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The Readings

Old Testament

Jeremiah 1:4-10

The word of the Lord came to me saying,
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations."
Then I said, "Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy." But the Lord said to me,
"Do not say, 'I am only a boy';
for you shall go to all to whom I send you,
and you shall speak whatever I command you,
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
says the Lord."
Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me,
"Now I have put my words in your mouth.
See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to pull down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant."

The Gospel
Luke 13:10-17

Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, "Woman, you are set free from your ailment." When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, "There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day." But the Lord answered him and said, "You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?" When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.

The Sermon

Jeremiah is considered the second of the later prophets in the old testament. He is believed to have lived in the 7th century BCE. Jeremiah warned his people that because they had turned away from God and worshiped other gods, disaster would strike. And, it did.

What strikes me about this passage is those first few lines. God says to Jeremiah,"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you.” There is so much power in that statement. What does that mean? To me it says that we came from God and God knew us before we were even conceived in the womb. We are a part of the Eternal God.

God goes on in this passage to tell Jeremiah that he has a mission and to not shy away from it. We have a mission too. Our mission is to share the Word, the Good News, with everyone we know, in as many ways that we can. I believe the best way to express that mission is to weave it into all we do. It can be as simple as a kind word to someone you meet. It can mean opening a door for someone or stopping your car so that a pedestrian can cross the street. It can be giving of your time or treasure to a worthy cause. We all know the difference between right and wrong. We know when we are giving instead of taking. Tell me. What are some of the ways you express your Christian mission?

One of the key components of the Episcopal Church philosophy is the three legged stool. It is a simple but effective way for us to express what we believe. The analogy of the three legged stool goes like this. A three legged stool will not stand up if one of the legs is missing. The three legs in our stool are scripture, tradition, and reason. These three legs are the guiding principal of our faith. Scripture is the inspiration that guides our faith. Tradition binds us to our past and our future and reason is God's gift to us when we try to make sense of our world.

In today’s gospel reading Jesus makes it very clear that reason is important. He cures a woman on the sabbath. The leader of the Synagogue is upset because according to the rules no work was to be done on that day. Jesus' response was, “don't you untie your ox so that it may drink on that day?” It only makes sense to heal a person who has had a troubling infirmity for eighteen long years. It is a reasonable thing to do.

The Episcopal church is a good fit for me. It gives me structure with a human thoughtful touch.


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