Collect for Proper 29
Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Readings for today can be found here.
Rite II, Spiritual Communion & Meditation
Rev. Bambi Willis, Val Folden, and Barry Holliday have coordinated our service for this morning. The service can be found here: https://youtu.be/Xq9JxGLXSQ8
We will be doing Rite II and you can follow along starting on page 355 in the Book of Common Prayer. The Book of Common Prayer (BCP) can be found here. The Psalm for this morning is
Psalm 100 found on page 729 in the BCP. The readings are Ezekiel 34:11-16,20-24;
Ephesians 1:15-23; and Matthew 25:31-46.
A Meditation for The Last Sunday after Pentecost: Christ the King
I cannot believe today we are celebrating the Last Sunday after Pentecost! We last gathered in church the first week in March, missed being together for Easter, Pentecost and Trinity Sunday. We have slogged our way through Pentecost, hoping that by now we would be together. But we are not.
Time has slowed for me. One day bleeds into the next and I have to constantly check my calendar to make sure I am not missing meetings. My routine has been wholly disrupted and without a routine I feel wholly lost. My grounding comes from recording morning prayer on Wednesdays and spiritual communion on Sundays.
So today our liturgical year comes to an end and next Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent. Hardly seems possible. And today God separates the sheep from the goats. The sheep are those who tended to the hungry and thirsty, to the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison. They will inherit the kingdom of heaven.
As we approach Thanksgiving, I am giving thanks for our first responders, for our doctors and nurses, for my mailman and those that pick up my trash and those who check me out at the grocery store. I am giving thanks to all those at Trinity who have sustained us in this time of transition and work to continue our outreach ministries. I am giving thanks for all the sheep among us!
But I am also giving thanks for a liturgical calendar that leads us through the seasons of the year and reminds us that all seasons have a beginning and an end. Pentecost comes to an end today as we proclaim Jesus Lord of lords and King of kings.
There was a beginning and there will be an end. That is God’s promise beginning in Genesis and ending in Revelation. We may not be able to perceive that “new heaven and new earth,” nor maybe even be able to distinguish between beginnings and endings in these times. But there will come an end when the sheep and the goats are separated. The sheep held out hope; the goats did not.
I want to end with a blessing from John O’Donohue, an Irish poet from his book To Bless the Space Between Us.
At The End Of The Year
The particular mind of the ocean
Filling the coastline’s longing
With such brief harvest
Of elegant, vanishing waves
Is like the mind of time
Opening us shapes of days.
As this year draws to its end,
We give thanks for the gifts it brought
And how they became inlaid within
Where neither time nor tide can touch them.
The days when the veil lifted
And the soul could see delight;
When a quiver caressed the heart
In the sheer exuberance of being here.
Surprises that came awake
In forgotten corners of old fields
Where expectation seemed to have quenched.
The slow, brooding times
When all was awkward
And the wave in the mind
Pierced every sore with salt.
The darkened days that stopped
The confidence of the dawn.
Days when beloved faces shone brighter
With light from beyond themselves;
And from the granite of some secret sorrow
A stream of buried tears loosened.
We bless this year for all we learned,
For all we loved and lost
And for the quiet way it brought us
Nearer to our invisible destination.
Please remember all those on our prayer list this week found here or in the Good News Daily found here.
The Rev. Bambi Willis
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Sermon from the Bishop's Chapel
The Rev. Deacon David Curtis
Archdeacon, St. John's, Richmond
The written version can be found here.
The YouTube version can be found here.