The riches within our own midst, September 23, 2012

Title:The riches within our own midst, September 23, 2012

We have moved into the fall with seasonable temperatures under a deep blue sky. We had 41 in church today. View from both sides of the church reflected the beauty of the day.

St. Peter's from the left

And now from the other side:

St. Peter's from right

Inside the church there were a swirl of deep reds and yellow along the balcony and pews:

Pew Designs

Our pears near the Parish house are ripening and looked inviting against the sky:

Pears

Today, we recognized the birth of Rob and Melissa’s granddaughter Kaydn Harper and Nakisha and Shawn’s daughter Autumn Nevaeh. The latter couple had lost a baby in the last year but this baby is healthy. 

We also celebrated Marian Mahoney’s 75th birthday .

Marian Mahoney 75th birthday

We were joined by Susan O who led the choir after the service in the three Canticles for the 5pm Evening Prayer next Sunday at Virginia Bowen’s. This should be special service with Virginia Bowen picking out the specific canticles.

Choirs Susan O Canticles

Helmut Albinoni

Helmut also joined Brad in the prelude in the famous Suite from Organ and Violin  by Albinoni (1671-1751), a Venetian Baroque composer. It is a very slow dirge peace which may have been written by his 20th century biographer and often heard in funerals. The audio performance file is above.

Today was also the last day to collect food for Daytoserve (daytoserve.org). We filled up a basket today. We also collected a week ago. 

Day to Serve

The bulletin is here.

The gospel reading from Mark has three main parts – Jesus revealing he will suffer, die and rise; disciples’ embarrassment at being caught in a power struggle; a child as the model for discipleship

So why don’t the disciples simply ask Jesus to explain what he means? Probably because they don’t want to appear as confused as they are.  They often don’t come off very well in Mark.

This passage is about failing to ask the hard questions. So what happens ? They turn to arguing with each other, squabbling among themselves over petty issues of rank and status. We get caught up with this trend over and over again too.

The good news is that Jesus welcomes us even when we do not understand or do not know. So how do we welcome Jesus ?

The last part of the passage is Jesus embracing a child. Note that Jesus doesn’t chastize the disciples for their argument but uses is as a teaching moment. 

As the sermon states from the "joyous time of proclamation ",  "we are now following Jesus along a more sobering piece of the way—the way of humility, of service to others, and today Jesus gives us the shocking news that welcoming and caring for the most vulnerable members of our society, as children were in Jesus’ day, means to welcome Jesus himself into our midst." 

Children occupied an interesting place in Jesus time. They would carry on the family name, provide for their aging parents, and produce the next generation. But in the present, they were a liability. Small children, especially, were more likely to contract an illness and to die. They participated in the household labor, but were not yet fully productive, and still represented another mouth to feed. As one writer says, they were insiders left on the outside.

The child is the ultimate symbol of  humility – not knowing, not understanding, immature and undeveloped.  From the story developed in the sermon – " In these months of turmoil, Ellis and Miriam have discovered the nitty gritty downside of living a life of service to someone else. They have experienced suffering. And these two have also discovered the importance of humility in their own relationship."

We need not fear our questions, our misunderstandings, our confusion or our curiosity in the presence of God. They can act with the greatest grace, compassion and love. 

The way of welcoming is developed well in the Epistle reading in James. – “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” and then  ..the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy”
 

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