Speak Lord: through us all and to us all…

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The Lord came down in the Cloud. He spoke with Moses, but took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. When the spirit came on them they prophesied, but not again.

Two men had stayed back in the camp; one was called Eldad and the other Medad. The spirit came down on them; though they had not gone to the Tent, their names were enrolled among the rest. These began to prophesy in the camp. The young man ran to tell this to Moses, ‘Look,’ he said ‘Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.’

Then said Joshua the son of Nun, who had served Moses from his youth, ‘My Lord Moses, stop them!’ Moses answered him, ‘Are you jealous on my account? If only the whole people of the Lord were prophets, and the Lord gave his Spirit to them all!’

First reading for the 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Numbers 11:25-29

The Lord speaks where the Lord will.

But how we should long for the Lord to speak in and through each one of us – and for us all to listen!

Moses, Joshua and Israel. Lincoln Cathedral. (c) 2011, Allen Morris

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Speak Lord: Giver of the true law…

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The precepts of the Lord gladden the heart.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
it revives the soul.
The rule of the Lord is to be trusted,
it gives wisdom to the simple.

The fear of the Lord is holy,
abiding for ever.
The decrees of the Lord are truth
and all of them just.

So in them your servant finds instruction;
great reward is in their keeping.
But who can detect all his errors?
From hidden faults acquit me.

From presumption restrain your servant
and let it not rule me.
Then shall I be blameless,
clean from grave sin.

Psalm for 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm 18(19):8,10,12-14

The law of the Lord is love. It is how God is, it is how we learn to be ourselves and honour the others among whom and with whom we live.

  • Lord, teach us to live love.

Moses and David, All Saints parish church , Elton. (c) 2018, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: Draw us to life

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An answer for the rich. Start crying, weep for the miseries that are coming to you. Your wealth is all rotting, your clothes are all eaten up by moths. All your gold and your silver are corroding away, and the same corrosion will be your own sentence, and eat into your body. It was a burning fire that you stored up as your treasure for the last days. Labourers mowed your fields, and you cheated them – listen to the wages that you kept back, calling out; realise that the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. On earth you have had a life of comfort and luxury; in the time of slaughter you went on eating to your heart’s content. It was you who condemned the innocent and killed them; they offered you no resistance.

2nd Reading for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
James 5:1-6

We get the answer… Oh boy, do we get the answer, but what is the question?

  • What am I?
  • How do I matter?
  • How can I matter?

What is your question?

Brookwood Cemetery. (c) 2005, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: Hold us close

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John said to Jesus, ‘Master, we saw a man who is not one of us casting out devils in your name; and because he was not one of us we tried to stop him.’ But Jesus said, ‘You must not stop him: no one who works a miracle in my name is likely to speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is for us.

‘If anyone gives you a cup of water to drink just because you belong to Christ, then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward.

‘But anyone who is an obstacle to bring down one of these little ones who have faith, would be better thrown into the sea with a great millstone round his neck. And if your hand should cause you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life crippled, than to have two hands and go to hell, into the fire that cannot be put out. And if your foot should cause you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life lame, than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye should cause you to sin, tear it out; it is better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell where their worm does not die nor their fire go out.’

Gospel for 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 9:38-43,45,47-48

Christianity is about great matter – life, death, heaven and hell, for example.

And yet its demands can be fulfilled as easily as giving a cup of water when we know it is the loving, Christ-like, thing to do…

  • In what are you Christ-like?

Street art. Interfaith peace-loving veganism. (Canal St Martin, Paris).  (c) 2015, Allen Morris.

Taste and See: Light in our darkness

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Alleluia, alleluia!
I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
anyone who follows me will have the light of life.
Alleluia!

Gospel Acclamation for 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
John 8:12

Sometimes we do not know for sure whether we are following the Lord…

Our world knows many different lights, and we can become confused, like the crew of a boat tricked by wreckers’ lanterns…

But, even in our wreck and in our loss the Lord’s light shines to save us. Our only end is in him.

Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London – during display of Olafur Eliasson’s Weather Project. (c) 2003, Allen Morris

Taste and See: Faithfulness

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The Lord upholds my life.

O God, save me by your name;
by your power, uphold my cause.
O God, hear my prayer;
listen to the words of my mouth.

For proud men have risen against me,
ruthless men seek my life.
They have no regard for God.
But I have God for my help.

The Lord upholds my life.
I will sacrifice to you with willing heart
and praise your name for it is good.

Responsorial psalm for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm 53(54):3-6,8

The psalmist prays conscious of real need, and of the Lord’s real care.

In his prayer he finds fresh assurance for his security – and by his prayer gives us good example to follow.

‘Peasant worshipper’, Burslem. Stoke on Trent Museum. (c) 2016, Allen Morris

Taste and See: rejection

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The godless say to themselves:
‘Let us lie in wait for the virtuous man, since he annoys us
and opposes our way of life,
reproaches us for our breaches of the law
and accuses us of playing false to our upbringing.
‘Let us see if what he says is true,
let us observe what kind of end he himself will have.
If the virtuous man is God’s son, God will take his part
and rescue him from the clutches of his enemies.
Let us test him with cruelty and with torture,
and thus explore this gentleness of his
and put his endurance to the proof.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death
since he will be looked after – we have his word for it.’

First reading for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Wisdom 2:12,17-20

As noted yesterday the above words are often read by Christians as prophetic of the suffering imposed on Christ in his Passion.

They also will sometimes give expression to the situation we find ourselves in, as we challenge at least some of the mores and values of our own age. For sure many in our age do complain loud and clear about Christians seeking to interfere in their way of life.

And sometimes they do so with good cause. The Church has too often sought to impose its views on others. Not infrequently this has been done in a way that can seem, to Christians and non-Christians alike, alien to the example of Jesus and harmful to the preaching of the Gospel.

But as Jesus, despite his kindliness and mercy and righteousness, met with rejection and hatred, so too will we, even when we are at our best, and this is often tough for us to bear.

  • Lord, watch over us and sustain us in faithfulness.

Fresco of Deacon martyrs, Chartreuse, Villeneuve les Avignon. (c) 2016, Allen Morris