Monthly Archives: July 2014

Sermon from 7/27

The Rev. Elaine Brechenridge
July 27, 2014
Proper 12A
Listen to this…Sermon 2014.07.27 EHB

Financial Peace University

September 7 –Financial Peace University Preview- following both services
If you have considered attending the Financial Peace University, or would like more information—please attend the special information session next Sunday following both services. Both Dee Mayfield and Elaine Breckenridge will be on-hand to answer any questions about the program.

 Dave Ramsey
Tuesday Evenings at 7:00 p. m.
September 16 – November 11, 2014
St. John’s Church
1055 S. Lower Sacramento Road, Lodi, CA
Contact:  Dee Mayfield at 209-747-7996 or
go to web-site below for all information:

Sermon From 7/20

The Rev. Elaine H. Breckenridge
The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 11
Sunday, July 20, 2014
Listen to this….Sermon 2014.07.20 EHB
Once there was man walking through the woods when he came across a strange looking lamp. Hoping that there might be a genie inside the lamp, he picked it up and rubbed it, and, sure enough, out popped a genie who immediately granted him three wishes. “For my first wish,” said man, “I want 5 million dollars deposited into a Swiss Bank Account. Poof, there was a flash of light and the man found himself holding a piece of paper with an account number and directions to the bank. “What is your second wish?” asked the genie. “I’d like a new Ferrari,” said the man. And POOF! A gleaming new Ferrari car suddenly appeared. “And for your third wish?” inquired the genie. The man said “Now, I want to be made irresistible to women.” And POOF! The man was turned into a box of chocolates.
Now what does a genie and a box of chocolates have to do with our readings this morning? Absolutely nothing. I just thought it was important to laugh. How else is one to deal with the end of our Gospel reading this morning– an ending of judgment–complete with a fiery furnace, weeping and gnashing of teeth.
I have never cared for the ending of this passage. Three years ago when this Gospel reading came up, I omitted reading verses 36-43 out loud. The whole passage was printed in the bulletin, but I simply ended the Gospel reading with the words, “Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.” In other words, I kept the words of the original parable but dropped Matthew’s interpretation of the parable of the wheat and the weeds. Matthew’s interpretation?
Most scholars agree that Jesus probably told the parable of the wheat and the weeds. But it is almost certain that Jesus did not interpret it as we heard today, equating weeds with evil people and wheat with good people. That was the work of whoever wrote the Gospel of Matthew. It was written by a church that struggled with issues of both inclusion and excommunication. A church that was deciding its rules for membership.
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Sermon from 7/13

The Rev. Randy Knutson
Matthew 13: 1-9; 18-23
Sunday, July 13, 2014
Listen to this…Sermon 2014.07.13 RRK

I want to begin by thanking so many of you who came to my ordination two weeks ago, for the great turn out of people and for the gifts of a stole and Amazon credit by our Vestry. And I especially am thankful for the greetings of welcome and encouragement by many of you as my ministry among you includes being your Deacon. Thank You!

“Jesus went out and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into the boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables.” You would be right to think that after our Pilgrimage to the Holy Land last January, I can not hear these words, or similar ones in the same way again. For now I know what this place looks like and what is embedded or implied in the words themselves.

For you see, Jesus was from Nazareth and we went there. It is now a bustling city, with a number of places commemorating his life, but back then it was a back water community, cut off from surrounding areas by a mountain pass. We can understand why Nathanael said to Philip, before his introduction to Jesus, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” It was such a small, unsophisticated, place. Can anything good come out of Victor? Of Thornton? We know Jesus was born in Bethlehem and died in Jerusalem and we went to these two cities, drank in the historical depth and present vitality of them both. But after he was called into ministry, after his Baptism, Jesus did not stay in Nazareth, but instead went all around the region of Galilee, especially around Lake Galilee, which we also visited, and the city of Capernaum. Of this place, Matthew says “He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum.” This is the ancient city along the lake that is described by Mark as the town of Jesus or appropriately, where to start looking for Jesus, if you wanted to find him. It was his new home. And this is what you would see if you were to travel there. You would see the ruins of a wonderful synagogue, made of stones, whose walls mostly still exist. One section for the men and the other for the women. The ornate decorations that were once part of the building are carefully sorted and preserved nearby, the work of Franciscans, who for years, worked to excavate and bring all of these pieces together for everyone to see. Next to it are the ancient ruins of the city, the bottom half of the rooms and houses, made of stone walls packed closely together. One of these is the house where Peter’s mother in law is said to have lived and where Jesus cured her. We don’t know for sure, but perhaps Peter and Andrew and therefore, James and John were from here. Above this house, in the tradition of the church, is a modern church building, put there to preserve this holy site. But it is not built ‘around’ Peter’s mother in law’s house, but above it, hovering on supports, like a flying saucer. If you are fortunate, and we were, you can go into the church and look into the ruins of the city and the very spot venerated since at least the 4th century as Peter’s mother in law’s house. Then, literally a stones throw (from Rt. Field to Home base) is the sea of Galilee. So this could have been the setting of this teaching. But there is much to be learned from this.
Jesus had no amphitheater to go to meet and teach the crowd. No doubt he had visited the synagogue and taught there; it was but a few hundred yards from the lake shore. But he is teaching not in that building, but outdoors, where, everyone, ALL, men & women; Jew and Gentile, could hear his words. So with this first parable in Matthew he is literally DOING what he is talking about: the sower is spreading seed, the Good News of the Kingdom everywhere, to everyone!
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Sermon from 7/6

The Rev. Elaine H. Breckenridge
Sunday, July 6, 2014: The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 9
Listen to this…Sermon 2014.07.06 EHB

Once upon a time, there was an older woman who lived in London, England who had terrible shoulder and back pains. So she went to her doctor, seeking treatment. After asking her some questions and examining her, the doctor asked to see the woman’s handbag. She passed it to him and the doctor felt its enormous weight. “Good heavens!” he said, “What’s in the bag?” And so the woman opened her bag to reveal a very heavy flashlight, a hammer, a wrench, and other assorted tools. The doctor asked the woman, “Do you carry this stuff with you everyday?” “ Yes”, she replied. “But why?” asked the doctor. “Well, she said, “During the second world war, one never knew when you might needs tools after an air attack. This flashlight and these tools saved my life and others more than once. I guess I just got in the habit of carrying them around.” The doctor wrote out a prescription which simply said, “Loose the tools!” She did, and remarkably her pain went away.
“I guess I just got in the habit of carrying them around.” I wonder how many emotional or even religious burdens we simply get in the habit of carrying around?

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Sermon from 6/29

The Rev. Elaine Breckenridge
Sermon, Proper 8A,  June 29, 2014
Listen to this…Sermon 2014.06.29 EHB

Welcome! This morning’s Gospel selection speaks of welcoming. In fact the word welcome is used six times in this one short passage. Today we welcome a new deacon into our community. Surely the Spirit would have us consider what it means to welcome. I begin with a story.

An ex-convict was finally heading home from prison. He sat on the bus next to a woman who struck up a conversation with the man. And so he told her that he’d been in prison for four years and that his wife hadn’t written him in over three years. When he learned that he was being paroled, he wrote again to his wife and told her that he still loved her. But in his letter, he wrote that he understood that she might not want to ever see him again. To make it easier on both of them, he suggested that his wife use a yellow ribbon to communicate her feelings. If she wanted him back, she would tie the ribbon on an oak tree near their home. If there was no ribbon, he would stay on the bus and keep going.

Word of the arrangement spread throughout the bus. As the bus came to town, people on the bus flocked to the windows to look for the oak tree. When they saw the tree, cheering broke out. On the tree was not one, but hundreds of yellow ribbons.
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