|Stumbling Along, September 30, 2012||September 30, 2012|
|The riches within our own midst, September 23, 2012||September 22, 2012|
|Gospel on the Rivah, September 16, 2012||September 17, 2012|
|Taking up Our cross – Sept. 16, 2012||September 17, 2012|
|One Door Closes, Another Opens, Sept. 9, 2012||September 9, 2012|
|The Ripple Effect, Sept 2, 2012||September 2, 2012|
|The Choices We Make, Aug. 26, 2012||August 26, 2012|
|Let not the needy, O Lord Be Forgotten, Aug 19, 2012||August 19, 2012|
|Outside of our frame of reference, Aug 12, 2012||August 12, 2012|
|The Sycamores of Port Royal- Updated August 7, 2012||August 8, 2012|
Title:It’s all about relationships, June 10, 2012
We’re into Ordinary Time in the second week of Pentecost. We had 43 today with a number of visitors. The Weather was clear but the heat was obviously building up.
Peg Johnson from St. George’s, whom many people know, came with a Methodist friend. Cookie has been friends with her for many years since both were teachers
We had the delight of presenting Dr. Ann Upshaw, recently graduated from Pharmacy school, a prayer book and a St. Peter’s Cross. Helmut presented the cross which was his design and was hand cut by him from St. Peter’s wood. She will be relocating to Yuma, Arizona for a year’s residency.
We also celebrated Mike and Marilyn’s 41st wedding anniversary.
All of the above are about relationships – friends, careers, and marriage partners. Relationships predominate in the lectionary today – Jesus in conjunction with his family and the scribes in Mark, Adam and Eve with God in Genesis, the Psalmist and God, and Christians and the Holy Spirit in Paul.
It is about re-establishing and redefining relationships. We are finding way toward God and renewal, separating what is temporary from what is permanent. After Genesis, we know are not cursed and God is willing to go against his own plan to help us along in the process.
In Mark, Jesus is creating the new Israel with his believers that is different from his earthly family. In Genesis, God provides grace in the form of clothing and a new life though east of Eden for Adam and Eve. The Psalmist calls upon waiting and hoping, asking for forgiveness. God will send Israel out of the self inflicted wounds of its own iniquity.
Finally for Paul it is redirection our life toward that of the spirit. It is a not a straight path as the earthly troubles shape us for eternity.
What is the common denominator ? The Holy Spirit which came down two weeks ago at Pentecost for us. It provides the ministry that not only allows us to endure our current afflictions but transform our mortal bodies provides the basis for renewal in the next life. It is about holiness and assures our position resting in the glory of Christ – our sonship as Paul terms it in Romans.
The sermon connected with the Paul passage through our own afflications which are troubling. "Paul was no stranger to physical and mental and emotional afflictions, and he refers frequently to his afflictions in his letters. Even in the face of all that goes wrong for us on a daily basis, Paul reminds us that as Christians, we do not lose heart. "
Using a picture board, Catherine demonstrated 4 truths about handling them. The afflications were represented by a rather dark mountain in the picture. (The mountain above has been transformed by the end of the sermon).
1. "First of all, as Christians, we have the perspective of the eternal nature of God that we find in scripture." This was demonstrated in the blue sky
2. "Second, and Paul frequently reminds us as Christians of the second piece of perspective that we need to keep in our focus—as Christians, we believe that at the end of our lives, we will face God’s judgment…For us, judgment is coming to the light. God’s light, shining on us in God’s merciful judgment will reveal how we have lived. For us, this judgment is not something to dread, because we face it with hope—it’s we something to look forward to if we have made an effort to live as children of the light." Sunlight was added to the picture
3. "Our perspective is also shaped by those who have gone before us—the communion of saints, those we travel with through our lifetimes—the people we are with on a day to day basis play a big part in making us who we are, and who we will become." This was illustrated by the mountain range
4. "Last of all, our perspectives are shaped by what we cannot completely see in this lifetime—heaven".
"When we consider our afflictions in the light of the eternal weight of glory, God’s light shines in us and through us. And so, the more our afflictions tear us apart, the more God’s grace can shine through us if we are living as children of the light."
"And for now, the power of God’s spirit invades our lives and God’s power enables us to triumph. God’s love for us is our assurance in the midst of affliction. "
"The illustration on our canvas is this. I’m going to rip this mountain that we began with, the one that symbolizes our afflictions, to let the light of God’s love and grace shine through. "