Sing to the Lord, and praise him! Proclaim every day the good news that he has saved us (Psalm 96.2, GNB).
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Speak these words out loud:
Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
Jeremiah 17.7 (NIV)
Read the proverb through three or four times, slowly. Pause in-between, maybe write it out by hand – savour the words, let them speak deeply to you.
Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare. (NIV)
If you spend your time sleeping, you will be poor. Keep busy and you will have plenty to eat. (GNB)
We’ve seen these Proverbs before, and interpreted them in a spiritual sense, thinking about how much effort we put in (vs how lazy we are) when it comes to our faith, and spiritual food.
But today I’d like us to read this as one of those Proverbs which says how things should and one day will be – because it certainly is not like this today.
I’m afraid that I often hear Christians criticise people who live on ‘benefits’. Amington has a large council estate, one of the poorest wards in Tamworth, and too often I have seen and heard residents of ‘old’ Amington sneer at them. ‘Scroungers,’ they are, ‘lazy’ and ‘entitled’.
Now, I don’t doubt that some are. But the truth is that some people work very hard, foregoing the sleep and rest they need, and don’t have food to spare. According to the Office for National Statistics, three times more people work in low-paid, part-time jobs, than work in full-time jobs. Three times more. Some of that is a choice – but not all of it. Some people are forced to take what they can get.
As Christians, I suggest that most of us are aware of our individual sin, and the need to repent of it. We are perhaps less aware of corporate or systemic sin: i.e. the system is broken and sinful.
In case you stop reading because that sounds like left-wing politics and you don’t like it – ask yourself, who runs the system? Who designed the system? People do and people did. How can it not be sinful?
What this means is that people’s circumstances – including extreme hunger – are not always (or even usually) their fault. That should drive us to show a little more compassion than I fear we sometimes do – which includes, but means more than things like donating to the Foodbank.
Pray for Five – pray for your five friends / family from Thy Kingdom Come.
Our daily prayer sheet includes the names of everyone for whom we have a signed church family directory form – and local parishes and senior church leaders. Today we are praying for:
Jean Austin, Joshi Family (Alan, Jess, Paul)
Father, please bless them with your peace, and a deep awareness of your presence with them, every day and in every way.
We also pray for: Local Secondary Schools & Colleges
Please pray for our leaders and healthcare workers, and all those working to keep us safe, well, and fed. Please pray that people would unselfishly put others before themselves.
Church Family Prayer
Come Holy Spirit,
and make us one in heart and action,
so that we can serve God faithfully:
abounding in love,
maturing in holiness,
and seeking out the lost.
Help us grow as disciples of Jesus –
in commitment, in depth, and in number –
that we may be a blessing to Amington;
to the glory and praise of God the Father.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labour in vain.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus
the only way to the Father.
Psalm 127.1, Hebrews 12.2 & John 14.6
May Christ our Saviour give us peace.