Pentecost 7, July 23, 2017

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Title:Pentecost 7, July 23, 2017

 Sunday, July 23, 2017, Pentecost 7 (full size gallery)

Some records at the Village Harvest this past week on July – 1,536 pounds of food distributed. 61 families picked up food 46 that was on the list and 15 came for the first time that would like to be added to the list. We fed a record 163 people – a watershed, since this ministry began in Nov., 2014.

Catherine ends her stay at the beach today. A hot steamy morning after storms late on Saturday with developing clouds. The crepes myrtle were still blooming but some had dropped their blossoms.

We had 32 in the church on Pentecost 7 despite the weather and vacation.  We celebrated Eunice’s birthday coming up on July 28.

We welcomed the Rev. Ed Jones as our guest minister. Ed has been here many times, preaching last August 16 and was also here for Bishop Shannon’s visit on June 25. Nancy Long was our officiant.

Today’s readings invite us to focus on God’s providential care for us and all creation. Isaiah reminds us that there is no other God like ours. Paul tells the Romans that all God’s people and all God’s creation await the age to come with great eagerness. Jesus teaches that the weeds and the wheat live side by side until the harvest. 

Ed began his sermon for praising St. Peter’s commitment to Port Royal and to maintaining the building and grounds. He quipped that Rev. Ron Okrasinski and Claudette were in the congregation to grade his sermons  since he served under Ron at St. Mary’s until Ron retired.

This is the second agricultural Gospel passage after last week’s sower.  The passage this week the "Wheat and the Weeds" contemplates a dichotomy where Jesus sows the good seed (children of the kingdom) but then the devil or enemy plants weeds or the devil’s children. What do we do asks the disciples ? Remove them ? Jesus says to keep them in the world until the angels or reapers sort it out at the end time.  The higher force actually judges.

This passage resonates with us since we are living in divided time when considering the economy, religion politics and race. We may be reconciled but we don’t understand each other.

The passage has labels of good and bad, wheat and weeds.  However, it is not that simple in our time.  We have to develop standards in our civilized world but our mission shouldn’t be that of dividing people into rigid categories.

We think of ourselves as the wheat but if we dig down further we may be a mixture of wheat and weeds.  

Ed sees that the virtue lacking in society  is humility. We are a spirited journey through life. As Bishop Shannon says “agreement is overreated. We learn about each other through disagreement. But disagreement should not be accompanied by disrespect, labeling each other as “good” or “bad. ” In the end we may make the wrong call.

We need to recognize the wheat in each one of us. We are called to love God and one another.  The power of love is powerful but it is counterculture in our time. 

Ed provided an example of difficult two week session at Shrine Mont summer camp Communication had broken down between the councilors. One exercise was to sit all councilors down and each person was given one minute to say “thank you.” It became an emotional filled room. It brought out the wheat.  Shrine Mont is a unique mountain top experience, a place apart where we can gain our spiritual voices.

With conflict abounding, the world needs this message of love As Bishop Michael Curry has written  “God came to show us the Way beyond what often can be the nightmares of our own devisings and into the dream of God’s intending.”Bishop Curry wrote in one of books we need more “Crazy Christians.”

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