Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 8, June 30, 2013

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 8
Year C
June 30, 2013
I Kings 2:1-2, 6-14              Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20

Galatians 5:1, 13-21                     St. Luke 9:51-62  

The words form the first part of the lesson on Galatians today has significant power for me as I though about them and the church in general, and about St. Peter’s in particular. They speak to us in a time when our current society seems to judge that individual needs and concerns are overriding factors in living life.

And Paul points out quite openly that we are set free in Christ. And that freedom is absolute. However Paul also warns against embracing that freedom and using it as an excuse for self indulgence. And that is what separates our freedom in Christ from the more self centered, individualized freedom that the world would so easily call us to.

Paul calls us on the one hand to not submit to the yoke of slavery, but at the same times calls us to become slaves for one another. And I think that is the key message for us to take home today. We are called to be slaves to one another.

That is not an easy call to live out. All of us have the desire to want our own ways. And yet being a slave to others calls for us to put others ahead of us. It calls on us to see the best of others in all circumstances. It calls for each one of us to give up battling to be right.

As a slave to others, god calls us to let go of self and ego and to embrace the call to seek to severe Christ in each of those around us. All of you who have been in relationships with others know what this is like. It can be frustrating. It can be challenging. Sometimes it can seem like an impossible burden.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 6 Year C

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 6
Year C
June 16, 2013
                     I Kings 21:1-21a                                              Psalm 5:1-8

                     Galatians 2:15-21                                         St. Luke 7:36—8:      onnday of 3   

Who is in and who is out?  Often we categorize people by whether they are in or out.  Are they part of the cool, acceptable crowd?  Or are they out? 

The Gospel today deals with those in and those out.  Those who are in are often very comfortable with their status.   They have no fears.  The Pharisee’s were part of the in crowd in the Jewish world that Jesus lived in.  Women who were sinners on the other hand were definitely on the outside.  They were looked down on.  They were unappreciated.  They had nothing worthwhile to offer society or those around them.  

It seems like in our society today everyone needs to be a part of the in crowd.  No one wants to be in the out crowd.  But of course, who could blame them?  Jesus was being invited to be a part of the in crowd in.  But as usual Jesus was not very accommodating.  And Jesus had his own agenda.  And very often that agenda never agreed with what the in crowd wanted.

Now the in crowd is easily upset with what Jesus had to do or say.  The Pharisee is scandalized to the seas as is letting this sooner or woman to Sonoma.  Wisely the Pharisee observes that if Jesus was really a prophet he would’ve known what type of woman this was, that she was a terrible sinner.

The in crowd always wants to judge the out crowd.  That seems to be the nature of things.  And the problem with Jesus was that he refused to judge people.  Jesus wanted to accept everyone as they were.  Jesus wanted to touch every one right were they were in their life.  The out crowd is always about changing people to make them fit in.  Jesus was about accepting people the way they are.  And the in crowd finds that point of view just a little bit frightening. 

The challenge for us is how do we make St. Peter’s more like Jesus response and less like the Pharisee’s?  Sadly too many outside of the church see a place filled with Pharisee’s only too happy to judge them and condemn them, rather than seeing a place filled with Jesus like people who want to embrace them with open arms of love and acceptance.