Holy Eucharist: The Second Sunday after Pentecost

So good morning on the second Sunday after Pentecost. My name is Alan Scarfe I’m the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa and so we welcome those of you from across the diocese to this Sunday service. A number of you are having opportunities now to worship in your own sanctuaries and that has began as people submit their ideas and the plans and as the numbers regarding the coronavirus allows it and so we’re delighted for you and we invite you to continue to pray for us who are not able to do that as we hold together as one one Church in these many locations across the state of Iowa Today we come from St. John’s worship comes from St. John’s Episcopal Church in Mason City in the north of the diocese the north of the state and we will be led by rector Stephen Bennitz of St. John’s and the people of St. John’s. We give thanks to them for their being willing to lead us today Remember that during the week there are many other resources too for worship, a number of congregations put on Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer or Compline online for our virtual worship. And there are resources under the COVID-19 section of our website where you can find resources for formation and many other different bible studies and other things that are going on across the diocese in this time of this in between of being isolated in some ways, physically distanced in some ways and others being able to come a little bit more together. Particularly this moment when we’re invited to listen and to learn of the experiences of our Black sisters and brothers and settlings i do I want you to look into the resources that the Beloved Community Initiative there’s on our website on their own website and and engage… prepare yourselves to be engaging in this

movement that is occurring now across our nation and in many different parts of the world of awareness and action Remember that your congregations continue to have expenses and that your ongoing pledging of those… to those congregations is important some have developed online capacity to be able to receive your gifts and others need you to be able to submit your checks in one way or another So let’s settle in this morning and with thanksgiving enter into worship with the people of St. John’s in Mason City Good morning! Welcome to worship here at St. John’s and throughout the diocese. I am the Reverend Stephen Benitz, rector here at St. John’s and it is an absolute pleasure to be with you today We continue our service. Blessed be God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed be his kingdom, now and forever. Amen. Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen. The Lord be with you. And also with you Let us pray. Keep O Lord your household the Church and your steadfast faith and love, that through your grace we may proclaim your truth with boldness, and minister your justice with compassion; for the sake of our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen Please be seated for a reading of Holy Scripture A reading from Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been pointed into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ had died for the ungodly Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God

The psalm of the day is Psalm 116 verses one and ten through 17 and we will chant them together. I love the Lord because he has heard the voice of my supplication, because he has inclined his ear to me whenever I called upon him. How shall I repay the Lord for all the good things he has done for me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call upon the Name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his servants O Lord, I am your servant; I am your servant and the child of your handmaid; you have freed me from my bonds I will offer you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call upon the Name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people, in the courts of the Lord’s house, in the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Hallelujah! Please rise for this is the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew. Glory to you Lord Christ Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd Then he said to his disciples. “The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, son of Zebedee ,and his brother, John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus Simon the Cananaean, Ian and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. “As you go, proclaim the good news, ’The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. Take no gold or silver or copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, or tunics or sandals or a staff; for laborers deserve their food. Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. As you enter the house, greet it. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town See I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and Kings because of me, as testimony to them and the Gentiles When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak but the

Spirit of your father speaking through you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town flee to the next; for truly I tell you you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” The gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Christ. Well, please be seated. I pray that the words of the Spirit and the words of the Father speak through me now at this time. That was a long reading and if you stood for that reading you might be feeling a little bit tired. Tired…hmm I think that for a lot of us we are all a little tired, a little tired of this “new reality” as they call it this new way of being. We’re tired of being separated from the things we love. Tired of having to change our life. Because it is a trying time, a different time. In conversation with the Very Reverend Kelly Brown Douglas, Dean of Episcopal Divinity School at Union, she referred to it as a kairos time, a time where things come together to open up a possibility for change, and in that it is also a dangerous time a time fraught with peril and possibility and yet all of it pregnant with the movement of God. And that is largely where we find ourselves today in the midst of pandemic, renewed recognition of the racial divide and tensions which have been part of our nation since day one. We are in that time When I think about, or when I read scripture and pray on it, I ask myself what is it saying to us, what might God be saying to us now, here in this time? What is God saying, inviting us to do and to be a part of? How do we respond to that? Listening for God, to hear God’s voice Well I was mowing my yard two days ago and I don’t know if this is God’s voice or not but I’m going to share with you what I heard because it hit me so powerfully that I came inside and thought oh my God am I really going to talk about that? Is that really what I’m going to say? And what I found myself saying was that while I know most of us are ready to get back to normal. We are ready to get back to church, myself included. To sit here and to preach into a little tiny camera every week with only my wife and daughter on the other side immediately present with me is not my favorite thing in the world. It is weird and it is uncomfortable. And yet this voice kept saying to me, let us not be in a hurry to get back to normal. Let us live in this time now. Because to get

back to normal means to get comfortable I am well aware that we have a church that is predominantly made up of white people and I can’t help but think how amazing this time is and what an amazing opportunity for us to be uncomfortable and to be anxious and to feel as if the world is not set up for us. To be asked to change our lives in response to something outside of ourselves. Now I do not even begin to try to draw a direct comparison with what’s going on now and the experience of people of color in the United States. I do not even claim, I’m not Black, I can’t claim that. But I wanted us to think about this a little bit and this is what the voice kept telling me. What’s it like to be told that you cannot go in physically into your church building What does it like to be told you need to wear a face mask in public even if you don’t want to? What is it like to feel like you can’t you can’t go to a restaurant the way you wanted to? And the truth is that for some of us right now, that has caused a lot of anxiety and a even anger because we can’t do the things we think we should be allowed to do. And that is over what two three months of this. Now I imagine what would that be like if it was over your whole life, or generation after generation after generation. Many of us feel as if we walk out our house we could be walking into some sort of unseen doom because this virus is out there and it might get us but we can’t see it and we don’t know but we do know that there is a risk every time we step out this door. And I can only feel that so we look at the pictures of brutality on TV of injustice I hear the voices of my Black brothers and sisters who say, I am afraid to walk out of my house for fear I may be injured or killed hmm. And so we are in this time. And as people of privilege, we have an opportunity and a responsibility, perhaps to continue to stay uncomfortable Because my fear is, when we say we want to be comfortable, we want to get back to normal what that means is we want to get back to the way it used to be, because that feels really comfortable. Well the truth is for a lot of us the way it used to be really wasn’t all that comfortable And wasn’t all that great. And so we have an opportunity to recognize things and to say let’s move. And we follow a Jesus Jesus a God who invites us to not move backwards but is constantly inviting us to move forward, to go and to do it in the name of justice and liberation. Jesus doesn’t say you should keep the status quo. I don’t recall ever hearing that Jesus isn’t about how do we support the Empire Jesus is about turning everything on its head and in anyways that’s exactly what has been happening in our world right now Everything that we have experienced as a Church and as a nation is being turned on its head. Now we’ve been preached a gospel of comfort for a long time. And there certainly is a lot of comfort in

Jesus and in faith in God. But really I look at the Gospel today what does Jesus say to these people in response to other people being persecuted what does he say. Go out. Speak truth speak truth to authority. I am sending you out like lambs in the midst of wolves. You’re going to be persecuted You’re gonna be tried. We’re gonna have divisions because a lot of people aren’t going to want to hear this message. That is the Jesus that we follow. A Jesus of transformation. Jesus came into the world in that kairos moment and changed these lives of his followers forever. He didn’t say hey you received the Holy Spirit go back to fishing, well sort of fishing for men, right? Let us not forget that that’s the Jesus we follow. A Jesus that invites us to enter into that journey and to move forward, not knowing what the end result will be but trusting that it will work out. Let us not be in a hurry to just get back to the way things used to be. Let us live in this moment Let us continue to wear our face masks in public and with our friends because it reminds us that we are so much… the world is so much bigger than ourselves because our face mask isn’t about us, it’s about them, it’s about about me, it’s about we. It gets that focus back on what’s important Let us lean into the fact that we’re doing Zoom meetings now and you know what happens, what’s amazing with Zoom meetings? You can’t have two people talking at the same time or else it’s a mess. And so we’re forced to listen and to wait. Oh we need to be very careful about getting comfortable, particularly for white people in America. We need to be very cautious about what getting comfortable and going back to normal looks like. Yes it’s hard, yes it is not comfortable, yes it feels like suffering at times but as Paul reminds us with suffering comes endurance and out of endurance, hope. People ask me what can I do, I want to do something, and this morning as I was watering the flowers out front here a voice came to me and said for a lot of us in this church even it might just mean kind of gettin out of the way and letting things just happen Because our greatest power is to stop things. oOur greatest power is to try to protect ourselves at the expense of others when in fact the liberation of all brings us all into what we are meant to be. All of us God bless you as you live into this time and know that God is with us Amen. And now let us reaffirm our faith in the words of the Nicene Creed. We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one being with the Father. Through him all things were made For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he

suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father He will come again in glory to judge the living and dead and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the father and the son with the Father and the Son. He is worshiped and glorified he has spoken through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come We pray for God’s people throughout the world for our bishops the Most Reverend Michael Curry Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church and the Right Reverend Alan Scarfe, Bishop of Iowa, for this gathering and for all ministers and people. Pray for the church We offer prayers for peace for goodwill among nations and for the well-being of all people. Pray for justice and peace We pray for the poor, the sick, the hungry, the oppressed, and those in prison. Pray for those in any need or trouble We pray for all who seek God or a deeper knowledge of God. We pray that they may found find and be found by God We pray for the departed especially those that you name silently or aloud or in the chat. We pray for those who have died We pray for those celebrating birthdays We pray for those celebrating anniversaries and we offer thanksgivings for your own thanksgivings We pray for the community, our medical workers, seniors in assisted living, our children. For patientce and understanding in the crisis and recovery for all who are coping with the virus and for all those working for justice and equality for all We praise God for those in every generation in whom Christ has been honored Pray that we may have grace to glorify Christ in our own day. Amen Almighty and eternal God, ruler of all things in heaven and earth, mercifully accept the prayers of your people and strength us to do your will through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor. Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen. May Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you all your sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life Amen The peace of the Lord be always with you. And also with you namaste Once again it is an absolute honor to be asked to be a part of this for the

diocese today and it is just privilege to worship with all of you today. I want to remind us that next Sunday our diocesan worship will be offered by Sioux City Calvary and Lamars St. George I hope you will tune in for that and this is typically at the time where we would have the offertory, where the plate would be passed around our pews and an offering collected and as Bishop said in the beginning and reminded us that while we may not all be physically gathering at this time the expenses of the church are real and our needs are real and we ask that you use this time now we prepare the table for the feast to offer to God a sacrifice and make good your vows the Most High whether that be you pulling out your checkbook and writing out your cheqck or pulling out your phone phone and making your mobile tithe, so please offer to God a sacrifice The Lord be with you. And also with you Lift up your hearts to the Lord. Let us

give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right and a good and joyful thing always and everywhere to give thanks to you Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. For you are the source of light and life you made us in your image and call us to new life in Jesus Christ our Lord Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with Angels and Archangels and with all the company of heaven, who forever sing this hymn to proclaim the glory of your Name: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. hosanna in the highest Holy and gracious Father: in your infinite love you made us for yourself and when we had fallen into sin and become subject to evil and death you in your mercy sent Jesus Christ your only and eternal Son to share our human nature to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you, the God and father of all. He stretched out his arms upon the cross and offered himself in obedience to your will, a perfect sacrifice for the whole world. On the night he was handed over to suffering and death, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread, and when he had given thanks to you he broke it and gave it to his disciples and said, “take. eat this is my body which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.” After supper he took the cup of wine and when he had given thanks he gave it to them and said, “Drink this all of you This is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.” Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again. We celebrate the memorial of our redemption O Father, in this sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Recalling his death, resurrection, and ascension, we offer you these gifts. Sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be for your people the Body and Blood of your Son the holy food and drink of new and unending life in him Sanctify us also and we may faithfully receive this holy sacrament and serve you in unity, constancy, and peace; and at the last day bring us with all your saints into the joy of your eternal kingdom. All this we ask through your Son Jesus Christ. By him, and with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father, now and forever. AMEN. And now as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say, Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen Alleluia Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; therefore let us keep the feast. Alleluia These are the Gifts of God for all people of God and we take them in remembrance that he died for us and feed

on him in our hearts by faith with thanksgiving. for those of you joining us online I invite you now to join us with the prayer of spiritual communion In union, O Lord. with your faithful people at every altar of your Church, where the Holy Eucharist is now being celebrated, I desire to offer to you praise and thanksgiving I remember your death Lord Christ; I proclaim your resurrection; I await your coming in glory. And since I cannot receive you today in the Sacrament of your Body and Blood, I beseech to you to come spiritually into my heart. Cleanse and strengthen me with your grace, Lord Jesus, and let me never be separated from you. May I live in you, and you in me, in this life and in the life to come. Amen Let us pray. Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted us as living members of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have fed us with spiritual food in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood Send us now go into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord. Amen May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships so that you may live deep within your heart. May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, exploitation of people so you may work for justice and freedom and peace. May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain into joy. May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you could make a difference in this world so that you can offer to do what others claim cannot be done to bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor. The blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be with you now and remain with you always. Amen And let us go forth rejoicing in the power of the Spirit. Thanks be to God