Monday, November 3, 2008

The Proper of the Day: Pentecost XXV

On Saturday St. Thomas's celebrated All Saints' Day, and on Sunday the Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, a Feast of the Lord. We continued to hear the epci stories from the sacred history of the Israelites, from Paul's first letter to the Christians at Thessalonica, and some interesting words from Matthew's gospel aboout the role of authorities in Christian communities. I chose to reflect on the experience of Joshua and the Israelites at the Jordan River. Some people still called me "Fr. Bob" after the services though.....

Here, in note form, is what I offerred at thre homily. As always, I welcome your comments!

St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church, Vernon
Proper 25A RCL 2008
Joshua 3:7-17; Ps 107:1-7, 33-37; I Thes 2:9-13; Matt 23:1-12
The Rev. R. F. Solon, Jr., Vicar

Israelites at the Jordan before the Crossing into Israel proper....
Scary situation – 40 years years, Moses dead, spies reported back bad things, etc.
They can see the other side, the Promised Land....
But The river is pretty deep – can’t cross it right now....
Still they have a lot going for them….
What to do?
Once again, God saves them – G’s initiative, not theirs
Their response is in today’s Psalm – “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is Good”
9 separate times quoted in the Bible!

Seems to me we’re in a similar situation....
As a community , we want to move forward with Parish Goals....
For us personally, we have our own goals and dreams for the future.....
The deep water of the economy is before us, blocking us from our Promised Land.....
How are we going to cross it?
And yet Good Things Happening:

  • Worship Every Sunday and Principle Feasts
    Vicar’s Forum
    Bible Study
    Welcome Mat Ministry
    August Picnic
    Autumn Quiet Day
    All Saints Party
    3 people presented for reception
    7 or more for Baptism
    Over 20 children enrolled in SS

I sense vitality and commitment to our Episcopalian identify here in Vernon
That’s a lot, it seems to me!
We are praying together, playing together, and serving together.
Israelites had much going for them, and perhaps they weren’t so good at seeing it – had gotten used to grumbling in the desert.
Maybe we aren’t used to seeing our good gifts from God either. Maybe we’re looking for a miracle to split the waters in too.
Maybe instead we are laying stones in the water so that eventually we can cross on dry ground.
Much to give thanks to God for, for he is good!
Our gratitude toward God leads us to offer our own gifts back to God of time, talent and treasure.

We are starting that time of the year when it’s important we talk honestly about what God is doing for us and what our responses will be. It’s my hope that our individual responses and response as a community will be to see the good things that are happening, see the stones being paid across the water, see the water itself piling up on one side and on the other. This week pledge cards are being prepared and will be ready for you. We’ll gather them in on Christ the King Sunday on November 23. Throughout the month members of the parish will talk honestly about what this community means to them. As they do so, I invite you to take a look around. Think about what God is doing right now for you in the midst of all the fear and uncertainty that surrounds us. The water looks deep and wide. But How will you respond to the invitation to cross to the Promised Land?
That water? It isn't so deep, or so cold, or so wide.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!


Almighty and merciful God, it is only by your gift that your faithful people offer you true and laudable service: Grant that we may run without stumbling to obtain your heavenly promises; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


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