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If you, O Lord, should note what we do wrong, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered. Psalm 130.3-4
O God, you call your Church to witness that in Christ we are reconciled to you: help us so to proclaim the good news of your love, that all who hear it may turn to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
A reading from the book Exodus. 14.19-31
The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them. 20 It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. And so the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night. 21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The LORD drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. 22 The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. 23 The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers. 24 At the morning watch the LORD in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic.
25 He clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the Israelites, for the LORD is fighting for them against Egypt.” 26 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers.” 27 So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, the LORD tossed the Egyptians into the sea. 28 The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained. 29 But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. 30 Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31 Israel saw the great work that the LORD did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the LORD and believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses.
Hear the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
1 When Israel came out of Egypt: and the house of Jacob from among a people of an alien tongue,
2 Judah became his sanctuary: and Israel his dominion.
3 The sea saw that, and fled: Jordan was driven back.
4 The mountains skipped like rams: and the little hills like young sheep.
5 What ailed you, O sea, that you fled: O Jordan, that you were driven back?
6 You mountains, that you skipped like rams: and you little hills like young sheep?
7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord: at the presence of the God of Jacob,
8 Who turned the rock into a pool of water: and the flint-stone into a welling spring.
A reading from the letter to the Romans. 14. 1-14
Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions. 2 Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. 3 Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand. 5 Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. 6 Those who observe the day, observe it in honour of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honour of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honour of the Lord and give thanks to God.
7 We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.”
12 So then, each of us will be accountable to God.
13 Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another.
14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.
May your word live in us? And bear much fruit to your glory.
The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew, chapter 18, beginning at verse 21.
Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Then Peter came and said to [Jesus], “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?”
22 Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.
23 “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; 25 and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. 26 So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’
30 But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. 31 When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32 Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. 35 So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
For the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
A reflection by Revd. Valentina Emmanuel
To feel God’s presence: part 3
May my meditation be pleasing to Him, as I rejoice in the Lord.
Hello dear friends.
This week we continue to explore different ways to connect with our living and loving God.
I hope you had time to experience some of the creative ways we discussed in the last two weeks to connect with the living God and enjoyed His sweet presence more.
This week we would like to explore some other ways to feel God’s presence.
Some people would like to connect with God through symbols and rituals.
If you think you are in this category or you would like to experience it. Theses are some creative ways:
Read Scripture out loud.
Use the book of common prayer.
Meet with God at the same time and place every day.
Study church history to learn how God has been working throughout the ages and be inspired.
Celebrate significant days in the church calendar like Lent, Pentecost, Advent, etc.
Practice prayer breaks throughout the day, pausing for few moments of prayer every hour. Set an alarm in your phone to help you remember.
Read three chapters of the bible a day, but don’t stop there. Talk to God about what you studied and what you have learned about Him, what you have learned to please Him in every area of your life.
Study the creed and use it to reflect how God has revealed Himself to us.
Even though our God is always with us, and we can pray and to Him no matter where we are and how, sometimes different locations, symbols and traditions can help us to connect with Him better and deeper. As personally I tried different methods to feel God’s presence I realised that of then I can move from one category to another depending on my mood, my situation and my circumstances. Even though nature still is the most inspiring place for me to worship God, to praise Him and to feel His presence a very simple little chapel in St Vincent private hospital in Fitzroy where both my kids were born interestingly is another inspiring place for me to be and to hear from God. Every symbol in that little beautiful chapel is so close to my heart because I shared moments of great sorrow as well as great anticipation and celebration with God alone there. So when I need extra energy, when I need to be filled with extra heavenly peace I will run to that meeting place with my God( obviously because of the lockdown I couldn’t do it for a long time now) but this was just an example to encourage you to find that place where you can feel His amazing presence more and more. We are made to worship our living God, without spending time with Him, without talking to Him and without listening from Him we can never experience the fulfilled life that the Lord Jesus Christ promised us to experience. ( John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly)
The ways to connect with God are endless and in the coming weeks, we continue our reflection on different methods. Are you ready to give these ways a try? And to feel His sweet presence even more?
I hope and pray that as you spend time with the living God He fills you with His peace which passes human understanding and you can experience His love and love one another so that all know you are Jesus’s disciples.
Amen in Jesus most high Name
Reverend Valentina Emmanuel