The Collect: Grant us, O Lord, to trust in you with all our hearts; for, as you always resist the proud who confide in their own strength, so you never forsake those who make their boast of your mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen
The Response: Psalm 139:1-5, 13-18 was led by David Maitland. *(verse 1) “Lord, you have searched me out and known me; you know my sitting down and my rising up; you discern my thoughts from afar.”
The First Reading was Jeremiah 18:1-11 and was read by John Greve. The Lord speaks to Jeremiah using the metaphor of a potter’s molding the clay to make what he wants. God told him that He could do the same with Israel. If they do evil, He can destroy them, but if they obey God, He can make them a wonderful land and people. “Look, I am a potter shaping evil against you and devising a plan against you. Turn now, all of you from your evil way, and amend your ways and your doings.”
The Second Reading, Philemon 1:1-21, was also read by John Greve. While Paul is in prison he writes a letter to Philemon and sends it to Colosse with messengers. In the letter Paul asks Philemon to receive Onesimus , who was once his slave but ran away. Onesiums became a Christian while in prison with Paul and attended to Paul’s needs while in prison. Paul has grown to love Onesiums as a son and wants Philemon to free him from slavery when he returns to them.
Reverend Abernathy read the Gospel of Luke 14:25-33. This passage is often troubling to some who read it because Jesus says, “ Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, even life itself, cannot be my disciple.” Using the word “hate” to mean a very strong dislike for something today. Reverend Abernathy explained that it really meant, in this case, to love less. Jesus was trying to prepare those who wanted to be his disciples for the sacrifices and suffering they would have to endure. Jesus explains that no one should go to war without knowing what it would require to win and to be prepared to do it. One must examine closely what the cost of a decision will be. This is not the mild, gentle Jesus we think of. He is being direct and honest with what it will cost to be a disciple of his.
Jesus calls us all to be his disciples and tells us the requirements. He wants our complete love and to love others as he does. Everyone needs to surrender to him and join and share their love of their family with Jesus. Sometimes a wife may have to understand that her husband’s duty may come before her wants and needs. (or vise-versa) The road of surrender to Jesus is a risky one for the security of life and needs. Jesus overcame the authority and domain of Satan when he was resurrected so all things are in his control now. Temptations may be there but we can modify our lives. Live out your life with a program understanding what Christ wants from you.
St. Matthew’s will have its Wednesday night Bible Study on Sept. 11 at 6 p.m. A light supper will be served after which we will be led by Reverend Gooch in the study of Revelations. A video and booklet accompanies the study and we welcome anyone who would like to join us.
Next Sunday, Sept. 15, we will have Reverend Gary Gooch as pastor at the 9 a.m. worship service.