Sermons 2009

Pentecost 5B (Proper 9B) 5 July 2009, Mark 6:1-13

Home | Proper 17B, 30 August 2009, Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 | Proper 16B, 23 August 2009, John 6:56-69 | Pentecost 10 (Proper 14B) 9 August 2009, John 6:35, 41-51 | Pentecost 8B (Proper 12B), John 6:1-21, 26 July 2009 | Pentecost 7B (Proper 11B), 19 July 2009, Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 | Pentecost 6B (Proper 10B), 12 July 2009, Mark 6:14-29 | Pentecost 5B (Proper 9B) 5 July 2009, Mark 6:1-13 | Pentecost 4B (Proper 8B), 28 June 2009 | Pentecost 3B (Proper 7B), 21 June 2009 | Pentecost 2B (Proper 6B), 14 June 2009 | About Pentecost, Pentecost B, 31 May 2009, | On the Trinity, Trinity B, 7 June 2009 | Jesus and Prayer, Easter 7B, 24 May 2009, John 17:6-19 | How can we love? Easter 6B, 17May 2009, John 15:9-17 | 2 Sermons: Vineyard and a Baptism, Easter 5B, 10 May 2009, John 15:1-8 | Who's in? Who's out? Easter 4B, 3 May 2009, John 10:11-18 | Sacramental Meals, Easter 3B, 16 April 2009, Luke 24:36b-48 | Resurrection, continued, Doubts, and a Baptism, Easter 2 B, 19 April 2009, John 20:19-31 | He is not here, Easter B, 12 April 2009, Mark 16:1-8 | The Seven Sayings from the Cross, Palm Sunday B 2009 | We wish to see Jesus, Lent 5B, 29 March 1009, John 12:22-33 | For God so loved the world, Lent 4B, 22 March 2009, John 3:14-21 | Out with the money changers! Lent 3B, 15 March 2009, John 2: 13-22 | On taking up the Cross, Lent 2B, 8 March 2009, Mark 8:31-38 | News or the real Good News?, Lent 1B, 1 March 2008, Mark 1: 9-15 | Listen to Him! Epiphany Last B Transfiguration, 22 February 2009, Mark 9:2-9 | What do you mean, demons? Epiphany 4B, 1 February 2009, Mark 1:21-28 | Immediately and discipleship, Epiphany 3B 2009, 25 January 2009, Mark 1:14-20 | Right in front of your eyes, Epiphany 2B, 18 January 2009, John 1:43-51 | In the beginning, water and the Spirit, Epiphany 1B, 11 January 2009, Genesis 1:1-5; Mark 1:4-11 | In God we trust, Christmas 2B, 4 January 2009, Jeremiah 31:7-14; Matthew 2:1-12

Proper 9B 2009/Independence Day                Mark 6:1-13


In our gospel for today, Jesus sends his disciples out into the unknown.  He sends them out in pairs, two at a time, totally unprepared for the journey except for what they had on their backs and on their feet:  a staff but no bread, no bag, no money, no spare clothing.  I wonder how many of us could manage a trip under those conditions.  How quickly my vehicle fills up with laptop computer, changes of clothes, books to read, toilet articles, peanut butter crackers, and bottles of water.  Not to mention Belle, my black Labrador Retriever who goes with me whenever I can take her, along with her food and bowls and leash and harness.

The disciples were prepared for a hostile reception:  “If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them,” Jesus told them as they left.  They worked hard on this mission.  The gospel record does not tell us how many times they were not made welcome, if at all.  But empowered by the Lord, they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.  Their mission was, by the gospel account, successful.

This is the Fourth of July weekend, the celebration of our independence, won at severe cost in blood, treasure, and destruction beginning 233 years ago.  In some places and among honorable people it is not a popular holiday, although I daresay they take advantage of the time off and the many sales at the mall.   I think this ambiguity over Independence Day is a lingering hangover from the Vietnam War and a dislike of war in any form.   Fair enough;  few really like war as a general proposition.  But sometimes it is necessary and so soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen take up the mission and set out, paying no attention to popularity of their cause, not unlike the setting of the Revolution itself 233 years ago.

There’s a new film out entitled “Brothers at War”.  It’s about the three Rademacher brothers, all from Decatur, Illinois:  the captain, Isaac, a West Pointer; the sergeant, Joe, top of his class at the US Army Ranger School; and the news cameraman, Jake, who embedded himself in his brothers’ and other units to try to “find his brothers’ war”.  What follows is taken from the Wall Street Journal:

 Though neither pro-war nor antiwar, this film does offer something that probably explains why one reviewer dismissed it as "achingly patriotic": It shows our soldiers and Marines as professionals.  In short, there are no victims here, just decent men doing a tough job.  In New York, Washington and Los Angeles that may not sound like exciting fare.  But in places like Oceanside, California; Savannah, Georgia; Killeen, Texas; Norfolk, Virginia; Junction City, Kansas; and other cities that are home to our military families -- "Brothers at War" speaks to audiences filled with people who know firsthand what it is like to have a husband or brother in Iraq or Afghanistan.

 Though it does have its patriotic moments, they are quiet and hard to draw out from men who would rather joke about their cheating girlfriends back home.  While spending five days with an Army reconnaissance unit reporting on foreign terrorists crossing through the Syrian border, Jake asks the soldiers why they fight.  A young soldier named Christopher MacKay says he's fighting for a better life for his nieces.

 Jake pushes: Would it be worth it if it ends up costing you your life?   MacKay answers matter of factly.  "Yeah, I'd give my life for America any day.  Wouldn't think twice."

 That's not John Wayne speaking.  That's a young man who knows what he signed up for, knows why he signed up, and knows who he's fighting for.  In an America where Michael Jackson's death gets more press coverage than a Medal of Honor winner, it's sure nice to see at least one camera filming men who really matter. (1)

On this day and in this place, whether or not we agree with the two wars we are in, we cannot, we must not, forget those soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen who are fighting and dying there.   At the very least we hold them in our prayers and pray for their safe return.  We can do no less, for them and for ourselves.




1.  From the Wall Street Journal, slightly modified: