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The week in focus for week beginning Sunday 21 July 2024

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In touch

Up-to-the-minute jumping-off points for sermons, linking the reading to the latest news and global issues


The promises of God

What does God’s leadership teach us, as world leaders face major ethical and moral challenges? 2 Samuel 7:1-14a



Leadership and governance lead the news as Labour sets out its stall in the King’s Speech including key areas such as housing, border security and rail nationalisation. Meanwhile the USA grapples with the impact of the attempted assassination of Donald Trump. Uncertainty over USA support leaves Ukraine vulnerable in the war with Russia; and in Gaza, Israeli bombings of UN schools continue amid further calls for a new ceasefire.

BBC will introduce welfare staff for Strictly as it becomes the latest show to face allegations of abusive behaviour. Christian safeguarding charity 31:8 joins Domestic Abuse Commissioner and ICSSA Changemakers in calling for the new government to review the draft Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) Statutory Guidance, to better safeguard children.

BBC sports team prepare to cycle to Paris for what will be the most sustainable Olympics yet, cutting carbon emissions by half. As schools break up for the summer holidays, nature-friendly activities such as visiting sunflower fields or visiting summer woodlands continue the eco-aware theme.


Ideas for sermons or interactive talks

As director of a small non-profit company that works with survivors of abuse, it’s vital to me that our work reflects the ethical and moral standards we represent – in short, that everything we do should be the opposite of abuse. For us, this means that we should be transparent and accountable, address inequality and disadvantage, and ensure we ‘do no harm’. We offer relationship and community – a place for survivors to be ‘at home’ with people who understand and accept us as we are. We try to practise kindness, care and compassion towards ourselves, others and the world. In our own small way, we try to reflect the values of a known place of safety, shalom and home demonstrated by God in his promises to David. How might these values guide our world leaders as they grapple with the pressing issues of our times?

How do the intentions in the King’s Speech measure up against the promises of God? What do we want to see our new government prioritise, as people of God’s Covenant?

Jesus as the Good Shepherd is a comforting image in the gospel reading, reminding us that God safeguards us and wants us to be safe and well. It can be hard to hear the persistent bad news of those harmed through war and abuse. But bringing the voices of those harmed and the stories of suffering out into the open enables us to address them. Where do we need God’s safeguarding in our community? How can we be a place of sanctuary and safety for those harmed?

The efforts for a sustainable Olympics in Paris challenge us to be eco-aware in our own summer plans. Like Jesus, we might seek some respite and recuperation in the wilderness; but only if we sustain our efforts to ensure the wilderness is still here for future generations.


Questions for discussion

What do we look for from our new government leaders? What might ‘Godly leadership’ look like right now?

Each of this week's lectionary readings explores the idea of home, a safe dwelling place with God, the shepherd who cares for the sheep. What does a safe dwelling place mean to us? Can we be that place for others on our community?

How sustainable is your church? How about completing the Eco Church Survey from A Rocha?

Jane Chevous is an activist, writer, sailor, and leader of Survivors Voices. She researches and writes about abuse, survivor theology, mental health and the sea.




Connecting faith with everyday, real-life issues for young people

God with us… Everywhere!

This is a deeply significant weekend for many across England and Wales (the other nations got there first!) But for many, this weekend marks the end, not only of the summer term, but also of the school year, and the beginning of the long summer holiday break.

It can also be a deeply unsettling time for many - the marking of the end of one chapter and a long pregnant pause before the next season begins in September: new classes, new schools, new routines. In this moment of change, as routine gives way to rest, and the known gives way to the unknown, we can hold certain to the news that God is with us… Everywhere!

Whilst King David wanted to create a home for God; God made it clear that he is the one who chooses where he goes and, in the moment when the curtain tore in two; God told the world; ‘I am with you… everywhere!’

So, as our children and young people think about the holidays and anticipate the next stage on their life journey, there is great power in knowing that God isn’t safely tucked away in our home church building but, rather, we can have certainty that God is with us, wherever we go.

Becky May is founder of The Resources Cupboard


Views expressed are the authors' own. Hypertext links to other websites are for the convenience of users only and do not constitute any endorsement or authorisation by ROOTS for Churches Ltd.

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