Our service of Sunday Prayers will be live-streamed to YouTube! The service will begin at 9:30, after some music from our organist to help us prepare to worship together. You’re also able to watch it at a later time.
We’re in the middle of a multiple-Sunday stretch where the gospel comes from a portion of John’s gospel in which Jesus explains that he is the bread of life. Here’s what Sundays and Seasons has to say about the readings for this week.
Apparently not satisfied by Jesus’ feeding of thousands, some who were there press him for a sign of his power; perhaps it is daily manna they want. As always in John’s gospel when people want a sign, Jesus offers himself. He is the bread come from heaven to give life to the world. He calls us to come to him and believe in him, and through that relationship to know the one who sent him.
We are not live-streaming a service from the Nativity on the 25th. Please join Bishop Susan for the diocesan service at 10 am on Facebook, and available a bit later on YouTube. The preacher is the Reverend Garfield Wu, who serves as the Rector of St. Luke’s in Palermo, and as the Chinese Anglican Missioner for the Diocese of Niagara.
Here’s what Sundays and Seasons has to say about the readings we’ll hear: Mark’s gospel makes clear how great is the press of the crowd, with its countless needs to be met, on Jesus and his disciples. Yet in today’s gospel Jesus advises his disciples to get away and rest, to take care of themselves. Sometimes we think that when others are in great need we shouldn’t think of ourselves at all; but Jesus also honors the caregivers’ need. We are sent from Christ’s table to care for others and for ourselves.
This Sunday we’re stepping outside of the numbered Sundays after Pentecost to keep the feast of Saint Benedict. Born at Norica just after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, he studied in Rome before retreating to Affile with a group of priests. Saint Gregory the Great tells us in his Dialogues that it was here that St. Benedict worked his first miracle, which brought notoriety. Seeking quiet and peace, he took shelter in a cave near Subiaco, and lived as a hermit.
Some years later, Benedict was invited to be the Abbot of the community of Vicovaro, where one or more of the monks hated Benedict’s way of life for the community, and decided to kill him. The story in Gregory’s Dialogues tells us that when Benedict blessed the poisoned glass of wine he had been given, making the sign of the cross over it, it shattered, spilling the wine. He returned to his cave immediately!
The story goes that Benedict founded twelve monasteries before leaving the region for Cassino. Somewhere between 525 and 529, he founded the Abbey of Montecassino, where he is said to have written the Rule – a guidebook of how the monks should live, explaining how these beginning steps will help them open themselves to God’s movement in their lives. Likely due to its balance, moderation, and reasonableness, The Rule was the foundation for thousands of religious communities in the middle ages, and remains the most commonly used and influential rule used by religious communities today.
Benedict is the patron saint of Europe. Historians point to the work of the Benedictine order over the centuries after the fall of Rome in helping to bring stability to many areas, and to the work of their libraries and schools as a vital source of knowledge and study in turbulent and uncertain times.
This Sunday is the fourth Sunday after Pentecost. We’re in “Year B” of the Revised Common Lectionary, which sets out what readings we use each week. This year we’ll hear gospel passages mostly from the gospel of Mark, and the passages from the Hebrew Scriptures focus on David and the kings of Israel and Judah. (The psalm each week reflects on the reading from the Hebrew Scriptures.)
Here’s what Sundays and Seasons has to say about this week’s gospel: Now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation! Now we are in the storm, the boat almost swamped; but Jesus is here now, and when we call him, he will calm the storm. Even the wind and waves listen to him as they would to their creator. We also listen to him and are called to believe in the power of God’s word in him, a power greater than all that we fear.
We use the image of Jesus calming the storm under the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 license. JESUS MAFA. Jesus lulls the storm, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=48310 [retrieved June 15, 2021]. Original source: http://www.librairie-emmanuel.fr (contact page: https://www.librairie-emmanuel.fr/contact).
Here’s what Sundays and Seasons has to say about the readings we’ll hear this week: The mustard seed becomes a great shrub that shelters the birds, recalling ancient images of the tree of life. We’d expect a cedar or a sequoia, but Jesus finds the power of God better imaged in a tiny, no-account seed. It’s not the way we expect divine activity to look. Yet the tree of life is here, in the cross around which we gather, the tree into which we are grafted through baptism, the true vine that nourishes us with its fruit in the cup we share. It may not appear all that impressive, but while nobody’s looking it grows with a power beyond our understanding.
Sundays and Seasons offers this introduction to this week’s readings: A house divided against itself cannot stand. Jesus makes this observation in light of charges that he is possessed. He is possessed, not by a demon, but by the Holy Spirit. We who have received the Holy Spirit through baptism have been joined to Christ’s death and resurrection and knit together in the body of Christ. Those with whom we sing and pray this day are Jesus’ family. With them we go forth in peace to do the will of God.