Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Lord's Prayer - Model for Prayer, Model for Life

10th Sunday after Pentecost – Proper 12 (Year C)
Genesis 18.20-32; Psalm 138; Colossians 2.6-15(16-19); Luke 11.1-13
Sunday, July 24, 2016 – St. Paul’s Emmanuel, Santa Paula

There are many things that various Christian denominations don’t agree on. Theological positions, liturgical practices, church polity, to name a few. But one of the thing we can all agree on is the centrality of the Lord’s Prayer. Nearly every worship service, regardless of denomination, includes the public recitation of this same prayer in some form. Now just to be clear, today’s Gospel contains a more scaled-down version than in Matthew’s Gospel, which is the version commonly used. Luke just gives us the basics, the most important parts. The parts he leaves out merely provide further explanation.

The first utterance of this prayer is by Jesus in response to his disciples’ request, “Lord, teach us to pray.” The prayer Jesus offers not only provides a model for how to pray, it also incorporates key defining points in our life of faith. For Christians, this prayer helps define who we are as followers of Jesus. It becomes an integral part of who we are.

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Sunday, July 10, 2016

"Go and Do Likewise"

8th Sunday after Pentecost – Proper 10 (Year C)
Deuteronomy 30.9-14; Psalm 25.1-10; Colossians 1.1-14; Luke 10.25-37
Sunday, July 10, 2016 – St. Paul’s Emmanuel, Santa Paula

This week we have witnessed a number of brutal acts of violence across our country. The killing of two homeless men and serious injury of two others in San Diego on Monday. The killing of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge on Tuesday. The killing of Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minnesota on Wednesday; the killing of five police officers in Dallas on Thursday. And all of this just a few weeks after the killing of 49 people in Orlando. As I watched the news coverage of some of these events, with endless analysis and commentary, what invariably was cited as the root cause – usually by religious leaders, but also by some political leaders – was not so much race, or Black Lives Matter, or excessive use of force by police. What it ultimately boils down to is love of neighbor. Or lack thereof.

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Sunday, July 03, 2016

We are the Seventy

7th Sunday after Pentecost – Proper 9 (Year C)
Isaiah 66.10-14; Psalm 66.1-8; Galatians 6.1-16; Luke 10.1-11, 16-20
Sunday, July 3, 2016 – St. Paul’s Emmanuel, Santa Paula

The season after Pentecost is all about growth, as evidenced by the color green. Growth of the Church and growth of those of us who follow Jesus. Today’s Gospel reading is a pivotal story about growth, particularly growth of the Church. Of course, throughout his public ministry, Jesus has been traveling through the countryside winning hearts and minds with his message of love and his acts of healing. Growing the Jesus Movement. A little earlier in Luke’s gospel, Jesus sends out the Twelve to expand that work. But in today’s reading, that takes a definite turn.

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