Material for Worship at Home for Sunday 1st August

Rev Jeanette Allan writes: One thing is for sure; the bible isn’t boring! Leastways most of it isn’t, though the long lists of rules and regulations in Leviticus would be a cure for insomnia for most people. This morning’s reading: 2 Samuel 11.26 – 12:13a of the confrontation between Nathan and David is riveting, encouraging and universal, which isn’t to say that all of us have deliberately put someone in a position where they will die. It speaks powerfully of human weakness, of God’s mercy, and of how God can use even the most flawed of us to do great things, which is both comforting and encouraging.

David, you will recall, had seen Bathsheba bathing on the roof of her house, and had lusted after her. He had abused his power as King to command that she spend the night with him, and when she subsequently became pregnant, he sent for her husband, who was away fighting for his King and country, and tried to trick him into spending the night with his wife, which didn’t work, as Uriah was a man of such integrity that he would not sleep in comfort with his wife when his men were roughing it in the fields. David’s next ploy was to send a letter to his General with Uriah, when he went back to his troops, commanding him to put Uriah in the heat of the battle where he would be killed. The whole thing was most unsavoury, from start to finish.
In today’s reading God sends the prophet Nathan to David, and using the parable of the poor man with the one ewe lamb, he stirs up such anger in David against the rich man that he condemns him to death, and in so doing condemns himself, and we get Nathan’s dramatic statement, “You are the man!”, followed by a catalogue of all that God had done for David, and how he had shown favour to him, and made him into a great King. His sentence of death was rescinded, but there were still to be heavy consequences because of David’s actions. The baby would die, and his own family would fight amongst themselves, all of which subsequently happened.
No one is above the law, not even the King says God and it is impossible to separate out private and public lives and live differently within each. Integrity cannot be subdivided; human life is a whole in both personal and corporate aspects.
Selfishness and a disregard for others destroys communities. We don’t have to look far to see how our own society measures up with integrity as the yardstick. Sin and selfishness deceive, darken understanding, and twist logic until it becomes easy to believe that good is bad, and bad is good. It happens inside, as well as outside, the church, such things as trickery, cunning, and pseudo-doctrines which impress those who lack the maturity to see the flaw.
To be a community which reflects the renewing and transforming love of God we need what Christ gives us to help us on our journey, and of course we need faith, and humility, as we remember that even a great King, as favoured by God as David was, can fail to live up to his responsibilities. Our gospel today John 6:24-35 also asks us to question our motives.
Jesus invites us, each and every one of us, to trust him, the word made flesh, to taste in him the bread of life, and in so doing to find heaven and earth united in the present and future Kingdom of God. Not one of us is perfect, and we will often fail in our endeavours, but if we trust in Jesus the bread of life, we will be able, in his strength, to pick ourselves up and continue the journey, as God gives us strength. Let’s pray that we can be honest enough with ourselves and with God to do just that. Amen.

As you pray give yourself time to ponder each petition before you go onto the next one:
Loving God, help us to see ourselves as you see us, and to love ourselves as you love us.

Healing God, help to acknowledge our need for healing, and to accept your healing touch in our lives.

God of justice, show us where you want us to work to combat injustice in our world.

Creator God, help us to be good stewards of our planet earth, help us to see how we can change our lifestyles so that your creation may thrive and flourish. Amen.