Opening Prayer (Collect)
God of truth and love,
you desire that your people do justly, love mercy
and walk humbly before you.
May we care for the poorest,
hunger for righteousness,
and, out of love for you, challenge social injustice,
that your Kingdom may come on earth as in heaven. Amen
in Jesus we become a new creation,
and we are transformed into his likeness.
Help us to live the alternative life of your Kingdom,
that brings down the mighty and exalts the lowly,
and exposes all who abuse their earthly power. Amen
Bible Passages: Psalm 121-1-8 Luke 14.1-14
PROPHETIC CHALLENGE – ‘Upside Down and Inside Out’
As we focus on the last of the Big Five themes in the ministry of Jesus we can see why Jesus was too hot to handle. His powerful challenge to the religious and political leaders of the day was more than they could stomach – and is the reason why his Journey to Jerusalem ends with his crucifixion
Today we see how Jesus flagged up issues of social justice, and challenged those in power to become more lowly. Much of his teaching focuses on the responsibility that people have for each other – including stories like the Good Samaritan. We have already seen in earlier weeks how his own ministry was so very strongly focused on meeting the needs of poor and marginalised people.
His ‘upside down inside out’ kingdom is so well summed up: ‘For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.’
So this week we can explore the following questions
How affected is the church and its leaders by issues of status and power?
How are we to respond to Jesus’ command to invite needy people to our parties?
What have we discovered in recent times about the real value of people who serve others in our society?
How are we to work for a just society – how are Christians to be involved in this?
Should Christians be urging that the UK have greater concern for the economic needs of poorer countries?