Songs of love and transforming souls

A Sermon for Proper 17: Song of Solomon 2:8-13, Psalm 45:1-2, 7-10, James 1:17-27, Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23.

The Song of Songs or Song of Solomon is unique among all the books of the Bible. It is one of two books whose voice is from a woman’s perspective. It is one of two that never mentions God. It is the only one that is a series of poems or songs about love. The poems are neither an allegory nor a metaphor about the love of God; they are titillatingly sensuous love poems (Wines). Their presence in the Bible reminds us that our sexuality is a gift from God, and we should honor it as such, but this is a subject for another day. For this morning, we glean that the desire to know a person so sensuously intimately is the desire to know and be known (Hoezee – Song).

Do you remember being struck dumb by love? I do. Everything I saw, everything I did, came out of my infatuation. For a while that was a good thing. However, there really can be too much of a good thing. I can recall driving to Atlanta for a party being thrown on our behalf. We were half way there, and I had not said a word. Angie astutely asked me if anything was wrong, and I mumbled something incoherent about no white horse, chiming bells and so forth. She smiled, I think suppressing a laugh, and whatever she said allowed me let go of my romantic fantasy and thus my loving infatuation began to grow and mature. Over thirty-five years it has continued to grow and mature; at least I think so.

The truth is it is a good thing for our love to grow and mature. To be stuck where we are is to miss out on the new things that life and grace of God bring your way. The same is true about our relationship with God. In Molten Souls Grey Temple describes the emotional impact of a loving encounter with the Spirit that is so overwhelming it is similar to being struck dumb by love. The experience shapes everything. One response is to freeze the experience and then at every opportunity try to give it to another just as we experienced it. It does not work. One thing that allows us to be shaped by the Spirit is that our souls are molten, just like hot metal. When metal is molten it is malleable; a skilled craftsman, like the folks at local mills, can shape the metal into whatever they need. What they will also tell you is, let it cool too much, and you cannot shape it at all. When we freeze the experience of our molten soul’s encounter with the Spirit and try to give it away, it is like hitting someone with a metal bar. Part of mature living in the presence of the Spirit is to allow our souls continue to be molten so we can continue to be shaped by the Spirit as we continue to encounter the ever-changing experiences of life. Another lesson is that as powerful as our experience is; it is our experience, and we cannot give it away. What we can do is to share the warmth of divine love, which come from the molten state of our souls, with our neighbors. Then we can invite them into God’s presence and trust the Spirit to do what the Spirit does. In this way, our neighbor has an opportunity to have their molten soul transforming experience. Instead of one person being transformed and another being hit over the head with it, now two people have transforming experiences. So grows the body of Christ.

Throughout the millennia, history shows us how gatherings of the faithful behave just like individuals do. They gather a common experience of their god and encase it in stories and rules. Now stories are good because they are a way of teaching. Rules are good because they are a way of guiding. However, when stories and rules get frozen, they can do harm just as a frozen experience can. Such harm is what Jesus encounters when the Pharisees and scribes challenge him about his disciples not precisely following the purity code about eating (Webb). Notice Jesus does not argue that point of law. He points to their failure to follow God’s commandment to honor your father and mother. In the verses we do not read, he talks about the practice of Corbin; which is sort of like a life gift to charity where you give them the principle, and they provide you with an annual return until your death. With Corbin what you give to the Temple is no longer subject to the commandment to care for, your father and your mother. The practice of Corbin twists the law away from the guiding love toward parents to self-interest. Corbin leads its practitioners away from loving God (Hoezee – Mark). Strict legalism, when the law is above love when the law becomes more important than people, leads faith communities to produce strictness and meanness (Hoezee – Mark). Just like us, for stories and rules of faith communities to continue to invite people into God’s transforming presence they have to be malleable, they have to change. This means the faith communities; the church has to change.

I ran across an essay by Garrison Keillor on Episcopalians (Keillor). He writes about

our clam, our stayed pace, our fondness of macaroni and cheese.

He notes

They are the sort of people you could call up when you’re in deep distress. If you are dying, they will comfort you. If you are lonely, they’ll talk to you. And if you are hungry, they’ll give you tuna salad!

Episcopalians believe in prayer, but would practically die if asked to pray out loud.

Episcopalians like to sing, except when confronted with a new hymn or a hymn with more than four stanzas.

Episcopalians drink coffee as if it were the Third Sacrament.

Episcopalians still serve Jell-O in the proper liturgical color of the season.

And [w]hen you watch a Star Wars movie and they say, “May the Force be with you,” and [they] respond, “and also with you.”

As lighthearted as they are Keillor’s observations are spot on; we have our deeply ingrained traditions, and through them we teach, through them we guide, our children, our neighbors, and ourselves.

As we listen closely to Mark, we hear Jesus asking us to look at our practices and ask whether they’ve become more important than our mission (Lose). Which of our traditions reveal God’s love? Which of our traditions obscure God’s love? How do we know? We can ask ourselves. We can ask our neighbors, our kids, co-workers, and those who aren’t coming to church, what needs to change for our worship and congregational life to be more understandable, accessible, useful, and helpful (Lose). The Gospel story teaches and guides us toward the least of these, those around us who are vulnerable, powerless, marginalized, and forgotten (Epperly). The whole of the Gospel story teaches and guides us to share the warmth of our molten souls so our neighbors may shaped by the touch of the Spirit and transformed by the eternal love of God.


References

Epperly, Bruce. The Adventurous Lectionary. 30 8 2015. <http://www.patheos.com/blogs/livingaholyadventure/author/bruceepperly&gt;.

Hoezee, Scott. Proper 17B Mark. 30 8 2015. <http://cep.calvinseminary.edu/thisWeek/index.php&gt;.

Hoezee, Scott. Proper 17 B Song of Solomon. 30 8 2015. <http://cep.calvinseminary.edu/thisWeek/index.php&gt;.

Keillor, Garrison. “Garrison Keillor on Episcopalians.” 22 8 2015. Facebook. <https://www.facebook.com/search/str/garrison%20keillor%20episcopalians/keywords_top&gt;.

Lose, David. Easter 4 B: God is Not Done Yet! 26 4 2015. <http://www.davidlose.net&gt;.

Temple, Grey. “The Molten Soul.” New York: Church Publishing, 2000.

Webb, Elizabeth. Commentary on Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23. 30 8 2015. <http://www.workingpreacher.org/&gt;.

Wines, Alphonetta. Commentary on Song of Solomon 2:8-13. 30 8 2015. <http://www.workingpreacher.org/&gt;.

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God, who cannot be contained, is always present and responsive.

A sermon for Proper 16 B

1 Kings 8:(1, 6, 10-11),22-30, 41-43, Joshua 24:1-2a,14-18, Psalm 84, Psalm 34:15-22, Ephesians 6:10-20, John 6:56-69

When I see a series of commas and parentheses in the lectionary, I know I’m in trouble because I really do not believe in reading bits and pieces of anything. So I went back and read the entire story of the building of the Temple. I found the dimensions of the Temple, 60 cubits by 20 cubits by 30 cubits. For some reason, I was inspired to look up the size of the Ark, which is 300 cubits by 50 cubits by 30 cubits. A bit later I read Solomon’s Palace was 100 cubits, by 50 cubits by 30 cubits. What it is about 30 cubits, which is only 45 feet? Perhaps it’s a tower of Babel and some height thing, but there is no obvious connection. Who knows maybe it is a symbolic reminder that God cannot be contained.

The story opens with the Ark being brought to the Temple and put in its most holy place. As soon as the priests leave the room is filled with a cloud. If you recall, a cloud that leads Israel out of Egypt; that a cloud cover the top of Saini when Moses is consulting with God; and a cloud is in the Tabernacle Tent when God speaks to Moses. We know the cloud marks God’s presence. If you read all the verses you will read about glory, God’s name and deep darkness, all of which, along with the Temple itself, are marks of God’s presence. We might like a cleaner, clearer depiction of God’s presence, but we can’t have one. Solomon himself says:

But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built! (1 Kings 8:27)

So while the Temple or any other human construct may represent God’s sovereign presence, it cannot contain nor constrain the divine presence (Epperly, Petersen and Gavenat, Nelson, Seow).

However, because of their presence we are reminded of, we are assured of: God’s freedom to intervene; that we are free to come into God’s presence; that we are free pray to God’s presence in the face of whatever calamity may have befallen us. (Seow)

One unusual feature in Solomon’s dedication prayer is the inclusion of foreigners. The Temple is a place all Israel and all the nations of the world may come to and offer prayers or may offer prayers towards. In short he is telling all the world God will listen to your prayers.

We shouldn’t be surprised, we know God created all humanity in God’s image. (Gen 1:26) What is hard for us to remember is the divine image in the other, in the ‘them’ over there. It is hard to remember that God’s desire to be in a relationship with us includes us being in the same loving relationship with everyone around us. (Galvin)

As we know from the recent violence in Blytheville and Mississippi County, it is oh so easy to get caught up in fears, self-interest, vengeance, greed, and self-protection. When we live in that, fear our souls can shrink.

From our Christian Sacramentality, we may see Eucharistic symbolism in the story. As with the Temple, we believe in the real, abiding, though mystic, presence of God in Eucharistic elements. (Whitley) We also know they cannot contain the totality of God nor constraint God’s presence. Through the Gospels connecting Jesus to the Temple (Matt 26:61, 27:40, Mark 14:58, 15:29, John 2:19) we see how both point towards the true living presence of God that is revealed through manifold salvific acts.

While the story is framed as Solomon’s dedicating the Temple, it is significant his first response to the appearance of the cloud of God’s presence is to pray.  (Jacobson, Lewis, and Skinner) Verses 31 to 40, which we did not hear, are a list of prayers Israel may offer to God covering everything from resolving disputes to seeking help while in exile. Solomon would expect us to take all our emotional responses to the recent and ongoing challenges in Blytheville to God in prayer. He would expect us to acknowledge that we continue to be radically dependent on God. (Galvin) In the Celtic Christianity, there is a prayer tradition of drawing a circle around yourself as you pray. It is not a barrier of protection. It is a reminder that Christ is above, beneath, behind, in front, to your left and your right, all around you, all the time. It’s not a magical act that banishes fear. It is an empowering act of faith in God that does allow us to subdue our fears so that we can live with them and not allow them to control us and how we respond the world and our interactions with people around us. As one bit of wisdom puts it

when we are afraid we do not need to be afraid of being afraid because people who love you and God are with you. (Epperly)

The other option of an Old Testament reading is from Joshua where he asks Israel, who they will follow, and they robustly proclaim they will follow God. He tells them they cannot. He’s right. The rest of the Old Testament is the continuing story of peoples and kings failing to follow God. It is also to the story of God’s continuing presence. If God’s is not constrained by the Temple, if God’s presence is not constrained in sacramental elements, God’s presence is not constrained by the sinful mess of the world. So, we are justified by being frightened, or concerned, or whatever adjective you chose to use, by the violence, injustice, oppression and all the other forms of inhumanity towards each other. However, through prayerful seeking we can know God’s loving presence and therefore we will not allow the fears of the world to determine our response to the world. Through prayer we will glean the loving response to ‘them’ over there God is calling us to. We might even glean God’s guiding response in their lives.


References

Ellingsen, Mark. Proper 16, OT 21, Cycle B. 23 8 2015. <http://www.lectionaryscripturenotes.com/&gt;.

Epperly, Bruce. Pentecost 13 _ August 23, 2015. 23 8 2015. <http://www.patheos.com/blogs/livingaholyadventure/2015/05/pentecostsundaymay242015/&gt;.

Galvin, Garrett. Commentary on 1 Kings 8:[1, 6, 10-11] 22-30, 41-43. 23 8 2015.

Harrelson, Walter J. The New Interpreters’ Study Bible. Abingdon Press, 2003. E-book.

Hoezee, Scott. 1 Kings 8:1-43. 23 8 2015.

Jacobson, Rolf, Karoline Lewis and Matt Skinner. Sermon Brain Wave. 23 8 2015.

Lewis, Karoline. Dear Working Preacher Not Just Bread Anymore. 23 8 2015. <workingpreacher.org>.

Nelson, Richard. Interpretations: First and Second Kings. Ed. James Luther Mays, Patrick D. Miller and Paul J Achtemeier. Louisville: John Know Press, 1987.

Petersen, David L and Beverly R Gavenat. New Interpreter’s One Volume Commentary. Nashville TN: Abingdon Press, 2010.

Seow, Choon-Leong. New Interpreters’ Bible: First and Second Books of Kings. Ed. Leander Keck. Vol. 3. Abingdon Press, 1999. 12 vols.

Whitley, Katerina. “The Word Made Flesh – Proper 16(B),” 23 8 2015. Sermons that Work.

The Nature of our God

A Sermon for Proper 15

1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14, Psalm 111, Ephesians 5:15-20, John 6:51-58

We know the story of Solomon, who asks for an understanding heart and mind to govern God’s people. What we do not know, largely because the church excludes it from the lectionary readings, is the rest of the story. It is not pretty.

David’s selection of Solomon is full of intrigue. Adonijah, a half-brother, actually sort of usurps the throne and simply begins behaving like the king. Bathsheba and some court officials bring it to David’s attention, who, with a little persuasion, okay significant persuasion, anoints Solomon.

In fear and trembling Adonijah slips away. Sometime later, as David is dying, he gives Solomon specific instructions about consolidating his reign, and finishing off a few details David was not able to clear up. Adonijah, Joab, Shimei, are all put to death. Abiathar would have been, except that he carried Ark before David, and so he is banished. Having secured the kingdom from internal threats, Solomon turns to external threats. He immediately arranges to marry one of Pharaoh’s daughters. It’s a triumph for Solomon; however, it is contrary to Deuteronomy which warns Israel never to return to Egypt (Petersen and Beverly). God appears to Solomon in a dream while he is at Gibeon, to offer sacrifice. The only trouble is Gibeon, is known as one of the high places, where sacrifices are offered to other gods, including Baal. There is not yet a temple in Jerusalem; however, the Ark is there, and there are explicit rules regulating sacrifices, and Gibeon doesn’t meet the criteria (Harrelson).

Nonetheless, God appears to Solomon in a dream, and dreams are always a sign to pay attention. God asks what Solomon wants. Solomon recounts: how God was faithful to his father, who walked upright before God; how God has made him king; ; then Solomon asks for an understanding mind, or heart, to govern God’s people.

Solomon’s request is more than we tend to see. He begins by acknowledging, that he, as had his father, made a mess of things from time to time. We all know, David loved the Lord but did not always walk upright before the Lord. That is followed by the confession, that Solomon needs some help, he needs some guidance about how to be a good king. Finally, his request cast kingship as a servant of God (Nelson). He places his and the peoples’ relationship with God before anything else (Galvin).

God grants his request and promises him riches and honors no other king has ever had, nor ever will have. It took a while, but that promise has set off a never-ending series of stories and movies about King Solomon Mines. And like so much else in the bits of Solomon’s story we do not read, they also miss the point. If riches and wisdom are not the point what is?

The first clue is Solomon’s vision of David’s reign. He knew the reality of royal politics. He knew his father’s many missed steps. Yet he was drawn to the relationship between God and David; and between David and the prophets Nathan and Gad, who frequently told David truths he did not want to hear but was able to. David’s ability to hear the truth allows him to change his behavior. Solomon seems to have gleaned that relationships offer us the chance to grow and trust in God as we see God’s grace and mercy towards us through the care others have for us (Galvin).

Secondly, Solomon’s vision of kingship as a divine servanthood is not new. Remember Hammurabi, the author of the first written law, is depicted as receiving the king’s scepter from his god. This vision is lasting, the New Testament often states how governments, knowingly or nor not, are often, though imperfect, the instruments of God.

Finally, we know David was flawed. We know Solomon is flawed. Nonetheless, God, as promised, is present. Remember, despite Solomon’s choices to marry foreign royalty, to dillydally in building God’s Temple, and Jerusalem’s defenses, all of which put God’s people at risk, it is God who comes to Solomon, with an offer of a gift (Seow). The gift Solomon receives, the gift we receive, is not an every now and again wisdom, but wisdom incarnate (Hoezee). The heart and mind, the whole of Solomon meets the whole of God, who loves him and gives him the opportunity of redemption. It’s a bit of a precursor of when we receive the body and blood of Jesus, when the whole of us, heart, mind, soul, and strength, through Jesus, meets the whole of God who loves us, redeems us, and sustains us (Lose).

A final point. We are just like David and Solomon, the details differ, but we love God as much, and we, in our own ways, make just a big a mess as they did. Nonetheless, God stayed with David; God appears to Solomon, and God continues to be present to the imperfect love, … the sincere … inadequate response of mortals, with undeserved blessings, only to summon [us] yet again to love and to [follow] (Seow).

I wrote Friday a week ago, that we can stop the violence, not knowing that Saturday would be so terribly violent. I wrote this past Friday, fully aware of the dramatic dynamic police presence sweeping numerous dangerous people off the streets of Blytheville and our sister cities. As Tom Henry notes this police operation has created an opportunity for us to step up, to do the difficult relationship work that can transform Blytheville, Osceola, Mississippi County and perhaps be a model of change for the Delta (Henry).

We may not have the military prowess of David. We may not have the wisdom of Solomon. We do have the divine promise of nevertheless. God is with us, God will help us be wise, help us understand the divine will, has given us the Spirit, and we can sing, we can proclaim the transforming presence of God right here right now.


References

Ellingsen, Mark. Proper 15 OT 20 Cycle B. 16 8 2015. <http://www.lectionaryscripturenotes.com/&gt;.

Galvin, Garrett. Commentary on 1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14. 16 8 2015.

Henry, Tom. “Blind Justus and the Vacuum.” Blytheville Courier News 12 8 2015. web.

Hoezee, Scott. Old Testament Lectionary Text is: 1 Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14. 16 8 2015. <http://cep.calvinseminary.edu/thisWeek/index.php&gt;.

KESSELUS, KEN. Sermons that Work. 16 8 2015.

Lose, David. Pentecost 12 B: Meeting the Carnal God. 16 8 2015. <davidlose.net>.

Nelson, Richard. Interpretations: First and Second Kings. Ed. James Luther Mays, Patrick D. Miller and Paul J Achtemeier. Louisville: John Know Press, 1987.

Seow, Choon-Leong. New Interpreters’ Bible: First and Second Books of Kings. Ed. Leander Keck. Vol. 3. Abingdon Press, 1999. 12 vols.

We can stop the violence

A sermon for proper 14

2 Samuel 18:59, 15-, 31-33, Psalm 130, Ephesians 4:25-5:2, John 6:35, 41-51

Three weeks ago, the last time I had the honor of preaching, we left David hearing that God would build him a house – make his family a royal dynasty. How did we get from there, to this morning? Well, its complex, so let’s see if we can touch on the major points.

After God assures David that his house shall stand forever, David successfully leads Israel in several wars against neighboring kingdoms. For an unnamed reason he stays home for one campaign. While walking the roof top one evening he see Bathsheba bathing on the neighboring roof top. Their illicit dalliance results in pregnancy. David plots to have Uriah Bathsheba’s husband, spend time with his wife, so everyone would think he is the father. Because of Uriah’s honor, it does not work, and David orders him killed. Sometime later Amnon one of David’s sons by another mother, falls in love with his half-sister Tamar, yes a third mother. His passion drives him to follow in his father footsteps. David refuses to punish Amnon, which infuriates Tamar’s brother Absalom; who kills Amnon to avenge his sister. David banishes him for this. But David is distracted by his absence. Through a conspiracy by Joab, his commander, David allows Absalom to return home. After a while Absalom attracts the attention of several powerful families, and essentially raises an army of sufficient strength that David flees his own capital. What follows is worthy of a John le Carre’ spy novelette resulting in Absalom’s forces aligned and ready to assault David’s forces. As you heard, it did not go well for Absalom. Israel’s forces are routed, and while riding his mule, the customary ride for royalty, he is caught in the branches of an oak tree, perhaps by his much admired hair, where he is killed by Joab and his armor bearers (Petersen and Bevery). He is buried under a pile of stones, which maybe a further dishonor, or an honorable burial (Petersen and Bevery) (BIRCH). Even after death Absalom is a divisive figure. David’s grief is so consuming it eclipses victory.

As one commentator wrote it doesn’t get more tawdry, it doesn’t get sadder than this. The woefulness has its roots in David’s behavior. Amnon’s and Absalom’s behaviors are seen in David’s lusty behavior with Bathsheba and his murder of Uriah (Hoezee). It’s seen in his disregard for women; one wonders if he had shown any affection for Tamar if Amnon and Absalom would have survived (Harrelson). The tragedy is seen in David’s pardon of Absalom. Although he was home, David would not see or speak to him; he showed him no love at all (BIRCH).

David’s grief over Absalom’s death reveals the generational effect of behaviors. The inequities of parents that bear upon the third and forth generation. (Ex 20:5, 34:0) It also reveals the social effects of behaviors across boundaries like generations, gender, race, or however we divide ourselves. We get angry, we grieve the tragedies of our sons and daughters even as we fail to take the necessary steps to deal with issues of

 “poverty, education, familial dysfunction, substance abuse, and consumerist values [that] distort the future.” (NIB)

We get angry about children not being prepared to work, even as we reduce the real value of public spending on education; or as Alabama did this week reduce actual spending by $250 million dollars. We disparage those, who, once out of jail, don’t have a job, as we make it more and more difficult for them to qualify. We rage at police killing unarmed people. We fume about petty drug dealers shooting and killing police officers, even as we tap the licensed concealed carried weapons on our person.

I suspect we are expressing a form of David’s grief in the angst over the proposed treaty with Iran. Iran seeks to be recognized as a sovereign nation. We are angry as they take or support violent actions in neighboring countries. All the while forgetting we supply their neighbors, with whom there is historic enmity, with billions in arms, from which US companies make billions. We are fearful as they take preparatory steps for what we see as apocalyptic violence. Yet we have forgotten that in 1953, over a dispute about oil, the US and Great Britain overthrew a democratically elected Iranian government in favor of the Shah; whom they threw out in 1979. Even as David’s grief emerges from his own action, our anger, our fear emerges from our own behaviors; from what we have done, from what we have not done, personally, as a community, and as a nation. We see in David’s lament, our own lament (BIRCH).

All our lives are a jumbled interconnected mess. Whether we acknowledge it or not our lives are connected to fleeing refugees on the Greek coast, displaced Syrians in Turkey, Iranians, Myanmar Rohingya refugees; our lives are connected to our neighbors in in Ferguson, Charleston, Auora, in Memphis, Manila, and Kennett; our lives are connected to our neighbors on Dougan, Walker, 6th, Ash, Holly and Hearn streets. We are connected to all the dysfunction and violence in our world. So, how do we avoid responding to violence with violence of our own? Such reflexive violence comes in all sorts of forms, from undisciplined policing to kneejerk demeaning of those who look like ‘them’. What is our responsibility as individuals, as a community, and as a nation? Can we stop the violence? What can we do?

Laura tells of sharing her failed efforts to protect her family from dysfunctional behavior. She wants to know “What can I do?” She is shocked by the answer “Nothing.” After allowing the truth of the shocking answer to settle in,  the speaker continues:

 “You could make your own health and wellbeing a priority so you can respond in a healthy, [loving] way to whatever life throws at you.” (Walsh)

We are in the midst of a series of bread of life Gospel readings. Behind them is Deuteronomy 8:3

… that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

To try and live by bread alone, or anything else we believe is necessary for life, like safety,  limits our vision and we see no farther than the things themselves, and miss the presence and the love of God. God gives us all we need for life so that we may see more than we would see otherwise see, and live as we otherwise would not live. So that we may live as imitators of God, in love, with kindness towards all (Liggett), (Jacobson, Lewis and Skinner). From here we can use the divine gifts of forgiveness and reconciliation to break the cyclical chains of dysfunction and violence (Klein).

Are we up to stopping the dysfunction and violence? There is group of churches in Blytheville making the effort. On the surface it seems overwhelming. However, as David Lose notes:

[It is] amazing and miraculous that God works through flawed pastors, jaded teachers, worn-out secretaries, overworked government officials, exhausted parents, and the like – that God would choose these and so many other unlikely candidates through whom to work, even when they don’t suspect it (Lose).

In just a bit we will offer to God ordinary, simple bread, and nondescript wine; then we will receive them as the sacramental divine presence. Similarly, our simple, nondescript selves, as we are heard, seen, smelt or touched, can be a sacramental presence to our neighbors; here in Blytheville, across our nation, and across the world.

We can stop the violence, by working on our own behaviors, living on what God supplies, being kind to all God’s people, extending forgiveness, seeking reconciliation, and living as a sacrament to the world.

As it always has been, our missteps have led to the missteps of our children, and others in our community, and in other nations. Nevertheless ~God is present, herein lies the strength to change the world, one self, one neighbor at a time.


References

BIRCH, BRUCE C. New Interpreters’ Bible; THE FIRST AND SECOND BOOKS OF SAMUEL. Abingdon Press, 2001. CD.

Ellingsen, Mark. Proper 14 B 2015. 9 8 2015. <http://www.lectionaryscripturenotes.com/&gt;.

Harrelson, Walter J. The New Interpreters’ Study Bible. Abingdon Press, 2003. E-book.

Hoezee, Scott. “Proper 14B | Center for Excellence in Preaching.” 9 8 2015. Working Preacher.

Jacobson, Rolf, Karoline Lewis and Matt Skinner. Sermon Brain Wave. 9 8 2015.

Klein, Ralph W. Commentary on 2 Samuel 18:59,. 9 8 2015. <http://www.workingpreacher.org/&gt;.

Liggett, James. “Proper 14 B.” 9 8 2015. Sermons that Work.

Lose, David. Pentecost 11 B: Ordinary Things. 9 8 2015. <http://www.davidlose.net&gt;.

Petersen, David and Roberts Gaventa Bevery. New Interpreters’ Bible, One Volume Commentary. Nashville TN: Abbingdon Press, 2010. ebook.

Walsh, Lora. Speaking to the Soul: Only Through Prayer. 7 8 2015. <http://www.episcopalcafe.com/speakingtothesoulonlythroughprayer/&gt;.