Pentecost 4, June 12, 2016

Title:Pentecost 4, June 12, 2016

June 12, 2016 (full size gallery)

This was the second week of day lilies. The full crop is out along the graveyard, in the back of the church and along the river. Just a beautiful way to make June special.

46 were in church this Sunday with a number of visitors. Marion Mahoney was back from Maryland where she now lives. We bid her farewell last June. She said St. Peter’s would always be her church

Mike and Marilyn celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary. This week is also Becky and Chris Fisher’s anniversary. Marilyn played her harp at the offertory with "All  Through the Night." She won this harp at a convention – picked out of 180 entries.  String music as shown this week and last week with the guitar sounds great at St. Peter’s

We celebrated Jeffrey’s graduation from King George High School a week ago. He finally got his Book of Common Prayer from the church. He will be studying leadership at the University of Richmond this fall. 

Catherine gave special attention to Cookie’s flowers of magnolia. 

This was the UTO collection as well as the final Sunday before the Village Harvest distribution this Wednesday. 

We had 9 in "Weaving God’s Promises." The reading focused on the annointing and sins of David. David was the youngest yet as the scripture suggests God acts differently than we would in picking a leader. We also read the Story of David and Goliath as well as the consquences of sins in the lectionary reading this Sunday.

The message in today’s scripture reading concerns sin and God’s forgiveness. The readings are here

In 2 Samuel, the prophet Nathan confronts King David with a parable revealing David’s guilt. For David’s sin with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah, Nathan pronounced both condemnation and absolution. In the Old Testament scriptures, the emphasis was always on God working in every situation. Blessings and curses directly followed obedience to or infractions of God’s commandments. The Lord always repaid good for good, evil for evil. Here the illegitimate child dies

Paul tells of his confrontation with Peter, who had wrongly separated himself from Gentile believers.

Luke’s passage is about the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with her tears, receiving Jesus’ compassionate assurance of love and forgiveness. Jesus’ tells the woman to “go in peace.” It is the same peace the psalmist sings of: “Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” God has not changed. God’s mercy has always embraced those who trust in God. In the parable of the debtors, Jesus links loving and forgiving. Both are related to our salvation. What else was Jesus doing on the cross but loving, forgiving, and thereby saving us? Grace abounds, but grace doesn’t nullify the consequences of our personal or corporate actions. What we do matters and although grace can change the meaning of the past and awaken us to alternative futures, it cannot erase the impact of our actions. Justice and mercy leave seeds of creative transformation that contribute health and wholeness, while injustice and hard-heartedness leave seeds of destruction that lead to alienation and disease, personally and corporately.

The image on the bulletin and on the sermon online is taken from the Gospel story. It is by Dutch Painter, Dieric Bouts done in the 1440’s. He achieved notoriety as the city painter of Louvain. Here is the Web Gallery of art’s description of the painting

In a narrow, vaulted room, on the left of which is a window providing a glimpse of a landscape, Simon sits with his guests at a table laid for a meal. On the left of the table the sinner bends down to anoint Jesus’s feet. The host, the only one present wearing shoes, and Peter beside him, observe the incident with astonishment and disapproval. The youthful John at the head of the table seems to be drawing the attention of the donor, a Dominican monk, to it. The latter kneels with hands raised in prayer and, as if he dare not look, averts his gaze.

The arrangement of the figures at a laid table recalls two other themes from the life of Christ, the Last Supper and the Miracle at Emmaus, incidents which were frequently represented in painting and, furthermore, established a pictorial tradition of their own. Here the table is laid with bread, wine and fish, the last of these being an ancient Christian symbol. The composition of the various objects represents one of the most delightful still-lifes in old Netherlandish painting. Among the vessels on the table one can recognize a late medieval form of glass known as a ‘cabbage-stalk’.

The sermon’s answer is confession. Much of the sermon cited a book, A Journey Godward by controversial priest Charles Chapman Grafton.

"Grafton goes on to say that as we come before God in confession, Jesus, the Good Shepherd, ‘comes seeking us…he comes to find us in our wanderings, to rescue us from the thickets where we’ve been caught, to take us up trembling and with bleeding feet, and in his own arms to bear us safely back to the fold. He comes as the good Samaritan to save us, robbed and wounded and ready to die. But before he bears us to the shelter and care of the Inn he first probes and cleanses our wounds, and pours in the oil and wine, and reconciles us to Himself.’

"As we confess our sins, we ask Jesus to tear out those things that have stunted our growth so that our faith can flourish again, so that we once more have the space to grow more fully into who God wants each of us to be. So every week we confess our sins, and the words of absolution reminds us that God clothes us in forgiveness as we prepare for the heavenly banquet set before us.Grafton says that “in the Eucharist Jesus summons us to the Banquet of His Love, and by His loving washing of our feet He prepares us for it.”

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