|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||May 18, 2014||Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year A||1 Peter 2:2-10, John 14:1-14|
|Easter 4, year A||May 11, 2014||Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year A||John 10:1-10, Acts 2:42-47, I Peter 2: 19-25, Psalm 23|
|Easter 3, year A||May 4, 2014||Easter 3, Year A||Luke 24:13-35|
|Easter 3, year A – Shrine Mont||May 4, 2014||Third Sunday of Easter, Year A||Luke 24: 13-35|
|Easter 2, year A||April 27, 2014||Second Sunday of Easter, Year A||John 20:19-31, Psalm 16|
|Easter||April 20, 2014||Easter Day, Year A||Jeremiah 31:1-6, Matthew 28:1-10|
|Good Friday||April 18, 2014||Good Friday, Year A||The Passion according to John|
|Palm Sunday 2014 reflections||April 13, 2014||Palm Sunday, year A||Matthew 26:14- 27:66|
Easter 6, year A
Sermon Date:May 25, 2014
Scripture: Acts 17:22-31, John 14: 15-21
Liturgy Calendar: Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year A 2014
Today is Rogation Sunday, the day on the church calendar that we ask for God to bless our labors and to give us a good harvest. This custom dates back to the early centuries of the church, when people lived in communities that were much more agrarian and closer to creation than we tend to be today.
You might say that Rogation Sunday is the church’s Earth Day, predating our current Earth Day by hundreds and hundreds of years.
So I want to share an image of God that is particularly appropriate for today, because this image helps to carry us into a closer relationship not only with God, but with all of creation.
Imagine a huge radiating golden circle, a circle great enough to hold all of God’s creation, including this earth, with its amazing diversity of life, and all people.
Let’s call this huge golden circle The Body of God, based on one of the metaphors that theologian Sally McFague uses to describe God in her book, Models of God.
We know that we are made in the image of God, and Jesus came to dwell among us, to pitch his tent among us, in a human body, the body of God.
And Jesus also described himself with images from God’s creation.
Jesus is bread made from grains of wheat ground and baked into a loaf, and Jesus is wine, made from the crushing of grapes.
The Holy Spirit appears as a bird, as wind, as flame, as the breath of life itself.
Water flows through our scripture and liturgies, gushing up to eternal life, as Jesus puts it.
Creation is not God, we are not God, but we and creation dwell in God . We are intimately related to one another and to all of creation.
Think of St Francis—in his Canticle of Brother Sun, he writes about all of creation praising God, and he refers to Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Brother Wind, and Sister Water. And I love this– Sister Mother Earth. St Francis understands that he is intimately related to this creation of which he is a part, because he is dwelling in the Body of God.
Today’s scriptures also provide some illumination regarding this way of understanding God.
The Greeks in today’s reading from Acts intuitively know about the Body of God. Paul helps them name what they already know but cannot describe.
Paul tells them that their unknown God is universal, the creator of all things, who gives to all things life and breath. And it is within this Creator God, this Body of God, that we live and move and have our being.
“In him we live and move and have our being,” is a familiar line in the Collect for Guidance that will pray this morning when we get to the prayers.
And Jesus describes this great golden circle, The Body of God, to his disciples in the comforting and strengthening talk that he shares with them before being lifted up on the cross.
They have already known what it is like to be surrounded by and to live in The Body of God—and Jesus reminds them of this fact when he says to them, “You know him (the Spirit of Truth—Jesus, that is), because he abides with you, and he will be in you.”
And the disciples will live even more completely in The Body of God when Jesus departs and sends the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, to abide with them.
“On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.”
Another way of saying this, which I have said many times, is that we are being drawn up by God through Jesus and the Holy Spirit into the very life of the Trinity—yes, another way of thinking of that huge golden circle is that God longs to draw all of creation and all people into this Trinitarian circle, the circle of God’s golden, eternal and infinite abiding love.
If we believe that life with all of creation, with one another and with God takes place within this golden circle of The Body of God, then we begin to see creation differently.
We no longer see the created world as simply something to be used for our own benefit.
Instead, we come to know that we are in an intimate relationship with creation, because we, along with all of God’s creation dwell within the Body of God.
At the beginning of today’s gospel, Jesus said to the disciples, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
And the two great commandments are to love God with all our hearts and minds and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
And our neighbor includes the natural world around us.
Unfortunately, many issues that have to do with creation have been politicized in the last several decades and people automatically take sides on things like climate change, and strip mining, and water rights and a host of other things based on their political persuasions.
But today’s lectionary passages remind us that how we care for creation is not a political issue, but at its very heart, a theological issue. How we care for creation is an indication of how we care for ourselves, for one another, and for the Body of God itself.
When we fail to love one another, when we fail to care for creation, then we are bringing suffering and pain and sickness into the Body of God.
And when we do our best to love one another and all of creation, and to love God, we are contributing to the health of the Body of God.
Paul tells the Greeks that Jesus will judge the world with righteousness. With these words, Paul reminds us that how we choose to care or not care for one another and creation matters to God.
And Jesus said,
“Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.”
Today is our day to love Jesus, and to keep his commandments.
Today is our day to let ourselves be drawn into that great radiating golden circle that is the Body of God, to find God present in those around us and in all of creation,
Today is our day to live and love in Jesus, to care for one another and for all of God’s magnificent creation,
And today is our day to be enfolded and embraced and healed and strengthened and empowered within the Body of God.
McFague, Sally. Models of God: Theology for an Ecological, Nuclear Age. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1987.