Pentecost 16, September 13, 2015

Title:Pentecost 16, September 13, 2015

Pentecost 16, September 13, 2015  (full size gallery)

A busy Sunday at St. Peter’s – a new Christian ed class, baptism, reception and "Gospel on the River". 52 in attendance. 

We introduced our new a new Christian Ed class "Weaving God’s Promises" at 10am. It had one child and three adults.  Here is the lesson plan.. "Godly Plan is continuing for preschool through 2nd grade 

The sermon concentrated on the Baptism. Greg and Brittany Merkl (Jim Anderson’s daughter) had their two month son, Courtland James baptized. They living in Fayetteville. We prayed for the baby during Brittany’s pregnancy and have Greg on the military prayer list.

"And now for the past many months, we have prayed for Brittany, Greg and Caroline as they’ve awaited the safe arrival of Courtland James, who will become one of us, part of the body of Christ, in just a little while through the sacrament of Holy Baptism.

"Because in this water “we are buried with Jesus Christ in his death, by it we share in his resurrection, and through it we are reborn by the Holy Spirit,” as The Book of Common Prayer puts it. Baptism is a choice, not a given.

"They know that baptism is the beginning of being on the way with Jesus, just as the disciples were on the way with Jesus in today’s gospel. Ultimately, in spite of the dangers they faced as his disciples, they chose to remain on the way.

"Jesus will lead us on this way of discipleship throughout our lives if we’ll let him."

Crystal and Fred celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary at the service. Dave and Gibby Fannon brought tomatoes once again. Dave has 20K plant on 15 acres. Wow!  John Wall made a surprise appearance. He had actually baptized the Merkl’s daughter, Caroline.

The reception was a joint affair – ham biscuits (Barbara Wisdom), deviled eggs (Cindy Fields), Meat Balls, Fruit (Cookie). There was a cake for the newly baptized

Gospel on the River had 37 people and is covered in another future post.

Commentary by Canon Lance Ousley, Diocese of Olympia, Washington

A few years ago a man suddenly died who had joined our parish after being ostracized in another church in town for asking questions and challenging local doctrines that were inconsistent with the Gospel of Jesus Christ that he knew. We had spent much time together as he untangled the web of inconsistencies with what the Holy Spirit had revealed to him about the identity of Jesus Christ. How could this Spring flow both "fresh and brackish water?"

These were the readings we had in our lectionary the day after he died. Tears streamed down my face as I read the Gospel that day because he had come to our church due to who we proclaimed Jesus to be with our words and actions in that community. I preached that day to those gathered about the power of their faithful proclamation of the identity of Jesus through their ministries and openness in our community. Knowing who Jesus is and proclaiming him as the Christ with our words AND actions simply is faithful stewardship!

His was the largest funeral we held in our church because so many from our parish, the town, and those from his old congregation came to celebrate his life. But also because so many from his old congregation came to see what might be said about his salvation they thought had been lost in their singularity doctrine. The Jesus Christ they were proclaiming was not the Savior of the world, but merely the savior of those who were part of their church who thought the way they thought.

Our reading options from Proverbs, Wisdom, and Isaiah all encourage us to heed the guidance of the Holy Spirit over the selfish ways of the world. James reminds us of the sharpness of the tongue and how it can cut both ways, even convicting us of our inconsistent actions with our words. These all lay a foundation for us to think about as we respond to Jesus’ question, "But who do you say that I am?"

The way we answer this question in our churches about Jesus’ identity has huge implications on the stewardship of our members. This informs us who we are as the Body of Christ doing Jesus’ work in the world. And when this is consistent and integrated with what we read in scripture, our words and actions people are more inspired to give of themselves and their resources for this proclamation of Jesus as the Christ.

So, who does your church say Jesus is with your words and actions? How is this making a difference in your membership giving of themselves and their resources? If it’s not making a positive difference, might it be time to get some clarity about who we are saying Jesus is?

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