10:30 a.m. Charles Fillmore Chapel, Unity Temple on the Plaza
July 6: Bishop Janet Sunderland
July 13: Bishop Cliff Kroski
July 20: Bishop Janet Sunderland
July 27: Bishop Cliff Kroski
Well, here we are, it’s July and we start a very long stretch of Ordinary Time and without any major feast days until we celebrate the First Sunday of Advent on November 30th. Well! That’s a lot of “wearing of the green,” so to speak. But, after a long Easter season of white, green may not be so bad.
Ordinary Time invites us to discover connections between the events of our own lives and the events in the story of Jesus. The mystery of Christ is also our own mystery, our own rhythm. In summer, the rhythm changes for each of us according to the events that come into our lives: outdoor activities, weddings, transition times, family gatherings, travel, work, play.
Fortunately, no matter what our experience of the season, the ritual of liturgy calls us to prayer and celebration, to thanksgiving and meditation. The liturgy rolls on like an ever-flowing stream, no matter the season.
July 6th celebrates the 14th Sunday in Ordinary time. No doubt, many people gathered for the 4th of July celebrations this long weekend. For many it was a time of R&R. Coincidentally the gospel reading alludes to rest. “Come to me, all who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest.” Jesus assures us that no matter what our concerns, worries, stresses and troubles may be, his “yoke is easy and his burden is light.” May we remember this as we move through the summer season.
On July 13th, we hear the familiar parable of “the sower and the seed.” Jesus in story form and analogy tells us that we are to plant our seeds in living “the good news” on fertile ground and if we do, a rich yield will follow. What kind of seeds do we plant in our lives? Do we plant seeds of joy, happiness and hope or do we scatter deeds and thoughts of fear, sadness and despair?
On July 20th, the analogy of planting continues as Jesus again talks about “growing the kingdom” in our lives. The kingdom is like a mustard seed. The seed is the smallest of seeds, yet if cared for, it becomes a large bush. Living and growing the kingdom takes care and nurturing. It’s not something that can be cast aside or forgotten. It requires constant tending and vigilance.
The 17th Sunday in ordinary time continues in Matthew’s Gospel as Jesus preaches about the kingdom of God. The kingdom is like a treasure buried in a field. The kingdom is like the finest of pearls and it is like a net thrown into the sea which collects fish of every kind. Treasures, pearls and fish; aren’t these analogies interesting? In the times of Jesus, merchants traveled with their treasures which others bought and of course, many people made their living by fishing. I wonder what metaphors Jesus would use today to get this point across? Maybe He would make references to I Phones, stocks and bonds, and wide-screen televisions!
As we move further into summer may we always remember the life, light, and love which we celebrated at the Easter season and carry throughout this Ordinary Time.
+ Cliff and +Janet