Pentecost 7 Sermon by The Rev'd Alice Mann

God’s spirit floweth free, high surging where it will
In prophet’s word he spoke of old; God speaketh still. Amen.
 
These words are part of the final hymn we’ll sing as we leave the church today. And in just a few minutes, at the Offertory, we will sing these words to each other: Gird up your loins, ye prophet souls, the day is near.
 
Today’s readings present us with the stories of two prophets—Amos and John the Baptist. Today’s hymns press us to think about the prophets God speaks through today. And about ourselves as prophet souls.
 
It is very easy to misunderstand the word “prophet.” In the ancient world, many religions had soothsayers—fortune-tellers, people who claimed to predict the outcome of a battle, or the fate of a king.
 
But in the tradition of the Hebrew prophets, the tradition inherited by John the Baptist, and by Jesus, and by us, the word prophet has a different meaning. Instead of being fortune-tellers about the future, prophets are people who see clearly what is—right here and right now—and they see the likely consequences if we continue on the same path.
 
Amos tells us he had a vision of God dropping down a plumb line from the heavens—the string with a weight that builders use to determine what’s upright and what’s crooked. They use it because a tower that isn’t plumb will eventually fall down—not from some special act of God, just from the laws of gravity. Amos had this vision of God measuring up the people of Israel, measuring up the society they had built. And by God’s measure it was crooked—it was arrogant, and reckless, and allowed a growing divide between rich and poor.
 
Amos comes up from the southern kingdom of Judah, and arrives at the sanctuary of Israel in the North to deliver this message—this society is so crooked that the kingdom will fall—under its own weight. The priest in the sanctuary basically says to him: You foreigner—Why don’t you go home and bother somebody else. We don’t want your message.
 
All through the ages, this is what happens to clear-eyed people of faith. To people who are listening for God’s voice, looking for God’s plumb line, people who name the consequences of what we can see right in front of us. They are ignored or ridiculed, they are beaten, or banished, or killed.
 
I don’t know how many of you remember the space shuttle Challenger, and the disaster caused by failure of a skinny rubber gasket called an O-ring. Lots of people saw there was a problem, but they also felt the pressure
they were getting from their bosses to get this space ship launched. Only one man, an engineer named Roger Boisjoly, constantly refused to go along. He kept saying do not launch, right to the very end, no matter what it would cost him professionally. We know what happened…the natural consequences of the laws of physics. Those people died.
 
In Miami this summer, there was an engineering firm that warned the condo association of major structural problems. The warning is there in the report, but the language is pretty general—and the people reading it
were volunteers on a condo board, not fellow engineers. The prophets those people needed were pretty polite and cautious in their report, they didn’t really make any waves. There was nothing about the floors pancaking down on each other and killing everyone inside. And so the natural consequences finally happened.
 
Prophets are not fortune-tellers…they are truth-tellers. They open their minds and hearts to God’s wisdom and guidance, And then they tell the truth, even when their community and their leaders don’t want to hear that truth, don’t want to see it, don’t want to believe it. They tell the truth even when they are shunned as outsiders and trouble-makers, when they are branded as disloyal or unpatriotic.
 
But first, they often try to run away. Not me, God, I’m not the prophet type! This isn’t my job! I’ve got so much else I’m worried about, so much else to do.
 
Has this ever happened to you? You wanted to speak up about something that just seemed wrong, or dangerous, cruel or unfair. But you didn’t want to be the one to say it. You didn’t want the blow-back,
you didn’t want your family members saying you ruined the birthday party By objecting to a slur about black people, or women, or gay people, or immigrants.
 
I want you to know I’ve spent the last ten days running away from information about our city I did not want to hear, did not want to know, did not want to have to deal with, because I had a lot of other things to do.
 
Two Sundays ago, just after we were together for the Holy Eucharist, a small, peaceful group of our neighbors experienced an act of intimidation right down near the Haverhill boardwalk. They were doing a little showcase of products from black- and brown-owned businesses in our area. When some of those folks came back to their cars parked on Merrimack Street, they saw a few armed men placing stickers on cars, stickers with the symbol of a white-supremacist group called the Patriot Front.
 
When I first heard about this, I was really busy with other stuff—my whole mind and heart were saying—I don’t want to hear this, I don’t want to know this. And I certainly don’t want to have to do anything about this right now. We’re all so tired of pandemics and politics, we’re all trying so hard To return to some ordinary gatherings and pleasures…. And then I realized…
 
Oh, right—that’s what those neighbors of ours on the boardwalk were trying to do with their little Sunday market place—just do something human and normal, something gentle and friendly and positive for our Haverhill community. For this, they seem to have been targeted for racist intimidation. Most of us in Haverhill probably didn’t know this little event was even happening. So it looks as if this neo-nazi group was watching, looking for an opportunity to make themselves visible in Haverhill—and to test out our community response.
 
By speaking these words to you today, I am asking that we—together—carry this painful situation to the altar, along with the bread and wine and money…those symbols of our everyday lives that we place into the hands of God week by week to be blessed, and broken, and given back to us again—transformed and transforming. 
And I am asking us—together—to listen, and learn, and pray, about this troubling event. Some Trinity members will be attending an MVP Haverhill Chapter meeting this week. If you would like more information about this, please email me: am1111@comcast.net, and I will make sure you receive it.
 
God’s spirit floweth free, high surging where it will
In prophet’s word he spoke of old; God speaketh still. Amen.

The Rev'd Alice Mann
Service Schedule & Office Hours

You are invited to worship with us at one of our weekly services:

Compline, Wednesdays at 8pm (Facebook Live)
Service of Healing, 1st and 3rd Thursdays at 6:15pm (now in-person!)
Taizé, the 2nd Friday of every month at 8 pm (now in-person)
Holy Eucharist, Sundays at 10am (now in-person)

If you have any questions please contact the Parish Administrator.

If the bulletin is wrong in the newsletter you can also find the bulletin on our website: Trinityhaverhill.org

Please note that the church office is open by appointment only. If you need to visit the office please make an appointment with our Parish Administrator.
Upcoming Worship Schedule
Healing Service

Thursday, 7/15/2021
at 6:15 pm

In Person



Pentecost 8

Sunday, 7/4/2021
at 10:00 am

In person



Confirmation and Reaffirmation of
Baptismal Vows Classes
If you're interested in Confirmation or Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows. We will be having classes soon. Please let Michelle in the office know at admin@trinityhaverhill.org
Parking Update
Please note there is NO PARKING on the left hand side and church side of William Street. For Sunday Services only, you may continue to park on White Street, Youth Empowerment (Girls Inc), and behind the church in the Shoe City parking lot. If you have any questions please contact the Parish Administrator. Thank you.
Adult Formation
pray_lettering.jpg
Summer has arrived and with its arrival comes gatherings with family and friends and much anticipated vacations, either away or a "Staycation."
Adult formation will be taking a summer break and regathering in the Fall.
Enjoy your summer!

Blessings,
Reverend Cathy Estey 
ACAT News
Summer Theatre Workshop Coming in August!
Please Register Now to be sure you have a place!

The ACAT Summer Theatre Workshop is coming August 9-13, 9am-3pm Monday through Thursday, and Friday 9am-5pm with the performance starting at 5:00. Spaces are limited, please register soon!! Please contact Dr. Janet if you know of students who might like to attend, or if YOU would like to volunteer to help us.

Also, we are planning to hold some version of our traditional ACAT after-school program in-person in the fall. The starting date will be Sept. 23. More details TBD, and registration forms will be available soon. Please keep our ACAT students, their families and teachers in your prayers. Check out the ACAT Facebook page for the latest updates.

AND! You can also support ACAT and Dinah's House through Amazon Smile! Look for Urban Bridges Inc. next time you are ordering with them. You can find more info at our website and Instagram!

Dinah's House News

What's Happening?

Dinah's House is still open by appointment only. We hope to return to a regular schedule of Open Hours later in the summer. Angela has been busy meeting one-on-one or on the phone with many of our regular clients, helping them out with a variety of needs, especially with COVID rental assistance programs. We are planning classes in art and jewelry making, and will hold an ice-cream social outside at Swazey Field Park, July 17 from 11-3. More details to come! We are grateful for your help, support and prayers!
Music Notes
The Choir deserves a big THANK YOU for all their beautiful anthems during our short season! We will be back in late August or early September. Join us!!



Our service music for the season includes a simple Gloria and Holy, Holy from the Iona worship tradition. These are both in modified "call and response" format. For now, the cantors will be singing alone, but please listen and learn so that as soon as congregational singing is allowed again, you will be able to join in!
Prayer Corner
Rev. Cathy Estey
Prayer Minster
Human hands open palm up worship. Eucharist Therapy Bless God Helping Repent Catholic Easter Lent Mind Pray. Christian Religion concept background. fighting and victory for god


For God alone my soul waits in silence.”
Psalm 62:1a




I pray for the gift of silence,
Of emptiness and solitude,
Where everything I touch is turned into prayer:
Where the sky is my prayer
The birds are my prayer,
The wind in the trees is my prayer,
For you are all in all.
Andrew Harvey, Inspired by Thomas Merton

 

Please pray for:
Elvy and family, Jo-Anne, Johanna and family, Mildred, Maura, Alice, James, Dave, Janet, Sally, Steve, David, Bianca, Justin, Alexandria, Hilda, John, Kyna, the Hicks Family, Daryl,
and family of Mildred, Cynthia, Frank, Jennie, Brad, Karen, and Doug, Ginny, Tiffany, Dan and the girls, Cindy's mother Ginny.


For phone or e-mail prayer requests please contact
Rev. Cathy at 201-696-6651 or ceestey@yahoo.com.
Blessings!
This Sunday's Gospel
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.

Trinity Episcopal Church 
26 White Street
Haverhill, MA 01830
(978) 372-4244