JULY 5, 2020 – FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
Dear Family in Christ,
As usual, I invite you to read, read again slowly, listen, and hear what God is saying in these four scripture readings for this Sunday. Pick one passage that speaks especially to you. What word or idea jumps out? Pay attention to that word or idea. Listen for what new thing God may saying, or calling you to do.
The Collect is at heart of both the Jewish Scripture and Christian, based on Jesus’ teaching of the commandment. He combines two commands from the Old Testament – love God and love one another. Be devoted to God, and united to one another — important guidelines for us in these days of division in our nation and communities, our politics and rhetoric — even how we cope with this virus. Jesus’ “way, truth, and life” is transforming. When we follow Jesus, we no longer follow the world. We live in the world. Our allegiance is to another.
The Old Testament reading from Genesis continues the story of Abraham, and the creation of a nation to enlighten all peoples. Rebekah joins the family entrusted with God’s promise. Today’s task, find Abraham’s son Isaac a wife. The servant sent, prayer to a greater being, Rebekah who agrees and goes home to be Isaac’s wife. Sarah, Isaac’s mother’s death. And the story of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim peoples begins to grow – God’s promise.
The psalm is placed with these readings, probably to match the story from Genesis. The king, one like Isaac, will have sons, one who will continue the history of God creating Judah. God blesses this people, not because they are worthy, or superior – far from it, as we shall see with the twins. God’s ways and wisdom are not ours. And here we are, offspring, too of the promise.
Romans 7 depicts a battle of human life. Doing good, serving God rightly is threatened by the enemy, sin. Sin eats at the best of human motives and actions. Humanity does not have the strength, wisdom or power to overcome sin alone. Even good gifts, like the law can be used by sin to destroy humanity – taking over the innermost being of a person – mind, thought and actions. Only through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, does God reveal victory over sin. The promise of salvation, healing, redemption of God continues to be kept.
Matthew’s gospel presents Jesus, exasperated by the religious establishment’s reception to the fulfillment of God’s promise. Jesus to them, a loose person – a glutton and drunkard – John, grim, too serious and uptight. Neither pleases them. Jesus’ prayer tells us God’s wisdom is understood, not by knowledge and intelligence, according to human standards — but by inner wisdom, to “infants” who joyfully receive God’s revelation. Those who follow Jesus will find by their close relationship with him, a new understanding — that frees them from the law, and its misuse, and draws them into a new understanding of God’s promise — one who gives rest to the weary — worn down by religion’s burdens. God invites us to be at one – to rest in Jesus, gentle and meek, not so much for the body, as the soul.
May God’s Spirit be with you as you “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” these texts. Blessings, Fr. Steve
Fifth Sunday after Pentecost – July 5, 2020
Proper 9 – Year A
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.
Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67
The servant said to Laban, “I am Abraham’s servant. The Lord has greatly blessed my master, and he has become wealthy; he has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male and female slaves, camels and donkeys. And Sarah my master’s wife bore a son to my master when she was old; and he has given him all that he has. My master made me swear, saying, ‘You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live; but you shall go to my father’s house, to my kindred, and get a wife for my son.’
“I came today to the spring, and said, ‘O Lord, the God of my master Abraham, if now you will only make successful the way I am going! I am standing here by the spring of water; let the young woman who comes out to draw, to whom I shall say, “Please give me a little water from your jar to drink,” and who will say to me, “Drink, and I will draw for your camels also” —let her be the woman whom the Lord has appointed for my master’s son.’
“Before I had finished speaking in my heart, there was Rebekah coming out with her water jar on her shoulder; and she went down to the spring, and drew. I said to her, ‘Please let me drink.’ She quickly let down her jar from her shoulder, and said, ‘Drink, and I will also water your camels.’ So I drank, and she also watered the camels. Then I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ She said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bore to him.’ So I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her arms. Then I bowed my head and worshiped the Lord, and blessed the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me by the right way to obtain the daughter of my master’s kinsman for his son. Now then, if you will deal loyally and truly with my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, so that I may turn either to the right hand or to the left.”
And they called Rebekah, and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” She said, “I will.” So they sent away their sister Rebekah and her nurse along with Abraham’s servant and his men. And they blessed Rebekah and said to her, “May you, our sister, become thousands of myriads; may your offspring gain possession of the gates of their foes.” Then Rebekah and her maids rose up, mounted the camels, and followed the man; thus the servant took Rebekah, and went his way. Now Isaac had come from Beer-lahai-roi, and was settled in the Negeb. Isaac went out in the evening to walk in the field; and looking up, he saw camels coming. And Rebekah looked up, and when she saw Isaac, she slipped quickly from the camel, and said to the servant, “Who is the man over there, walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took her veil and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent. He took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
Psalm 45: 11-18
Eructavit cor meum
11 “Hear, O daughter; consider and listen closely; *
forget your people and your father’s house.
12 The king will have pleasure in your beauty; *
he is your master; therefore do him honor.
13 The people of Tyre are here with a gift; *
the rich among the people seek your favor.”
14 All glorious is the princess as she enters; *
her gown is cloth-of-gold.
15 In embroidered apparel she is brought to the king; *
after her the bridesmaids follow in procession.
16 With joy and gladness they are brought, *
and enter into the palace of the king.
17 “In place of fathers, O king, you shall have sons; *
you shall make them princes over all the earth.
18 I will make your name to be remembered
from one generation to another; *
therefore nations will praise you for ever and ever.”
I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
Jesus said to the crowd, “To what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another,
‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not mourn.’
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
“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.”