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Sunday Readings
Readings for Sundays after Trinity 2010

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.

We have been using the readings from year C which include reading through Luke's Gospel. This is a longer gospel than Mark's which we read last year but is also a synoptic gospel contains many of the same stories which we read in Mark. Luke's gospel begins with the Nativity stories and like Matthew's contains a Genealogy of Jesus. Luke also wrote the Acts of the Apostles as can be seen from the mention of Theophilus in the opening chapters of each book.

Like the rest of the New Testament, Luke'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.

Readings for Trinity Sunday
New Testament: Romans 5:1-5. Gospel: John 16:12-15.
On Trinity Sunday we consider a subject so profound that whole books have been written about it. In Romans 5 St Paul deals with our relationship to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Whether we acknowledge it or not, We have a deep longing to know God. Paul tells us that 'since we have been justified through faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ'. Peace is to be in right relationship with God the Father and has been made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus the Son. This represents our relationship towards the Father whom we may now approach with confidence through the Son. The Father's relationship towards us is in verse 5 'God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he has given us'. Essentially the relationships between the members of the Holy Trinty enable us to experience the most important relationship for which God created us in the beginning.

Readings for Trinity 1
New Testament: Galatians 1:11-end. Gospel: Luke 7:11-17.
St Paul in his letter to the Galatians tells how he received the Gospel as a revelation from Jesus. Previously Paul had intensely persecuted the Church. That is until he met Jesus on the road to Demascus and received his commission to preach Jesus among the Gentiles. Now known as Paul and not by his Hebrew name Saul, he fulfilled his mission and left us his writings in the form of the letters to wrote to the churches.

Readings for Trinity 2
New Testament: Galatians 2:15-end. Gospel: Luke 7:36-8:3.
St Paul who was born under the Jewish Law knows the good things which God did when He gave the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai. However now that St Paul knows Jesus he is fully aware that 'a man is not saved by observing the Law, but by faith in Jesus Christ' v16. As Paul writes elseware the Law is good and holy (Romans 7.12), but here he profundly states 'for if righteousness could be gained through the Law, Christ died for nothing!' v21.

Readings for Trinity 3
New Testament: Galatians 3:23-end. Gospel: Luke 8:26-39.
This week St Paul tells us that even though observing the Law cannot make us righteous, the Law was intended to lead us to Christ who is our righteousness. The Law leads us to Christ that we may be justified by faith v24. Through baptism we have clothed ourselves with Christ and are made one in Christ Jesus. This Gospel which St Paul received by revelation is so good that, whether we were born under the Law like St Paul or outside of the Law as many of us were, we who belong to Christ are 'Abraham's seed and heirs accoring to the promise'. St Paul's letters will never cease to stir our hearts once we understand how great is his understanding of what Christ Jesus did when he died and rose again for all people everywhere.

Readings for Trinity 4
New Testament: Galatians 5:1,13-25. Gospel: Luke 9:51-end.
St Paul knows that the gospel of life in Christ Jesus has set us free and he urges us not to go back to a yoke of slavery. This week he tells us how we are to use our freedom. It is not to indulge the desires of the flesh/sinful nature but to serve one another in love v13. the key to living in love is to keep in step with the Holy Spirit who dwells in us and by whom we live.

Readings for Trinity 5
New Testament: Galatians 6:1-16. Gospel: Luke 10:1-11,16-20.
St Paul's letters were concerned with instructing the young church how to live as the church in the freedom of the gospel. There was always the temptation for some members to go back the Law which they knew. But as we saw above the law was only intended to lead to Christ. Paul sums up where he stands in verse 14 'May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world'. May this be our boast and result in the life lived in the Spirit which St Paul describes.

Readings for Trinity 6
New Testament: Colossians 1:1-14. Gospel: Luke 10:25-37.
St Paul begins this letter by addressing the Christian in Colosse as 'holy'. This word reflects their position in Christ as set apart for God. We often consider that holiness is determined by our actions. Paul gives us further insight in verse 12 when he writes 'giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the the sains in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us us into the kingdom of the Son he loves in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.' All this happened when we put our trust in Jesus. It is a done deed. Our response to such a great gift from God in Christ Jesus is described in verse 10 live a life worthy of the Lord, to please Him and to bear fruit. First the gift of salvation received by faith followed by the lifestyle also lived by faith in what God has already done for us in Christ.

Readings for Trinity 7
New Testament: Colossians 1:15-28. Gospel: Luke 10:38-end.
St Paul begins this section the Christ through whom all things were made, reminding of the same thoughts in John's gospel 1:3. He then tells of the supremacy of Christ over creation and all its powers. Then he moves in verse 22 onto our position as those who were reconciled to God through Christ's physical body, in the death of Jesus. Here Paul describes the purpose of the cross: to present us holy in God's sight, without blemish and free from accusation. Our part is to live by in the good of what Jesus has done for us. This good news of the gospel is not only for us who believe, but for every creature under heaven. Before the coming of Jesus this was a mystery, but now that the Holy Spirit has come to dwell in us we have 'Christ in us' the hope of glory which all creation is longing for (verse 27).

Readings for James the Apostle
New Testament: Acts 11:27-12:2. Gospel: Matthew 20:20-28.
Jesus describes in gospel today what is involved in sitting with him in his kingdom. It is to share in his life. For St James drinking the cup that Jesus drank was literally to die the death of a martyr Acts 12:2. In Matthew 20:26, Jesus tells how the kingdom is ordered. Being first is for those who would take the last position. This is because Jesus, the Son of Man, did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Readings for Trinity 9
New Testament: Colossians 3:1-11. Gospel: Luke 12:13-21.
St Paul begins with an amazing truth: we have been raised with Christ. This may be difficult to comprehend while we are still in our earthly bodies until we realise the we are composed of spirit, soul and body. Our bodies will not be raised until Jesus returns, but our spirit was made new when we surrendered our lives to Jesus. Verse 3 talks of us dying while we are still alive in our bodies. For us this took place when we were buried in the waters of baptism. Our reborn spirit teaches our souls (mind, will and emotions) and our body follows on to produce a godly life. In verse 4 we hear of Christ's return when we shall be raised and with bodies which have caught up with our reborn spirits, we shall appear with Jesus in glory. That is with glorious bodies like unto has glorious body. What a future awaits us!

Readings for Trinity 10
New Testament: Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16. Gospel: Luke 12:32-40.
Our New Testament reading begins with the standard definition of faith in 11:1. We are told that the ancients for commended for such faith and in verse 8 we hear how Abraham showed his faith and received Issaac as the fruit of faith. Verse 12ff comes back to the theme of faith being what we hope for. "They did not receive the things promised, they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance". Like many who came after him Abraham was looking down the years to the coming of Jesus and his death on Mount Moriah (Genesis 22). We are the heirs of what was promised to Abraham and foreseen by the prophets: "the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints (Colossians 1:26).

Readings for The Blessed Virgin Mary
New Testament: Galatians 4:4-7. Gospel: Luke 1:46-55.
Today's New Testament reading is set in the context of a paragraph which begins in Galatians 3:36. Here St Paul tells us that we "are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus". He reminds us that "we who were baptised into Christ have clothed ourselves with Christ". This is profound since we have put on the anointing of the Anointed One, Christ. It gets even better in verse 29 "If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise". As I noted last week Abraham was looking forward to a day when what he foresaw would come to pass. Galatians 4:4 says "But whan the time had fully come, God sent his Son". Jesus came in the fullness of time to redeem us and and make us sons of God and heirs of the promises made to Abraham. God was thinking of us when he said to Abraham "and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed (Genesis 22:18).

Readings for Trinity 12
New Testament: Hebrews 12:18-end. Gospel: Luke 13:10-17.
Our New Testament reading begins by the writer describing how the people of Israel experienced God's presence during the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19). The writer then contasts this with our experience of the same God who is still a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). The difference for us is that we come to God in Jesus the mediator of a new covenant and to sprinkled blood which for us is the blood of Jesus. In both Old and New Covenants God is approached with sprinkled blood. For us our plea in in the blood of Jesus which takes away the sins of the world. God is still awesome and will shake the earth and the heavens (12:26). We are set upon a rock who is Jesus and are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken. Our response is to worship God acceptably with reverence and awe (12:29).

Readings for Trinity 13
New Testament: Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16. Gospel: Luke 14:1,7-14.
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews echos the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:31ff by describing a life of faith which is lived out in godly actions. The first benefit mentioned is that 'by so doing some people have entertained angels' (13:2). God has promised to be with us always (Deuteronomy 31:6) and Jesus in the same for ever (Hebrews 13:8). We can by faith in God's promises carry out all He asks us to do. Our lives are to be lived in praises to God and our actions are the sacrifices which demonstrate the reality of the praises on our lips (Heb 13:15f).

Readings for Trinity 14
New Testament: Philemon 1-21. Gospel: Luke 14:25-33.
St Paul writing to Philemon contiues the theme of godly actions we heard about last week. Paul's concern is for Onesimus who has been are great comfort to St Paul during his time in prison for the gospel. Paul is sending Onesimus back to Philemon and is writing about how he should be welcomed by Philemon. Paul is confident of Philemon's actions because of his past actions which are described in verses 4-7. The key to a good result is in verse 6 'so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing which we have in Christ'. Since we have already received in Jesus every good and perfect gift we are well supplied to share these with others.

Readings for Trinity 15
New Testament: 1 Timothy 1:12-17. Gospel: Luke 15:1-10.
The abundant goodness of God is described again this week by St Paul concerning the gifts which Paul has received. Paul had carried out no good actions which earned God's favour but still Paul says 'The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus'. Paul is saying that if God can do this for him, the worst of sinners, he can do it for anyone! No wonder Paul can sing this song of praise 'Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.' ( 1 Timothy 1:17).

Readings for Trinity 16
New Testament: 1 Timothy 2:1-7. Gospel: Luke 16:1-13.
We are commanded in the Bible to make intercession for everyone, for kings and those in authority. The aim of this is that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness (1 Timothy 2:2). God's purpose and ours is that all men may be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. The condition if the society we live in does influence how we are able to spread the Good News of Jesus. For this reason praying for those in authority has always been part of the public liturgy of the Church.

Readings for St Michael and All Angels
New Testament: Revelation 12:7-12. Gospel: John 1:47-51.
Our New Testament reading for St Michael and All Angels contains the wonderful verse 'they overcame him (the devil) by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony' (Hebrews 12:11). The blood of Jesus shed on Calvary did overcome all the power of the devil and took away the sins of the whole world. It was a perfect sacrifce made and presented by Jesus, our great High Priest. We are able to plead the power of the Blood and make remembrance before God each time the Eucharistic Prayer is prayed. Pleading the Blood was the word of testimony which was mentioned in verse 11. It was a testimony to the power of the Blood of Jesus and as such when spoken was able to overcome all the power of the enemy.

Readings for Trinity 18
New Testament: 2 Timothy 1:1-14. Gospel: Luke 17:5-10.
St Paul writing to Timothy in verse 6 reminds him to 'fan into flame the gift of God which is in you'. Timothy had been commissioned into service by the laying on of hands with prayer. Timothy, however, was responsible for keeping the flame burning in a spirit of power. We are chosen by God 'who has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace (verse 9). We are to 'guard the good deposit that was entrusted to us' to 'guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us' (verse 14).

Readings for Trinity 19
New Testament: 2 Timothy 2:8-15. Gospel: Luke 17:11-19.
St Paul begins our passage by placing Jesus firmly in the line of King David and now risen from the dead. Proclaiming this Gospel has resulted in Paul being put in chains in prison. By contrast he declares that God's word is not chained (verse 9). Paul who by this time has nearly run his race urges Timothy to be like a good workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth (verse 15).

Readings for Trinity 20
New Testament: 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5. Gospel: Luke 18:1-8.
St Paul writing to Timothy uses what is a key description of the power of the holy scriptures. "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training is righteousness, so that the man of God may be throughly equipped for every good work" 3:16. We see from today's passage that scripture is both inward, able to make us wise for salvation v15 and outward, equipped for every good work. Paul urges Timothy to preach the Word whatever the season and thus fulfil the duties of his ministry 4:5.

Bible Sunday
New Testament: Romans 15:1-6. Gospel: Luke 4:16-24.
Following on from last week, our St Paul reminds us that "everything that was written in the past was written to teach us". He is referring to the Scriptures for he continues "so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." Jesus in our gospel reading is proclaiming these same Scriptures in the synagogue at Nazareth. Not only proclaiming the prophecy on Isaiah but also declaring in Luke 4:21 that these same Scriptures have been fulfilled that very day in the life of Jesus himself.

All Saints
New Testament:Ephesians 1:11-end. Gospel: Luke 6:20-31.

3 before Advent
New Testament: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-end. Gospel: Luke 20:27-38.
We live in an inbetween world, between the reality of Jesus first coming as a baby in Bethlehem and his second coming as King at he end of this each. The church has sometimes struggled with this fact. St Paul has to remind the church in his second letter to the Thessalonians that the Day of the Lord has not yet come 2 Thess 2:3. We are able now to live in some of the benefits of the future coming Kingdom of God. But there is a fullness which we shall only experience in the full presence of Christ. Our security as always is the Scriptures. By keeping to them we shall not miss out on the benefits which are already ours in this age nor thing we have already entered into the age to come when all we are doing is looking at a poor reflection instead of seeing Christ face to face (1 Corintihians 13:12).

Remembrance Sunday
New Testament: 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13. Gospel: Luke 21:5-19.

Christ the King
New Testament: Colossians 1:11-20. Gospel: Luke 23:33-43.
We have an inheritence in Christ which is stored up for us in heaven. This is the hope that we have in Christ. St Paul in Colossians 1 is giving thanks for this hope which we have heard about in the word of truth. As we conclude the current church year we are looking forward to the glorious coming of Christ not only as we begin out Advent readings next week but also each time we read the word of truth for ourselves in the Bible. For not only are we celebrating Christ the King of heaven in our service today, but we celebrate always that God "raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in heaVenly realms in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6).

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