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Readings for Sunday, October 2, 2011 Presented by staff and friends of Sunshine Cathedral Metropolitan Community Church affiliated with the Center for.

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Presentation on theme: "Readings for Sunday, October 2, 2011 Presented by staff and friends of Sunshine Cathedral Metropolitan Community Church affiliated with the Center for."— Presentation transcript:

1 Readings for Sunday, October 2, 2011 Presented by staff and friends of Sunshine Cathedral Metropolitan Community Church affiliated with the Center for Progressive Christianity Ft Lauderdale, Florida, USA

2 Rev. Dr. Robert Griffin Sunshine Cathedral Chief Programming Minister Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins Senior Pastor Sunshine Cathedral Rev. Dr. Mona West Director, Office of Formation and Leadership Development Metropolitan Community Churches Rev. BK Hipsher Virtual Chaplain Sunshine Cathedral Director of Sunshine Cathedral in Second Life

3 October 4: St. Francis of Assisi ( ) —Friar and founder of the Franciscan order. Born into a wealthy family, he sought glory as a young knight, but instead ended up seriously ill and in prison. Encounters with beggars and lepers touched him so deeply he embraced a life of poverty. Because of his deep love for them, his feast day is often celebrated by blessing animals. He reminds us of the radical simplicity of the gospel and the sacredness of creation.

4 October 6: Founding of Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (1968) —Anniversary of the first service held by Troy Perry, a former Pentecostal minister from Florida who had been thrown out of his church for being gay. Troy knew that his experience was not unusual and he felt called by God to start a church where GLBT people would be welcome. He held the first service in his living room near Los Angeles. Twelve people joined him for the first service of what became MCC of Los Angeles, the Founding Church of the Metropolitan Community Churches movement.

5 October 7: Ss. Sergius and Bacchus (d. 290) —Martyrs in death and lovers in life. These two saints were tortured for refusing to compromise their faith by making a sacrifice to Jupiter. They were officers in the Roman army and they were also a couple. After their arrest they were paraded through the streets in women’s clothing, which was meant to humiliate them. Bacchus died first and came to Sergius in a vision, telling him not to lose heart because they would soon be together for eternity. They later became patron saints of the Byzantine army, and are still honored among certain Arab nomads. Some gay people consider them to be patron saints of same-gender love.

6 Philippians 3.4b-7, (NIV) If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. 7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 13 Brothers and sisters, I…consider myself to have taken hold of [this]…: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

7 The Wisdom of Elizabeth Searle Lamb “As we think, so are we! The thoughts we plant in our mind-gardens always bring forth fruit after their kind …Today let us examine our thought patterns, watching to see if the climate is basically positive or negative. If need be, let us begin to change so we will experience only the good.”

8 Matthew (Good News Translation) 42 Jesus said…”Haven’t you ever read what the Scriptures say? The stone which the builders rejected as worthless turned out to be the most important of all. This was done by the Eternal; what a wonderful sight it is! 43 And so I tell you”, added Jesus, “the Kin-dom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce the proper fruits. 45 The chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables and knew that he was talking about them,46 so they tried to arrest him. But they were afraid of the crowds, who considered Jesus to be a prophet.

9 Rev. BK Hipsher Ponderings "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling“ Faultless under the law Weeding the garden of our mind Rejecting what is worthless… Producing "proper" fruits Safety in numbers, sticking together

10 Rev. Dr. Mona West Going Deeper with the Text · There are a variety of ways to weave these texts into the larger themes of the first of October: Feast of St. Francis (October 4) and World Communion Sunday. · The emphasis on stewardship in the parable from Matthew goes well with an observance of the Feast of St. Francis given his love for creation and animals. (Fall is also the time of the year when many of us launch our stewardship campaigns.)

11 Rev. Dr. Mona West Going Deeper with the Text · World Communion Sunday also touches on stewardship with regard to ‘bread for the world.’ There is a great link from Patheos.com that lists quotes from different religious leaders about why they take communion. Resources/Why-I-Take-Communion.html Resources/Why-I-Take-Communion.html I liked the one that said, “I take communion because I have been hungry for the wrong things.” Sounds like the wicked tenants in the parable.

12 Rev. Dr. Mona West Going Deeper with the Text · We need to be careful in the allegorical interpretation of this parable that we do not lapse into anti-Semitism—blaming the Jews as ‘Christ killers.’ The core of the parable is stewardship and that extends from Judaism to Christianity. There has always been that thread that the land belongs to God, not Israel and not Christians. We are invited to be good stewards/tenants of it. So the indictment is on all of us who have not been good tenants.

13 Rev. Dr. Mona West Going Deeper with the Text · The Philippians passage reminds me of a great blog post from Diana Butler Bass last week about the younger people who have left our churches who claim they are ‘spiritual but not religious.’ · We have a lot to learn from them if we will let down our defenses and listen. Paul’s religious pedigree had kept him from seeing the new thing God was doing in Jesus, but once he let it go his eyes were opened….

14 Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins Philippians “Just two verses earlier Paul had warned about ‘the dogs’ and ‘the circumcision’. The target of his attack is not so much Jews as Jewish Christians, who dispute Paul's legitimacy and object to his attitude to scripture. They demanded that scripture and its commands were infallible and saw Paul as watering down God's word in the interests of winning people to his way. It was cheap evangelism, selling the gospel short. Paul, for his part, saw such fundamentalism as one of the very things which stood in the way of true faith and from which people needed to be liberated.” William Loader

15 Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins “Fanatical devotion which loses perspective and blindly follows beliefs and maxims, even when they are scriptural, is so often dangerous, because it justifies hate and in the name of God perpetuates violence. Such violence is as much present in Christianity as it is in other religions - wherever human worth and dignity is given second place to a notion of God's laws, wherever people think that people were made for the sabbath not the sabbath for people. As soon as people imagine that God has other priorities than love and compassion, such as self aggrandizement and self absorption, then matching behavior will follow - in religious people and in their leaders…[Paul] is not abandoning scripture, let alone abandoning God, but he is abandoning a theology based on seeking to please God by zealous protection of [supposedly] divine laws…Without throwing away his own religion Paul, nevertheless, throws away a theology which had made him important and given him great status…It is…a deeply spiritual and personal change which affects Paul at the heart of his being and changes his future forever.” William Loader

16 Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins Just as Paul seems to have moved beyond looking at religion as a way of promoting self-importance over others (and challenges others to see religion as something more than a currency for personal gain in this life or even the next), the gospel reading also affirms that religion isn’t a spiritual country club. A marginalized, or “rejected” person can be very important; in fact, such people are the very foundation of a movement for healing and justice. Sharon H. Ringe says this about the gospel lesson: "This parable does not use the story to set forth the surprising nature and qualities of God's reign, as do so many others in the Gospels. Its focus is rather on the futility of debates about, and maintenance programs for, the institutions of this age." Once again, we see that spiritual growth isn’t about hierarchy, privilege, or status, but rather about service, compassion, generosity, and hope… “proper fruits.”

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