Sunday, August 29, 2010

More Missing Verses

Today's readings from Jeremiah 2:4-13 (7-13 below) struck a chord.
I brought you into a plentiful land to eat its fruits and its good things. But when you entered you defiled my land, and made my heritage an abomination. The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’ Those who handle the law did not know me; the rulers transgressed against me; the prophets prophesied by Baal, and went after things that do not profit. Therefore once more I accuse you,  says the Lord, and I accuse your children’s children.  Cross to the coasts of Cyprus and look, send to Kedar and examine with care; see if there has ever been such a thing. Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods? But my people have changed their glory for something that does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this, be shocked, be utterly desolate, says the Lord,  for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and dug out cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns that can hold no water.
In addition, Hebrews 13:1-8,15-16  was also worth noting (although some verses were missing).
Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured. Let marriage be held in honour by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers. Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’ So we can say with confidence,

‘The Lord is my helper;
I will not be afraid.
What can anyone do to me?’
Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever. Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
If you were not paying attention and were relying on the sermon to expound on these verses, you may have been surprised at the lack of reference to things such as holding marriage in honor, or to the cracked cisterns we have built on our own which we think can sustain us.

To me it was no surprise, because our curate, who was delivering the sermon, is known to have been appointed to serve on the task force to develop liturgies for same sex blessings as noted in the parish newsletter. She helping to build a cracked cistern. Of what profit is that?

Those who are prophesying that same-sex liturgies are the way the church is moving are nothing more than those who prophesy by Baal. Has the church changed its gods? Yes, if you are talking about the Episcopal church and its leaders.

Those leaders cannot expound on today's conjunction of Jeremiah and Paul's letter to the Hebrews. They are bound to their new god. Baal will not let them utter those words he cannot bear to hear.
As part of our continuing education project, in the reading from Hebrews 13:1-8,15-16 verses 9-14  were omitted today by the RCL.
Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings; for it is well for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by regulations about food, which have not benefited those who observe them. We have an altar from which those who officiate in the tent have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also suffered outside the city gate in order to sanctify the people by his own blood. Let us then go to him outside the camp and bear the abuse he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.
Oh dear, why won't we go there?


  1. As it happens, our pastor is preaching a series of sermons on Revelation's letters to the churches of Asia Minor and our lessons for today, both as a church and as individuals. I note, that many of those letters focus on references to "Baal" and tendencies within some congregations to embrace licentiousness while using Christ's blood atonement and subsequent Grace as an excuse for same.

    In reading these letters, a different pronouncement from God contained throughout Revelation comes to mind:

    "Woe to you, you [fill in blank].

    Good post.


  2. Abandoning the true God in order to trust in our own cracked cisterns can just as easily be spoken of those clinging to "traditional values" as of the revisionists. Be careful: the easiest path is to assume that you are (obviously) in the right and the others are in the wrong. But the Spirit of God is more discerning than that plain old human spirit. "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God..."

  3. Father Ferrell,

    As far as the revisionist claims to following the spirit, I have to hearken back to our catechism:

    "Q. How do we recognize the truths taught by the Holy
    A. We recognize truths to be taught by the Holy Spirit
    when they are in accord with the Scriptures."

    Your comment creates the equally important question of how we shall recognize a cracked cistern.

  4. Wildgrad3:49 PM

    I was surprised by the subject of the homily at my parish also. After hearing those two readings, i felt that surely the rector would speak about faithfulness in marriage and how it mirrors faithfulness to God.

    Instead, the homily was about being open and accepting of "everyone". I'm not saying that we shouldn't be open to accepting everyone, but we hear that message frequently. How about a message about faithfulness... we don't hear that one frequently these days.

  5. Father Ferrell............

    With all due respect sir, your comment may be philosophically reasonable, but there is a glaring and substantive difference between traditionalists and the progressives: the traditionalist position is supported by Scripture and two thousand years of tradition. The progressives simply make it up as they go along.

  6. Wildgrad,

    I compliment you on the use of your Sunday ears. The inclusive language that you hear is typically used to "soften up" the masses so that they might better absorb the next body blow.

  7. Cato,

    I agree with your assessment. I used to think that traditions die hard, but then I started studying how T.E.c. works.