8/9 the ONLY news worth watching

Before the Word of God, let us bow and pray in peace!

The Good News is the ONLY anchor for these or any times.  And here are two online resources you should know and share:

https://www.lectionarypage.net/

https://www.americanbible.org/resources/daily-bible-reading

Following along our lectionary, which is a selection of readings for worship, here are three themes you can contemplate, and add to as the Holy Spirit speaks to you, as you read the next three Sunday selections.

Today – Walking on the water – stick with HIM
8/16 – Faith, Mercy & Blessing
8/26 – Anointed with Grace
Pray Strong – Stay Strong!

Fr. Jackson

8/2 The 9th Sunday after Pentecost: Nothing but – Everything

the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. From the Gospel of Matthew

5000 PEOPLE AND HUNGER.  Its out there, for many things, and we all have it.  But we also have what it takes.  Like the disciples we’re finding ourselves at our limits – “send them away to take care of themselves”. We’re in need today and the wide net of God’s mercy thrown into the sea of life has caught us all- together.  We have choices which we’re free to make, or to ignore, to do something.  And that’s exactly what Jesus is telling us: YOU give them something.  And our limitations and fears rise to haunt and paralyze us.  “We have nothing here but…….”  For the disciples it was nothing but 5 loaves and 2 fish.  The gospel is telling us though, that we have what it takes – it takes our “nothing but..” It takes our Nothing but everything.  And that’s all Jesus wants – “YOU bring it to me” he says -bring me your nothing, empty, powerless everything and your needs- and see how power is made perfect in weakness and nothingness – see how my grace and mercy is sufficient for you – see what can be done when you bring your “nothing” to me. His sign – offering our “nothing but” to God and then offering it for all – the disciples receive their “nothing but” back and pass it along for everybody. And all the hungry ate and were filled – Yes a miracle – Yes there is a God – Yes we have what it takes: nothing but everything offered to God and choosing to be a part of his miracle plan – receiving his mercy and salvation and sharing that with others.
There’s a wideness in God’s mercy / Like the wideness of the sea;/There’s a kindness in his justice, Which is more than liberty. / There’s a welcome for the sinner, And more graces for the good;There is mercy with the Savior; / There is healing in his blood.

Draw near to us O Jesus as we seek to serve you, and answer our prayers with unceasing mercy; that as we glory in you as our Creator and Guide, you will restore what you have created and keep safe what you have restored by your precious blood.  Amen.

7/26 The 8th Sunday after Pentecost: Thy Will Be Done

Matthew 13: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.“

Guiding us through the temporal veil where holiness is found rare – God sends us the food of angels – His Wisdom and His Mercy as Jesus tells us about the Kingdom:

Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name thy kingdom come

  • THY WILL -Like a small seed -that was sown – becoming impossibly large -big enough for the birds and their nests

Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name thy kingdom come

  • THY WILL – Like bread yeast flour – taken and mixed – completed, fulfilled….

Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name thy kingdom come

  • THY WILL -Like treasures hidden – and treasures released – gaining the blessing

Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name thy kingdom come

  • THY WILL -Like searching and finding and losing all else, for the found

Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name thy kingdom come

  • THY WILL -Like a net big enough for us all -caught and judged – mercy offered accepted or no

Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name thy kingdom come

  • Thy Will Be Done.

O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

7/19 the 7th Sunday after Pentecost: Waters of Hope

Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Romans 8

Let us pray –  Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

As we confess our weakness and blindness at the font of the waters of LIFE we are reminded that –  By it – in it – with it – we are able to accomplish all things needful for God’s kingdom on earth.  The eternal waters of Life and HOPE are free for all.  St. Paul reminds us that hope is found in patience and faith:  Faith that what we yearn for – yet cannot see – will come to fruition in God’s time.   When the Hebrews were escaping the weeds of bondage all they saw were the captor’s chariots behind them – and ahead Moses and the weeds of Red Reed Sea and the turbulent waves of deliverance beyond – they quickly panicked.  In their fear and blindness and weakness some said: We’ll never make it, Let’s drown ourselves!  As the fear and blindness – and weakness – spread, others said We’ll never make it – Let’s go back to Egypt’s comfort breaking bondage!  Fear and blindness – and weakness – continued to spread and others said We’ve had enough – Let’s fight back!  And as the fear, blindness and weakness overwhelmed them in the rising waters pressing through the reeds – others said All is lost- Let’s cry out to God to save us!   Then God spoke to Moses and said Go Forward – And Keep Going!  And the waters of deliverance parted – as the Grace ALL SUFFICIENT made a WAY.  In this life, the love of Christ urges us on – forward ever – backward never.

God of love and mercy, assist us in these times of trouble and anxiety. Ease our burdens. Strengthen our faith. Increase our trust and confidence in Your compassionate care. Give us the courage we need, dear Lord, to face the difficulties before us, knowing that with Your help, miracles happen and lives are restored. We pray for a share in Your healing graces, and ask that You surround us with your comforting goodness, for health in mind and body, and for hearts filled with hope and peace. Amen.

7/12 The 6th Sunday after Pentecost: Seeds of Grace – Fruit of Power, God will work it out.

Jesus told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow…” Matt. 13

Jesus’ story of our call to sow the Good News good seed and the inevitability that many of the seeds will never take root to grow and bear fruit is our reminder that barriers and resistance always exist. The tragedy that is the life of someone who has never been loved in the way God intends is found all over the scorched, thorned landscape of this world.    Bad seed seems be sown everywhere and to spring up everywhere it is sown.  Our task is simply to keep on keeping on – sowing the Good seed and trusting in God as we seek to love one another as he loved us.   Jesus makes clear to his disciples then and now what we need to do and know and understand to be a part of His mission.   Psalm 65 proclaims: “The river of God is full of water…” and this water of Saved Life and Salvation provides the growth which bears blessed fruit – and in it, Jesus assurance to apostle Paul reminds us that the seemingly impossible task is made possible by the gift offered to all who come to Him and receive it: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

7/5 The 5th Sunday after Pentecost: Hope Incarnate

 

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matt. 11

As we celebrate Independence Day this weekend, we lift every voice to the dawn’s early light and the words of Jesus from the gospel of Matthew.  Leaving behind the worn-out broken paths and unbearable burdens of our own lives, is counter to what the gods of this world, to which we have yoked ourselves, promise and proclaim.  And this invitation to his yoke and burden is not without cost.  Total humility before God and one another is the price of true freedom.  Who is not weary, and does not want rest?  The challenge of fulfilling the promise of liberty and justice for all is clear.  And far from being merely comfortable words, Jesus’ invitation is a call to action, echoing the words of the prophets before him, and Amos’ cup of rushing waters of justice and righteousness.   We are ‘prisoners of hope’ the prophet Zechariah reminds us as he pointed to an anointed donkey rider whose blood – even in rejection – would seal God’s covenant.  The great Roman Catholic monk, Thomas Merton wrote, ‘To hope is to risk frustration.  Make up your mind to risk frustration.’  So, the risk and the cost are clear in the promise of Jesus the Hope Incarnate.

O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor, grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit as we pray today for our nation:Lord God Almighty, you have made all the peoples of the earth for your glory, to serve you in freedom and in peace: Give to us and the leaders of our country a zeal for justice and the strength of forbearance, that we may use our liberty in accordance with your gracious will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

 

 

6/28 The 4th Sunday after Pentecost: Rock, Water, you

Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple– truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.” Matt. 10

As Christians there’s a foundation of solid rock on which we stand. This Rock, a stepping stone in the daily journey of twists and turns, starts and stops, pits and obstacles, guides us along the Way in which Jesus tells us we are Spirit-joined-together.  The Way of true Life – joy, pain, sorrow and rejoicing- the way of Welcome and sharing the Life-giving Water that gushes from the Rock – even – and especially in the cup of our cold, real, honest presence in the world.  It’s God’s miracle, from God’s hand, in God’s plan for his kingdom to come here on earth as in is heaven.  Everyone, every day, all the time: feeding 5 thousand, feeding 5 million, feeding 1.   Water, Rock and you.

6/21 The 3rd Sunday after Pentecost: Father’s Day

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”  From MT10

As we come to the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost, Jesus words in the Gospel of Matthew remind us of the challenge of true peace.   And we see in his words the reflection of a divided world which extended from His own time, to the present day.  The world around us is divided and will remain divided as long as we seek answers in the broken institutions of this broken world. If we seek to find our lives by bowing to and exalting the idols of political power, wealth, and philosophies of superiority, all will be lost.  But the answer to unity and true peace is found in turning from the idols of this world and choosing something –     someone    – above the chaos around us.  His name is Jesus.

6/14 The Feast of Corpus Christi: The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

As we’ve gathered apart united by the Spirit, in our separation we long for the coming time when we can be – gathered all together in one place – as the apostles were on Pentecost.  And in a world divided and enslaved by sin we continue to pray for restoration and change and a “one place” of united healing for all. On this Sunday of the Feast of Corpus Christi – The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ we celebrate the Real Presence of Jesus in the bread and wine of the Eucharist.  Saved by the Blood of Jesus we cry out in the words of St. Thomas Aquinas in acknowledgment of this holy mystery:

O saving Victim opening wide the gate of Heaven to us below, our foes press on from every side, your aid supply, your strength bestow. 

We look forward to celebrating together and receiving the bread of heaven which restores us, let us recall Jesus’ words: “The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”  And we pray that this Real Healing Presence and Real Answer to our Real Problems will become manifest and incarnate in our lives and actions, our words and deeds – that we may recognize and acknowledge His Presence in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar and in the hearts and lives of those around us:

Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in life of friend and stranger.

6/7 Trinity Sunday

And God saw that it was good…

Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Trinity – our belief in the One God revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – One God: the Creator, the Redeemer and the Sanctifier.  The Three in One and One in Three.  In his proclamation of the Trinity St. Athanasius declared it to be “incomprehensible” – beyond our limited human understanding.  Today as we celebrate our belief in the One God, we cry out with many in the world in the declaration that Black Lives Matter and in condemnation of the Lie of White Supremacy and the other many lies by which the world operates.

When our God finished creating the world, he declared it to be “Good”.  But it didn’t take long for the Lie to enter with the promise: You can be like God. And so, knowing good and evil but unable to always know the difference, humanity was cast out to live in brokenness according to the Lie in its many forms. 

As a counter to Lie, the Church offers an ancient symbol representing the Trinity and the unity and power of God.  Three equal, distinct parts united as One, in whose image we were created.  The lies have blinded us to this reality in which we were created.  May God heal us of our brokenness, that justice and mercy might prevail, and that we may daily be faithful to the reality in which we were created: all Good, all Brothers and Sisters, all Children of God.