Thursday, 24 June 2021

News About Upcoming Service At St. John's

 


Church Council met last evening (23 June 2021) and decided to hold outdoor services under the trees on the church property on the following dates:
               July 11
              July 25
              August 8
              August 29
    Those services are planned to be services of Holy Communion. Everyone is welcome to come and everyone is requested to bring a chair, some bread and some wine or grape juice for yourselves, and a snack for eating afterwards.
    Social distancing and wearing of masks will be observed. Contact tracing information will be taken. As the old saying goes... "We're not out of the woods yet."
    Further reminders of these services will be sent out closer to the time of the service.
     Mark your calendars! Pray for one another!
                Pastor John for the Church Council

This Sunday's Service -- 27 June 2021

 



This Sunday -- 27 June 2021 -- our YouTube service will not be held. Pastor John has the Sunday off! We will return the week after for 4 July 2021. Further information will be coming shortly.

Here are the readings for this Sunday for your own prayer and meditation.

The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Let us pray.

Almighty and merciful God, we implore you to hear the prayers of your people. Be our strong defense against all harm and danger, that we may live and grow in faith and hope, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

Reading: Lamentations 3:22-33

A reading from the book of Lamentations

22The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; 23they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” 25The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. 26It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. 27It is good for one to bear the yoke in youth, 28to sit alone in silence when the Lord has imposed it, 29to put one’s mouth to the dust (there may yet be hope), 30to give one’s cheek to the smiter, and be filled with insults. 31For the Lord will not reject forever. 32Although he causes grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; 33for he does not willingly afflict or grieve anyone.

The Word of the Lord

Psalm 30

I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up,

  and did not let my foes rejoice over me.

O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,

  and you have healed me.

O Lord, you brought up my soul from Sheol,

  restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones,

  and give thanks to his holy name.

For his anger is but for a moment; his favor is for a lifetime.  

  Weeping may linger for the night,

   but joy comes with the morning.

As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.”

By your favor, O Lord, you had established me

  as a strong mountain; you hid your face; I was dismayed.

To you, O Lord, I cried, and to the Lord I made supplication:

“What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the Pit?

   Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness?

10 Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me! O Lord, be my helper!”

11 You have turned my mourning into dancing;

   you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

12 so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.

   O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

Reading: 2 Corinthians 8:7-15

A reading from the second letter to the Corinthians

7Now as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you—so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking. 8I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. 9For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. 10And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something— 11now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means. 12For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has—not according to what one does not have. 13I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between 14your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. 15As it is written, “The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little.”

The Word of the Lord.

Gospel Reading: Mark 5: 21-43

A reading from the Gospel of Mark

21When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. 22Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 23and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.”

24So he went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. 25Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. 26She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 27She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” 29Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” 31And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32He looked all around to see who had done it. 33But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

35While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” 36But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 38When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” 42And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. 43He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

A Moment Aside for 22 June 2021

 A Moment Aside --- 22 June 2021 

 

Don’t worry about the names of the novelists in this story. What is important is the concept of “enough.” For many, too much is never enough. Personally I find that sad. It’s an attitude and a mind-set that does not permit a person to be satisfied.

How much money does a person need? How many cars or boats or planes or houses? How much clothing? Many people have nowhere near enough and they are hungry, cold, and lost. Many people like that are among us and along-side us.

God gives and what God gives can (and should) be shared. Gratitude is the proper response to having “enough” even if it would not satisfy the person next to us. Maybe the idea of gratitude is the antidote to a life of grasping and constant search for more.

Will we ever get beyond the constant desire for more? I don’t know; I haven’t gotten that far myself. There does come a point when we realize that we can’t have more or there is no “more” to be had. That often comes at the end of our life and accompanied by that demon, Regret.

If we can short-circuit that path, we might be better off. It would be good if we could say along with Joseph Heller:

“Yes, but I have something he will never have … enough.”

Sunday, 20 June 2021

Today's Readings & Sermon text --- 20 June 2021

 


The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Psalm 107

1O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.

2Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, those he redeemed from trouble

3and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.

23Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the mighty waters;

24they saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works in the deep.

25For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.

26They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their calamity;

27they reeled and staggered like drunkards, and were at their wits’ end.

28Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out from their distress;

29he made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.

30Then they were glad because they had quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.

31Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind.

32Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

Reading: Job 38:1-11

A reading from the book of Job

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: 2“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? 3Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me.

4“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. 5Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? 6On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone 7when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy? 8“Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb?— 9when I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band, 10and prescribed bounds for it, and set bars and doors, 11and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stopped’?

The Word of the Lord

Reading: 2 Corinthians 6:1-13

A reading from the second letter to the Corinthians

As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. 2For he says, “At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.” See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! 3We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, 7truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; 10as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

11We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. 12There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. 13In return—I speak as to children—open wide your hearts also.

The Word of the Lord.

Gospel Verse: 

Alleluia! Now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation. Alleluia!                                  

Gospel Reading: Mark 4: 35-41

A reading from the Gospel of Mark

35On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sermon

“Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

·         Maybe no one but me noticed this: when the disciples are faced with Jesus calming the storm, they ask each other Who then is this…? When Job is faced with God coming to him in the whirlwind, God asks Job the same thing but in a way that seems to be rhetorical or as a question for all of creation: Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me. (God seems to be almost sarcastic here.)

·         Basically, if we translate both questions into more modern terms, God ask Job “Who do you think you are?” while the disciples ask each other “Who do we think he is… because he’s not who we thought he was.”

·         Job was faced with losses beyond imagining – he lost his lands, his fortune, even his children, and finally his bodily health, all as sort of a test. The disciples were faced with the test of a terrible storm, one that threatened to swamp all the boats. Jesus was asleep on the part of the boat used to brace the tiller (not some sort of nice soft cushion) when the disciples woke him in fear. After Jesus calmed the storm, their fear of the storm turned to terror in the presence of a great mystery.

·         Both Job and Jesus’ disciples were faced with the tremendous mystery of God, each in their own way. Quite often, we are as well. Job faced God in the whirlwind, something found in the Hebrew Bible as a carrier of God’s presence. (and in the Acts of the Apostles at Pentecost for that matter.) The disciples faced Jesus in a conflict between God and sea-storm. The seas, even the Sea of Galilee which we might call a lake, were mysterious places to the ancient peoples, the place where chaos ruled and sea monsters lived. In that, Jesus’ stilling of the storm is seen as a cosmic and divine act by many.

·         In the troubles we’ve faced and continue to face in our lives, have any of us asked as Jesus’ disciples did Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing? The answer, were we to hear it, is always “I care.” It is still possible that any action or response might not be what we expect. Sometimes the response is a reminder that God is with us in all our troubles, a merciful presence seen best in the cross of Jesus… but that still might not the answer we might want.

·         We might be surprised at some of this. God tells Job to Gird up your loins, which was a usual prelude to battle back then. It’s as if God were inviting Job to contend with him. In the Gospel reading, Jesus seems to take his disciples to task for not believing (Why are you afraid?), even though they’d just seen something that could boggle the mind and terrorize the spirit. Their reaction was confusion and fear. Our reading says “awe” while the original Greek says they “feared a great fear”, an awkward phrase in English but it drives home the point that they felt more terror than respect.

·         Fear in the face of the presence of God would be expected, but Jesus’ friends did not expect that. He got in the boat with them and Mark notes that Jesus was just as he was. They knew him and yet discovered that they didn’t know him. To them, he was ordinary… until he wasn’t and then fear, terror, and awe set in.

·         In our own days, we may see and know Jesus among us in some very ordinary ways. We are quite familiar with the Bible and still it carries God’s Word to us. We’re used to the Sacraments and still they remain the “means of grace” among us. We might take the community of the church for granted although we may have come to see and value it differently through these days of pandemic. We may never meet God in the whirlwind or experience Jesus as the master of storms. Still if his word could rebuke the wind and quiet the waves, his grace can do even more for us… and already has.

·         We can ask the same question as Jesus’ disciples, and by God’s grace seen through our faith, we have an answer.

Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

Thursday, 17 June 2021

A Moment Aside for 17 June 2021

 A Moment Aside --- 17 June 2021

 


 

This brief prayer might look like a laundry list. However, as simple as it is, it is not just a list. It is a prayer in the Celtic manner of praying which often includes things that look like lists, like litanies, and like call-and-response prayers.

I use this as part of my night prayers at times. This sort of prayer can be used in a number of ways.

It can be used in a way of asking or “petition.” We can simply add “May God…” May God be…” as we pray. So we’d pray “May God enfold me… May God be in my speaking…” and continue that with each phrase.

I can be used in a way of thanksgiving or praise. Then we might say “God… enfolds me… God is in my speaking... God is in my heart.”

Other things could be added, but the main thing is the attitude with which we pray. We could pray in petition, asking for what we need. We could pray in thanksgiving, expressing gratitude for these things at the very least. We could also pray in a way of coming to understand that each of these phrases, whether said in asking or praising, reveals something about our relationship with God, who is with us in our speaking, thinking, sleeping, waking, hoping, and in every aspect of our lives.

Invitation to Sunday's YouTube Service & the Order of Worship

 

The Link to the YouTube broadcast: https://youtu.be/U3EDCryC0SM



The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Prelude, Welcome, and Information

Hymn #785   When Peace Like a River

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

And also with you.

Psalm Psalm 107

1O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.

2Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, those he redeemed from trouble

3and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.

23Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the mighty waters;

24they saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works in the deep.

25For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.

26They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their calamity;

27they reeled and staggered like drunkards, and were at their wits’ end.

28Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out from their distress;

29he made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.

30Then they were glad because they had quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.

31Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind.

32Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

Hymn of Praise (Rev. 15:3b4)

Great and amazing are your deeds,
Lord God the Almighty!

Just and true are your ways,
    King of the nations!

  Lord, who will not fear
    and glorify your name?

  For you alone are holy.
    All nations will come
    and worship before you,

  for your judgments have been revealed.

The Lord be with you.       And also with you.

Let us pray.

O God of creation, eternal majesty, you preside over land and sea, sunshine and storm. By your strength pilot us, by your power preserve us, by your wisdom instruct us, and by your hand protect us, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

Reading: Job 38:1-11

A reading from the book of Genesis

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: 2“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? 3Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me.

4“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. 5Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? 6On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone 7when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy? 8“Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb?— 9when I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band, 10and prescribed bounds for it, and set bars and doors, 11and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stopped’?

The Word of the Lord

Reading: 2 Corinthians 6:1-13

A reading from the second letter to the Corinthians

As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. 2For he says, “At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.” See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! 3We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, 7truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; 10as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

11We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. 12There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. 13In return—I speak as to children—open wide your hearts also.

The Word of the Lord.

Gospel Verse: 

Alleluia! Now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation. Alleluia!                                  

Gospel Reading: Mark 4: 35-41

A reading from the Gospel of Mark

35On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

Sermon (added at the end of the document)

Hymn #756  Eternal Father Strong to Save

Thanks and Offertory

Prayers of the Church:  

(Unavailable at the time of this sending.)

Hymn #462   Join We Now in Celebration

GREAT THANKSGIVING

The Lord be with you.

            And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

            We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

            It is right to give him thanks and praise.

It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times

     and in all places offer thanks and praise to you,

O Lord, holy Father, through Christ our Lord;

      who on this day overcame death and the grave,

      and by his glorious resurrection opened to us

      the way of everlasting life.

And so, with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven,

     we praise your name and join their unending hymn:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might:

            Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

            Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

            Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed are you, Lord of heaven and earth.

In mercy for our fallen world you gave your only Son,

    that all those who believe in him

    should not perish, but have eternal life.

We give thanks to you

    for the salvation you have prepared for us

    through Jesus Christ.

Send now your Holy Spirit into our hearts,

     that we may receive our Lord with a living faith

     as he comes to us in his holy supper.

            Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

In the night in which he was betrayed,

     our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks;

     broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying:

      Take and eat; this is my body, given for you.

      Do this for the remembrance of me.

 

Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks,

      and gave it for all to drink, saying:

      This cup is the new covenant in my blood,

      shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin.

      Do this for the remembrance of me.

Finally let us pray for all things as our Lord would have us ask:

Our Father, who art in heaven,

    hallowed be thy name,

    thy kingdom come,

    thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread;

    and forgive us our trespasses,

      as we forgive those who trespass against us;

    and lead us not into temptation,

       but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power,

         and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Taking Communion

     This is the body of Christ, given for each of us.

     This is the blood of Christ, shed for each of us.

Lord, now you let your servant go in peace;

     your word has been fulfilled.

My own eyes have seen the salvation

    which you have prepared

    in the sight of every people:

A light to reveal you to the nations

    and the glory of your people Israel.

Hymn #763   My Life Flow on In Endless Song

Benediction and Sending

The Lord bless you and keep you.

The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.

The Lord look upon you with favor and + give you peace.

                            Amen.

Go in peace. Serve the Lord.   Thanks be to God!