1 DO YOU NOT CARE? The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 7B) June 21, 2015 Lessons Job 38:1-11 Psalm 107:1-3, nd Corinthians 6:1-13 St. Mark 4:35-41 Semicontinuous Series 1 st Samuel 17:[1a, 4-11, 19-23] Psalm 9:9-20 Pastor David J. Risendal facebook Dave Risendal Twitter: drisendal Saint Peter Lutheran Church 9300 East Belleview Avenue Greenwood Village, CO / facebook.com/stplc Prayer of the Day O God of creation, eternal majesty, you preside over land and sea, sunshine and storm. By your strength pilot us, by your power preserve us, by your wisdom instruct us, and by your hand protect us, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen. for those who struggle the gracious love of Jesus the power of God Sermon 1 Grace to you and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. I wonder, sometimes, what the people in the Bible are going through. In fact, I m convinced that for many texts this morning s Gospel lesson included the best way to understand them is to try and see the story or the saying from the point of view of those who were involved. So I ve spent a lot of time this week trying to imagine what the disciples are experiencing in this late-night trip across the Sea of Galilee. We have to remember that these are rough, rugged fishermen; at least a third of them, anyway. Peter and Andrew, James and John these four men are professional fishermen. They have spent years rowing their way across these waters. They surely have been caught time and time again in the vicious wind storms that seem to pop up out of 1 Romans 1:7, 1 st Corinthians 1:3, 2 nd Corinthians 1:2, Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 1:2, Philippians 1:2, Colossians 1:2, 1 st Thessalonians 1:1, 2 nd Thessalonians 1:2, Philemon 3; New Revised Standard Version Bible ( 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America).
2 The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost Proper 7B (June 21, 2015) 2 nowhere on the Sea of Galilee. They have survived the experiences, probably ending up a bit wiser and stronger and more capable than before. In fact, if you look at the text carefully, Mark never tells us that they are afraid of the storm. We assume they are, because we probably would be. But all we learn from the text is that the the storm comes up, the waves beat into the boat, and boat is being swamped. You can imagine that the disciples who were experienced boatsmen began bailing and rowing and trying to calm the others down so they could help in a productive way. In the middle of this all, Mark informs us that Jesus is fast asleep on a cushion in the back of the boat. Can you imagine this? The boat is rocking and rolling. The waves are crashing over its side. The water is accumulating on the deck. The fishermen know that if they don t work hard and fast this vessel could very easily end up at the bottom of the sea. And Jesus is fast asleep. So they wake Jesus, and here s the thing that puzzles me. They say to him, Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing? I can understand why they say this. After all, he seems so distant, so disconnected, so uncaring back there on the cushion in the stern of the boat. They are scrambling for their lives, working frantically to keep the boat on the top of the waters, and he is doing absolutely nothing. I understand why they feel the need to say something, but I m not sure I understand what they mean. Are they angry with him because he isn t bailing or rowing or at least praying? Do they suspect, already, that there is something he can do that they cannot? Or are they truly concerned that he doesn t care? That he is so spiritual so God-connected that something as trivial as their lives or their wellbeing just isn t important to him? Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing? This is a question that comes from the very depth of these disciples hearts. What sort of an answer do they receive? Well, it is a powerful one! Jesus wakes up. He rebukes the wind. He commands the sea to be at peace; to be still. And all of a sudden they are sitting together in a boat, surrounded by calm, placid waters. I love the way the Greek version of St. Mark descries this. The great windstorm is replaced by a great peace, and the disciples are filled with a great awe. They are in awe that Jesus seems to be in control of the wind and the sea. They are in awe that his word has this kind of power. And one imagines they are in awe that he loves them this much. What do the disciples learn on that day? They learn that Jesus does care about each and every one of them. And they learn that God is powerful. And St. Mark recorded this account, leaving it for us so that we might learn the same truths about how much Jesus cares and how powerful God is. Whenever we find ourselves tossed by the storms that surround us; whenever we wonder if we ll make it through alright; whenever we wonder if God is just too far away to make a difference, today s Gospel has a word of hope for us. Jesus does care. And God is powerful. And we are called: called to be agents of care in this world; called to be instruments of God s power in this world; called to proclaim, with our words and our actions, that our God cares about each and every member of this human community. And you probably could guess what I am thinking about now. I can t say those words without thinking about our brothers and sisters in faith at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. It has been horrifying to hear reports of the attack that took place there this past Wednesday. Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones. They have been in my prayers this week, and I so earnestly hope they know how much Jesus cares for them, and how powerful God is. This attack did so
3 The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost Proper 7B (June 21, 2015) 3 much damage, and it will take years for people to put their lives back together, their church back together and their community back together. I m confident they will, of course. The extraordinary faithfulness they have shown in the past couple of days is a indication of that. To hear words of love and care and forgiveness so soon after experiencing such a horror is almost breathtaking. And I don t know about you, but it seems pretty clear to me that they are not just tossing platitudes in the direction of something they can t understand. This is a community that has suffered in terrible ways during the past 134 years. They have learned to know how much God cares about them. They have learned to know how powerful God is. Even considering their losses, I believe this is a church that will be stronger than ever in the coming months and years. And so we pray for them. But we dare not only pray for them. We need also to remember our call: our call to be agents of care in this world; our call to be instruments of God s power in this world; our call to proclaim, with our words and our actions, that our God cares about each and every member of this human community. We are living in a society that is increasingly divided. We re divided along lines of race and politics and economics and gender issues and immigration status. But what s even worse than being divided is that we re isolated from those who differ from us. And when we have no knowledge of them no interaction with them it is easy to dehumanize them, and think of them only as flawed (because they are not just like us ). I know it is comfortable to spend most of our time with people who agree with us. I ve got some strong opinions of my own, and it s easier to hold to them if there is no credible opposition to what I am thinking and believing. But here s the problem: when we promote this kind of isolation, whether we do so intentionally or unintentionally, we limit our ability to be faithful to our call. You can t offer care to someone who is nothing more than a caricature of what you dislike. You can t become an instrument of God s power for someone who is nothing more than a caricature of what you don t believe. We can disagree with one another. But we need to disagree with one another, not without one another. We need to be aware of our own prejudices, and keep them in check. We need to be advocates for any member of this community who is disregarded because of who they are or what they believe. We need to understand that it is often the case that those who disagree with us do so for very good reason, and more often than not, they are someone who has a thing or two to teach us. I was pleased to see, yesterday, that the Bishop of our ELCA, the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, published this statement: "I urge all of us to spend a day in repentance and mourning. And then we need to get to work. Each of us and all of us need to examine ourselves, our church and our communities. We need to be honest about the reality of racism within us and around us. We need to talk and we need to listen, but we also need to act. No stereotype or racial slur is justified. Speak out against inequity. Look with newly opened eyes at the many subtle and overt ways that we and our communities see people of color as being of less worth. Above all pray for insight, for forgiveness, for courage. 2 2 A message from the Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, in response to the tragedy in Charleston, SC.
4 The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost Proper 7B (June 21, 2015) 4 And this from Bishop Jim Gonia, the elected leader of our Rocky Mountain Synod a five-state area that includes the state of Colorado: We embrace in prayer all who suffer from violence and hate even as we pray for those whose own internal pain, disorientation, suffering or hatred would drive them to harm others. As people of faith we commit ourselves to addressing all that divides us as fellow human being; we commit ourselves to demonstrating to the world that there is a better way. As the people of God we claim again this day-amid our tears and laments-the power of love over hate, the power of life over death, the power of hope over despair, and the power of celebrating our common humanity in the face of all that would divide God's beloved children. In Christ there is no east or west, in him no south or north, but one community of love throughout the whole wide earth. Join hands, disciples of the faith, whate'er your race may be. All children of the living God are surely kin to me. 3 I am grateful for the leadership of our church, and the prophetic voice that calls us all to faithfulness in these days. As we all try to process what took place this past Wednesday evening in Charleston, and the far-too-many other incidents of violence in our society, I hope it stirs us to be open and honest about all the ways in which our own behaviors create divisions among those whom God has created. I hope we can do as our Bishop suggests: that we examine ourselves and our communities; that we are honest about the reality of prejudice of every sort; that we speak out against it; and that we do everything in our power to eradicate it. This is not just a good idea. It is our call. To to be agents of care in this world. To be instruments of God s power in this world To proclaim, with our words and our actions, that our God cares about each and every member of this human community. May we be found faithful in this calling. Amen. David J. Risendal, Pastor Gospel Lesson; English Text 4 4:35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, Let us go across to the other side. 36 And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37 A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing? 39 He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, Peace! Be still! Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40 He said to them, Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith? 41 And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? A message from the Bishop of the Rocky Mountain Synod, ELCE, the Rev. Jim Gonia, in response to the tragedy in Charleston, SC. A list of Bible lessons for the coming weeks is available at St. Mark 4:35-41, New Revised Standard Version Bible, opp. cit.
5 The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost Proper 7B (June 21, 2015) 5 Gospel Lesson; Greek Text: 4:35 Και λέγει αὐτοι ς ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῃ ἡµέρᾳ ὀψίας γενοµένης διέλθωµεν εἰς το πέραν. 36 και ἀφέντες το ν ὄχλον παραλαµβάνουσιν αὐτο ν ὡς ἠ ν ἐν τῳ πλοίῳ, και ἄλλα πλοι α ἠ ν µετ αὐτου. 37 και γίνεται λαι λαψ µεγάλη ἀνέµου και τα κύµατα ἐπέβαλλεν εἰς το πλοι ον, ὥστε ἤδη γεµίζεσθαι το πλοι ον. 38 και αὐτο ς ἠ ν ἐν τῃ πρύµνῃ ἐπι το προσκεφάλαιον καθεύδων. και ἐγείρουσιν αὐτο ν και λέγουσιν αὐτῳ διδάσκαλε, οὐ µέλει σοι ὅτι ἀπολλύµεθα; 39 και διεγερθει ς ἐπετίµησεν τῳ ἀνέµῳ και εἰ πεν τῃ θαλάσσῃ σιώπα, πεφίµωσο. και ἐκόπασεν ὁ ἄνεµος και ἐγένετο γαλήνη µεγάλη. 40 και εἰ πεν αὐτοι ς τί δειλοί ἐστε; οὔπω ἔχετε πίστιν; 41 και ἐφοβήθησαν φόβον µέγαν και ἔλεγον προ ς ἀλλήλους τίς ἄρα οὑ τος ἐστιν ὅτι και ὁ ἄνεµος και ἡ θάλασσα ὑπακούει αὐτῳ ; 6 First Lesson; English Text: 38. Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: 2 Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? 3 Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me. 4 Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. 5 Who determined its measurements surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? 6 On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone 7 when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy? 8 Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb? 9 when I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band, 10 and prescribed bounds for it, and set bars and doors, 11 and said, Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stopped? 7 Second Lesson; English Text: 6.1 As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. 2 For he says, At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you. See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! 3 We are putting no obstacle in anyone s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4 but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, 7 truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8 in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9 as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything. 6 7 St. Mark 4:35-41, The Greek New Testament, Aland, Kurt, Black, Matthew, Martini, Carlo M., Metzger, Bruce M., and Wikgren, Allen, ( 1983, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart). Job 38:1-11, New Revised Standard Version Bible, opp. cit.
6 The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost Proper 7B (June 21, 2015) 6 11 We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. 12 There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. 13 In return I speak as to children open wide your hearts also. 8 Second Lesson; Greek Text: 6:1 Συνεργοῦντες δὲ καὶ παρακαλοῦµεν µὴ εἰς κενὸν τὴν χάριν τοῦ θεοῦ δέξασθαι ὑµᾶς 2 λέγει γάρ καιρῷ δεκτῷ ἐπήκουσα σου καὶ ἐν ἡµέρᾳ σωτηρίας ἐβοήθησα σοι. ἰδοὺ νῦν καιρὸς εὐπρόσδεκτος, ἰδοὺ νῦν ἡµέρα σωτηρίας. 3 Μηδεµίαν ἐν µηδενὶ διδόντες προσκοπήν, ἵνα µὴ µωµηθῇ ἡ διακονία, 4 ἀλλ ἐν παντὶ συνίσταντες ἑαυτοὺς ὡς θεοῦ διάκονοι, ἐν ὑποµονῇ πολλῇ, ἐν θλίψεσιν, ἐν ἀνάγκαις, ἐν στενοχωρίαις, 5 ἐν πληγαῖς, ἐν φυλακαῖς, ἐν ἀκαταστασίαις, ἐν κόποις, ἐν ἀγρυπνίαις, ἐν νηστείαις, 6 ἐν ἁγνότητι, ἐν γνώσει, ἐν µακροθυµίᾳ, ἐν χρηστότητι, ἐν πνεύµατι ἁγίῳ, ἐν ἀγάπῃ ἀνυποκρίτῳ, 7 ἐν λόγῳ ἀληθείας, ἐν δυνάµει θεοῦ διὰ τῶν ὅπλων τῆς δικαιοσύνης τῶν δεξιῶν καὶ ἀριστερῶν, 8 διὰ δόξης καὶ ἀτιµίας, διὰ δυσφηµίας καὶ εὐφηµίας ὡς πλάνοι καὶ ἀληθεῖς, 9 ὡς ἀγνοούµενοι καὶ ἐπιγινωσκόµενοι, ὡς ἀποθνῄσκοντες καὶ ἰδοὺ ζῶµεν, ὡς παιδευόµενοι καὶ µὴ θανατούµενοι, 10 ὡς λυπούµενοι ἀεὶ δὲ χαίροντες, ὡς πτωχοὶ πολλοὺς δὲ πλουτίζοντες, ὡς µηδὲν ἔχοντες καὶ πάντα κατέχοντες. 11 Τὸ στόµα ἡµῶν ἀνέῳγεν πρὸς ὑµᾶς, Κορίνθιοι, ἡ καρδία ἡµῶν πεπλάτυνται 12 οὐ στενοχωρεῖσθε ἐν ἡµῖν, στενοχωρεῖσθε δὲ ἐν τοῖς σπλάγχνοις ὑµῶν 13 τὴν δὲ αὐτὴν ἀντιµισθίαν, ὡς τέκνοις λέγω, πλατύνθητε καὶ ὑµεῖς nd Corinthians 6:1-13, New Revised Standard Version Bible, opp. cit. 2 nd Corinthians 6:1-13, The Greek New Testament, opp. cit.