Thursday Midweek Communion 26 January at St Giles
who sent your apostle Paul to preach the gospel,
and gave him Timothy and Titus
to be his companions in faith:
grant that our fellowship in the Holy Spirit
may bear witness to the name of Jesus,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Reading 2 Timothy 2
1 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.
3 Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
4 No-one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs— he wants to please his commanding officer.
5 Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules.
6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.
7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.
8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel,
Gospel Luke 2
Christ was revealed in flesh, proclaimed among the nations
and believed in throughout the world.
When the Gospel is announced the reader says
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to N.
All Glory to you, O Lord.
Jesus Sends Out the Seventy-two
1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.
2 He told them, The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.
4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.
5 When you enter a house, first say, 'Peace to this house.'
6 If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you.
7 Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.
8 When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you.
9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God is near you.'
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
All Praise to you, O Christ.
The gospel reading is about a ‘sending out.’ 72 followers of Jesus were given a mission to go and tell others what they had seen and heard. The harvest is plentiful, said Jesus, but the workers are few. Isn’t that still the case today?
The disciples were not to rely on their own resources, but to accept hospitality from any who would receive them. It always strikes me as amazing that the spread of the Christian gospel started from so few people in such inauspicious circumstances.
Paul regarded himself as an apostle even though he never met Jesus, and it was mainly thanks to him that the gospel was preached around the Mediterranean and as far as Rome itself. Pauls approach was rather different. He plied his trade as a tent makes, and prided himself on not being a burden to anyone, but to provide for his own keep.
Paul was not alone, though. He had such people as Timothy, Titus and Silas as his followers. Silas accompanied Paul on his travels through Greece and Asia Minor, and was imprisoned with him in Philippi. They were set free by an earthquake that breached the prison walls.
Titus is mentioned in some of Paul’s letters as his companion. Timothy is mentioned in Acts. His father was a Greek, but his mother a Jewish believer. They didn’t always travel with Paul. Timothy was put in charge of the congregation in Ephesus, and Titus looked after the church in Crete. We know this because we have letters written to them by Paul himself. Two addressed to Timothy and one to Titus. They are known as the pastoral epistles. Not surprisingly these epistles differ from Paul’s other letters. They are more personal, and concern church organisation, rather than being like extended sermons that are read out.
There’s a special prayer for today about these two men. It teaches us to follow their example, and the examples of the 72 who told others what they themselves had learned. It goes like this:
Almighty God, who called Timothy, Titus, and Silas to be Evangelists and teachers, and made them strong to endure hardship: Strengthen us to stand fast in adversity, and to live righteous and godly lives in this present time, that with sure confidence we may look for our blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen