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Today’s reflection, Making a hole in the pocket, is written by Kirsty  and based on Psalm 96 and Luke 19.  The music is from the Sons of Korah and we conclude with the prayer of the week

Our reading, Psalm 96

O sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
    tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous works among all the peoples.
For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
    he is to be revered above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens.
Honor and majesty are before him;
    strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    bring an offering, and come into his courts.
Worship the Lord in holy splendor;
    tremble before him, all the earth.

10 Say among the nations, “The Lord is king!
    The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved.
    He will judge the peoples with equity.”
11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
    let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
12     let the field exult, and everything in it.
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
13     before the Lord; for he is coming,
    for he is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
    and the peoples with his truth.

.. and also the Gospel of Luke Chapter 19, Verses 11 to 27

11 As they were listening to this, he went on to tell a parable, because he was near Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. 12 So he said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to get royal power for himself and then return. 13 He summoned ten of his slaves, and gave them ten pounds, and said to them, ‘Do business with these until I come back.’ 14 But the citizens of his country hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to rule over us.’ 15 When he returned, having received royal power, he ordered these slaves, to whom he had given the money, to be summoned so that he might find out what they had gained by trading. 16 The first came forward and said, ‘Lord, your pound has made ten more pounds.’ 17 He said to him, ‘Well done, good slave! Because you have been trustworthy in a very small thing, take charge of ten cities.’ 18 Then the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your pound has made five pounds.’ 19 He said to him, ‘And you, rule over five cities.’ 20 Then the other came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your pound. I wrapped it up in a piece of cloth, 21 for I was afraid of you, because you are a harsh man; you take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 He said to him, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked slave! You knew, did you, that I was a harsh man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then did you not put my money into the bank? Then when I returned, I could have collected it with interest.’ 24 He said to the bystanders, ‘Take the pound from him and give it to the one who has ten pounds.’ 25 (And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten pounds!’) 26 ‘I tell you, to all those who have, more will be given; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 27 But as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and slaughter them in my presence.’”

A Reflection, Burning a hole in the pocket

A child was given a pound coin by a relative, to spend as he chose. That coin ‘burnt a hole in his pocket’ as the phrase goes- the excitement of having the coin, with all the potential of chocolatey goodness which that brought, gave him joy as he bounced happily along the street and strode purposefully into the One Stop.

A child with a coin sounds fairly straightforward, but today’s parable is far from that. It is certainly one which needs grappling with and pondering over. However, seeing it in the context of Jesus’s approach to Jerusalem and of the crowds questioning over the coming of God’s kingdom is helpful. 

Like the monarch in the story, Jesus will return; his kingdom will come in all fullness then. In the meantime, he gives each of us a deposit to guarantee our inheritance in that kingdom- not of money, like in the parable, but of his Spirit, and the gifts which that brings.  He calls us to use our inheritance-that Spirit burning within us, those gifts- to further his kingdom here on Earth until he returns.

But what is furthering his kingdom on Earth? Psalm 96 paints a beautiful picture of this.  In the overflowing praises to God, the joy of the psalmist bubbles out of the words he writes; he cannot contain his awe and wonder at what God has done and is doing. 

It’s so easy sometimes to hide our inheritance, the Spirit within us- like the servant who buried the coin in the ground. We worry about how others perceive us, about taking a risk, about stepping outside of what we’re used to. 

But, on the other hand, we could be like that small child and let our deposit ‘burn a hole in our pocket’. We could let it transform us, and fill us with the bubbling, overflowing joy that the psalmist knew. It might mean making that phone call, even though we’re not sure how to maintain the conversation. It might mean summoning up the courage to talk to somebody we don’t normally talk to, or maybe letting somebody see a little more of our true self than we normally do. Or perhaps embarking on a new adventure or challenge. Or maybe continuing what we’re doing, and knowing that in doing that, in using our gifts and walking with God, we are bringing God’s kingdom a little bit closer. 

Somebody wise once suggested to me that the more we let God’s Spirit bubble up in us in this way, the more we’ll become accustomed to letting go of our anxieties and need to feel in charge, and the more God will fill us.  The more he will bless us, and fill us with his joy. The more we can go out to joyfully proclaim his kingdom, until he returns, and the kingdom is complete. 

Kirsty Morris, 11th July 2020

Today’s music ….

Psalm 96
The sons of Korah

Prayer of the week

Gracious Father,
by the obedience of Jesus
you brought salvation to our wayward world:
draw us into harmony with your will,
that we may find all things restored in him,
our Saviour Jesus Christ.