(Continuing to publish both Tracks in the Faith@Home newsletter.)
It’s interesting that action-reward looms large in the scripture for Proper 8 (Pentecost 4 this year). Often, when Jesus speaks, his words are clear and easy to understand; this is no exception. But it’s also interesting how well Jesus understands humanity, that humans are very often concerned about their reward. And “righteous” behavior will receive “righteous” reward. The concept is echoed in both Old Testament readings. From Genesis (Track 1), Abraham trusted that God would provide, even when God gave Abraham a horrid task to complete. From Jeremiah (Track 2) tells us that the prophesy of peace becomes a reality then we will know the reward of God. And Paul adds the exclamation point by adding that the gift is eternal life. So let us come together as one body, the righteous.
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Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
. . . At that time Jesus said, . . . Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
From sermon4kids.com: “Abraham had faith in God and trusted Him completely—and God provided the lamb—just as Abraham had told Isaac that He would. When we put our trust in God, He always provides.”
Scripture: July 5, 2020—Zechariah 9:9-12 (Track 2); Psalm 145:8-15 (Track 2); Romans 7:15-25a; and Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30. Illuminating the scripture, an image and audio journey. Track 1 lesson and psalm are Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67 and Song of Solomon 2:8-13.
Collect: O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Reflection: How have you experienced God’s steadfast love (Ps. 145:8)?
Saint Focus: Conradure 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:
- 11; Benedict of Nursia, Monastic, c. 540
- 12; Nathan Söderblom, Archbishop of Uppsala and Ecumenist, 1931
- 13; Conrad Weiser, Witness to Peace and Reconciliation, 1760
- 14; [Argula von Grumbach], Scholar & Church Reformer, c.1554; AND Samson Occum, Pastor & Missionary, 1792
Ear Worm: “Busy, busy, busy“, presented by Kevin Kline, a funny approach to the stresses of daily life; “Come to me“, gospel hymn sung by Bishop Patterson; “He shall feed his flock/Come unto Him“, sung by Barbara Bonney.
The Lone, Wild Bird
The lone, wild bird, in lofty flight,
Is still with Thee, nor leaves Thy sight.
And I am Thine! I rest in Thee.
Great Spirit come, and rest in me.
The ends of earth are in Thy hand,
The sea’s dark deep and far-off land.
And I am Thine, I rest in Thee!
Great Spirit come, and rest in me.
copyright Henry Richard McFadyen
Contemporary Parables: “Bedazzled” (2000), consequences of selling one’s soul to the devil; “Election” (2016), those who hurt other people; “Invisible Enemies” (1997), “People, sadly both Christians and non, are blinded to the reality of spiritual warfare.”
Image: Clip Art Images: Matthew 11:25-30, Misioneros Del Sagrado Corazon en el Peru.
Consider the 1997 film Liar Liar, starring Jim Carrey. The story is about a habitual liar who ends up having to tell the truth for one full day. Connect that concept with the epistle lesson from Romans and Paul’s admission that he does the very thing he does not want to do. Are there times when you do something that you know you should not but you do it anyway? Consider talking about this dilemma with the adults in your life. Share. [based on “Life Saver or Life Savior” from The Stewardship of Life Institute https://www.stewardshipoflife.org/2017/07/life-saver-or-life-savior/]
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Today’s reading from Matthew is when Jesus learns of the murder of John the Baptist. He mourns that people rejected him and John: John, for his severe message of judgment and ascetic lifestyle, and Jesus for his message of God’s love for all people and his zest for living. Nevertheless, God’s blessing is available for all who accept Jesus’ call and for all those who minister God’s love to other people.
Track 1. The first reading continues the story of our ancestors in faith. Sarah has died and Abraham sends his servant to his far-away relatives to find a wife for Isaac. We hear of the servant selecting Rebekah, who becomes the next mother of God’s chosen people.
Track 2. The first reading from Zechariah describes God coming to the people with joy and rejoicing. The prophet envisions the time when God’s visitation will bring peace and hope to all people.
We continue in the second lesson to read from Paul’s letter to the Romans. Although, as we heard last week, we have died and been raised in baptism, we still find that sin is alive in us. Paul struggles here with the notion that we are dead to sin and yet sin is still active in our lives. He comes to no easy answer but instead rejoices in God through Jesus who is the only solution to this quandary.
In the liturgy, we are reconstituted as resurrection people. We find the principles of living in the world to be those of God’s Kingdom rather than those of the world. In worship and in our ministry to the helpless we become signs of contradiction to the world’s standards.
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.