2022 Sun Sept 18
Videos, Sept 18, Pentecost 15
01 Welcome and Hymn = Be My Vision
02 Opening Acclamation
03. Hymn of Praise – Scottish Blessing
04 Creator Collect
05 Gospel from Luke 16:1-13
06 Sermon Sept 18, 2022 – Tom Hughes
07 Offertory – Portion
08 Stewardship presentation
10 Closing Hymn Let us with gladsome mind
Pentecost 15, Sept. 18, 2022
I. Theme – Using our resources—financial and otherwise—for justice and compassion
“Parable of the Shrewd Manager – Coptic (Egypt) ”
The lectionary readings are here or individually:
First Reading – Amos 8:4-7
Psalm – Psalm 113
Epistle – 1 Timothy 2:1-7
Gospel – Luke 16:1-13
Today’s 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.
Amos condemns the callousness of those who observe rituals but set their hearts on greed and dishonesty. Paul urges prayers for peace, godliness and dignity, made possible by Christ, who bridges the gap between God and humanity. In Jesus’ story, the master appreciates the shrewdness of an unfaithful servant.
The parable from the Gospel also presents most congregations with serious challenges in terms of values, ethics, and priorities. You cannot serve God and money. One has to come first; one has to be the lens through which you make your personal and corporate decisions. Studies suggest that great wealth does not lead to greater happiness. In light of the Hebraic prophetic scriptures, wealth without justice and compassion leads to personal and corporate destruction. Wealth without consideration of God’s Shalom and purposes beyond our self-interest leads to poverty and pain.
First Reading – Amos 8:4-7
Amos, a wealthy farmer (sheep and sycamore figs) served as a servant to the word of God, and did most of his work for a limited period of time around 760 BCE not in his native Judea, but north, in the Kingdom of Israel. It was a time when Israel was enjoying great prosperity under Jeroboam II. Its wealth and power rested, however, upon injustice because the rich and the strong used their power exclusively for their own benefit. False scales made transactions particularly oppressive on the poor, who could eventually be reduced to selling themselves and their families into slavery.
Unlike the prophets who came before him, his word (directed by the word of God) is spoken not to individuals (as was the case with Nathan) but rather to the entire nation. Earlier prophets were inspired by the Spirit, but Amos receives the word of God. Finally, he is not a professional. He belongs to no guild or school, nor is he a member of the royal court, called from his daily life to deliver God’s word to a specific time and place. He is also the first of the so-called classical prophets, those who wrote down their words directed to the nation. His words are also a departure from what had been spoken before. He announces total judgment to Israel. Although he speaks against social ills, he sees them as evidence of Israel’s loss of God and of the covenant with God.
The passage from Amos is a word of warning for those who have left the concerns of the poor behind under the disguise of religious values. In Amos’ day, many of the wealthy elite ruling class were worshipping other gods and having lavish feasts to celebrate the harvest and other seasons, and were taking from the poor to finance these festivals. Amos warns that the people have forgotten the God of creation who does not desire these festivals but rather desires justice for all people. This God has not forgotten the poor and the downtrodden, though the wealthy have. Right worship of God and just treatment of all people go hand in hand with the prophets—forgetting the poor is forgetting the commandments of God.
In this week’s readings it is the merchant class that takes in on the ear. They do not honor the holy days, or even if they do, they cannot wait until they are over so that they can return to their unjust business practices. Of special concern are the needy (peasants who live on the land). They become the focus of the prophet’s concern and the dishonest merchants’ greed. The issues are dishonest weights and measures, buying people as slaves when they cannot pay their debts, and selling adulterated products. There will be an end to such practices, but it will be accompanied by an end to the nation as well. The prophet notes the title “The Pride of Jacob”, namely God who is the pride of Jacob. I
In a reverse to the phrase “I will not forget…deeds” we see a turnaround. Usually it is God who pleads with Israel not to forget the deeds – the freedom from Egypt, the Promised Land. But now it is the reverse. It is God who will not forget, and the deeds are Israel’s unjust ways. Thus, “the day of the lord” (v. 9) would be Israel’s vindication and God’s punishment of its enemies. But Amos reinterpreted the concept to include judgment upon Israel too
Psalm – Psalm 113
This psalm is the first of the group known as the Egyptian “Hallel” (Psalms 113–118), from the shout of Hallelujah (“Praise the lord”) with which it begins. Psalm 113 links God’s greatness with God’s care for the poor and weak. Almost like an antidote to the message in the reading from Amos, this psalm remembers that God is the one who lifts up the poor and the needy and that God will come to deliver them. God will raise up all those who have been trampled upon and have been under the weight of injustice.
A similar action is accorded the “childless woman” who is enthroned in her home as a mother. We see the inequity of the Ancient Near Eastern society however. The man (poor) is seated among the princes, and the woman (the barren one) is seated with her sons.
The “name of the lord” sums up all of the self-revelation of Yahweh. The “ash heap” (v. 7) is literally the rubbish heap, where the poor, the outcast and the diseased begged and scrabbled for scraps. Verses 7-8 are from Hannah’s song, found in 1 Samuel 2:8, as they recall the lord’s care for the despised barren wife.
Epistle- 1 Timothy 2:1-7
Today’s reading begins a section on Church order (2:1–3:15), focusing on prayer.
The author of this letter had to remind Timothy (a community leader whose office evolved into the modern office of bishop) and his congregation that God’s concern extends to all people, not just themselves. Some scholars think some early Christians may have refused to pray for pagans, and this passage means to correct that. And the author insists again that he was called to take the gospel to all peoples, so refusing to pray for them is hardly right.
There are 4 parts
1 the first order for prayers for the world
2 backing up that order with a statement about the mission of Jesus
3 a statement about the worldwide character of the apostle’s mission
4 repetition of the order for prayers.
First, prayer is to be offered for all people. The assertion of the universality of God’s grace may be aimed at those who taught that only the enlightened few would be saved. The prayers themselves can ask and give thanks, speak for the well being of others and give a good word for the stranger. There is a universalism here
Second, prayer is to be offered for civil leaders. Prayer for pagan authorities was part of Jewish worship and the early Church prayed for the civil authorities as guarantors of the social structure within which the Church’s mission could be pursued in tranquility. Finally, prayer is to be offered as an outgrowth of unity in the community.
In this passage, we see a church concerned with getting along in the larger pagan society. The earliest Christians expected Jesus to return in glory very soon, and to bring history to its climax. This reading is clearly composed later, after that expectation had changed.
Gospel – Luke 16:1-13
Today’s gospel has two parts: first a parable about acting decisively in the face of crisis, meant perhaps to prepare disciples for the coming of the reign of God. Then there is a series of loosely related sayings about the use of wealth.
In a trilogy of parables (The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin, and The Prodigal Son) in chapter 15, in an address to the critical Pharisees and Scribes Jesus wants us to examine our value of things, so that we might begin to value God and neighbor as well, and not look at their “lack of value.” Thus in the sixteenth chapter, Luke continues with two other parables on Value, however this time the teaching is directed at the disciples.
Today’s reading concerns an unscrupulous manager who yet wins his boss’ praise. This “dishonest manager” has charges brought against him and it’s not clear if they were true or false, but the manager, who is too ashamed to beg and not strong enough to dig, starts making friends by settling the bills of customers of his master for less than what they owe—so that way when he is out of a job, he has connections of where to go. He has helped people in need though he has violated the terms of employment with his master
It’s a strange parable—we’re supposed to look at the manager’s response, not the fact that he did this shrewdly and cheated his master out of what was given him—but the fact that he used what resources he had to make friends is how we ought to be faithful with what God gives us—use what we have to do good works and to help those in need, rather than being concerned about pleasing the powers that be.
Recently another approach has been taken, based upon the economics of the time. The bills probably represented goods received by the debtors on credit. The amount by which the steward reduced the bills may have been interest on the cost of the goods. Such interest was illegal, but was common in commercial transactions and justified in such cases by some rabbinic interpreters. Or the amount may have represented the steward’s own commission on the transaction. Thus, the steward gives up the profit (his own or the rich man’s) in return for the debtors’ gratitude.
In verses 10-13, Luke supplies three sayings of Jesus that give clues about how to unravel this parable. These guidelines reflect the attitudes of fidelity and trust that servants ought to display in their commitment to service of their master.
1 “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.
2 “If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? “
3 “And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? “
You cannot serve God and money. One has to come first; one has to be the lens through which you make your personal and corporate decisions. The values that come from God’s teachings
Can you do both ?
Who will the Christian’s master be, wealth, or godly service? Does that mean that Christians should eschew wealth? It does have value in making friends (temporal) and accomplishing good (eternal). There are other values that are held up as well, “trustworthiness” in all things (both worldly and eternal) and doing things “for the benefit of others.”
Photos, Season of Creation III, Sept. 18, 2022
Pentecost 15, Sept 18, 2022(full size gallery)
“Wild Geese” – Mary Oliver
This week on Sept 22 we reach the autumn equinox. What better way to celebrate this transition than with a poem by Mary Oliver!
Canada Geese migrate south in winter and north in summer. We may assume the poem may set in the fall when they are flying south for food, but Oliver never tells us where is home.
Home may not just be a destination but our efforts to connect to one another. We may fly alone but like geese we may be call out to others so we may connect in the “family of things.” We have much in common – “Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine…” Communication can be a part of the healing which creates bonds to one another.
However, we shouldn’t dwell in despair since Oliver sees the world going on. Yes it can be “harsh” but “exciting “, open to our “imagination. We just have to be a part of it, traveling like the seasons. Oliver’s imagery is rich – rain going across America and the geese flying.
Oliver’s imagery is rich as the world she describes. She has won many awards for her writings among these, the Pulitzer prize and the National Book award. She makes her home in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
Bulletin, Pentecost 15, Season of Creation III, Sept. 18, 2022
Click here to view in a new window.
Sunday links, Pentecost 15, Sept. 18, 2022
Village Dinner, Sept. 14, 2022 – burgers with all the trimmings, while looking out on the Rappahannock River. The weather was absolutely perfect.
Sept. 18, 11:00am – Holy Eucharist
Season of Creation 3, Sept 1 – Oct. 4
Matthew, Sept. 21, Apostle and Evangelist
Sept. 21 is the day we celebrate the life of the author of the Gospel of Matthew, both Apostle and evangelist due to the Book he wrote.
Matthew was one of the 12 apostles that were with Jesus Christ throughout His public ministry on earth. The consensus among scholars is that this book in the Bible was written in the mid-70’s, 40 years after the resurrection. It was the second Gospel written after Mark, 10 years earlier.
Matthew was a Jewish tax collector that left his profession to follow Jesus. Matthew gives a personal witness account of many miracles that Jesus performed prior to being crucified on a Roman cross.
He wrote after the destruction of the temple by the Romans and massacre of the Jewish priests. Many thought they were in the end days. He was a Greek speaker who also knew Aramaic and Hebrew. He drew on Mark and a collection of the sayings of the Lord (Q), as well as on other available traditions, oral and written. He was probably a Jewish Christian and we think the book was written in Antioch in Syria where a community had developed.
The purpose of this book is to prove to readers that Jesus is the true Messiah that was prophesized in the Old Testament of the Bible. The Kingdom begins with us . The author of the Gospel of Matthew, more than the other synoptic writers, explicitly cites Old Testament messianic writings. With 28 chapters, it is the longest Gospel of the four.
It begins by accounting the genealogy of Jesus, showing him to be the true heir to David’s throne. The genealogy documents Christ’s credentials as Israel’s king. Then the narrative continues to revolve around this theme with his birth, baptism, and public ministry.
The Sermon on the Mount highlights Jesus’ moral teachings and the miracles reveal his authority and true identity. Matthew also emphasizes Christ’s abiding presence with humankind
The Gospel organizes the teachings of Jesus into five major discourses: the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7), the Commissioning of the 12 Apostles (chapter 10), the Parables of the Kingdom (chapter 13), the Discourse on the Church (chapter 18), and the Olivet Discourse (chapters 23-25). The emphasis corresponds to the 5 great books of the Old Testament, the Pentateuch .
M.O.R.E Book, Part 2 – Measure. How and Why it matters ?
Join us Sept 19, 7pm on Zoom to discuss and learn about how much of a carbon consumer we are. This is the second of four parts discussing the M.O.R.E Book. Last week was an introduction to climate change
Basically, a carbon footprint is a way of calculating the Green House Gases created on behalf of a person, place or thing. The Green House gases are carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. These gases are responsible for warming the environment Your ecological footprint includes not only your carbon footprint, but other factors too, like how quickly you consume natural resources like plant crops, animal foods and water.
You can calculate a carbon food print for virtually anything: an individual, company, industry or country The bigger the footprint, the bigger the contribution to global warming and climate change.
What is carbon neutral ? You’re carbon neutral if the amount of CO₂ emissions you put into the atmosphere is the same as the amount of CO₂ emissions you remove from the atmosphere
Why carbon neutrality important ?
-Less environmental pollution and improvements to health.
-A boost to sustainable economic growth and the creation of green jobs.
-Enhanced food security by lessening the impact of climate change.
– A halt to the loss of biodiversity and an improvement in the condition of the oceans.
We will be calculating a carbon footprint using an online program- Cool Climate
We will construct an action plan to reduce your footprint
Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) – musician, writer, prophetess – and saint
We celebrate Hildegard’s life on September 17.
Accounts written in Hildegard’s lifetime (1098-1179) and just after describe an extraordinarily accomplished woman: a visionary, a prophet (she was known as “The Sibyl Of The Rhine”), a pioneer who wrote practical books on biology, botany, medicine, theology and the arts. She was a prolific letter-writer to everyone from humble penitents looking for a cure for infertility to popes, emperors and kings seeking spiritual or political advice. She composed music and was known to have visions
“CreationTide” wrote the following “Her version of viriditas or greening might not be quite what we have in mind when we use green to refer to environment, but there is a lasting wisdom in seeing human health and wellbeing in the context of wider issues. Just as with gardening, health needs to be nurtured and balanced.”
Hildegard commanded the respect of the Church and political leaders of the day. She was a doer: she oversaw the building of a new monastery at Rupertsberg, near Bingen, to house her little community, and when that grew too large she established another convent in Eibingen, which still exists today (though the present building dates from 1904).
Hildegard was born in 1098 in Bermersheim, on the Rhine, the tenth child of a noble family. It was the custom to promise the tenth child to the Church, so at eight (or 14, accounts differ), Hildegard was sent to the isolated hilltop monastery of Disibodenberg in the care of an older girl, Jutta of Sponheim.
She spent nearly 40 years there with a handful of other women from noble families, each enclosed in a small stone cell, or “tomb”, in a confined area of the monastery away from the monks.
As abbess of this small community, Jutta instructed Hildegard in the Psalter, reading Latin and strict religious practices. In Jutta’s biography, written after her death by her secretary, the monk Volmar, we discover just how hard life was for the nuns.
A single window linked them to the outside world and they were allowed one meagre meal a day in winter and two in summer. They prayed at regular intervals throughout the day and night.
When Jutta died in 1136, Hildegard was appointed prioress and it was then that she started writing music for the first time, for her nuns to sing as part of the Divine Office. The only music teaching Hildegard had received from Jutta was instruction in singing and the duties of a choir nun.
But she had grown up hearing the chants of the Roman mass and she set her own vibrant, colourful verses to music to create antiphons, responses, sequences and hymns.
Hildegard had been having visions since she was a little girl – commentators today, including neurologist Oliver Sacks, suggest she may have been a migraine sufferer – but it was not until she was 42 that she had the courage to speak of them to her church colleagues.
“Heaven was opened and a fiery light of exceeding brilliance came and permeated my whole brain and inflamed my whole heart and my whole breast,” she wrote. A heavenly voice told her to share her insights with the world
A committee of theologians subsequently confirmed the authenticity of Hildegard’s visions, and a monk was appointed to help her record them in writing. The finished work, Scivias (1141–52), consists of 26 visions that are prophetic and apocalyptic in form and in their treatment of such topics as the church, the relationship between God and humanity, and redemption]
About 1147 Hildegard left Disibodenberg with several nuns to found a new convent at Rupertsberg, where she continued to exercise the gift of prophecy and to record her visions in writing.
A talented poet and composer, Hildegard collected 77 of her lyric poems, each with a musical setting composed by her, in Symphonia armonie celestium revelationum. There is also music drama, Ordo Virtutum, a morality play whose subject is the struggle between 17 Virtues and the Devil over the destiny of a female soul.
Hildegard’s “compositions” stand out from other liturgical music because of the almost improvisatory nature of her melodies: they are freer, more wide-ranging and elaborate than the simple, one-octave lines of contemporaries
Her numerous other writings include lives of saints; two treatises on medicine and natural history, reflecting a quality of scientific observation rare at that period; and extensive correspondence, in which are to be found further prophecies and allegorical treatises. She also for amusement contrived her own language. She traveled widely throughout Germany
Hildegard died in 1179 in the monastery she had founded at Rupertsberg, near Bingen.
Interest in Hildegard started to grow around the 800th anniversary of her death in 1979, when Philip Pickett and his New London Consort gave possibly the first English performances of four of Hildegard’s songs.
Her earliest biographer proclaimed her a saint, and miracles were reported during her life and at her tomb. However, she was not formally canonized until 2012, when Pope Benedict XVI declared her to be a saint through the process of “equivalent canonization,” a papal proclamation of canonization based on a standing tradition of popular veneration. Later that year Benedict proclaimed Hildegard a doctor of the church, one of only four women to have been so named.
Gay Rahn priest at St. George’s wrote the following about Hildegard – "Hildegard of Bingen was a twelfth-century mystic, composer, and author. She described the Holy One as the greening Power of God. Just as plants are greened, so we are as well. As we grow up, our spark of life continually shines forth. If we ignore this spark this greening power, we become thirsty and shriveled. And, if we respond to the spark, we flower. "
You can hear Hildegard’s works here:
1. Voices of Angels, Voices of Ascension