Jesus said to the twelve disciples, "A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!
"So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
"Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.
"Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
"For I have come to set a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one's foes will be members of one's own household.
"Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it." Matthew 10:24-39
Today has been a hard day and a wonderful one. It was my last day at St. Peter's here in Sitka. It is amazing how quickly a place can seem like home and people become like family. The young men's chorus of the LA Children Choir joined us for my last service and sang beautifully. We had a fabulous potluck complete with reindeer redhots or hotdogs. It was a feast and a celebration and so hard to say goodbye. I want so much for this community of faithful people to thrive. And we must entrust one another to God's care.
The Gospel today invites us to venture forth, not holding on to the familiar but trusting that God will be with us when we step out in faith. We are not meant to put our comforts and familiar surroundings first, but rather put God's love as our primary task. And we will be cared for, so much more than the sparrows...God will seek us out and be with us in the hardest places on the most challenging journeys.
As this day comes to a close, I ask God to build up faith in all of us. May we move forward, out of the comfort and into the light. May we rejoice as we venture into the unknown, knowing we are cared for and loved beyond measure.
The CollectO Lord, make us have perpetual love and reverence for your holy Name, for you never fail to help and govern those whom you have set upon the sure foundation of your lovingkindness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.