Pentecost 26, Nov. 18, 2018

Title:Pentecost 26, Nov. 18, 2018

 Pentecost 26, Nov. 18 2018 (full size gallery)

We had a small congregation of 34 compared to last Sunday. We did have family relatives – Laura Carey and her sister and Andrea and her aunt.

It was a day of hazy sunlight with milder temperatures than earlier in the week. It was the Sunday before Thanksgiving and we had an assortment of Thanksgiving hymns – “Come, ye thankful people, come”, “We Gather Together” and the choir added “Now thank we all our God ” at the offertory.

This week we are celebrating the Village Harvest’s 4th anniversary. Over that time we have fed over 5,000 people 48,000 pounds of food. It was this week in 2014 that it began. Our first story said this “The cost of food continues to rise and knowing that some of our Port Royal community might find it difficult to keep food on the table, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church wants to help..” Port Royal could be considered a food desert without grocery store and many people living on fixed incomes. We did this story about food in our local area during Week 3 of the Season of Creation.

We are not only celebrating our work over 4 years but looking forward asking St. Peter’s and our support community to support us on Giving Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018. Our costs per year have accelerated per year to an estimated $2,300 as we are buying larger amounts of food. We are looking for $1,200 to support our costs for 6 months.

  • A $10 donation feeds 6 people, 12 pounds each. It provides 70 pounds of food and $420 in total value!
  • A $20 donation feeds 12 people, 12 pounds each. It provides 140 pounds of food and $840 in total value!
  • Donating $200 puts you and or your organization into the “Village Club” for special recognition since you have covered the food for one Village Harvest!

We have a new one page site for the event.

We are also filling the Ark for the Heifer Project until Dec. 9. A Giving Bank and catalog were given our last week. Get your calendar and giving bank and have fun helping families around the world. Heifer trains people in sustainable farming, helps farmers gain access to markets and empowers women. Here is more information about the valuable work they do in 25 countries.

Today’s readings encourage us to hold fast to our faith, even in troubled times and persecution. Daniel speaks of a time of great trouble, through which the righteous will “shine like the stars.” As the Day of the Lord approaches, the author of Hebrews tells us that our hard struggle with suffering will be rewarded. In today’s gospel, Mark assures us that—even in chaos—God remains in control. The readings are leading us to Christ the King Sunday and particular Advent 1 in theme

The sermon asked the question “But how can we be bright beacons of hope in this day and age? ” and provided 4 answers- Have confidence before God, Live in Hope, Provoke one another to love and good deeds, Meet together and encourage one another.

The book of Daniel (Daniel 12:1-3) is an example of a kind of writing that flourished in the period between the Old Testament and the New Testament called apocalyptic literature. The name comes from a Greek word meaning to unveil, reveal, disclose. Such writing was common during periods of national or community tribulation, which are interpreted through signs and symbols to disclose the unseen reality of God’s purpose beneath the appearance of disaster.

For believers facing death, the belief in resurrection expresses their profound hope in a sovereign God who will triumph over the forces of death, restoring the believers to life.

Two other images in this text are worth exploring. First, the image of those who are found “written in the book” that will be described in Revelation 20:12, 15 as “the book of life” (cf. also Psalm 87:6; Isaiah 4:3; Malachi 3:16) constitutes a compelling image of the importance of being remembered.

Finally, the image of the ones who are wise and who are said to have led many to righteousness directs our focus to what this text says not only about the sweet hereafter, but also about this life.

Thus, even in the most dire of circumstances, these faithful offer a model of looking beyond oneself to how one can be of service to others

The book of Daniel is attributed to a certain Daniel, who had been taken captive by the Babylonians (c. 605 BCE) before the final fall of Jerusalem (586 BCE). Many contemporary scripture scholars think that the book was actually written much later, during the fierce conflict triggered by Antiochus IV (175–164 BCE), who desecrated the Jewish temple by setting up a heathen altar there. According to this view, many of the prophetic portions of the book are actually symbolic interpretations of the events then taking place.

Psalm 16, a song of trust in God, seems to be set in a context where some Israelites worship other gods (v. 4). Though the psalm is one of supplication, the petition itself takes only one half of a verse (v. 1). The remainder of the prayer is a meditation on the reasons the psalmist can turn to God in this time of need.

The author of Hebrews (Hebrews 10:11-14, (15-18), 19-25) compares the work of the Levitical priest to the superior work of Jesus. The priest from Levi’s line had to offer sacrifices on a daily basis. These sacrifices, though symbolic of forgiveness through the shedding of blood, could not accomplish true purity. Jesus offered a different kind of sacrifice. The greatness of this one sacrifice attained perfection, not just outward cleansing, and assured eternal consecration. No further offering for sin is required.

In verses 19-25, the author draws out the implications of Jesus’ complete work. As to our relationship with God, nothing remains to obstruct our full communion. As to our spiritual lives, we hope for the approaching day of final judgment and full revelation. As to our relationships with others, we live to encourage and support one another.

Chapter 13 of Mark (Mark 13:1-8) is known as the “little apocalypse.” It is full of ominous signs and strong counsel. Mark has combined various sayings of Jesus related to events in the near and far future. Some have already come true, but because prophecy often has many applications, they may some day be fulfilled again in a deeper way.

Jesus’ disciples comment on the temple’s magnificence, which embodied for the Jews their religious hopes and identity. Yet this temple, finally finished in AD 64, was a pile of rubble after Titus’s invasion and devastation in AD 70. Jesus bids his disciples to turn from the apparent permanence and grandeur of the temple in order to place their trust in God’s sovereignty.

The early Church suffered from conflicting fears that the end time had already come or that it would not come. Given Jesus’ prediction (v. 13:2), the Roman siege of Jerusalem and destruction of the temple (AD 66–70) may have prompted speculation that the second coming was imminent. Yet it is most important not to be misled by premature claims that Christ has come (13:6). False prophets were an endemic problem for the early Church. Mark’s conclusion in regard to Jesus’ second coming is: “Yes, not yet but soon—watch!”

All that was threatened by their new religion, then lost when Roman armies demolished the temple. It does not require a great leap of the imagination to see them feeling abandoned and without direction. To his community and to us, Mark issues a warning: watch. Be cautious of simplistic solutions, of the desire to cling to possessions and security. Beware of even well-meaning political reformers who simply replace one form of domination with another. Christ alone is our new direction, our liberation and only security.