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Jesus makes a bold declaration that names his purpose and calling. It arises from his being claimed by God as beloved. What is your declaration, arising from God's love and all that has shaped you? Hear us as St. Luke's rises to say what is our declaration.

God's gift of Peace arises doesn't come as an escape route out of the world. True Peace comes when, with God's help, we take root and live fully in this world as it is, embracing it as we receive Christ's presence. Christ is with us as light in the midst of darkness, deep inner rootedness and firm calmness in the midst of storm and strife, stillness in the midst of uncertainty. 

Whether a brief matchlight, a steady torch, or a bright beacon, God's gift of Hope helps us see where we are, where we have come, and where we are going. Raise your heads! Lift up your hearts! Sing and shout of the God of life!

Friends, I have seen posts and emails, I have heard voices, speaking of people's growing anxiety, fear, frustration, and dismay at the stubborn resistance and threatening behavior that has taken hold in this region by those who oppose vaccination and masking as the best possible protective measures we have, all in the name of a notion of freedom that is only reactionary opposition – its own form of slavery.

Hear what Mordecai says to Queen Esther, as recorded in scripture: “Perhaps you came to this position for just such a time as this.”

Queen Esther must have heard this and recognized its truth and weight. Perhaps I am here for just such a time as this. But hearing and accepting this as true doesn’t solve the problem of what to do next. Mordecai helps Esther see her responsibility and the importance of what she can do for her people in this moment. But knowing THAT I should do something and have responsibility for just such a time as this doesn’t tell me HOW I should address the weighty issues and problems of “such a time as this.”

How shall we take up the call of God upon us in this moment, for just such a time as this?

Come and listen. 

Readings: 

Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22
Psalm 124
James 5:13-20
Mark 9:38-50

This sermon is a continuation of a series on power.

In a world of usurpers, where power is seized and control is taken, where everything can become a contest for “winner take all” – God’s power breaks into the world through loving our enemies, through forgiving.

In a world where alliances are valued so highly, that being “right” and being on “the right side” takes over people’s minds and divides the world into “us and them” – God brings the wall-breaking power of raw self-offering as we find in Jesus.

2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33       Ephesians 4:25-5:2       John 6:35, 41-51

In a world of abusive and manipulative power, the Holy Spirit brings us the power to speak truth in love and to give ourselves away in love. Do we have the courage and rootedness in God's love to do this?

As we celebrate July 4th, we hear scriptures about David being made king, and about Jesus being rejected in his own hometown. God's power always flows, but it is possible to break the circuit through our resistance. Are we willing to open ourselves to receiving from God and from others? Are we willing to complete the circuit of power to let it flow?

These questions bring us to a question for today: Who will we be together as a nation?

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