17th Sunday, July 30, 2023 Holy Wisdom Monastery
1 Kings 3: 5-12; Romans 8:26-39; Matthew 13: 31-33,44-52 Patti La Cross
What welcome relief we have with our recent rains, and the dramatic greening and flourishing of the deep-rooted prairie and of our gardens!
This summer as we experienced worsening drought, the reality that we all face from humanly-altered changes in climate came closer to home. I know that I”m not alone in the grief I feel for all our children and grandchildren, fearful for how they will experience the future, fearful of scarcity across the world..
So I’m grateful for todays’ readings, to connect us with the deep rootsthat sustained our ancestors in faith through hardship. As the prairie serves as a “sink” for phosphorus, may our worship also serve as a “sink” for our fears.
These Scriptures highlight abundance. Each of them reminds us of the extraordinary relationship we’ve been invited into with The One who made us; The One who remains in loving trustworthiness with us: All of us, all of the time.
In 1st Kings we hear of a dream attributed to the newly raised King Solomon, son of the beloved King David. In it, the Creator appears, to gift him with whatever he asks for. Humbly, Solomon replies that he most desires “a listening heart”, as the source of thought was understood.
He desires to know good from evil, to lead the people into a new era, and hopefully to bring together a divided north and south.
This is a story of God’s boundless generosity, of God’s desire that we succeed in the good that we attempt. It is a promise to provide what we need in that work.
….And, it was written after the destruction of King Solomon’s temple; with the deportation of most of his people, during what became a 50 year exile from Jerusalem.
The story of Solomons’ encounter with The Holy was written to remind the people of the covenant of this promise; to strengthen the bruised hearts of the displaced, and to help bring them, whole, through this ordeal. It, and they, did eventually make it home.
This assurance is renewed and elaborated in Paul’s letter to the Romans.
Jesus, he teaches, is the now the ultimate act of God’s generosity,
He has made visible, and universal, the promise of God’s presence to us, not through the veil of sleep, but in human flesh, as one among us.
Paul writes that “God makes all things work together with those who love God, and are thus called to God’s purpose.”Alleluia!! We are not left to our own shortcomings!
That is in no small part because of the community faith creates.
In it we are bonded in love and prayer, in witness and in works; We are held in God’s own heart, Paul teaches, animated daily by the power of God’s own spirit..
This community has a long history and a charism for engaging the work of justice. Hopefully we will continue to do so, and you may join us..
This morning at coffee, there will be a table for planning a letter campaign on behalf of the Palestinians under attack in Gaza.
Will discouragement, fatigue, age or fear separate us from the love of God? “No” in Paul’s day, “No” in our own!
We persist because we keep returning to God’s table. Here we are given bread for the journey, and companions with whom to sing, to share, and to celebrate.
As with seeds you may have helped scatter on the prairie or savanna, we may not be here- or recognize them!- if they flower 7 years hence. We just keep planting, because the Holy One is worthy of our deepest trust, our every effort.
After God’s handing over of their own Son, Will God not also give us everything else we need? Ultimately, we find our “Yes”.
And in seeking our way to the fullness of God’s Home, we probably all follow different road signs.
I admit to not understanding today’s Gospel very well; and I question the disciples’ quick “Yes” when asked if they do. But in light of our first readings – and with apologies to the Scripture scholars- I view these Kingdom “vignettes” or “cameos” as I would road signs. Each written in a different language. Meant to advise and beckon all who pass.
Across the bottom: each notes “Inclusion is the treasure”:
“Hear ye those who feel too small, unremarkable, unworthy; you are enough!
Hear ye women, bakers, the poor; trying to multiply what little ye have to feed your hungry family, come, I will sustain you!
Hear ye, seekers turning over every rock in the field, seeking stability, home; possibility; come join us in community!
Here ye, seeking to find a practice, a path, a truth upon which to build your life,
Walk with me, I am the Peace you seek!.
Here ye, fisher-folk, working since early morning, evaluating what is worth keeping and what to toss; come rest, and let me be the judge!
Hear ye, You All Have a Place, a Welcome, and Abundant Love in God’s Home.
All of You. All the Time.
Let us pray:
In thanksgiving for Deep Roots!! For the Living Roots of faith that have reached through millenia to anchor us still, we pray,,,
In thanksgiving as well for the Deep Roots that stabilize the prairies, the forests;
and for our recent rains, for the bounty and the respite they provide us;
For all across the globe who continue to suffer from the heat, drought, fires, and reduced food production, and especially for those who work where they are denied access to water, shade and rest, we pray…
For all who are denied the right to assert their personal identity without fear or persecution, we pray…
For those who are sick, those who have recently died, and all who grieve,
And for all whose names are in our Book of Intentions we pray…
Holy One, Source of our lives and hope, we ask that you accept these prayers and increase our faith, in the name of the Creator, the Christ and the Holy Spirit, Amen.