Pentecost 10, Aug. 13, 2017

Title:Pentecost 10, Aug. 13, 2017

 Sunday, August 13, 2017, Pentecost 10 (full size gallery)

10th Pentecost, the Sunday with all of the elements – wind, earthquake, fire, and storm – in the readings. We had 37 on mixed sun/clouds Sunday.

We celebrated Boyd’s birthday and Boyd and Barbara’s 49th wedding anniversary.

The rose on the altar was in honor of Bridgette Diana Long, born Thursday, Aug 10 to Justin and Karen Long.

David and Gibbe brought tomatoes again – possibly the last ones.  Very much appreciated and David was thanked during the service.

Ken brought his brother Cedrick who had not seen in 13 years and lives in their home state of Montana.

Cookie announced an ECW Fall meeting on October 12 in Richmond at Christ Church.

Catherine reminded all about the Village Harvest 3:30pm-5pm though we help beginning at 9:30am to unload the truck, 1pm to setup and then with the distribution itself.

Today’s readings remind us of how God responds to our need for help, particuarly in the realm of nature.

The sermon asked a question, "How are we Christians to respond to the divisions and the dismay and the outright fears that threaten to consume us every waking moment of our lives?", pointed to a job description, and then delved into an understanding of salvations

The 4 parts of our job description:

"1 So the first thing we Christians need to do when the going gets tough is to stop talking and talking and talking. The first thing we need to do is to listen to what our Lord God is trying to tell us, in spite of the racket in our minds and the noise in the world around us.

"2 The second thing is turn our hearts to God. You can’t turn two ways at once. So we followers of God have one direction in which to turn, and that is to turn toward God, just as people here in the United States who wanted to escape slavery kept their eyes on the North Star.

"3 So we are to listen to God, turn our hearts toward God, and here’s the third thing—we are to fear God. To fear God is to stand before God in awe at God’s steadfast love for the faithful who follow God, and God alone.

"4 The fourth requirement in our job description is that we are to be people of faith, who put their trust only in God.

"Today’s lectionary passages point to a much, much richer understanding of salvation. And this rich salvation that we Christians give thanks for is the gift that God has already given us, is giving us, and will continue to give us throughout eternity. God’s salvation is all about resurrection!

"God’s own attributes become realities in our lives. “Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.”

"Faith, one of the requirements in our Christian job description, is necessary to claim the salvation that is already ours. And faith is especially important when fear gets the best of us, and we find ourselves running away and hiding, as Elijah did, or sinking down into the rough sea, as Peter did

"This passage about Elijah reminds us that fear, even irrational fear, is a total reality, and that calling out to God in the face of fear is an act of faith.

"Then there’s good old Peter. He is also full of fear, not because of the struggle the disciples are having in the boat, trying to make progress against the strong wind blowing against them, but because he sees a vision walking toward the disciples on the water But soon a new fear overtakes him. The strong wind threatens to blow him down and make him sink, and his fear does him in. His greatest fears are realized when he starts to sink. And so he cries out to Jesus, “Lord, save me.” Now this prayer is one of total desperation. Because Peter had doubted Jesus on several levels—one, even after Jesus had identified himself, Peter still doubted and wanted proof. Even after Jesus had offered proof and Peter had acted on the dare, Peter got distracted and his fear of nothing but the wind made him doubt all over again. And yet, in the face of these doubts, Jesus was faithful to Peter. Jesus saved Peter and the two of them got in the boat with the other disciples, and the wind ceased

"God is always in the process of saving us, even when we head back to our caves, or when we begin to sink in doubt because we get distracted by something like the wind and look away from God.

"God is always at work, in life and in death.

"So take heart, do not be afraid. Live into that Christian job description and share this good news with others, hoping that they too will join in with us–to stand in awe of God, to be faithful to God, to listen to God, and to turn our hearts to God.

"May we be witnesses to the world of God’s love, by turning our hearts to God in every moment of our lives, even when doubts and fears threaten to paralyze us—because, remember, God is speaking peace to us, and God’s salvation is very near to us, a saving, life-giving embrace that will never let us go.

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