Proper 14August 9, 2020St John’s Franklin
“The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart”
Greetings my friends… it is good to be with you this morning, even in this new and challenging way… My heart is happy when I get to see some of you brave souls, here, even socially distant… but gathered here for some time together, on this beautiful summer day, in a place we have come to love, a place that feels a bit holy...And my heart is also smiling, knowing that some of you are with us from home, staying safe but being with us none the less.I miss you, and having these moments is special, maybe even a bit holy.
But it’s not easy… there is much to learn, much to do… There are of course the technological challenges, as we figure out how to make these gatherings possible, as we try each week to learn what we need to do, to do ita bit better... to make the sound and video streaming clearer, as we try to bring us closer together.It goes far beyond that of course, the challenges and learning we face, as we figure out how to continue to live our lives, earn our livings, make the most of our moments with our families, at a time unlike any we have ever experienced.I imagine some of you are feeling some of the same feelings that I am… sometimes full of hope and energy, but sometimes feeling powerless , more vulnerable, my feelings closer to the surface, while things that would not normally bother me, now do.I know I need to do something, but what?And then that still small voice… “The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart”And I get the message…pay attention…listen to what the spirit is saying… listen to your heart.You don’t have to make the whole journey today…sometimes it is enough to take one small step, and then rest a while.
One of the things I love about the stories from the bible is that the characters are all so human… they are real, with ideas, hopes and dreams, and with prejudices and wants and needs and history… they lives their lives as they can, and they all make mistakes, they all get it wrong sometimes, just like us, but they can pick up, and if they will let humility into their hearts,and let God in… if they can learn to listen, to trust, to act… they begin to understand that they are part of God’s plan… and they can grow into such essential parts of the story. The story of Joseph and his brothers, the complicated relationships, the many feelings they have and the actions they take because of them… can ring true.And the story plays out over time.
We have such an opportunity right now to make a difference…to let go of the notion that we are powerless, or that the world revolves around us or ignores us, that we are the favored ones or the ones left behind, and understand that we are all God’s beloved,And then we can act… to see how we can and need to move forward…thinking about the good of all and doing our part, praying that Jesus shows us the way, helps us see the possibilities, to come together to heal the brokenness and grow strong together, to be strong, together, and become whole.
Oh we’ll make mistake, to be sure… but when we realize that we are each an essential part of God’s plan, we can open our eyes and our hearts and do that little bit of good that added to all the other bits of good can change the world.I love the water, and so swim laps, and I love to bike, even if now only the stationary kind… so what if I keep track and pledge to make a donation for each mile? Hmmm…
Caught between faith and doubt, Peter took a risk in attempting to walk out to Jesus, and in doing so he came to a deeper understanding of faith and obedience. Faith is not mere intellectual assent, but the willingness to surrender fully to God.Faith is Action, despite fear.
It takes courage, and patience, and it takes humility… it takes understanding that by the grace of God, we have been given this opportunity, right now, to do our very small but essential part to make a difference in the world.Try to see the world with Pentecost eyes – Come Holy Spirit and embrace the opportunity for God, working through you, to make all things new.
I love it when someone signs up to take a shift to care for the garden…because it becomes a shared project, an opportunity for us to help the community.On Friday I picked some beans and tomatoes, added a few zucchini and cucumbers from my garden and took them over to the Franklin Food pantry… The women working there were elated and excited and couldn’t stop thanking me… because by making these small but important donations, we become partners… essential parts of a bigger whole, and they totally got it and loved it!The world will go on, the community will face challenges and move ahead, but maybe it’ll move ahead a tiny bit better, understanding that we are part of something so much bigger than ourselves.And understanding that God is right here, with us.
“Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”Amen