6th Sunday after Trinity [by Sally Shaw]

Anglican lectionary:
Catholic lectionary:
1st Reading
Hos 1:2-10
Gen 18:20-32
2nd Reading
Col 2:6-15
Lk 11:1-13
by Sally Shaw, A Rocha Australia



  • The theme of God’s judgement and mercies that affects both the land and the people, is found throughout the Old Testament. For Hosea the land is not just real estate where the drama of salvation is played out or where Israel receives agricultural blessings – the land is a major participant in the story. Hosea assumes that God, land and people are bound together as an interconnected whole.[1] When anything in the relationship goes wrong it affects God, the people and the land. Disobedience brings God’s judgement on the people as they have disregarded their covenantal relationship with God and instead become self-serving, arrogant and wicked.
  • However, there are glimmers of hope evident in Hosea (1:10-11) that reveal God will be gracious and willing to forgive. There is a similar message in Ps 85 where the people remember God’s past mercies and therefore can realistically pray for God to forgive and restore them again. The land and its good products will bless the people. This is a clear message for Christians today. We must seek God’s forgiveness for our greed, selfishness and destruction of his creation so he will be merciful and restore the land.
  • Paul’s letter to Colossae challenges similar beliefs, as well as the dualistic view of making heavenly things more important than things on earth. These views create false attitudes to God’s creation as well as devaluing Christ’s Lordship over heaven AND earth.
  • Today, gnostic beliefs as well as idols of consumerism continue to subtly influence Christians. These false teachings have come about by misinterpretations of Biblical passages, and tend to view creation as merely a stage on which Christ’s redemptive story takes place. Earth is put on the back stage and therefore considered not important. These idolatrous beliefs and practices have led, and continue to lead, to much suffering in the human and non-human world.
  • We need therefore to pray as the Lord’s Prayer teaches, that Jesus has conquered all evil powers and authorities in our own lives and in our societies. These evil powers are behind the destruction of God’s creation. Luke reminds Christians that we must pray humbly, persistently, with sincerity, and authority.
  • Today’s environmental crisis needs urgent prayer and much persistence. Our prayers must include lament, seeking forgiveness and asking for wisdom in order to bring about restoration to his creation. We must also, as Ps 85 reminds us, to cry out to God for his mercies, so his Kingdom will come … on earth as it is in heaven.


Old Testament reading / Psalm

Hosea 1:2-10 Human unfaithfulness to God

Hosea 1:2. When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, ‘Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of vilest adultery in departing from the LORD’.

  • The story of Hosea demonstrates the inter-relatedness between God, the land and the people. The Israelites have failed to keep their commitment to God’s covenant and as a result their disobedience not only brings judgement from God but deeply affects the land. The land is not just a vehicle for God’s work, it belongs to God (Hos 9:3) and Hosea depicts this intimate relationship between God, the land (earth) and the people (Israel).
  • Even though the early verses in Hosea speak of God’s judgment and rejection, the last verses (10-11) reveal glimmers of hope that God will be gracious and willing to forgive. This promise of restoration is found in the name Jezreel, whose name initially meant God scatters (v4) referring to God’s judgement on Israel’s kings. In v10 ‘God scatters’ now has a positive interpretation which refers to sowing or planting. Thus, we see glimmers of hope ‘yet’ suggests that the threat of punishment would be for only a limited time, and a period of blessing would follow.[1] Verse 11 (and 2:22-23) speak of the restoration of land, vegetation and people (2:22-23), thus emphasizing God and Israel’s intimate association with the land.
  • The book of Hosea reveals the intimate relationship between God, the land and Israel, as well as employing a widespread biblical picture of God as creator (Ps 139:13; 15; Job 1:21; 38:28-29). In addition, the land is seen as the source of nurture for Israel who are God’s son(s) (Hosea 1:10), as well as being seen as Israel’s mother who conceived them (Hosea 2:1-2, 4-5). As such, God desires offspring who will serve and worship only him. When his children (Israel) are faithful, he blesses them and the land with fertility of offspring and agricultural produce (Hos 2:8). However, when they are unfaithful, the opposite happens (8:7-10). [1]
  • Hosea refers to the land (’erets) as Yahweh/God’s house(hold) (Hos 8:1; 9:15), it is the place where Yahweh, Israel, plants and animals dwell (see Hos. 4:3) but it ultimately belongs to Yahweh (Hos 9:3).[1]

Psalm 85 God restores the land / harvest

  • This Psalm is a communal prayer for the renewal of God’s mercies to his people at a time when they are once more suffering distress. Many believe vv1-3 refer to the return from exile and that the troubles experienced are those alluded to by Nehemiah and Malachi. Verse 12 suggests that a drought has ravaged the land and may reflect the drought with which the Lord chastened his people in the time of Haggai (see Hag 1:5-11).
  • The people remind God how he showed favour to the land and restored the fortunes of Jacob. They ask God to do this again so that faithfulness will spring forth from the earth.
New Testament reading

Col. 2.6-15 living out Christ’s Lordship over all; (link to 1.15-20)

  • In Colossians, Paul refutes the various hollow and deceptive heresies in the Colossae church. He challenges them by endorsing the belief that Christ was one with the Father when the earth was created, and thus continues to be intimately involved in creation. The disobedience in the church relates in particular to a spirituality that focuses on heavenly things rather than things on this earth. Paul exhorts them by suggesting that these deceptive philosophies and idolatrous relationships are totally inadequate and lack any ability to restrain the old sinful nature (2:23).
  • Paul’s response is to stress the supremacy of Christ; that Christ is the very image of God (1:15), the Creator (1:16); the pre-existent sustainer of all things (1:17); the first to be resurrected (1:18); the fullness of deity in bodily form (1:19;2:9) and the reconciler of ALL things in heaven and on earth (2:8).

Luke 11.1-13 (Gospel) teaching on prayer – praying ‘your Kingdom come …on earth’

  • This prayer teaches that God is not separate from the world. Nor is he banished to a remote heaven, removed from earth. He is not simply living up in heaven, instead he is very much involved in this earth.
  • ‘Your Kingdom come … on earth’ does refer to the final establishment of God’s rule over his creation, but here Jesus is emphasizing the centrality of the kingdom in the present age (the ‘now’ and the ‘not yet’). In other words ‘come more completely’ until its full and final consummation. Importantly we must not equate the coming of the Christ’s return with environmental destruction.
  • Jesus does not want us to utter these words by rote (as can commonly happen), but instead wants us to practice as illustrated the parable found in verses 5-8. Here Jesus urges a boldness (or persistence) in prayer, not because God will not answer but as if he would not. Verses v9-13 gives us assurance that God does answer prayers.[1]
Stories / illustrations / videos:


  • Hosea and Psalm 85 remind us of the clear connection of God, land the people. Does your church exercise this connection in its ministry? Could Chris Wright’s illustration of this interrelatedness with a triangle that places God at the top, land (earth) on one side and Israel (people) on the other side where all are intimately related be a helpful way to help Christians understand this connection?[1]

  • Given that Paul speaks of Christ being the very image of God, the pre-existent sustainer of all things, what implication does this have when we see the environment and non-humans being destroyed by human greed, waste and misuse of the land?
  • While we may despair over so much destruction of God’s earth, what comfort and glimmers of hope can we find in these passages?
  • How do any of the four texts help you to understand better our responsibility to protect the environment?
  • It is popular today to picture the inter-relationships of the environment in terms of a house or oikos, from which we derive the prefix for ecology. Is this a helpful idea?
Environmental & Sustainability themes / links:

Statistics and Facts on how humanity is affecting Planet Earth:

Further reading (books / websites / videos etc.)
  • Chris Wright, God’s People in God’s Land: Family Land, and Property in the Hebrew Bible (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990),
  • Craig Bartholomew and Thorsten Moritz, eds., Christian and Consumerism: A Critical analysis of the Spirit of the Age (Cumbria, UK: Paternoster Press, 2000)
  • Nick Spencer and Robert While, Christianity, Climate Change and Sustainable Living (London: SPCK, 2007)


Gathering & Penitence

Prayer: The Anglican Church in New Zealand and Polynesia

Creator, we disfigure your world.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord have mercy

Redeemer, we reject your redemption and crucify you daily.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord have mercy

Giver of life, we too often choose death.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord have mercy

Response to the Word

Another Voice Janet Morley

Let us name what is evil in our world,
And in the name of Jesus proclaim its defeat.

In a world where the rich are protected
From understanding the lives of the poor
Let us believe the words of Jesus:
I have seen Satan fall

In a world where the demands of international debt
Are more important than the health of children,
Let us believe the words of Jesus:
I have seen Satan fall.

In a world where unjust laws and practices
Privilege while people over others,
Let us believe the words of Jesus:
I have seen Satan fall.

In a world where the earth and its forests
Are plundered and destroyed,
Let us believe the words of Jesus
I have seen Satan fall.

Hymns & Songs

(1) Here I am, Lord https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcxOkht8w7c
Artist: John Michael Talbot
Album: Table of Plenty
Released: 1997 Genre: Christian/Gospel

(2) Breathe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-0EgzOWkvc:
The Lord’s Prayer + Creation Care http://www.sarabytheseason.com/2013/09/22/the-lords-prayer-creation-care/
Sam Hamilton-Poore, A Guide to Prayer for God’s Creation, (Nashville: Upper Room Books, 2008)

by Sally Shaw, Australia