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     "Doing the day's work day by day, doing a little, adding a little, broadening our bases wanting not only for ourselves but for others also, a fairer chance for all people everywhere. Forever moving forward, always remembering that it is the things of the spirit that in the end prevail. That caring counts and that where there is no vision the people perish. That hope and faith count and that without charity, there can be nothing good. That having dared to live dangerously, and in believing in the inherent goodness of [humankind], we can stride forward into the unknown with growing confidence."

                                                                                                                                John Gilbert Winant

    John Winant, a Republican Governor of New Hampshire, 1925-1927 and 1931-1935, was in 1941 selected by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to serve as the US Ambassador to the United Kingdom and became a major actor in the cementing of US/United Kingdom relations which greatly aided in the cooperation of the Allied powers in winning World War II.

 

 

Fourth Sunday of Easter

April 21, 2024

John 10:11-18

I John 3:16-24

 

   “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.  The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep.  I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and my own know me,  just as the Father knows me, and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.  I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.  For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”

    We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers and sisters.  How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?

     Little children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.  And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him  whenever our hearts condemn us, for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.  Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God,  and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.

     And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.  All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.

Our "thoughts and prayers" accomplish nothing.  

It has been fifty years since Columbine; what has changed?  

We now have a society with more guns dealing with greater, daily gun violence. 

John calls us to "love not in word or speech but in deed and truth."  

Truth and action begin with me, with us.

BEGIN BEGINNING AGAIN.  Take action and love in deed and truth.

'

 

 

WORSHIP AND LEARN WITH US

     Join us for the next several weeks as we study the last week in the life of the historical Jesus.  Led by the Rev. Roger Mize, we are using the book, The Last Week, written by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan.  Sunday, March 3, lunch will be provided.  For the following five or six weeks, we will brown-bag it.  The plan is to eat around 11:45 and be done with study by 1:00.  We will not hold the study on Easter Sunday.         

 

 

Third Sunday of Easter

April 14, 2024

I John 3:1-7

     See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God, and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.  And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.  You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.  No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him.  Little children, let no one deceive you. Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.

     We are experiencing the death of the mainline Church and are witnessing the explosion in growth of the evangelical movement.  Does this movement reflect the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth?

     As those faithful to he teachings of Jesus, the risen Christ, we must remember that we are always on the way to becoming more evolved in Jesus.  We are the faithful remnant truly working to live according to the teachings of Jesus in our thoughts, our words, and our deeds.

"I'm a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world,”

Mother Teresa once wrote.

Let her words of love and faith inspire you every day.
 

 

 

 

Second Sunday of Easter

April 7, 2024

Acts 4:32-35

Acts 5:1-11

     Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common.  With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.  There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold.  They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

     The Book of Acts was written in the 90's CE

     How does this compare to capitalism as we know it?

 

     But a man named Ananias, with the consent of his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property;  with his wife’s knowledge, he kept back some of the proceeds and brought only a part and laid it at the apostles’ feet.  “Ananias,” Peter asked, “why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land?  While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, were not the proceeds at your disposal? How is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You did not lie to us but to God!”  Now when Ananias heard these words, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard of it.  The young men came and wrapped up his body, then carried him out and buried him.

   After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.  Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you and your husband sold the land for such and such a price.” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.”  Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.”  Immediately she fell down at his feet and died. When the young men came in they found her dead, so they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.  And great fear seized the whole church and all who heard of these things.

     Is this a picture of the God I worship?

     This story is about the Jerusalem church as it is building its financial base.  Might this be the beginning of the early church growing and assuming power over the people?

     Not every story included in the Bible does God, Jesus, the Church, or the Christian Movement any good.

     Are humans only good at sharing when the times are good?

 

 

 

 

Easter Sunday

March 31, 2024

John 20:1-18

Luke 24:13-35

 

     Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”  Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.  He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in.  Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there,  and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself.  Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.  Then the disciples returned to their homes.

 

     Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

     We celebrate the communal meal to celebrate the awakening of ourselves to what Jesus means to us and who we are to Jesus.  We, too, are on a journey; we, too, need the revelation that Jesus works through us. We follow the teachings of Jesus and proclaim those teachings to all with whom we come in contact through the manner in which we interact with them.  May the risen Christ abide in and be reflected by you.

 

 

Palm Sunday

March 24, 2024

Mark 11: 1-11

     When they were nearing Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany on Mount Olives, he sent off two of the disciples with instructions: “Go to the village across from you. As soon as you enter, you’ll find a colt tethered, one that has never yet been ridden. Untie it and bring it. If anyone asks, ‘What are you doing?’ say, ‘The Master needs him, and will return him right away.’” They went and found a colt tied to a door at the street corner and untied it. Some of those standing there said, “What are you doing untying that colt?” The disciples replied exactly as Jesus had instructed them, and the people let them alone. They brought the colt to Jesus, spread their coats on it, and he mounted. The people gave him a wonderful welcome, some throwing their coats on the street, others spreading out rushes they had cut in the fields. Running ahead and following after, they were calling out, Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in God’s name! Blessed the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in highest heaven! He entered Jerusalem, then entered the Temple. He looked around, taking it all in. But by now it was late, so he went back to Bethany with the Twelve.

     Jesus invites us to be agents of God's grace by inviting us to join his "mission possible!"  The model is for us to work as teams, to partner as a community and do whatever we can to proclaim Christ to the world. What is that exactly?  It is simply the call to love, to show compassion.  

 

Beware of any Christian movement

that demands the government be

an instrument of God's wrath

but never a source of God's

mercy, generosity, or compassion. 

Rev. Benjamin Cremer

 

As the world fights to figure everything out,

I’ll be holding doors for strangers,

letting people cut in front of me in traffic,

saying good morning,

keeping babies entertained in grocery lines,

stopping to talk to someone who is lonely,

being patient with sales clerks,

smiling at passersbys.

Why?

Because I will not stand idly by and

live in a world where love is invisible.

Join me in showing kindness,

understanding, and judging less.

Be kind to a stranger,

give grace to friends who are having a bad day,

be forgiving of yourself – today and every day.

Kristine Dewar

HAPPY PALM SUNDAY

 

 

 

 

Fifth Sunday of Lent

March 17, 2024

Jeremiah 31:31-34

     

     The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.  It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord.  But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

     God's law is written on the heart and the mind of Jesus of Nazareth. It is the law of love.

My faith demands that I do

   whatever I can,

    wherever I am,

    whenever I can,

    for as long as I can,

    with whatever I have

to try and make a difference.

Jimmy Carter

 

Fourth Sunday of Lent

March 10, 2024

Numbers 21:4-9

     From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way.  The people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.”  Then the Lord sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died.  The people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord to take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.  And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.”  So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.

     Notice we are not told that God got rid of the serpents; we are told God provided the people with the choice of life by looking upon the serpent raised up on the pole.

     To the Jewish people and the early Jesus followers, the "cross" signified death, a horrible death, used by the Roman government as punishment for crimes such as murder, a slaves rebellion, thievery, and sedition against Rome.  It was not a badge of honor!  Yet, sometime between 90 and 100 CE, the Gospel of John was compiled, and in chapter 3, verse 14, John writes, "and just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so too must the Son of Man be lifted up."  The "cross" is being given a new interpretation.  

     Around 350 CE, and the age of Constantine, crucifixion is outlawed and the "cross" becomes a symbol of new life.  Between the 11th and the 14th centuries, the Roman Church is adding the body of Jesus to the cross and begins to emphasize the suffering of The Christ.  The Protestant Reformation of the 1500's and onward removes the corpus from the instrument of death, the cross, placing the emphasis on salvation.

     What were the earliest symbols of the Jesus movement, those symbols pre the "cross"?

 

 

 

 

Third Sunday of Lent

March 3, 2024

Genesis 26:2-4

Psalm 19:1-10

 

     The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; settle in the land that I shall show you.  Reside in this land as an alien, and I will be with you, and will bless you; for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will fulfill the oath that I swore to your father Abraham.  I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven, and will give to your offspring all these lands; and all the nations of the earth shall gain blessing for themselves through your offspring,  ...

 

The heavens are telling the glory of God,
   and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
2) Day to day pours forth speech,
   and night to night declares knowledge.
3) There is no speech, nor are there words;
   their voice is not heard;
4) yet their voice goes out through all the earth
   and their words to the end of the world.

In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
5) which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
   and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
6) Its rising is from the end of the heavens
   and its circuit to the end of them,
   and nothing is hid from its heat.

7) The law of the Lord is perfect,
   reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure,
   making wise the simple;
8) the precepts of the Lord are right,
   rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
   enlightening the eyes;
9) the fear of the Lord is pure,
   enduring forever;
the ordinances of the Lord are true
   and righteous altogether.
10) More to be desired are they than gold,
   even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
   and drippings of the honeycomb.

     David, the Psalmist, begins the psalm, verses 1-6, by pointing to the vastness of the universe and praising the greatness of its creator God.  No words are even necessary for awesomeness of God to be realized.  The heavens speak to us of God!

     In verses 7-10, David changes course by making God recognizable, tangible through decrees, precepts, commandments, laws.

 

The Seven Mountain Mandate​

     This movement begun in 1975 believes God has delivered a message to evangelical Christians to take on the "seven spheres of society" and remake them according to what these Christians believe is the will of God.  How is this to be accomplished?  Legally.  The Speaker of the House of Representatives and fourth in line for the Presidency, Mike Johnson, is an adherent of this movement.

  1. EDUCATION

  2. RELIGION

  3. FAMILY

  4. BUSINESS

  5. GOVERNMENT/MILITARY

  6. ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT

  7. MEDIA

     The Republican Party under Donald Trump has no official Party Platform.  

They support Project 2025: A Blueprint for Authoritarianism

  1. The Role of Christian Nationalism

  2. Gutting the Civil Service

  3. Ending Racial Equity Efforts

  4. Eviscerating LGBTQ+ Rights and Equality

  5. Restricting Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

  6. Hardline Immigration Policies

  7. Ending Climate Change Efforts and Restricting Environment Policies

  8. Ending "Woke" Military Policies

  9. Reforming Public Education

  10. Restricting Human Rights and Exiting International Bodies

 

 

 

Second Sunday of Lent

February 25, 2024

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16

     When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless.  And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.”  Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him,  “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations.  No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations.  I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.  I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you....

   God said to Abraham, 'As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her.  I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.

 

 

First Sunday of Lent

February 18, 2024

Mark 1:9-15

    In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

     And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.

     Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good 

news.”

"Repent" was the message of John.

Mark sees the baptism of Jesus as the beginning of his ministry.

As the "chosen" people, Jews did not need to repent!

Through baptism, non-Jews entered the Jewish faith.

Only Jesus hears the voice of God.

Jesus is driven to the desert and is tempted to alter his path.

John is silenced.

Jesus travels to the Galilee region preaching a message of repentance and belief in the "Good News", proclaiming that the time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God at hand.  

“It’s not the task of the church to “Make America Great Again.”

The contemporary task of the church is to make Christianity countercultural again.

And once we untether Jesus from the interests of empire,

we begin to see just how countercultural and radical Jesus’ ideas actually are.

Enemies? Love them.

Violence? Renounce it.

Money? Share it.

Foreigners? Welcome them.

Sinners? Forgive them.

These are the kind of radical ideas that will always be opposed by

the principalities and powers,

but which the followers of Jesus are called to embrace, announce, and enact.

And the degree to which the church is faithful to Jesus

and his radical ideas is the degree to which the church

embodies a faith that is truly countercultural.”

                                                                                                                   ― Brian Zahnd, 

                                                          Postcards from Babylon: The Church In American Exile

 

 

 

Transfiguration Sunday 

February 11, 2024

Mark 9:2-9

II Corinthians 4:1-18

 

    Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them.  And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus.  Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”  He did not know what to say, for they were terrified.  Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.

     Therefore, since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart.  We have renounced the shameful things that one hides; we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God’s word; but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God.  And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.  In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake.  For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh.  So death is at work in us, but life in you.  But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—“I believed, and so I spoke”—we also believe, and so we speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence.  Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

     So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

     We are called to come out of ourselves and enter God's new creation.

     We are to focus on the task at hand, to do what we can, to work in the moment being love in action.

     We are called to be fully available to the needs of all of God's creation.

     Don't be discouraged; focus not on the seen but on the unseen.  Amen

Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

February 4, 2024

I Corinthians 9:16-23

     If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel! For if I do this of my own will, I have a wage, but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with a commission. What then is my wage? Just this: that in my proclamation I may make the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my rights in the gospel.

     For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might gain all the more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to gain Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might gain those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not outside God’s law but am within Christ’s law) so that I might gain those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, so that I might gain the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I might become a partner in it.  

 

Why do you get out of bed in the morning?

On what do you spend your time, your energy? your money?

 

Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

January 28, 2024

Deuteronomy 18:15-19

     The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet. This is what you requested of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said: “If I hear the voice of the Lord my God any more, or ever again see this great fire, I will die.” Then the Lord replied to me: “They are right in what they have said. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command. Anyone who does not heed the words that the prophet shall speak in my name, I myself will hold accountable.

 

 

The prophet speaks truth to power.

 

 

Third Sunday after the Epiphany 

January 21, 2024

Mark 1:14-20

Psalm 62:5-12

     Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the good news of God and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

     As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea, for they were fishers. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

For God alone my soul waits in silence,
   for my hope is from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
   my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my deliverance and my honor;
   my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
   pour out your heart before him;
   God is a refuge for us.

Those of low estate are but a breath;
   those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
   they are together lighter than a breath.
Put no confidence in extortion,
   and set no vain hopes on robbery;
   if riches increase, do not set your heart on them.

Once God has spoken;
   twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,
     and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord.
For you repay to all
   according to their work.

 

For John the Baptist, following the teachings of Jesus was risky.  We, too, must risk our comfort zone in order to take God's light into the world.  We are called upon to continue trying, to continue working, to continue advocating for those people whom society sees as "less than."  Amen

Epiphany Sunday
January 7,
2024
Matthew 2:1-18

   In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, magi from the east came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star in the east and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him, and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it has been written by the prophet:

          ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of      

           Judah, for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’ "

     Then Herod secretly called for the magi and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out, and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen in the east, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

     Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”

     When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the magi.  Then what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

             “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation,
             Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.”

 

 

 

"Don't worry about the future--

              worry quenches the work of grace within you."                                                                     Bishop Francis Fenelon. 17th Century



     

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