Second Sunday After Trinity
By Revd Michael Freeman
Readings: Jeremiah 207-13; Romans 61b-11; Matthew 1024-39.
A distinctive feature of the Book of Jeremiah is the number of passages such as that set for today in which we see his inner conflict between the calling to be God’s spokesman and the natural desire for a quiet life. As he stands up for God’s truth he faces the pain of falling out with close friends and family. The other readings warn us of similar hard choices to be faced.
St Augustine, the great early Christian writer, admitted that as a young man sowing his wild oats he had prayed, “O God, grant me chastity – but not yet!” It is a prayer of which we are all tempted to offer some variation, yet St Paul tells us that as baptized Christians we must have died to sin so that we can walk in newness of life. A self-centred life must be replaced by one focused on Christ. It involves a change which can only be described in terms of death and resurrection. Jesus himself teaches, “Those who find their life [i.e. pursue only their own ends] will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”
There is much discussion of what the “new normal” after the pandemic has subsided will be like. This includes how we can keep the good things that have emerged such as greater neighbourliness, how the deeper appreciation of the often low-paid but key roles in society can be given practical expression, or how new lifestyles will help or hinder attempts to tackle the climate change emergency. The temptation is for me to hope that everything will be better while I can carry on in the way I always used to. “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, as long as I can still do what I like!”
Today’s readings challenge us to really think about how each of our lives should change and the hard changes this may involve. But it should not be change imposed upon us and more or less grudgingly accepted. It should be willingly embraced, for the Father whose kingdom we seek watches over us and his Son reassures us, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. Even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.”