The Ninth Sunday after Pentecost is 02 August 2020.
In our journey through the Book of Genesis, we reach…
…the story of Jacob wrestling with God.
And getting a new name from God as a result.
Rev. Geoff McKee considers the trials and tribulations of various other people throughout history. He discusses different attitudes to ‘testing times’, including that of the Apostle, James:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,”James 1:2
How should we face up to – and what should we take from – testing times?
You’ll find below the four Lectionary scriptures for this week, including the passage from Genesis. There’s also prayers and Geoff’s audio sermon and Kath’s musical selection.
Genesis 32:22-31 (New International Version)
Jacob Wrestles With God
22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip.
A prayer of David.
1 Hear me, Lord, my plea is just;
listen to my cry.
Hear my prayer—
it does not rise from deceitful lips.
2 Let my vindication come from you;
may your eyes see what is right.
3 Though you probe my heart,
though you examine me at night and test me,
you will find that I have planned no evil;
my mouth has not transgressed.
4 Though people tried to bribe me,
I have kept myself from the ways of the violent
through what your lips have commanded.
5 My steps have held to your paths;
my feet have not stumbled.
6 I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.
7 Show me the wonders of your great love,
you who save by your right hand
those who take refuge in you from their foes.
15 As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face;
when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your liken
Paul’s Anguish Over Israel
9 I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
Never again shall they feel hunger or thirst; because the Lamb who is at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd and will guide them to springs of the water of life. Revelation 7: 16-17
Lord God, all creation is made for your glory, and we voice that now. Your Spirit plants hints of glory in our hearts, and we delight to offer you our praise and worship. Help us in our praise to give you honour, in our silence to wait for you to speak, through Jesus Christ, your living word.
Lord, the world is out of joint, and our lives are out of joint too. Generally we do our best, but you see what we are really like. Sometimes we know very well we have gone wrong, sometimes we just know that your holiness is beyond us. And yet your compassion is over all you have made. Have mercy on us. Forgive what is wrong, strengthen what is right, and guide us in the right way, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Saviour.
We come with our concerns and our fears, with people on our hearts, stalked by troubles and worries. Open your generous hand, to satisfy our desire, to renew our faith that you are kind, and close to all who call upon you, as we do, trusting in Jesus who bears our burdens, and carries our sorrows. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end,
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
Lord God, hear us now as we pray for others in the name of Christ.
We pray for those who are bowed down, that God may lift them up. For those who are hungry, that they find food and the nourishment they need. For those who choke on bad air or water, that the policy and practice of governments and others in charge may change. For those who are sick, and those in the caring professions, especially all who have given so much through these days of the pandemic. For those who call for help, that they find you near at hand. For those who lost their jobs and cannot find paid work, and those who take decisions which affect patterns of work. For those who struggle with God, that they find themselves, and find God. For those enduring violence, that they find relief, and the blessing of peace. Lord God, whose Son endured shame and torture, and the violence of those who misunderstood your will, work a wonder in the hearts of angry people, that hatred may turn to gentleness, bitterness to calm, and fear to faith, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord, 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,
The song 10,000 reasons was composed by Matt Redman, an English Christian worship leader, singer-songwriter and author.
Throughout our lives God often tests us, we experience trials and hardships and we receive many blessings too. I think this song reminds us always to trust God, to be thankful and worship Him abundantly with all our hearts.