Welcome to worship as we celebrate the 25th Sunday after Pentecost and looking ever closer to the end of the Church Year. In reflecting on today’s Gospel, I came across some thoughts by Tom Smail, a leading Scottish Theologian, preacher and writer. Universally , whenever and wherever Christ comes, the more powerful his presence, the more tumultuous is the resistance to it. The true Messiah will be challenged by false prophets, there will be outbreaks of murderous strife on an international scale, even the forces of nature will, in earthquake and famine, be stirred into a rebellion that frustrates the life-giving will of their Creator. The Church, where in word and sacrament Christ is most explicitly present, will feel the full brunt of persecuting opposition and internal division, and will be driven to pray for that quality of endurance that will bring it to its goal of salvation in the fully unveiled majesty of its crucified and risen Lord. One could put up a mirror and say that some of this is happening and has happened at many points in history. What is important, is to keep the faith and our lives grounded in prayer and fellowship with the God of infinite love.