Friday, July 16, 2021

My sermon for Sunday

 (If you go to Trinity, Milton, do not read this!!!)

JULY 18, 2021

          I want to begin with a digression into the Lectionary.

          If you turn to page 888 in the Book of Common Prayer, you will encounter the lectionary for the Eucharist. It’s a three year cycle: Year A, Year B and Year C.

          The years change on the first Sunday of Advent each year. We are in Year B. The lectionary should tell you what the lessons we should read for the 8th Sunday of Pentecost—BUT THEY WON’T.

          The Lectionary has been revised since the Prayer book was printed, so the one in the Prayer Book is useless.

          Also, in the revision each year was given a Track 1 and a Track 2. You’ll notice on your reading insert that we are using Track 1. The only way to know for sure what the readings are in the go on line and look.

          The people who prepare the lectionary are Biblical Scholars. But sometimes I don’t know what they’re doing!

          One example of my being mystified is in today’s gospel. You’ll notice we read Mark 6 verses 30-34 and verses 53 to 56. What happened to verses 35-52?

          We’ll get to that in a moment.

          What I did read tells us of the apostles returning from the evangelical work Jesus gave them to do and telling Jesus, ‘all that they had done and taught’.

          He wants them to go to a deserted place to be all by themselves and rest for a little.

          But when they get to the deserted place it’s not ‘deserted’.

          People had seen them going and got there by land before they made it by boat—a great crowd of needy people.

          Jesus taught the crowds.

          Then we skip the verses and they are on a boat again. And when they land on a different shore people again rushed them. Jesus began to do great acts of healing.

          To Jesus—beset upon by crowds—the people were like ‘sheep without a shepherd’.

          All well and good but what does the lectionary omit?

          Just this: the feeding of the 5000 and Jesus walking on water to the disciples’ boat!!!

          I looked ahead in the lectionary and John’s story of the feeding of the 5000 comes up next week. So, I see why they left that part of Mark out. John’s story is much more detailed and nuanced.

          But the part about walking on water—why did you leave that out lectionary gurus?

          In Mark, feeding the multitudes left Jesus tired so he went away to a quiet place to pray and sent the disciples on ahead of him on the Sea of Galilee.

          But when he finished praying, he looked out and saw the disciples straining on the oars because the wind was pushing against the. So, he walks on the water to catch them.

          They are horrified, thinking he is a ghost. But Jesus tells them: “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”

          He gets into the boat and the wind ceases and the disciples were utterly astounded.

          We need to hear that part of the story today of all days.

          We need to ‘walk on the waters’ of this world’s divisions and troubles.

          To go into the depths of this world’s waters we will be caught in the flotsam and jetsam of all the confusion and disagreement our nation is undergoing. We will be sucked down to the bottom of the sea of troubles and drown.

          What we need is God’s grace to walk above all that and to, as Jesus did, feel ‘compassion’ for all the lost and wandering sheep who do not know which way to turn, who are hungry for Truth they cannot hear and the bread to make them whole.

          When you come up today to take the Body and Blood of Jesus or to receive a blessing, pray that he will hold you above the flay and give you compassion and wisdom and hope and wonder and truth.

          Pray that he may give you the power to walk on the troubled waters of this world.

          Pray that.

          Amen and Shalom.



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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.