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Whilst on his death bed, Jacob called together his twelve sons. He knew them well and was aware of all they had done in the past. He spoke to each in turn and predicted the future for each one of them – he was able to read the signs of the times.

Jesus knew that the Pharisees and Sadducees were trying to test him when they asked for yet another sign. They seemed to have learned nothing from the two miracles, the feeding of the 5,000 and the feeding of the 4,000, yet they could forecast the weather simply by looking at the sky.

Jesus twice issued a warning to his disciples “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” He was not referring to the yeast in the bread but about the deceptive teaching of the Jewish thinkers, politicians and teachers of the day.

Who then are the Pharisees and Sadducees of the 21st century? Who do we need to be wary of, which leaders in our own Church today are leading people astray with their preaching or their actions?

We too need to be able to read the signs of the times. There are large cracks appearing in our Church, splits between groups of Bishops and priests and pressure being mounted by some of the well-educated and well informed laity. To whom shall we turn? The answer lies in Psalm 20

‘In times of trouble, may the Lord answer your cry.

May the name of the God of Jacob keep you safe from harm.’

Scripture: Genesis 48:1-49:33; Matthew 15:29-16:12; Psalm 20:1-9; Proverbs 4:20-27