Pentecost 4, year A

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Title Sermon Date Liturgical Scripture
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

 

Pentecost 4, year A

Sermon Date:July 6, 2014

Scripture: Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

Liturgy Calendar: Proper 9, Year A


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“Come to me all you that labor and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

As Christians, our job is to follow Jesus and to try our best to pattern our lives after his. 

Jesus tells us in these verses that he is gentle and humble in heart.

So let’s take a look at humility and how the humility of Jesus can inform our lives as Christians. 

Now way back in the 1300’s, John Wycliffe, who was the first person to translate the Bible into English, said that “humility always requires concrete deeds.”  

Certainly, we can see this aspect of humility played out in the life of Jesus. 

Jesus spent his time serving others as he walked with us on this earth.  He didn’t take time to think about himself because he was too busy doing these concrete deeds– teaching, healing, and performing miracles.  And in all that he did, Jesus pointed not to himself, but to the glory of his Father. 

Ulrich Luz, in his definitive commentary on Matthew, provides the following information about Count Zinzendorf’s take on humility.

Count Zinzendorf is one of the great theologians of the Moravian Church (and we Episcopalians are in full communion with the Moravians).

Zinzendorf says that being humble means that we carry out good so quickly that our left hands don’t even know what our right hands are doing. 

And—that we don’t take the time to think about our past good deeds, because we immediately have another thing given to us to do. 

Zinzendorf says that “This is what it means to learn humility from the Father.”
 

I had never heard of Veronica Maz until her obituary, written by Adam Bernstein, appeared in The Washington Post  this past Wednesday.  What an amazing woman!

The story of her life is a fantastic illustration of true humility.

In 1970. Dr. Maz was a professor at Georgetown University. 

One winter day she took two of her sociology students into Washington “to see poverty close up.  They talked to a few of the homeless people who were roasting chicken claws over fire barrels.”

What happens next is a pivotal moment in Dr. Maz’s life.

“ ‘And then I was going back to my car and my real nice comfortable home, and a man fell down right in front of me, right on the sidewalk.  And I just walked around him and got in my car.  And when I got in my car, I started talking to myself.  I said, ‘Why didn’t you help him?’  Well, I just assumed he was drunk.  He could’ve had a heart attack…All that night I didn’t sleep.  It bothered me personally.’”

Shortly after this experience, Dr, Maz left her position as a professor at Georgetown University and devoted the rest of her life to the poor, hungry, abused and homeless residents of Washington, DC.

Bothered by seeing “armies of men and women rummaging through trashcans behind the city’s fancy restaurants, competing with rats for the scraps,” Maz joined forces with the Rev. Horace McKenna of St Aloysiuis Catholic Church in Northeast Washington, and in 1971, with Father McKenna’s help, she opened, on a shoestring budget, So Others Might Eat, which became known as SOME. 

People could come to what had been an empty storefront for coffee and sandwiches supplied by a local vending machine company.

And in just two years, SOME became the city’s largest soup-kitchen operation.

Eventually, SOME became a halfway house and counseling center for recovering alcoholics.  Meanwhile, Maz, concerned about the multitudes of women who kept showing up at SOME, persuaded the SOME board to open Shalom House, which had space for eight homeless women.  When the house opened in 1973, two hundred women appeared in the first week seeking help.

So three years later, Dr. Maz opened the House of Ruth, a shelter for abused women. 

Dr. Maz’s next project focused on the vulnerable children of the city, who fended for themselves on streets filled with prostitutes and drug dealers.  This group, known as Martha’s Table, now serves over two hundred children a day. 

No wonder the Post headline describes Dr. Maz as D.C.’s Patron Saint of the hungry and the abused.

Her life is an inspiring example of Wycliffe’s statement that humility always requires concrete deeds.  

And her life is also a fine example of someone who understood the true meaning of “my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Dr. Maz wore her yoke easily because she responded to the needs she saw around her with vision—this work became her purpose in life.

Her vision was  to see the reign of God being brought  into reality on the streets of DC—good news being brought to the poor, the hungry fed, the oppressed set free.

She worked toward a future described by Ernest Nichol’s hymn with this refrain, “And Christ’s great kingdom will come on earth, The kingdom of love and light.”

So today, as we leave this place, let’s  pray to discover the purpose that God has for each one of us.

Let’s pray for the strength and the humility to do the work that God has given us to do that will help God’s love and light become a reality for someone today. 

And let’s thank God that we are yoked with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who helps us to do the work that God gives each one of us to do, no matter how hard or challenging,  with gladness and singleness of heart, and with rest for our souls.  

Amen. 

Resources

“Veronica Maz, 1924-2014  Helped start 3 D.C. social service agencies” by Adam Bernstien, in The Washington Post, Wednesday, July 3, 2014. 

Luz, Ulrich.  Matthew 8-20 A Commentary in the series  Hermeneia—A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible.  “11:25-30,” pages 155-176.  Fortress Press, Minneapolis, MN.  2001. 

The Baptist Hymnal,  Convention Press, Nashville, TN, 1956, “We’ve a Story to Tell,” Hymn 455. words and music by H. Ernest Nichol. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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