Pentecost 3, June 29, 2014 – Notions of Freedom

Title:Pentecost 3, June 29, 2014 – Notions of Freedom

  Sunday, June 29, 2014  (full size gallery)

It was the end of the month of June already with two services. Temperatures were definitely warm but not overly humid. We had 11 at 9am and 24 at 11am which is a bit low but it is in the summer. We finally recognized Becky and Chris’ wedding anniversary to time it so he could be here. We also mentioned Ken’s birthday who was not present.

The real surprise was the return of Hugh after several months. He came in during the sermon and everything stopped to greet him. He has been training in both Houston and Atlanta for his career.

This week is busy with not just on the 4th but the FredCamp luncheons, Village Dinner, Jail ministry and finally the 4th itself. Catherine reviewed the schedule here on the 4th which includes slides, Marilyn’s harplaying, a hymn sing and Thom Guthrie organ recital and a presentation on "St Peter’s – Past and Present." The luncheons are a big fundraiser for the church, led by the ECW.  

FredCamp luncheons are being prepared this week by Catherine, Becky, Mary Ann, Nancy and Betty.  Betty already donated the drinks today.  The site this year is in Rappahanock Academy for Caroline County.  The Keys and the Hicks journed to Salsaritas in Fredericksburg in Fredericksburg after the service to take advantage of the restaurant’s donation to FredCamp. While there we met up with Christ Church where Catherine did an internship during Seminary.

The service gradually took on a July 4 flavor. Later we sang both "America the Beautiful" and the "Star Spangled Banner"

The sermon was about freedom.  She quoted Harold Masback’s commentary on Romans "Masback goes on to say that we tend to think of our freedom as “freedom from.”

"But just as soon as we get focused on the idea that freedom from anything that will keep us from the pursuit of happiness and the gratification of our own desires is the only kind of freedom there is, then we become slaves to the tyranny of our own passions. "

"Paul wants us to have the genuine freedom that, as Masback puts it in his commentary, “allows us to look beyond the moment and be obedient to a higher call—God’s call.”

Quoting DeToqueville, she stated that the early colonist were not just fighting for freedom from but freedom to. There was something very positive and creative about what they wanted to do here.

"As an American, I believe that this is the America that the colonists sought and the America that we servants of God continue to seek—a brotherhood of all people, a country of welcome, reflecting God’s own hospitality, a country where Jesus would walk the streets and find his disciples extending his welcome and offering living water to those who thirst.  "

"As Christians, this is our higher calling—to be free from our own selfish pursuit of happiness and free from the fear of what we might lose, so that we can be free to be who God would have us be, and to do what God would have us do–to be God’s servants, full of welcome and hospitality, people who follow the example of Jesus, speaking out and to working for liberty and justice for all."

The sermon is here. Reading are here an the bulletin – 9am  and 11am

After the service the children enjoyed playing in trees in the back.   The crowd out front seemed to enjoy the sun and the time to catch up. 

Message from Canon Lance Ousley, Diocese of Olympia, Washington about the scriptures this week.

"Jeremiah proclaims that the prophet who preaches peace and whose word of peace comes true is the one sent by God. Stewardship is an act that both gives peace and is given in peace. This peace is found in relying on God and God alone, being set free from the endless tyranny of acquisition and being defined by our achievements. One who lives content in the peace of Christ truly is a prophet in a culture that values accumulation.

"This week Paul’s exhortation to the Romans draws a definite line between allegiance to righteousness and allegiance to sin through the offering of ourselves. Paul posits that we must be obedient to one or the other, either to righteousness or to sin, and that we have already died to sin through our baptism into the death of Christ and been raised to life with Christ. Through this new life then, we live in obedience to righteousness and are freed from sin. Paul’s argument here centers around the actions of the person either being in consort with God’s will as known in the heart through Christ or not in consort following the worldly whims of selfishness. To offer oneself to serve in obedience to righteousness is to serve God being a steward of our time and our God-given abilities for the sake of Christ and God’s kingdom in the world gives us life worth truly living. To live in obedience to anything else steals life from us and offers us an existence that is not really living.

"Our gospel lesson is set as Jesus is sending his disciples out into the world ("like sheep among wolves," cf. Mt. 10:16) to do the heavenly kingdom work he has been doing. In this text he teaches his disciples about true hospitality and what it means about the person offering hospitality. Jesus is letting them know that those who are hospitable to them are his allies and therefore, their allies. In welcoming them, they welcome him and God who has sent him into the world. Christ-like hospitality is the practice of sharing the blessings we have with whomever we encounter as stewards of our blessings for the good of all. The practice of hospitality comes from a heart that feels blessed and shares out of that blessedness offering comfort to the other. So also, as others journey through life and come into our midst we, as Christians, are called to receive them and offer hospitality in Christ’s name so that they may know something more about us and the One who has sent us!

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