Trinity 1 2021 Mark 3 : 20-35
Let us pray: without you my table is empty, make haste O Lord and do not delay. Amen
(a prayer from the inexhaustible treasury of the Imitation of Christ)
The Collect for today, the 1st Sunday after Trinity, asks God to grant us the help of His grace; and our New Testament reading speaks of grace, as it extends to more and more people, increasing thanksgiving to the glory of God.
God’s Grace – we can recognise it straight away when we see it in others; we are only too aware when we lack it ourselves.
This morning we stand mid-way between 2 great feasts of the grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord: Corpus Christi, and the Sacred Heart which both point to God’s love, poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given us. And John in the opening chapter of his gospel points to this great generosity of God: “from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” (John 1:16)
our collect prays : “because through the weakness of our mortal nature we can do no good thing without you, grant us the help of your grace, that in the keeping of your commandments
we may please you both in will and deed.”
Far be it for me to sit in judgement, but our gospel has some disturbing portrayals of people who (probably) lack grace : a family setting out to restrain one of their own number (in this case Jesus); a kingdom and a house divided against itself.
Our Lady Mary obviously has grace, the one who is full of grace; the one above all who does the will of God, who hears the word of God and keeps it. Ponders it, treasures it and lives it.
Without you my table is empty; make haste O Lord and do not delay.
What is grace? I thought I would look it up in a dictionary of Christian theology, and discovered that it is a most complex thing which would keep us here all morning if we were to spell it all out! So instead I offer just a few glimpses of grace, this wonderful fact of the Christian life. We recognise it straight away when we see it or experience it.
Recovering members of AA joyfully proclaim that God has done for them what they could not do for themselves.
We can recall the wonderful words of Paul from his 2nd Letter to the Corinthians :
“ my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Most of can say Amen to that.
Brother Lawrence, of the Practice of the Presence of God, used to pray this prayer when faced with a difficult or impossible task : “Lord, I will not be able to do this unless you enable me to do it”.
He would then just get on with the tasks at hand, and found that unexpected help and strength came from Above.
Our New Testament reading suggests that grace increases thanksgiving, to the glory of God, and St Thomas a Kempis celebrates this link between thanksgiving and grace in the Imitation, in a marvellous chapter entitled “gratitude for the grace of God” :
“God does well in giving the grace of consolation, but people do ill in not returning it to God with thanksgiving. And this is why the gifts of grace do not flow in us – because we are ungrateful to the Giver, nor do we return all to the fountain-head. For grace is ever the reward of the one who returns thanks, and that shall be taken away from the proud which is wont to be given to the humble.” Bk 2:10
Let us pray that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ will flood our hearts, and extend to more and more people, and that in the keeping of his commandments, we may please him in both in will and deed. That what begins with us individually, will fill our cup to overflowing, and spill out and over for others……… …………….this is surely part of mission.
Without you my table is empty; make haste O Lord and do not delay. Amen