Pentecost 11, year A

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Title Sermon Date Liturgical Scripture
Pentecost 20, year A October 26, 2014 Proper 25, Year A Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18, Psalm 1, Matthew 22:34-36
Pentecost 19, year A October 19, 2014 Proper 24, Year A Isaiah 45:1-7, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, Matthew 22:15-22
Pentecost 17, year A October 5, 2014 Proper 22, Year A Isaiah 5:1-7, Psalm 80:7-14, Philippians 3:4b-14, Matthew 21:33-46
Pentecost 16, year A September 28, 2014 Proper 21, Year A Sermon, Proper 21, Year A Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32, Psalm 25: 1-8, Philippians 2:1-13, Matthew 21:23-32
Pentecost 14, year A September 14, 2014 Proper 19, Year A Matthew 18:21-35
Pentecost 13, year A September 7, 2014 Proper 18, Year A Ezekiel 33:7-11, Romans 13:8-14, Matthew 18:15-20
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 11, year A

Sermon Date:August 24, 2014

Scripture: Matthew 16:13-20

Liturgy Calendar: Proper 16, Year A


"St. Peter" – Peter Paul Rubens (1616)

PDF version 

Catherine is on vacation and has sent these thoughts for us to consider today. 

She wants you to know about a resource that we have in The Episcopal Church called Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints.  This book was just published in 2010 and it is a resource that we can use to remember the saints who have gone before us.   

Frank Griswold, our 25th Presiding Bishop, says that this book “seeks to expand our awareness of the communion of saints…” and that the men and women commemorated in the Calendar are not simply examples of faithfulness to inspire us:  they are active in their love and prayer.  They are companions in the Spirit able to support and encourage us as we seek to be faithful in our own day.” 

Of course St Peter is one of our companions.  In fact, this church is named in his honor.  And we can actually find today’s gospel passage in Holy Women Holy Men  on January 18th, the day on the Calendar that is known as The Confession of St Peter the Apostle.   

What the book has to say about Peter is instructive. 

And I’m quoting here from page 174 in the book. 

“Peter figures prominently in the Gospels, often stumbling, impetuous, intense and uncouth. “

“It was Peter who attempted to walk on the sea, and began to sink; it was Peter who impulsively wished to build three tabernacles on the mountain of the Transfiguration; it was Peter who just before the crucifixion, three times denied knowing his Lord.” 

“But it was also Peter who, after Pentecost, risked his life to do the Lord’s work, speaking boldly of his belief in Jesus.  It was also Peter, the Rock, whose strength and courage helped the young Church in its questions about the mission beyond the Jewish community.  Opposed at first to the baptism of Gentiles, Peter had the humility to admit a change of heart, and to baptize the Roman centurion Cornelius and his household.”   

“Even after this, Peter had a continuing struggle with his Jewish conservatism; for Paul, writing to the Galatians, rebukes Peter for giving way to the demands of Jewish Christians to dissociate himself from table fellowship with Gentiles.” 

“Though the New Testament makes no mention of it, the tradition connecting Peter with Rome is early and virtually certain.  According to a legend based on that tradition, Peter fled from Rome during the persecution under Nero."
 
“On the Appian Way, he met Christ and asked him, ‘Lord, where are you going?’  The Lord answered, ‘I am coming to be crucified again.’” 

“Peter then retraced his steps, and was shortly thereafter crucified, head downwards.  ‘I am not worthy to be crucified as my Lord was,’ he was supposed to have said.” 

And the reading ends with this paragraph. 

“As we watch Peter struggle with himself, often stumble, love his Lord and deny him, speak rashly and act impetuously, his  life reminds us that our Lord did not come to save the godly and strong but to save the weak and the sinful.  Simon, an ordinary human being, was transformed by the Holy Spirit into the ‘Rock,’ and became the leader of the Church.” 

So we people here at St Peter’s, are like Peter, sometimes godly and strong, sometimes weak and sinful.   

Like Peter, we can get those moments of blinding clarity—like the clarity Peter had about who Jesus really was—The Messiah, the Son of the living God. 

And it was this clarity on Peter’s part that caused Jesus to call Peter a rock and to tell Peter that he would build the Church on that rock. 

A great promise, but that meant that Peter actually had to become the rock on which the Church could be built.   

So we have a challenge

First of all, to get some clarity for ourselves about who Jesus really is.  And if we truly believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the son of the living God, the next challenge is to get off the fence and to follow him. 

Having Peter as a companion can help us when we get stuck on the fence, or when we, so tossed about by “the changes and the chances of this life,” as a prayer from the Book of Common Prayer puts it, that we’re anything but  strong rocks as we too struggle with ourselves, we too deny God, we too speak  and act too rashly and with too little deliberation and with too much haste, denying Jesus in the process.   

It’s then, when we’re trying to run away from whatever challenging situation is staring us in the face, that we can remember Peter, turn around, and head back into the fray, and pray that the Holy Spirit will transform us, in whatever situation we find ourselves,  to be solid rock,“people who show forth God’s love, not only with our lips, but in our lives, and by giving up ourselves To God’s service.”   

We’ll pray those words in The General Thanksgiving at the end of this service of Morning Prayer today.   

It’s the prayer of all the saints that have walked this earth. 

Let it be your prayer too.   

Amen. 

 

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