The Collect: “O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.”
The Response: Psalm 105: 1-11, 45 was led by David Maitland: * (verse 1) “Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his Name; make known his deeds among the peoples.”
The First Lesson, Genesis 29:15-28, was read by Pat Hemby. This is the account of Jacob falling in love with Rachel and agreed to work seven years for her hand. Her father tricked Jacob and made him take her sister Leah first because she was the older one. Then Jacob worked seven more years and was allowed to take Rachel as his wife also.
The Second Lesson was Romans 8:26-39, read by Dolores La Jeunesse. Paul explains how the Holy Spirit lives in the soul and is a guide. The Holy Spirit intercedes and makes known to God what is in one’s thoughts and heart. As long as the spirit is in one because of their belief in Christ, nothing can separate them from Him.
Bonnie Reeves read the Gospel of Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52. In this Gospel Jesus continues his teachings in a number of parables. He told how the tiny mustard seed can grow into a tree. He used the example of how yeast can cause the dough to expand. He then used several parables to try to explain what heaven is like. A man gave up everything he had to purchase the best pearl available. A net is thrown out in the sea and catches every kind of fish, but when the net was taken ashore, only the good ones were kept and the bad thrown out. Likewise, the angels in heaven will separate the evil from the righteous. He asked if they understood what he was telling them and they answered, “Yes.”
Bonnie asked the congregation, “What is heaven like?” Does anyone really know? There have been books written by people who died for a few minutes and then were revived. They say they went to heaven for that time and describe what they experienced. The popular one that is now a movie is “Heaven is for Real.” They all agree in the fact that it was peaceful and beautiful and they didn’t want to leave there. Jesus’ parables also try to explain heaven but his meaning is not always comprehended by all.
Jesus tells that heaven is for everyone who accepts him as his savior. Heaven is such a significant value, and yet all one has to do is accept Jesus and they inherit the kingdom of God. His kingdom can also be on earth as one treats others with love and helps neighbors. It is living in peace with one another while one is here on earth. What do you think the Kingdom of God is like? Write your own parable of what heaven is like. Like the pearl, is it so precious you would give up all your possessions to own it? Would you cast your net into the sea to gather others to share it with you?
Next Sunday, Aug. 3, Reverend Virginia Frnka will be pastor at the 9 a.m. service. The church invites all to worship with them.