St. James' Episcopal Church
Our 158th Year
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Sermon for August 17th, 2008
Sermon for August 17, 2008
St. James’ Goshen IN
This year we are hearing the Gospel according to Matthew, the most Jewish of the four Gospels Mark was the first of the Gospels written probably after the execution of both Peter and Paul in Rome. Some scholars think that Mark was on a boat traveling from Italy to Israel writing in hast knowing that the original Apostles were passing away. He was in a hurry. He wanted to get the fact down; there is no birth nor ascension narratives. The Gospel according to Luke was written for the Gentiles, non Jewish, audience; Luke explains Jewish traditions and Hebrew words. Matthew’s Gospel was written for the Jewish population carefully explaining how the life of Jesus answered all of the possible predictions of the Messiah and repeats each of the actions of the Old Testament prophets.
For the past few weeks we have heard Jesus repeating actions of the great leaders of the Old Testament. In the story of the feeding of the five thousand men, plus women and children, Jesus was leading and teaching people in the wilderness, just like Moses in the wilderness following fleeing Egypt. Moses fed the people with manna from heaven and flocks of quail from the sea; Jesus fed the people with five loaves and two small fish.
Last week we hear about the apostle in a little boat on the stormy waters of Sea of Galilee Jesus comes to them in their time of terror saying, "be not afraid I am with you." In the Old Testament, Jonah was being sent by God to the town of Nineveh in what is now Syria; God wanted Jonah to tell Nineveh to repent or be destroyed. Jonah wanted Nineveh to be destroyed; so instead of going north to Nineveh, Jonah caught the first boat south to Egypt. A great storm blew up, and the people on the boat asked who is the unrighteous person on the boat; Jonah was thrown over board and the seas calm. And you know the rest of the story; a great whale swallowed Jonah and cast him up on the out skirts of Nineveh some 90 miles inland from the sea. In the Old Testament an Unrighteous Man was throne over board to calm the sea. In the Gospel The Righteous Man comes to the sinking boat and calms the sea. The Old Testament story retold with a twist.
Now today Jesus and the Apostles have moved away from Galilee over to the Mediterranean coast north of Israel in the land of the Canaanites. A Canaanite women comes to Jesus and begs him the cure her daughter who is possessed by a demon…very sick Jesus tells her that he is sent to the children of Israel, the Lost Sheep…. In the Old Testament Elijah the first of the great prophets is in exiled out of Israel, and goes to the home of a widow who was starving to death in a great long famine. She had only a little meal and oil and than they would have nothing to eat and would die. Elijah told the widow to not be afraid the meal and oil would not run out. Later the widow’s son fell ill and died, and Elijah raised the son to life.
Jesus cured the Canaanite woman’s daughter, retelling the story of Elijah with a daughter rather than a son. But there is the joke in the story. Jesus said to the Canaanite woman, "It is not fair to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs." And she replied, "Yes, Lord, even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table."
The Canaanite woman was willing to eat like the master’s canines, dogs. This is a true Jewish joke on the Canaanites.
Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament predictions of a prophet, and Messiah.
Thanks be to God.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Sermon For August 10th, 2008
Sermon for Sunday August 10, 2008
St. James’ Goshen, IN
For weeks now we have been hearing about the Kingdom of God being like: seeds planted, grain harvested, bread made with just a little bit of yeast, and last week the demonstration of the plenty of God’s grace in the feeding of the five thousand men plus women and children with the five loaves and two small fish, the first church picnic.
In today’s story we just hear how the church picnic ended. Jesus sent the disciples back to Capernaum in the boat. After all Andrew, Peter, James and John were professional fisher men, and knew the Sea of Galilee well. The Sea of Galilee rests between two step ranges of hills, the fertile hills of Galilee to the west and the desert hills of Jordan to the east. Because of the steep hills on either side of the lake, the wind causes great turbulence in the water. Jesus then dismissed the well fed crowd to walk home to their villages and towns. Jesus wanted alone time to rest and pray.
That night the boys on the boat ran into rough weather and waves that might swamp their little fishing boat. Suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water: were they seeing a ghost? Was one of the fish bad and they were hallucinating? They cried out in fear, and Jesus responded to their terrified voices saying, "Take heart, it is I, be not afraid." Good old brash Peter asked Jesus to let him walk on the water, and Jesus said come - come follow me. Peter jumped off the boat and started to walk and then fear gripped him and he sank in the stormy waters. Jesus lifted Peter back into the boat with the now famous admonition: "O man of little faith, why did you doubt?"
The Apostles had heard all of the teachings of Jesus in the Capernaum synagogue, on the shore at Capernaum, on the hillside along the coast of the Sea of Galilee; they had partaken of the feeding of the five thousand. But when left alone on the dark and stormy night of wind and waves of doubt and fear the Apostles were terrified. And Jesus came to them saying Be not afraid, I am with you. Jesus lifted up Peter from his fears and doubts.
It is through the fears, doubts, the terrors of the night, that the Apostles, had a great epiphany, an aha moment of revelation. Jesus is more than just an itinerant preacher from Nazareth. He was certainly that; He could explain the Kingdom of God is simple everyday terms. And He was more than healer of sickness, though He did that very well. The frightened doubting Apostles received Jesus when they were alone in a storm tossed boat. And Jesus raised them up from the stormy waters of fear and doubt. Fear not you are not alone, I am with you.
And the Apostles finally got it. Jesus is The Son of God. He is will be with us even in our doubts and fears, saying "Be not afraid, I am with you."
It is through living in fear and doubts of stormy seas that the Apostles, and we too, receive the epiphany: God is with us - Emanuel.
Come enter into the Kingdom of God.
Thanks Be to God.
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