July 6, 2014 – At Pitt’s Pond and St. Peter’s on Pentecost 4

Title:July 6, 2014 – At Pitt’s Pond and St. Peter’s on Pentecost 4

  Sunday, July 4-6, 2014  (full size gallery)

The ECW made $600 from July 4 and we collected separately $50 for the organ bellows. We had a good crowd in the church from the morning through the hymn sing. The July 4 photo gallery is here.

Thanks to all those who made it a success – Marilyn for her harp in the morning; Nancy and Mike for leading the hymn sing at noon; Mike and Boyd for greeting; Thom Guthrie for his organ accompaniment; Charles, Johnny, Roger and Clarence for cooking and drinks; and all the ladies who worked diligently for lunch – Cookie, Betty, Eunice, Catherine, Mary Ann, and Andrea.

Earlier this week Nancy, Catherine, Mary Ann and Becky contributed to the FredCamp lunches from Mon to Thursday, June 29- July 3. See the story and pictures here.

Today, Sunday July 6 the church was split between St. Peter’s doing Morning Prayer and the remainder of the congregation sharing a Sunday with St. Asaph’s at Pitt’s Pond, a man made lake created in 1968. Based on the continued lower humidity and abundant sun, it was beautiful in either location. We had 18 at St. Peter’s and 13 at Pitts Pond. Lunch was organized by St. Asaph’s with all of us bringing a dish. The weather was ideal and there was more swimming after the service than two years ago when it was extremely hot. The Fishers in particular enjoyed that. 

Bambi celebrated and Catherine provided the sermon. The bulletin for St. Peter’s is here based on these readings.  Catherine’s message was based on the latter part of the Matthew reading and centered around humility – "“Come to me all you that labor and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest."  She cited John Wycliffe, the man who made the first English translation of the Bible who wrote  “humility always requires concrete deeds” and Moravian theologian Count Zinzendorf who said "being humble means that we carry out good so quickly that our left hands don’t even know what our right hands are doing."  

Most of the sermon used the life of Veronica Maz a professor turned activist for the poor in Washington DC who recently died and was one who put a new found humility into action. "The Washington Post headline describes Dr. Maz as D.C.’s Patron Saint of the hungry and the abused" who helped create a  a food kitchen, a halfway house and counseling center for recovering alcoholic and shelter for abused children.  

"Let’s pray for the strength and the humility to do the work that God has given us to do that will help God’s love and light become a reality for someone today."

From Canon Lance Ousley of the Diocese of Olympia, Washington:

"The cultural context of July 4 in the United States offers us an illustrative opportunity to speak about being liberated from worldly powers that can captivate us and lay heavy burdens upon our hearts shackling our lives in the taxing oppression of achievement and acquisition. In our reading options this week we can weave a common thread of living in the freedom of God’s kingdom rule in contrast with the oppression of living life in less than the fullness of God’s intention for us and the the world. Stewardship is one of the keys that can help to unlock the shackles of the foreign rule of the "worldly" kingdom.

"The reading option from Genesis gives us the narrative of the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah illustrated as God’s will being played out in the world. The verses of Psalm 45 and the Song of Solomon options offer beautiful poetry of love and redemptive union. In each of these readings we can reflect upon the perfect union of God’s will and our lives. So often we wed ourselves to an idea of life presented by social pressure and seductive idolatry. But there is poetic beauty of life lived in wedded bliss with the reign of God’s kingdom in our lives. This is a marriage that forsakes the scarcity suitors of materialistic consumerism, conspicuous consumption and self-made creationism.

The option from Zechariah speaks of triumphal redemption and freedom for prisoners from foreign rule restoring the people to God’s intended state of life. As God’s children our redemption from the captivity of these foreign rule false-secure suitors liberates us to live more fully in union with God. Good stewardship is subversive to this foreign rule as it proclaims abundance and inherent human value through its counter-cultural action of sharing one’s self and one’s resources.

"Paul contrasts the captivity of the "rule" of the flesh (sin) with the freedom he has through Jesus Christ in our reading from Romans. Paul describes this inner-conflict as a war that only can be won by through Jesus Christ. External cultural influence is a powerful force that is ever-ubiquitous and cannot be denied. Mass-marketing plays on the power of the "fleshly desires" seeking to seduce us into believing that we are only as good as what we achieve and only as valuable as what we accumulate. This self-centered approach to life in a survival-or-the-fittest world is a heavy burden to bear oppressing us in Sisyphean lives. Good stewardship reveals the lie that "fleshly desires" try to lay on our backs.

"Jesus speaks of a contrast between being under the "rule" of worldly powers and being liberated under his yoke from heavy burdens. The allusion to "children in the marketplace" singing a futile song is eerily reflective of our consumeristic culture and the burden it lays upon us. Taking on the yoke of Christ removes the incarcerating yoke of worldly pursuits redeeming us from the oppression of social accomplishment. Practicing good stewardship sets a rhythm to the song of Christ that sets us free to dance to the Gospel melody in the lyric of the liberation of our lives. This song is set in a key against the enslaving drumbeat of idolatrous materialism that seeks to drown-out the harmony of life lived in Christ. Giving ourselves in service and sharing our resources to lift our voices in the harmony of taking on the yoke of Christ gives rest to our souls from keeping the beat of the off-key tune of the worldly powers and principalities. As the Bride of Christ this is not a song merely for our nuptial memory but rather a marriage tune to be sung daily in wedded bliss with the Groom in the reign of God’s kingdom in the world.

"Under whose rule will you celebrate this Sunday?"

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