Commentary, June 26, 2022, Pentecost 3

The 2019 sermon was derived mostly from Psalm 16 is about “True Freedom”, apropos with July 4 coming up this week.

“True freedom is from God, the gift that God has freely given us through the liberating life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus…

“In Psalm 16, the psalmist helpfully describes the true freedom that comes from knowing and living as if God really is our Lord.

“When God is our portion and our cup, we will never go hungry.

“When we accept God’s gifts to us, we dwell in God. Even if we have no place to lay our heads on this earth, we are at home in God and cared for by God.

“When we bless the Lord, who gives us counsel, we come to know God’s wisdom, because God teaches our hearts, so that we are no longer are held captive by or distressed by the erratic and unpredictable tyranny of human wisdom that is uninformed by God’s love.

“When people betray us and those tools of anger and revenge seem to be the only way out of our prisons of resentment and distress, remembering that the Lord is always with us will keep us from falling on our own swords as we try to take out our enemies.

“Therefore, the psalmist says that even in the worries and sorrows of this life, “my heart, therefore is glad, and my spirit rejoices; and my body rests in hope.”

Our readings this week are about focusing on the mission of establishing God’s kingdom presence in the world in contrast to a focus on one’s own desires and in an atmosphere of great change. Rev. Canon Lance Ousley of the Diocese of Olympia has said this about today’s readings. “Stewardship is not only about the giving of one’s self and one’s resources, but it is also about living our lives “by the Spirit” devoted each day to the presence of God’s kingdom here and now through sharing ourselves and our resources for this purpose. For those who do, they will find the nearness of God’s kingdom come on earth.”

The readings show different responses to change. In the Old Testament reading, Elisha accepts the mantle of leadership from Elijah whose mission was soon to be over which he did not complain about. He seems sanguine about it. We sang today the hymn in Levas “Trust and Obey” relevant for this scripture. In the Gospel passage while Jesus knew what lay ahead in Jerusalem, the disciple did not and this became a learning process but it wasn’t as smooth in the Old Testament reading. Discipleship was not for cowards. Paul is the consumate teacher spelling out the role of disciples in the reading from Galatians and what is not discipleship. Discipleship is “fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Discipleship is NOT “fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.”

The Gospel reading begins a large section of Luke’s gospel, the great travel narrative (9:51–18:14) telling of Jesus’ journey from Galilee through Samaria towards Jerusalem. Today’s selection, which is filled with explicit and implicit references to Elijah, continues to broaden the sense in which Jesus was perceived as a prophet.

It is the turning point of Luke’s account, where Jesus “resolutely set his face toward Jerusalem” and his destiny there. Luke packs the passage with explicit and symbolic statements about the costs of being Jesus’ disciple, in view of Jesus’ journey toward his death. To prepare us for hearing the gospel challenge, the church recalls the call to discipleship of Elisha.

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