Elizabeth’s sermon preached on July 3, 2022

Posted by on Sun, Jul 3, 2022 in Season after Pentecost, Sermons

The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

July 3, 2022

Hello. My name is Elizabeth Holland, the ministry intern here at St. Michael’s and All Angels. I am an aspirant in the Episcopal Church, on the path towards Priesthood. Good morning, and welcome, to those present both in church and joining from home or wherever you may be at this time.

The warmer weather makes me want to go camping, even in the rain. Personally, I love camping and exploring new places, finding peace in a variety of settings, and cooking over a campfire. If you were going camping, I wonder… what would you pack?

My packing list looks something like this: tent, clothes, food, water, cell phone, bedding, first aid kit, lantern, and a few more things.

At the end of the trip, I can guarantee that I will came home with clothes I never wore, food that was not cooked, and the knowledge that I overpacked, once again.

The Gospel of Luke today tells us about the 70 that were sent out in pairs, journeying along the road together, they brought little with them. Well, actually they brought nothing with them.

Looking at what I take with me, it is hard to imagine what it was like for the 70 disciples to journey with just the clothes on their backs. It is easy to want to bring more to ensure you have everything you need. What item would be the hardest for you to leave behind?

I’ve noticed that there is a certain vulnerability in not having everything you need. It allows for relationships to form and provides the opportunity for others to share with you, when they might not have been able to if you already had everything you needed.

These people were travelling to places that they had not been to before, through Samaria where Jews were not welcome, and then on towards Jerusalem, on a quest share God’s peace and to prepare the path for Jesus to enter the hearts of those they meet.

I’m sure the journey wasn’t always easy for them. I find myself wondering how they were paired up. Was it by their strengths or gifts? Was it on their knowledge of various towns? I am curious what two introverts would have done on the journey? Or two extroverts? I would hope that each pair complimented each other.

Having been on a long road trip with my sister, who is my best friend, I can only imagine the joys, and trials, they found with each other.

As disciples of Jesus, their task was to help people prepare for Jesus by sharing the good news of the coming of the Kingdom of God as well as to heal the sick.

Today, we are also on a journey as disciples, one of living as Christians every day. It’s so easy to want to spend time getting ready to be a disciple, planning the right course to take, researching the right words, rather than actually beginning. That first step is always the hardest, as it is comfortable to hold onto what we know, but we can take comfort in knowing that the Holy Spirit is with us.

I can remember going bushwhacking in the woods around Lilliwaup, WA, on Hood Canal years ago. Our guide was taking us to an old riverbed along a very old and overgrown trail.

I was very excited, and also quite nervous, as up to this point, I had always stayed on maintained trails and knew what was to come. As we journeyed forth, we made sure to make as little an impact on nature as we could while pushing our way through the overgrown bushes, squeezing between trees, lending a hand to a fellow hiker, and making sure we stayed out of reach of stinging nettles.

The ups and downs of the hike itself was worth it when we got to the riverbed. We sat, ate lunch, and watched the sun filtering through the trees above us. The end result of the journey was beyond description. If I had kept analyzing what to bring, or what was going to happen, I might have missed the whole experience if I had never even started.

Sometimes the path we travel leads us to unexpected places, and I can only imagine that is what the 70 experienced on their journey – new sights, smells, tastes, relationships, and a transformation at the end.

We exchange the peace every Sunday with those in person and online. The Gospel today states that the 70 will say “Peace to this house” before they enter someone’s home. We can say Peace and we can also share God’s peace through our gifts in everything we do.

Today, we are asked to follow Jesus as well as to prepare the way for him. The path ahead is not always easy. Just as the 70 entered hostile territory, we are also tasked with stretching our comfort zone and leaning on others as well as God.

Being a disciple is not easy. Life can be overwhelming. There are so many times when I have struggled with being a good disciple. I try to live every day committed to God, but there are times it takes everything in me just to get out of bed. I have been so busy and focused on tasks and going from one thing to the next that I forget to pray. I am not a doctor, so how can I heal the sick?

Just getting up in the morning and thanking God for the day can be an action that will lead to taking the steps forward. Sometimes, listening to music in the car while going to the next place, breathing deep, is the prayerful moments I have with God. Sometimes just listening to another person is exactly the type of healing someone needs. Just being there for a pet, or a friend, or sharing a meal with a stranger can heal the soul.

Each of us is called to act in unique ways, each of us using our gifts and talents to share God’s Peace and God’s Healing with others.

Being a Christian is often not a “plan for” thing, but a “go and do it” thing. It’s being open, aware, listening – being alert to God’s call for Peace and Healing no matter what is happening in your life.

© 2022 Elizabeth Holland. All rights reserved. Posted with permission.