Greetings from steamy Chuckatuck on the last Sunday in August. We hold in our prayers this afternoon, the people on the Gulf Coast as Hurricane Ida comes ashore, their health and safety; and we pray for those who are being evacuated from Kabul and the American service people who are putting their lives in harm’s way. We are thankful for where we are but also know and remember that we know the pain and fear that exists in those places. It is nice to be back after two weeks’ vacation, although it was hard to corral my brain for worship this morning. May you be held close by God’s gracious presence.

In worship today we were reminded that all the good things we have come from God and that our power to truly love is found in God’s presence in our lives. The relationships we have are the benefit of the fruits of our relationships with God and community. Our reading from Hebrew Scripture was from the Song of Solomon and tells the story of the beloved one (in this case Israel) and the lover (in this case God). The beloved is reminded that in God there is rebirth after troubles. Our Psalmist sings a song that tells of the stirring of our hearts when we remember God. That by singing our praise to God we find the capacity to praise even more. Our gospel from Mark reminds us that the law is not superficial, the rituals that make us feel better. Rather, the law is what brings hope and community in the midst of trouble.

Our sermon today was taken from the reading from James as moderated by the text, New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton. James reiterates that our faith is one that demands action and the building of community. We are called, all of us, to reach across the human-made boundaries to build lasting community in our diversity and differences.

I invite your comments,

Readings: Song of Solomon 2:8-13; Psalm 45:1-2, 7-10; James 1:17-27; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Video of worship:

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