Welcome Bishop Sumner
Almighty God, you have built your Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone: Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their teaching, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,
for ever and ever. Amen.
Our reading for today:
2 Corinthians 8:7-15
The bishop will be visiting with us this morning and while I don’t know what he may say, I do know that he has chosen to preach on the Old Testament lesson so I will attempt to address the main points found in the reading appointed for Fifth Sunday after Pentecost. It is a lesson that describes a compassionate God as told by the prophet Jeremiah.
Jeremiah is sitting in a cave overlooking Jerusalem. He weeps as he sees the rubble of the once glorious city. He smells the stench of decaying bodies and sees the poor starving people who are poking through the rubble. Those who were once proud are now broken.
The tragedy is that this could have all been averted. The prophet had warned the people. He had called them to repent and to seek God, but they had mocked him and even had him imprisoned. If they had only listened.
We read on as Jeremiah seems to sink to an incredible low. The people had turned against him; they even threatened to kill him. Now they wished they had listened. At this point, all seems lost.
Jeremiah finally realizes that the cure for his depression is in looking up. When things had gotten to the point that the outlook was so bleak, he came to realize and acknowledge that he had hope. He saw his depression as a state of mind that could destroy a person. He also became aware that our depression can rub off on those around us.
With this in mind, he vows to cease thinking so much about himself and to turn his thoughts toward God. He finds that placing his thoughts on God gave him courage. Jeremiah realizes that if God’s people were given what they deserve all would be lost and that only through God’s mercy are we saved from our own destructive nature. It is through God’s mercy and compassion that we experience his love for his children.
Jeremiah speaks of God’s faithfulness and acknowledges that God is faithful to warn us of what he will do; and he is faithful to do what he has warned. But God is also faithful to love and show mercy. The prophet ends our lesson by reminding each of us that God is good to those who wait on him and who seek him in all things. Finally, the writer assures us that God is also prepared to use us in our afflictions.
How do we relate this Old Testament lesson to our modern society? Is God still weeping over his children because we too are failing to listen to him? What will it take today to cause God’s children to acknowledge their sinfulness and seek God’s forgiveness?
Jeremiah ends his writing by reminding the reader that God will never turn away from his creation. And we know that this is true because we know that God is good….all the time.
An Act of Spiritual Communion
“My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the holy sacrament of your body and blood. I love you above all things and I desire to receive you into my soul. Since I cannot at this time receive you sacramentally, I invite you to come spiritually into my heart. I embrace you as if you were here with me and I unite myself with you fully. Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen
A Prayer for the Church and Benediction:
Almighty and everliving God, ruler of all things in heaven and earth, hear our prayers for this parish family. Strengthen the faithful, arouse the careless, and restore the penitent. Grant us all things necessary for our common life, and bring us all to be of one heart and mind within your holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be among you, and remain with you always. Amen.