Collect for Proper 27
O God, whose blessed Son came into the world that he might destroy the works of the devil and make us children of God and heirs of eternal life: Grant that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves as he is pure; that, when he comes again with power and great glory, we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Readings for today can be found here.
Rite II, Spiritual Communion & Meditation
Rev. Bambi Willis, Fred Kerby, and Barry Holliday have coordinated our service for this morning. The service can be found here: https://youtu.be/xA10RRHxrp4
We will be doing Rite II and you can follow along starting on page 355 in the Book of Common Prayer. The of Common Prayer (BCP) can be found here. The Psalm for this morning is
Psalm 78:1-7 found on page 694 in the BCP. The readings are Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25;
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; and Matthew 25:1-13.
A Meditation for The Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost
After eight hours of sleep on Tuesday night, I woke up this Wednesday morning realizing I was tired. I realized I was tired of the pandemic, of Zoom meetings and an election season that will not fade away anytime soon. I’ve known fatigue but this feeling was different. What I was feeling was not physical tiredness but emotional weariness. A piece of me wanted to get back into bed and pull the covers over my head hoping that when I woke up my world will have changed.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Bishop Susan offered an opportunity for the clergy of our diocese to come together in prayer. As we prayed together I learned I was not the only one feeling weary. One colleague noted that she gets out of bed in the morning because that is what people of faith have always done. Not getting out of bed would be to dishonor the memories of those who have gone before through much more trying circumstances. A pandemic, Zoom meetings and a prolonged election season are absolutely not the worst circumstances the Church has lived through.
We hear the parable of ten bridesmaids in our gospel reading from Matthew this morning. Five we are told are wise and five are foolish. As these bridesmaids await the coming of the bridegroom, the wise ones take flasks of oil to be able to keep their lamps lit. The foolish bridesmaids do not and when the bridegroom does arrive, their lamps have gone out and they have no oil with which to re-light them.
I’d like to take the liberty this morning to suggest that the foolish bridesmaids might have been weary – weary of waiting for a bridegroom that was delayed and thus saw little need to keep their lamps lit. I, for one, can procrastinate in these times thinking I’ll do laundry or wash dishes tomorrow! Each week my schedule changes and if I can postpone what is not essential, that is what I do.
I always wake up before the sun comes up. Don’t know why, but always have. And I always wake up thinking about my “to do” list for the day. As I watch the sky lighten, with a cup of coffee in hand, I pray: “Rejoice; this is the day the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it.” You might say my lamps are lit by coffee and by prayer. As the day progresses, I can forget God has given me a gift and go to bed remembering the things I should have done and did not do or things I regret I did. And the next day begins and I once again wake up in the dark awaiting the light.
Weariness is an emotional response but does not need to be a spiritual response. We can be weary and we can also pray. We can be weary and we can remember our ancestors in the faith were also wearied. We can be weary and we can get out of bed, get dressed, brush our teeth and wonder what God would have us do in this new day.
What does your oil look like to keep your lamps burning until the bridegroom comes? My spiritual director keeps oil in her purse and often anoints me after we meet. Her oil is flavored by sweet smelling herbs. My oil week after week is flavored by those who help us read morning prayer on Wednesdays and spiritual communion on Sundays. My oil is flavored by our executive committee, by our vestry, our discernment committee, Denise, Sam and Priscilla and all those who are leading and praying us through these times. My oil is abundant and sweet smelling; I hope yours is too.
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 Rt. Rev. Porter Taylor
The written version can be found here.
The YouTube version can be found here.