Pentecost 21, Year B

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Title Sermon Date Liturgical Scripture
Advent 1, Year C 2021 November 28, 2021 Advent 1, Year C 2021 Psalm 25:1-9, I Thessalonians 3:9-13, Luke 21:25-36
Christ the King, Year B November 21, 2021 Christ the King, Year B John 18:33-37, Revelation 1:4b-8
Pentecost 25, Year B November 14, 2021 Pentecost 25, Proper 28, Year B, 2021 Daniel 12:1-3, Psalm 16, Mark 13:1-8
All Saints, Year B November 7, 2021 All Saints' Sunday Year B Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9, Psalm 24, Revelation 21:1-6a, John 11:32-44`
Pentecost 23, Year B October 31, 2021 Pentecost 23, Proper 26, Year B Deuteronomy 6:1-9, Mark 12:28-34
Pentecost 22, Year B October 24, 2021 Pentecost 22, Proper 25, Year B Mark 10: 46-52
Pentecost 21, Year B October 17, 2021 Pentecost 21, Proper 24, Year B 2021 Psalm 91:9-16
Pentecost 20, Year B October 10, 2021 Pentecost 20, Proper 23, Year B Amos 5:6-7.10-15. Psalm 90:12-17, Hebrews 4:12-16, Mark 10:17-31
Pentecost 19, Year B, Season of Creation 5 October 3, 2021 Feast of St Francis, Pentecost 19, Year B Jeremiah 22:13-16, Matthew 11:25-30
Pentecost 18, Year B, Season of Creation 4 September 26, 2021 Pentecost 18, Year B, Season of Creation 4 Numbers 11:4-6,10-16,24-29; Mark 9:38-50
Pentecost 17, Year B, Season of Creation 3 September 19, 2021 Pentecost 17, Proper 20, Year B, Season of Creation 3 Psalm 54, Mark 9:30-37
Pentecost 16, Year B, Season of Creation 2 September 12, 2021 Pentecost 16, Year B, Season of Creation II Mark 8:27-38
Pentecost 15, Year B, Season of Creation 1 September 5, 2021 Proper 18, Year B Season of Creation 2021 Isaiah 35:4-7a, Psalm 146, James 2:1-10, 14-17, Mark 7:24-37
Pentecost 13 B – Rev. Amy Turner August 22, 2021 Pentecost 13, Proper 16 John 6:56-69
Pentecost 12, Year B August 15, 2021 Proper 15, Pentecost 12, Year B John 6:51-58


Pentecost 21, Year B

Sermon Date:October 17, 2021

Scripture: Psalm 91:9-16

Liturgy Calendar: Pentecost 21, Proper 24, Year B 2021

Psalm 91:9-16

Strength fills us when we trust in God.

Today’s verses from Psalm 91 describe the trusting, intimate and  personal relationship with God that gives us the strength and courage to get through the hard things that happen to us in this life.  Today’s verses from Psalm 91 give us a description of that relationship. 

Because you have made the Lord your refuge,
    the Most High your dwelling place,
10 no evil shall befall you,
    no scourge come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
    so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder,
    the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.

14 Those who love me, I will deliver;
    I will protect those who know my name.
15 When they call to me, I will answer them;
    I will be with them in trouble,
    I will rescue them and honor them.
16 With long life I will satisfy them,
    and show them my salvation. 

Strength fills us when we make the Lord our refuge.  

To fall asleep each night, knowing that we are resting in God’s love, and to wake up each morning knowing that God’s protection will follow us through the day, is to be blessed with the assurance of God’s constant presence with us.

To know that God is our hiding place and our refuge is a private and intimate knowing.    When anxiety and doubts sap our strength, we can remind ourselves that we are dwelling within God’s protection.  This knowing  helps us to deal with the fears and worries that can so easily plague us. 

The single minded trust in God that Jesus had gave Jesus the  freedom to heal, to cast out demons, to bring the dead to life and to bring the kingdom of God near even in the face of opposition. His strength to carry out God’s work in the world grew directly out of his trust in God.  Jesus knew in every cell of his body that God was his refuge so that he had no need to fear or worry.

Our temptation is to build dwellings made of the trappings of our own power and glory.   Herod constructed massive palaces and fortresses, strategically placed across Palestine, to show off his power and to try to protect himself from his fears of being betrayed or murdered.  Today, these palaces and fortresses lie in ruins.  And Herod himself died in exile. 

Jesus had no place to lay his head, but he lived in the dwelling place of the Most High. His kingdom has  and will have no end.  His home is in God, and he invites us to abide in him, so that we can abide in God, to dwell in God’s safety so that we can grow strong in God’s love.

The psalmist also says that when we go about our lives, God shall give his angels charge over us to keep us in all our ways. The idea of guardian angels goes back to Babylonian times.  In the Biblical tradition, angels are divine beings who are more powerful than human beings. God has angels guard us and protect us. 

In this psalm, God sends guardian angels to accompany us in the ways set before us and to protect us, to carry us so carefully that we don’t trip or fall.  Knowing that God’s protection is around us gives us the strength to proceed  without worrying about the challenges and dangers that we will encounter in this life. 

In this psalm, young lions and adders represent the challenges that await us. Trust in God gives us strength that we did not know that we had.    Trust in God gives us the courage to stride forth faithfully, in the face of every challenge.    God gives us divine strength to overcome the dangers that face us and to crush them. 

At the end of the Psalm, God speaks to the person who dwells in God with loving trust. 

God says, “Because he is bound to me in love, therefore I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my Name.  He shall call upon me, and I will answer him; I am with him in trouble; I will rescue him and bring him to honor.  With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.” 

As Artur Weiser points out in his commentary on Psalm 91, to “know” in Hebrew is to be on terms of intimacy with someone and to be inwardly devoted to someone.   To know God’s name then, is to be on intimate terms with God, to cleave to God in love, and to have an open heart in which God may come in and dwell.  Not only do we dwell in God, but God chooses to dwell in us. 

When we intimately know God in this way, in this mutual indwelling,  we call on God, being sure that God will hear and answer us, for God is all around us, and hears all our prayers.  Our faithful trust in God helps us to see God’s love and faithfulness to us at work in us and around us.  Jesus himself taught us to pray intimately to God by addressing God as Father. 

We all know people who are bound to God in love.  They have called on God, and still have, to our way of thinking, not been rescued by God.  Jesus, the Son of God, called out to God on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”  I can think of many people who I believe had an intimate relationship with God, and yet they died early in life rather than having a long life. 

But God’s promises stretch through eternity.  God’s time is not ours and our time is in God’s hands.  To live a long life with God is to live in the shelter of God’s love throughout eternity.  Our dwelling place in God is both here and in the life to come.  Jesus told his disciples before he died not to let their hearts be troubled, for in his Father’s house there are many dwelling places and he is going to prepare a place for us, and that he will come again and take us to himself, so that where he is, we may be also. 

We do not need to fear death, for as one of the prayers in the Book of Common Prayer says, we pass through the grave and gate of death with Jesus into our joyful resurrections.  

In this age of anxiety, trouble and doubt, Psalm 91 reminds us of God’s care for us.  God promises that when we know God intimately, God will answer us and we need never to be afraid. 

God is always our refuge.  God always hears.  God is present.  We are the ones who stray away and forget God.  We are the ones who are absent from God, rather than God being absent from us. 

When anxiety and fear  gnaw away at you, remember this psalm.  If God is not your habitation, then leave your house of fear and start the journey to the house of God, where you can rest and regain your strength. 

This journey to God is made through prayer, and through our actions based on our trust in God,  because we know that God protects us and comes to our rescue even when we feel overwhelmed and can’t feel God with us.    

Get to know God more intimately by turning to God in prayer throughout the day. If you don’t have words of your own because you are caught up in worry, anxiety, sorrow, pray the psalms, as people who dwell in God have been doing for thousands of years.  The words of the psalms help to pull us back in and bind us to God in love when we forget and go astray, and when we have no strength to go on alone.   

Psalm 91 is one of the psalms appointed for Compline, meant to be prayed at the end of the day as the shadows lengthen and the night falls. 

Praying these words at the close of the day helps us to rest in God  and give us strength for the day ahead, for we know that God’s strength will carry us through.

“Because you are bound to me in love, therefore I will deliver you.  I will protect you because I know your name.  When you call upon me, I will answer you. I am with you in trouble.  I will rescue you and bring you to honor. With long life will I satisfy you, and show you my salvation.”

Thanks be to God.