Season of Creation 3 – Sept 16, 2018, faithfully using our resources

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Title:Season of Creation 3 – Sept 16, 2018, faithfully using our resources

 Season of Creation 3, Year B, Sept. 16, 2018 (full size gallery)

We had 39 in church for our 3rd Sunday of the Season of Creation. It was good to see Woody and Cherry back. We also had two newcomers.

The weather was unsettled with periods of rain and then at the end of the service the sun was out. The ducks across the street seemed to enjoy our water puddles. A week ago we were concerned about approaching hurricane Florence but the hurricane went south aiming at Wilmington and then into South Carolina.

It was Stewardship Sunday with a message from Elizabeth Heimbach and her handing out pledge cards when people entered the church. Our stewardship page is here which has a video of her and other information. The theme this year is “A Year of Thanksgiving for God’s Abundant blessings.” You can pledge online this year.

We also took up a collection for loaf of bread to be used for the Village Harvest and we received a huge basket!

The hymns addressed the themes of the season of creation. The opening hymn “God the Sculptor of Mountains” contains these phrases –
“God the sculptor of the mountains,
God the miller of the sand,
God the jeweler of the heavens,
God the potter of the land:
you are womb of all creation,
we are formless; shape us now.

God the nuisance to the Pharaoh,
God the cleaver of the sea,
God the pillar of the darkness,
God the beacon of the free:
you are gate of all deliv’rance,
we are sightless; lead us now..”

We sang a wellknown Thanksgiving hymn – “Come ye thankful people come” as the sequence hymn.

The last hymn was “For the fruit of creation”

For the fruit of all creation,
thanks be to God.
gifts bestowed on every nation,
thanks be to God.
For the plowing, sowing, reaping,
silent growth while we are sleeping,
future needs in earth’s safekeeping,
thanks be to God.

In the just reward of labor,
God’s will is done.
In the help we give our neighbor,
God’s will is done.
In our worldwide task of caring
for the hungry and despairing,
in the harvests we are sharing,
God’s will is done.

For the harvests of the Spirit,
thanks be to God.
For the good we all inherit,
thanks be to God.
For the wonders that astound us,
for the truths that still confound us,
most of all that love has found us,
thanks be to God.

Earlier, Christian Ed looked at how we live in an interconnected, interdependent relationship with God and the whole of creation. We read a selection from Exodus 23:10 and Revelation 11:15.

The readings are here.. The service focused on our use the benefits of creation and in relationship to Stewardship Sunday how we are to be good stewards of it.

The collect said directly that we …”may be faithful stewards of your good gifts; through Jesus Christ our Lord.” And part of that role is to understand the bountiful resources we are given and to use them accordingly, productively and without waste.

There is a concern that the fulfillment of our wants will make us forget that God is the source of all we have. From Deuteronomy, “Do not say to yourself, “My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth…” and One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of YHWH’ (v.3). A major theme of Deuteronomy is that God’s covenantal gift of the land came with a warning: the Israelites were not to forget God’s commandments; if they did, they would lose the land.

Part of living into the role of stewardship is how we treat others,especially the less fortunate. As stewards we need to be concerned about the welfare, both material and spiritual of those, particularly in our neighborhood. Jesus provides the model in feeding the 5,000 (largely Jews) and feeing the 4,000 this week (Gentiles). God’s will is meant for all of use no matter where we are. In these miracles He feeds them with miraculous bread, in preparation for the day when they would be fed sacramentally by His very own Body and Blood in the Eucharist.

Psalm 113 readings call us to use our resources—financial and otherwise—for justice and compassion. They reflect on the social consequences of turning away from God and the possibility that prayer and God-centered values can be a source of health in our personal and corporate lives. A transformed mind may lead over the long haul to transformed social systems.

James, the Epistle is more direct on dealing with the poor. The rich and powerful may seem to be on top at the moment, often oppressing the faithful poor, but believers must not think that this will always be so. James therefore calls on the faithful poor to wait patiently for the Lord to vindicate their plight, for the day is coming when the Lord God will set things right. So, be patient and confident in the Lord in the face of hardship, for his coming vindication is close at hand. James encourages his readers to be like the farmer who waits patiently for the seasonal rains. The rains can’t be hurried, but they will come and so the farmer must be prepared. James is not calling for stoicism in the face of hardship, but rather a positive reliance on God’s promise to set things right.

This week is the kickoff of our fall pledge campaign. While we are calling on support to fulfill a 2019 budget, we need to see how we are not looking at just surviving but thriving in Port Royal, Caroline and beyond. Our generosity can be more far reaching. A part of this time should be to consider new priorities and possibilities for ourself based our variety of gifts, talents, skills, passions, even our life experiences and more. It is the work of the church to discover them, tease them out and then find ways for us to offer them to God and build the Body of Christ. In that light, what about a “Eucharist to go” at different sites like Portobago bay. Give those a taste of what we do on Sundays!

The sermon considered the return of the Lord and the expectations on us. In particular these include caring for our neighbors and environment.

“In Bible Study on Wednesday, we had a spirited discussion about the return of the Lord, a subject that shows up in the letter of James—“Wait patiently, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord.”

“So here are some helpful adjectives to describe who we are to be as we wait for the coming of the Lord. Thankful. Patient. Strong of heart. Persistent. Faithful.

“These adjectives also apply to us as a church. For the next few weeks we are giving some attention to stewardship—as we ask ourselves how we want to use our time, our talents and our money for the work of the church in the world, specifically through this church, St Peter’s.

“So today, I’m looking to these scriptures for inspiration. What we can do as the church is to be thankful, to plant our seeds, and to be patient while we wait for God to give the growth. We can have strong hearts. Important—we can resist the temptation to grumble against one another, but to endure together, helping each other along.

“We must remember that God, who will judge us in the end, is unfailingly compassionate and merciful.

“We must remember that God cares deeply about the very people and parts of creation that we tend to misuse, overlook, or forget, and God expects us to change that behavior.

“We must remember that we are the seeds that God has planted on this earth. We are God’s precious crop.”