Year C Trinity Sunday WEDNESDAY, 15 June 2022
St. James the Less Episcopal, Ashland, VA
Collect: Almighty and everlasting God, you have given to us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of your divine Majesty to worship the Unity: Keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
18At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ 2He called a child, whom he put among them, 3and said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
6 ‘If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7Woe to the world because of stumbling-blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling-block comes!
8 ‘If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than to have two hands or two feet and to be thrown into the eternal fire. 9And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into the hell* of fire.
Good morning. This morning I have a few quick words, looking at being Open. Moses was open to God. Paul in Romans urges us to be open to God. And Jesus teaches his apostles to be Open to God.
Growing up I was taught too often about what was God was against. “A good Christian would never…” And you could fill in the blank with so many things. From our book study over the last few weeks, I have had a phrase echoing through my brain. God is not worried about us being Good, but God is wanting us to be Loving.
If we focus on being Good, then we are closing ourselves to how God could be working in our or others’ lives. It is like the difference between the Ten Commandments and Jesus’ Commandments. Thou Shalt Not vs. Love God, Neighbor, and Self. It is more than just semantics. It is focusing on the minors or residing in the major.
Moses appointed the 70 to help him lead. It was a good thing, but Aaron noticed that two (who were not part of the appointed and anointed) were in the camp prophesying. Eldad and Medad were their names. But Moses was not threatened. He knew God was bigger than any human appointed set-up. He says he wished everyone would be so close to God as to be a prophet. He was glad that God was bigger, and he was Open to whatever God was about doing!
Paul talked about how folks doing evil things had not acknowledged God and were drawn and were celebrating the worst in human nature. They had “debased minds” as he put it. But in the same way, we do not judge anyone. We discern the right and proper path, yes, but we need to be Open to God and be about God’s doings. We do not get bogged down in holding judgment.
And the greatest of the examples in this morning’s readings is the simplicity of the lesson when Jesus instructed that we need to be like little children, and unless we come to him in that type of simple trusting we could never be about the Kingdom of Heaven. We must be Open like a little child is Open. With eager anticipation and no pre-conceived notion of what the outcome could or should be.
We must be like these children. We must be Open. These days of divided interest and entrenched perspectives, we see Openness and flexibility as a negative. God help us. If we can only celebrate what we expect, what a limited world we will have. God help us. God forgive us.
One of my favorite passages of embracing God’s Openness is from the prophet Isaiah. [43:19]
I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth; do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
Friends, especially when the day is dark, when your water main is leaking, and the air conditioners are down, and the opponents on the other side of the aisle are snakes, and the allies on your side are even worse scorpions, know that God is bigger and God’s ways are better. Stay true and be open to outcomes, the springs in the desert and ways in the Wilderness. Amen