Sermon Outline: Ordinary 17, Year C

Text: Luke 11:1-13

In the name of the +Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

  • Luke’s Lord’s Prayer looks very different from the familiar cadences of St Matthew’s version
  • We should not be worked up about the variances, but concentrate on the focus of the prayer:
    • Looking towards God
    • Depending upon Him
    • Seeking forgiveness and seeking to make reconciliation with the world
    • Seeking God’s help when we are tested, put-upon or battered, bruised by life
      • Which is really what we are asking – it is never God who tests us, but rather life, and God is there to help us pick up the pieces.
      • God responds to prayer in three ways:
        • He says “Yes”
        • He says “No”
        • He says “Not yet”
        • But he never ignores prayer. Just because it is not the answer we want, doesn’t mean there is no response.
        • To show this, I bought a Lottery Ticket and I prayed really hard this I might win the prize (or indeed any prize)
        • As you can see I am still here, so just because I prayed for it doesn’t mean God will grant my prayer
          • Prayer isn’t mechanistic
          • It isn’t to satisfy our deepest desires
          • You aren’t a toddler, wanting to make a long list of selfish demands on the Parent-God
          • Prayer is a dialogue which demands that we listen to God as well
      • One of our Churchwardens prayed earnestly “Please God, let me win the lottery, let me, let me, let me, I’ve been good, I’ll even make a (small) donation to the Church Hall fund, please, please, please”. Lottery day comes up and no win. Next week:  “Please God, let me win the lottery, let me, let me, let me, I’ve been good, I’ll even make a (slightly bigger) donation to the Church Hall fund, please, please, please”. No win. On the third week: ““Please God, let me win the lottery, let me, let me, let me…” and God chimes back “Steven, you’re going to have to meet me half-way here – at least buy a Lottery Ticket!”
      • But this isn’t about Lottery wins is it? The ticket that God asks of us is not seven numbers and a bonus ball, but rather it is an engagement with him.
      • If we, collectively and individually, are not prepared to meet with God, then the blessings that he so much wants to shower upon us cannot happen.
      • We are a praying Church, but we should pray more.
      • We are a welcoming Church, but we should draw more into the encounter with God
      • We are a caring Church, but we should be more embedded and not separated from the community outside these walls, we should be a parish engaged in Mission and Social Justice.
    • This leads me on to Back to  Church Sunday on September 26th
      • I am asking everyone to buy into this project, and with the input of each and every person in this place we can double our congregation
      • No fancy words are required, simply to ask someone you know “would you like to come to church with me on Sunday”
      • We need to pray for those people who will respond to that invitation
      • We have resources (cards and suchlike) to help
      • We can arrange lifts where needed (Taxi!)
      • If only one or two of you do this, then it will be a failure
      • If we all do this, then it will be an enormous success
      • Finish with a lovely parish BBQ in the Church grounds