5 August 2018

posted 3 Aug 2018, 23:22 by C S Paul   [ updated 3 Aug 2018, 23:23 ]

5 August 2018

Scripture reading and Sermon

Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

Reading from the Scripture for this Sunday

Mark 6:7-13 New King James Version (NKJV)

Sending Out the Twelve

And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits. 

He commanded them to take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts— 

but to wear sandals, and not to put on two tunics.

10 Also He said to them, “In whatever place you enter a house, stay there till you depart from that place. 

11 And whoever will not receive you nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!”

12 So they went out and preached that people should repent. 

13 And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them.

Sermon / Homily on Mark 6:7-13

Homily On Mark 6:7-13

Jesus sent his disciples two by two on their journey with only their sandals, one tunic and a staff. Not very much, is it? If I had been asked to go on a journey with so little, I probably would have thought it impossible for me. And yet, Jesus is telling us that it is possible.

There is so much more in the four things that Jesus told his disciples to bring and it is no different in today's life. What is he really asking us to bring on our life journey of great experiences, steep declines, wrong turns, and happy surprises. Whether we are tired or energized, afraid or inspired, reluctant or eager, we hopefully will open our eyes to something new every day.

The first thing Jesus asks us to do is to go two by two. He is reminding us, in the gospel,to not do it alone. To make sure that we have good support as we experience the ups and downs. Sharing the good times is as important as it is to share the not so great times. We are not here alone in this life and we are asked to reach out. Is it difficult to reach out? At times it is and Jesus encourages us to still do so. He knew his disciples would face difficulties so he sent them in pairs not only for safety but for companionship, encouragement and help.So it is for us to not do it alone.

The tunic and the sandals are wonderful symbols. Jesus knew how heavy it is to travel when wearing more than one tunic. How much do we carry on our shoulders during our lifetime. Jesus asks us to not carry so much. Take off that extra tunic. All the worries that we carry can bring us down. To hold on to them does not change any situation but destroys the spirit in us. We are asked to let it go. When Jesus said to "shake off the dust that is on your feet and off your sandals" it is for us to shake off all the guilt that we carry every day. We are asked to travel light and try not to take on everyone else's stuff, to not look back.

In this life, we are asked to keep growing, maturing but when we are weighed down and consumed by things that happen around us, our growth is held back. We are asked to leave the fears, the guilt we might be carrying behind. For we have only this moment and rehashing all that "could have been" and letting the guilt of "I should have" will not allow that wonderful moment to happen. We are not asked to fix everyone else's lives for they are on their own journey. How can we stay grounded if we are living in a circle of "What if I had done this instead" the circle can't enter the ground and it stops us from becoming rooted thus keeping us from living a full, balanced life.

I am reading a book right now called "To Heaven and Back" by Mary C. Neal, MD. It's about a physician who goes on a kayaking trip to Chile with her husband. Her kayak tips over and she is stuck under water and dies. As people around her try to revive her, she goes to heaven and is given some life changing messages. She did come back to live and is now sharing some of her experiences.

I want to read to you something she wrote. "We are each given the opportunity and privilege to come to earth for different reasons. Sometimes we come in order that we may personally develop and strengthen the fruits of our spirit: those of love, kindness, patience, joy, peace, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Sometimes we come to help someone else develop the fruits of the spirit. We all come to earth to become more Christ-like. In preparation for our journey to earth, we are able to make a basic outline for our life. This is not to imply that we, the humans, are entirely in charge of our life's design. It is more like God creates it, then we review it and discuss it with our "personal planning" angel. Within our life there are written branch points at which times we may exit, returning to God, or we may be redirected to a different task and goal. We may be directed to these branch points by our own conscious choice and by our circumstances, or we may be pushed along by angelic intervention."As the author said, we are not alone here on earth. We are reminded that we have help during our life long experiences.

Jesus asked his apostles to bring a walking stick with them forit would help them to keep moving when the terrain got tough or when they became tired/weary. Jesus knew that we all are in need of help as we go through our life path. I think Jesus would encourage us to forgive ourselves and not carry a lifetime of guilt for we have done nothing wrong. We surely do make mistakes but isn't that how we grow and change. There is a misplaced focus. The focus is to let the light shine within and let the self-love happen. First have compassion for yourself and then have it for others. When compassion comes about, then love comes as well. Then all is possible.

Jesus knew that life's journey would not be easy for anyone. He left us with guidelines to help us along. We are asked to drop off that extra tunic, not do it alone and not look back but to keep going forward. Jesus said travel your journey not solo but by two. It is for us to remember that God is with us always, we are not alone. I have no words to describe the love God has for all of us. Take it in and God bless.

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