First Thoughts From The Rev. Canon David Smith: 

Most weeks Fr. David sends out an e-mail with his first thoughts on the upcoming Sunday readings. These reflections are designed to encourage people to consider the readings before they come to worship which we hope will enrich Sunday worship. People are invited to respond to David with their own thoughts and sometimes interesting ideas and conversations occur that end up in the sermon. If you would like to receive these weekly e-mails e-mail David at dsmith@ontario.anglican.ca  . 

August 31, 2014

Posted by Emily Sanderson on Friday, August 29, 2014


Readings: 

First reading and Psalm 

o Exodus 3:1-15 

o Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45b 

Second reading 

o Romans 12:9-21 

Gospel 

o Matthew 16:21-28 


Thanks To Feasting on the Word Year A Volume 4 pgs 14 -25 and New Interpreter’s Bible Volume 1 pgs
 

After a break for holidays it is good to be back in the swing of things and I look forward to offering my first very preliminary thoughts on the Sunday readings again with you. As always I pray they are helpful to you and make Sunday worship more meaningful for you. 

Last week in our Old Testament reading we heard of Moses birth and rescue from the King of Egypt thanks to 5 very brave women who defy the king’s murderous commands. They were not conformed to the world.

This week we skip a bit of the story to where Moses, now a married man, has escaped Egypt for fear of his life. And now he receives a divine summons from God through an angel and a burning bush to go back to Egypt to save his people. This encounter definitely presents the holiness of God. Moses takes his shoes off as it is holy ground and does not come too close. We also have a reflection on the name of God. Sometimes I think we are too casual with our approach to God and so a good sermon might reflect on how in our life of faith there are times to remove our shoes. Moses does obey God and replies “Here I am” indicating readiness to submit and obey. A sermon might reflect on what it means to say here I am Lord when called by God. We also see how attentive God is to the suffering of His people in slavery and the theme of let my people go begins. This story resonates with many Jews and Christians who have experienced slavery or oppression and it has given them hope. For example it has inspired liberation theology. So a sermon might look at ways in which the Christian faith calls us to stand up to oppression and to strive for liberation. I am pleased that Eleanor got all the families at Camp Hyanto Family Camp making Rag Dolls which are a call to prayer and action to liberate those enslaved by human trafficking. This ministry is very much in the spirit of the story of Moses and God’s call in his life. 

Our Psalm for this Sunday is often referred to as an historical Psalm because it rehearses God’s wonderful works for His people. We will read it with the Exodus in mind but the Psalm is intended to be more than a record of events as its intention is to lead us into praise and to give us hope for the future. 

Our reading from Romans is a favourite of mine. Paul is setting out a wonderful covenant of living for the followers of Jesus. It is based upon love and holding fast to what is good. As Rochelle Stackhouse comments, “it is very energetic, profoundly optimistic and rather countercultural”. All of this excites me and makes me so glad for the challenge and opportunity to live my life in this manner and to belong to a 

community that strives to live in this way. As Stackhouse also says, Paul is inviting us to make love and good our constant partners. Some of Paul’s teaching here is inspiring but frankly other teachings in this passage are downright tough to live into and so it requires God’s grace and strength. 

We are only two days into our Vacation Bible Camp and already I am ever so impressed and grateful for the genuine love shown to the children by all of the staff. You want to talk about zeal .It has been awesome. 

This passage is also the passage I use in my diocesan work with screening in faith. We take this ministry seriously so we can keep evil at bay as Paul instructs us in this passage. Our screening ministry helps to keep evil at bay and I was so pleased that we could inform all the parents and guardians that all of our volunteers have been screened and trained. 

There are so many sermons that could be preached and so many beautiful stories of people living into this passage. Can you think of ways that our parish live into Paul’s commands? 

Last Sunday Peter had the correct answer for our Lord’s question who do you say that I am? He knew that Jesus was the Anointed one, the Son of God. However in this week’s Gospel we discover that he really did not understand what it meant that Jesus was the Messiah. Peter is confused, and it seems even angry at Jesus for suggesting that the messiah would have to suffer and die. This was unthinkable. But Jesus makes it very clear that central to his ministry would be his suffering and death and that to be His followers would also require sacrifice. A good sermon might look at the meaning of Christ’s cross and it’s centrality to our faith and or what it means for us to take up our cross, to lose our life to save it. 

17 (22) (August 31, 2014) 

First reading and Psalm 

o Exodus 3:1-15 

o Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45b 

Alternate First reading and Psalm 

o Jeremiah 15:15-21 

o Psalm 26:1-8 

Second reading 

o Romans 12:9-21 

Gospel 

o Matthew 16:21-28 


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