Season of Creation 2 – 16th Sunday after Pentecost

Anglican lectionary:
Catholic lectionary:
1st Reading
Prov 1: 20-33
Isa 50:5-9a
2nd Reading
Jas 3:1-12
Jas 2:14-18
Mark 8: 27-38



“Oikos-logia” the study of the home

The word ecology comes from “oikos – logia”- the study of the household. We root our theme in the concept of oikos – home. This  points to the integral web of relationships that sustain the wellbeing of the whole Earth.  Each creature – not only animals, insects and plants, but also non sentient creatures and minerals form part of this web and contribute to the health of the Earth. The Creation story in Gen 1 reminds us that as humans we were created on the same day as all the animals, we are not separate to this glorious, diverse earth community.

When we look at the words “oikos-logia- ecology” and “oikos-nomos- economy” we see the fundamental connection between Ecology and Economy. “Whatever befalls the earth befalls the children of the earth” (Chief Seattle).

Ecology and Economy are two interrelated perspectives on God’s household of life – oikos.  Ecology then is a study of the relationships between creatures and the eco-systems that sustain them.

Do we see a forest as a financial resource – to be cut down – or do we see it as our home, which provides food, shelter, medicine and fuel for the generations to come? The current economic system which is based on unlimited growth is having a disastrous effect on this earth.

What went wrong is very clear. It’s humanity- humankind went beyond the boundaries, ate beyond the limits – that is what greed is about and the tragedy with our world today – greed is so systemic, it’s so engraved in the global economies and it’s also bred inequalities and also bred the abuse of the environment, the abuse of nature.” Bishop Zac Niringiye.

“Earth Overshoot Day” marks the tragic day each year when our demand for ecological resources exceeds what Mother Earth can regenerate in that year. Last year it fell on August 22nd, which means that for the last four months of the year we have been stealing resources from the generations to come.

“There is a real danger that we will leave future generations only rubble, deserts and refuse” Pope Francis

Please go to for more resources for the Season of Creation


by Rev Tim Gray, Diocese of Johannesburg
Proverbs 1:20-33

If ecology is the study of our common home, then we need wisdom to guide us in how to care for it. In the book of Proverbs, Wisdom is personified as a woman, present at and involved in creation (8:22-31).

But since you refuse to listen when I call, and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand, Prov 1 : 24

In this passage we see how humans are ignoring the voice of lady Wisdom. The simple (morally immature youth), the mockers (the arrogant and skeptics) and the fools (the immoral) are warned of the consequences of their disregard of her voice. Her advice is readily and traditionally available – her voice is heard in the squares, streets and city entrances. The failure and fall of those who will not respond will be calamitous and distressful. There will be no way out of their predicament and their judgement will be the consequences of their own actions (eating the fruit of their own schemes (Prov 1: 31). The teaching and lesson of these verses is “the waywardness of the simple will kill them and the complacency of fools will destroy them” (Prov 1:32). We can no longer plead ignorance about environmental destruction, for Wisdom is calling even in the street.

Looming over our planet is a threat of extinction, acknowledged now as a sixth extinction. The Season of Creation is an appeal for new awareness and response.  Every sphere of planetary life reveals a human history of selfishness and anthropocentricity. The living soil, the seas, rivers and oceans are being polluted – planetary degradation reveals the extent of the human footprint. Just as the simple, mockers and fools in the Proverbs reading of today, are told by lady wisdom that they will suffer the consequences of their strategies, so that same wisdom calls us to new perspectives in our relationship with the earth. Unless we listen to the voice of wisdom, faith and science, we too will have to endure the consequences of our behavior. Wisdom, known not only in the streets, plazas and city gates, but present at the formation of creation, continues to call us to listen to her voice. (Proverbs 3:19-20).  Clearly, our own mandate as Christians is to care for and nurture Creation.

Wisdom, personified as a woman, one who permeates creation, warns us of the consequences of foolishness, let us not ignore her prophetic voice. Let us be guided by the Wisdom of the Holy spirit, the wisdom we find in science and the wisdom of our ancestors and indigenous peoples.  We can see the consequences of our actions. It is time to act!

Psalm 19

Did you know that there are ‘two books of God’?  God does not only speak to us through the written book of the Bible, but God also speaks to us through creation. We can see this clearly in Psalm 19, which contains two sections.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech Psalm 19 1-2

In the first section – v 1-6, we see that for the psalmist, the heavens and skies bear testimony to the overwhelming presence of God and declare his glory. Our ancestors recognized the voice of wisdom as inherent in nature. For our psalmist the celestial realm is independent of human language. Inaudibly and uniquely the heavens and the skies declare what they know of God. This section reveals the glory and work of God observed in the wonders of the heaven where knowledge is displayed without words.

The second section 7-14 proclaims the written instructions of the law and their completeness, trustworthiness, rightness as well as what they produce and inspire in the individual – revival in the soul, wisdom in the simple (vs 7), joy in the heart and light to the eyes (vs 8). The Psalm extols the heart of wisdom which is the fear of the Lord (vs 9) and which is more precious than gold and sweeter than honey (vs 10).

The way the writer puts the two sections next to each other shows the harmony between the glory of creation and the law. The sections represent poems from differing eras, pre and post exilic respectively, and together provide a theological unity. The witness of the heavens to God’s authoritative presence in nature and, in the law, testimony to God’s historical presence in a covenant people.

The psalmist works from a premise that when each part of creation fulfills its natural role, it utters praise to its creator.  The heavens and the skies are not simply memorials to God but a living language declaring God’s glory and ability – the work of his hands. The celestial sphere has intrinsic worth and meaning. They have voice and display knowledge.

There is a profoundly sacramental quality about the universe – an outward and visible meeting of all that is inward and divine – God’s glory is evident, and the universe proclaims its mystery. We come away not only having seen celestial objects but with a sense of the divine.

As Martin Luther said “God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and in clouds and stars”

God speaks to us through nature – the question is: are we listening?

James 3: 1-12

The context of this passage is the risk posed by self-appointed teachers. Teachers who are not qualified to teach and whose indiscipline and self-interest is able to cause communal disturbance and spiritual damage.  The tongue is the metaphor used by the author for speech but in the sense that it is the agent of the person who is speaking. Ultimately the passage is an observation and comment of human willfulness which can manifest both good and bad things through what they say.

The tongue operates much as a bridle does to control a horse or the rudder to steer a ship (vss 3 and 4). It is small but influential. Negatively it can be destructive. It can be the spark initiating a raging forest fire. It can be the all- possessing evil which can consume an individual. For the person carrying the image of God it should not be like this. The brother cannot carry this duality any more than fresh and salt water can emerge from the same spring, figs come from olive trees or grapes from a fig tree (vss 10-12).

As faith leaders we are called to pass on knowledge and wisdom. Our tongues can do great good, but also great harm if we pass on fake news and incorrect truths. We can see how dangerous it is when fake news stories are spread around. There is an ‘anti-science’ sentiment which is often shared on social media which breeds climate change denialism as well as making people reticent to get vaccinated.

Mark 8: 27-38

 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” Mark 8:27

In this passage Jesus seeks understanding from his disciples as to how people perceive and understand him. Some see him as John the Baptist returned, others as the messianic herald/forerunner Elijah, and yet others as one of the prophets. Peter, speaking for the disciples and responding to Jesus direct question says he is the Christ. As with others who have acknowledged him in some way, Jesus  forbids his disciples to tell anyone. Commentaries explain this on the basis of them being on gentile territory in this case Caesarea Philippi.

Peter’s understanding of who Jesus is (the Confession of Peter), is found wanting when Jesus explains what is to happen to him in Jerusalem. In Matthew’s gospel (Matt 16:13-28) the story includes Jesus’ proclamation of Peter as the foundation of the church and bearer of the keys of heaven (Matt 16: 17-19). Both accounts clearly draw on the same source and Jesus’ dramatic rejection of Peter becomes an opportunity for Jesus to teach on the meaning and cost of being a follower.

Thomas A’Kempis wrote in the 15th Century[i] “The hardest struggle is to the struggle to overcome ourselves”.  Our gospel reading tells us how crucial it is not to misinterpret who Jesus is. His rebuke of Peter is that Peter has in mind the things of man rather than that which is of God.  How grateful we are to Peter for the repeated failures that are reported of him! It is hard to imagine another leader with so many documented disappointments. Yet the good news is precisely the restored and transformed Peter that we are later to see courageously proclaiming the gospel in the heartland of religious cultural opposition.  So too, we can overcome the worldviews that we have succumbed to and regain a paradigm which glistens with the joy and wonder of living with creation rather than in opposition to it.

It is one thing to shout, “Jesus is our Lord”; it is another to live a Christian faith of love.  The outrageous love that Jesus calls us to embody is risky, courageous, and life changing.  Peter was complacent about the path of discipleship.  He could only focus on the eventual glory.  The teaching of Jesus along the way about where this would lead was just too difficult to accept.  Jesus developed His wisdom through listening to the poor and downtrodden, fisher folk and vineyard labourers and knew He needed to engage with them and champion their human rights.

In Mark 8:36-37 Jesus asks what good it is to gain the whole world but forfeit our souls. What a challenge to the materialism that hardens our heart against God and our fellow creatures!

How do we discard that tight-fitting cultural mantle, consumerism, whose fashions we so readily wear, and whose synthetic products continue to pollute our oceans and atmosphere? How do we overcome the narratives and myths that capture and hold us on a desperately dangerous extractive and industrial trajectory? That is the challenge that faces humankind

A tipping point has been reached in that we have arrived at an existential point where our exploitative nature is confronted by a planet which says, “no more’’. Many would interpret the Covid 19 virus as a dramatic demonstration of this. ‘Building back’ after the pandemic must contain a new respect for the natural environment. Our plans will need to be as Thomas Berry noted, mutually beneficial to ourselves and nature.

We need to gaze at the universe, to touch the earth and breathe its atmosphere with reverence and awe. In this regard the church has two fundamental roles. Firstly, its programmes need to purposefully assist people to engage with the natural world. There needs to be a deep commitment to the integrity of creation and to discover in practical ways, through observation and touch, the household of creation; literally to speak like Francis of Assisi of Brother Sun and Sister Moon. We will only protect what we have grown to love.

Secondly, we need to rediscover a theology of creation which dissolves any notions of human superiority. What does it mean to be made in the image of God? It means that we can declare the glory of God in creation. We are not superior or separate from the rest of creation. All of creation bears the imprint of God’s fingers. We have a unique role as earth keepers and protectors of creation. We too, bear sacramental testimony to the working of God’s hand.

What does it mean for us to take up our cross and follow Christ, the Lord of all creation in our current era of ecological devastation?


‘The Oikos Journey’: A theological reflection on the Economic Crisis in South Africa 2006. Diakonia Council of Churches

The New International Version Study Bible. 1985. Zondervan Corporation. U.S.A

The Interpreters One-Volume Commentary on the Bible. 1971. Abingdon Press. Nashville, Tennessee. U.S.A

Berry, Thomas. 1999. The Great Work. Bell Tower, New York.

A’Kempis, Thomas. 1973. The Imitation of Christ. Baker Book House by Keats Publishing, NC



Jesus, redeemer of our common home and provider for all of creation;
Teach us to value the habitats of all your creatures given into our care,
so that we can preserve the world in all of its diversity
Inspire us to value your precious gifts  and never to take more than we can give,
For you live and reign in the diversity of the Blessed Trinity, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.



Gathering in God’s name

May none of your wonderful creations
cease in their praise of you,
God of beauty and wonder –
neither at night nor in the morning.
May the glimmering stars,
the breath-taking mountains,
the fathomless depths of the sea,
the crashing waves,
the singing streams
all burst out in songs of praise to you,
the Creator of all:
Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
We join the angels before the throne
in singing “Amen! Amen! Amen!”
Power and majesty, praise and honour
are due to you,
Granter of infinite mercy.
Amen! Amen! Amen!

(A third-century prayer of praise from Egypt)

Prayer of Confession

Creating God, you give light and life,
and express delight in your creation.
You gave the command to till and care for your garden,
but we have abused the beauty of creation and keeping of your work.

We confess the plundering of finite resources.
We confess to stealing our descendants’ birthright to life.
We confess the flagrant pollution of land, sea and air.
We confess the churches’ lack of concern for the well-being of creation.
We confess the excesses within our own lifestyle.
Creating God, we have desecrated your creation and darkened your light.
In a moment of quiet we confess our profligate lifestyle and human greed.

Words of Renewal

God of life and God of light,
as we seek a new relationship with your created order,
may we sense the grace and peace
of a new relationship with you. Amen.

(CTBI Eco-Congregations)

Responding to the Word of God

Affirmation of faith

God, the source of our being
and the goal of all our longing,
we believe and trust in you.
The whole earth is alive with your glory,
and all that has life is sustained by you.
We commit ourselves to cherish your world,
and to seek your face.
O God, embodied in a human life
we believe and trust in you.

Jesus our brother, born of the woman Mary,
you confronted the proud and the powerful,
and welcomed as your friends
those of no account.
Holy Wisdom of God, firstborn of creation,
you emptied yourself of power,
and became foolishness for our sake.
You laboured with us upon the cross,
and have brought us forth
to the hope of resurrection.
We commit ourselves to struggle against evil,
and to choose life.

O God, life-giving Spirit
Spirit of healing and comfort,
of integrity and truth,
we believe and trust in you.
Warm-winged Spirit, brooding over creation,
rushing wind and Pentecostal fire,
we commit ourselves to work with you
and renew our world.

(All desires known, Janet Morley)

Prayers of the People  

Reader 1. Creator God, the freedom and responsibilities we were gifted by you have been abused. We have used domination rather than being stewards of your sacred Creation. Walls are created to keep others out instead of inns where all are welcome. Help us to trust in our identity as your children. Accept our thanks for all people who show in action that indeed your Creation is sacred.

Reader 2 Creator God, hear us as we cry out to you for peace and justice for the peoples and the land itself. Guide us to a place where sacred water, land and resources are respected and shared by all. As your Word became part of your living creation, teach us to trust in hope that one day soon all may dwell in peace and happiness. May your justice truly course through our lands like an unstoppable flood.

Reader 1: Creator, we give thanks for Mother Earth and all her abundant life. She protects us and nourishes us. Help us to conserve nature and serve all Creation. Continue to reveal yourself through your sacred creation. Help us to shape ourselves within the warmth of each day and every time we allow new wisdom to guide us and help us grow

Reader 2 God our Creator, not long ago, we took for granted that food was produced and shared in local community. Today we live within the consequences of the choices we have made and now the nourishment of Mother Earth  is not available to all.

Reader 1. Great Creator, heal and redeem the wounds of your Creation. We know the food which grows from your Creation is meant for all. Help us find ways to bring nourishment to the people and places that seek it. Teach us and show us the way.

Reader 2. Creator God of earth, sea, and sky, ignite the sacred fire of your Spirit within us that we may rise up to heal and defend Mother Earth, and pour your blessing upon all who work for the caring of all your Creation.

Reader 1. Creator, you made the world and declared it to be good:

The beauty of the trees, the softness of the air,
The fragrance of the grass speaks to us.
The summit of the mountains, the thunder of the sky,
The rhythm of the lakes speaks to us.
The faintness of the stars, the freshness of the morning,
The dewdrops on the flower speak to us.
But above all, our heart soars for you speak to us in your Son, Jesus Christ,
In whose name we offer these prayers. Amen

(Kelly Sherman Conroy, Evangelical Lutheran Church)

Celebrating at the table

Holy indeed are you, O God, and holy is your eternal Word, your living Wisdom,
the firstborn of all creation, who, for us and for our salvation, took flesh in the womb of Mary,
was born and lived among us.
And, being found in human form, he humbled himself, even to death on a cross,
to deliver us from sin and death and to exalt us to everlasting life.

Sending out

All this day O Lord, let me touch as many lives as possible for you.
And every life I touch, may you by your spirit quicken,
whether through the word I speak, the prayer I breathe
or the life I live. Amen

(The Mothers Union Prayer)


Walk with love and care on God’s earth.
walk with vital awareness
of God’s comprehensive vision
and purpose for creation.
Walk with awe and gratitude
to ensure justice to the trees and rivers
as well as the person next to you –
they are not without purpose in God’s vision.

(Ven Taimalelagi Fagamalama Tuatagaloa, Samoa USPG  “For such a time as this” )


A beautiful version of “The Lord is my shepherd”

A playlist of creation themed hymns with words and images

A selection of hymns from Green Christian


by Rev Tim Gray, Johannesburg

Season of Creation 1 – 15th Sunday after Pentecost

Anglican lectionary:
Catholic lectionary:
1st Reading
Prov 22:1-2,8-9,22-23
Isa 35:4-7a
2nd Reading
Jas 2:1-17
Jas 2:1-5
Mark 7:24-37


“Oikos-nomos”- the rules for the home.

The word ‘economy’ comes from two Greek words – oikos-nomos, which means the rules of the household. Economics is not an academic subject for the experts, for when we speak of God’s economy we are speaking of the rules of the home, the world in which we live, work and die. Economics means the way that people relate to each other and who has control of resources. We might consider economics to be a ‘secular’ issue – but Jesus spoke more about money than he did about prayer. He recognised the power of ‘mammon’ over human beings.

Our current economic system has led to gross inequalities. The world’s richest one percent have more than twice as much wealth as the poorest 6.9 billion people! The South African riots and looting of July 2021 were fuelled by anger at unemployment, hunger and inequality.

Rather than paying more tax, the wealthy and their corporations are paying the lowest levels of tax in decades. As governments cut tax for the rich, they reduce money for vital services like healthcare and education. We now have a globalised competitive market, where businesses, forced to compete internationally, reduce labour costs by all means, in order to provide profit to keep the shareholders rich. Nations which used to have thriving industrial sectors outsource their production to nations where workers are paid slave salaries. These dynamics lead to poverty and inequality. The rich earn interest from shares and the poor pay interest on ever increasing debt. More and more national income goes to company profits and shareholders with less and less money going to the workers.

Because of the competitive global market, countries and businesses seek permanent growth – leading to devastation of the Earth’s biodiversity and increasing climate change, as more and more fossil fuels are burnt to produce cheap energy.

The oikos-nomos are the rules that should guide our common home in the places where ordinary people live. It is here that the effects of economics are felt most deeply. During COVID casual workers were made destitute while stocks in internet-based companies soared.  The economics of God should focus on meeting the needs of the whole family, rather than meeting GDP targets.

Our global economic system must be tested against God’s justice, the lives of the poor and the wellbeing of the earth community – and it is falling short.  People and planet must now come before profit.

Rev Dr Rachel Mash, Environmental Coordinator – Anglican Church of Southern Africa

Please go to for more resources for the Season of Creation

God’s Economy


by Rev Sabelo Mthimkhulu, Diocese of Natal
Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23

Rich and poor have this in common:     The Lord is the Maker of them all. Prov 22: 2

At first glance it seems the writer is suggesting that since God is the God of both rich and poor, it doesn’t matter to God whether you suffer in poverty or enjoy great wealth. Too often such ideas can undermine a concern for the poor, leading to questions such as:

  • Does God not care whether I walk 10 km to school or get driven for 1 km or less to school?
  • Does it not matter whether I use 5 litres of water or 100 litres of water to bath?
  • Does it not matter whether I have a smartphone and laptop or have no phone?

However, the writer is alert to what we would today call the prosperity gospel. The writer reminds us that to share one’s food with the poor will lead to blessing (v 9). Those who give to the poor (v 9) will gain a blessing, as opposed to those who lend money, causing debt (v 7). The generous one (v 9) is the one with a ‘good eye’ – meaning a person who sees and takes note of the needs of the poor. A person with a ‘good eye’ does not t just send a cheque to a faceless cause, they feel the pain and have compassion.

It is interesting to read that the generous soul ‘shares’ rather than ‘gives’, this indicates that they may not have an abundance of wealth, but they give because they see the pain of the poor. By inviting the poor to their own table, they are nourishing the dignity of the poor – there is a relationship between them.

In verse 23 the LORD takes up the cause of the poor, God “prosecutes” the legal cases of the poor, seizing the financial assets of the abusive, wealthy defendants.

If we were to follow the rules of God’s household, we would know that we are all equal and all made in God’s image. God’s rules show that those who share are blessed, and that God stands firmly on the side of the poor, and judges those who abuse the vulnerable.

In God’s economy there is to be a secure and just home for all.

Psalm 125

The sceptre of the wicked will not remain over the land allotted to the righteous, Psalm 125:3

The psalmist reminds the wicked that their power is temporary at best (v 3) and that evildoers will be banished from the land which is the place of Yahweh’s promise (v 5).

Verse 2 shows that God is the sovereign over all of Creation and firmly on the side of those who are exploited, hungry or imprisoned (v 4-5).

God advocates for the alien, the orphan and the widow, these three categories are consistently spoken of in Scripture. These are the vulnerable – not only do they need food security, but they also need advocates to stand up for their rights.

James 2: 1-10, 14-17

If you show special attention to the person wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor person, “Sit on the floor by my feet” James 2:3

The writer offers a direct challenge to the favouritism shown to the wealthy especially in the church.  Such favouritism runs counter to the way of God who chose those in the margins, those the community perceives to be “shabby and unclean”. We are challenged to join God on the margins, displaying our commitment in action.  God turns our social systems upside down, for God has chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom (v 5).

The common impulse to show generous hospitality to those who need it the least and can repay it, or to give priority to the wealthy in the church as they are more likely to give more in pledges, goes against the values of the kingdom.

True faith will lead to a difference in lifestyle and change our relationship with our sisters and brothers. Those who are needy and broken show us the good news of the kingdom.

V 15-17 is a direct challenge to us in a world of climate injustice. It is not enough to send ‘thoughts and prayers’ to those impacted by drought or extreme weather events.

Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:  15-17

In a world of climate injustice, where careless use of fossil fuels leads to insecurity, disaster, and suffering for the world’s poor and marginalised, we can no longer send ‘thoughts and prayers’ to those who are victims of drought and extreme weather events. We must do something, take action, both in terms of our carbon footprint, but also to pressurize our church institutions, our politicians and our businesses to hear the cry of the poor and hungry.

Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?” v 6

For those of us who live comfortable lives, we can no longer live as if we are ignorant of the links between our comforts – built on exploitative and unsustainable economic practices – and the suffering of the poor.

Mark 7:28-29

“Lord heal the Sick, heal the Poor, heal our Land” 

Mark has placed two healing stories together – the Syrophoenician woman’s daughter and the deaf-mute man.  These two healings take place as Jesus moves from Jewish territory (the centre) to Gentile territory (the margins).

The Syrophoenician woman and her daughter both inhabit the margins of society: firstly, they are women and secondly, they are gentiles, and as such, considered unclean. Thirdly the daughter has demons which makes her doubly unclean.

Regardless of all these barriers, the woman risks rejection and comes to Jesus and asks him to heal her daughter. Disturbingly, Jesus seems to discourage her, and even refers to her as the “dog”.  Not deterred, she politely uses his own argument to convince him “Sir, even the little dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs”.

The deaf-mute man is also a gentile. Once again boundaries are crossed as Jesus spits on his fingers and touches the man’s tongue at a time when saliva was considered unclean. But as was the case with the Jewish leper in Mk 1:40, the contagion is reversed, and the man healed.

These two healings demonstrate that Jesus’ mission reaches both Jews and Gentiles, ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’, but with a particular concern for the marginalized.

God does not conform to the norms of human institutions, whether religious, social, or political.

Which are the marginalized voices that we should listen to today? Sometimes we are tempted to move directly to advocacy – to speak for the voiceless, which can lead to them being further disempowered. In this gospel we see how Jesus was willing not only to listen to but also  to learn from someone who was excluded and marginalized.

These two healing stories show how Jesus heard the voices of the marginalised. Jesus allows himself and his ministry to be transformed by the plea of the Syrophoenician woman. It is hard to understand why he uses such a derogatory word, but in referring to her as the ‘dog’ he is reflecting the views of his society and social group and is challenged by her reply.   In the healing of the deaf mute – a man whose voice cannot be heard, Jesus extends the realm of God to the least noticed, those pushed to the periphery. This extension of God’s kingdom to those on the margins serves as a challenging model for the church.

Not only was the Syrophoenician woman a marginalized foreigner, she was also a woman and as such considered second class or less. Across the world, the role of woman and girls as Earth protectors is being recognised. Whereas men often see biodiversity as something to be exploited for cash, women gather herbs for healing, wood for shelter and fuel, as well as plants and herbs for food, and are committed to protecting it. Women are rising and challenging powerful structures, for the sake of their children and for Mother Earth.

Jon Sobrino suggests “from the world of the poor and the victims can come salvation for a gravely ill civilization”.  Do we too easily assume that “salvation comes” when we, the church, draw people from the periphery into the centre? Like many models of “development” which assume that the solution to the ills of poverty is to make everyone rich, do we similarly assume that those on the margins just need to be a bit more like us, the mainstream church, in order to be saved?  Are we perhaps challenged by these stories of Jesus going into Gentile territory, healing there and, as we read in chapter 8, eventually feeding the Gentile multitude there too?

For all the talk (and some activism) about addressing poverty, many of us still participate day by day in the system that continues to push the poor, the earth and its creatures to the margins.   We participate in systems that generate extreme scarcities, dehumanize people, and destroy the community of all Creation.

Is Jesus inviting us to follow him to the margins? Perhaps he is challenging us to allow ourselves to be challenged and transformed, as he was by the Syrophoenician woman.  Is he inviting us to participate in the work of healing, not from our comfortable position at the centre, but by going out to the margins?

Many churches are involved in relief efforts, when we hear of a hurricane or drought made worse by climate change, in the face of media photos we give, we donate, and we pray. We must also support developmental projects assisting people to adapt to climate change (for instance water tanks in drought areas, agro-forestry efforts.)  But we also need to challenge the structural injustices and root causes of climate change and environmental degradation. We need to re-activate the prophetic voice of the church, particularly by amplifying the voices of women and youth. And we must be willing to be converted ourselves, by the voices of the marginalised.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, “If you are being neutral in the situation of injustice, you have already chosen the side of the oppressor”.  Are we being called out to a new promised land? – the Land located in the margins?


‘The Oikos Journey’: A theological reflection on the Economic Crisis in South Africa 2006. Diakonia Council of Churches

Dewey, John. 2006. Women in the Gospel of Mark. Word and World 26.1: 22  -29.

Myers, C., 2019. Binding the strong man: A political reading of Mark’s story of Jesus. Orbis Books, Maryknoll, New York.

Sobrino, J., 2015. No salvation outside the poor: Prophetic-utopian  essays. Orbis Books, Maryknoll, New York.

Season of Creation Resource Guide 2021

Creation Time 2018. Churches together in Britain and Ireland



God, Creator of our common home, your boundless love includes everyone.

Open our hearts and minds to your generous will
that we may proclaim Christ’s love and justice through words and actions.

May we serve the needs of our neighbours within the Community of all Creation
and may  justice flow down like rivers.


Gathering in God’s name

Kyrie Eleison

You delight in creation, its colour and diversity.
Yet we have misused the earth
And plundered its resources for our own selfish ends.
Lord, have mercy
Lord have mercy

You have showered us with blessings, but we have been grudging towards others
and lacking in generosity in word and deed
Christ, have mercy
Christ, have mercy


Act of Penitence

Lord, you have given us a world full of rich resources to feed us all
and to provide us with all that the body and mind could need
Yet the poor are still with us, deprived of food, of home, of education and dignity; deprived of healing and of hope.

Forgive our inhumanity.
Forgive our selfishness and greed
Forgive our church life and our home life
Forgive us for leaving Christ unfed, unhoused, without healing and without hope.
Forgive us and bring ourselves and our possessions back to you.
In Christ’s name


(Season of Creation 4)

Responding to the Word of God

Affirmation of Faith

We are not alone; we live in God’s world.
We believe in God: who has created and is creating,
who works in others and us through the Spirit.
We trust in the Creator.
We are called to be,
to celebrate God’s presence,
to live with respect in creation,
to love and serve others,
to seek justice and to resist injustice,
to seek out models for hope and peace
We are not alone

(United Church of Canada)

Prayers of the People

God of all hopefulness, we bring before You our concerns for the world and her people.
Gracious God, we turn to You,
For You are the source of our hope and the creator of the Kingdom. 

We pray for parents around the world who reach out in hope for their children. We pray for justice:
when they struggle to provide food for their families;
when they cannot find a place to make a home for their children.
Gracious God, we turn to You,
For You are the source of our hope and the creator of the Kingdom. 

We pray for those who find themselves on the margins of their societies.  We pray for justice:
that they might confront centres of power with the experience of life on the margins;
that they might be allowed to contribute to the welfare of society;
that we may all be enriched by the insights and wisdom they bring to our communities.
Gracious God, we turn to You,
For You are the source of our hope and the creator of the Kingdom.

We pray for our common home and all who seek to ensure its wellbeing.
We pray for justice:
that all nations of the world will work together for the common good of each person and our planet;
that conservation will enable habitats to flourish while meeting the needs of local communities;
that we each understand the impact we have upon the earth and adjust our lifestyle accordingly.
Gracious God, we turn to You,
For You are the source of our hope and the creator of the Kingdom. 

We pray for ourselves,
Disturb us and disquiet us with a passion for justice.
Challenge us to grasp a vision of Your new world and motivate us to act to birth it into being.
Enable us to pass on the gift of hope, so others are empowered to continue the journey of faith.
Gracious God, we turn to You,
For You are the source of our hope and the creator of the Kingdom. 

(Scottish Eco-congregation 2018 adapted)

Celebrating at the table

Invitation to Communion

As the grain once scattered in the fields
And the grapes once dispersed on the hillside
Are now reunited on this table in bread and wine;
So, Lord may your whole Church soon be gathered together from the corners of the earth

(Church of England, Common Worship)

Sending out

Loving Father,
your Son gave us this meal as an act of remembrance of him,
and then gave his very self for our salvation.
We thank you for the nourishment we receive at your table
and pray that the strength we receive here,
might give us the courage to share our very selves with those in need;
through the Lord who shared himself for our sake.

God the Creator has blessed you with all that you need in this life:
Go into the world with courage that you might be the channels through which the Lord can bring relief to others;
and the blessing of the Creator God,
the Eternal Father, the Risen Son and the Promised Holy Spirit
bless you that you might be a blessing to others today and always.  Amen


Music and Hymns from Climate Sunday

The Justice song

Beauty for brokenness, Graham Kendrick

Who can sound the depths of sorrow?

Let justice roll like a river

The Kingdom of God is justice and peace (Taize)

Selection from Methodist Church

by Rev Sabelo Mthimkhulu, Natal

Proper 17 (22) / 14th Sunday after Pentecost [by Bishop Carlos Matsinhe]

Anglican lectionary:
Leituras indicadas:
1st Reading
Cant 2:8-13
alternate 1st
Deut 4:1-2,6-9
2nd Reading
James 1:17-27
Tiago 1:17-27
Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23
Marcos 7:1-8,14-15,21-23
Catholic lectionary: Deut 4:1-2,6-8 both both
by Bishop Carlos Matsinhe, Diocese of Lebombos, Mozambique

Versão Portuguesa see below

1. Reflection  on Song of Solomon  2:8-13 and Psalm of David 45:1-2, 6-9


Both the Song of Solomon and the Psalms are part of the writings of popular wisdom recorded in the Old Testament. This wisdom, celebrated in different ways, is the result of many experiences accumulated over generations and is offered to the readers to learn lessons that allow them to enjoy a life lived wisely , making the right choices in terms of the use of words, acts, gestures and expression. of feelings.

In the text in question, Song of Solomon  2:8-13, the feelings of love are mixed with nature: the hills, the deer, the winter, the rain, the  figs, the vines in flower, scents, the  land, a  time for singing , the indomitable passion of her husband in search of the beloved wife As if to say that the happiness of human beings and their beauty is connected to  a healthy and pleasant environment.

The text of Psalm 45:1-2,6-9 does not escape the mention of nature, feelings and wise speech as necessary elements for the fullness of life. We find the following elements: heart that bubbles up with good words, beauty, blessing , equity, love of justice, oil of joy, aromas of myrrh, aloe and cassia , all as part of the work and blessing of God .

Engagement of texts with our environmental reality .

Certainly the issues raised above can illuminate and inspire for the construction of more than one  homily. Here are some ideas  for sermon themes:

  • The continuity of human life lies in the quality of the health of the environment
  • True human happiness depends on restoring the environmental balance.
  • Respect for the environment is true love for God the Creator.

2. Reflection on Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9and James 1:17-27


Deuteronomy was, for the Chosen People of God, freed from slavery and the danger of extermination  in Egypt, the book that consolidates the laws and ethical and religious norms given to guarantee their survival and decisive march towards the promised land or rather, towards a better future. The message that is intended to be made clear is that of  Obedience to God and his messengers without which one cannot hope to go far. It was necessary to listen and obey ( Deut . 4.1-2). Moses’  exhortation to the hear and obey  links with the  exhortation of St. James on the value of listening and practicing . Therefore, both texts underline the principles of listening, obeying and practicing, that is, learning, assimilating and practicing the learning that will bring about a positive transformation in individual and community life. Also in these texts it was clear that these principles represent God’s will for the good of human beings.

Engagement of texts with environmental issues

Possible sermon theme:

What we hear, what we should assimilate and what we should put into practice in our community to reduce stress to our environment.

3. Reflection on Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23


Jesus and his disciples clash with the Pharisees over the issue of traditional cleansing or outward appearance. Jesus declares to his opponents that what brings the greatest destruction to human life comes from within the human heart and mind and not from without. The Pharisees didn’t agree with Jesus because for them they always thought that the priority is  the way someone behaves and presents themselves outwardly. They did not understand that the fullest health was achieved from inner purity, although without despising outer purity and hygiene . External luxury often does not translate into innocence and inner peace .

Those who inordinately exploit the planet’s resources to become rich and in the name of civilization, development and human advancement do not understand that what  sustains life on the planet  is the environment which is being destroyed . It is capitalism that has become a tradition that is unaware of the importance of the environment and the danger this represents for all humanity. This reminds us of Zacchaeus who had stolen and destroyed the lives of so many but who in the end, even with all his  riches, had no quiet life. His interior life was  pretty messed up. He needed the Salvation that only Jesus could give.

Text Engagement with Climate Justice

Proposed sermon

  • The Church called to Announce the Climatic Apocalypse


1. Reflectir no Cantico de Salomão 2:8-13 e Salmo de David 45:1-2, 6-9

O pano de fundo

Tanto o Cântico de Salomão como o livro dos Salmos fazem parte dos escritos de sabedoria popular registada no antigo testamento. Essa sabedoria celebrada de diversas maneiras resulta de muitas experiências acumuladas ao longo das gerações e são colocadas ao público dos leitores para tirarem lições que lhes permitem usufruir da vida vivida sabiamente, fazendo as escolhas mais acertadas tanto no uso das palavras, atos, gestos e expressão de sentimentos.

No texto em questão, Cântico 2:8-13, os sentimentos de amor se misturam com a natureza: os montes, os outeiros, o gamo, o filho do veado, o inverno, a chuva, a figueira e figos, as vides em flor, o aroma, a rola, a terra, o tempo de cantar, a paixão indomável do esposo em busca da formosa e amada esposa. Como se pretendesse dizer que a felicidade dos seres humanos e sua formosura está onde existe um meio ambiente saudável e aprazível.

O texto do Salmo 45:1-2,6-9 não foge da menção da natureza, sentimentos e fala sábia como elemento necessários para a plenitude da vida. Encontramos os seguintes elementos: coração que ferve de boas palavras, formosura, bênção, equidade, amor á justiça, óleo de alegria, aromas de mirra, aloé e cássia, tudo como obra e bênção de Deus.

Engajamento dos textos com nossa realidade ambiental.

De certo as questões acima levantadas podem iluminar e inspirar para a construção mais que uma homilia. Assim adiantamos algumas propostas de temas de sermão:

  1. A continuidade da vida humana reside na qualidade da saúde do meio ambiente
  2. A verdadeira felicidade humana depende da restauração do equilíbrio ambiental.
  3. O respeito pelo meio ambiente é verdadeiro amor ao Deus Criador.

2. Reflexão sobre Deuteronómio 4:1-2, 6-9 e Tiago 1:17-27

O pano de fundo

Deuteronómio foi, para o Povo Escolhido de Deus, liberto da escravatura e do perigo de eliminação no Egipto,  o livro que consolida as leis e normas éticas e religiosas dadas para garantir a sua sobrevivência e marcha decisiva para a terra prometida ou melhor, para um futuro melhor. A mensagem que se pretende deixar clara é a Obediência a Deus e aos seus mensageiros sem a qual não se pode esperar chegar longe. Era preciso ouvir e obedecer (Deut. 4.1-2). Esta exortação mosaica ao ouvir e obedecer se torna mais forte e ativa com a exortação de S. Tiago quanto ao valor de ouvir e praticar. Portanto os dois textos sublinham os princípios de ouvir, obedecer e praticar ou seja aprender, assimilar e realizar na prática o aprendizado que vai trazer uma transformação positiva na vida individual e comunitária. Também nestes textos ficou claro que estes princípios representam a vontade de Deus para o bem dos seres humanos.

Engajamento dos textos com as questões do meio ambiente

Possíveis temas de sermões:

  • O que ouvimos, o que devemos assimilar e o que devemos por em prática na nossa comunidade para reduzir o estresse ao nosso meio ambiente.

Reflexão sobre Marcos 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Pano de fundo

Jesus e seus discípulos entram em choque com os fariseus por causa da questão da purificação tradicional ou de boa aparência exterior. Jesus declara aos seus opositores que aquilo que traz maior destruição da vida humana vem de dentro do coraçao e mente humana e não do exterior. Os fariseus não concordaram com Jesus porque para eles pensaram sempre que a prioridade esta na forma como alguém se comporta e se apresenta exteriormente. Não entendiam que a saúde mais plena se alcançava a partir da pureza interior, embora sem desprezar  a pureza e higiene exterior. O luxo externo muitas vezes não traduz inocência e paz internas.

Isto, olhado do ponto de vista ambiental, todos os que, de forma desenfreada, exploram desordenadamente os recursos do planeta para se tornarem ricos  e em nome da civilização, desenvolvimento e avanço humano não entendem que aquilo que sustentaria a vida do planeta  para poder existir eternamente  é o próprio meio ambiente que está sendo destruído. É o capitalismo que se tornou uma tradição que não tem consciência da importância do meio ambiente e o perigo que isso representa para toda a humanidade. Isto nos faz lembrar do Zaqueu que tinha roubado e destruído vidas de tantos mas que no fim, mesmo com riquezas, não tinha vida sossegada. Tinha o seu interior bem perturbado. Ele precisava da Salvação que só Jesus podia dar.

Engajamento do Texto com Justiça Climática

Proposta de um sermão.

  1. A Igreja chamada a Anunciar o Apocalipse Climático

by Bishop Carlos Matsinhe, Mozambique

Proper 16 (21) / 13th Sunday after Pentecost [by Rev Dr Mansita Sangi]

Anglican lectionary:
Catholic lectionary:
1st Reading
1 Kings 8:(1,6,10-11),22-30,41-43
Josh 24:1-2a,15-17,18b
2nd Reading
Eph 6:10-20
Eph 5:21-32
John 6:56-69
by Reverend Dr. Mansita Sangi (Church in Angola)


1 Kings 8: 1, 6, 10-11

1 Solomon gathered the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the princes of the country, from among the children of Israel before him in Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the covenant of lord of the city of David who is Zion. 6 So the priests brought the arc of the covenant of the LORD to their place, the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubs. 10-11 the priests coming out of the house of the Lord…a cloud filled the house of the lord, the glory of the lord filled the house of the Lord.

Verse 1 speaks of Solomon who gathered the people of Israel to fulfill a great task: to raise up the ark of covenant of the Lord of the city of David, which is Zion. This indicates the Congregational capacity of the Leader, in this case, Solomon. From an ecumenical perspective, this quotation expresses the efforts of all, regarding the work related to the construction or development of the Church. Division between the Churches is in contradiction with the message of truth that Christians have the mission to expand; it invalidates and fundamentally alters the Christian witness in the world. Emphasizing the importance of the common effort in Christian witness, and notably its link with the kerygma and Diakonia, Paul VI exhorts believers in the following way:

“We must offer Christ’s faithful not the image of people  divided and separated by disputes that do not edify, but of people mature in the faith, capable of overcoming real tensions thanks to the common, sincere and disinterested search for the truth. Yes, the result of evangelization is really linked to the witness of unity given by the Church […] We intend to insist on the sign of unity among all Christians as a way and instrument of evangelization. The division of Christians is a serious state of affairs that hinders the work of Christ [1].”

How can  Christian witness, or presence in the world, be made effective and evident when Christians of different denominations remain divided? However, the common witness, according to the Evangelization Commission of the Ecumenical Council of Churches (CEI), is “particularly common in pluralist societies. It is through common efforts that the Churches can contribute and more effectively promote the expression of Christian values ​​in public affairs and in matters of lifestyle”[2].

The Church must teach men and women, at all times and in all places, that they must participate, in an implicit, private and authentic way, because of their original natures and functions arising from creation, in the creative work of God.

Like David, the leaders of the world under the auspices of religious leaders must act in synergy, seeking to deepen the reasons for human creation and existence. Faced with the misfortunes suffered by different peoples around the world, the leaders of the world, together with people of faith , must, as David did, ask themselves about the nature of the concrete actions to be undertaken. It is a question of stepping back and questioning  the role by which they were raised in dignity in order to refound and reframe their actions and interventions on the new bases and perspectives for future generations. This will be able to revitalize and enhance their worthy and legitimate functions, thus attracting on them the glory of the Lord, Owner of the creation under their care.

God is One and His chosen people cannot be divided. The agreement of the Church’s unity is found in the Gospel of John 17. Christ asks His Father to bring about this unity and He does not wait to obtain that from the effort of his disciples. This unity cannot be destroyed by the distance of cultures, neither of time nor geography. The One Church is where God wants to progressively gather all humanity around him. There is one and only flock and one Shepherd (John 10:16). When we confess our faith, we are in communion with the faith, the faith of the entire Church. Individual faith is made in communion with the faith of the entire Church and this faith confirms and affirms the trust we have in God. The uniqueness of the Church is compared to the human body which is made up of many members. The body is indivisible and has only one life and its members work in harmony (Rom 12: 4-5).

Diversity in unity results from the expression of particular situations in the Church’s history and highlights the richness of the One Church of Christ. According to the Reformers, the sufficient and necessary condition for the unity of the Church is agreement in the faithful preaching of the Gospel and in the administration of the sacraments. Churches can recognize each other as an authentic and full expression of the one Church of Jesus as soon as there is a compromise between them in the understanding of the Gospel. They mutually declare themselves in communion in preaching and administering the sacraments, striving to reach the greatest possible unity in common witness and service to the world. Received in Christ, this communion is also based on the fact that it “inaugurates a new quality of relationships among human beings; it means mutual compassion and mutual participation in suffering and joy (2 Cor 1 : 6-7, Phil 4 : 14-16) ; it exerts mutual help that comes from belonging to the community; Any participation that does not have such a consequence will, however, be a counterweight and denial of the Christian faith and of God’s love for the world (cf. 1 John 4: 20)» [3].

Psalm 84:

In verses 4-6, the Psalmist desires happiness for those who dwell in the house of the Lord and for those who find their strength in the Lord, whose heart is in the smooth ways.

Ephesians 6:10-20:

In the rest, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 17 take the helmet of salvation… which is the word of God.

The Psalm and Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians have a didactic and catechetical perspective as they constitute an appeal addressed to the faithful to accommodate their action in the precepts of God and to manifest them through a rational faith wherever they are in order to achieve the salvation and the happiness provided by the Lord.

To dwell in the house of the Lord is to express your faith by following the suffering Christ with a pure heart and a generous will. The house of the Lord is an appropriate place where the seeds of vocation are cultivated with believers, giving them spiritual direction and a religious education adapted to the mission. With the support of pastors as a spiritual monitor, they learn, through Bible studies, to live in the familiarity of the Father, and in the intimacy of Christ, acquiring a firm and coherent knowledge about God and about life in society. In this way, the hearts of those who dwell in the house of the Lord remain on the smooth paths, implying that they practice justice and peace as an essential foundation for human existence

With hearts that remain on the flat paths, it is possible to transform the unjust structures of society. In this, the Church sees itself indebted to the conditions that make human existence viable. In Jesus Christ, society, despite all its ambiguities and contradictions, can be rediscovered as a place of a peaceful and happy life. Addressing the issue, at Lambeth the Anglican Bishops state the following:

For Anglicans, and for the whole Church, the Gospel is not only the proclamation of redemption and personal conversion, but also the renewal of society under the kingdom of God, the end of injustices and the restoration of good relations with God and between human beings and creation. We recognize that the issues of social justice and world relations are very complex and powerful [4].

With a view to effectiveness and performance, the Church’s commitment to justice remains open to cooperation and ecumenical dialogue with other religious denominations and confessions, and relentlessly accepts all the opportunities that are offered to it, and gives access to contact with other governmental and non-governmental organizations operating for peace and justice, to make, in accordance with the cases, similar, concomitant or parallel actions resulting from the same purpose, the good of all in society.

Joshua 24 :1-2a:

Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel, and called the elders of Israel, and their heads, and their judges, and their officers, and they stood before God. 2 Then Joshua said unto all the people, Thus hath the LORD said; from that part of the river formerly inhabited your parents.

17 For the Lord is our God, He who brought us up out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery and who has done these great signs 18…Therefore we serve the Lord because He is our God…

Joshua received from God the mission to bring the people of Israel to the Promised Land. A noble mission that implies, however, a Congregationalist spirit on the part of the Leader and hope on the part of the people. Joshua’s congregational capacity is seen in verse 1 which takes into account the fact that Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel by calling the elders, judges and officials to present themselves before God. The verse 2 where Joshua transmits the words of the LORD to the people, saying to them, from that part of the river of old dwell your fathers. This implies  that before being transported to Egypt, the fathers of the people of Israel inhabited another side of the river. Moreover, Joshua received the mission to take back the children of Israel across the river, achieving salvation. However, this noble mission implies, in the first place, the ability to unite the people on the part of the Leader Joshua, which he demonstrated in verse 1, but also to invite the people to hope, as crossing another side of the river or the sea implies sacrifice and perseverance

Hope is one of the great theological virtues, and it´s also a specific task of the Churches. They must not only call for a fairer society, but also give reasons for hope for the future, so that people have the courage to live. Hope must not be blind and naive expecting everything from heaven; it invites perseverance and endurance, despite the difficulties of the moment.

When it concerns an entire people, as is the case with the people of Israel under the leadership of Joshua, hope involves and invites unity and raises the question of the meaning of the present and the future in the process of history and social development. From this perspective, hope is not exclusive and concerns both Christians and non-Christians. Therefore, we must not lose sight of the fact that society itself, in which all people live, and from which they derive their vital substance, though secular and secular, is also, and based on the hope of eternity.

What is Christian theology’s conception of the concept of hope in the face of the various challenges to be overcome in an ever-changing world, as was the case with the people of Israel? In 1964, Jürgen Moltmann dedicated an in-depth study to the Theology of Hope, seeking to express the Christian faith in a way adapted to the context and realities of the world. Recalling the horrors suffered during Nazism in Germany, Moltmann “highlights the implications of hope for the Church and for his personal life. What generates in the hearts of the oppressed the hope or the glow of a new day at the bottom of the abyss, the hope of new situations despite a certain amount of uncertainty» .[5]

The bread that came down from heaven refers to the Eucharist considered from the theological point of view as being the prefiguration of the heavenly banquet that the people of the Church experience in advance here on earth and definitively in the end of time. We can see here an eschatological and ecumenical perspective at the same time as there is an idea of ​​an inclusive happiness at the end of time. This bread, Jesus said, is not the same as the manna that your parents ate and died. Here we have the idea of ​​the Priesthood of Christ that is heavenly and eternal in opposition to the Old Testament priesthood in the order of Aaron that was earthly and ephemeral.

The Eucharist is strongly centered on the Paschal mystery. The Christian is introduced to fraternal charity linked to the Eucharist through Baptism. The baptized person who broke with the pagan past in which he lived becomes a new and holy creature, and the Church is seen as a vital space in which he will live and grow in faith, bearing the fruits of holiness. Thus, the liturgy takes place as a synergy between the believer’s incorporation into the ecclesial body and his personal conversion. Through worship, celebrated in local or vernacular languages, through music, song, and dance, in ways created by the tradition and contemporary creation of believers, faith penetrates the depths of life.

In the Eucharist, the sacramental body and blood of Christ are present as an offering for the believer who hopes to receive Christ. When the offering is received by faith, the result is a vital encounter with Christ, which enlivens the Communicant. This presence of Christ through his body and blood can only be understood, however, within the framework of his redemptive activity. In this perspective, Christ invites the people of the Church to eat his flesh and drink his blood in order to reach salvation.

In verse 58, Christ adds this saying: this is bread that came down from heaven; it is not the case of your parents who ate the manna and died – whoever eats this bread will live forever. In this way, Jesus refers to his priesthood that is eternal, in opposition to the priesthood in the order of Aaron.

However, the purpose of the Church is, therefore, to transmit the life of Christ crucified and risen with his body, so that its members may be fully united with Christ and with one another.

But it is here that the Eucharist, in its concrete celebration, puts the Church to the test: is it possible for Eucharistic sharing between members who are not of the same ethnicity or whose families are in conflict?

From this point of view, the Eucharist inevitably presents itself as a fundamental possibility for the conversion of hearts and reconciliation among people. There is, therefore, in the Church and in the community, a newness of life that arises from a Eucharist shared also between rivals. A similar situation was observed in the 1970s for the reformed churches in South Africa that favored apartheid: “the acceptance of apartheid prevented black and  worshipers of colour from participating in worship. As a result, the other Churches of the Reformed World Alliance froze their status as members of this world community, with the following argument: apartheid prevents certain believers from receiving the Eucharist and therefore separates members of the same Church, it cannot, therefore, be maintained ».[6]

These churches accepted this argument and changed. Here we see how the Eucharist has a transforming force if we take seriously, what it means to share the same Eucharistic faith. But it also requires that there be real theological training that shows the consequences of a truly lived faith.

In fact, the Eucharist expresses that in faith and obedience, the baptized person lives for Christ, his Church and the world, the field of mission. In the same way, each local Church “recognizes, in the Eucharistic celebration, the fullness of the Catholic Church and prepares to address the world with words and deeds of love”[7]. The spirituality that emanates from the Eucharistic celebrations sanctifies the believer, gathers and awakens in him the buried spiritual energies to manifest them, generates in him a sea of ​​love that gives him strength to witness and a generous will centered on service.

by Rev Dr Mansita Sangi, Ph.D

[1] PAUL VI, Exhortation apostolique Evangelii nuntiandi (8 décembre 1975), n°77.
[2] COMISSION MISSION ET EVANGELISATION DU COE., Que ton règne vienne, perspectives missionnaires, Genève, Labor  et Fides, 1982, p.253.
[3] Elisabeth PARMENTIER, Cours d´Eglise et Ministère, Faculté de Théologie Protestante de Université de Strasbourg, 2010.
[4] LAMBETH CONFERENCE., Equipping Bishops for Mission and Strengthening Anglican Identity. Capturing Conversations and Reflections from the Lambeth Conference 2008 : « For Anglicans, indeed the whole Church, the Gospel is not just the proclamation of individual redemption and renewal, but the renewal of society under the Reign of God; the ending of injustice and the restoration of right relationship with God and between human beings and between humanity and creation. We recognize that social justice issues and global relationships are very complex and powerful»,London,2008, p.14. Cfr. MANSITA SANGI, Thèse de Doctorate n Théologie Protestante, Université de Strasbourg, 2014.
[5] MANSITA SANGI, Objectifs du Millénaire pour le Développement, regard critique pour leur mise en oeuvre par les églises anglicanes de deux pays du Sud: Angola et RDC, Thèse de Doctorat en Théologie Protestante, Université de Strasbourg, 2014.
[7] MANSITA SANGI, Thèse citée.

Proper 15 (20) / 12th Sunday after Pentecost [by Rev Magda Guedes Pereira]

Anglican lectionary:
Leituras indicadas:
1st Reading
1 Kings 2:10-12,3:3-14
1 Reis 2:10-12;3:3-14
alternate 1st
Prov 9:1-6
2nd Reading
Eph 5:15-20
Efésios 5:15-20
John 6:51-58
João 6:51-58
Catholic lectionary: Prov 9:1-6 both both
by Reverenda Magda Guedes Pereir, Episcopal Anglicana Church of Brazil, Eleita Bispa coadjutora da Diocese do Paraná /Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil, Rede Lusófona da Comunhão Anglicana

Versão Portuguesa see below

Our Biblical texts for this Sunday tell us about wisdom, a word so scarce today. The word “wisdom” has been a stimulating word for mediation and writings in many cultures, Christian and non-Christian cultures. For us today, wisdom is essential to discern about everything we have experienced in our countries. In the midst of a serious pandemic, insecurities, disregard for education and health, it is important to give wisdom a voice. Wisdom that comes from outside, through God´s Holy Spirit of. The source of our wisdom does not indwell in ourselves, but comes from him who is our Lord our God.

Let us ask our-selves sincerely:  What really is taught to us about wisdom?

In the text of Proverbs, wisdom built a house on seven columns. it prepared a party for its guests. This is a text with an enigmatic tone in it. The seven columns symbolizes perfection: God! At various times the number, seven appears linked to God’s perfection. This is where the banquet it`s served. There is, clearly, a counterpoint between those who will accept the invitation, to join the banquet, and those who will decline the invitation. Those who accept will have the possibility of living a new life that comes from the path of knowledge. For us, this path is none than the path that leads to God. Not accepting the invitation to the banquet is taking a path that passes far from the wisdom that comes from God. We are challenged to follow God’s ways, with wisdom: “Commit your way to the Lord, trust him, and he will do the rest.” (Psalm 37.5). “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6).

In the text of Ephesians, Paul talks about the care we must take about the way we live. Let’s do everything to became wise people. Wise people seeks to understand God’s will in the way they live. However, for this, it is necessary to be in communion with God through his word and sacraments and in communion with brothers and sisters in faith. Recognize God in their lives and spread signs of the Kingdom of God in this world.

The gospel text tells us: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven, if anyone eats this bread he will live forever. And the bread I will give so that the world may have life is my flesh.” He gives us new life, we became his sons and daughters, free to love and serve.

Jesus makes it clear, that the living bread, which He is, is to be food and not just admired. Jesus does not want admirers, Christians who admire him from afar, without commitment or involvement with Him. Jesus, the living bread, must be food for us; so,  I invite you to meditate in two ways:

  • By faith, as he says in v. 47: whoever believes has eternal life.
  • In the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, where he tells us: eat, this is my body; drink, this is my blood.

Eating this bread requires and involves actions: believing, eating and drinking Christ!

Thus, we understand that it is not difficult to choose the path of wisdom, the wisdom of God, the full knowledge of his word and his ways.

Biblicist and Liturgist Luiz Carlos Ramos suggests:

“We have a special invitation that calls us to approach the Communion table and participate in the tasty banquet offered, which challenges us to overcome prejudices, discriminations, reductionisms, those typical characteristics of our common sense,  and let us lift up our hearts on high, to reach Wisdom, discernment, prudence, and good sense are.”

I conclude my thoughts recalling the music text call, “The Lord’s Supper” from our Theologian: Jaci Maraschim:

“The bread of the Eucharist is more than pure dough,
it is made of joy, it is given to us for free.
Jesus, anywhere, is more than form and rite.
It is bread that spread in the unjust, afflicted world.”


12º Domingo depois do Pentecostes

Os textos indicados para esse domingo nos falam sobre a sabedoria, palavra tão escassa nos nossos dias. Sobre sabedoria se reflete e escreve em muitas culturas, cristãs e não cristãs. Para nós, atualmente, sabedoria é algo essencial para discernirmos sobre tudo aquilo que temos vivenciado em nossos países. Em meio a grave pandemia, inseguranças, descaso com educação e saúde, é importante dar voz a sabedoria. Sabedoria essa que vem de fora, através do Espírito Santo de Deus. A fonte de nossa sabedoria não reside em nós mesmos, mas vem daquele que é o nosso Senhor, nosso Deus.
Nos perguntemos: O que nos ensinam sobre sabedoria?
No texto de Provérbios a sabedoria construiu uma casa sobre sete colunas. Deus mandou preparar uma festa para os convidados. Um texto com um tom enigmático. As sete colunas simbolizam a perfeição, Deus! Em vários momentos o número sete aparece ligado a perfeição de Deus. É nesse local que é servido o banquete. Há claramente um contraponto entre os que vão aceitar o convite ao banquete e entre aqueles que irão recusar o convite. Aqueles que aceitarem terão a possiblidade de viver uma nova vida a partir do caminho do conhecimento. Para nós, esse caminho não é outro senão o caminho que leva a Deus. Não aceitar o convite ao banquete é tomar um caminho que passa longe da sabedoria que vem de Deus. Somos desafiados a seguir nos caminhos de Deus, com sabedoria “Entrega o teu caminho ao Senhor, confia nele e o mais ele fará. (Salmo 37.5) Eu sou o caminho, a verdade e a vida, ninguém vem ao Pai senão por mim. (João 14.6).”

No texto de Efésios, Paulo fala sobre os cuidados que devemos ter com a nossa maneira de viver. Façamos tudo para sermos pessoas sábias. Pessoas sábias buscam entender a vontade de Deus em suas vidas. Mas para isso, é preciso estar em comunhão com esse Deus através de sua palavra e sacramentos e em comunhão com os irmãos e irmãs na fé. Reconhecer Deus em suas vidas e espalhar sinais do Reino de Deus nesse mundo.

O texto do evangelho nos diz: “Eu sou o pão vivo que desceu do céu, se alguém comer desse pão viverá para sempre. E o pão que eu darei para que o mundo tenha vida é a minha carne.” Ele nos dá uma nova vida, somos tornados seus filhos e filhas, livres para amar e servir.

Jesus deixa claro que o pão vivo, que é ele, é para ser alimento e não apenas admirado. Jesus não quer admiradores, cristãos que o admiram de longe, sem compromisso e sem envolvimento com ele. Jesus, o pão vivo, deve ser alimento para nós, convido-os a refletir de duas formas:

  • pela fé, como ele diz no v. 47: quem crê tem a vida eterna.
  • no sacramento da Ceia do Senhor, onde ele nos diz: comam, isto é o meu corpo; bebam, isto é o meu sangue.
    Alimentar-se deste pão exige e envolve ações: crer, comer e beber Cristo!
    Assim, entendemos que não seja difícil optar pelo caminho da sabedoria, da sabedoria de Deus, do conhecimento pleno da sua palavra e seus caminhos.

O biblista e liturgista, Luiz Carlos Ramos, sugere: «Temos um convite especial que nos chama a nos aproximarmos da mesa da comunhão e participarmos do saboroso banquete oferecido , que nos desafia a superarmos os preconceitos, discriminações, reducionismos, próprios do nosso senso comum, e elevemos nosso coração para o alto, até onde está a Sabedoria, o discernimento, a sensatez, a prudência e o bom senso».

Finalizo lembrando da música de nosso Teólogo Jaci Maraschim.: A ceia do Senhor :  “O pão da Eucaristia é mais que pura massa é feito de alegria é dado a nós de graça. Jesus, em qualquer parte, é mais que forma e rito. É pão que se reparte no mundo injusto, aflito.”


by Rev Magda Guedes Pereira, Brazil

Proper 14 (19) / 11th Sunday after Pentecost [by Rev Abilene Fischer]

Anglican lectionary:
Catholic lectionary:
1st Reading
1 Kings 19:4-8
2nd Reading
Eph 4:25-5:2
John 6:35,41-51
by Reverenda Abilene Simões Fischer, Igreja Lusitana, Rede Lusófona da Comunhão Anglicana

Versão Portuguesa see below

He went farther on into the desert. Finally set down under a solitary broom bush. He longed for his own death. I Kings 19.4-8:

I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate mana in the desert, yet they perished. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven. John 6. 35.41-51

Spirituality in the desert


For many, the ideal location to settle in, would be in an urban environment, safe, peaceful, green, along side with all the trimmings of health service, education, work and entertainment close by. Or, who knows, for those who wish even more, real estate like a golf course, having the privileged, celebrities, like the royal family as neighbours, would be a dream come true. Well, to tell the truth, this ideal is not sustainable.

Elijah lived in a fertile country, with the royals close by, their lawn and orchard may seemed greener, everything seemed going well in the neighbourhood, until the rain stopped and the prophet, appeared on the  scene. Elijah not keeping with the court protocol telling the royals, their life style was not kosher, nor social environmental friendly. Ahab and Jezebel did not care about the less privileged or comply with the Law of Moses (Mosaic Law) which protected people and land. They were loyal to Baal, ‘the lord rider of the clouds and storm’ a deity without power and empathy, who demanded costly sacrifices by accumulation, monopoly and greed at the expense of the poor.

At times of drought, they persecuted the prophets and priests. As the wells dried up, wineries, vegetable gardens, orchards became brown and there was not enough olives to produce oil; their anxiety and lack of trust in God and pressure  on the peasants increased. The less they gathered and confiscated, the more they demanded. So much so, they took violent possession of Naboth’s property; which was Ancestral Land, that according to Mosaic legislation, should not change ownership but remain in Naboth’s family for generations to come. Thus, Ahab and Jezebel have become like Baal and like neighbouring kings: a tax grabber, a land grabber. Instead of mediators and shepherds, they became like butchers. Any whistle blower was persecuted, many kept quiet for fear.

Elijah  was not intimidated,  the opposite, he challenges Baal and his crew, he blows more  than the whistle, he sounds the trumpet. He steps on to the stage, because that is the vocation of prophets, they are called to show up and not to hide away. Prophets are the voice and heart of God, who desires to gather his people back to the right path, to lead them to green pastures, especially in times of drought, to nurture them. Prophets come on the  scene to advise the powerful and to give voice to powerless. ‘To unsettle the comfortable and comfort the afflicted’.  The royals won’t have any more of Elijah, the neighbourhood is now  dangerous for him  and he  flees to the wilderness, just in time!

In hunger and depression, he thinks this location now is the end of the road. He calls on God to take his life. Because he’s now at breaking point, he doesn’t realise that the desert is also a place for healing. Many people find themselves in a wilderness now, faced with the COVID crisis and in a post secular world. The wilderness can be a place of beauty but also  a place of precariousness, vulnerability, absence of visible life support systems. The wilderness  reminds us of lack of spiritual resources, of want, and it can be the arena  for testing our faith and resilience. It is a place of little provision or none. A place of  complaint,  depression,  temptation. The wilderness can also be the place of direct dependence on God: divine provision, presence and promise.

The spiritual history of Israel, a country at the edge of a desert, is also our own history, which shows that in times of scarcity, their leaders put faith in idols, and in times of abundance, they also doubted and their faith weakened. In this story, as kingship was  entrenched, the prophets were silenced. Political alliances are given  an illusion of being indestructible.  In the course of history, eventually Egypt declined, Babylon took over, Israel is dispersed, and suffered in exile  as never before.

By the time of Jesus and John the Baptist, people were again well established, the land was green and the people were prosperous as God as had promised. There were buildings being erected and parties in the palaces. Jerusalem had become again real estate, the wilderness became again a garden, the burning bush had become the  choice vine. It was almost as if among thornbushes they harvested figs. The wilderness became the land of plenty with hectares of productive farms. And once more, Herod in his insecurity and lack of faith persecuted the prophets.

The Baptist and Jesus ministered in the wilderness of the Jordan and the fringes of Galilee. The people without spiritual nourishment followed Jesus wherever he went. Lost people, hungry people, sinners, public servants, tax collectors, lepers, fisherman, shepherds, woman suffering from haemorrhages, the impure, the excluded. Such a multitude that needed nourishment! To those many, Jesus gave his all. How Jesus differs and proves himself greater than Elijah and Moses! On his period  in the wilderness, Jesus himself becomes real food and life abundant.

As God gathered back the exiles, Christ gathered the excluded, healing the sick, liberating the burdened, feeding the hungry, redeeming  those without hope. Jesus changed the wilderness of Palestine and the history of the world forever. Just like  Israel, Elijah and Jesus went through the wilderness, we also  are sojourners in the wilderness. We are part of this story. Our planet is in extreme need of care, of being replanted, cultivated, loved, and nourished. Canada, these days, has experienced heat, as never before, many have died of such high temperature, on the other hand, islands are being submerged, and coastal lines are being erased. Our leaders are anxious, the political elites  are in fear of the green economy or the transition to Solidarity Economy. The super rich build bunkers in New Zealand, Australia and in America to hide away from possible climatic disasters.

Christian faith is relevant as never before, our prophetic voice is necessary, the longed for message of hope must now be heard! . We owe it  to the children of our children to reclaim the public arena and with prophetic voice, call on those with decision power to come back to the faith in the God of Elijah, the God of Jesus Christ, who has sustained Israel, God’s church and all his children, this far. And in this faith, we may join all efforts and work together to make the wilderness flourish, once more. Amen


Ele seguiu para o deserto, ao chegar, sentou-se debaixo de um junípero isolado. E pediu pela sua morte. I Reis 19. 4-8

Eu Sou o pão da vida. Vossos pais no deserto comeram o mana e morreram. Este Pão e’ o que desce do céu. João 6. 35, 41-51

Homilia para o Decimo- Primeiro Domingo depois do Pentecoste Para muitos, o lugar ideal para residir, seria numa área urbana, segura, tranquila, verde, juntamente com todos os confortos de serviços de saúde, educação, emprego e entretenimento por perto. Ou quem sabe? Para aqueles que desejam ainda mais, imobiliário de luxo, como um campo de golfo, tendo VIP como celebridades e como pessoas de família nobre como vizinhos, seria um sonho virando realidade.

Ora bem, falando a verdade, esse ideal não e’ sustentável. Elias viveu num pais fértil, com a família real por perto, cuja grama e o pomar pode ter parecido mais verde. Tudo parecia estar indo bem, ate que parou de chover e o profeta surgiu em cena. Elias não manteve o protocolo da corte dizendo a realeza que seu estilo de vida não eram aceitáveis, nem social-ambiental amigável. Acab e Jezabel não se importavam com os menos privilegiados nem cumpriam a Lei Mosaica que protegia o povo e a terra.

Eles eram fieis a Baal, conhecido como ‘o cavaleiro das nuvens e tempestade’, uma divindade sem poder e empatia, exigia altos sacrifícios pela acumulação, monopólio e ganancia a custa dos pobres. Em tempo de estio, eles perseguiram profetas e sacerdotes. A medida que as reservas de água secaram, vinhedo, hortas, pomares secaram e não havia olivas suficiente para a produção do azeite; a ansiedade, a falta de confiança deles em Deus e nos camponeses aumentou.

A medida que acumulavam e confiscavam, mais eles demandava. A tal ponto que, violentamente apoderaram-se da propriedade de Nabot, que era terra de ancestrais, que de acordo a legislação mosaica, não deveria mudar de dono mas ser retida na família de Nabot para as gerações futuras. Assim, Acab e Jezabel tornavam-se como Baal e os reis das nações vizinhas: captadores ilegais de impostos e propriedade. Em vez de mediadores e apascentadores, tornaram-se como açougueiros.

Qualquer pessoa que fizesse denuncia, era perseguida, muitos ficaram quietos mas não Elias, ele não se deixou intimidar, ao contrário: desafia Baal e sua tripulação. Mais que soprar um apito, ele toca a trombeta. Entra em cena, pois essa e’ a vocação de profetas, chamados para aparecer e não para se esconder. Profetas são a voz e coração de Deus, que anseia reunir seu povo de volta ao caminho certo, levar a pastos verdes e especialmente em tempos de estio – nutri-lo. Profetas entram em cena para aconselhar os poderosos e dar voz aos que não tem vez nem voz. ‘Para trazer desconforto ao acomodado e confortar o aflito.’

A realeza não vai mais tolerar Elias, a vizinhança tornou-se perigosa. Elias escapa; mas para o deserto.  Faminto e em depressão, ele pensa que esse local e’ o fim de tudo. Ele clama a Deus para tirar sua vida. Por que ele está ao ponto de partir-se ao meio, pouco sabe ele que o deserto e’ também lugar para cura e restauro.

O deserto e’ o lugar onde muitos se encontram, onde o mundo pós-secular e em crise do Covid encontra-se no momento. E’ nossa bela localidade e vizinhança, como também lugar de precariedade, vulnerabilidade, ausência de sistemas visíveis de suporte vitais. Um lugar que nos faz lembrar da falta de reservas espirituais, lugar de carência ou arena para testar nossa fé e resiliência. Um lugar de pouca ou nenhuma provisão. Para murmuração, para depressão, para tentação. O deserto pode também vir a ser lugar de completa dependência de Deus: de divina provisão, presença e promessa.

A história espiritual de Israel, um país com fronteiras para o deserto, e’ também nossa própria história, que mostra-nos que em tempos de escassez, seus líderes puseram sua fé em ídolos, e em tempos de abundância, também duvidaram e enfraqueceram na fé. Nessa história, a medida que a realeza ia se estabelecendo, os profetas foram silenciados. Alianças políticas deram-lhe uma ilusão de serem indestrutíveis. Eventualmente, Egito declinou, Babilonia toma hegemonia, Israel e’ disperso; em exílio sofreu como nunca antes.

A história espiritual de Israel, um pais com fronteiras para o deserto, e’ também nossa própria história, que mostra-nos que em tempos de escassez, seus lideres puseram sua fé em ídolos, e em tempos de abundância, também duvidaram e enfraqueceram na fé. Nessa história, a medida que a realeza ia se estabelecendo, os profetas foram silenciados. Alianças políticas deram-lhe uma ilusão de serem indestrutíveis. Eventualmente, Egito declinou, Babilonia toma hegemonia, Israel e’ disperso; em exílio sofreu como nunca antes.

E uma vez mais, Herodes na sua insegurança e falta de fé, perseguiu os profetas. João Batista e Jesus, ministravam no deserto do Jordão e nas fronteiras da Galileia. O povo sem alimento espiritual seguia Jesus onde quer que ele fosse. Pessoas sem direção, famintas, pecadores, servidores públicos, cobradores de impostos, pessoas leprosas, pescadores, pastores, mulheres sofrendo de hemorragias, pessoas consideradas impuras, excluídas – uma multidão numerosa que necessitava de alimento; a esses muitos Jesus deu tudo de si. Como Jesus se diferencia e prova que e’ maior que Moisés e Elias. Por sua vez, no deserto, ele mesmo torna-se alimento verdadeiro e vida abundante.

Assim como Deus trouxe de volta os exilados, Cristo reuniu os excluídos, curando os doentes, libertando os sobrecarrados, alimentando os famintos, redimindo os sem esperança. Jesus mudou o deserto da Palestina e a história do mundo de uma vez por todas. Assim como Israel, Elias e Jesus passaram pelos seus desertos, nos somos viajantes no deserto também. Nós somos parte dessa história.

Nosso planeta está em extrema carência de cuidado, de ser reflorestado, cultivado e nutrido. Canada, por esses dias, tem experimentado calor como nunca antes, muitos morreram por causa da alta temperatura; por outro lado, ilhas têm sido submersas e áreas costeiras têm desaparecido. Nossos líderes estão ansiosos, os magnatas estão temendo a economia sustentável ou a transição para uma Economia Solidaria. Os super ricos estão a construir bunkers subterrâneos em Nova Zelândia, Austrália e América para abrigo em caso de catástrofes climáticas.

A fé crista e relevante como nunca antes, nossa voz profética e’ necessária, nossa mensagem de esperança e’ ansiada por ser ouvida. Temos um divida para com as crianças de nossos filhos e filhas de retomar espaço publico e com voz profética, chamar aos que tem poder de decisão para retornar a fe no Deus de Elias, no Deus de Jesus Cristo, que susteve Israel, sua igreja e todos seus filhos ate’ aqui e agora. E nessa fé, devemos juntar todo esforço possível e trabalhar para uma vez mais fazer o deserto florescer. Ámen.

by Rev Abilene Simões Fischer, Igreja Lusitana

Proper 13 (18) / 10th Sunday after Pentecost [English / Portuguese by Bishop Naudal]

Anglican lectionary:
Catholic lectionary:
1st Reading
Ex 16:2-4,9-15
2nd Reading
Eph 4:1-16
Eph 4:17-24
John 6:24-35
by Bishop Naudal Alves Gomes, Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (Lusophone Network) / Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil (Rede Lusófona)

Versão Portuguesa see below

Meditation for August 1, 2021

 28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” 29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”(John 6:28)

“ I am the bread of life . Whoever comes to me will no longer be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty again” (John 6.35)

The picture we have of Jesus should include a full vision of who he was, and is, and what he did and can still do in us and through us .

At the beginning of Chapter 6, Jesus satisfies the hungry crowd with the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. And then he says that whoever receives him will never again be hungry or thirsty, for he is the bread of life.

The sharing of the loaves and fishes had satisfied the crowd. Food sustains life, it is a fundamental right that should not be disregarded. Jesus knows this. Jesus defends and practices the action of feeding the hungry. It is only after that that he calls attention to the fact that by receiving him and recognizing him as sent by God, we are fully satisfied, forever!

John is the gospel of love, for  God’s love comes to us through Jesus. God sends Jesus because he loved us so much (3:16) . God moves towards us because of his love. This must be our guide,  because “we are the image and likeness of God”.

Love is present in the commandments of God and is present in the teaching and practice of Jesus. Both the Old and New Testaments emphasize love for God above all and love for your neighbor as yourself. Jesus looks in the Book of Leviticus for the teaching on love. In chapter 19 the author, after guiding God’s people to help foreigners and landless people by  sharing their crops, then says   “Love your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:18) . Love is not just a feeling,  it is concrete. If it doesn’t come true it won’t be love.

Our  current reality has demonstrated how far we are from what God wants and wants from us. If we look at human life we ​​will see how much it is being violated through unemployment, hunger, disease and  fear . If we look at creation as a whole, especially at the environment, we will see violence against life in the same way. Everywhere there is economic exploitation without any care  for the conservation of flora and fauna. What matters is the economic value that can be generated in the short term. This has impacted human life as a whole, with frightening climate changes, droughts, floods and pandemics.

What must we do to carry out the works of God? …you must  believe in the one He sent.  In John 6:28 we have the question and answer of what we should do. Believing in God, who sent Jesus, is to accept  Jesus and his way of life. It is to take up the project of the Kingdom. It is to commit to this Jesus who  shows radical empathy, who is always, welcoming, fraternal and supportive. How willing are we to follow this radical Jesus? To what extent are we willing to take up  the project of the Kingdom of God?

Our unconditional love for our neighbor – love for our neighbor as ourselves – and our love for God’s creation will be recognized by our actions. In caring for the vulnerable, weak and wronged and in defending the environment in prophetic actions, denouncing violence against human life and the environment. At the same time, the we show and declare  that a new time will be possible if we commit ourselves to Jesus. In Jesus, full life is possible. Whoever receives him  will not be hungry and whoever goes to him will never be thirsty again.


Meditação para 1º de Agosto de 2021

“O que é que devemos fazer para realizar as obras de Deus? …que vocês acreditem naquele que Ele enviou” (São João 6.28)

“Eu sou o pão da vida. Quem vem a mim não terá mais fome, e quem acredita em mim nunca mais terá sede” (S. João 6.35)

Nosso olhar para Jesus deve envolver uma visão plena de quem ele era, e é, e do que ele fez e pode ainda fazer em nós e através de nós.

Ele fala que quem o recebe nunca mais terá fome ou sede depois de ter saciado a multidão, milagre da multiplicação dos pães e peixes, início do cap. 6. A partilha dos pães e peixes sacia a multidão. O alimento sustenta a vida, é um direito fundamental que não deve ser desconsiderado. Jesus sabe disso. Jesus defende e pratica essa ação, somente depois ele chama a atenção para que ao recebe-lo e reconhece-lo como enviado de Deus somos saciados plenamente, para sempre!

João é o evangelho do amor, o amor de Deus vem a nós através de Jesus. Deus envia Jesus porque nos amou de tal maneira (3.16). Deus se movimenta, vem até nós por causa do seu amor. Esse deve ser nosso parâmetro pois “somos imagem e semelhança de Deus”.

O amor está presente nos mandamentos de Deus e está presente no ensino e na prática de Jesus. Tanto o antigo como o novo testamento, enfatizam o amor a Deus acima de tudo e ao próximo como a si mesmo. Jesus busca no Livro de Levítico o ensinamento sobre o amor, no cap. 19 o autor, depois de orientar o povo de Deus a ajudar os estrangeiros e sem terra, na partilha de suas colheitas, o autor afirma “Ama teu próximo” (Levítico 19.18). O amor não é só sentimento mas é concretude. Se não se tornar realidade não será amor.

A realidade atual tem demonstrado quão distantes estamos daquilo que Deus deseja e quer de nós. Se olharmos para a vida humana veremos o quanto ela está sendo violentada, desemprego, fome, doenças, medo. Se olharmos para a criação como um todo, especialmente para o meio ambiente, veremos, da mesma forma, a violência contra a vida. Exploração econômica utilitarista e sem preocupação com a preservação da flora e da fauna. O que importa é o valor econômico que poderá ser gerado no momento. Isso tem impactado a vida humana como um todo, com mudanças climáticas assustadoras, secas, enchentes, pandemias.

O que é que devemos fazer para realizar as obras de Deus? …que vocês acreditem naquele que Ele enviou? Em João 6.28 temos a pergunta e a resposta do que devemos fazer. Acreditar em Deus, que enviou Jesus, é assumir Jesus e sua proposta de vida. É assumir o seu projeto de Reino. É comprometer-se com esse Jesus que é radicalmente empático, acolhedor, fraterno e solidário. Até que ponto estamos dispostos a seguir a esse Jesus radical? Até que ponto estamos dispostos a assumir o projeto do Reino de Deus?

Nosso amor incondicional ao próximo – amor ao próximo como a si mesmo – e nosso amor pela criação de Deus serão reconhecidos por nossas ações. No cuidado com os vulneráveis, fragilizados, injustiçados e na defesa do meio ambiente em ações proféticas, denunciando a violência contra a vida humana e contra o meio ambiente. Ao mesmo tempo, o anuncio da chegada de que um novo tempo será possível se nos comprometermos com Jesus. Nele a vida plena é possível. Quem o recebe não terá fome e que a ele vai nunca mais terá sede.

by Bishop Naudal Alves Gomes, Brazil

Proper 12 (17) / 9th Sunday after Pentecost [by Maranda St John Nicolle]

Anglican lectionary:
Catholic lectionary:
1st Reading
2 Sam 11:1-15
2 Kgs 4:42-44
2nd Reading
Eph 3:14-21
Eph 4:1-6
John 6:1-21
by Maranda St John Nicolle, Director of Christian Concern for One World, Diocese of Oxford

“Sermon Starter”

How are we called to live?

For Christians, this is about more than just ‘us’ – it’s a question of how we live in right relationship with God, each other and the rest of the created order. Some Christians have found it helpful to envisage these relationships as forming a triangle (see Chris Wright’s work, cited below). This can help us to visualise the truth that if all three relationships are flourishing, there is harmony, but if one relationship suffers, the others, too, are distorted.

God is at the apex of the triangle, and our relationship with God is at the centre of our lives. In Psalm 14, we are shown a picture of what can happen when an individual rejects this relationship entirely. Turning away from the source of life leads to a rejection of life-giving relationships with others. The individual and society lose their moral compass, and greed and exploitation of the vulnerable become the order of the day. The plans of the poor are frustrated and God’s people are ‘eaten up’.

In our world today, we can think of many instances in which greed and exploitation occur, and people’s relationships with each other and our common home are distorted. We might, for example, think of occasions where the ‘plans of the poor’ are confounded by people’s displacement from their land in favour of powerful economic interests … or fragile environments are jeopardised by projects seeking to increase the extraction of fossil fuels. Nor is this simply a problem caused by ‘other people’– all too often we are ourselves complicit in the exploitation, not by personally doing violence to other people, but because we aren’t prepared to look too closely at the ways in which our patterns of consumption result in damage to others.

For those who are vulnerable, it may seem as if there is little recourse – the perils for environmental defenders, for example, are many.

But there is hope – hope in God’s promise to “restore the fortunes” of God’s people.

As Christians, we are called to hold that hope. More than that, we are called to live as people who have been given the immeasurable gifts of God – and to offer hope to others.

God’s gifts include the riches of creation, which God pours forth abundantly.

But they include more than that – we are also the people whom God feeds with the spiritual ‘bread of life’. By God’s grace, we are offered the closest of relationships – “ to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God”

In contrast to the ways that abandoning the relationship with God led to harm in other relationships, as we draw closer in relationship with God, we are empowered to live in a way ‘worthy of our calling’. This way is a way of humility  – not seeking to be more than we really are or to ask for more than our fair share of the earth’s resources. It’s a way of gentleness with each other and with all the created order, which, like us, has been reconciled to God in Christ.

In this lies wisdom, and hope for our communities and our common home.

Sometimes, though, the kind of relationship that the author of Ephesians prays Christians may know can feel far away. Perhaps it’s an internal thing: we feel inadequate and can’t see why or how God would want to have anything to do with us. Though we seek to follow God, we may have doubts that we can be of much use. When we feel this way, it can be helpful to have texts like today’s Gospel, which reminds us that in God’s hands, whatever we offer can be multiplied, by God’s grace, to become life-giving and a blessing to us and to others.

Sometimes, as well, we may find ourselves in hard places because of what is going on around us – as the disciples found themselves on a stormy sea. The climate and environmental crisis may feel overwhelming; the forces of injustice may feel too powerful. And we wonder: where is God now? At such times, it is helpful to have the Gospel’s picture of Christ with us in the storm, coming alongside us. We may not always be able to perceive or recognise God’s presence,  but we have Christ’s promise that He will be with us always. We can trust in that, and ask God to help us to grow in knowledge and love of Christ, and to live out our calling.

Notes on Individual Readings

2 Samuel 11: 1 -15


King David is at home while his armies fight, and as he wanders one evening, he sees Bathsheba. When he sends to find out who she is, the answer comes back that she is the wife of Uriah, one of his ‘thirty’ – his leading warriors – and daughter of another of the ‘thirty’, Eliam.[i] With the warriors away, David sends for Bathsheba – this is a royal command, not an invitation – and sleeps with her. His is a sinful act and a betrayal in every direction: of God, whose laws he has broken; of Bathsheba (this is abuse, not adultery – Nathan, in the next chapter, will compare her to a slaughtered lamb)[ii]; and of his relationship with his warriors, who are fighting for him even as he commits an act of sexual violence against their wife/daughter.

When Bathsheba sends word that she is pregnant, David calls Uriah home, under the pretence of wanting news, and urges him to sleep with his wife (“wash your feet” is a euphemism). But Uriah, whose name means “Yahweh is light”, is loyal to his consecration as a warrior, which prohibits him from engaging in sexual activity while fighting is ongoing.[iii] David sends him ‘a present’ – a gift that denotes favour, a salient irony. He gets him drunk in an attempt to wear down his defences – but to no avail. The upright Uriah is not going to play the role that David has laid out for him. So, in the final betrayal, David uses Uriah himself to send a note calling on Joab to ensure that the Hittite is killed in battle. Joab obeys – and in the portion of the chapter omitted by the lectionary (11:16-25), we learn that he commands a risky operation in which not only Uriah, but also other soldiers, die.

Responding to the text

Hearing about David’s rape of Bathsheba may be difficult for members of a congregation, especially those with experience of sexual violence. As such, if you are using this passage, you may wish to focus on the issues the passage raises, so as not to seem to minimise them.

It would also be possible to ask people to reflect on the ways in which the sins that underlie the violence in the passage –  covetousness and the abuse of power – manifest themselves in many of the myriad ways in which individuals and societies do violence to people and our common home.

Psalm 14


This was a popular psalm: indeed, there are two versions of it in the Book of Psalms – this one and Psalm 53, which is probably later in origin.[iv]

In relatively few verses, the Psalm does three main things. It points, in the tradition of wisdom literature, to the evil that follows when individuals and societies abandon wisdom (based on honouring God) for folly (turning from God). It reminds us, in the tradition of the prophets, that God’s righteousness and authority mean that evil will, ultimately, have consequences. And it expresses a people’s longing for deliverance. [v]

The focal point is initially “the fool” who has “said in his heart there is no God.” According to commentator Derek Kidner, the Hebrew word used for fool – ‘nabal’ – is a particularly strong one and the statement “there is no God” is seen elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible as, among other things, “an irresponsible gesture of defiance … a gamble against moral sanctions … and impatience of authority.”[vi]  The fool’s choice is an internal decision which shows itself in external sinfulness – a life of deeds that are ‘abominable’ to God and destructive of others.

But the issue is not limited to particular individuals. When the Lord surveys humanity to see if any are wise and seeking God, evil is seen as having affected all of society. “They have all gone astray; they are all alike perverse; there is no one who does good, no, not one” or, as the Anchor Bible translates it, “Each one is stubborn; together they are depraved.”[vii]

How does this wider turning from God manifest itself in society? In two things – a disregard for God (the evildoers ‘do not call upon the Lord’) and sins against God’s people, especially the most vulnerable (they ‘eat up my people as they eat bread’ and ‘confound the plans of the poor’). These things are wrong – but they are also folly, for God is on the side of the ‘company of the righteous’ and is the refuge of the poor. In the end, as prophets throughout the Hebrew scripture proclaimed, God’s authority will be asserted, and the evildoers “shall be in great terror”[viii]

In the final verse, the perspective shifts from God’s overview of the world to the vision of those who are waiting for God to restore them: ‘O that deliverance for Israel would come from Zion!’ Unlike the fool, God’s people are marked by faith and hope: “When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people, Jacob will rejoice; Israel will be glad.”[ix]

Responding to the text

The theologian Chris Wright has suggested an ethics based on right relationship between God, people and the land.[x] Each of these relationships affects the other, so when the relationship with God is broken, relationships with other human beings and the land also suffer.

  • Where, in our own lives and in our societies, do we see a turning from God? How is that lived out in the ways we, individually and as societies, mistreat vulnerable people and environments? We might, for example, think of occasions where the ‘plans of the poor’ are confounded by people’s displacement from their land in favour of powerful economic interests … or fragile environments are jeopardised by projects seeking to increase the extraction of fossil fuels, which are themselves a threat to the climate.
  • What are the potential consequences of our society’s folly?
  • How can we, as a people, live rightly … and be marked by hope of God’s deliverance for all creation?
  • How does this Psalm give hope to the oppressed, and to the earth itself?
Ephesians 3: 14-21 or 4:1-6


For those who have started with 2 Samuel and Psalm 14, what a contrast! We move from portrayals of sin and folly to two stunning passages from Ephesians that reveal the wonders of God’s saving work.

Ephesians 3:14-21 is breathtaking – a passionate and intense prayer that is magnificent in its scope.  The author has explained earlier in the letter how God has, by grace, extended salvation to both Jews and Gentiles through Christ’s reconciling work. Now he prays for the believers to be strengthened in their inner being – their very core – by the power of the Spirit, and for Christ to dwell in their hearts through faith. This indwelling is to be an ongoing relationship – the verb used for ‘dwell’, ‘katoikein’, has the sense of entering and abiding with someone.[xi] The author prays that it will mean believers are so ‘rooted and grounded in love’ that they may come to ‘know’ – though paradoxically it surpasses all knowledge – the extent of Christ’s love, and thus be filled with nothing less than the fullness of God.

How can one even imagine such a thing? Praying it leads the author to praise of God, the only one whose power can “accomplish abundantly far more than we can ask or imagine”. To God, the author says, be glory – a glory seen in the church, the body of believers called to be one in Christ Jesus, as well as in Christ Jesus himself.[xii]

In Psalm 14, we saw how an interior denial of God led to an external life of corruption; conversely, in Ephesians 4, Paul begins to explore how those in whom Christ dwells by faith are to live “a life worthy of the calling.” They are to be marked in their daily walk by the qualities of humility or lowliness – a very countercultural concept, then as now; gentleness or meekness; and patience.[xiii] These are not calls for abject submissiveness, but for a people filled with the love and power of God, conscious of being saved by grace, to be aware of their own sinfulness and what they have been forgiven, and hence to be gentle and patient with others. They are to bear with one another, based on the love that roots and grounds them, and to strive to “maintain unity in the Spirit, in the bond of peace.” In so doing, they are recognising a fundamental truth: there is “one body … one Spirit … one hope … one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.”

Responding to the text

What a gift! What a calling! It’s worth taking time simply to rest in the author’s prayer, giving thanks and praise to God, and then, like the author, working through the practical implications of how we live in response to God’s gift.

  • Are we taking enough time to return to the source of our being? What in our lives – as they relate to our relationships with God, each other, and the whole created order – reflects our rootedness in love? What has other roots, and needs to go?
  • Taking these verses in conjunction with the passage in Colossians (1:19-20), which describes God as being “pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [Christ], and through him to reconcile to himself all things,” what kind of behaviour are we called to exhibit towards other created beings, who like us, have been reconciled with God through Christ?
  • As Christians, we have often thought about the virtues of humility/lowliness, gentleness/meekness and patience as they relate to our relationships with God and others – what might those virtues look like in our relationships with the wider creation? How might they challenge humanity’s tendency to exploit nature, without regard for each being’s inherent worth?
John 6: 1-21 (alongside 2 Kings 4:42-44 and Psalm 145)


The story of the feeding of the five thousand is one of the most familiar in the Gospels – indeed, it’s the only one of Jesus’ miracles to appear in all four Gospels. John’s account is very similar to Mark’s (Mark 6:30-44) and like Mark’s and Matthew’s goes on to describe the disciples’ subsequent journey by boat and Jesus’ walking on water to meet them.

Jesus’ miracle of feeding harks back to the prophets. The reference to an outsider bringing barley loaves calls to mind the reading from 2 Kings in which Elisha miraculously feeds a hundred people with twenty loaves that “a man from Baal-shalishah” has brought as an offering. Christ’s use of far fewer loaves offered by a young boy to feed far more people emphasises that he is even greater than those who went before – and that God can make wonderful things happen from even the smallest and most unprepossessing of offerings!

More generally, the provision of physical food in abundance was something that was seen throughout the Hebrew Bible as an attribute of God’s power and goodness. Psalm 145 tells us “The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand, satisfying the desire of every living thing.”

But there is even more going on here: John adds a strong emphasis on Christ as the ‘bread of life’ – the spiritual manna that will feed the people of God – and references throughout the story call to mind both the story of the Passover and Exodus and the forthcoming giving of Christ’s body in the Eucharist.[xiv]

In John, Mark and Matthew, Christ’s self-revelation through the multiplication of loaves is followed by a further revelation, as he walks on water. The disciples, we are told in John’s Gospel, are on a rough sea when Jesus appears alongside them. They are frightened – but he reassures them with the phrase “Ego eimi”. This can simply be translated “It is I” – but it can be also translated “I am” and has a deeper resonance in Jewish culture, where “I am” is a name for God … a resonance that is echoed in the “I am” statements throughout John’s Gospel.[xv] In this case, the phrase is followed with reassurance: “Do not be afraid” The disciples take Jesus into the boat “and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.” Might there, as some commentators suggest, be another Passover reference here, as the sea yields to God’s power, and the disciples quickly reach the desired land?[xvi]

Responding to the text

Psalm 145 reminds us that the miracle of God’s provision is seen each day in the way that creation provides food:

  • What does it mean for us to be reminded that food is God’s gift?
  • If we think of the provision of food as something that flows from the goodness of creation, what are the implications for the way we treat agricultural land?
  • If all that goes into food production springs from the free gifts of God, how do we respond to a food system which favours the wealthy and leaves many people unable to access what they need? What action can we take to fix that?

In the Gospel, Christ’s provision of bread not only satisfies physical needs but points towards his role as Messiah, who satisfies our deepest spiritual hungers and gives us the bread that will lead to eternal life.

  • How can we both value what God provides for us physically and be open to the ways in which the physical can point us towards divine truths?

The prophet made 20 loaves feed one hundred people – which is remarkable enough – but Christ took a young boy’s five loaves and, by God’s power, fed 5,000, with lots of leftovers!

  • We often feel, as we look at difficult situations around us and in the wider world, that our small gifts and talents can’t make a difference. How might passage help us see the value of our offerings, when they are given to Christ?

The disciples welcomed Christ into the boat – and passed through the stormy seas to arrive at their destination.

  • Where do we see Christ walking towards us today? How can that help us as we navigate life’s storms?

by Maranda St John Nicolle, Oxford

[i] Both are mentioned in 2 Samuel 23:34 and 39

[ii] The nature of David’s actions towards Bathsheba has been much discussed. See, for example, Jennifer Andruska, “’Rape’ in the Syntax of 2 Samuel 11:4” Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft vol 129:1 (2017), pp. 103-109. For some other current discussions, see Tamie Davis, “Why David and Bathsheba is not about adultery” and Russell L Meek, “David raped Bathsheba, and why that matters”

[iii] Rev A R S Kennedy, Samuel, The Century Bible, pp 240-243.

[iv] Peter C Craigie, Psalms 1-50, Word Biblical Commentary, vol 19 (Waco, TX: Word, 1983), p. 146

[v] For a discussion of the placement of the Psalm in the traditions of wisdom literature, prophecy and lament, see above, pp 145-6.

[vi] Derek Kidner, Psalms 1-72: An introduction and commentary on books I and II of the Psalms (London: IVP, 1973), p.79

[vii] Mitchell Dahood translator, Psalms I: 1-50, Anchor Bible (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1965), p. 80.

[viii] Kidner, op cit, pp. 79 and 80 and Craigie, op cit, pp. 145-149 for a further discussion of these themes.

[ix] As above

[x] An interesting online discussion of Wright’s work and his themes can be found in David Baer’s “Israel’s position: Christopher J.H. Wright, Old Testament Ethics for the People of God (2004)”:

[xi] Francis Foulkes, Ephesians, Tyndale New Testament Bible Commentaries, rev ed (Leicester:IVP, 1989), p. 111.

[xii] This placing of the Church, the body of believers, alongside Jesus is itself quite a remarkable statement, which reinforces the importance that the Pauline tradition places on the unity of the Body of Christ with Jesus, its head.

[xiii] Ibid, pp. 116-118

[xiv] John alone mentions that the miracle takes place around the time of Passover, calling to mind both the history of the Jewish people in the Exodus and the final Passover meal before the Crucifixion, as noted by numerous commentators. Provided with five loaves and two fish Christ takes the loaves and gives thanks (eucharistēsas) before distributing them, a description of words and actions that echoes the institution of the Lord’s supper – see, for example, Barnabas Lindars, The Gospel of John, The New Century Bible Commentary ( (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1972), p. 242 and Raymond Brown, The Gospel according to John, vol 1, The Anchor Bible (London: Chapman, 1971), pp. 245-250. In his discussion, Raymond Brown also points out the similarity between Jesus’ command “Gather up the fragments that are left over so that nothing will perish” and an early Eucharistic prayer over the bread: “As this fragmented bread was scattered on the mountains but was gathered up and became one, so let the Church be gathered up from the four corners of the earth into your Kingdom.”

[xv] Brown, The Gospel according to John, vol 1, p.254

[xvi] Brown, The Gospel according to John, vol 1, pp 255-56

Proper 10 (15) / 7th Sunday after Pentecost [by Rev Clive E. Thomas]

Anglican lectionary:
Catholic lectionary:
1st Reading
2 Sam 6:1-5,12b-19
Am 7:12-15
2nd Reading
Eph 1:3-14
Mark 6:14-29
Mark 6:7-13
by The Rev Clive Eric Thomas, Rector of St Ambrose Anglican Church, Diocese of Barbados, Province of the West Indies


2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19

Before the reign of David, the Ark of the Covenant, the very sign of God’s presence in the land, suffered a very checkered history, to the point of being captured in battle by the Philistines. After suffering a series of calamities, attributed to the Ark, the Philistines returned the ark to Israel (1 Samuel 6). 1 Samuel 7:1-2 tells us that the ark was housed at Kiriath-jearim, and it remained there for twenty years. The Ark seemed to have gone slient.

After the death of Saul and his sons, David became king over both Israel and Judah. He also captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites and transformed it into his capital city. David desired to give the Ark the honor it deserved as the Ark of the Covenant and place it in what he now considered to be the center of the nation, Jerusalem.

He builds a new cart for the Ark and together with of a great company of Isrealites transported the Ark to its new home, with prayers, sacrifices, music, singing, and dancing.  Placing the Ark once again in the center of the lives of the people. This great ceremony of transporting the Ark ends with David distributing food to the people in thanksgiving to God.

Psalm 24

It is believed that a vast majoriety of Psalms were written for temple services, and from the words and construct of Psalm 24, it appears to have been one of those psalms written for such procession and temple service.

Vs 1-2: The psalmist begins by acknowledging that creation and all that there in belongs to God.  It belongs to God not by force of capture but by His very act of creating it. We have no claim to what belongs to God.

Vs 3-6: The Psalmist then moves from an acknowledgement of God’s ownership of and over creation, to His worthness of praise from that which He has created. “Who can ascend the hill of the Lord?” and who can stand in his holy place?” Psalm 24:3.  He highlights the importance of understanding the superior nature of God, and as such our adoration and worship of Him must reflect such.

Vs 6-10: The psalmist turnes attention to the strength and power of God that is mighty to save, mighty protect and mighty to deliver in any battle.

Creation belongs to God, we must worship and honor His holy name and trust in His power to save.

Ephesians 1:3-14

The theme here is that of being the sons and daughters of God by adoption and grace.  Through the sacrifice of Jesus, we are now able to call God Abba Father.  However, this was not an isolated event or happened by chance, it was predestined.  Paul tells the church that even before the universe was formed God destined us to be; to be His own and to be part of His creation.


2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19

David built a new cart for the Ark and placed the Ark in the center of the nation’s life.

How can we see creation as the morden day Ark that contains and reminds people of the presence of God?

As David built a new cart for the Ark, what can we do to protect, preserve, renew and restore creation.

If creation is seen as the morden Ark of God, what can we do to highlight the importance of Creation in the lives of all peoples?

How can we help others to see God in Creation?

Psalm 24

In our daily lives how do we:

Acknowledge that the world was created by God and as such belongs to Him. We owe our existance to Him.

How do we respect, honor, adore, and worship the God who has created us; and how does our use of His creation reflect our respect and adoration for Him.

How do we acknowledge His strength and power in our daily struggles and rely on Him in our fight to preserve and protect creation.

Ephesians 1:3-14

We were destined to be part of God’s creation before the foundations of the earth were formed

Why did God destined us to be part of His creation?

What does it mean to be part of God’s creative plan?

How do we see ourselves as being one with creation, being part of creation?

If we preserve or destroy creation, are we preserving or destroying ourselves because we are part of creation?

Can we call ourselves sons and daughters of God if we denounce by our actions that which we were created part of by Him?

Mark 6:14-29

The theme here is fear and injustice

Why did King Herod fear John the Baptist?

What crime did John Commit that led to him being beheaded?

What fears do we have in our lives about persons?

Are those fears justified?

What can those fears lead us to say about or do to an innocent person?

What can we do to eliminate fear in our lives?

What can we do to fight for and support others who are experiencing injustices because of no fault of theirs?

How can we highlight God as a lover of Justice and as such His creation and creatures should reflect His justice.


Seeing God In Creation –

A Litany of Thanksgiving

Let us give thanks to God our Father for all his gifts so freely bestowed upon us.
For the beauty and wonder of your creation, in earth and sky and sea.
We thank you, Lord.

For all that is gracious in the lives of men and women, revealing the image of Christ,
We thank you, Lord.

For our daily food and drink, our homes and families, and our friends,
We thank you, Lord.

For minds to think, and hearts to love, and hands to serve,
We thank you, Lord.

For health and strength to work, and leisure to rest and play,
We thank you, Lord.

For the brave and courageous, who are patient in suffering and faithful in adversity,
We thank you, Lord.

For all valiant seekers after truth, liberty, and justice,
We thank you, Lord.

For the communion of saints, in all times and places,
We thank you, Lord.

Above all, we give you thanks for the great mercies and promises given to us in Christ Jesus our Lord;
To him be praise and glory, with you, O Father, and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

by The Rev Clive Eric Thomas, Barbados

Proper 9 (14) / 6th Sunday after Pentecost [by Rev Dr Richard Tiplady]

Anglican lectionary:
Catholic lectionary:
1st Reading
Ezek 2:1-5
2nd Reading
2 Cor 12:2-10
Mark 6:1-13
by Rev Dr Richard Tiplady, Director of Mixed Mode Training, Scottish Episcopal Institute

Take nothing but photos; leave nothing but footprints

A reflection on Mark 6:1-13

This guideline, beloved of the Scottish mountaineering community and its Munro[1] aficionados, seems particularly apposite as we look ahead to COP26 in Glasgow this coming November. As the first Covid lockdown eased last summer, there was an explosion of ‘dirty camping’ across Scotland as people seized their long-denied freedom and ran off into Scotland’s wilderness areas, leaving old barbeques, food and plastic waste, and even their camping equipment behind after they had finished.

To think about the footprint that we leave upon this earth, whether our carbon footprint or our actual ones, is an act of discipleship. When he sent them out, Jesus instructed the Twelve to travel lightly and live frugally (Mark 6:7-10). The reduce/reuse/recycle mantra is helpful, but the greatest of these is ‘reduce’. Our aspirations for plastic recycling are often thwarted, with much of our plastic rubbish being shipped halfway around the world and lost in landfill there.[2] As we try to ‘Build Back Better’ after Covid, we have the opportunity to make a clean break with our previous patterns of overconsumption. [3]

And for those of us involved in ministry or theological education and who are tempted to search for the splinter in another’s eye before we remove the plank from our own, I would ask you to do one thing. Look at your bookshelves. What will happen to all your precious books after you have gone? They can’t be easily recycled – the glue in the bindings puts paid to that idea. Theological colleges don’t want your old tomes (I know, because we get offered collections by ministers’ widows all the time and we can’t use them). Our new and budding theological students don’t want the books that have sat on your shelves unread for 20 years. Your prized collection of theological books and commentaries, built up over a lifetime, is destined for landfill. Think about that.

To make us feel even more uncomfortable, in the Gospel text for today Jesus seems to link frugality with spiritual authority. Whether it is the story of the widow’s mite, or the contrasting examples of Zacchaeus and the Rich Young Ruler (an early example of the challenge of divestment), Jesus links our spiritual wellbeing to our ability to give things away or to do without them in the first place.  “The man who dies rich dies disgraced”. Such was the verdict of Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), the great Scottish industrialist and philanthropist in his essay The Gospel of Wealth, in which he claimed to “solve the problem of the Rich and the Poor.” He asserted that the only creditable option for those with surplus wealth is to use it during their lifetimes for the common good, and that to do otherwise is a disgrace.

I started by thinking of the mountains. Mountains are places where one must travel light. Those who are attracted to mountaineering tend to be self-confident and assertive, no-nonsense people of action. And yet mystical and self-transcendent experiences are reported at high altitude by those not normally so inclined. Spiritual experiences are not unusual on mountains. Moses first met with God on a mountain (Exodus 3. 1–6); Jesus delivered his famous sermon on a mountain (Matthew 5–7), and the disciples experienced his Transfiguration on one (Mark 9. 2–8).

But mountains are not merely places where one might encounter God. They are also places to encounter absence. They are places of denial, of the via negativa. Austere and unaccommodating mountain landscapes point us to the smallness of ourselves. The renunciation or denial of the centrality of oneself points us to something beyond and to something absent. In the traditions of the Desert Fathers, God is met in emptiness and revealed in what others may disregard as a barren nothingness. The Mercy Seat on the Ark of the Covenant was a vacant space. Christ’s victory over sin and death is proclaimed most eloquently by an empty tomb. An indifferent landscape reflects an unfathomable God, one who is far above and indifferent to the petty needs and rivalries that consume us. “One of the scourges of our age is that all our deities are housebroken and eminently companionable”.[4] Our cultural theologies are devoted to self-realization and the fulfilment of our self-potential, and the gods ask only how they can enhance the lives of those they serve. But what mountain wilderness teaches best is abandonment. Its capacity to ignore is immense. Its central spiritual lesson is that it doesn’t care. And yet, in that indifference, one discovers an enormous freedom:

“I come to the mountains not to conquer them but to immerse myself in their incomprehensible immensity — so much bigger than we are — to better comprehend humility and patience, balanced in harmony with the desire to push hard”.[5]

“Plants and animals change as one goes up the mountain, and so, apparently, do people”.[6]

Robert Macfarlane reminds us that “mountains return to us the priceless capacity for wonder”.[7] And wonder helps us to see the presence of God in all things. “If you lose your sense of wonder, you lose the sacramental majesty of the world. Nature is no longer a presence, it is a thing. Your life becomes a dead cage of fact”.[8] As you wander, it would seem, you can find wonder.

The words of Jesus. The needs of our world today. The mountains. All three enjoin us to leave no trace, except perhaps in the lives of others.

The Place That Calls

I am the holy place.
I am the place where calloused feet crack and backs ache.

I am the treacherous place that taunts you and rings with laughter.

And I am the place that calls you back….

I am the scree that unsettles your foothold
And I am the place where plans are hatched
Ideas are matched
And dreams despatched

I am the place and I call you back….

I am the place where you will challenge yourself
and be challenged by others
I am the place to meet new sisters and brothers

I am the throne of petitions and laughter
Of thanksgiving and disaster
I am the house of prayer

I am the horizon
Never seen in towns
I am the end where sky is found

I am the edge-land
That cannot be owned

I am the headwall and the spur
That deride you as you ascend and then

I am the place where god is present
I am the heaven where god is treasured and unfiltered
And unrelenting

And I am the place that calls you back….

I am the cathedral where hope meets doubt
where the sky is reached and earth is found

I am the mountain

And I am your home

Together we are the pilgrims.[9]

by Rev Dr Richard Tiplady, Scotland

[1] There are 282 Munros, which are mountains in Scotland whose summit is more than 3000’ (914.4m) above sea level. With rising sea levels, this number may well reduce!



[4] Belden Lane (1998), The Solace of Fierce Landscapes:Exploring Desert and Mountain Spirituality, Oxford University Press, p53

[5] Alex Lowe, quoted in Joe Simpson (2003), The Beckoning Silence, Vintage, p58

[6]  Diana Kappel-Smith, quoted in Lane, Solace of Fierce Landscapes, p87.

[7]  Robert Macfarlane (2003), Mountains of the Mind: A History of a Fascination, Granta Publications

[8] John O’Donohue (1998), Eternal Echoes: Exploring our Hunger to Belong, Bantam Books, p283

[9] Tim Watson @BeatLiturgist and Richard Passmore