Easter 6, Year B

Title:Easter 6, Year B

 Easter 6, May 6, 2018 (full size gallery)

 

As the sycamore and Iris came out this week, we are reminded this is Rogation Sunday. We are in the "Named Sundays" which come at this time of year – commemorating agriculture, the Ascension, Pentecost and Trinity Sunday. They are four feasts of great importance in the life of the Church.

Rogation is an old celebration. While it goes back to Rome, the Christian festival is based on decided events – calamities when events overtake the main means of production – agriculture. In 470 that was in Vienne, France after a series of disasters had caused much suffering among the people. The Goths invaded Gaul. There was an enormous amount of disease; there were fires; there were earthquakes; there were attacks of wild animals.

Today it is time set aside to appreciate and recognize our dependence upon the land for our food and most importantly upon our dependence of God for the miracles of sprouting seeds, growing plants, and maturing harvest. It takes on an environmental focus which affects all of us. We praise God for what God has provided but also ask for forgiveness for our mishandling the environment.

The offertory hymn was for rogation – "As those of old their first fruits brought". The lyric – As those of old their first fruits brought of vineyard, flock, and field to God, the giver of all good"

This week was Shred-it which supports recycling to help the environment. Thanks to Andrea Pogue for this event’s 7th year. We collected 60 boxes and made $100 for St. Peter’s Outreach ministries.

This Sunday was also Shrine Mont Sunday in the Diocese to remember the camps. We had 8 people on retreat with Christ Church, the fifth year of this program. 

The congregation was small as a result, 23. It was Morning Prayer. The bulletin is here and the readings here . Coffee potluck followed with ham biscuits, vegetables, fruit, potatoes and macaroni and one of Brad’s chocolate cakes. 

Cookie was the officiant, Susan Tilt the lector and Nancy Long provided the sermon.

Nancy’s message was from the Gospel,John 15:9-17. God is Love. We don’t necessarily need to understand it or ask why just do it.

If we are created by God we must know God before we leave the womb. We are born with love because God’s loves us. Infants nestle close to their mothers and therefore close to God. An infant’s smile reflects the love of God

As we grow we have to make the choice between good and evil. Parents provide a world of Bible understanding. We have the ability to love. God leads you in faith and to abide in God’s love. Faith is the cornerstone. We can choose to be baptized and God lives within us and love can grow

We have to remember to love one another as God has loved you. This is important to remember when we have differences. Jesus got angry at the disciples and Pharisees but he did on the basis of love and not hate. A basket can block light but it can be taken off to let light shine.

We must follow John’s love to love with actions and trust. Love can be a noun, verb or adjective. We must use love as a verb to show action. How do you use love as a verb in how we treat others? How can the congregation spread love. We must show the truth of God’s love in our actions to make the world a better place. God accepts all of us but won’t let us remain that way (Max Lucado)

Today’s readings urge believers to come together in a community characterized by love. In his sermon, Peter tells Cornelius of God’s work in Jesus Christ, thus opening the doors of the Church to Gentiles. A few simple words from today’s psalm unify today’s readings: “sing…a new song.” That allusion to newness captures the spirit of rebirth in spring as well as God’s marvelous surprises. We can almost imagine the jaws dropping as the Jewish believers discover the shocking truth that God’s grace has been poured out on Gentiles too. The author of 1 John describes Jesus as God’s love for us, and calls us to embrace one another in that love. In the gospel, Jesus tells his disciples that they have been chosen to love one another; in this they will find perfect joy.

This missionary speech in the Act’s reading "(Acts 10:44-48) marks an important turning point in the outreach of the early Church. Many Jewish Christians feared and resisted the possible inclusion of Gentiles, but Luke makes clear that Peter himself (even before Paul) began the mission to the Gentiles under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Cornelius was a “God-fearing” Roman, one who worshiped God but had not adopted all of the Jewish religious practices. Cornelius receives the sacrament of baptism, but not before he and his gathered household receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This event marks a new Pentecost. The circle of Christian faith has now broadened to include the inhabitants of “the ends of the earth” (1:8). The Spirit first came to Jews (2:1-4), then to the despised Samaritans (8:14-17), and now to the Gentiles.

The writing of 1 John seems to have been occasioned by a schism in the community due to heresy, specifically the denial of Jesus’ humanity. The central theme of 1 John is that “God is love” (4:8). As 1 John points out, the important, new discovery is not that we love God, but that God loves us. For centuries, humans tried to placate angry deities. The significance of this statement is explored through repeated meditation that interweaves theology and ethics

The Gospel reading from the discourse on the vine and the branches deals with the disciples’ relationships with one another. Jesus’ relationship with the Father has now become the model for all believers. The Father and Son’s relationship of mutual indwelling is now extended to Christians. The Father’s love for the Son is the basis, both in origin and in quality, of the Son’s love for the believer.

Believers are to love one another with a love characterized by self-sacrifice. Thus while Christians are still "servants" (v. 15, literally “slaves”) of Christ in terms of ministry (see 12:26; 13:14-16), they are "friends" (v. 15) of Christ in terms of intimacy with God. In and through this relationship Christians are appointed to "bear fruit" (v. 16).

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