Sunday, August 14, 2022

The Sunday Lectionary Readings for Sunday, August 14, 2022 - Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

Justice and Righteousness: What God Expects


The Sunday Lectionary Readings
Sunday, August 14, 2022 - Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
 Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 50:1-8, 22-23; Hebrews 11:29—12:2;
Luke 12:49-56
[Lectionary/Ordinary 20, Proper 15]
(Revised Common Lectionary Year C)

Opening Statement
As I read and pray these passages the theme that emerges is expectation. We hear in these passages God’s unquestionable love for us. Through the images of the vine and vineyard we hear God’s expectation of our love and faith. God hopes and expects that we will live lives in such a way that God will be able to provide justice to others through us.

There is passion in all of these passages. We feel the intensity of God’s love for the people of Israel (and for us) in the descriptions of the care of the vine and vineyard. We understand God’s disappointment when the people turn away from God. We recognize the consequences of their decisions and the plea to be restored. There is energy, passion and movement in these passages. They should be read with feeling.

There is a rhythm in the Letter to the Hebrews as the writer recounts, throughout history, the stories of people’s faith in the power of God—people who, without regard for self, lived into God’s desires for them without thought of reward.

And, finally in the Lucan passage there is a reminder of the challenge of believing in God. There is the reminder that one’s commitment to God through Christ will shape our values, priorities, goals and behaviors that might lead to division within our families and communities.

God’s expectations of us are tough. Love is tough.

Opening Prayer


As We Gather Here
(Words for the above video)
As we gather here in the harbour of your safety
We thank you for fellowship and family.

We ask that you will strengthen us, restore us and inspire us with your love.
Lord, would fill us with your peace
So that as we journey onwards
We would pour out your love and grace to others.
We ask that our souls would catch the wind of your spirit
so that we would take your promises to all the earth.

Amen.

The Collect (Book of Common Prayers)
Almighty God, you have given your only Son to be for us a sacrifice for sin, and also an example of godly life: Give us grace to receive thankfully the fruits of his redeeming work, and to follow daily in the blessed steps of his most holy life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Confession (Isaiah)
O God of all good gifts how generous are your provisions for us! Even before we are aware of our needs, you know what it is that we need. You invite us into community and provide for us out of your steadfast love: nourishment for our bodies, protection from the elements and safety. You ask in return that we respond to your love by working for justice: nourishment and protection for all. You expect that we will seek righteousness as a way of life. But so often O God, we fail to live being mindful of others in a caring, just and righteous way.

When your love and justice do not flow through our lives, our community withers, and so do we. Forgive us, O God! In your loving care, show us again the way to participate in your realm.

Assurance of Pardon
My friends, be assured that God hears our petitions! God continues to expect of us a life in which justice prevails. This is God’s desire for us. We, God’s forgiven people, are free to live into that desire. God loves us still. Amen.


First Reading
Isaiah 5:1-7
The Song of the Unfruitful Vineyard
5:1 Let me sing for my beloved

     my love-song concerning his vineyard:
   My beloved had a vineyard
     on a very fertile hill.
2  He dug it and cleared it of stones,
     and planted it with choice vines;
   he built a watchtower in the midst of it,
     and hewed out a wine vat in it;
   he expected it to yield grapes,
     but it yielded wild grapes.

3  And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem
     and people of Judah,
   judge between me
     and my vineyard.
4  What more was there to do for my vineyard
     that I have not done in it?
   When I expected it to yield grapes,
     why did it yield wild grapes?

5  And now I will tell you
     what I will do to my vineyard.
   I will remove its hedge,
     and it shall be devoured;
   I will break down its wall,
     and it shall be trampled down.
6  I will make it a waste;
     it shall not be pruned or hoed,
     and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns;
   I will also command the clouds
     that they rain no rain upon it.

7  For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts
     is the house of Israel,
   and the people of Judah
     are his pleasant planting;
   he expected justice,
     but saw bloodshed;
   righteousness,
     but heard a cry!

Psalm 50:1-8, 22-23 Qui regis Israel
1  Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, leading Joseph like a flock; *
   shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim.

2  In the presence of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh, *
   stir up your strength and come to help us.

8  You have brought a vine out of Egypt; *
   you cast out the nations and planted it.

9  You prepared the ground for it; *
   it took root and filled the land.

10 The mountains were covered by its shadow *
   and the towering cedar trees by its boughs.

11 You stretched out its tendrils to the Sea *
   and its branches to the River.

12 Why have you broken down its wall, *
   so that all who pass by pluck off its grapes?

13 The wild boar of the forest has ravaged it, *
   and the beasts of the field have grazed upon it.

14 Turn now, O God of hosts, look down from heaven;
   behold and tend this vine; *
   preserve what your right hand has planted.

15 They burn it with fire like rubbish; *
   at the rebuke of your countenance let them perish.

16 Let your hand be upon the man of your right hand, *
   the son of man you have made so strong for yourself.

17 And so will we never turn away from you; *
   give us life, that we may call upon your Name.

18 Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; *
   show the light of your countenance, and we shall be
   saved.


Second Reading
Hebrews 11:29—12:2
The Faith of Other Israelite Heroes
11:29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had received the spies in peace.

32 And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented— 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.

39 Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.

The Example of Jesus
12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.


The Gospel
Luke 12:49-56
Jesus the Cause of Division
12:49 “I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! 51 Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! 52 From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; 53 they will be divided:

   father against son
     and son against father,
   mother against daughter
     and daughter against mother,
   mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
     and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Interpreting the Time
54 He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain’; and so it happens. 55 And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens. 56 You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?


Here ends the Lessons

Click HERE to read today's Holy Gospel Lesson message

The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Closing Prayer


Lord, thank you that we are a family in Christ. Help us to share his love and legacy with everyone that we encounter this week. May we lavish Christ’s abounding goodness upon our families, friends and colleagues. Holy Spirit, come and equip us in our workplace, guide us in our school life, and inspire us in our neighbourhood. May we be your hands and feet to the needy, your words of affirmation to the oppressed and your arms of comfort to the lonely.

Thank you for choosing to use us to bring your kingdom here on earth.
Amen.

Optional parts of the readings are set off in [square brackets.]

The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle and Gospel lessons are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA, and used by permission.
As I read and pray these passages the theme that emerges is expectation.

“The Cutting Edge” The Sermon for Sunday, August 14, 2022 - Tenth Sunday after Pentecost


Our Gospel message comes to us today from the 12th chapter of Luke, beginning with the 49th verse.

“I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” Interpreting the Time He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain’; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time? (Luke 12:49-56, NRSV)

All mighty God, we thank you for your word and the way that you in it revealed to us who you are and what you've done for us in Christ. Now as we open that word we pray that your spirit may be present, that all thoughts of worry or distraction may be removed and that the Spirit will allow us to hear your voice. And so, oh God, fill us with your spirit through the reading and proclamation of your word this day. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.


“The Cutting Edge”

I want to tell you a story about a family, a typical family, a family similar to many of the families you may know. A family with a father, mother and several children. They could be your family; they could be my family. This family sat around the dinner table one evening, and a discussion was started. Ruth, in high school, began the conversation by telling of a friend at school. Her friend had told her that Jesus was the son of God and that salvation was free to all who would trust in Him. Ruth quoted her friend as saying, “Jesus is the way the truth and the life.”


Immediately an argument started. Tom, an older brother, said, “I don’t want any of that church stuff at supper.” The father agreed. A fellow at work was always trying to “corner someone on religion.” He did not want any of that nonsense in the house.


Mother raised her voice, saying, “A little religion would do all of them a lot of good. The least they could do would be to get a Bible and check it out.” She had a Bible that had been given to her as a child. She would help Ruth look it up after supper.


Little Bill, the baby of the family, suggested that they ought to go to church and ask the preacher. He would know. After supper, Mother, Ruth, and little Bill gathered around the kitchen table with the Bible to look for some answers. After reading for a while, they decided they would go to church the following Sunday and talk with the Pastor. The father and the older son left the supper table in a “huff” to watch the football game.


The three did attend church the following Sunday. They did talk with the Pastor, and in time they came to experience the love of Christ in their lives. They did find that Jesus was the way, the truth, and the life for them. These three became regular attenders in church. For the other two?—Still watching TV.


Jesus says in our gospel lesson, “Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division; for henceforth in one house there will be 5 divided, 3 against 2 and 2 against 3.”


There is a cutting edge for a person who has experienced the love of Christ in their lives. That cutting edge may mean that, indeed, families can be divided, as in our story. That cutting edge may mean that you might be ridiculed for your faith, that cutting edge may mean that you might stand apart and alone for the convictions you hold, that cutting edge may dictate how you will live your life, how you will treat others and how they will treat you.


Jesus is telling us that he demands loyalty, a commitment that produces a cutting edge in one’s life.


Jesus is telling us he demands a commitment that just might cut across families ties, that just might cut across at how others see us, a commitment that says as a Christian you are different in this world. Jesus senses in his disciples as he is now headed for Jerusalem and the cross that altitude that they were not taking his claims seriously in their lives.


Their problem was like the chosen one in Chayefsky’s play, “Gideon, the angel of the Lord, recognizes that his chosen one has rejected him. Gideon has vacillated between love and enchantment. He desires to serve and yet wants to be served. He turns away. Then the angel, speaking for the Lord, says, ‘I meant you to love me, but you are merely curious.’”


Jesus senses the attitude of curiosity among his followers. He wanted love, loyalty, obedience, and a sense of commitment. Still, they were merely being curious, seeing what this poor country preacher was saying and doing.


So Jesus tells them about the obedience, commitment, and loyalty he demands from his followers. A commitment that could and does even cut across families’ lines.


And that same commitment is demanded today in the 21st century by those who would follow Jesus. But many have asked, “does he really mean that?” “Does Jesus really want that kind of commitment from me?” “Won’t Jesus sell better to society by watering down his demands, by making him cheaper?” “Does it have to be that radical and decisive?”


Yes, it does. Over the last 2000 years, Christ has not watered down his demands upon our lives. He has not watered down his demands nor given any sales or easy bargains for those who would want to find an easier and cheaper way. There are no red hot deals, no easy sales, no close-out bargains, and no end-of-the-month clearances with Jesus. The cost to follow him is still and will always be the full surrender of one’s life. The cost is a high price, my life, but the prize is life—abundant and free. Life in and through Him who bought and paid for my life with the surrender of his life on the tree at Calvary.


Now how does one go about living this life that is lived on the cutting edge? How does one develop such loyalty to Jesus? We can see this development in 3 steps, one—conviction, two—courage, and three—testing.


Conviction may be called rebirth, conversion, or getting to know Jesus. Whatever it is called, it is God’s action in one’s life.


It is God opening the heart and mind of a person to God’s promises and then letting that faith or conviction grow. Conviction is a quality that produces certainty, self-assurance, and an attitude of confidence in one’s life. Take Paul, for example. After the experience on the road to Damascus, Paul was convinced that Jesus was his savior. In his writing, Paul uses the terms, “I know,... I am sure” many times. Paul had a conviction.


Or take one of the many Old Testament figures, say, Daniel. He was forbidden to pray to Jehovah. Violation would result in being thrown into the lion’s den. It wasn’t a tough decision for Daniel to make, for he had already made some strong convictions concerning his relationship to God. He kept praying. He was thrown into the lion’s den.


Or take one of my favorite movies, Chariots of Fire, which is about a man who eventually became a missionary and won a gold medal running for the 1924 British Olympic team. But it happened that Eric Liddell almost lost his chance for that Olympic gold because of his conviction in Christ. One of his preliminary heats was to be run on a Sunday morning when he would be in church. He announced that he would not run. He was brought up before the British Olympic committee but still refused to run on a Sunday. But, another runner voluntarily withdrew from another heat and let Eric run in his place. Eric ran and won and eventually won the gold medal. He had his eyes on a goal, that of Christ, and was willing to lose the medal he had trained for because of his convictions. There was a cutting edge to his life.


The next step is that of courage. And by courage, I mean the inner strength one draws upon when the going gets tough. And for a Christian, living a life full of conviction needs strength which comes from God through his Holy Spirit in our lives. God gives us the strength, courage, and fortitude to keep that trust and faith in him strong.


The Bible says, “No one who puts his trust in him will ever be disappointed—no one.” The inner strength is available for everyone who is willing to call upon the resources of God to give them the courage to stand by his or her convictions.


It is like a story told by Lou Little, the football coach at Columbia University. He had a guy on his squad who didn’t play very well but had a spirit that lifted the entire team’s morale. Little was proud of the boy and marveled at how he and his father would walk arm and arm around the campus after the football games. The boy’s father died unexpectedly, and after he returned from the funeral, the boy asked if he could play in the game on Saturday. He said he wanted to play for his father. The coach thought he would let him start the first few minutes, then replace him with a regular player. But to the surprise of everyone, the boy played the entire game. He played 60 minutes of inspired football. After the game, the coach sought him out. “What got into you out there?” he asked.


The boy replied, “Do you remember how my father and I used to go around arm-in-arm? He didn’t want people to know, but he was totally blind. This afternoon was the first time he ever saw me play football!”


The inner strength we receive from God is JUST like that. We know that as we live, God is watching us, the will, strength, and inspiration to live for him.


Now that brings us to the third step. First, there was the conviction, then courage, and now the final step, the testing or, as Jesus says, the division or the cutting edge to one’s life. This cutting edge is not to hurt others but for healing. Sometimes that calls us to make a stand that cuts across lines that tend to separate us from others or from what society holds to be dear. If something or someone is destroying your relationship with God or dimming your vision of righteousness and goodness, it must be stopped. Sometimes we must separate ourselves from situations or people in order to remain true to our convictions, true to our faith.


Take, for example, Joseph. The king’s wife, Potiphar, had desires for this young man. She thought it would be great fun to seduce him. She tried with all of her charms, but Joseph refused. Joseph could have done what is thrown at us in every TV ad, in books, and in magazines, he could have fulfilled his “Playboy” philosophy and given in to his desires, but he refused. He said “no” to this woman and said, “How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” You remember he had a price to pay for this rejection, for she brought false charges against him, and he was persecuted for righteousness’ sake.


This is the kind of life Jesus is calling us to live. A life with a cutting edge that chooses the costly price of ultimate loyalties to the cheapness of easy thrills or momentary relationships. It is a life that holds onto abiding joys instead of reaching for quick kicks and easy pleasures. It is a life that is called upon to weigh the consequences, to think first, then react. To react in a way that puts God first and our desires, our aims, our pleasure second. It is a life that even sometimes calls us to stand apart, to stand alone, maybe even in a family. But know and believe that this life full of loyalty, full of commitment, full of Jesus is an abundant life. It is a life that is truly rewarding, and it is a life worth living.


Jesus calls us to live for Him. He calls us to a life of loyalty, a life of commitment, a life that is lived on the cutting edge of society. He calls us to live with conviction, to a life in faith. He calls us to live with courage, to draw on His strength, and he calls us to be tested. He calls us to make a stand, to live by our convictions even when those convictions might bring separation or pain into our lives.


For we know that Jesus is truly the way, the truth, and the life for us.



Let us pray: Almighty God, our hope and strength, without you we falter. Help us to follow Christ and to live according to your will. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Seeking God?
Click HERE to find out more about how to have a personal
relationship with Jesus Christ

Scripture taken from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)® Bible, copyright © 1989 the 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. Sermon contributed by Rev. Tim Zingale.
Jesus is telling us that he demands a loyalty, a commitment that produces a cutting edge in ones life.

The Morning Prayer for Sunday, August 14, 2022

 


The Morning Prayer
Sunday, August 14, 2022


If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.
Isaiah 48:18 (NIV)

Lord our God, grant that we may heed your commandments, that our peace may be like a river and our righteousness like the waves of the sea. Be with us through your Spirit, we pray. Speak with us and tell us what we need to hear so that we can understand what draws us always nearer to you. Show the might of your hand to help us and all people. Even under judgment we shall not despair, we shall not lose courage because of troubles and distress. Come with your strength, that we may grow strong to overcome the world through Jesus Christ the Savior. Amen.

Verse of the Day for Sunday, August 14, 2022

 


Verse of the Day
Sunday, August 14, 2022

Revelation 3:14, 20
To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. …Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
Jesus takes the initiative in calling us into a saving relationship with Himself. However, He will not force us to answer. His desire is that we respond to Him in obedience (Luke 12:36). So whenever we feel Him drawing us near to Himself, we should open the door of our lives to Him willingly.

Read all of Revelation Chapter 3

Listen to Revelation Chapter 3


Scripture from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.