Wednesday, June 16, 2010

June 13 (Proper 6) Sermon Notes

The Gospel for Today: Support & Forgiveness


We all need it. Jesus had the 12 but we are told in Luke…

The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod's steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.
For Jesus & the disciples it was the women & others, who often go unnoticed, unmentioned and yet the disciples and Jesus could not do what they do without such support. On Friday Night, at The Relay for Life event, I saw support:

· It was all those tents representing 59 teams, different organizations, St. Peter’s Rockers, who stood in solidarity with those battling cancer.

· I think of all those walking, the survivors who battled through, the caregivers that supported them, others who walk in unity with all those battling cancer.

· All those luminaries lit to remember.

· It was a night of celebration of survivors, to remember those who died and to continue to fight back against cancer.
“The American Cancer Society Relay For Life represents the hope that those lost to cancer will never be forgotten, that those who face cancer will be supported, and that one day cancer will be eliminated.”
We played a role in that support. Our Gospel talks about that support and it also tells us about…


Simon the Pharisee invited Jesus to his home for a meal, he is curious about this man from Nazareth… But a woman in the city having heard where Jesus was, also entered Simon’s home, bathing the feet of Jesus with her tears and anointing his feet with ointment… Simon is upset that such a woman has entered his home, such a sinner, and he questions how prophetic Jesus is because he is letting this woman touch him.

Jesus knows what is in Simon’s heart, and asks him, a certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?" Simon answered, "I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt."

And Jesus goes on to tell Simon that he is right BUT as Jesus entered his house; Simon had no water for his feet, he was not greeted with a kiss (a sign of peace) and there was no oil for his head, but the woman has bathed his feet with her tears and dried them with her hair, she has not stopped kissing his feet and she anointed the feet of Jesus with ointment.
Jesus says, “I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little." Then he said to her, "Your sins are forgiven and Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
The woman’s sins were forgiven by her loving acts. Simon, on the other hand, did not love much and in turn is not praised like that woman, forgiveness and love. Just last week, a big event happened for the Detroit Tigers. As one reporter put it
“Armando Galarraga's soft-smiling grace in the grips of the denial of perfection. Donald's humility. Joyce's apologetic confession. Detroit fans' remarkable capacity to forgive and to even embrace. They were all acts in a 20-hour passion play.”
The beauty of Baseball: After watching the reply after the game, Joyce asked for Galarraga to see him the umpire’s locker room. Galarraga said:
"He understands. I give him a lot of credit for coming in and saying, 'Hey, I need to talk to you to say I'm sorry.' That doesn't happen. You don't see an umpire after the game come out and say, 'Hey, let me tell you I'm sorry.' He apologized to me and he felt really bad. He didn't even shower. He was in the same clothes. He gave me a couple hugs. I know nobody's perfect. What are you going to do?”
The next day, manager Jim Leyland had pitcher Armando Galarraga -- instead of Leyland or a coach -- bring the lineup card to the home-plate umpire. That umpire was Jim Joyce, whose clearly blown call at first base the night before, with two outs in the ninth inning, cost Galarraga a perfect game. And as angry as fans, especially Tigers fans, were at the call, it was clear no one was more shaken than Joyce.

Even as he stepped on the field -- he apparently turned down Major League Baseball's offer to take the day off -- Joyce had tears in his eyes. Joyce was still emotional as Galarraga came to the plate, and after a brief exchange of lineup cards, Joyce patted Galarraga on the shoulder. Galarraga and Leyland have forgiven Joyce. [as reported]
That is grace and class and that is what Jesus expects of us.
Forgiveness is the final form of love. --Reinhold Niebuhr
Support and forgiveness in Scripture & in our lives – its all love and grace. Amen.

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