Sunday 22 September, 2019

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings are laid out as for the continuous form of the lectionary. Alternative related readings (OT and psalm only) are below. Hymns marked with an asterisk (*) are suggested for more than one reading

Jeremiah 8: 18 – 9:1

I will speak out for those who have no voices  (StF 702)
The prophets’ voice comes down the years (StF 162)

Psalm 79: 1-9

Hymns reflecting the psalmist’s theme

Because you came and sat beside us (StF 420)
Father, we have sinned in word, and deed, and thought (StF 422)
‘Forgive our sins as we forgive’, you taught us, Lord, to pray (StF 423)
Lord we turn to you for mercy (StF 429)
My troubled soul, why so weighed down? (StF 635)
Out of the depths I cry to thee, Lord God! Oh hear my prayer! (StF 433)
When, O God, our faith is tested (StF 643)
We come to you with no pretence (StF 435)
You showed us mercy when we were in darkness (StF 488)

1 Timothy 2: 1-7

Father, whose everlasting love (StF 320)
Lord, for the years your love has kept and guided (StF 470)
Pray for a world where every child finds welcome in a sheltered space (StF 527)
Victim divine, thy grace we claim (StF 600)

Luke 16: 1-13

A charge to keep I have (StF 658)
As water to the thirsty (StF 441)
Called by Christ to be disciples (StF 660)
Lord, we have come at your own invitation (StF 595)
O Jesus, I have promised to serve you to the end (StF 563)
Send down the fire of your justice (StF 413)
Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee (StF 566)
Teach me, my God and King, in all things thee to see (StF 668)

Alternative related readings

Amos 8: 4-7

Father, we have sinned in word and thought and deed (StF 422)
In an age of twisted values (StF 703)
The right hand of God is writing in our land  (StF 715)
We lay our broken world  in sorrow at your feet (StF 718)

Psalm 113

Hymns reflecting the psalmist’s theme

Blessed be the name of the Lord (StF 40)
Blessed be your name (StF 41)
From all that dwell below the skies (StF 75)
Give thanks to the Lord (StF 77)
My soul rejoices in God my Saviour (StF 60)
Worship God with the morning sunrise (StF 68)
Ye servants of God, your master proclaim (StF 340)

Phillip Poyner writes:

The themes of God’s judgment and compassion, the Christian lifestyle and the urgency of the kingdom are present in this week’s readings. Preparing a sermon linking the readings, and particularly the gospel to the other readings, is quite a challenge this week!  Jeremiah 8 and Psalm 79 are both laments, perhaps for the same event – the Fall of Jerusalem? Whilst there is a recognition that the disaster is deserved there is also the cry for God’s help and deliverance, and Jeremiah is at one with the people in that lamentation (hence StF 702). The epistle speaks of Christ bringing that deliverance and of praying for those in ‘high positions’ – another link to Jeremiah as the king is apparently absent from Zion (v19). Amos 8: 5b-6a also speaks of those in high positions.

Leadership can degenerate into corruption, materialism and exploitation and be disastrous. The shrewd manager may be reducing the debt by the interest element, regarded as usury and not permitted because it can lead to exploitation of the poor. This links with the Amos reading and the need for the Lord to lift the poor, the downtrodden (Psalm 113).

Two weeks ago the gospel spoke of ‘estimating the cost’.  This week the shrewd/dishonest manager calculates.  Are we to see in these passages that the kingdom demands are urgent, needing action without delay but with due estimation/calculation? (Our hymns speak more of not counting the cost!)

The gospel is also perhaps saying that our ordinary dealings should reflect the integrity of Christian behaviour and that we should sit lightly on wealth because discipleship needs to be wholehearted.

Categories: Lectionary.

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