Monthly Archives: August 2015

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost — Rev. Karen Barfield

Song of Solomon 2:8-13
James 1:17-27
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our Strength and our Redeemer. Amen.

“The voice of my beloved!
Look, he comes,
leaping upon the mountains,
bounding over the hills….
My beloved speaks and says to me:

“Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away;
for now the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away.” (Song of Solomon 2:8-13)

When hearing these words, it is difficult not to get caught up in their life-giving Spirit!

Whether the beloved is a human lover or a loving God, one cannot help but take delight upon hearing the words:

“Look, he comes…leaping upon the mountains…bounding over the hills!”

The beloved takes such joy in us that he comes leaping and bounding.

“Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away….”

The cold and wet winter is past,
the flowers are blooming,
the birds are singing,
the air is filled with fragrance,
fruit emerges on the vines.

Life is full,
and overflowing with richness.

It is a moment to breathe deeply.

It is God’s gift of creation
and re-creation.
It is good.

The tenor of our first reading echoes in the first words of today’s reading from the Letter of James:

“Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above…he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures.” (James 1:17-18)

We are created by a loving and compassionate God to extend God’s loving embrace to the world in which we live.

When we hear words such as these from the Song of Solomon, it is easy to remember and feel embraced as God’s beloved, and yet as we are reminded in the remainder of the reading from James and in our reading from Mark’s Gospel, it is all to easy to have our hearts swayed by the world around us. Continue reading

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost — Rev. Karen Barfield

I Kings 8:1,6,12-11,22-30,41-43
Psalm 84
John 6:56-69

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our Strength and our Redeemer. Amen.

In today’s scripture readings we hear words of challenge, promise and home…a place of being and belonging in the presence of God.

When you were a child or maybe even an adult and were experiencing something frightening, did someone ever tell you: “Go to your happy place?”

What might that place be for you?

….the place where you feel safe and protected…surrounded by the love of God?

For me, one of the places I visit in my mind and heart when I am in need of some Peace is a hillside in Scotland. The grass is green and the air is crisp, but the sun is gently warming my face as I lie there looking up at the clouds drifting by.

At the bottom of the hill is a stream with an old water mill slowly turning.
The ducks are quacking as they search for food.
Occasionally a child laughs in delight.

There is stillness
and life
all at the same time.

In today’s Psalm we hear that

“the sparrow has found her a house
and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young;
by the side of your altars, O Lord of hosts…
Happy are they who dwell in your house!” (Ps 84:3-4)

Whatever the place that you find rest in God…hold that place in your heart while we journey into the gospel…. Continue reading