Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year C

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Title Sermon Date Liturgical Scripture
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

 

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year C

Sermon Date:July 3, 2016

Scripture: Luke 10:1-11, 16-20; Galatians 6:7-16

Liturgy Calendar: Proper 9, Year C


"Harvesting"- Jorg Breu (1500)

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This past weekend, I attended a show in Chicago called “Far from Equilibrium: Curiosity, Creativity, Uncertainty.” The scientist, dancer and composer who put together this show invited all who attended to consider the concept of turbulence through both the scientific method and also through art.

During the second half of the show, the people in the audience could explore various concepts about turbulence and come up with questions of their own to ask the members of the research group who manned the various stations.

This statement in particular grabbed my attention.

“In a chaotic system, tiny changes in the initial state can make a great difference in what happens later. Turbulence is chaotic in both time and space.”

This statement made me wonder about inertia.

So I found out that in physics and mathematics, “inertia is the measure of a body’s resistance to changes in velocity or simply a body’s inertial mass.” ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inertia)

Inertia and turbulence apply to today’s gospel reading from Luke, in which Jesus appoints seventy of his disciples to go on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go.

The people in the towns where the disciples will go will be subject to the law of inertia—remember, that means that they are going to maintain their tendency to resist a change in motion.

Like any group used to existing or doing things in a particular way, the people in the towns that the disciples will visit are going to be resistant to change when acted on by an external force.

When the disciples arrive in a town, the inertia of that place will be affected. There’s no way around it!

The disciples, simply by entering the town, have introduced some turbulence into the system of that town—and changes will inevitably occur because the kingdom of God has come near.

Notice that the message is the same to towns the towns that accept the disciples, and the towns that reject them.

“The kingdom of God has drawn near!” –turbulent, life giving and life changing news!

Jesus points out to the disciples that whoever ends up rejecting them is rejecting Jesus himself, and whoever rejects Jesus rejects the One who sent him—they are rejecting the kingdom of God itself.

And although our reading skips the consequences of rejection, Jesus in verses 13-15 indicates the gravity of what will happen to the towns that reject the kingdom of God. Instead of being exalted to heaven, they will be brought down to hell itself.

In contrast, the towns that welcome these disciples will receive healing, life giving, peace making changes. It’s as if the tree of life, with the fruits of peace and healing, is growing in the middle of those town squares, in the midst of the people.

What are the characteristics of a town or a group of people who welcome the turbulent news about the kingdom of God into their midst?

Their focus will be on one thing and one thing only—that is, the cross on which our Lord and Savior was crucified.

Paul says in today’s reading from Galatians that because of that cross, we are a new creation!

And peace is upon us!

And Paul says that because we are a new creation, then —“Let us not weary in doing what is right…let us work for the good of all and especially for those of the family of faith.”

Working for good, especially for the family of faith, makes me think of the safety instructions at the beginning of every airline flight—when the oxygen mask comes down, put yours on, and then help the person next to you who might need help. We have to help one another as we grow into a new creation so that then we can reach out in love to the world.

Let me give you a brief example about someone helping his “family.”

This past Friday’s Free Lance-Star had this story on the front page of the Region section by Amy Flowers Umble. In the article she tells the story of Roger Thompson, an ex-inmate who spent nearly a decade in and out of jail, and who now goes to the jail and uses his story to show inmates the toll a life of crime can take and to prove that rehabilitation is possible. Thompson also leads worship services for inmates and has gained a lot more confidence in his preaching after having taken a Toastmaster’s workshop that focuses on helping former offenders “effectively communicate.” When he preaches to the inmates, Thompson says that he doesn’t sugarcoat.

“I keep it 100 percent real,” he says. “They may not like what I’m going to say. I tell them if they keep going in the same direction, it will end in death or the penitentiary.”

By sharing his story with the inmates, Thompson is adding some turbulence to the inertia of the life they are experiencing in prison. By sharing his story, he is making a tiny change in their state, which then has the potential to make a great difference for good in what happens later in their lives because he has given them some hope. He has changed direction and so can they.

Last week Elizabeth preached, and one of the things she talked about was our discussion in the Vestry meeting in June about who we Christians here at St Peter’s can be for one another in the face of the inertia of violence, discord and the lack of concern for the common good out in the world these days.

Here at St Peter’s, we can make a difference for one another by being patient with one another, by keeping our focus on God, and rejoicing in God with one another, by praying for one another, and for having gratitude for God and for this community. Doing these small things for one another helps us to go out into the world, bringing the kingdom of God near, because we have experienced God’s turbulent life giving peace and comfort transforming our lives in this community.

In today’s Old Testament reading, Isaiah describes God as a mother, a mother who does the simplest of things for her child—she comforts her child in that child’s distress.

“As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”

Comfort—it seems like such a simple, insignificant thing—and yet, comfort is one of the main ways in which God chooses to work.

“Comfort” is an action verb. Comfort brings with it turbulent life changing hope.

The Psalmists know this bracing comfort of God.

“Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” “You, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.” (Ps 87:17).

And in Isaiah, in Chapter 40, God commands God’s angelic members of the royal counsel, to “Comfort, O comfort my people.”

In the New Testament, Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, which in the King James Version is translated as the Comforter.

This Comforter is no sissy, but is the very breath of Jesus himself, who after his resurrection appears to the disciples huddled in the inertia of fear in a locked room, gives them peace, and then breathes on them—“Receive the Holy Spirit,” he says.

“Breathe me in so you can carry the good news about me out into the world.”

In Luke, the disciples have gathered in Jerusalem to wait for the Holy Spirit and on the day of Pentecost, the Spirit comes like flames of fire, and the rush of a mighty wind.

This mighty wind fills the disciples who then carry this turbulent and life changing good news out to the ends of the earth—news that “the kingdom of God has come near.”

Mary Ann Thompson heard this good news blowing like a healing wind throughout the earth. It echoed in her head, and so late one night in 1868 she wrote the words to today’s sequence hymn, “O Zion, Haste.” Her child had typhoid fever, and no doubt this mother was trying to comfort her little one by remaining by the child’sside that night as she wrote the verses of her missionary hymn. http://www.hymnary.org/text/o_zion_haste_thy_mission_high_fulfilling

The refrain, which she came up with several years later, goes like this.

“Publish glad tidings, tidings of peace,

Tidings of Jesus, redemption and release.”

This is our job as disciples, to publish these glad tidings, to carry this comforting, turbulent, life changing news out into the world.

The kingdom of God has indeed drawn near.

Remember, “In a chaotic system, tiny changes in the initial state can make a great difference in what happens later.”

This good news matters! Go out and share it!

Amen.

Resources: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inertia)

http://www.hymnary.org/text/o_zion_haste_thy_mission_high_fulfilling

Amy Flowers Umble, “Public-speaking classes help ex-inmates find way,” in The Free Lance-Star, Region Section C page 1; Friday, July 1, 2016.

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