St. Matthew's Episcopal Church Maple Glen, Pennsylvania

Readings and Reflections for the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

Amos 7:7-15

Psalm 85:8-13

Ephesians 1:3-14

Mark 6:14-29

Dear Friends,

Mark 6 contains the unpleasant story of Herod being tricked into beheading John the Baptist.  Put simply, this is a reminder of how the world often works.  The level of violence and manipulation that “make the world go round” is truly appalling. The gospel accounts do not sugar coat the ugly realities of our world.

The prophet Amos declares the judgment of God who measures Israel and finds the nation at fault.  Amos is told by the officials of the temple to go “practice his profession” somewhere else – the king and country don’t want to hear it!  The prophet replies that he is not a “professional” (think “politician”) but merely a person who is speaking as the Lord requires of him.

Ephesians 1:3-14 is a great shout of praise to God who chooses to bless us richly with grace, forgiveness, and insight into the Divine plan of salvation. We who believe are caught up in this plan as we hope in Christ and live for God’s glory.  We have believed (trusted) in this Good News and God’s own Holy Spirit has been given to us.

Comment:   The world is full of appalling events, and the nations of the world do much that is worthy of condemnation. Into this context is the hymn-like shout of S. Paul that there is Good News!  God’s purpose to redeem the human family is in fact at work among us, touching one life after another. I am always grateful for the glimpses of this Good News amidst the bad news: there are daily acts of kindness, love, and sacrifice for others on the personal, community, and international level.  Meanwhile, I seek to stand with the prophet Amos by being open to hearing and obeying the word of God that challenges me to uphold the Good News of God that for me is powerfully expressed in Jesus Christ. 

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