Grace Episcopal Church



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Proper 16a 2014
24 Aug.
Ex.1:8-2:10; Ps. 124
Rom. 12:1-8; Matt. 16:13-20


Beginnings and endings. 
We make a big deal about beginnings and endings.
Births.  Deaths. Anniversaries. Memorials.

Christmas and Good Friday.
Genesis and Revelation.
Parting the Red Sea and crossing over Jordan into the Promised Land.

Today is a beginning.
The beginning of the story of Moses, the one who would be the Law giver, who would pronounce plagues, who faced down Pharaoh, who parted the sea, who wandered in the wilderness, who saved his people.

Today he is born into the human story, God touches the human story in this child, and the way of things begins to unravel and the new way of things begins to be stitched together.

“A new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph.”
That is how we start.
We begin with forgetfulness and the decline of government into corruption and abuse.  It is a familiar story.  The powerful forget their responsibility and they prey upon the poor.

The blessing of God that came through Joseph’s people was forgotten, and Pharaoh made the fatal mistake of the powerful, to think that the world is theirs to do with as they please, idolatry.  Out of fear for his power Pharaoh led his nation into the gross abuse of power and a costly decline that would end in ruin and grief.

Egypt begins its decline and Joseph’s people increased and prospered.  Even under slavery.  Even under abusive labor.  Even under eugenics and genocide.  Joseph’s descendants prospered.
God’s judgment on Pharaoh has already begun, by losing the blessing of Joseph.

And then Moses is born.
The hero is born, and we begin with God’s irony, a divine comedy.
Moses was raised in Pharaoh’s own home.  Unknowingly Pharaoh pays Moses’ own mother to raise her own child. Pharaoh is being mocked and he doesn’t even know it. 
It is like the African American stories of the old south where brer rabbit out foxes brer fox.  The powerful are mocked.  It is a consistent theme of the Old Testament.
Moses was drawn out of the water and saved by Pharaoh’s daughter and named a son.  Moses, his name means drawn from the water, the one who would draw his own people through the Red Sea and save them.  He is the gift from the water.  Moses who would pronounce the plague that would slay Pharaoh’s own son on the throne.  Pharaoh is mocked.

God’s judgment on Pharaoh’s iniquity is filled with deep and bitter irony. 
Pharaoh forgot Joseph. 
So now God will remind Pharaoh about Joseph and the blessing of the living God upon his people, a blessing that Pharaoh once shared in but lost because he lost the heart that invites and welcomes the outsider and sojourner and he fell into the way of rejection, fear and control.

And so we begin with Pharaoh’s forgetfulness and God’s faithfulness, the failure of the human story and the promise that God’s promise brings to our capacity for misery and destruction.
This is a story of God’s wrath and God’s blessing.
We are reminded of our own temptations to be like Pharaoh full of forgetfulness that leads to abuse and the general lack of hospitality and respect for the dignity of others.
We are reminded that God is faithful and will ultimately provide a way out for those who are in darkness and slavery.
We are warned and invited to repent and to hope.

This is a good beginning, but the best is yet to come.

Jesus was drawn from the water by John the Baptist, and the Spirit descended, anointing his flesh.  Anointed as the Messiah, the Savior, who will dethrone all the rulers of this world, who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

We have been drawn from the waters of Baptism and we have been marked as Christ’s own.  We share is the ministry of Moses, of all the Saints in reclaiming the world as God’s and loved by God.  Unlike Pharaoh we are those who remember Joseph.

Beginnings and endings.  They are a big deal.
Today is Rally Day, it is a beginning, a day to celebrate the gift of water.

Sermon Archives

(These are Microsoft Word documents)
8-24-2014 Proper 16A 2014
8-10-2014 Proper 14A 2014
7-27-2014 Proper 12A 2014
7-20-2014 Proper 11A 2014
6-08-2014 Pentecost 2014
6-01-2014 Easter 7a 2014
5-25-2014 Easter 6a 2014
5-18-2014 Easter 5a 2014
5-11-2014 Easter 4a 2014
5-4-2014 Easter 3a 2014
4-27-2014 Easter 2a 2014
4-20-2014 Easter 2014
4-18-2014 Good Friday 2014
04-09-2014 Lent 5a 2014
03-30-2014 Lent 4a 2014
03-06-2014 Lent 2a 2014
03-09-2014 Lent 1a 2014
03-05-2014 Ash Wednesday 2014
02-23-2014 Epiphany 7a 2014
02-09-2014 Epiphany 5a 2014
01-26-2014 Epiphany 3a 2014(pdf)
01-19-2014 Epiphany 2a 2014
01-12-2014 Epiphany 1a 2014
01-05-2014 Christmas 2 2014
12-25-2013 Christmas 2013
12-24-2013 Christmas Eve 2013
12-22-2013 Advent 4a 2013
12-01-2013 Advent 1a 2013
11-24-2013 Proper 29c 2013
11-17-2013 Proper 28c 2013
11-10-2013 Proper 27c 2013
10-27-2013 Proper 25c 2013
10-20-2013 Proper 24c 2013
10-13-2013 Proper 23c 2013
10-06-2013 Proper 22c 2013
9-29-2013 Proper 21c 2013
9-22-2013 Proper 20c 2013
9-15-2013 Proper 19c 2013
9-08-2013 Proper 18c 2013
9-01-2013 Proper 17c 2013
8-25-2013 Proper 16c 2013
8-18-2013 Proper 15c 2013
8-4-2013 Proper 13c 2013
7-28-2013 Proper 12c 2013
7-14-2013 Proper 10c 2013
7-07-2013 Independence Day 2013
6-09-2013 Proper 5c 2013
6-02-2013 Proper 4c 2013
5-26-2013 Trinity Sunday C 2013
5-19-2013 Penecost C 2013
5-12-2013 Ascension Sunday 2013
5-5-2013 Easter 6c 2013
4-17-2013 Easter 4c 2013
4-14-2013 Easter 3c 2013
3-31-2013 Easter 2013
3-29-2013 Good Friday 2013
3-28-2013 Maundy Thursday 2013
3-17-2013 Lent 5c 2013M
3-13-2013 Christ Church Lenten Sermon
3-10-2013 Lent 4c 2013
3-3-2013 Lent 3c 2013
2-24-2013 Lent 2c 2013
2-17-2013 Lent 1c 2013
2-13-2013 Ash Wednesday 2013
1-27-2013 Epiphany 3c 2013