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I. Theme – Understanding our Heritage and Putting our Trust in God
The lectionary readings are here or individually:
This week’s readings help us to understand our heritage of faith and to strengthen our trust in God. In Genesis , Abram puts his faith and his family’s future in God’s promises. The psalmist sings the praises of the sovereign Creator God. The author of Hebrews gives examples from salvation history of the faith that pleases God. There is a sense of urgency about the parables in the gospel for today. Jesus admonished his followers to be ready for action: “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; — Luke 12:35 . Jesus cautions his disciples to live in a manner that reflects the imminent possibility of his unexpected return.
This would have reminded them of the instruction for celebrating the feast of the Passover. At the time of the exodus, when they escaped from slavery in Egypt, they had been told to be ready to move without notice. This urgent readiness was then remembered in the way they celebrated these great events in the Passover every year: so we have the instruction on how the Passover meal was to be eaten hurriedly, in the book of Exodus:
This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the LORD. — Exodus 12:11
The Jewish people were used to recalling these directions in scripture every year and would easily have recognized the same idea in the teaching of Jesus about the coming to the Kingdom of God:be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. — Luke 12:36
Today’s readings remind us to seek God’s realm in and beyond our daily responsibilities, and to consider constantly the need to give up certain types of security to be faithful to God’s presence in the persons in front of us and across the globe. We may have an uneasy conscience at times and this is good news, for such uneasiness invites us to mindfulness and intentionality, and reflection on what is truly important in the course of a day and a lifetime.
“See, the eyes of the lord are upon those who fear him, upon those who hope for his kindness” (Psalm 33: 18). The Spanish-speaking and Native American peoples have a lovely yarn craft called “Ojos de Dios” or “God’s eyes.” It symbolizes God’s beneficial watchfulness over us.
However, God’s all-seeing, ever-present eye is not a comforting thought to everyone. In order for this to be a soul-warming concept, we must have an understanding of the true nature of God. As the psalmist says, we must be among “those who hope in his kindness.” To those who await only God’s judgment, the thought of God’s eye upon them is threatening rather than comforting.
The opposite of faith is fear. Jesus’ exhortation, “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock,” is really an appeal to trust God. Trust and love go together. In our human relationships, we know that we trust more where mutual love exists and trust the least where there is no love. We are told that, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love” (1 John 4:18).
It has been said that every human being responds to God’s existence, either in fear or in love, that is, to judgment or salvation. When we have grasped the good news of God’s steadfast love towards us, the lord becomes our help and our shield. That God’s eye is upon us is our most supportive thought. We can never be lost or alone because God sees us in all times and places. God’s love will provide for us and reward us as we seek God’s will.
We seek God’s will because we are certain that it is our Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom. We trust God’s perfect love, and this casts out our fear. We have confidence for the day of judgment. When the lord returns, our lamps will be burning brightly for the celebration that will be like a marriage feast. Hearts that have held the treasure of Jesus’ saving love will tremble with joy at his appearing.
Seeking the kingdom is a tough road and we cannot get caught up in our own world, We are reminded that we may not see the fulfillment of God’s promises in our lifetime. All too often, we put our own worldly hopes and dreams in front of God’s promises, believing that God fulfills promises by blessing people with wealth, health and happiness. This could not be further from the Gospel of Jesus, who told the rich to sell all they had, who told the disciples not to take more than they could carry and to rely on the generosity of others, who told us all to become first we must become last of all and servant of all. This is what Jesus has called us to do—to seek eternity, we must not be wedded to the wealth and success of this world, for it will fall away. Our lives are a witness to the future: did we seek to live for Christ by living for others, or did we seek to live for ourselves?
Aug.7, 11:00am – Eucharist
15 in house and 10 online. Two of our members have COVID returning from a summer trip.COVID have shifted our events as local numbers are up. Today was a return to masks. Wed for the Village dinner will be take out.
This was first Sunday and coffee hour was all tomatoes. Johnny brought tomatoes from the garden and Cookie made stuffed tomatoes with many delights from the Summer. A summer delight!
The key words this week in the lectionary are “faith” and “waiting.” Faith is about trust in things unseen – the trust in the reality of the relationship with, and the promises of, God is especially exemplified by Abraham.
In the Gospel, we need to be ready and waiting for Christ to come in a new way. Paired with the parable of the Rich Fool from last week, we once again are reminded that living for the ways of the world is foolish.
So what shall the faithful Christian do? First of all, “have no fear”. The promise from God is that the kingdom will be given to those who believe. What follows are two images: be properly dressed for action and movement, and take a flashlight, ready to move and to see when the Bridegroom comes. We are called to expect the unexpected and be ready to act.
Our verses are part of a larger context of “Readiness for the Coming Judgment” from Luke 12:1-13:9. This section started last week with the parable Fool and will last until Aug 25.
Jesus is in the presence both of his disciples and the large crowds (12:1). He appears to be speaking primarily to the disciples, though within earshot of a large number of people. Even though teaching the disciples, “someone in the crowd” is able to interrupt with a question. Though speaking directly to the inner circle of the movement, Jesus’ teachings are also “overheard” by a large number of people.
This week, he follows the parable of the rich fool (12: 13-21) with exhortations to live without anxiety. Worry about food or clothing is unnecessary in light of God’s providence. “The nations” worry about such things–that is to say, people who think and act in light of the dominant culture’s assumptions will find themselves riven with uncertainty and anxiety.
Basic summary – In the declaration of paragraph one, Jesus puts his hearers at ease. God wants to give you the kingdom where he lives, with pleasure. So you can get rid of your possessions and give alms to the poor because your investment is in the kingdom of the heavens. Do this because wherever you invest your life is where your attention will be.
The master is coming soon to celebrate his victory and even his slaves will be blessed in this celebration. The master will serve the slaves the only condition is the slaves must be awake and recognize him when he knocks at the door. It might even be in the middle of the night so vigilance is necessary so as not to fall asleep and miss the arrival of the master. Bill Long in 2007 comes with the key focus of this passage
There are three ever-more-difficult commands that Jesus gives his disciples.
“Watchful Servants” – Eugène Burnand (1850-1921)
Excerpt. See read more link for the entire sermon
We spend a great deal of our lives waiting. Our lives begin with nine months of waiting to be born, and that’s only the beginning of the waiting we will do throughout our lives.
Today’s scriptures remind us that, as Christians, the most important thing we wait for is for God’s reign to become complete on earth, as it is in heaven.
No wonder that’s the first thing Jesus asks us to pray for in the Lord’s Prayer. When we pray for God’s kingdom to come on earth, we are praying for God to make the old destructive death dealing ways of the world into something new and life giving.
Even waiting at a stoplight can take on new meaning if I know that the big thing I am waiting for is for God’s reign of love to come on this earth, and that how I wait, even for a stop light, matters.
The thoughts of Christopher Davis, who teaches at Memphis Theological Seminary in Memphis, Tennessee, are helpful here.
Davis says in his commentary on today’s Genesis passage that there comes a place in the process of waiting that our trust gets put on trial. “If you’re going to move from frustration to fulfillment, you must develop an intentional life of waiting…the prize isn’t always finally getting what you wanted, it’s what you learned while you waited.” He goes on to say that our job is to go from putting God to the test to simply trusting God, that it’s not just about what we do, but also about who we grow into.
In the waiting, if we wait faithfully, God really does make us new.
What is God trying to make new in my life, and in yours? What is God trying to teach us in the waiting? What is God trying to make new in our church and in our world?
All of us are waiting for something. So let’s remember that as we wait for whatever it is, that all the waiting, for both the small and large things in our lives, must be informed by our expectant waiting for God’s kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven.
So let’s resolve to listen for God, to wait faithfully and obediently and to trust that even if not in our lifetimes, God’s reign of love will someday come to pass on this earth, as it is in heaven.
And in our intentional, faithful, and trusting waiting, our lives can be a sign to the rest of the waiting world that God’s reign of love really is on the way.
The Transfiguration is a transformation and emphasizes that the mission of Jesus in the way of the cross. We celebrate this event on Aug. 6
Collect for Aug. 4 O God, who on the holy mount revealed to chosen witnesses your well-beloved Son, wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistening: Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may by faith behold the King in his beauty; who with you, O Father, and you, O Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
From Luke – “Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” —not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.