Since April 2020, I have been jointly hosting a shared Lectio group on Tuesday evenings. The following are my reflections only, during the prayer session and as I wrote them up. Please see my separate commentary and leaflet for more information about shared Lectio.
Gospel reading: Matthew 13.36–43
Words: shine like the sun
I recall the Marianne Williamson quote, along the lines of “Shine as a child of God, and thereby give permission to others to shine.” In my garden I prepare the soil, I sow the seeds and water the plants, but I do not do the growing – the plants need the sun and God gives the growth. So it is on the human and spiritual journey. But one day I might shine like the sun in the Kingdom, and partake in God as the image of God (a little I am); and then I might shine on others, and partake in giving them growth.
Gospel reading: Matthew 12.46–50
Gospel reading: Matthew 11:20-24
Sodom would have remained, abided in God. Why were no deeds of power done in Sodom or Tyre and Sidon? Why does God act in one place but not another? Not a profitable line of questioning. The issue is probably instead about our participation.
Deeds of power outside Sodom: Abraham bargaining with God over its fate.
Deeds of power inside Sodom: Lot offering hospitality to the visiting men/angels. But the people denied them hospitality – the sin of Sodom – so it was destroyed.
I also recall the reluctant prophecy of Jonah in Nineveh that led to repentance in sackcloth and ashes, and to salvation. Was that reluctant prophecy a deed of power, albeit tiny and weak? What deeds of power then are we called to do?
I am challenged, then, to provide hospitality therefore, to others, to God, to my own self. And I am challenged to allow God to provide hospitality to me – to remain and abide in God.
Gospel reading: Matthew 9:35-end
Words: compassion … crowds
I reflect on the crowds that are swarming to Bournemouth and to the pubs. It seems as though the pub and the beach are the be all and end all, the thing that gives the only meaning to life.
I usually pick up on matters regarding my relationship with God, but God/Jesus has compassion on the crowds just as much as on individuals. Crowds have their own moods and behaviours. They can be ugly or beautiful, with no shepherd or with a bad shepherd.
Jesus’ compassion here led to delegation – “pray for people to harvest”, whatever that harvesting means. It could be the Street Pastors looking after drunk people at closing time, making sure they get home safely, or nudging them to good courteous and considerate behaviour.
I also reflect on missing Greenbelt this year. A Greenbelt crowd is often a beautiful crowd. Although it is in a bubble for that weekend, often the life and energy are released to work for good in the world.
Update 12 July:
The same passage came up in my reading of the Sacra Pagina commentary on Matthew, and I realised I had set myself apart from ‘the crowds’. In reality I am one among them, equally as harassed, and living with COVID uncertainty.
I look to Jesus my shepherd who leads me beside still waters and restores my soul.