Pentecost 8, July 10, 2016

Title:Pentecost 8, July 10, 2016

July 10, 2016 (full size gallery)

A Sunday with many people traveling! We still had 33 in the service on a beautiful sun filled day with lower humidity for a summer day. The corn is tasseling all around Port Royal.

A busy week with July 4 celebration at St. People’s, a large Village Dinner on Wed., and the prison ministry on Thursday. We had three ministers at Peumansend Jail and they gave St. Peter’s two groups.

Russell Bernabo, the other conservator, applied gold powder to the framework which was very visible in the service today.

Today’s readings focus on God’s call challenging us to obedience, compassion and action for justice. In Deuteronomy (Track 2), Moses assures the people that God’s call to obedience is not too difficult nor is it hidden. Paul writes that Christ, the image of the invisible God, is our Creator, Sustainer and Reconciler. Jesus answers a lawyer’s question by telling the story of the Good Samaritan.

What we say about ourselves is not nearly as important as how we live out what we say—how we live out our lives with Christ. We are called by God throughout scripture and tradition to care for the poor, the outcast, the oppressed, and the marginalized—but throughout our history and scripture, we have found ways to make excuses. We cannot remain ignorant of the struggles of others. Eventually, justice catches up to us

The sermon’s subject was on the Good Samaritan. Here are the readings. The story involved a trek from Jerusalem to Jericho. Jericho is a key Bible city- location for many Old Testament stories, including: Elijah (2 Kgs 4.4-12), Elisha (2 Kgs 4.13-22), the capture of King Zedekiah by the Babylonians (Jer 52.1-11), and the restoration of Jerusalem by people from Jericho (Neh 3.2).

One author has written "to cover the distance of 15 miles (24 km) with an elevation increase of about 3400 feet (1060 m). Jesus traveled this route many times. In fact, every time that he came to Jerusalem from Galilee, he would have traveled up the same Ascent of Adumim (unless permitted to travel through Samaria; cf. John 4 and Luke 9:52-53). Scriptures record at least one trip of Jesus through Samaria and two trips by way of Jericho. My guess is that he went this way dozens of times in his life. Probably his parents had to climb back up to Jerusalem after realizing that their twelve-year-old boy wasn’t in their caravan (Luke 2:41-50)."  Here is a travelogue with pictures. Also you can visit today the Inn of the Good Samaritan.

The surprise of the stories are many – the Samaritan, one of the most depised people doing the job the priest and Levite (Jewish member of Levi family, descended from Levi, the third son of Jacob and Leah) could not do because of the implication of touching an unclean person.

A second surprise in the sermon "Much to our surprise, the innkeeper takes the money and agrees to this arrangement, promising to care for the wounded man until this Samaritan returns, even though the innkeeper has no guarantee that the Samaritan really will return. And if the Samaritan doesn’t return, what will the innkeeper do with this badly injured person, left behind in the inn?"

Possibly the third surprise is an interpretation that the Samaritan is Jesus. "Jesus has entrusted us with the care of those on whom Jesus has already had mercy. Jesus himself brings people in need of healing to this inn, because he believes in us and trusts us to provide our ongoing care and healing until Jesus returns. Jesus has faith in us! Jesus knows that we have been made strong with all of the strength that comes from God’s glorious power, made available to us through the Holy Spirit. "

The sermon brought in the killings of African Americans this week and retribution in Dallas."In fact, this past week has left the road we are on strewn with the dead and the injured. Black men killed by police, police gunned down by a black sniper, violence and bodies strewn through the news like bloody talismans reminding us of the deep racial divisions in our country that have existed throughout our history and that still have yet to be healed. We as a nation face the threat of terrorism from the outside, and yet here we are in our own country killing each other, killings motivated most of all by the color of a person’s skin."

The sermon blended in the first of the Village Luncheons this Wednesday as part of a dialog in racial understanding. "Due to God’s timing, this very week you can come to the lunch here at the church on Wednesday at 1:30PM in the parish house. Sit down with a person whose skin color is different than yours over a meal and spend some time in conversation with that person. Learn about that person’s life and struggles. Listen with compassion.

"Even if what we can do do seems small and insignificant, and maybe even pointless, like continuing to clean and bandage wounds that will never heal, God will take even the small things we have to offer and use those things to grow love, healing and reconciliation in the world. "

"And then a continuing message – "And so we innkeepers wait. Our job is to keep the doors of the inn open and welcome in the people that Jesus brings to us for care. Our job is to continue the healing work that Jesus has already begun. We can do this work faithfully and prayerfully, with patience and in hope as we wait—because we know the Good Samaritan, and we know that he will return."

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