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The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written,
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This famous passage appears in Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. Romans is a long essay on our relationship to God and what it means to love and be loved by God. It is also Read more
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
Jesus put before the crowds another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
“Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.” And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Jesus put before the crowd another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!”
This is one of several parables that Jesus uses to teach those around him. They are sometimes collectively known as the “Kingdom Parables,” as each one is about “the kingdom of heaven.” This parable is one of only a few for which Read more
Matthew 13: 1-9, 18-23
Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!”
“Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells this parable after a number of disputes have gone on about who he is and what he is doing. Despite this, the size of the crowds following him has Read more
All Saints Episcopal Church
2076 Sutterville Road
Sacramento, California 95822
8:00 am Sunday Holy Eucharist, Rite II
9:15 am Sunday Adult Bible Study
10:00 am Sunday Holy Eucharist, Rite II
Nursery and Sunday School at the 10 am service.
All Saints Church is located across the street from Sacramento City College. Each semester we offer students the opportunity to purchase a pass to park in our parking lot Monday through Friday from 7:00 to 4:00. For more information see our parking pass information page.
Sermon from 7/2014: a written version
Sermon by the Reverend Betsey Monnot, delivered on 7/20/14 at All Saints Episcopal Church, Sacramento, CA
Readings: Year A, Proper 11
This week we heard the parable of the wheat and the weeds. This is the second week that our Gospel reading has taken the form of Jesus telling a parable to the crowds and then giving an explanation for the parable to the disciples. We need to keep in mind that scholars are generally of the opinion that the explanations–these one-to-one correspondences that Jesus tosses off in his private conversation with the disciples–are not necessarily originally the words of Jesus. That is to say, Jesus didn’t usually give quick interpretations of parables–that’s not the point of a parable. Some scholars are of the opinion that in this case, Matthew may have inserted the interpretation, to correspond to situations that he was facing in the community for which his gospel was written. The bottom line is: we don’t necessarily have to take that one-for-one interpretation seriously.
But now that we know that we don’t have to, let’s do it anyway. Let’s just take it at face value for a moment, and see where we get. First the sower, the Son of Man, sows wheat, or children of the kingdom, in the field, which is the world. Then the devil comes and sows weeds, the children of the evil one, among the wheat. But no one knows about the weeds until the plants begin to sprout, and when they do, the owner of the field tells his slaves Read more
Sermon for Sunday July 6, 2014, by Dr. Jill Joseph
“At that time, Jesus spoke…”
What a mish-mash our readings are today: a search for a bride, complete with nose rings and bracelets; a wonderfully joyous and frankly erotic song of spring and lust; Paul wrestling with Paul, and therefore with sin and law and evil and faith; and, finally, Jesus sharing a perplexing parable of taunting children followed by an intimate prayer and then a summons.
I typically begin preparing a homily by supposing that there is some thread of grace, a fabric of meaning, however subtle, woven through the Hebrew biblical reading, the Psalm, the epistle, and the Gospel. But as the books piled higher and the hours passed, my perplexity grew and the fact that my brother and sister are visiting here today made the struggle all the worse. After all, I have to perform, don’t I?
Of course not. The wonderful fact is that this preparation always Read more
Trinity Sunday, June 15, 2014
I was in a literature class in college where the professor described how novels – as opposed to other kinds of writing, like plays or short stories – offer us a particular way of relating to a story. Novels are meant to be read over a period of time: a few days, or maybe a week or two. During that time we take in a part of the story, then live a part of our lives, then go back to the story, over and over for a period of time. The story gets absorbed into our day-to-day existence slowly as we move back and forth between reading and living. After its all done, we may think about the story and try to understand it or figure out what it means; but the real experience of the story is during that time when we are reading and experiencing it while in some way connecting it to our everyday lives.
This is very different from the way we relate to movies, where the whole story is blasted at us in a couple of hours or so, and much more of our reaction to it takes place afterward. At least, that is the way it is for me: I often feel that I don’t know what I really think about a movie when I first come out of the theater. It takes me a few hours to digest the story.
The liturgical year in the church is a lot like the experience of reading a novel. For the first half of the year, we are following the life of Jesus, from Advent and Christmas, through Epiphany, and Holy Week, through the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, and on to Pentecost. During the rest of the year, we also hear about the life of Jesus, but we cease to have a series of feasts and events connected to reliving the story and its events in order. All of that was finished last week, with Pentecost.
Today is also a principal feast of the church: Trinity Sunday. But it is not a celebration of an event in the story. Instead, you might think of it as representing the moment after the story is finished, when we think over and Read more