|Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||August 21, 2016||Proper 16, Year C||Hebrews 12:18-29; Luke 13:10-17|
|Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||August 7, 2016||Proper 14, Year C||Genesis 15:1-6, Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16, Proper 14, Year C|
|Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||July 31, 2016||Proper 13, Year C||Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14, 2:18-23; Colossians 3:1-11, Luke 12:13-21|
|Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||July 24, 2016||Proper 12, Year C||Luke 11:1-13|
|Eighth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||July 10, 2016||Proper 10, Year C||Luke 10:25-37|
|Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||July 3, 2016||Proper 9, Year C||Luke 10:1-11, 16-20; Galatians 6:7-16|
|➤Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||June 26, 2016||Proper 8, Year C||Luke 9:51-62, Galatians 5:1,13-25, Psalm 16, 1 Kings 19:15-16,19-21|
|Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||June 19, 2016||Proper 7, Year C||Luke 8:26-39: Luke 24:13-35|
|Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||June 12, 2016||Proper 6, Year C||2 Samuel 11;26-12:10-13-15, Luke 7:36-8:3|
|Third Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||June 5, 2016||Proper 5, Year C||Luke 7: 11-17|
|Second Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||May 29, 2016||Second Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||Luke 7:1-10|
|Trinity Sunday, Pentecost 1, Year C||May 22, 2016||Trinity Sunday, Year C||John 16:12-15, Psalm 8|
|Day of Pentecost! Year C||May 15, 2016||The Day of Pentecost, Year C||Acts 2:1-21, John 14:8-17, 25-27|
|Easter 5, Year C||April 24, 2016||Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year C||Acts 11:1-18, Revelation 21:1-6, John 13:31-35, Psalm 148|
|Easter 4, Year C||April 17, 2016||Easter 4, Year C||Acts 9:36-43, Psalm 23, Revelation 7:9-17, John 10:22-30|
Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C
Sermon Date:June 26, 2016
Scripture: Luke 9:51-62, Galatians 5:1,13-25, Psalm 16, 1 Kings 19:15-16,19-21
Liturgy Calendar: Proper 8, Year C
Good morning! What a beautiful summer morning in this beautiful place! It is lovely to be here, but I must admit that when Catherine asked me to speak, I was worried because I didn’t have the leaflet with today’s lessons. Luckily, I remembered that all the readings for every Sunday are listed in the Book of Common Prayer p. 888. The Book of Common Prayer is an incredible gift to us as Episcopalians, and the lessons assigned in the prayer book for each Sunday cast light on issues that are as important in 2016 as they were in the 16th century when the prayer book was first published. This week the readings make us think about change and transitions and discipleship.
Change and transition:
Change! Life involves constant change, doesn’t it? Births, deaths, weddings, divorces, graduations…even happy changes can be pretty challenging. The birth of a new baby! Lovely, exciting, but stressful (a word that comes from the Latin verb sterno which means to strike to the ground, to lay low). Weddings! On June 26, six years ago, our daughter Nancy and her fiancé Andrew stood before the altar here at St. Peter’s, and John Wall joined them in holy matrimony. It was a wonderful occasion. The church looked beautiful with the ball jars that Nancy Long let us fill with daisies on the end of each pew, but it was hard not to remember that 50% of weddings end in divorce. What about graduations? You all know that I have been a teacher for almost 50 years – that is a lot of graduations! How many times have I heard a speaker talk about graduation as a doorway? I don’t think in all these years I have heard a speaker point out that it can be really hard to close one door in life and move on to a completely new life. It can be exciting sometimes but just as often scary and difficult. Two weeks ago Jim and I sat in a pew of a big Episcopalian church in Brooklyn, Grace Church, watching our grandson’s class graduate from kindergarten. There was a lump in my throat as the children stood on the steps of the chancel and sang “This Little Light of Mine.” I wanted so much to keep them safe and happy and innocent.
When God speaks to Elijah in today’s Old Testament reading, he tells Elijah to appoint a successor. Talk about closing a door! Talk about transition and change! And how does Elijah react? Elijah does exactly what he is told to do. He trusts and obeys. What does he think? How does he feel? Does he know that his work is almost done? We aren’t told. We are not told much about Elisha either. The scripture does say that when Elisha is called, he asks for time to say good-bye to his parents, but then is ready to go with Elijah. Like Elijah, he trusts and obeys.
In the Gospel reading from Luke , Jesus is approaching the end of his time on earth, but clearly the disciples do not understand what lies ahead for Jesus and for them, the difficulties they will face. As Jesus explains the cost of discipleship, the sacrifices that are inherent in following the Son of Man, we see that the disciples, humans that they are, do not comprehend Jesus’ message when He says, “Do not look back.” They will have to learn to trust and obey.
Disciple comes from the Latin verb disco which means to learn, and today’s reading from Paul’s letter to the Galatians helps us learn what is expected of followers of Christ. Paul explains what Christ meant by loving our neighbors. He tells us plainly what not to do, what to do.
It is interesting that the June Vestry meeting ended with a discussion of some of these very issues of change and discipleship that we at St. Peter’s in 2016 face. (The Vestry does not discuss only things like the budget and the rectory roof). Catherine, good teacher that she is, had the easel set up. As the group talked, she wrote down:
Things that worry and concern us in the world of today:
a sense of entitlement on the part of many young people
a lack of concern for the common good
a lack of civility
a lack of respect for individuals
Then, we listed things that we can find at St. Peter’s:
opportunity to make a joyful noise to the Lord– choir, Brad at the organ, Wednesdays at 2:00, Gospel on the River, Helmut’s violin, Marilyn’s harp, Mary Lawrence’s trumpet
a sense of gratitude toward God
opportunities for doing good and loving one another
2016 is a time of change, but as the psalm says, “The Lord will show me the path of life.”