Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
Threshold Moment Video
Opening Prayer (Psalm 113)
Gracious and Loving God,
Blessed be your name
from this time on and forevermore.
From the rising of the sun to its setting
You are to be praised.
Bless us and be with us in this time of worship,
And in everyone moment of our lives. Amen.
Passing of the Peace (Smile and wave to those around you.)
Jacob left Beer-sheba and went towards Haran. He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And the Lord stood beside him and said, "I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring; and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, "Surely the Lord is in this place — and I did not know it!" And he was afraid, and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven."
So Jacob rose early in the morning, and he took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. He called that place Bethel; but the name of the city was Luz at the first.
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
24 He put before them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. 27 And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, "Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?' 28 He answered, "An enemy has done this.' The slaves said to him, "Then do you want us to go and gather them?' 29 But he replied, "No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. 30 Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.' "
36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field." 37 He answered, "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38 the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42 and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!
Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Sermon: Blessed Be Each Hour
Jacob was blessed while sleeping. Think about this for a moment. A man whose moral compass was pointing at his best self-interest was blessed by God in a dream about a place where heaven and earth meet. If God was with Jacob in this place, surely God is with us in our place and time.
If you have been reading the Children’s Bulletin or following along with the Sunday School Lessons for the last few weeks, you would have been reminded of the stories from Genesis about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jacob was Isaac’s son. Jacob was younger than his twin brother Esau. As the older brother, Esau was in line for the birth right and patriarchal blessings of his father Isaac. Jacob and his mother Rebekah had other ideas which involved using their culinary skills to first persuade Esau to give up his birth right and then to have Isaac bless Jacob rather than Esau.
Esau was angry with Jacob for stealing the patriarchal blessings of their father Isaac. In fear for his life, Jacob finds himself on the run to the home of his mother’s brother Laban. Jacob is filled with stolen blessings. God is not in his thoughts and actions. In today’s lesson, Jacob falls into an exhausted sleep after a day of fleeing from his brother and has only a stone for a pillow and his guilty conscience for company.
In this place Jacob dreams of angels descending from heaven to earth and back again. This is a place where heaven and earth meet. Celtic (Irish/Scottish) Spiritual Tradition would call this a “Thin Place”. God speaks to Jacob at this thin place. God promises to bless Jacob with children, land and more. Jacob, the scoundrel who betrayed his own brother, found God in this place of sleep and dreams. Jacob who is more weed than wheat finds that he too may be blessed by a gracious God.
The dream wakens Jacob who says, “Surely God is in this place and I did not know it.” How many times have we been in a place and time where God is present, but did not know it? How many God moments do we miss because we are not aware? Jacob rose early that morning with a heart turned toward God. He turns the stone pillow into a pillar and pours oil over the stone pillow/pillar in dedication to God at this Gate of Heaven. Jacob’s heart is moved to see God in his life.
Do we see God in our lives as we rise in the morning for the day? Verses from the Hymn/Prayer know as St. Patrick’s Breastplate sing:
I rise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
in obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels…
I arise today through the strength of heaven;
Lift of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lighting,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.
St. Patrick saw blessings for himself in all hours of the day. When he arose in the morning, he saw himself in service of archangels. I wonder what our daily lives would be like, if we saw God’s blessings in each and every moment. If we saw ourselves strengthened by the love of Cherubim, following the instructions of angels and serving archangels. If we lived as though the strength of heaven was in us.
Could a task as mundane as watering my plants in the morning be in obedience to angels? I think that St. Patrick would see it that way. Caring for those around us in big ways and small is filled with God’s blessings and often needs the strength of heaven. God is with us in every moment of every day. Instead of seeing our daily tasks as chores, we could view them as loving service to God and blessings from God.
Blessed be me, I have water for my plants. Blessed be me, I have coffee for my cup. Blessed be me, I have a God who loves me and walks with me every day and so do you!
God who is in every part of our lives. May we recognize the angels among us. May we feel the power of your grace. May we be careful as we move in this world filled with thistles and wheat.
God, we confess that at times we are like Jacob, stealing our blessings rather than giving thanks for the ready gift of blessing that you offer to us. We confess that in our eagerness to tear up the thistles in this world that we may have damaged tender young shoots. Forgive us and grant us your blessings of peace and love.
Let us take a moment to lift ourselves and others in prayer. We pray for those on our prayer list. Let us read through the names on our prayer list and imagine that God is surrounding them and us with healing love and strength.
Simon, Howard, Julia, Ahna, Mike, Josh, Priscilla, Duane, Janet, Grandpa David, Dorothy, Jacob, Jenny, Ann, Dale, Gayle, Don, Cheryl, Dustin, Pat, Student with eating disorder, Tate, Patricia, Roland, Aryanna, Amanda, Virginia, Matthew, Tom, Naomi, Vic, Jennelle, Charlie, James, Rick, Christy, Reagan, Kim, Lee, Kevin, Gaylynn, Liz’s sister in law, Naomi, Nathan, Jason, Cheryl, Daniel, Betty, Dax, Carter, Laurie’s mom, Jock, Nancy, Pat, Malachi and Karen, Carolyn, Ellen, Shirley, Mary, Karen, Paul, Hal, Richard, Crystal, Edie, Paula, Jim, Truett, Brett and Danielle, Judy, Laura F, Shirley, Butch, Joyce., Macie, Michel, Dorothy L, family of child who donated a heart to Truett, Corey, Lauren, Anonymous Cancer Patient, Bernice, Mike, Clyde, Gary S., Linda, Pat, Gary, Dave, Laurie Lee, Gail, Brenda, Breana, Dean, Corey, Jeff, Nancy, Terry, Rev. Cantrell, Family of Garrett Braun, Bev, Edgar, Angie, Mark.
Prayer of Dedication
God of blessings we give you thanks as we dedicate ourselves to you. May these gifts and our good intentions be used to further your mission in the world. Amen.
Closing Hymn “Be Now My Vision”
Be now my vision, O God of my heart;
nothing surpasses the love you impart-
You my best thought, by day or by night,
waking or sleeping, your presence my light.
May you live today in the blessing of God,
May you see God in every moment and every place,
May you praise God always. Amen.