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Sunday Readings - Archive
Readings for the Sundays after Trinity 2009

The Church of England in common with many other churches uses a Calendar of Seasons. With Christmas/Epiphany and Eastertide as the two main seasons of the church year, the calendar not only gives a rhythm to our Christian lives but also ensures that each year we are kept in rememberance of all the aspects of our redemption in Jesus.

The Lectionary which we use on Sundays is based on a 3 year cycle. During each of the 3 years the Gospel reading is based on 1 of the 3 Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke). The 4th Gospel of John is used during any of the 3 years where John's viewpoint best suits the theme of the Sunday. In 2009 we were reading through Mark's Gospel. This is shortest gospel and considered to be the first one written down. The viewpoint of each of the 3 synoptic gospels is similar, with each having many of the same stories. Mark however does not include the Nativity stories.

Like the rest of the New Testament, Mark's gospel was written in Koine Greek or 'common Greek'. This was at the time the universal language of the general public of the then Roman Empire. The wide use of this language and its concise vocabulary is a factor which contributed to the rapid spread of the Good News of Jesus throughout the Roman Empire.

Gospel Reading for Trinity Sunday: John 3.1-17
Jesus in his conversation with Nicodemus discusses the relationships and roles of the 3 persons of the Trinity. He talks about how we must be born anew of the Spirit. He also says that he was able to ascend into heaven because he has descended from heaven. This passage contains John 3:16, one of the most well known verses in the New Teatament which describes the greatness of the Father's love for the world which is expressed in sending Jesus so that by believing in him we may have eternal life.

Gospel Reading for Trinity 1: Mark 4:26-34
Jesus compares the growth of the Kingdom of God to a man who casts seed upon the ground without understanding how it grows up. In the explanation of the parable of the sower (Mark 4.14) Jesus tells his discples that the seed is the word (of God). This reminds us of Isaiah 55.10f where we are told that God's word will not return enpty without accomplishing his purpose.

Gospel Reading for Trinity 2: Mark 4:35-41
Jesus shows us how he has complete confidence that his words (the Word of God) will be accomplished. He says to his disciples "Let us go over to the other side". Even when a storm arose on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus was able to sleep having confidence that his word would be fulfilled and the boat would arrive safely on the other side. Since his disciples did not share his confidence, Jesus demonstrated his word by stilling the storm with a spoken word. The disciples were amazed and became very afraid of who Jesus was that even nature obeyed his words.

Gospel Reading for Trinity 3: Mark 5:21-43
In this reading we hear of 2 people who demonstrated faith for healing. Jairus whose little daughter was at the point of death says to Jesus "Come and lay your hands on her so that she may be made well and live" (v23). On the way to the house of Jairus, Jesus encounters a woman who had had a flow of blood for 12 years. Although this made her unclean according to the Law she said "If I touch even the hem of his garments, I shall be made well" (v28). Faith such as this made a demand on Jesus and he knew that power had gone forth from him (v30). Jesus expects such faith and says to Jairus (and to us) "Do not fear, only believe" (v36).

Gospel Reading for Trinity 4: Mark 6.1-13
Jesus' teaching causes the people to wonder at the wisdom with which he spoke. Yet they took offense at him because because he was from their own area. This unbelief in their hearts cuased them to miss out on the wonderful things which Jesus was doing. Jesus was unable to do a mighty work there because of their unbelief (v 5).

Gospel Reading for Trinity 5: Mark 6.14-29
This week we read of how John the Baptist was beheaed at King Herod's command. Herod knew that there was something special about John and his teaching, yet Herod trapped himself in his own words and caused John's death.

Gospel Reading for Trinity 6: Mark 6.30-34,53-56
Jesus' teaching has now caused him to become so well known that he had no leisure even to eat (v31). Jesus on seeing the throngs of people has compassion on them and his response was to teach them many things (v34). It was his teaching that caused the people to run to him and seek the healing of their sick.

Gospel Reading for Trinity 7: John 6.1-21
John tells us that the multitude was following Jesus because of the signs which he did on those who were diseased v2. This leads on to John's account of the feeding of the 5000 which in itself is a sign. We are told that when the people saw the sign which Jesus had done they said 'This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world' v14. Jesus withdraws from the multitude since they have interpreted the sign of his heavenly kngship in earthly terms v15.

Gospel Reading for Trinity 8: John 6.24-35
The theme of bread continues this week where Jesus tells the crowd not to labour for food which perishes but for food which endures to eternal life v27. He then explains that this food is not the manna which the children of Isreal ate in the wilderness. It is Jesus himself who is the true bread of life. He who comes to Jesus shall not hunger and he who believes in him shall never thirst v35.

Gospel Reading for Trinity 9: John 6.35,41-51
I am the Bread of Life is one of the Songs of Fellowship which we sing at St Michael's. It is also one of the 'I am' sayings from John's Gospel. This saying caused the Jews to murmur against Jesus since they know who he is according to the flesh. Once against Jesus explains that he is the Bread of Life who gives life to the world. He uses another key phrase 'Amen, (truly truly) I say to you' (v40) to emphasise the importance of what he is saying and the eternal significance of believing in who he really is v51.

Gospel Reading for Trinity 10: John 6.51-58
Jesus continues the theme of the living bread. He refers to the bread which Israel eat in the wilderness during the 40 years in the time of Moses. In verse 58 he says that the fathers eat the Manna and died. The promise to us in in verse 54 'He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.

Gospel Reading for Trinity 11: John 6.56-69
Eating the bread and drinking of the cup is the cental act of Holy Communion and Jesus says this results in abiding in him. Those listening to Jesus in John 6 found this a hard saying. this leads Jesus on to talk about an even harder concept of his return to heaven v62. The key to understanding these hard sayings comes in verse 65 'no one can come to Jesus unless it is granted to him by the Father'. We are all called, God enables us to respond and by his grace we are able to believe. It is God's act from first to last, our response is "O Lamb of God I come".

Gospel Reading for Trinity 12: Mark 7.1-8,14,15,21-23
This week's reading shows us how easy it is for the commandments of God to turn into the traditions of men. The law which we find in the first 5 books of the Bible is holy (Romans 7;12) and is intended for our good. Jesus in fact fulfilled the Law. Here Jesus is teaching that the law must be more than outward and concerns about all the thoughts of our hearts. Psalm 19.14 expresses this so well and is often used as a way to begin a sermon, 'Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart be alway acceptable in thy sight, O Lord my strength and my redeemer'.

Gospel Reading for Trinity 13: Mark 7.24-37
The Syrophoenician woman who comes to Jesus asking for healing for her daughter gives us an insight into the covenant which we share in Christ Jesus. This woman is described as a Gentile, meaning one who was outside the covenant God made with Abraham. It is a covenant which includes healing - I am the Lord who heals you (Exodus 15.26). Jesus calls this the children's bread in Mark 7.27. 'The mystery of the Gospel is that the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body and sharers together in the promise (of the covenant) in christ Jesus' (Ephesians 3.6).

Gospel Reading for Harvest: John 2.1-11
The miracle of turning the water into wine at the wedding in Cana in Galilee is one of the signs in John's gospel. Signs are used in John by Jesus to reveal his glory. He reveals his glory so that people may put their faith in him. Harvest is a time when we remember the miracle of the God's gift of food from the earth. This is described so well by Isaiah in 55.10-11 where he compares the growth of food to the growth of God's Word which will accomplish what God desires and achieve the purpose for which he sent it. This is the steadfast Word of god in the Letter to the Hebrews 6.19 is described as an anchor to the soul, firm and secure.

Gospel Reading for Trinity 15: Mark 9.30-37
St Mark records Jesus teaching his disciples about his death and resurrection v31. This was one of many things which the disciples did not undertand until after his resurrection when like the two on the road to Emmaus their eyes were opened (Luke 24.31). In today's reading the disciples also did not understand what is means to be a servant. The kingdom of God works the opposite way to the kingdom of the work. Being first is not out of the question, but only comes to the one who is last and the servant of all v35. That way we become like Jesus who gave us the glory of heaven to serve us so that we might share in his glory in heaven.

Readings for Trinity 17
New Testament: Hebrews 1:1-4 2:5-12. Gospel: Mark 10:2-16.

Readings for Trinity 18
New Testament: Hebrews 4:12-16. Gospel: Mark 10:17-31.
The letter to the Hebrews reminds us of the discerning power of the word of God. It can even divide between soul and spirit. The spirit is the part of man which was made new when we came to Jesus. The soul however needs to be renewed every day of our lives. It contains the mind, the will and the emotions. Each of these needs to be renewed. St Paul in his letter to the Romans 12:2 tells us to 'be transformed by the renewing of our minds'. Here in Hebrews 4:16 the writer tells us to approach the throne of grace with confidence because Jesus, our great high priest, has gone before us. We are to hold firmly to our profession of faith which comes from a mind renewed by the power of the living and active word of God in our mouths.

Readings for Luke the Evangelist
New Testament: 2 Timothy 4:5-17. Gospel: Luke 10:1-9.

Readings for Bible Sunday
New Testament: 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5. Gospel: John 5:36-end.

Readings for All Saints Day
New Testament: Revelation 21:1-6. Gospel: John 11:32-44.

Readings for Remembrance Sunday
New Testament: Hebrews 9:24-end. Gospel: Mark 1:14-20.

Readings for 2 before Advent
New Testament: Hebrews 10:11-25. Gospel: Mark 13:1-8.

Readings for Christ the King
New Testament: Revelation 1:4-8. Gospel: John 18:33-37.