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Last Sunday's Sermon

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Job 38:1-7, (34-41)

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind:
    "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
    Gird up your loins like a man,
    I will question you, and you shall declare to me.

    "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
    Tell me, if you have understanding.
    Who determined its measurements-- surely you know!
    Or who stretched the line upon it?
    On what were its bases sunk,
    or who laid its cornerstone
    when the morning stars sang together
    and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy? "

    ["Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
    so that a flood of waters may cover you?
    Can you send forth lightnings, so that they may go
    and say to you, `Here we are'?
    Who has put wisdom in the inward parts,
    or given understanding to the mind?
    Who has the wisdom to number the clouds?
    Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens,
    when the dust runs into a mass
    and the clods cling together?

    "Can you hunt the prey for the lion,
    or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
    when they crouch in their dens,
    or lie in wait in their covert?
    Who provides for the raven its prey,
    when its young ones cry to God,
    and wander about for lack of food?"

    Mark 10:35-45

    James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to Jesus and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." And he said to them, "What is it you want me to do for you?" And they said to him, "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory." But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" They replied, "We are able." Then Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared."
    When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, "You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many."

    The Sermon

    Expect Nothing

    This has been a very interesting couple of weeks for me. It has little to do with our readings but I would like to share some of it with you. As most of you know Sherry and I went to Galena last weekend. We stayed with relatives at their “cabin” in the Galena Territory. It is very tranquil there and it was so much fun spending time with them. Part of the reason we went was so that I could attend a reunion of sorts with the guys who were my dorm mates in college. I had not seen any of them for around forty five years so there was a lot of catching up to do. I only spent about an hour with them but it was a pretty amazing hour. They each seemed to have a very keen memory of the things I had said and done over that two year period from '67 to '69. I am not sure I was the best influence on them. Actually I am pretty sure I was a bad influence on them. As I talked with these guys I was reminded that the things we say and do should not be taken lightly and everything we do has a ripple effect. Each of you shapes me as I shape you. It happens whether we like it or not.

    Since I am on the topic of behavior, let me say a few things about today's reading from Job. What happened to Job seems to defy our sense of justice. Job was a just man. He was a model citizen. He did everything right and still, his world fell apart. He loses everything. Job questions God's judgment and God rebukes him for it. God says where were you when the earth was formed. What do you know about lightening or rain or dust or the ways of nature.

    He is basically telling Job that this whole creation is beyond him and to not think for a minute that he is in charge. I don't think any of us really want to be in charge of our complex universe. So, if we aren't not in charge then why are we here?

    I was visiting with a friend a few days ago and we began talking about religion. He hadn't been to services in quite a while and he started out the conversation by saying, “I know we are supposed to be good and all so that when we die we can go to heaven.”

    I stopped him right there... I said that is not at all why we do good things. We do good things out of care and love for one another. We don't do it so there will be some great reward when we die. It is the exact opposite. It is the act of kindness and love with no expectation of a reward that ironically does give the greatest reward.

    James and John wanted to be rewarded with places of honor in God's kingdom. They wanted a place of glory and Jesus used their request as a teaching moment. He said, “Whoever wishes to become great among you must be a slave to all.” Sherry reminded us at bible study that the Prayer of St. Francis says the same thing. “It is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life”.

    Peace and Love,
    Fr. Fred

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