Proper 21 Year B

Reflection on Numbers 11, by the Rev Tom Harries

“The Israelites also wept again, and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”

People always seem to want more than they have. God has provided manna for the Israelites in the wilderness. They have enough to eat. But now they want meat.

Although it’s obviously not the main point of the lesson one could spin off from here to talk about how richly God provides for our needs. One could also talk about the damage done by too much of an insistence on too much meat in our diets. Now one could go on for pages: damages ranging from deforestation to pollution from feedlots to release of methane to heart disease and cancer and other related health risks.

Reflections on Psalm 19

by the Rev. Dcn. Helen B. Hanten

This psalm which begins, “The heavens declare the glory of God….” reminds us of one way that God’s handiwork in the creation is seen in regular and glorious patterns. As the sun rises and traverses its path through the sky and sets again, “one day tells its tale to another, and one night imparts knowledge to another.” Despite all the uncertainties and sometimes enexpected tragedies of daily living, the rising and setting of the sun, the moon, the planets and the stars are part of the rhythm of the cosmic order that we can rely on, and by those rhythms the earth, “this fragile earth, our island home” is blessed. The psalm writer even has the sun itself rejoicing!

by Jill Peterman

There is something eternal in the night sky. The ancient past and the present moment come together in a stunning starry array. Light from stars light-years away originated millions of years ago. Aurora lights dance in earths magnetic field produced by solar storms from our own sun days ago. It is a dark cold clear night and I am outside, present to this glory.
But how do I see, or interpret this? What knowledge or sense or spirit informs me when I look at the stars? It may be totally different for you. Patterns in the night sky are recognizable by some but not others. Yet, we all look up. Even bright city lights cannot dim the brightest stars. The person there has to look harder, or perhaps leave more to memory.
Seeing is part of what we take in with our senses. It can influence us to look farther, or to shut our eyes. Will the sun come up tomorrow? We certainly hope for and expect this, as “one day tells its tale to another, one night imparts its knowledge to another.” (Psalm 19) We live in hope of this gift.
As a child I always looked to the stars and imagined or hoped others were looking too. I even hoped my teenage music idols were looking up too. What did other kids in Australia see? I certainly did not know. Yet I felt a link to others by this looking up. As I stand under the clear, bright moon with brilliant stars and crunchy snow under my feet, I hope I will always be able to see.

by the Rev. Tom Harries

The opening of the Psalm is one of the most beautiful creation texts. The heavens declare the glory of God. In our Eucharistic prayer a we say of God’s relation to humanity “you made us for yourself.” We are made for God and one of our important roles is as witnesses to give glory for all that God has done. In this passage from Psalm 19 that idea is extended it’s not just humans but the heavens, the firmament, and all of creation are created by God and joining giving glory to God.

“God Delights.” Creation Homily by the Rev. Sandy Obarski

Excerpt: As I am speaking to you there is nothing I can say that speaks of the heavens declaring the glory of God, more than the silent speech we are given everyday when we observe God’s creation. It is a reminder of the love and power of God. A God who gives us everything we have, including ourselves, as God’s gift. God is the One who is giver of all being, the author of life, the maker of heaven and earth. Every creature that exists is a startling, wondrous, and utterly surprising event of God’s giving life. In love and freedom God chooses to call into existence that which has no existence. We exist because God delights and chooses that we all exist as God’s free gift.

Complete Homily:

Delight in the Lord, by Keith Innes

The prayer of faith is effective both in the realm of human affairs, and in that of nature (James 5:15-18).Ecological concern should never be allowed to eclipse the eternal dimensions of judgment and salvation (Mark 9:38-50).However, like the Israelites (Numbers 11:4-6) we may have to content ourselves with more simple and less varied fare than in the past – ‘to live more simply, that we all may simply live.’

The key to being ready for that is to find our chief delight in the Lord, and in his Word (Psalm 19:7-14).