Displaying posts published in

July 2016

Consider the lillies

Matthew 6:25-34 Brian keeps getting mistaken for the Messiah.  In this scene he must come up with some pithy teaching on the hoof. BRIAN: …Consider the lilies… in the field… ELSIE: Consider the lilies? BRIAN: Uh, well, the birds, then. EDDIE: What birds? BRIAN: Any birds. EDDIE: Why? BRIAN: Well, have they got jobs? ARTHUR: Who? BRIAN: The birds. EDDIE: Have the birds got jobs?!! […]

Take no thought

Matthew 6:25-34 In 1395, Wycliffe rendered it be not busy:  “Therfor I seie to you, that ye be not bisi to youre lijf.”  (Matthew 6:25) In 1534 Tyndale put the warning, be not carefull:  “Therfore I saye vnto you be not carefull for your lyfe.” From Tyndale until 1611 all the translations rendered Jesus’ warning as […]

Ye cannot serve God and Mammon

Luke 16:1-13; Matthew 6:16-24 We are all worshippers.  We all give our hearts to something.  And yet we only have one heart.  Simone Weil put it like this: “No human being escapes the necessity of conceiving some good outside himself towards which his thought turns in a movement of desire, supplication, and hope.  Consequently, the […]

Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also

Matthew 6:16-24 Following His discussion of three religious practices – alms-giving, prayer and fasting (Matthew 6:1-18) – Jesus returns to the topic of giving.  But here He doesn’t speak in terms of “alms” but of treasure. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through […]

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen

1 Chronicles 29:10-22; Matthew 6:5-15 Modern translations put this verse in footnotes.  It does not appear in Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer, nor in the earliest manuscripts of Matthew that we have.  It does appear in the Textus Receptus and so, for 300 years it appeared in all the English translations from Tyndale onwards. […]

Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil

Matthew 4:1-11; Matthew 6:5-15 It is often said that the “Lord’s Prayer” is poorly named since its petitions are not those that the Lord Himself would make.  Jesus would certainly pray “Father” – “Abba” even.  He would certainly hallow the name of God and seek His kingdom.  And He is the One who supremely did […]

Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors

Matthew 18:21-35; Matthew 6:5-15 Spot the common theme in all these sayings: –  I owe you an apology. –  How can I ever repay you? –  Give credit where it’s due. –  I’m forever in your debt. –  You robbed me of my dignity. –  You cost me my reputation. –  It’s pay-back time. All […]

Give us this day our daily bread

Exodus 16; Matthew 6:5-15 Many people are reluctant to pray “small prayers.” Often Christians have told me they wouldn’t bother God with their piddling requests, after all He’s got more important things to care about. It’s an odd position to take when you think about it.  As though the affairs of the world were getting […]

Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven

Matthew 26:36-46; Matthew 6:5-15 What is God up to in the world? Here’s a word to drop into conversation:  God is ouranifying the earth. Ouranos is the Greek word for heaven – it’s where we get the name for the planet “Uranus”.  And here Jesus tells us that God’s desire is to ouranify the earth.  […]

Thy kingdom come

Psalm 72; Matthew 6:5-15 First we remember who God is (Father) and where we have come in Christ in order to speak with Him (Heaven).  At this point the Lord’s Prayer is wonderfully personal.  The One on the throne is Father. Then we ask that the Lord’s gospel character (His name) be more richly prized […]