Greetings from Chuckatuck in the middle of September. It has been a pleasant week and life continues to move forward for us. As one might imagine, life and wildlife at St. John’s is something to behold: between the hummingbird who has taken up residence to the brown orb weaver spider that snagged a cicada – it’s a little bit like Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom outside my office. Even with the hiccups in worship today, and they were new hiccups too, we had a good service. We also remembered those who have been impacted by a number of things recently: wildfires in the west, another tropical storm/hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, and general disorder in society. Yet, we are assured that God is with us in our journey.

In worship today we were reminded that left to our own strength we are ultimately unproductive. In our lesson from Exodus we heard the story of God’s protection of the Israelites at the Red Sea (Sea of Reeds) during the exodus from Egypt. The story reinforces that God’s strength is what saves us from our foes, not our own. The gospel reading from Matthew reminds us that we are called to forgive those who offend us “not just 7 times but 77 times” because that is what makes us a community. The Psalmist sings the song of God’s providence and ability to save us in the face of our oppressive enemies, and is strong enough to make the hills jump like lambs. Today’s sermon focused on Paul’s letter to the Romans. Paul reminds us that no matter what we are in the worldly realm we are still God’s and loved by God. We are called to live in harmony with those who are not like us and, in fact, to seek out those not like us so we can better understand the nature of God. We are called to have transformed and renewed minds – because that is what is a hallmark of our faith and trust in God.

I invite your comments,

Readings: Exodus 14:19-31; Psalm 114; Romans 14:1-12; Matthew 18:21-35

Video of today’s worship:

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