Jul 25, 2020

ST JAMES 07252020




Song     Let All On Earth Their Voices Raise

Prayer
Open my lips, O God,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
O God, make haste to deliver me;
make haste to help me, O God.
Glory be to the Trinity, Three as One, One as Three:
Holy God, Holy Almighty, Holy Immortal One.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Divine Word, who spoke creation into existence,
whose breath brought forth life,
who spoke to us through prophets 
and those who followed in your Way, your Truth,
and your Life:
Speak to us now, through your Holy Wisdom,
that we may hear anew the message you speak
this day.
O God, who is still speaking and in whose love
we are many, but still one.

The Gospel     According to St. Mark, Chapter 3
13 Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those followers he wanted, who came and joined him. 14 He named twelve as his companions whom he would send to preach 15 and to have authority to expel the demons. 16 He appointed the twelve as follows: Simon, to whom he gave the name Peter; 17 James Bar-Zebedee, and John, his brother, to whom he gave the name Boanerges, or “children of thunder”; 18 Andrew; Philip; Bartholomew; Matthew; Thomas; James Bar-Alphaeus; Thaddaeus; Simon, the Zealot; 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus.
Priests for Equality. The Inclusive Bible. Sheed & Ward. 

The Gospel     According to St. Mark, Chapter 9
2 Six days after that, Jesus took Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone. And there Jesus was transfigured before their eyes; 3 the clothes Jesus wore became dazzlingly white—whiter than any earthly bleach could make them. 4 Elijah appeared to them, as did Moses, and the two were talking with Jesus. 5 Then Peter spoke to Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “how wonderful it is for us to be here! Let us make three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah!” 6 Peter did not know what he was saying, so overcome were they all with awe. 7 Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them; and there came a voice from out of the cloud: “This is my Beloved, my Own; listen to this One.” 8 Then suddenly, when they looked around, they saw no one with them anymore—only Jesus. 9 As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until after the Promised One had risen from the dead. 10 They agreed to this, though they discussed among themselves what “deerising from the dead” could mean.
Priests for Equality. The Inclusive Bible. Sheed & Ward.

The Gospel     According to St. Mark, Chapter 10
35 Zebedee’s children James and John approached Jesus. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to grant our request.” 36 “What is it?” Jesus asked. 37 They replied, “See to it that we sit next to you, one at your right and one at your left, when you come into your glory.” 38 Jesus told them, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup I will drink or be baptized in the same baptism as I?” 39 “We can,” they replied. Jesus said in response, “From the cup I drink of, you will drink; the baptism I am immersed in, you will share. 40 But as for sitting at my right or my left, that is not mine to give; it is for those to whom it has been reserved.”
Priests for Equality. The Inclusive Bible. Sheed & Ward.





Thoughts
James, a son of Thunder (Zebedee or, Boanerges, or “children of thunder”) was, like his father before him, quite vociferous. Evidently, he spoke not only in volumes, but with passionate volume. It would take one like he, along with his thunderer brother, John, to be sufficiently outspoken to request of Jesus a special place in the realm of heaven. One on the right, and one of the left, the places of honor that even Jesus made clear was only a favor that God could provide.

It was in that context that Jesus shifts from a conversation of God's honoring to a cup--the cup that is most certainly a vessel of suffering, yet in the end, a chalice of victory.

James would drink from the common cup of Jesus, even though he probably had no idea what that would mean in that moment.

We are told that James was a thorn in Herod's flesh, probably due to his mouth. As one who could not hold back from telling it like it is, and doing so in a voice that echoed resoundingly, he was martyred--supposedly in around the year 44 CE. The cup that Jesus had spoken of was by means of a sword of beheading.

We remember James on this day, July 25th, with the awareness and recollection that following in the way of God's Realm will often mean taking a stand against the politics of the world we live in. One cannot live a message of caring for the least of those around us, and the reversal of first being last and last being first--especially when money is at the heart of the issue--without upsetting city hall and the status quo of the privileged.

God's politics in the Realm of love, peace, and justice is not enamored by those who are in power and who know that, not only does power bring money, but that money brings power. 

In a society and culture of consumer capitalism and a canon of white, male privilege, a message of a just peace Kin-Dom makes real the message that "heads will roll." Be it a sword that beheads, a rope that lynches, a choke hold that prevents breathing, an inequality that renders some lives as valuable while others are insignificant, system of enforcement that is violent and often moreso than the act it wishes to undo, and the disregard for human life and the earth upon which it is sustained unto cosmic destruction, the cup is drank from with every blow back that arises from the empowered.

Hence, on this day let the thunder of justice roll sounding forth the reality that black lives matter, that female lives matter, that LGBTX lives matter, that immigrant lives matter, that disabled lives matter, that children lives matter, that poor lives matter, that injured and ill lives matter, that foreign lives matter, that regardless of any discrimination or bias all lives matter. 

Prayer
Gracious God, we remember before You today Your servant and apostle James, first among the Twelve to suffer martyrdom for serving in your Kin-Dom; and we pray that You will pour out upon all people, here and everywhere, that spirit of  service that seeks peace with justice, by which alone they may be known as your people. Blessed are you and blessed is your Realm, now and forevermore.

Amen.

Loving God who brings forth life even from lifelessness, let us not revel in martyrdom or the sacrifice of life for the cause of common goodness. We honor those who gave themselves for the sake of others, while we hold before us that suffering and loss my come to those who work for that which is your justice and peace. May the martyred be kept within your Eternal Presence, and may we remember the cost of our redemption. Your grace is free, but it is never cheap. Thank you, O God, for being with us in all times and places.
Amen.

Song     By All Your Saints Still Striving






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