St. Timothy Lutheran Church

                                                  

  July 11, 2021


                                                   Mark 6:14-29

Scripture readings

for Sunday, July 11

Amos 7:7-15

Psalm 85:8-13

Ephesians 1:3-14

Mark 6:14-29

REFLECTION

Rev. Derek Cheek


One of the most common platitudes I can think of is, “Everything’s going to be alright.” Many people want to hear these sorts of words. And everyone wants to believe them…but reality doesn’t always bear them out, does it? Sometimes things go horribly wrong in the Operating Room; sometimes the cancer doesn’t respond to treatment the way we hope and pray; sometimes the drive we’ve taken a thousand times ends in tragedy.

            This is a part of life, and we all know it. But we often prefer to hide from it—and sometimes we grasp at Bible passages to aid in the self-delusion. We use the words of the Bible like a talisman or a good luck charm. One of those passages is in the Psalm reading appointed for the week. Ps. 85:8 says, “Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.” If we bend these words just a wee bit, we can make it say that:

            If we turn to God completely enough in our hearts, it’ll all be smooth sailing in our lives.

Certainly, some preachers (especially on TV) say precisely that sort of thing.

            So, if we all could just believe firmly enough, we’d all be blessed beyond our capacity to contain it. And, conversely, if we happen to be experiencing anything less than perfect peace in our lives, that’s likely our fault for not believing strongly enough.

            But flying in the face of this popular prosperity preaching, are the hundreds of Biblical examples of godly men and women who experienced very distressful circumstances for doing nothing wrong, or, more curiously, for doing exactly what God asked them to do. Men like Job, Jeremiah, and John the Baptist—who in our Gospel text, is beheaded for standing up for OT scriptural morality. Amos, in the OT reading (Amos 7:7-15), faces political and religious persecution for speaking on God’s behalf, too. Likewise, women like Rebecca, Hannah, and Deborah, all suffer great difficulties while being godly women…not to mention Mary the mother of Jesus, who most certainly endured ridicule for her pregnancy before she was fully wed to Joseph. And speaking of not being mentioned…the NT prophetess Pricilla who many believe to be the most likely author of Hebrews, not mentioned because of her gender. Of course, Jesus himself fits into this group.

            We know all these examples…and yet…many of us hope that if we’re good enough, pray hard enough, and believe unwaveringly enough, we’ll be spared unpleasant circumstances.

            One of the underlying themes of the Bible is that we are living in a Fallen world—that idea goes all the way back to Genesis chapter 3. We know the story of our first Parents, the snake, and the “apple” (which, btw, is a western idea likely stemming from the fact that the word for “apple” and “evil” are spelled the same in Latin {malum}—other theories include the pomegranate, fig, banana, grapes, and psilocybin fungi aka “magic mushrooms”). Whatever the actual fruit, Creation was turned upside down, and humanity was damaged, having internalized evil.

            Ever since, those who strive most ardently to maintain lifestyles of justice, righteousness, and devotion to God find themselves most out of sync with the prevailing values of the world. They make themselves targets for those who are most benefitting from embracing the Fallen values of the world system. Jesus said in John 15:18, “If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you.” And St Paul writes, “So if anyone is in Christ, he/she is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). He develops this thought more fully in Romans 8.

            So, to return to the “It’s all going to be OK,” thought…it is true, after a fashion—but only after Christ has fully established the New Creation, following the Last Day. But that’s not what most people mean when they say it. Until then, like millions before us, we may very well suffer in this life—and the more so as we strive to live out the New Creation we have in Jesus. It’s all a part of being on the leading edge of restoring Creation.

King Herod heard of it, for Jesusname had become known. Some were saying, John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason, these powers are at work in him.” But others said, It is Elijah.” And others said, It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” But when Herod heard of it, he said, John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philips wife, because Herod had married her. For John had been telling Herod, It is not lawful for you to have your brothers wife.” And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.” And he solemnly swore to her, Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.” She went out and said to her mother, What should I ask for?” She replied, The head of John the baptizer.” Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring Johns head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

 

          For our community of faith as we seek to do God’s work in the world.

          For those in our congregation and community who suffer silently with illness, financial burdens, and family obligation.

          For people affected by coronavirus, their families, essential workers, doctors, nurses, aides, those working in nursing homes, etc.

          For victims of wildfires, flooding and earthquakes.

          For Pastor Ivy Gauvin, Bob Pecuch, Gene Heil, Karen Johnson, Roy Pihl, George and Janet Balcom, Beverly Klang, Trudy Fetzner, Thom Shagla, Matt Isaacson, Alice Swartz, Dave Bentley, Joe Gauvin, Emerson Allaby, Skip Anderson, Barb Mattern, Karen Brown and Sarah Van Staalduinen, those serving in the military and law enforcement and their families, including Ben Wickerham, those caught up in violence and war who have no safe home in which to live.

          For all children, that the love of Christ may reach them through all of us who have resources to love, protect, pray and provide for them.

          For the ELCZ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe and ELCZa Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia.

PRAYER REQUESTS

Names will remain of the Prayer List for a month - at which

time it will be taken off unless, or course, there is still a continued need

for our prayers and we’re asked to keep the name on.


ANNOUNCEMENTS













COVID

Vaccinated – no mask required, 6’ social distancing not required, hymnals available

 

Unvaccinated – masks remain mandatory, social distancing recommended


Coffee Hour

Coffee Hour returns weekly!

We’re off and running…

If weather permits, we’ll bring it outside.

If not, we’ll have it in the narthex!

Special invitation to our Drive In people to join us!






Adult Bible Study

Off the the summer.  Will resume in the Fall.


***We continuously collect food items for the 5 & 2 Ministry.  Bring your donations and place in the black bin in church narthex.  Lists detailing items needed are also available in the narthex.  Monetary donations welcome!


***5 & 2 Ministry Food Bins Donated to Date: 92








***ONLINE GIVING now available at St. Timothy for Debit/Credit cards.   3 ways to give:

   - Go directly to our website at www.sttimothybemus.com

   - Use our QR code with the QR reader on your smartphone

   - Download the app ‘GivePlus Church’. Create an account.   

For further information, see Kathy Carlson on Sundays or call her at 485-1316.








  









While Pastor Ivy is out recuperating, you can contact

Pastor Heather Allport-Cohoon if there is a need for pastoral care.

She can be reached at 716-708-6466.