significant places in relation to our worship of God. It also has relevance to God’s attitude towards the displaced – whether physically or spiritually – as compared to those in more comfortable or apparently powerful circumstances.
Below, you’ll find the Lectionary Scriptures for this week including Genesis 28:10-19. Also, prayers, Geoff’s audio sermon and a musical selection from Kath Robertson, Musical Director at St James’ Church.
Genesis 28:10-19 (New International Version)
Jacob’s Dream at Bethel
10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. 11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”
18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. 19 He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz.
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Present Suffering and Future Glory
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
The Parable of the Weeds
24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”
The Parable of the Weeds Explained
36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.
O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! Psalm 8:1
Wherever we begin this day, O Lord, we know this place is holy because you meet us here. As we prepare for the day, we remember baptismal waters and their claim upon our lives. Wherever darkness looms, Sovereign God, deliver your mercy this day that we may find comfort in you.
Merciful God, your creatures cry—creation groans—but we turn away; we surround ourselves with noise. We are quick to excuse ourselves from responsibility: we are young; we are old; we are tired; we are busy. It is hard to imagine that we might make a difference. Life-giving God, wash us clean. Restore our imaginations and our hearts. Let your courage and compassion flow through our veins until we love with abandon and our hands reach out in blessing, for the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.
Rock of Israel and cornerstone of our common life, you are not bound by our visions, our structures, our doctrine. We cannot predict your coming or going, yet you have given us your story, your family, your work to do. Meet us where we are. Shape us for service in your world, for we carry the name of Jesus and live by the power of your breath. Amen.
NOTE: The above audio is in mp3 format and is also downloadable, if you wish to listen at a time when you may not have a reliable internet connection. Other devices are available but, on a PC, for example, if you right-click on the 3 vertical dots at the right side of the audio player, the drop-down menu should offer the option to “Save as…”
Prayers of Intercession
Gracious Creator, you are the Sower of life. You know us because you have brought us into being and you have travelled with us every step of the way. You are fully aware of the complicated histories that have carried us to this moment in time. You know the names of all our generations, for you are there in each story of falling away and turning home, in our long years of wandering, and in the shining moments when we recognise your presence and find the grace to worship you. You are no stranger to the striving or the listlessness of humanity.
Incarnate One, all of creation is groaning, and so we dare to ask that you would come to us; be born again in this time and place. In the midst of our boredom, our self-congratulation, our closeted vision, startle us with the cry, the first breath of life that will not be restrained. Strengthen in us the fruits of your Spirit, and teach us to pray.
Bless our local community and keep it honest and free from corruption. Guide with your Holy Spirit those who hold responsibility for health and well-being in these challenging times.
We remember those who suffer today. Bring healing to those fighting illness in hospital and those recovering at home. Bring comfort to those who have lost loved ones, after long battles with illness, or who have endured the numbing shock of sudden loss. Bring strength to those who are tired; who have given everything in caring for those in need and don’t have anything left to offer. Draw near to those stifled by worry; those who have lost jobs; those worried by what the future might hold.
Help us to trust that you are at work in every conflicted community. We pray for all who flee from pasts by which they are haunted. We lift up all who feel abandoned by a future for which they had hoped. We plead for all who do not know that they are loved and chosen.
Nourish the life you plant within us, that we might keep seeding the world with your truth and your grace; in the name of Jesus, who gave his life out of love for the world and who taught us to pray….
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
Beauty for brokenness (also known as God of the poor) was composed in 1993 by Graham Kendrick This song was written for the 25th anniversary of the charity Tearfund in 1993 and was influenced by Kendrick’s visit to India.
The verses give us much to focus on, including the vulnerable in our society, refugees, the poor, lost and forgotten and also the plight of our world which is being destroyed by thoughtlessness and greed.
In the chorus, there is a plea for us to show more compassion and love for those who are suffering in this unjust world.