john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Philippians 4, Matthew 22: A simple pan of Scouse

    Good Shepherd - Morning Prayer 12/10/2008

    Philippians 4.1-9, Matthew 22.1-14

    Notes from a conversation.....

    Worried about the crisis in the financial markets? Or does it not affect you?

    Any stories about people you know who are affected (jobs, houses...)?

    If we are worried, what as Christians can we do?
    Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.

    Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice ... Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

    Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
    (Philippians 4)
    Now once Paul set off on his missionary journeys he was never well off. And Jesus never had much money to spare, so they both must have been practical men. So when the scripture tells us to focus on things in life that are true, and honourable, just, and pure, pleasing and commendable, excellent and worthy of praise it is talking about practical down to earth things. So, in a time when money is tight, if you don't have much to spend on food, what can you do?

    Make Scouse! [...discuss.]

    Making Scouse is an honourable thing to do, it's just, it's pure, it's pleasing, it's commendable, if we make it well and share it with others then it is definitely excellent and worthy of praise. If our faith and our bible reading means anything at all then it must be practical. So today why not talk about making food.

    What would you put in a pan of Scouse?
    What is your favourite vegetable? What's good about it?

    Unlocking Life Experience
    What have you made that was good?
    What have you eaten that was memorable?
    Have you ever had a 'perfect' meal?
    What makes food good?
    Ever made something out of nothing or sorted out a bad mess?

    Today's gospel story about someone who had done a lot of cooking for a lot of people.....
    Jesus's parable of the wedding banquet.
    The guests who the king invited would not come. Even when the king invited them again they took no notice and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, maltreated them, and killed them. The king was so angry that he had them all killed and destroyed their city.
    Then he sent his staff out into the streets, to invite everyone they found, both good and bad, to the wedding banquet; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.
    Who would you be in that story.....?

    Have you ever been in the same situation as the king, when you've prepared some food for people who have decided that they weren't going to come?

    Or have you ever been like one of the invited guests who didn't really want to go because you had other things to do?

    Or maybe you've been surprised to be invited to something which you'd never expect to go to?

    Or would you see yourself as one of the king's staff or soldiers, doing his work and running his errands for him?


    Surprising twist in end of story:
    ... when the king noticed a guest at his party who was not wearing a wedding robe he said to him, "Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?" And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, "Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." For many are called, but few are chosen.'
    What do you make of this?

    If God invites us to work with him, walk with him, then we should be prepared to do things his way. And doing things his way in hard times as well as in good times means:

    Standing firm in the Lord;
    Rejoicing in the Lord always;
    Not worrying about anything, but saying prayers of thanksgiving and requests;
    And concentrating on the things in life that are true, and honourable, just, and pure, pleasing and commendable, excellent and worthy of praise;

    - and most of all remembering that none of these things need be any more difficult or clever than the generous act of cooking up and sharing out a simple pan of Scouse.

    [1] Scouse and Unlocking Life Experience questions inspired by Sonya Doragh of Unlock who is pioneering a series of learning cycle sessions for a group of young mums called 'Cooking the Book', which connect a Bible passage with a recipe...