This week’s lectionary provides a several “lessons”, the most prominent (from the gospel) is that we are as valued as are the sparrows in God’s care. The gospel also portends the dissension that comes to followers of Jesus. Another lesson, from the book of Jeremiah, is that God-within-us burns like an unquenchable fire. Yet another is that I suffer abuse because I’m God’s child. And from the Book of Romans, my salvation makes me dead to sin. These are truly comforting words and strong reminders that, as God’s children, we need not be anxious.
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. . . Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. . . .
From sermon4kids.com: “A sparrow seems like a common bird. It has been said, “God must have loved the common people, because He made so many of them.” I don’t think that God sees us as common or ordinary. If He did, He would not love us in such an uncommon and extraordinary way!”
Collect: O Lord, make us have perpetual love and reverence for your holy Name, for you never fail to help and govern those whom you have set upon the sure foundation of your lovingkindness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Reflection: If, like Jeremiah, you were to name the “burning fire shut up in my bones”—the calling you have been given—how would you name it? When you express your “burning fire,” what does it sound like? What are the words to describe it? Is it a color? or a dance? How many ways does it take shape in your life?
Saint Focus: This week, take another look at John the Baptist. He was born to a faithful, elderly couple, Elizabeth and Zechariah. We have learned that he lived in the wilderness, but did you know that he also studied in that wilderness? That’s the hypothesis, at least. He was one of the earliest to proclaim that Jesus is the Messiah. Be sure to follow the link below for more details. [most from the Calendar of the church year according to the Episcopal Church.]
This week, the saints under consideration were :
- 18; Bernard Mizeki, Catechist and Martyr in Mashonaland, 1896
- 19; [Adelaide Tegue Case], Educator, 1948
- 22; Alban, First Martyr of Britain, c. 304
- 24; The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist
Ear Worm: “God of the sparrow” by Broadway Festival Choir; “In that great gettin’ up mornin’ “, hymn by Gather male quartet (sorta like Barbershop); “His eye is on the sparrow” by Whitney Houston [very bluesy spiritual]
Prayer for Children
God of sparrows and budgerigars,
of tiny babies and little kids,
please help us to trust your total love
for each one of us.
Nothing ever escapes your notice,
nothing happens outside of your care.
If we trust you, you can make-over
ugly souls into beautiful people,
and your can turn sins and sorrows
into the success of wiser lives.
You know we trust you a little,
please help us to trust you a lot more.
In the name of the Lord Jesus,
© Bruce Prewer
Contemporary Parables: “Ice Age” (2002), a cartoon movie about community and perseverence; “The Prince of Egypt” (1998), a mediocre animated movie about the fortitude of the Israelites; “Music of the Heart” (1999), a tender movie that shows we can be strong even when we cannot stand
image is Fleming, Kati. Savannah Sparrow Nestlings, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=57190 [retrieved June 16, 2020]. Original source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Savannah_Sparrow,_Passerculus_sandwichensis,_nestlings_baby_birds,_in_nest_AB_Canada_(1).jpg..
One of the things Jesus says to his disciples is: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Take a minute to reflect on what this means and specifically how it makes you feel. Write a short poem to express yourself. Share. [based on Lesson Plans that work for this Sunday https://lessonplansthatwork.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2014/06/LPTW-Pentecost-7A-Adult.pdf]
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Last Sunday we heard Jesus give instructions to his twelve disciples as he prepared to send them out to proclaim the gospel. Today that passage continues with his warning to them that they will encounter opposition to the message and even may have to suffer for it.
The first reading is from the Jeremiah. This prophet was strongly rejected by the leaders and many of the people. Attempts were made on his life. Jeremiah became the model for martyrs and others whose witness to God earned them persecution and even death.
In the second reading, Paul sets forth the meaning of baptism. It is nothing less than a participation in the death and resurrection of Jesus. The terms used here in the original Greek means that we have already died with him in baptism and are in the process of being raised with him into the resurrection life. Thus, our old identity is gone and our new identity is as members of Christ’s Body.
We gather as church to respond to the same call that was made to the twelve apostles and to Jeremiah and the prophets. It is not always easy to be follower of Christ. We must expect to find that our message is not always popular nor will we always be well treated for proclaiming it. However, as the people of God we find that God’s grace is always available in Word and Sacraments. We are upheld in the experience of those who have gone before us and above all by the example of Jesus dying and rising in our midst.
From The Rite Light: Reflections on the Sunday Readings and Seasons of the Church Year. Copyright © 2007 by Michael W. Merriman. Church Publishing Incorporated, New York.