St. Paul’s is a welcoming and inclusive community of about 280 members who come from all over the greater Milwaukee area.
We treasure the richness and diversity God has given our community, as it enhances our understanding of God.
In today’s gospel reading, there are two different stories of healing woven together into a single story. While Jesus is on his way to heal and restore life to Jairus’ 12 year old daughter, he heals an unnamed woman who has been hemorrhaging for 12 years.
So who has the real problem here? Is it the growing masses, following Jesus closing, beginning to think he could be Messiah? They’ll soon be turning on him. Is it Jesus and the disciples, so popular, attracting such crowds, they can’t get a table even at McDonald’s? Is it his mom and brothers who hear neighbor’s rumors: “Your boy ain’t right” and try to drag him home? Is it the scribes Jesus calls out, saying they blaspheme the Holy Spirit? That’s pretty serious. Is it Jesus, accused by the scribes of being in cahoots with Satan? Whose side do you take in this squabble? Our default choice, of course, is Jesus. Yet also according to Jewish norms, he’s doing some goofy things that cause him problems.
In case you missed the memo, today is Trinity Sunday. A noted Seminary President says he dreads preaching on Trinity Sundays. Is that not inspiring as I began working on my sermon, or what? The seminary President is not our dear member, Dr. David Zersen. I am sure he knows more than I about the Trinity, and would not have the dread I do.
I’m uncertain. You confuse me. I asked you to sit in someone else’ spot and you did it. I am confused. I can’t tell who’s here and who’s not. But that’s not why I am uncertain. Did the first disciples become Episcopalians between Easter and Pentecost? About what other religious gathering could it have been said: “For crying out loud, it’s 9am, and they’ve already started Happy Hour.”
This year we’ve moved the Feast of the Ascension from its assigned day of last Thursday to today. Weekday services no longer draw many. So we transfer the feast to the next Sunday when more people, like you, show up. It is permissible in the church do this. I have checked.
Have you ever forced yourself to love someone who annoys the daylights out of you? Jesus’ only command is that we love one another as he loves us. That’s not a suggestion. Keeping that command frees us from conflict, judging others, and general crankiness. Thank goodness that’s the way life is in the church, right? And when we understand this command and do it, Jesus bumps from servants to friends on the spiritual ladder. We enter his joy. Can love for someone you don’t particularly like be commanded, and that love be genuine – or lasting?
When I take Holy Communion to home or hospital, I often read a portion of today’s gospel. Jesus abiding with us, especially in times when we are anxious or distressed is reassuring. I skip the threat of pruning and burning useless branches, though. That’s not comforting. Do you think much about where you abide? Sometimes crises can get us to consider these things.
You can read the Apostle here…why wait for snail mail…click on news then on the Apostle icon.
Who is Jesus for you – for the church – for anyone? Many books have been published about him in recent years, so you have to figure he’s important. Some my favorite speak of Jesus as a teacher within, a Mediterranean peasant, and an apocalyptic prophet. He married, or maybe not. He and Mary Magdalene lived quietly and happily after Easter, or maybe not. One of my favorites is subtitled: “How Fiction by Jesus Became Fiction about Jesus.” He remains a figure of power, influence and intrigue who refuses to be nailed down.
You’d think the disciples would be overjoyed that Jesus is no longer dead. Surprisingly to us who know where the story is headed, their reaction is quite natural. They’re terrified he isn’t still dead. Oh, they’ve heard stories of Jesus sightings. Suddenly in their midst, as they talk of these, he appears. Yet, they still doubt, thinking he’s a ghost. Seeing his scared hands and feet – eating fish in their presence doesn’t help. We don’t figure out resurrection on our own, if at all. Only when Jesus gets into their heads – ours, opens minds do we get it. “Go. Proclaim repentance and forgiveness to all nations. Now you are witnesses of these things.”