|The Epiphany||January 6, 2019||The Epiphany, Year C||Matthew 2:1-12|
|Christmas Eve, Year C||December 24, 2018||Christmas Eve, Year C||Luke 2:1-20|
|Advent 3, Year C||December 16, 2018||Third Sunday of Advent, Year C||Luke 3:7-18|
|Advent 2, Year C||December 9, 2018||Advent 2, Year C||Baruch 5:1-9, Luke 3:1-6|
|Advent 1, Year C||December 2, 2018||The First Sunday in Advent, Year C 2018||Jeremiah 33:14-16, 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13, Psalm 25:1-9, Luke 21:25-36|
|Christ the King Sunday, Year B||November 25, 2018||Christ the King, Last Pentecost||John 18:33-37, Revelation 1:4b-8|
|Pentecost 26, Year B||November 18, 2018||Proper 28, Year B||Daniel 12:1-3, Psalm 16, Hebrews 10:11-25, Mark 13: 1-8|
|Pentecost 25, Year B||November 11, 2018||Proper 27, Year B||1 Kings 17:8-16, Psalm 146, Hebrews 9:24-28, Mark 12:38-44|
|All Saints, Year B||November 4, 2018||All Saints’ Day, Year B||Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9; Psalm 24; Revelation 21:1-a; John 11:32-44|
|Pentecost 23, Year B||October 28, 2018||Proper 25, Year B||Mark 10:46-52|
|Pentecost 22, Holy Eucharist II, Year B||October 21, 2018||Proper 24, Year B||Psalm 91:9-16, Hebrews 5:1-10, Mark 10:35-45|
|Pentecost 21, Year B||October 14, 2018||21st Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 23, Year B||Mark 10:17-31|
|➤Pentecost 20, Holy Eucharist II, Year B||October 7, 2018||Proper 22, Year B||Genesis 2:18-24, Hebrews 1:1-4,2:5-12, Mark 10:2-16|
|Season of Creation 5, Year B||September 30, 2018||The Season of Creation, Week 5, Year B||Isaiah 40:21-31, Psalm 24, Revelation 21:1-7, Mark 16:1-8|
|Season of Creation 4, Year B||September 23, 2018||The Season of Creation, Week 4, Year B 2018||Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, Psalm 126, Romans 8:14-25, John 16:16-24|
Pentecost 20, Holy Eucharist II, Year B
Sermon Date:October 7, 2018
Scripture: Genesis 2:18-24, Hebrews 1:1-4,2:5-12, Mark 10:2-16
Liturgy Calendar: Proper 22, Year B
And the Lord God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.”
And Jesus said, “What God has joined together, let no one separate.”
God wants us to be in relationship with one another. At the beginning, when God created everything, and made us from the dust of the earth, God put us into relationship with creation by giving us the responsibility of caring for it.
But God went even further than that. God gave us one another, hoping that we would also care for one another and stay in right relationship with one another, as God cares for us.
Jesus reminds the Pharisees that God expects us to carefully tend our relationships. Because the Pharisees have raised the issue of divorce, Jesus focuses in today’s passage on the relationships between spouses.
And immediately following this conflict with the Pharisees, Jesus welcomes the little children to him over the objections of the disciples.
In welcoming the children, Jesus reminds us that the blessing and welcoming of everyone, even the least of these, is of the utmost importance to him.
God is all about relationship.
After all, God created everything through the Word, and we know that Word to be Jesus. And then God sent Jesus to be here with us, with a skin in the game relationship with us.
Jesus has been and is still among us, loving us, suffering with us, dying for us, and calling us into new resurrection life through his Word and the power of the Holy Spirit.
I know this isn’t Trinity Sunday, but the fact that we believe that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are in such close, loving and constant relationship with one another, that they are not only three, but ONE, helps us to understand why Jesus puts such high importance on human relationships,
because our relationships have the power to reflect who God is to the rest of the world.
That’s why the blessing for the couple at the end of the Celebration of Marriage opens with this line. “O God, you have so consecrated the covenant of marriage that in it is represented the spiritual unity between Christ and his Church.”
That line should be very familiar to all of us because that blessing is the one we use in the prayer we hear for all couples at St Peter’s who come up for an anniversary blessing each year.
Marriage is a covenantal relationship in which two people make promises to one another, so it is a special relationship– that is,
both parties in the covenant have made promises to one another that they intend to keep.
Not all of us are married, but all of us are in covenantal relationships with God and one another.
At our baptisms, we claim those two covenantal relationships.
Through our baptisms, we are acknowledging as truth what God already knows about us—that it is not good for us to be alone.
Loneliness can kill us.
That’s why we need to be in a covenantal relationship, joined together with God and with each other too.
Right before someone is baptized, we go through the Baptismal Covenant (page 304 in the BCP) in which we express our belief that God is this relational Trinitarian God, and then we make some promises that, if kept, will benefit one another and maybe even change the world! —that we will come together for study, fellowship, prayer and worship, that we will resist evil, that we will proclaim the Good News of God in Christ, that we will seek and serve Christ in all persons, that we will love our neighbors as ourselves, and that we will strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being.
The baptismal covenant gives us all we need for living fruitfully with one another on this earth, and all we need to live in life giving ways together in this church.
This Sunday is the Sunday on which we celebrate the return of the pledge cards.
The money we pledge and give to St Peter’s is one way that we support our covenantal relationships with God and with one another.
The money we give enables us to visibly and materially serve Christ in all people, and to love our neighbors as ourselves, as well as to care for this little piece of God’s creation by keeping our property not only functional, but beautiful and inviting–
Because we proclaim the Good News, one of our covenantal promises, by being a place in this community where all are welcome—where people are welcome to come and worship together, where people are welcome to come get food, where people are welcome to eat together.
So thank you for all you give to this church to make our covenantal work together possible.
Elizabeth, thank you for getting the bulbs that we can take home today to plant in our own yards, along with some to plant in the church yard as well.
This bulb is also a reminder of our covenantal relationships with God and with one another.
What would happen to this bulb if you just took it home and never planted it? Say it rolled under your car seat on the way home and you forgot it.
Sooner or later, without our care and tending, the bulb would dry out and die, and never get to live into the beautiful annual flowering that God has ordained for this bulb.
In order to become, this bulb is depending on someone to plant it in God’s good earth, and then God will give the rain and the sunlight and the cold and then the warmth needed for the bulb to send leaves and then a stalk and at last a sunny bloom, straight out of the earth. We will work with God on behalf of this bulb so that it can become what God has planned for it to be.
When the bulb blooms in the spring, its color brings light and hope and promise and helps to chase off the long cold tan, gray and brown colors of winter,
along with an uplifting of spirit to all who gaze at that yellow light dancing across the landscape, truly a gift of God’s good creation.
I have a friend whose husband died tragically several springs ago. This couple loved daffodils and gave them to one another throughout their marriage.
But my friend doesn’t have any daffodils growing in her yard. So every year she waits for the daffodils in my yard to bloom, and then when they do,
she always asks—
“May I pick some of your daffodils?”
She wants to take them to the place where her husband’s ashes were scattered.
“Of course you can,” I always say,
because those blooms remind her of that covenantal relationship that she shared with her husband, until they were parted by death.
Those blooms remind her not only of what has passed, but they are a reminder that what is buried will be reborn, that we are in a covenantal perpetually life giving relationship with God and creation too.
And the blooms I share remind me of the covenant I have with my friend, to love my neighbor as myself and to share gladly what I have with her.
And speaking of blooms,
many of us have probably received a small bouquet of weedy flowers from a child who was fascinated by the small blooms that we busy adults may have completely overlooked.
The child picked those little flowers and wanted to share the joy of finding such a beautiful thing by bringing that little handful of flowers to us.
But that child’s joy in the tiny bouquet just isn’t quite complete until he or she sees the smile on your face when you receive that sweaty little offering. The fistful of flowers lets us know that the child values his or her relationship with us. Our smiling gratitude and thanks let the child know that we value not only the gift, freely given, but, even more, the one who gives it.
Jesus said, “Truly, I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.”
Like children, when we truly see and treasure the simple signs of God’s goodness which in our hurry we tend to miss, and like children, when we take the simple things of our lives, and share those things with one another as treasures, and when, like children, we open our hands both to give and to receive with gladness, then we have caught a glimpse of God,
Then we will never be alone, because in loving and sharing with one another so freely the kingdom of God will be already in our midst, even as we wait to enter it.