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Resources for the
17th Sunday after Pentecost


Texts & Discussions:

Proverbs 1:20-33 and
Psalm 19 or
Wisdom of Solomon 7:26-8:1 or
Isaiah 50:4-9a and
Psalm 116:1-9
James 3:1-12
Mark 8:27-38


Prayer for a Pure Mind and Speech

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.
Help me guard my ways, lest I sin with my tongue.
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages for Thee.
Take my voice and let me sing
Always, only, for my King.  Amen.





Children's Messages


Sermon Excerpt

God's Love is Broader Than Our Mind
Genesis 22:1-14 and Mark 8:31-38
by Susan in SanPedro

What kind of father would do something like that? What kind of God would ask him to? I'm talking, of course, about the Old Testament Lesson today: some call it "the testing of Abraham" ... others "the sacrifice of Isaac" ... still others "the binding of Isaac." Whatever we call it it's a hard story -- a scary story -- a challenging story to reconcile with the God "whose glory it is always to have mercy" - the God we prayed to in the Collect of the Day this Second Sunday in Lent.

I remember listening to the story as a child and thinking I must have missed something ... and as I listened to the explanations offered by the adults in charge of my religious education, well ... they never rang true for me. I couldn't imagine the God they told me loved me enough to come and die for me didn't love Isaac that much, too ... not to mention Abraham! And Sarah ... we don't hear anything about her. Kill a child to test the father? "Because I said so" wasn't enough of a reason. Nope . it just didn't work for me.

And so in my adolescence ... and into what I now refer to as my "obligatory young adult lapsed phase" I filed it away with all the other things that didn't make sense about the Biblical story. My faith hung in there . I truly never remember a time when I doubted the presence of God in my life or couldn't turn to Jesus when I needed Him . but for a very long time I couldn't for the life of me figure out why I needed all those confusing ancient Bible stories -- or the church that went along with them.

I returned to congregational life ... corporate worship ... when my now-18 year old was three and his brother was a newborn: I came back to church so they would have the foundation I had received; I came back to church to be a good mother. And I came back with lots of questions. I think back now and realize what a trial I must have been to the rector ... "what do you mean by.? How can you say that ...?" Lots and lots and LOTS of questions. So many that, out of some desperation I imagine, the rector sent me to the bible study class being offered by the Associate - Jeff - on Tuesday nights.

As luck would have it, one of the first passages we encountered was this story of Abraham and Isaac. And for the first time, in this Young Adult Bible Study class, I heard an explanation of this familiar and disturbing story that made sense to both my head and my heart.

"What if Abraham got it wrong?" Jeff said. "What if God never asked him to sacrifice Isaac at all - what if the story isn't about earning God's favor through blind obedience but about the wideness of God's mercy . wide enough to redeem, through the ram in the thicket, Abraham's mistake in thinking that he had to sacrifice his son in order to be faithful to God."  ... subscribers: click here for the full manuscript


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