Pentecost 6, June 26, 2016

Title:Pentecost 6, June 26, 2016

June 26, 2016 (full size gallery)

Catherine was away this week visiting her daughter in Chicago who is doing a multi-media show "Far from Equilibrium" around the scientific idea of equilibrium. The show brings in dance, music (clarinet group) as well as audience participation to experience it. Due to her absense there was no 9am service or "Weaving God’s Promises." Marilyn was the officiant, Mike the lector and Elizabeth the preacher.

It was another beautiful Sunday. While it warmed up, the heat was not overbearing. People were busy fishing on the pier. Small puffy cumulus clouds were reflected on the river. The magnolia is blooming with the day lilies fading. Not too many critters around though one dragonfly was seen.

This week featured several activities. Ken has 2 in the tutoring class and working on a third. Summer choir was enjoyed by over 10 on Wed. The altarpiece restoration showed progress- the 5 petal designs in the pinnacles are back. The central portion cross should be finished this week. We had 30 at the service today.

Our readings this week are about focusing on the mission of establishing God’s kingdom presence in the world in contrast to a focus on one’s own desires and in an atmosphere of great change. Rev. Canon Lance Ousley of the Diocese of  Olympia has said this about today’s readings. "Stewardship is not only about the giving of one’s self and one’s resources, but it is also about living our lives "by the Spirit" devoted each day to the presence of God’s kingdom here and now through sharing ourselves and our resources for this purpose. For those who do, they will find the nearness of God’s kingdom come on earth."

Note that our relationship with God always comes at a price. In 1 Kings, we hear the story of how God first called Elisha as Elijah’s successor. Jesus teaches his disciples the cost of following him.

The Gospel reading begins a large section of Luke’s gospel, the great travel narrative (9:51–18:14) telling of Jesus’ journey from Galilee through Samaria towards Jerusalem. Today’s selection, which is filled with explicit and implicit references to Elijah, continues to broaden the sense in which Jesus was perceived as a prophet.

It is the turning point of Luke’s account, where Jesus "resolutely set his face toward Jerusalem" and his destiny there. Luke packs the passage with explicit and symbolic statements about the costs of being Jesus’ disciple, in view of Jesus’ journey toward his death. To prepare us for hearing the gospel challenge, the church recalls the call to discipleship of Elisha.

Elizabeth’s sermon was about change, transition and discipleship.  She praised the Book of Common Prayer in leading us through 3 years of scriptures and themes relevant for today as well as then 2000 years ago. 

She mentioned it was the time of graduation which in Latin means to step off, logically to an unknown place.  She attended a graduation of preschoolers in New York. Transitions are inevitable, exciting but they are hard. She added an example of the birth of a child which brings stress. In Latin this means to lie flat on the ground.

The readings show different responses to change. In the Old Testament reading, Elisha accepts the mantle of leadership from Elijah whose mission was soon to be over which he did not complain about. He seems sanguine about it. We sang today the hymn in Levas "Trust and Obey" releavant for this scripture. In the Gospel passage while Jesus knew what lay ahead in Jerusalem, the disciple did not and this became a learning process but it wasn’t as smooth in the Old Testament readnig. Discipleship was not for cowards. Paul is the consumate teacher spelling  out the role of disiciples in the reading from Galatians and what is not discipleship. Discipleship is "fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." Discipleship is NOT "fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these."

Elizabeth described the role of transitions and the role St. Peter’s plays. She described a Vestry meeting where the Vestry was asked what was troubling to them in 2016. They named politics, terrorism, shooting, the decline in morality and people looking out for self rather than the common good, civility, lack of respect. Catherine then asked what comforts St. Peter’s could provide. They listed comfort, family, liturgy, gratitude, offering an joyful noise, liturgy, opportunity to do good, and an opportunity for prayer. 

She concluded that while 2016 is a year of transition the Lord will show us the way.

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