Jesus in the Storm

We so often like to imagine that Jesus is off somewhere holy and pristine not getting mixed up in our messy lives. We like to imagine Him contained and not going all the places that we go. The reality is that where you go Jesus goes as well. Whether you are doing church things and serving or whether you are off carousing in ungodly ways there Jesus is. We often want Jesus when we want Him and we want Him to remain in a box or separate place to only see us in our cleaned up Sunday best. Jesus shows us to today his great love and willingness to show up in the midst of our lives.

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Sent

How long is a long time? When your parents were born? The Civil War? The Declaration of Independence? Martin Luther? The formation of the Grand Canyon? Even before that, Paul reminds us in his letter to the Ephesians, he chose you before the foundation of the world.

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The Endowment of the Creator

As we celebrate our nation’s independence this weekend, let us also celebrate our dependence on God, the giver of all good things, and let us recommit ourselves to living as righteous people under God, serving those around us and helping others and our nation to flourish.

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Overflowing Generosity

The Psalm today says, “Hallelujah! Happy are they who fear the Lord and have great delight in his commandments!Their descendants will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches will be in their house, and their righteousness will last forever. Light shines in the darkness for the upright; the righteous are merciful and full of compassion.” Our Psalm today encourages us to fear the Lord in a way of respect and realize that God will provide for our needs. The righteous trust that God has a good plan and will provide for them. The righteous look to the ways of the Lord and find it a good and trustworthy place to be. The righteous pass down their faith and generosity so that the generations of people will continue to be a light to those around. The righteous are to be merciful to those around them so that the love of Jesus might be seen in our actions and our lives and that we the Church would be known for our compassion. The righteous are to have compassion for others and not harden off their hearts to the needs of others.

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Panic and Peace

Panic is often our response in the event of a threat. Remember the toilet paper shortage of 2020 or the gas shortage a few weeks ago. Everyone feels the need to stand up for him or herself, to guard against danger, to make sure that they are not the one left with the empty roll of toilet paper. It is certainly good to be prepared, especially now that we are in hurricane season, but panic and anxiety can get exhausting. This is why it is so comforting to know that Jesus is Lord of our circumstances as well as the one who is able to bring peace to our anxious hearts.

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The Tallest Tree

Virgin forests once covered 78% of Florida’s land. By 1937 only 21% was forested. Today, through reforestation efforts, the number has risen to 47%. But these new, younger trees are not nearly as big as the old growth trees were. One such tree, the Senator, was estimated to be 3,500 years old in 1993. Before a hurricane removed its top in 1925 the tree stood 165 feet tall. It was the 5th oldest tree in the world and the largest tree east of the Mississippi. Its trunk was 17.5 ft in diameter. The tree was destroyed by a fire lit by a 26 y/o drug addict on January 16, 2012. Today the charred remains of the tree are only 20-25 ft tall. In the readings for today, a number of nations are compared with tall trees that rise to prominence. Ultimately, all of these trees meet their end, but the Kingdom of God will stand for ever.

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The Letter in the Envelope

In his Second Letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul says that he (and we!) are like common clay vessels into which God has placed the treasure of his Gospel. Why would God choose the weak and unimpressive (you and me) to be bearers of his message? Because the power is his not ours. He doesn’t want the letter to be lost in the envelope.

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United Through the Spirit

In Acts 2:14, the Apostle Peter quotes from the Prophet Joel saying “everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Instead of us building a tower up to God (as the People in Babel did in Genesis 11), God bridges the gap and comes down to us. We approach God through repentance and faith and he pours out his forgiveness and mercy upon us and washes us clean in the water of Baptism.

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Sunday After Ascension

Jesus is the way of God, God revealed directly into our hearts. There is none other, no other redeeming Savior. It is in the way of Christ, who leads us, shows us the grace and love of the Father. In Him we are set free, to know Him, His truth in us. He is not distant, nor hidden; He is always before us. Ever present. He is before all time; He is eternal; his promise is fulfilled in the way of life.

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