Sunday, August 28, 2011

Our Rudder

In today’s sermon Father John discussed how Paul’s message in this week’s passage from his letter to the Romans applies to us today. He noted that the past few weeks’ readings from Romans have been more theological in spirit, but Romans 12:9-21 provides a list of what we should be doing and how we should live our lives…in fact, he said he had read that this reading has 36 imperatives for us to follow!

Father John then described how these imperatives are particularly important for Christians in times of change or uncertainty…they can serve as a guiding light for a congregation like ours which is in transition…even with Fr. Chris’ impending departure, we do not need to worry about being rudderless.

Paul is showing us what it looks like to be a community of faith. He tells us to “cling to what is good,” and in what is arguably the most important message in the passage, Paul tells us to “be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” Contrary to this teaching, Fr. John points out that when things get tough for us as individuals or even as a congregation, it is not uncommon for people to focus on ourselves. Instead, our direction should be clear with our future depending on our ability to follow Jesus’ example and being “devoted to one another in love…honoring one another above ourselves.”

Submitted by M. White

Altar Flowers for August

August 7
The Altar Flowers ar given to the Glory of God and in thanksgiving for the birthdays of Michael, Eric, Marilyn, Don, Taylor and Ed by Ed and Marilyn Lanctot.

Flower designers: Louise Yardumian, Joanne Turrell and Angela Fleece.
August 14
The Altar Flowers are given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of Fran Futch by Dr. Bill Futch in loving memory of Mary elizabeth Lewis Tucker and, in thanksgiving for Betty Jean Miller and Jacob McCartney Walters by Wendy Gardiner Lewis

Flower designers: Elizabeth Walters-Alison, Joanne Turrell and Vicky Steinwender.

August 21

The Altar Flowers are given to the Glory of God and in thanksgiving for the anniversary of Eric and Taylor and Ed and Marilyn by Ed and Marilyn Lanctot.

Flowers designers: Mary Jane Cartier and Carol Burgess.

August 28

The Altar Flowers are given to the Glory of God and in thanksgiving for the baptism of Coleton Allen and Wyatt Brooks Ritch by C.O. and Joanna Ritch.

Flower designer: Keith Tulloch

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Faith, Trust and Risk

The Reverend Douglas Scharf joined us from Holy Innocents’ Church in Valrico, FL today and gave a sermon on the nature of Faith.  He began by describing his experience at his first camp where he encountered the "trust fall" as part of a low-ropes course.  He recounted that familiar, scary sensation when his feet left the platform before he felt the reassuring arms of his fellow campers.  Father Doug described that moment of no-return as embodying the nature of faith.

Fr. Doug then turned his attention to today's Gospel reading, Matthew15:21-28.  The story of the Canaanite woman who knelt before Jesus is a story of faith.  In fact, Fr. Doug pointed out that this is the only story in the Bible where a person's faith was described as "great."  He then pondered what it means to live lives full of faith and concluded that the essence of faith is trust without reservation...and without trust, there can be no relationship.  The Canaanite woman's kneeling before Jesus is a literal position of trust and Fr. Doug notes that this is just the position in which we often find ourselves.  This is especially true for times when we are gripped by fear and the woman pleading for her daughter's sake, all we can do in these cases is put our trust in Jesus. 

Fr. Doug then explained that trust requires taking a without risk isn't really trust.  We are all inclined to latch onto what is safe and comfortable, but Jesus asks that we trust with complete abandon and surrender.  The Canaanite woman was risking shaming herself kneeling at the feet of a Jewish person knowing that Jews despised her people.  She demonstrated her trust in Jesus even when Jesus was uncharacteristically indifferent to her first requests as the disciples were asking that she be sent away. 
Fr. Doug concluded by explaining that God calls for faith grounded in radical we trust Him with our whole lives?  We are standing on the edge of our own "trust fall"...Jesus is calling for us to fall into his loving arms with the promise that he will never let us go. 

Submitted by M. White