Sunday, March 15, 2020
It’s strange having an empty church on Sunday morning.
I completed the Facebook Live stream a but ago, so if you drop in there, it’s on our Facebook page. Text me if you want a link. I couldn’t get it to copy onto this email.
Remember, I am just a phone call, email, or text away. 203-232-7973.
For those of you who cannot access it, or would rather just read a summary, here it is:
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Selah
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns.
The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.”
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
So [Jesus] came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon. A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!” The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.”
Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with her?” Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” They left the city and were on their way to him. (End of passage)
Since I do not write out my sermons, this is a rough summary:
In the Gospel lesson, Jesus is passing through Samaria and stopped at a well to rest. He encountered a Samaritan women there and asked her for a drink. Now, the Jews and the Samarians were not friendly; there was a lot of animosity between them. And, in that culture at that time, men were not to talk with any women who were not relatives, especially not enemies.
Yet, Jesus not only talked to her, he asked her for a favor, please give me a drink. This was his way of engaging her in conversation.
The time was noon, way passed the time when most women would come to the well. This particular woman, evidenced by the fact she was there at this time, shows she had something to hide; she was an outcast. Jesus probed for that by his request for her to go and get her husband. She did not have one, but had five, and the man she was with now was not her husband. Ah, that’s why she was at the well at such an odd time! Jesus knew this. He knew she was a Samaritan women of dubious reputation, yet he still talked to her. He still treated her as worthy of attention. He treated her as a deserving human being with no judgment or reproach.
The woman, so surprised by Jesus, went back to her community and proclaimed “He knew me”, in so many words. She dared to speak her truth, when her reputation otherwise would have kept her silent.
Jesus knew her; Jesus knows us; God knows us. God knows our goodness and our badness, our light and our dark. God knows the evil thoughts that we keep silent. And, God love us anyway, unconditionally, eternally.
And, with that knowing, God holds us tightly in that love. Especially now, in this time or uncertainty and fear, we have a God who never leaves us. Of course, we have no guarantees that we won’t suffer, but, we have a companion in that suffering. God never leaves us, offering us strength, peace, and hope. And, we in turn can share that with others.
So, even though we are social distancing, that doesn’t mean we cannot stay caring and connected. Reach out to your friends and family. Connect with your neighbors. Check in on the elderly with a phone call or a wave at their door. Show Christ to others, even if it’s from a distance.
May we, even in this time, be that beacon of love and light on the Huntington Green and into our community. Thanks be to God. Amen.
This email is already long, so I will end it here. I will be in touch with other information in the coming days.
Please stay in touch. You are in my prayers and in my heart.
In Christ’s love,