The Reverend Elizabeth Bowyer

Introduction to the Readings for the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost.

Hear these words of lament at the seemingly broken relationship between God and God’s people.

Reading from the book of Jeremiah, Chapter 8, verses 18-9: 1  Is there no balm in Gilead?

“My joy is gone, grief is upon me, my heart is sick!

Hark, the cry of my poor people from far and wide in the land: “is the Lord not in Zion?  Is her King not in her?  (“Why have they provoked me to anger with their images, with their foreign idols?”)

The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”

For all the hurt of my poor people I am hurt, I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me.  Is there no balm in Gilead?  Is there no physician there? 

Why then has the health of my poor people not been restored?

O that my head were a spring of water, and my eyes a fountain of tears,

So that I might weep day and night for the slain of my poor people!

Here ends the reading from the ancient Hebrew texts from the mouth of Jeremiah, a prophet called by God to speak God’s truth. 

Anthem:  “There is a balm in Gilead” arr: Lau

Our second reading from a letter written to the early Church comes to us from an author sounding remarkably like the apostle, Paul because of the similar teachings.  Listen with care for how the reading lifts up the idea of the Holy One as a God whose primary aim for humanity and its leaders is to be forgiven and restored to healing and wholeness through prayer.   

1 Timothy 2: 1-7 Prayers for mercy

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and a peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.

This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God, our Saviour, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 

For there is the one God: there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself a ransom for all-this was attested a the right time.

For this I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

For the word of God in Scripture, for the word of God among us, for the word of God within us, thanks be to God, amen.