by The Reverend Kathy
Sermon September 12th Proper 19
In the silence of our hearts or in spoken words
Let us give thanks for the gift of this day
And pray for the life of the world…
Today’s lessons all have one thing in common and that is the reference to “Lead a life that is faithful to God. Wisdom is personified as a prophet; Wisdom speaks out in the street in the heart of the city, where legal decisions were often made. This resembles the similarities of the prophet’s role. Those not listening to wisdom and hearing her are portrayed in the verse “to life or death, security or disaster.
The book of Proverbs is a gathering of short sayings over long periods coming from practical experience. They are not from theological ideas but from wholesome advice from those who have lived a happy and satisfactory life. The reading from today is from the first 9 chapters and is instructions given by a father to his son so as to guide the youth in doing what is right and fair.
The Book of Psalms is significant for understanding the religious life of ancient Israel. The main purpose was for the expressions of the heart to be made in the spirit of worship. The living God is always creating and recreating and bringing forth order out of the original chaos. Let us look at each morning as a renewal of the first words of God. “Let there be light”.
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving our souls. God’s statues are wisdom and enlightenment and we receive joy and rewards, even though we may fail again and again, we can look to God to preserve us from pride and self-assertion.
James also talks about living life acceptable to God, and the difficulties of keeping our tongues in check. The tongue is the power of the spoken word and is a symbol of all that needs to be controlled in our everyday lives. There is a reference to the horses’ bit, and a ship’s rudder and how something relatively small controls something much larger. The tongue can control the entire person; even wild animals can be tamed, but not our tongues; which utter both blessings and curses. By learning to control our tongues it is the way it should be if our faith is to be lived out, through our words and deeds.
The issue of how to live faithfully is also a question in the passage from Mark. Jesus puts two questions to the disciples. “Who do people say that I am?” and he asks “But who do you say that I am?” Jesus openly tells the disciples and they don’t really grasp the meaning of what is being said. They misunderstand the title of Messiah, and they will need to be led into a new understanding before they can tell others. When Jesus went on to tell them of the great suffering and refection by the religious authorities before his death. The disciples did not understand. Peter immediately took Jesus aside to deny such notion, Jesus in response told Mark “Get behind me” Satan” Peter’s statement was not setting his mind on divine things, but on human things.
God invites us to set our minds on heavenly things, which does not mean just thinking nice thoughts or striving to enlist God to our side. It means trusting that God often works through vulnerability and weakness rather than through strength and certainty. Remember that God always leaves us the freedom to choose to lead a life believing in heaven, The Holy Trinity, The divinity of Christ, and the Resurrection. It is when we accept these beliefs on faith and surrender ourselves to God’s will. Remember that God transforms weakness and despair into glory and hope.
O God of unrestricted love and limitless grace, by the gift of your Holy Spirit may we daily be willing to set aside unforgiveness of any sort may we aspire to that Kingdom love the empowered our Lord Jesus Christ to forgive his executioners even as he was perishing on the Cross, and this we ask in the power of your Name.
The Reverend Kathy