9/27 The 17th Sunday after Pentecost: Heavenly Treasure

Ezekiel 18:1-4,25-32 / Philippians 2:1-13 / Matthew 21:23-32

Who do you think you are?  We’d probably ask the same question if a man came riding into town on a donkey causing a commotion, turning the temple fundraiser upside down, zapping a fig tree, and talked of throwing mountains into the sea.  The religious officials were afraid of Jesus – and of their own shadows.   A little later on Saul was afraid of Jesus too, especially his wayfaring followers – but something happened and he became Paul by the word of Jesus. As the Lord had told Ezekiel, Paul turned and received “a new heart and a new spirit”. Joining the wayfarers he wrote to the Philippians from prison about his separation from them and encouraged them to be “of the same mind”: specifically “the same mind that was in Christ Jesus”.  Encouraging them in his absence to look to Jesus, and to know that even though they were apart, God was at work in them together.  God’s Grace in them.

It’s a beautiful picture and one which recalls to mind a story I’ve shared at quiet days over the years, of seeing a young girl running with outstretched arms, almost stumbling over herself – as overly excited children tend to do, – towards a mailbox where a postal truck has just pulled off in a cloud of red dust, rushing for the delivery of a long- expected parcel.  Today as the turmoil of “covidtide” rages on and the lost voices of division demand to know “Who do you think you are?” let us turn again with new hearts and minds as we pray for the new life we’re given together in Jesus, the heavenly treasure.

Let us pray:

O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity: Grant us the fullness of your grace, that we, running to obtain your promises, may become partakers of your heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

O God, our Healer and our Good, you sent your Son to cure the world’s sickness by taking upon himself the burden of its guilt.  Heal the diseased vision that causes us to mistake evil for good; heal the sickened mind that causes us to mistake selfishness for love; heal the unhealthy habits that we have made our own, so that we may stand together before you, whole in body, soul, and spirit, to sing your praise for ever with all the saints, through Jesus Christ out Lord. Amen.