May 28, 2017


NOTE: Our one worship service this Sunday May 28 will be at 5:00 pm, a spoken order of Communion with hymns.  No morning service because of Cornell Commencement at 11:00 am.  Next Sunday June 4 we begin our summer schedule: one worship service at 9:30 am.  when we will observe the festival of Pentecost and confer the Rite of Affirmation of Baptism for our confirmands.

The summer season begins with this Memorial Day observance. Through this weekend we remember people who have sworn to ‘protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic’ by serving in the armed forces. We remember those service men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice and given their lives. We have the gift and legacy of liberty to enjoy not only this weekend but also to look forward to the coming summer.  We remember.

These lessons include remembering both the presence of an ‘adversary’ and the prayer of Jesus that God would protect his flock so that they may all be ‘one’.

I confess my schizoid approach to our real world.  Part of me is a pacifist; part of me is a big brother who feels called to protect my little sister when she is being picked on and threatened by bullies – all unfairly, of course – who will not be dissuaded by anything other than threat of force.

That similar internal conflict was apparently also a part of Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  He was a pacifist who conspired in a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Hitler was a significant ‘adversary’. Nazi agents uncovered the plot and Bonhoeffer paid with his life at the very end of World War II.

When he was asked to explain how he as a pacifist could plot to kill someone, Bonhoeffer began his response: “when one sees a madman with a knife running toward a group of children . . . . . . . . .”

I still wrestle with ‘adversaries’ even as I hear the echo of Jesus’ prayer that his followers may be ‘one’. I feel called to move gently, relentlessly toward being one with all as an expression of God’s call in Creation and in Redemption.  And yet, when I see a madman with a knife running toward a group of children,   I feel my call is to love the children by stopping the one who is being adversary to God’s will that all be one.

Further Reflection

How does this quote from Bonhoeffer impact you: your family, your course work, your lab, your team, your ethics, your politics, your community involvement?
O God of glory, your Son Jesus Christ suffered for us and ascended to your right hand. Unite us with Christ
and each other in suffering and in joy, that all the world may be drawn into your bountiful presence,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Acts 1:6–14
    Psalm 68:1–10, 32–35
1 Peter 4:12–14; 5:6–11
John 17:1–11

SERMON: “Adversary and One”

from I Peter 4
8Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour.
from John 17

Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.

FIRST LESSON from Acts 1:6–14
So when [the apostles] had come together, they asked him, "Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?" 7He replied, "It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
            9When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11They said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven."

            12Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day's journey away. 13When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.

SECOND LESSON from 1 Peter 4:12–14; 5:6–11
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ's sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. 1 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you.
5:6Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. 7Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. 8Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering.

            10And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. 11To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.

THE HOLY GOSPEL according to John 17:1–11
After Jesus had spoken these words [to his disciples,] he looked up to heaven and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, 2since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. 5So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.
            6"I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them.

            11"And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.