are the Scripture readings as scheduled in the "Revised Common
Lectionary," an ecumenical schedule of readings of Holy Scripture. Our
sermons are based on these readings.
Thirteenth Sunday of Pentecost, (Year A)
1Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian;
he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.
2There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush;
he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. 3Then Moses said,
“I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not
burned up.” 4When the LORD saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to
him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5Then he said,
“Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you
are standing is holy ground.” 6He said further, “I am the God of your father,
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his
face, for he was afraid to look at God.
7Then the LORD said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt;
I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their
sufferings, 8and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to
bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with
milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites,
the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9The cry of the Israelites has
now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. 10So come, I
will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.”
11But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the
Israelites out of Egypt?” 12He said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the
sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of
Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.”
The Divine Name Revealed 13But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites
and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask
me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14God said to Moses, “I AM
WHO I AM.”£ He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has
sent me to you.’” 15God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the
Israelites, ‘The LORD,£ the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God
of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’: This is my name forever,
and this my title for all generations.
This is the Word Of The Lord; Thanks Be To God.
God’s Faithfulness to Israel
1 O give thanks to the LORD, call on his name, make known his deeds among the
2 Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wonderful works.
3 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.
4 Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually.
5 Remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he
6 O offspring of his servant Abraham, children of Jacob, his chosen ones.
7 He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth.
8 He is mindful of his covenant forever, of the word that he commanded, for a
9 the covenant that he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac,
10 which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute, to Israel as an everlasting
11 saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan as your portion for an
12 When they were few in number, of little account, and strangers in it,
13 wandering from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people,
14 he allowed no one to oppress them; he rebuked kings on their account,
15 saying, “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.”
16 When he summoned famine against the land, and broke every staff of bread,
17 he had sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave.
18 His feet were hurt with fetters, his neck was put in a collar of iron;
19 until what he had said came to pass, the word of the LORD kept testing him.
20 The king sent and released him; the ruler of the peoples set him free.
21 He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his possessions,
22 to instruct£ his officials at his pleasure, and to teach his elders wisdom.
23 Then Israel came to Egypt; Jacob lived as an alien in the land of Ham.
24 And the LORD made his people very fruitful, and made them stronger than
25 whose hearts he then turned to hate his people, to deal craftily with his
26 He sent his servant Moses, and Aaron whom he had chosen.
27 They performed his signs among them, and miracles in the land of Ham.
28 He sent darkness, and made the land dark; they rebelled£ against his words.
29 He turned their waters into blood, and caused their fish to die.
30 Their land swarmed with frogs, even in the chambers of their kings.
31 He spoke, and there came swarms of flies, and gnats throughout their
32 He gave them hail for rain, and lightning that flashed through their land.
33 He struck their vines and fig trees, and shattered the trees of their
34 He spoke, and the locusts came, and young locusts without number;
35 they devoured all the vegetation in their land, and ate up the fruit of
36 He struck down all the firstborn in their land, the first issue of all their
37 Then he brought Israel£ out with silver and gold, and there was no one among
their tribes who stumbled.
38 Egypt was glad when they departed, for dread of them had fallen upon it.
39 He spread a cloud for a covering, and fire to give light by night.
40 They asked, and he brought quails, and gave them food from heaven in
41 He opened the rock, and water gushed out; it flowed through the desert like
42 For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham, his servant.
43 So he brought his people out with joy, his chosen ones with singing.
44 He gave them the lands of the nations, and they took possession of the
wealth of the peoples,
45 that they might keep his statutes and observe his laws.
Praise the LORD!
12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to
present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is
your spiritual worship.
12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of
your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God--what is good and
acceptable and perfect.
12:3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of
yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment,
each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
12:4 For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the
12:5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are
members one of another.
12:6 We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in
proportion to faith;
12:7 ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching;
12:8 the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in
diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
This is the Word Of The Lord; Thanks Be To God.
Pentecost 14 (Year A)
Reader: This is the Gospel of the Lord; Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Brother Benedict, Sermon 188
Pentecost 13A, 1999
Pentecost 14 Jesus speaks to Moses 8/22/99
Our story of the Chosen People of God continues with Moses receiving the
commission to return to Egypt and lead the Chosen People out of slavery in the
Name of "I Am Who Am" the eternal name of God.
Again, there has been a passage of time since our last reading of Exodus. Last
weekend we were reading in Chapter one where Moses is found by Pharaoh’s
daughter and given his name. This week the reading has Moses grown up and
tending the sheep of his father-in-law Jethro. Obviously the lectionary has
skipped over many important aspects of the story; for example, how Moses grew
to be in charge of many Israelite slaves and an overseer of the building
projects of the cities of Pithom and Rameses. Moses became the beloved prince
of Pharaoh. Obviously too, the lectionary has skipped the part where Moses
murdered an Egyptian and that is the reason this chapter places Moses in the
desert rather than as a powerful prince of Pharaoh. By the passage of time for
this reading Moses has fled Egypt for fear of his life and for fear of
Today we are reading in chapter three of Exodus where Moses goes to Mt. Horeb,
the mountain of God. Mount Horeb is where God spoke to Moses from the burning
bush. Most of us can retell the story fairly well from this point. However,
there is a very significant detail that is often overlooked. Notice, it says
"the Angel Of The Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a
bush…" (Exodus 3:2) Who is "The Angel Of The Lord?"
This angel, which means messenger is Jesus in His pre-incarnate (pre-Bethlehem)
self appearing in the Hebrew Scriptures. One way to be certain of this is to
remember that Jesus’ name translates to English as "Our Salvation Is With
Us." Whenever the pre-incarnate Christ appears in the Hebrew Testament He
is always there to bring salvation to His people, Israel whom He calls His
"brethren". Certainly the Angel Of The Lord is about to bring
salvation to His people by sending them Moses to lead them out of Egypt. In
this way, Moses is prefiguring the very work Jesus would later do for us
Gentiles. Verse two clearly says "the Angel Of The Lord appeared to him in
a flame of fire out of a bush…" At verse six the same one in the flame in
the bush says; "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God
of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." No regular angel, which simply means
"messenger" would ever claim to be "the God of your father, the
God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" as The Angel Of
The Lord does in this paragraph of Holy Scriptures.
When supposedly Christian theologians, pastors, evangelists, and teachers fail
to show the people the significance of Jesus Himself appearing as The Angel Of
The Lord, a very key, central, and important fact of the story is lost. Jesus
is about to enact a great theophany and bring about salvation. That is what He
always does, He saves His people. To not reveal the identity of the
pre-incarnate Saviour is strip the central theme of the event out of the Bible.
Salvation always comes at a price, a very high price. The Egyptians paid dearly
for the salvation of the Chosen People. If Egypt had listened and converted..,
the story would certainly have changed! However, as we all know, Egypt did not
turn from those false religions that we mentioned last week, and the people of
Egypt did not accept the free offer of Salvation given to them from God through
the pre-incarnate Christ and his sent servant, Moses. Egypt’s stubbornness
turned out to be very costly resulting in the loss of crops, livestock, fishes,
even the grass on the Earth, and worst of all the firstborn sons of Egypt were
sacrificed to death because of Egypt’s obvious choice of Satan and His ways and
the resulting hardness of heart.
Are we much different than Egyptian people of that day? Like them, we are faced
every day with the choice of serving the intentions of evil or serving the Will
of God. This is the challenge of the Christian life as we try to live God’s
Will in a world that is professing to be neutral when it comes to one religious
system as opposed to another. The professed neutrality carries the suggestion
that religion is an unnecessary option for successful living at the end of the
20th century, that somehow we are now too smart and educated for superstition
and religion. Our modern thinking also suggests humanity is neutral as far as
being good or bad and religion is therefore not needed to produce a world that
works together for the common good.
First, I do not find any place in the Holy Scriptures that suggests our
assignment from God is to make the world a better place or to make it into the
Kingdom of God. No, in fact, the Scriptures are quite clear that Satan himself
is the god or ruler of this world system and that fact alone should make it
unmistakably clear where the course of this world system is headed. Often
writers accuse those of us who simply read the Scriptures and clearly see this
is the course of the present world system of holding a "pessimistic"
view of the world.
When "mainline" "educated" clergy make this claim they are
implying that true Christians would never see the present world situation as
"lost" and would realize the Church will triumph in the present world
because they claim Satan is already judged and powerless. Therefore, they
wrongly claim, the Gospel of Christ will convert the entire world to Christ and
at that point they say He may return, though most of them say only spiritually
if at all, and the converted world will end (such an "end of the
world" is NOT in the Bible) and the new mystical heaven will be
established to spiritually go on for ever. When I hear this grand tale told and
retold I usually visualize this "mystical" "spiritual"
heaven as a misty substance floating somewhere out there with misty souls and
What a story! What a mess! This story is not Christian and it is not Biblical
regardless of big and powerful the denominations are that regularly teach
various versions of it. Their version of the "end of the world" isn’t
at all what the prophets, Jesus, or the Christian Testament writers explained
as God’s future plans for this world. The Holy Bible clearly speaks of a
physical kingdom on this earth with Christ himself reigning in Jerusalem for
one thousand years when He returns at the end of this age! The end of this age
is NOT the end of the world!
Every "Good Friday" we remind ourselves that when Pilate asked Jesus
if He was a king, Jesus said yes. When Pilate asked Jesus in so many words
where His kingdom was, Jesus clearly answered that His Kingdom was not of this
world. How much clearer could that be? Further, when Jesus is about to ascend
to Heaven, forty days after the Resurrection (see Acts, chapter one) the
Apostles sound desperate when they again ask Jesus if this was the hour that He
would establish His Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven. He clearly says no
this isn’t the time, but it will come when God is ready to establish it! How
can the "modern" "mainline" "educated" so-called
"Church" avoid these two very clear moments in the chronology of
Jesus on earth where He clearly says He is not the king of this world, and such
a kingdom will happen when God is ready to establish that kingdom? How can the
"mainline" "modern" "educated" "Church"
ignore the Christian Testament references that name Satan as the god of this
world, the ruler of this world, and the prince of the powers of the air?
This is a serious error! This is a serious deception and is grossly misleading!
As a result, people are led to believe once they have "been saved" or
"converted to the faith" or "given their lives" to Christ
He is Lord of the World (personal world as well as global world), King of
Kings, Ruler Of All, etc. and all their problems are now solved or now they are
members of the great triumphant and militant Church on Earth charged to bring
the whole earth to Christ. A few days later most of these new converts face a
horrible reality; we all struggle with sin, and we often want to choose evil
and temptation, and very frequently we all find choosing Christ’s Will in some
situations unpleasant, and even seemingly impossible. What are people to think
when the so-called "church" is telling them they can now be
victorious over sin and those who are really saved or really in grace are free
from sin? Of course that is confusing! Of course that makes the conversion and
saved thing seem like nothing more than a temporary emotional high that just
makes you think you can now conquer all your inclinations toward evil, when
failure sets in one often thinks their reality proves in fact
"salvation" is really nothing at all. Monday comes and you seem just
as self-centered, and challenged by temptation as last week.
To me, this serious error on the part of the "educated" so-called
"mainline denominations" is the most pessimistic view and is so
seriously off the course with what the Bible clearly says that it is a major
cause of popular rejection of Christianity. This "mainline
eschatology" is not Christianity at all and is only managing to hold our
modern population in the bondage of despair and doubt.
Let’s tell the people the truth! The true and lived reality of being a
Christian in this world is a daily encounter with evil. We shall struggle
against sin and evil every day of our earthly lives. We are members of the
spiritual Kingdom of God by virtue of our confessed faith in Jesus. However, we
are a pilgrim people traveling through a world where Jesus clearly explained
that evil and good would exist side by side. We know that we are not neutral
when it comes to our innate ability to choose God’s Will over evil. We know
that only Christ in us can give us the suggestions we need to choose the road
to God. We also know we will never be forced to stay on that road to God, not
even for one minute, that our staying must be one hundred percent a daily and
often hourly conscious choice on our part. We know that God has not set this up
this way to make it impossible or unfair, rather, God wants us to choose to
love God, and choose to dwell in God’s Kingdom "on Earth as it is in
Heaven" when God is ready to establish it.
We are not left to struggle against sin alone. Christ is truly with us.
However, we live in a world system that is not Christian. Therefore we must be
very aware of the claims of some that they can be "good" without
Christ or the "god thing." We know that isn’t possible and though the
speaker may be unaware, they have already made their choice by rejecting
Christ. We must be careful, then when we are in decision making positions that
will effect others and the person or persons we are making decisions with is
not born of Christ and alive in a living relationship with Jesus Christ through
faith. Though they may be "good" by the world’s standards, but we are
not function by the world’s standards. We need to be on guard for Christ’s
sake, and be aware of what we are agreeing to, voting on, and endorsing by our
We can ask the popular question; "What would Jesus do?" Or, is this
what Jesus wants me to do? If you would sit for awhile and contemplate the
magnitude of this responsibility and the effect our decisions may indeed have
on our world you would realize your awesome responsibility as ambassadors of
While we are in the world, we do have Christ in us and with us as He Himself
promised. Therefore those who are truly reborn in Christ actually do practice
the Kingdom principles by listening to the Holy Spirit, reading the Holy
Scriptures and taking our cues from them on how to spiritually survive while
passing through this world and still be Kingdom bound.
Our second reading today is loaded with principles to live by as we pass
through this valley of darkness and cling to the light of Christ.
Paul starts out with the summary: ".. hate what is evil, hold fast to what
is good.." (Romans 12:9) The words "hate" and "cling
to" are extreme opposites. Hate evil and cling to good, any questions? What
part of that is so complicated and heady that we need a theologian to explain
it to us? Do we live by that command? The next verse is equally as clear;
"love one another with mutual affection.." (Romans 12:10) Did I hear
someone say "ouch"? Mutual affection….. ponder that for awhile. We
are not to have favorites in the Church, and I am speaking about truly
born-again Christians. All born-again Christians are equal in God’s eyes and
must be equal in our treatment of them. People need to be held accountable for
their actions, but we give mutual affection to all members of the Body Of
Christ. The reading continues; "Rejoice in hope.." (Romans 12:12) Our
world system says do not tolerate hope, demand results right now! Irritate
everyone until you get what you want. Christ, is outside of our world time
table. One day is as a thousand years to Him…. We should be content to wait on
God’s timing and enjoy the vision of hope that God shows us as God fulfills
Our time is truly run out. I commend to your meditation every phrase of today’s
second reading. You will find many rich holy principles to guide your journey
as we move together through this valley of darkness. We fear no evil because
Christ is with us using His rod and staff to comfort us. He will continue to
prepare His Table before us, even in the presence of the enemy and the cohorts
Praise the blessed and holy Name of Jesus Christ both now and forever, Amen.
May almighty God bless you, In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of
the Holy Spirit. Amen.
TOTUS TUUS! Totally Yours, Lord Jesus Christ.
May Almighty God bless all of us, in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the
Holy Spirit, Amen.