Second Sunday After Pentecost: June 14, 2020
Year A, Proper 6: Psalm 116:1, 10-17; Genesis 18:1-15, (21:1-7); Romans 5:1-8; Matthew 9:35-10:8(9-23)
CLICK HERE to view the video recording of this Spiritual Communion service on Facebook.
NOTE: Bishop Goff delivered the sermon in Spanish. Our Rector, The Rev. Kathleen Murray, read Bishop Goff’s text during the service.
Homilist: The RT. Rev. Susan Goff, Bishop of Virginia
CLICK HERE to view Bishop Goff delivering the sermon in Spanish. A translation in English can be found below:
“…and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” (Romans 5.5)
Friends in Christ, thank God that we are recipients of the gift of hope, a hope that does not disappoint us, that does not disappoint, that will never fail us. Thank God that as followers of Jesus, we are messengers of hope.
Thank God, because the world today is in great need of hope. We live in a season different from all the others. The COVID-19 pandemic continues and the most vulnerable people suffer the most. Necessary employees risk their health and lives to serve others and to care for their families. The unemployment rate is very high, and it is difficult for many people to support their families. The death of an unarmed black man at the hands of the police ignites violence in the streets of our communities. People of different origins risk their health to participate in marches and in peaceful protests against violence. They peacefully protest the racism and white privilege that infect the heart of America. People vulnerable due to their health or status or fear cannot participate in this public movement. We expect wise leadership from our elected leaders and we are still not satisfied. It is a difficult season. It would be easy to lose hope.
As Christians, as people of faith, we do not lose hope in this time of suffering and uncertainty. Because we know that we are not alone. Jesus Christ is with us. Through his example, his life, his death, and his resurrection, we have seen that hope grows in moments of suffering. The Holy Spirit multiplies hope when we need it most.
There is an integral relationship between suffering and hope. Saint Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “we glory in sufferings; Because we know that suffering gives us endurance and endurance and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, firmness to endure, and this firmness allows us to be approved, and leaving approved fills us with hope. And this hope does not disappoint us.” Suffering ultimately leads to hope.
Really, we would rather not suffer. We don’t want those we love to suffer. Occasionally, however, we accept suffering today with hope for the future. For my part, I am now cancer-free. And at the same time I am receiving chemotherapy to increase my chances of remaining cancer-free in the future, and so that I can serve the diocese for many more years. It is a sacrifice now with hope for the future.
Together we make a sacrifice today with hope for the future. We cannot worship together in our buildings. And we cannot receive the sacrament of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Like you, I have not received the sacrament twelve weeks ago. We make the sacrifice now to protect the most vulnerable people, and to protect ourselves. It is a sacrifice now with hope for the future.
Fathers and mothers make sacrifices for their children. They take risks so that their children have a life now and in the future. As human beings, we would rather never suffer, but from time to time we choose suffering with hope for the future, for our families, for the most vulnerable, for others.
We can do it in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who chose to suffer for us and for the whole world. Jesus chose suffering. He could have escaped the soldiers’ hands. He could have defended himself instead of remaining silent. He could have lived a long life in quiet and darkness in a secluded corner of the field. But he decided to follow his father, his God, to the end, to torture, suffering, and death. Jesus chose suffering for others. For us. Around the world.
As Saint Paul wrote, ¨When we were unable to save ourselves, Christ, in due course, died for sinners. It is not easy for someone to be killed instead of someone else. Not even in place of a righteous person; although perhaps someone would be willing to die for the person who has done him great good. But God proves that he loves us, in that, when we were still sinners, Christ died for us. “
Jesus Christ chose suffering and death. And by his Resurrection, God redeemed suffering and death, even horrifying death on the cross. In the same way, God redeems the suffering we suffer, especially the suffering we choose or accept for others.
Thank God. Because the same God who redeemed the death of his Christ will redeem this difficult season. It will redeem the sacrifices, suffering, and death that we see and suffer today.
When we go like sheep among wolves, God is with us. When the world hates us for the Lord’s sake, we can stand firm to the end, because we are never alone. God is our salvation, our redemption, and our hope. And this hope never disappoints us.
So, have good courage.
Never be afraid.
Because God who created you is always with you and he loves you ardently.
And God’s blessing, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, come down on you and stay with you now and forever.
Before our church buildings were closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, sermons were recorded at St. Andrew’s and uploaded by Kemp Miller, for whose ministry we are all grateful. To access the entire library of audio files for recent sermons, CLICK HERE.