|Pentecost 11, year A||August 24, 2014||Proper 16, Year A||Matthew 16:13-20|
|Pentecost 10, year A||August 17, 2014||Proper 15, Year A||Matthew 15:10-20, 21-28|
|Pentecost 9, year A||August 10, 2014||Proper 14, Year A||Matthew 14:22-33|
|Pentecost 8, year A||August 3, 2014||Pentecost 8, year A||Matthew 14:13-21|
|Pentecost 6, year A||July 20, 2014||Proper 11, Year A||Romans 8:12-25|
|Pentecost 7, year A||July 20, 2014||Proper 12, Year A||I Kings 3:5-12, Romans 8:26-39, Matthew 13:31-33|
|Pentecost 5, year A||July 13, 2014||Proper 10, Year A||Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23, Psalm 65:9-14|
|Genevieve Davis’ Funeral Homily||July 13, 2014||Burial of the Dead, Rite II||Isaiah 35:1-10, I John 4:7-8,11-12, John 14:1-3|
|Pentecost 4, year A||July 6, 2014||Proper 9, Year A||Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30|
|Pentecost 3, year A||June 29, 2014||3rd Sunday after Pentecost, Year A||Romans 6:12-23, Matthew 10:40-42|
|Pentecost 2, year A||June 22, 2014||Second Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 7, Year A||Psalm 69:8-20, Romans 6:1b-11, Matthew 10:24-39|
|Trinity Sunday, Year A||June 15, 2014||Trinity Sunday, Year A||Genesis 1:1-2:4a, 2 Corinthians 13:11-13, Matthew 28:16-20|
|Pentecost, Year A||June 8, 2014||The Day of Pentecost, Year A||Acts 2:1-21, I Corinthians 12:3b-13, John 20:1-23|
|Easter 7, Ascension Sunday, year A||June 1, 2014||Seventh Sunday of Easter||Acts 1:6-14|
|Easter 6, year A||May 25, 2014||Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year A 2014||Acts 17:22-31, John 14: 15-21|
Easter 5, year A
Sermon Date:May 18, 2014
Scripture: 1 Peter 2:2-10, John 14:1-14
Liturgy Calendar: Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year A
Do you remember this song?
“Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam and the deer and the antelope play. Where seldom is heard, a discouraging word, and the skies are not cloudy all day.”
All of us know the words to this old folk song. In addition to presenting an idealized view of wide open spaces, I think the ongoing popularity of this song has to do with the following line–
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word.
No one likes to be discouraged. And so today’s lectionary is particularly valuable for us.
Because encouragement is at its heart.
In today’s epistle, Peter tells the people in the early church, and this is also an encouraging message for us.
We are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people.
God has chosen us and called us.
God has chosen us and called us to proclaim God’s mighty acts.
How we are to proclaim God’s mighty acts as this church is going to be something we will consider right after lunch with the help Sally O’Brien, who is from the Episcopal Church Building Fund. Eunice and I heard Sally speak at this past year’s Council, and she was so encouraging! She got us thinking about the incredible potential that this church has to make a difference in this community. We came home encouraged and excited.
And so I wanted all of you to have the opportunity to hear what she has to say, so that we can all work together to dream about the best ways we can proclaim God’s mighty acts and to be part of God’s mighty acts in this place and in this time.
So I’m going to lay a foundation for what’s ahead for us this afternoon based on today’s scripture.
As you have probably know, the 9-11 Museum on the site of the World Trade Center in New York City is set to open o the public next week.
Now one of the interesting things about this museum is that it is 70 feet below ground, built directly on the bedrock that anchored the foundations of the twin towers that collapsed on that fateful day in September.
Visitors have to descend those 70 feet, to the bedrock, to enter into the heart of the museum—to the foundation, the secure rock that remained untouched in the incredible destruction that took place above it on 9-11.
My guess is because of the fact that the museum is built on bedrock, one of the things visitors may think about is the fact that our nation is resilient and strong, and that acts the acts of mercy and compassion that were shown that awful day are part of our strong foundation as a nation.
The psalmist writes about bedrock in Psalm 31.
“Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe, for you are my crag and my stronghold.”
Peter uses a similar supporting and encouraging image in his letter to the early church as he quotes the prophet Isaiah.
“See, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious,” our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
“Whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
And Jesus himself talks to the disciples about the permanent dwelling place that he is preparing for them.
“In my father’s house are many dwelling places. Believe in God, believe also in me.”
The foundation, the bedrock of these dwelling places that Jesus tells the disciples about is God’s merciful love for each and every one of us and our faith in that unfailing love.
So that’s the first encouraging thing for us to remember today.
God is our strong rock and Jesus is our cornerstone.
And here’s another encouraging piece of today’s gospel–
These stunning words of Jesus—
“Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do, and in fact will do greater works than these because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”
What an encouraging promise!
Jesus, even in his physical absence, is still present to us whenever we come together to worship and work in his name.
Jesus promises the disciples and us that when our worship and work glorify God and God’s presence in the world, then God’s strength will be present in us.
The writer of Ephesians sums up what I’m trying to say.
“Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. “
“Glory to God from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever.”
We are God’s chosen people, who have Jesus Christ as our foundation and cornerstone, and God answers the prayers that we pray in Jesus’ name.
So today, let’s begin the encouraging process of discerning together, with thanksgiving for all the gifts that God has given us.
Let’s discern what things God is asking this church to do in the world to glorify God in the name of Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit.