Bright orange flowers in front of glowing stained-glass windows in Trinity Church

Five Ways Into Sunday’s Scripture: The Way to Freedom

Psalm 77:16–20

When the waters saw you, O God,
when the waters saw you, they were afraid;
the very deep trembled.
The clouds poured out water;
the skies thundered;
your arrows flashed on every side.
The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind;
your lightnings lit up the world;
the earth trembled and shook.
Your way was through the sea,
your path through the mighty waters,
yet your footprints were unseen.
You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

As we wind down our program year and rejoice at the summer solstice, heralded in by a spectacular Strawberry Super Moon, it’s almost easy to forget the stormy waters we traversed to get here and that, in all seasons, we were not alone.

The Psalms for this Sunday capture the emotion and essence of the more literal narratives of the Old Testament and Gospel. We lament hard when faced with adversity. We often look to blame at first, or worse, exact revenge. Relief more than gratitude often accompanies us when we arrive at the other shore. But our Psalms remind us that God’s gift of love and peace is always available — and it remains the way to freedom.

Freedom has been the theme that opened our long season after Pentecost, and it continued to ring in during Juneteenth. Enslavement of a human person by another is often compared to spiritual bondage when we consider some of Paul’s epistles, like Galatians 5, and the Gospel, together with Moses and the Israelites’ escape. This equivalency might be taken as a form of sanitization, or appropriation, or privilege for those who have no experience or heritage of corporeal enslavement. A question, however, can apply to all forms of bondage: What forces hold the key to our shackles or to the obstacle of our liberation? Our texts and saints tell us that we are freed only in God’s love, peace, and forgiveness.

May this summer be a season of freedom, with cycles of storms and calm blue skies, steamy heat and Manhattanhenge sunsets, all of us growing and ripening in the splendor of God’s creation.

—Kathryn Carroll

Five Ways into Sunday’s Scriptures will be on hiatus until September. We hope you enjoy some peace, rest, and fun this summer!

Dan Clendenin ponders the essence of this week’s Gospel reading.

“He picked up the mantle of Elijah…” (2 Kings 2:13). Though we could say there has always been a generation gap, it doesn’t always have to be pejorative. Mentorship and mantle-passing to younger generations has been our species’ social evolution. Summer family time can yield some nourishing intergenerational exchange

The icon displayed in the YouTube upload of R. Nathaniel Dett’s oratorio The Ordering of Moses is of fourth-century St. Moses the Black of the Orthodox Church, rather than of his namesake about whom the piece was composed. It’s doubtful that it was intentional, but interestingly appropriate for all of our readings this Sunday. Gaze on the icon while listening to the music and read a little of St. Moses’s story of liberation, from slave to violent thief with excessive appetites, to ascetic monk and patron saint of forgiveness and nonviolence. 

Sometimes we notice God in the storms, and other times, when the clouds are gently Drifting, as Mary Oliver describes her walk in the rain

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Coming Soon

At our 9am and 11:15am services this Pride Sunday, celebrate the gifts and belovedness of all God’s people in their wondrous diversity, especially focusing on our LGBTQ+ siblings. The Prayers of the People will draw on the reminder that God created humankind in the very image and likeness of God — and declared us good. The Rev. Matt Welsch will preach.

And at 10am, join the Discovery community for a parishioner-moderated discussion on Chapter Two of Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians.