Sermon for 18th Sunday After Pentecost 09-26-2021
Psalm-124; Esther-1:1-6, 9-10, 9-20-22; James 5-13-20; Mark-9-38-50
Psalm 124 is called one of the psalms of assents or thanksgiving by David. This type of prayers describe a situation of distress and how God delivered the psalmist. The psalmist promises to fulfill vows made to God during the distress and invites the congregation to join in thanksgiving and praise to God. These psalms show us our need to acknowledge God’s word in our times of trouble and to witness to others of what God has done for us
No matter how numerous of powerful the enemy, God’s people will win because He is graciously present on our side. Only our God an defeat the enemies of His people. Much of he praise in the Psalter is for what God has done or does for His people; as such, praise become a way of expressing our thanks to Him. It also acknowledges our dependence on our Creator.
From the reading from Esther we read about how Mordecai the Jew had uncovered a plot to kill king Xexses; told his secretly adopted daughter, Esther, who then told the king of the plot. The plot was foiled, but it then represented a bond between the king and queen that was strong, but she gave the credit to Mordecai. Haman was planning to destroy the Jews and Mordecai convinced Esther to present a request to the king. It was not allowed to go to the king in the court unless sent for, but because of their strong bond, she realized that it was her duty as a Jew to speak on their behalf. Mordecai, told her to request the king and Haman’s presence at a meal at her house, which they both attended. The king asked what she wanted but she would not say just yet. Haman hated Mordecai and spoke often of his plan to kill him and friends convinced him to build a gallows some 75 feet tall to hang him. That night, the king requested the “chronicles of his reign,” which he had it read to him and listened to the account of Mordecai and all that he had brought to light and simply asked, “What honor or recognition has Mordecai received for this actions and the answer was” “Nothing has been done for him,” his attendants said to him.”
The next day, Esther again requested the presence of the king and Haman for a dinner honoring them and they came, and the king asked her what she was requesting, and she did not say.
That night, the king requested the “chronicles of his reign,” which he had it read to him and listened to the account of Mordecai and all that he had brought to light and simply asked, “What honor or recognition has Mordecai received for this actions and the answer was” “Nothing has been done for him,” his attendants said to him.” The king and Haman went to the dinner again with Haman and the king said to her, “What is it you want?” Esther this time told her of Haman’s plot to hang Mordecai on the gallows at his house, and then said he also plans to kill me and my people, the Jews, exposing for the first time that shew was a Jew..” The king was very angry. He asked Haman about how to honor someone who had honored him, saving his life and how he should be honored. Haman could only think of himself, so he told the king he ought to have a royal horse with the individual wearing a royal robe on the horse and parade him through the streets praising him for all he has done to honor the king. He said, go and prepare all of this and give the horse and robe to Mordecai, to honor his service to him as a reward. Haman was furious, but was obedient. Then he and his 10 sons and 500 of his cohorts were all hanged. This was the 13th day of the 12th month and the king proclaimed that this day was to be annual celebration, that the Jews had gotten relief of their enemies.
From our reading from James, we see a warning to rich oppressors. We gain several things: Prayer is a constant response to oppression and suffering; He may ease our suffering or He may enable us to endue the suffering; Healing the sick is a part of the church’s ministry as it was of Christ; The church needs to find practical ways to help the troubled and sick experienced God’s presence; All situations call for payer of some sort, whether we are troubled, happy, or sick . In sickness, the prayer of faith calls forth the divine work. Christians have no exemption from the natural laws of God’s universe. Each of us is accountable to not take revenge on anyone, because that is God’s responsibility. We are to forgive all and mean it.
Finally, from the Gospel of Mark, we hear one of the most important instructions in the Bible; “We learn that the greatness in the kingdom is judged by how we receive the weak and powerless,” especially those that cannot do a single thing for us.” Anyone will accept those who can reward them us, but eh great ones in the kingdom received those who cannot give a reward.
Beloved, we live in God’s kingdom as we show God’s love to those who do not know love. When we seek to build a kingdom of power for ourselves, we have forsaken God’s way. As Christians, our “joy” comes from serving God through Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior. It is our helping others, where we find our greatest joy. If you say you don’t have any joy, what have you done to not have it? It is a gift of the Holy Spirit, straight from God. It’s not just writing a check to help someone, it is in sitting down with them, to understand what their need is, and then working with other Christians, to make their needs met. I’ll give you a hint, it begin with prayer, to set aside our own selves, so that God can work through us to affect the lives of others. Are you willing to be God’s vessel? Then you can do wonderful things, but you must begin. Amen