St. Matthew's Episcopal Church Maple Glen, Pennsylvania

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Readings and Reflections for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Ezekiel 17-22-24

2 Corinthians 5:6-10,14-17

Mark 4:26-34

Dear Friends,

When the prophet Ezekiel tells the allegory of the cedar tree, he is speaking to the exiled people of Israel with a message of hope.  The tender twig of cedar that is planted and grows into a great tree is a picture/promise of restoration from disaster and renewed life after desolation.  The Lord declares the ability to bring low what is high (The Empire of Babylon) and raise up what is low (Israel).

Mark 4 gives us two parables from Jesus, both about growth.  Seeds grow in a very miraculous way – so much from so little- and Jesus likens the working of God to this amazing growth.  He then draws from Ezekiel’s story of the cedar twig to shape another allegory/parable of the mustard seed, which is tiny but becomes large and hospitable tree.  This is how God works among us!

St. Paul describes the “walk of faith” to the Christians of Corinth.  Having just earlier discussed the struggles of life and the frailty of our human bodies, the faith walk involves seeking to please and honor the Lord (Jesus) in whatever situation or condition we find ourselves. This is so hard to do!  Knowing that the Lord has prepared a life for us that cannot be destroyed, we are encouraged to take heart and to live not for ourselves but for Christ.

Comment: We need to be set free from our anxieties – our concerns for ourselves, others who are dear to us, and for our country – if we are to be fully alive to God’s life and work in us.  Jesus encourages us to trust in the God who can take what is low and little (you and me, our homes and churches, and even an entire nation when it is fallen low) and create places of life and refuge in the world.  Can I dare allow God to “sow” me like a seed?  To do this I must allow my “anxious self” to be buried so that my “faith self” can emerge. This is a daily struggle as you and I try our best to get those “weeds of anxiety” out of the way…not always with success. Still, we can trust the Lord will help us and make good things to grow.

David S. Robinson, Rector
Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Church
Maple Glen, PA 19002