The Reverend Elizabeth Bowyer

Introduction to the readings for Welcome Back Sunday

This morning we begin with a reading from one of the early letters to the church. 

Reading from Eugene Peterson’s version “The Message” The Bible in Contemporary Language”. 

We begin with selections from the book of James, Chapter 3 and 4, selected verses:

Getting serious about lively wisely and living well.

Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? 

Here’s what you do:  Live well, live wisely, live humbly. 

It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. 

Mean spirited ambition isn’t wisdom.  Boasting that you are wise, isn’t wisdom….

Twisting the truth to make yourselves sound wise, isn’t wisdom.  It’s the furthest thing from wisdom….

Whenever you’re trying to look better than others or get the better of others, things fall apart and everyone ends up at the others’ throats…

Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. 

It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. 

You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoys its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honour.

Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? 

Do you think they just happen?  Think again.  They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves…

You’re spoiled children, each wanting your own way.

You’re cheating on God.  If you all want your own way, you end up enemies of God and God’s way.

It’s common knowledge that God gives grace to the willing humble…

So let God work God’s will in you.  Say a quiet yes to God and God will be there in no time.  

The fun and games are over.  Get serious, really serious about letting God work God’s will in you…

Here ends the reading from one of the early letters to the church this day.

 

Let us continue to wonder on the meaning of God’s word for us as we sing VU#593,  “Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love”

 

Our gospel lesson for this morning comes to us once again from Mark as Jesus gathers with his followers at Capernaum. 

Here, he reminds them of something quite disturbing-what they will be about together is going to be different than what they might have been thinking. 

A reading from the ninth chapter of Mark’s gospel, verses 33-37

“Whoever welcomes a child, welcomes me.”

“They came to Capernaum.  When he was safe at home, he asked them “What were you discussing on the road?”

The silence was deafening-they had been arguing with one another over who among them was the greatest.

He sat down and summoned the Twelve.  “So you want first place?  Then take the last place. 

Be the servant of all.”

He put a child in the middle of the room.

Then, cradling the little one in his arms, he said: “Whoever embraces one of these children as I do, embraces me, and, far more than me-God who sent me.”

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!