Sermon originally presented May 20, 1962 at Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Edgartown, Massachusetts. Composed by Rev. Henry L. Bird using (then) year A of the 1928 BCP Lectionary. Transcribed by Asher Barreras (C) 2017 Based on the Gospel of John Chapter 16: (v):1-16, which follows from the KJV:
To be read during Morning Prayer, 4 Easter, May 7, 2017 at Saint John Episcopal Church, Tulare, CA:
Sermon Sunday, May 20, 1962 4th after Easter
John 16:13 “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth”
“Howbeit, when he, the spirit of truth, is come he will guide you into all truth.”
Tending to “label” our period of history
“The Age of World Conflict” College History Course
“The Age of Anxiety”
“The Age of Technology”
“The Space Age”
I would like to add another that might be worth thinking about
Deluge of Words all competing to be
We’re pulled in every possible direction
until, it’s quite possible, we don’t know where to stand
We don’t know
We find ourselves without standards
Without any concrete aims or goal or purpose in life
Guided purely by the latest word that appeals to us
be it “Anti Communism”
Parents are bombarded by advice from all kinds of sources
Magazines + newspaper articles
often with the sad result that parents just give up and don’t
And so it goes
In the “Age of Words”
instead of clarification
In the midst of all this
an answer a guide
seriously look at it
1. The Holy Scriptures
2. God in Christ
and THE Life
and this what our N.T. Lesson
pointing to today
and basically ONE only
In this “Age of Words”
by which one’s life should be guided
“Howbeit, when he,
the Spirit of truth is
come he will guide you into all truth”
As said often before
a disembodied “GHOST”
but a means of describing the very
power that comes as one responds to the call
claim of Jesus Christ upon one’s life
As we know the Bible word for Spirit means the same as wind or breath
necessary for life
source of energy
oxygen that the mountain climber carries with him
vital for conversion
of food into actual energy
The Spirit vital for conversion of Christian into the
of Christian living!
Our Lord knew this
Knew the vital need of the Spirit
and teaches his disciples
“When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth”
The Spirit of
Pilate at our Lord’s trial cynically asked
And today an awful lost of Pilates in this world
We think that “truth” is relative
Anthropology course in college compared the moral standards of various forms of
standards purely relative to the culture
fine for S.A. Indians to have human sacrifice
fine for South Sea Islanders to hunt heads
fine for street gang to “rumble”
These the relative standards of the cultures
Really doesn’t make any difference what a person lives by
That’s his business
What difference does it make if legislators get a cut on illegal gambling?
What difference does it make if tax money given away on overpriced land taking deal?
What difference does it make if public garage built fraudulently
What difference if cut a few corners on income tax return?
Anti Communist program presented a few weeks ago
doesn’t matter if facts are twisted
doesn’t matter if procedure questionable
doesn’t matter if innuendo and suspicion used
An article in paper a week or two ago about Cleveland people resistant to bringing in
(This unimportant they don’t have atomic bomb!)
An article (AP) in Friday’s paper about Barbed wire wall in Hong Kong (
communists) to keep refugees
will take any appreciable number of them!”
Our own immediate comfort and security come first
Truth is relative
Obviously to some extent it is a fact that what is true for one
necessarily so for another
All have different gifts
subject to basic natural laws
want to make it
but something we are all subject to whether we like it or not!
= poison truth
one stops = relative
and this AA adamant on an absolute!
Now the word “TRUTH”
mean factual accuracy
and it is important that
in this day of profusion of words and confusion
factual accuracy a vital necessity
It is not easy to be “objective” for we all color our approach to things
but the Christian of all people
Should be uncompromising in seeking factual truth
for it can only be
consistent with the Gospel
of the crucified and risen Lord
we must be very careful
to make factual truth
then, we’ll soon find, our so called “objectivity” colored by some other standard a lot
less likely to come up with the actual facts
and as St. Paul reminds us
are not enough
“If I understand all Knowledge
but have not
I am nothing” (1Cor. 13)
factual truth in and of itself not enough
“Truth in the intellectual sense is far from being all that man needs; the primary thing is
not to understand and make sense of the universe, but to know God and live a good life”
(Richardson W’d b’k of the Bible p.270)
Not really matter how critically, historically, intellectually one understand the Bible etc.
but has one allowed Spirit of Christ to fill his life??
go beyond the purely factual
and this brings us to the Biblical meaning of the word
In the Bible truth seems essentially to indicate
we might almost say “divine stubbornness”
a persistent, consistent heading for the mark!
truth = being on target
and the target = Jesus Christ
the utmost in truth, for the Christian,
is seen as God’s faithfulness
as revealed in
We want to know what the Spirit of Truth is
we seek it in Jesus Christ
and find not a living up to moral standards
(though that happens)
not an intellectual group of facts
(though it is there too)
but rather a quality of life
life lived in relationship
to God and man
truth NOT a “spectator sport” but joining the team
risking one’s life
(Thanksgiving for Birth of a Child marriage)
Bishop Pike once wrote a book
an intellectual exercise
and, praise God, this power to live the truth is ours
in the promise of life in Christ
“Howbeit when he the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth.”
Humbly submitted for your perusal,
W. Brewster Bird,
Jr. Warden, Saint John Episcopal Church
Compare the above with todays Gospel and Scriptural readings:
O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people: Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
43 Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, 47praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
1 The Lord is my shepherd; *
I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures *
and leads me beside still waters.
3 He revives my soul *
and guides me along right pathways for his Name’s sake.
4 Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I shall fear no evil; *
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You spread a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me; *
you have anointed my head with oil,
and my cup is running over.
6 Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, *
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
1 Peter 2:19-25
19For it is to your credit if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly. 20If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, where is the credit in that? But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God’s approval. 21For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps.
22 ‘He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.’
23When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. 24He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 25For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.
1‘Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. 2The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.’ 6Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
7 So again Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
The Old Testament, New Testament and Gospels readings are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The Collects, Psalms and Canticles are from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979.
All Saints Day is a major Feast Day in The Anglican/Episcopal Church. We celebrate this day normally as close to November 1 as possible. The Celebration of All Saints Day is meant to be near All Hallow’s Eve ( Hallowe’en), and celebrates those gone on before, the Baptized and Blessed, as the Saints they have become. The Church celebrates our past persons of Faith .
Here as follows, is the excerpt from Holy Women Holy Men, on the meaning of All Saints’ Day:
Today the church remembers All Saints.
Our English word “saint,” derived from the Latin sanctus, is used in a variety of ways. Literally it means holy, set apart for God, consecrated, or dedicated. In the New Testament, hagios, the Greek word for saint, is used to refer to all baptized Christians, many of whom were far from exemplary. Paul sometimes scolded the saints for their corrupt and decadent ways. When we use the word saint in the context of All Saints’s Day, we refer especially to those Christians who have lived such hallowed lives, yielding so fully to the Holy Spirit, showing such love for God and his human creatures, that their examples are treasured and emulated. These individuals, a few of whom are remembered in this book, are the champions of Christ and his church and the heroes of the faithful. In medieval times the Roman Catholic Church developed an elaborate system called cannonization for designating and selecting the saints. The Eastern Orthodox and Anglican Churches have been much less systematic in deciding who would be called a saint. Virtually all Christians acknowledge that it is ultimately God who decides who his holy ones are and none of our judgments or acclamations presume to make such decisions for him. Our intention is rather to share and rejoice in the knowledge of those who have done good things in his name in all times and places. Help us to take seriously our own vocation as saints, as the holy ones of God. Amen.Read the Wikipedia article here.
Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Rev. Gail Bernthal shared more on All Saints Day than she did on the eschatalogical end-times dream of Daniel, or Paul’s descriptions of what it means to be a Saint, in his letter to Timothy, or the Gospel ( Luke’s rendition of the Sermon on the Mount)..
We at Saint John’s are eternally grateful for our priests Rev. Gail, Father Fred, Rev. Suzy and our priest-in-charge Rev.Dr. John. Our Deacon, Rev. Teri V.H.is also Supah!
If you have been concerned that the Episcopal Church is too screwed up for you to attend, think again! Please put on an open-minded perspective, come with love and a desire to seek!
We ask prayers for Vivian B, widow of our past vicar ( several priests ago ) who suffered a stroke recently. She is one of the lights of our church family. we also ask you to keep Mrs. Corky M. in your prayers and thoughts. Pray for Standing Rock and the indigenous Family fighting off the pipeline.
One of the strongest missions of the Episcopal Church has been our lengthy outreach to Indigenous family nationwide that started with the first Long Walk ( Cherokee, Seminole, Pawnee) in the 1840s also known as the “Trail of Tears”. The Navajo remember the Episcopal missionaries during their “Long Walk” . Let us stand United and in Solidarity with those Families in Environmental danger, Hunger, Poverty, loss of family due to poverty, crime, addictions or substance use disorders. Today let us remember Sam Shoemaker’s poem or sonnett “I Stand by the Door”
“I stay near the door.
I neither go too far in, nor stay too far out,
The door is the most important door in the world—
It is the door through which men walk when they find God.
There’s no use my going way inside, and staying there,
When so many are still outside, and they, as much as I,
Crave to know where the door is.
And all that so many ever find
Is only the wall where a door ought to be.
They creep along the wall like blind men.
With outstretched, groping hands,
Feeling for a door, knowing there must be a door,
Yet they never find it . . .
So I stay near the door.
“The most tremendous thing in the world
Is for men to find that door—the door to God.
The most important thing any man can do
Is to take hold of one of those blind, groping hands,
And put it on the latch—the latch that only clicks
And opens to the man’s own touch.
Men die outside that door, as starving beggars die
On cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter—
Die for want of what is within their grasp.
They live, on the other side of it—live because they have found it.
Nothing else matters compared to helping them find it,
And open it, and walk in, and find Him . . .
So I stay near the door.
“Go in, great saints, go all the way in—
Go way down into the cavernous cellars,
And way up into the spacious attics—
In a vast, roomy house, this house where God is.
Go into the deepest of hidden casements,
Of withdrawal, of silence, of sainthood.
Some must inhabit those inner rooms,
And know the depths and heights of God,
And call outside to the rest of us how wonderful it is.
Sometimes I take a deeper look in,
Sometimes venture a little farther;
But my place seems closer to the opening . . .
So I stay near the door.
“The people too far in do not see how near these are
To leaving—preoccupied with the wonder of it all.
Somebody must watch for those who have entered the door,
But would like to run away. So for them, too,
I stay near the door.
“I admire the people who go way in.
But I wish they would not forget how it was
Before they got in. Then they would be able to help
The people who have not even found the door,
Or the people who want to run away again from God.
You can go in too deeply, and stay in too long,
And forget the people outside the door.
As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,
Near enough to God to hear Him, and know He is there,
But not so far from men as not to hear them,
And remember they are there too.
Where? Outside the door—
Thousands of them, millions of them.
But—more important for me—
One of them, two of them, ten of them,
Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch,
So I shall stay by the door and wait
For those who seek it.
‘I had rather be a door-keeper . . .’
So I stay near the door.”
Let us walk with the Saints today. The scribe also wishes to remember a priest who went to preach with the Anglican Church of North America who went out of his way to help us many times. He reassured me that I, too, am a saint. For Father Rich.
Our church family is made up of many personalities, some likable, some irascible, but all necessary. We are all members of the Body of Christ.
Peace, Hozho’, Love,
Junior Warden, Saint John’s Church
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.
Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4 [Alternate: Isaiah 1:10-18]
1The oracle that the prophet Habakkuk saw.
2 O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
and you will not listen?
Or cry to you ‘Violence!’
and you will not save?
3 Why do you make me see wrongdoing
and look at trouble?
Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise.
4 So the law becomes slack
and justice never prevails.
The wicked surround the righteous—
therefore judgement comes forth perverted.
1I will stand at my watch-post,
and station myself on the rampart;
I will keep watch to see what he will say to me,
and what he will answer concerning my complaint.
2 Then the Lord answered me and said:
Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so that a runner may read it.
3 For there is still a vision for the appointed time;
it speaks of the end, and does not lie.
If it seems to tarry, wait for it;
it will surely come, it will not delay.
4 Look at the proud!
Their spirit is not right in them,
but the righteous live by their faith.
10 Hear the word of the Lord,
you rulers of Sodom!
Listen to the teaching of our God,
you people of Gomorrah!
11 What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt-offerings of rams
and the fat of fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
or of lambs, or of goats.
12 When you come to appear before me,
who asked this from your hand?
Trample my courts no more;
13 bringing offerings is futile;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and sabbath and calling of convocation—
I cannot endure solemn assemblies with iniquity.
14 Your new moons and your appointed festivals
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me,
I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you stretch out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.
16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your doings
from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
17 learn to do good;
rescue the oppressed,
defend the orphan,
plead for the widow.
18 Come now, let us argue it out,
says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be like snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
Psalm 119:137-144 [Alternate: Psalm 32:1-8]
137 You are righteous, O Lord, *
and upright are your judgments.
138 You have issued your decrees *
with justice and in perfect faithfulness.
139 My indignation has consumed me, *
because my enemies forget your words.
140 Your word has been tested to the uttermost, *
and your servant holds it dear.
141 I am small and of little account, *
yet I do not forget your commandments.
142 Your justice is an everlasting justice *
and your law is the truth.
143 Trouble and distress have come upon me, *
yet your commandments are my delight.
144 The righteousness of your decrees is everlasting; *
grant me understanding, that I may live.
1 Happy are they whose transgressions are forgiven, *
and whose sin is put away!
2 Happy are they to whom the Lord imputes no guilt, *
and in whose spirit there is no guile!
3 While I held my tongue, my bones withered away, *
because of my groaning all day long.
4 For your hand was heavy upon me day and night; *
my moisture was dried up as in the heat of summer.
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you, *
and did not conceal my guilt.
6 I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” *
Then you forgave me the guilt of my sin.
7 Therefore all the faithful will make their prayers to you in
time of trouble; *
when the great waters overflow, they shall not reach them.
8 You are my hiding-place;
you preserve me from trouble; *
you surround me with shouts of deliverance.
2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12
1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our* Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. 4Therefore we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith during all your persecutions and the afflictions that you are enduring. 11To this end we always pray for you, asking that our God will make you worthy of his call and will fulfil by his power every good resolve and work of faith, 12so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1He entered Jericho and was passing through it. 2A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax-collector and was rich. 3He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. 4So he ran ahead and climbed a sycomore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. 5When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.’ 6So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. 7All who saw it began to grumble and said, ‘He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.’ 8Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.’ 9Then Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.’
Zacchaeus was our Gospel lesson, and our Sermon this past week. The story of Zacchaeus is rich in meanings and can be taken several ways. Was he “saved” when he met Jesus? or was he already a ‘good Jew’ and just letting Jesus know ( and the crowd in Jericho) know he was doing good things? Did Jesus just affirm that Zacchaeus was a good man? Yet the crowd despised him because he was a tax collector-and when Jesus went to spend time at Zacchaeus home the crowd whispered that spending time with a sinner made Jesus a sinner, too!
Those of us who went to the Diocesan convention had the good fortune to spend some time with Stephanie Spellers Canon to our Presiding Bishop. What a Blessing! Plus we got to hear Zacchaeus story twice!. The Episcopalian portion of The Jesus Movement is looking for a period of Revival! Well, Our diocese is looking for Revival, too!- Amen!
Blessings to all in Christ Jesus!
Brewster Bird, Jr. Warden
Saint John’s Episcopal Church!
Almighty and everlasting God, in Christ you have revealed your glory among the nations: Preserve the works of your mercy, that your Church throughout the world may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Jeremiah 31:27-34 [Alternate: Genesis 32:22-31]
27 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of humans and the seed of animals. 28And just as I have watched over them to pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring evil, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, says the Lord. 29In those days they shall no longer say:
‘The parents have eaten sour grapes,
and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’
30But all shall die for their own sins; the teeth of everyone who eats sour grapes shall be set on edge.
31 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. 33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
22 The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. 24Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26Then he said, ‘Let me go, for the day is breaking.’ But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go, unless you bless me.’ 27So he said to him, ‘What is your name?’ And he said, ‘Jacob.’ 28Then the man said, ‘You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.’ 29Then Jacob asked him, ‘Please tell me your name.’ But he said, ‘Why is it that you ask my name?’ And there he blessed him. 30So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, ‘For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.’ 31The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.
Psalm 119:97-104 [Alternate: Psalm 121]
97 Oh, how I love your law! *
all the day long it is in my mind.
98 Your commandment has made me wiser than my enemies, *
and it is always with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, *
for your decrees are my study.
100 I am wiser than the elders, *
because I observe your commandments.
101 I restrain my feet from every evil way, *
that I may keep your word.
102 I do not shrink from your judgments, *
because you yourself have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste! *
they are sweeter than honey to my mouth.
104 Through your commandments I gain understanding; *
therefore I hate every lying way.
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills; *
from where is my help to come?
2 My help comes from the Lord, *
the maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved *
and he who watches over you will not fall asleep.
4 Behold, he who keeps watch over Israel *
shall neither slumber nor sleep;
5 The Lord himself watches over you; *
the Lord is your shade at your right hand,
6 So that the sun shall not strike you by day, *
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; *
it is he who shall keep you safe.
8 The Lord shall watch over your going out and
your coming in, *
from this time forth for evermore.
2 Timothy 3:14-4:5
14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, 15and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.
1In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: 2proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favourable or unfavourable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. 3For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, 4and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths. 5As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully.
1 Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. 2He said, ‘In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. 3In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, “Grant me justice against my opponent.” 4For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, “Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.” ’ 6And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? 8I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?’
Dear followers of Saint John’s,
your scribe has missed several days of writing in the blog. the 9th of October this year is the 21st Sunday after Pentecost. Last Sunday was the Episcopal Church’s ‘Social Media Sunday’ encouraging us to share our church with others via social media. Twitter users are encouraged to use #episcopalian to find out what the greater church is doing. This week we are placing an abbreviated version of the Daily Lectionary in the blog today and attempt to reflect our priest Rev. Dr. John Day’s Homily or Sermon in relation to the Gospel and the Scriptural lessons read by our congregation.
Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
[Alternate: 2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15c]
1Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favour with his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy. 2Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3She said to her mistress, ‘If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.’ 7When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, ‘Am I God, to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Just look and see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me.’
8 But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, ‘Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel.’ 9So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elisha’s house. 10Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, ‘Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.’ 11But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, ‘I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy! 12Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?’ He turned and went away in a rage. 13But his servants approached and said to him, ‘Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, “Wash, and be clean”?’ 14So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean.
15 Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company; he came and stood before him and said, ‘Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel.”
[Alternate: Psalm 111]
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, *
in the assembly of the upright, in the congregation.
2 Great are the deeds of the Lord! *
they are studied by all who delight in them.
3 His work is full of majesty and splendor, *
and his righteousness endures for ever.
4 He makes his marvelous works to be remembered; *
the Lord is gracious and full of compassion.
5 He gives food to those who fear him; *
he is ever mindful of his covenant.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works *
in giving them the lands of the nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithfulness and justice; *
all his commandments are sure.
8 They stand fast for ever and ever, *
because they are done in truth and equity.
9 He sent redemption to his people;
he commanded his covenant for ever; *
holy and awesome is his Name.
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; *
those who act accordingly have a good understanding;
his praise endures for ever.
2 Timothy 2:8-15
8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David—that is my gospel, 9for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. 10Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. 11The saying is sure:
If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
12 if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he will also deny us;
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself.
14 Remind them of this, and warn them before God that they are to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening. 15Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth.
11 On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13they called out, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ 14When he saw them, he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were made clean. 15Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17Then Jesus asked, ‘Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ 19Then he said to him, ‘Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.’
The Rev. Dr. John Day led us in opening his sermon with the following:
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be always acceptable in your sight, Oh Lord my Strength and Redeemer”.
He discussed the Gospel reading concerning the ten lepers, how 9 followed The Law, and how only one came back to thank Jesus ( yet broke all the rules of Law). Fr. John also asked us in the congregation about what the story might really be about. Words such as Faith, Hope, Gratitude came up in the ensuing discussion. The scribe noticed the Samarians in the Old Testament and Samaritans in the New Testament are similar and both were considered outcasts and below The People of the Law, yet God answered and met their needs ( New Testament) and used the Samarians to put the Prophet in an unlikely place ( What! not at the King’s side?) and the leper in the Old Testament story was a great warrior, but was ‘put out’ when he was told to visit The Prophet in Samaria. The King was so upset he rent his clothes ( tore them) . Fr. John then related stories about a homeless prostitute who visits his other parish ( Church of the Saviour, Hanford, CA) ( http://www.saviourweb.com ) regularly; talking about her hand written envelope with her offering of thirty seven cents. Relating the Gospel to those of us who feel as if we are outside the box or outside the Love of Christ is a direct link to the Gospel story. So, do we feel as if we are outcast as the Samaritans were made to feel by The People of The Law? or are we The People of The Law ignoring the needs of the outcast?
The Church of the Saviour runs an interdenominational soup kitchen that operates 6 days a week located at 519 North Douty Street, Hanford, California.
Our church, Saint John’s Episcopal Church, missions to preschoolers in Tulare, with some students from Visalia and Hanford.
The Learning Center’s on the web at the following :
The Episcopal Church education tradition is deep and ancient in the tradition of the greater Anglican tradition, Our Learning Center encourages youngsters to develop responsibility and care and concern for others and themselves. The youngsters meet weekly for chapel services to learn more about Jesus and the greater Body of Christ.
Yours in Christ!,
Brewster Bird, Jr. Warden,
Saint John’s Episcopal Church
Here is a link to our PB’s latest message:
Please give it a view!