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    Resources for the 15th Sunday after Pentecost


Texts & Discussions:

Song of Solomon 2:8-13 and
Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9 or
Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9 and
Psalm 15
James 1:17-27
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23


Prayer for Love of Neighbor

Teach me to love, Lord, as you love,
unconditional, honest, and kind.
May it be seen in my face and my eyes, Lord.
May it be simple and sincere. Amen.




Children's Messages

Sermon Excerpt

James 1: 17-27


Many of you know that prior to going to seminary to study for the ordained ministry, I spent over twenty years in the practice of public relations. In that time of twenty years, I heard many words used to describe just what it is that public relations practitioners do. Names that immediately come to mind are ones like "PR jockeys" and "spin doctors" as if those in the public relations field dedicate themselves to spinning the meaning of words to fit what needs to be said. I should tell you that terms like "spin doctor" are offensive to those ethical public relations practitioners who are committed to their profession. Jack Kevorkian calls himself a medical doctor, but he certainly does not represent the entire medical profession. So, too, everyone who presents themselves to be involved in public relations, does not represent those who practice public relations professionally and ethically.

One other name used for people in public relations, is "wordsmith." Just as someone who makes or shapes things out of metal is called a "blacksmith," people who make and shape stories out of words are called "wordsmiths." But public relations people are not the only ones who are "wordsmiths." Biblical writers were wordsmiths as they shaped and told the stories of the people of God.

Because of those stories, we can visualize David, with his slingshot and five small stones, approaching the giant, Goliath. The stories of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness would not be complete without remembering how God provided for their hunger by furnishing them with manna everyday. These stories make our tongues inquire what it would be like to eat the same white "stuff" day after day after day. The gospel writers shaped words so that with our mind's ear, we can hear the song of the angels to the shepherds on the hillside. When Jesus went to the tomb to raise Lazarus from the dead, he said, "Take away the stone." But, Martha, the sister of the dead man, says, "by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days" and our noses can imagine the stench.

All of this is because the Biblical writers wanted us to experience the sights, smells, sounds and stories of the people in the Bible.

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