Offered at the Women of Saint Michael Annual Luncheon – May 11, 2016
Dear Heavenly Father, we gather here today to give you thanks for the many gifts of women and for the life those gifts bring into your Church.
We give thanks for the women who, like Mary, devote their lives to nurturing dreams, to consoling sorrows, to celebrating victories, and to being present even in the most difficult of times.
We give thanks for women who, like Mary Magdalene, pray a life of faithfulness, become the firm foundation upon which we all stand, and who profess a love for you through the actions of their lives.
We give thanks for women who, like Phoebe, devote themselves to service within your Church, bring the needs of the world to our attention, and share the gifts of your abundance freely through the preaching of your Word.
We give thanks for the women of this parish who labor throughout the year to support the community organizations that respond to families living in impoverished conditions and struggle to have enough food, adequate shelter, and clothing.
Most of all, we give thanks for the gift of your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ who is the way and the truth and the life that leads us into the grace and love that He shares with you through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Grant us the courage to continue in the ways of Christ, to preach your Word and Sacraments through the actions of our lives, and to learn of the grace and truth that women bring into the life of the Church. All this we ask through your Son, our savior, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
Today’s gospel reading is something of a haunting passage to be reading in a week that is darkened by the senseless violence of a single man that held such hatred for African-Americans that he felt it necessary to go into a church, sit for an hour with a group of faithful disciples, and then to kill them with the precision of a firearm. And we think that we are beyond the conversation of racism and prejudice in America….perhaps not.
The gospel reading this morning starts with the disciples and Jesus journeying to the other side of the sea. For Mark’s first-century readers, they would have picked up on the clue that Jesus was going from Jewish territory and into Gentile territory. Jesus was, simply by going to the other side, breaking huge cultural norms and taking the good news of the gospel beyond the grey clouds of the storms of the first century. Instead of simply remaining in his own territory and consorting with the “proper” folks in the Jewish lands, he dares to go into a territory that has a different culture and is inhabited by people that are looked down upon. The storm in Mark’s narrative this morning is a metaphor for many different storms that were present during Jesus’ time, and Mark is using it as a way of illustrating how Jesus intended break through those storms in order to take the love of God out to all of God’s children. The story is not simply a story about the power and authority that Jesus has over creation, as exemplified in the calming of the waters but also is about God’s action in human history to reconcile humanity back to God. It is a story that is meant to propel us into the wild world in order to share that same love with other people. It is a story about the reconciliation of God to God’s people, and it is a story about our own attempts to be reconciled to each other. Continue reading