8 Pentecost/Year C

8 Pentecost/Year C

August 4, 2019

Hosea 11:1-11; Psalm 107:1-9, 43; Colossians 3:1-11; Luke 12:13-21 

Opening prayer: Generous God, in abundance you give us things both spiritual and physical. Help us to hold lightly the fading things of this earth and grasp tightly the lasting things of your kingdom, so that what we are and do and say may be our gifts to you through Christ, who beckons all to seek the things above, where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen.  ~ from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers

Our gospel reading begins today, with someone in the crowd asking Jesus to intervene in a family feud between two brothers, involving the family inheritance that had been left to them. Jesus immediately speaks up, with some clarifying words for the man…He was not sent to be a judge between him and his brother, or to be the one who makes the decision about how to divide the property. He leaves the decision to them, it’s in their hands now…this gift…this abundant gift… that has been entrusted into their hands…by the giver of all good gifts…spiritual and physical…abundant gifts entrusted to them by a generous God…

Jesus continues with a parable that may assist them in discerning what to do with this family inheritance…cautioning them to be on guard about making a decision based on greed…and reminding them that “one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions."

IN the Good News Translation, the parable is told like this:

“There was once a rich man who had land which bore good crops.  He began to think to himself, ‘I don't have a place to keep all my crops. What can I do?  This is what I will do,’ he told himself; ‘I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, where I will store the grain and all my other goods.  Then I will say to myself, Lucky man! You have all the good things you need for many years.

Take life easy, eat, drink, and enjoy yourself!’  But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night you will have to give up your life; then who will get all these things you have kept for yourself?’”

 And Jesus concluded, “This is how it is with those who pile up riches for themselves but are not rich in God's sight.”

What stood out for me in this translation, was that this rich man, who bore the abundant crops…was focused on one thing…Himself…it was all about me, mine and all for me…I could literally imagine him, being buried in his possessions, all the grain and goods, and wondering how he could even think to himself…that he would have a future, that would include eating, drinking and enjoying himself…

How would one, who is buried in all the things of this world….be able to lift their head above it all…and breathe in life…abundant life…

How would one, who is buried in all the things of this world, be able to truly enjoy the riches and the abundance of blessings revealed to us, in the people and beautiful created world, that we inhabit and share together?

As a people, raised with Christ, by our baptisms - our scriptures teach us to loosen the grip of those things that bind us to this world only…and to grasp tightly to the lasting things of God’s kingdom, a beloved community…setting our minds on things that are above, not only on the things that are on earth.

They teach us to put to death - greed and anything that divides us from one another, and to set our minds on the love of God which calls us to love one another, and the love of God which binds us together in this world, in a way that holds us all together, in the palm of God’s hands…ALL OF US….today and for always…

Last time I looked outside my window, walked down Lincoln street, attended a music concert, listened to the stories of others, watched the news on the tv, read the newspaper, looked up at the mountains, looked out across the ocean towards the horizon, that I could not possibly see beyond…it was so clear to me….that this is God’s world which he created for All of US…and there are millions of people all over the world who inhabit this earth…people who look different than I, believe different things than I do, live in different places than I could ever imagine…more people than I will ever meet and fully understand…yet, who are all part of God’s dream, of a beloved community…where we strive to love one another, as we have been so loved…from the beginning…

From the beginning, God dreamed of this world, a place where all would come to know, that indeed there is more to life, than the accumulation, and abundance of one’s own possessions…... He created this world, out of love, abundant love, for you and I, and all of the people and creatures of this world…And now, it has been entrusted into our care …and calls us to love and care for each other…and to love and be good stewards of all of creation…

This is not my world only, to do as I please without regard to the impact my choices have on other beloved children of God, who share this sacred earth and life with all of us……

Jesus reminds us of that today. There is more to life, than the accumulation, and abundance of one’s own possessions. Everything we are given is a gift from God, and is meant to be shared with one another, for the well-being of All God’s beloved children….for the building up of God’s beloved community…here on earth…as we envision it will be in heaven…

Every day, we are given all that we need. And so much more…But there are many among us, whose lives are at risk, because many of our choices and decisions are stripping them of their basic needs, and their human worth and dignity.

Our choices matter every day. In all that we are and say and do.

The decision is in our hands…

What will we do with all of this abundance that God has so graciously entrusted to us?

Let me close with a story…it’s in our hands…

It's in Our Hands, by Carter Heyward, Touching Our Strength

Once there was a wise old woman who lived in a small village. The children in the village were puzzled by her – her wisdom, her gentleness, her strength. One day, several of the older children decided to fool her. No one could be as wise as everyone said she was, and they set out to prove it. So, they found a baby bird. One of the boys cupped it in his hands, and said to his friend, “We’ll ask her whether the bird I have in my hands is dead or alive.

If she says it is dead, I will open my hands and let it fly away. If she says it is alive, I’ll crush it and she will see that it’s dead.”  So, they went to the women and presented her with this puzzle.

“Old woman,” the little boy asked, “this bird in my hands – is it dead or alive?” The old woman became very still, studied the boy’s hands, then looked carefully into his eyes.   “It’s in your hands,” she said.

“It’s in your hands.”

Our choices matter every day. Life and death choices for all of God’s people.  Our choices matter… In all that we are and say and do.

The decision is in our hands…as we are all held, together, in the palm of God’s hands…

What will we do with all of this abundance that God has so graciously entrusted to us?


Let us pray: Bind us Together (#73 – Praise Chorus Book)

Bind us together Lord, Bind us together with cords that cannot be broken. Bind us together, bind us together in love. Amen.



Rev Julie Platson

St Peter’s by the Sea Episcopal Church

Sitka, Alaska

Lord, teach us to pray

7 Pentecost/Year C

July 28, 2019

Hosea 1:2-10; Psalm 85; Colossians 2:6-15 (16-19); Luke 11: 1-13

Lord, teach us to pray…as John taught his disciples…


When reading and reflecting on this week’s gospel…another familiar scripture this week for many of us sitting here this morning…I kept reading and re-reading it throughout the week…looking for the words and phrases that were jumping out at me this time around…

I kept going back to some of the opening verses, when one of the disciples asks Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”

We don’t really have any scripture references or details that speak about exactly how John taught his disciples to pray…we only know that it seemed to be something important to note…that John the Baptist taught his disciples to pray.

And from what we know about John the Baptist…we know he was preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins…he was preparing others for the coming of the Messiah…the One who would bring the very presence of God among the people…who would bring God’s kingdom here on earth…

One other important thing that stands out for me about John the Baptist…is that he was persistent…he was persistent in calling people to repent and turn their hearts and their lives towards the One who was to come.

When I think about John and his persistence today…I can see how he ends up in today’s gospel reading…I see where his ministry of proclaiming the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, and preparing others for the coming of the Messiah…is an important part of Jesus’ teaching about prayer, when the disciples ask him to teach them to pray…as John taught his disciples….

I think of John’s life and ministry as a way of praying in the world…and I think about how his life of prayer was rooted in eternal life…focused on the One who would lead us and guide us through the temporal things of life…so that we lose not the things eternal

Jesus begins his teaching about praying… acknowledging the Holy one to whom we are praying…to whom we are putting our trust in, for this life and the next, Father, hallowed be your name.

John taught his disciples to do the same…to repent and return to the Holy One, God...and to the one who grounds us, and roots us in the eternal presence of God…

Jesus continues with the prayer….Your kingdom come…praying that God’s kingdom would come…here on earth...

John taught his disciples this, too…preparing them, for the coming of this new kingdom…

Give us each day our daily bread…Jesus prays…a part of the prayer that reminds us of the daily bread we ask for and are given, the promise of our daily needs being taken care of…

John is persistent in calling people back to this truth…that by turning and returning to God…we will be given what we need...

Jesus continues….And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.

John, as we heard…preached a baptism of the repentance of sins…Preparing a clear path ahead…John baptized the people with water in the Jordan river…being clear, that repentance and forgiveness was just the beginning…And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.  I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

And the last line of the Jesus’ teaching about how to pray….

And do not bring us to the time of trial.

Isn’t that always our hope and prayer…a universal hope and prayer…to not be overcome by times of trial and suffering?

Isn’t that the part of the prayer that often takes the most persistence in believing as we are praying?

That’s where I’m encouraged by John’s example of persistence…and Jesus’ story about the friend who comes to ask for bread in the middle of the night, after everyone was sleeping…which teaches us about the need to be persistent in our prayers…

Reminding us… to never give up…to keep praying with our lips and in our lives….to:

Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

We are called to be persistent…with our prayers…persistent in asking, searching, and knocking on doors…

Who are those people throughout your lives…who have taught you to pray? Who have taught you to pray with persistence…Who are the ones who continue to inspire you and encourage you to keep hoping and praying to not be overcome by the trials and sufferings of this day…Who are the ones who have gone before you, and live among you today…that say, not only with their lips, but with their lives… that there is one among us, to whom we can pray and be grounded in for eternal life…the one who will lead us and guide us through the temporal things of life…so that we lose not the things eternal

I am thankful for the forerunners of the faith, and the saints before us who have taught us about persistence in prayer…and for Jesus’ teachings about prayer, and the promise of life eternal to those who believe in Him….

Who will be looking to us now…to pass on those teachings about prayer…persistence with our prayers…through our words, and in our lives…

Who will we pass on this gift of being persistent in prayer…teaching others…as we ourselves have been taught?


Let us pray: (H 711)

Seek ye first the Kingdom of God
And His righteousness
And all these things shall be added unto you
Allelu Alleluia

Ask and it shall be given unto you
Seek and ye shall find
Knock and it shall be opened unto you
Allelu Alleluia


Rev Julie Platson

St Peter’s by the Sea Episcopal Church

EPPN Creation Care Series: Just Transitions

EPPN Creation Care Series: Just Transitions

The United States is undeniably reliant on coal and other fossil fuels for energy. This dependence has led to objective changes in the Earth’s climate and the degradation of God’s creation. As Christians, we are responsible for balancing the call to care for creation and to love and respect our neighbors around the world. Climate change is real and must be addressed with prompt and sound policy. The substantive change to our reliance on fossil fuels can help address worsening extreme weather, rising seas, and other manifestations of a changing climate we see today. However, plans to swiftly transition from fossil fuels cannot be comprehensive if those regions, communities, and families that depend on fossil fuels for roofs over their heads and food on their tables are not included and supported as part of that transition.

Addressing the climate crisis means far more than just emission reduction or mitigating environmental impacts of our energy system and economy. We are also called to love our neighbors. The only way for renewable energy to truly work is to ensure that communities reliant on the fossil fuel industries have their own transition plan and are enabled to find a good and equal economic future.

Many of these communities are already feeling the impacts of change as the coal mining industry sees major reductions in their workforce due to automation and the increased usage of natural gas for energy production. We have a moral obligation to concretely and collaboratively assist communities impacted by this transition. We understand that for some, energy transition is an abstract idea - it will take place somewhere else and most people will never personally feel or see the change. For many others, however, these conversations are not abstract. For many Americans, it is an existential debate about the future of jobs, the source of pensions, and the future of communities.

Currently, legislation sits in Congress that would assist in facilitating the transition of communities reliant on the fossil fuel industry, particularly in coal.The RECLAIM Act of 2019would release $1 billion from the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund to be used by the states for communities impacted by abandoned mine lands. The Act would require states to carry out reclamation projects that create favorable conditions for economic development.The American Miners Act of 2019would offer support to miners and their families by protecting the pensions of the 87,000 current beneficiaries and 20,000 more who have not begun drawing from their miner’s pension. This would also extend the Black Lung Disability Fund to ensure that healthcare and benefits are provided to the more than 20% of veteran miners affected.

The Episcopal Churchrecognizesthe need to simultaneously implement policy to support communities reliant on the fossil fuel industry from Alaska to Appalachia and implement policy that shifts our energy system towards one more focused on renewable energy. The Church has authorized the Office of Government Relations to advocate for policy that would help minimize the disruption energy transition would have on communities in fossil fuel-dependent areas by considering the availability of quality jobs, access to vocational training, college and other educational opportunities, availability to early childhood education, access to adequate and stable housing, and other appropriate community services. The Church furtherurgespreparation and investment in people in order to make underserved communities more resilient to the economic and social shift.

In addressing an issue as large and significant as climate change, it is easy to focus on the end result without detailed consideration of how a goal is achieved. Our faithful call to care for the Earth to sustain generations to come, the New Commandment call to love one another now, and the United States' call to be one out of many require that we not leave any community to suffer. While change is necessary, it does not necessitate that we abandon our values to love our neighbors and ensure every individual has access to meaningful and sustaining employment.

Prayer and Reflection

May God give us the grace to heed the warnings of Jeremiah and to accept the gracious invitation of the incarnate Word to live, in, with, and through him, a life of grace for the whole world, that thereby all the earth may be restored and humanity filled with hope. Rejoicing in your works, O Lord, send us forth with your Spirit to renew the face of the earth, that the world may once again be filled with your good things: the trees watered abundantly, springs rushing between the hills in verdant valleys, all the earth made fruitful, your manifold creatures, birds, beasts, and humans, all quenching their thirst and receiving their nourishment from you once again in due season. Amen.
-From “A Life of Grace for the Whole World”

At times it is hard to decide if care for creation or care for each other is most important. How can we “quench the thirst” of creation while keeping our siblings in Christ fed and hopeful? How do we weigh the benefits to humanity resulting from more environmentally conscious policies with the costs to humanity of implementing those policies?

The New Commandment says to love our neighbor. Think about a time when this was hard to do, and consider how we might be able to fight for climate action while loving each and every one of our neighbors.

In Case you Missed It:
EPPN Care for Creation Series: Introduction
EPPN Care for Creation Series: Carbon Tax

What the world needs now is love, sweet love

6 Pentecost/Year C

July 21, 2019

Amos 8:1-2; Psalm 52; Colossians 1: 15-28; Luke 10:38-42


Opening prayer: Gracious and loving God, whose Son Jesus Christ enjoyed the friendship and hospitality of Mary and Martha: Open our hearts to love you, our ears to hear you, and our hands to welcome and serve you in others, through Jesus Christ our Lord; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (written by Cameron Partridge)

Our gospel reading for today is another familiar one to most of us…the summer lectionary seems to fit right in with the other familiar highlights of the summer season…vacations, summer camps, a time to slow down a bit, change gears and travel…especially travel….and for Sitka…a season for welcoming lots of visitors and guests…who have often travelled long distances to come and see and learn about our way of life here…

So, even though, many are enjoying a little bit more quiet, relaxation, and change of pace for the summer…there are many who are busy behind the scenes...making sure everything is ready to welcome the visitors into our midst…here in the church, in our homes, or in our community…and there are many who are busy welcoming our visitors, right on the scene…and pulling out all the stops to be sure the visitors and guests are treated with the upmost hospitality and welcome…

We all know how stressful preparing for visitors and guests can be…

We know, like Martha in the gospel reading today…that it’s not too hard to become worried and distracted by many things. Growing up, watching my mom become worried and anxious while preparing for guests, especially for the holiday gatherings…was a given…

And I confess, this trait was passed down to me and my siblings, for sure…as it was surely passed down to my mother, through her parents and grandparents, as well…

We are not unique in this…this isn’t just our family tradition….there are Martha’s in all of our families…and all over the world…as well as in our churches…and in our communities…

Here in our church life…we can see how easy it is to get caught up in the frenzy of worry and the distraction of many things, as we prepare for church conventions, programs, weekly and special services, visitors and guests…. anything which involves hospitality…and welcoming others…

It is understandable…because we only want to present our best offerings…we want to be the best hosts and hostesses….and we want others to notice…we want them to notice perhaps…that we have put in a lot of time and effort to welcome them… we really want them to know how thankful and grateful we are to them for stopping by…for being here…we really want for them to feel welcomed…and to feel like this is their home away from home…

But, perhaps…when we are caught up in the focus of the details and things that we need to do, or what others are doing or not doing….maybe that’s where we get distracted from our original purpose…to love, serve and welcome one another…as Jesus has loved, served and welcomed us…

Maybe that’s what Jesus is referring to when he responds to Martha’s cry for help… "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me."

Jesus responds to her by saying: "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her."

Ouch! That’s the last thing a Martha would want to hear while operating in full speed-ahead mode.

But there it is.  Jesus says it. Really? You say Mary’s chosen the better part? Does sitting at your feet get dinner cooked? Does sitting at your feet get the table set? Does sitting at your feet get the food on the table for everyone to enjoy?

Let’s take a step back for a moment, pause, look at this passage again.

Martha has a desire to welcome and serve Jesus.

Martha is worried and distracted by many things.


Mary has a desire to welcome and serve Jesus.

Mary is focused on one thing.

They both have a desire to welcome and serve Jesus, in the best way they know how.

Maybe Martha doesn’t see it that way, in the moment…she probably has lots of responsibilities…and sees it as her job to be sure everything goes smoothly…and all she can think of is there’s so much to do...and there Mary is sitting down already…with the guest of honor…

Maybe Mary, is oblivious to all Martha is doing at the moment…totally focused on Jesus and what he is saying…and what she is learning from him…sitting at his feet…

Maybe Jesus is suggesting…that it’s really not one or the other…but both…a need to focus on Him as we serve and welcome others, in the actions and tasks we are called to…and the need to focus on Him, serving and welcoming him, as we sit at his feet, and learn from him…

But no matter what we do…we can strive to put aside all the distractions and worries and focus on the need of only one thing…to focus first on Jesus…the better part…focus on Loving Jesus, welcoming Jesus, serving Jesus….in all those people we meet each day…and welcome into our midst…

When we are running around like chickens with our heads cut off, let us stop. stand still. Center our hearts once again, on Jesus. And then go...go be the best Martha you can be….and pull out all the stops to ensure the guests and visitors are given the most radical welcome and hospitality they could ever imagine.

And go…and be…the best Mary you can be…take time to sit at the feet of Jesus, learn from him…

It takes both the Marthas and the Marys, you and I, to do the loving and the welcoming of others…There’s a time to do and a time to be….That’s the gift of being in community with one another...our roles will change often throughout our lifetime….sometimes we will be called to be a Martha in this world…sometimes we will be the Mary, who calls us all back to the one thing that is needed…

The love of God, made known to us…in Jesus…the one thing that is needed, the better part…that binds us together as a beloved community… to love, serve and welcome one another…as Jesus has loved, served and welcomed us…


Let us pray/music: What the World Needs Now is Love

(Hal David, Burt Bacharach)

What the world needs now is love, sweet love, It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of. What the world needs now is love, sweet love, No, not just for some, but for everyone.



Rev Julie Platson

St Peter’s by the Sea Episcopal Church

Sitka, Alaska









One brief moment


Mark 2:1-12 (GNT

A few days later Jesus went back to Capernaum, and the news spread that he was at home. So many people came together that there was no room left, not even out in front of the door. Jesus was preaching the message to them when four men arrived, carrying a paralyzed man to Jesus. Because of the crowd, however, they could not get the man to him. So they made a hole in the roof right above the place where Jesus was. When they had made an opening, they let the man down, lying on his mat. Seeing how much faith they had, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My son, your sins are forgiven.”

Some teachers of the Law who were sitting there thought to themselves, “How does he dare talk like this? This is blasphemy! God is the only one who can forgive sins!”

At once Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he said to them, “Why do you think such things? Is it easier to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, pick up your mat, and walk’? I will prove to you, then, that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, pick up your mat, and go home!”

While they all watched, the man got up, picked up his mat, and hurried away. They were all completely amazed and praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”


I wonder if our faith would lead us to such great efforts on behalf of another fellow human being?

Was the paralyzed man a friend, a family member? Who was he, that those who brought him to Jesus, were so persistent in their efforts to bring him to Jesus? What did they already know and believe about Jesus?

There was such a contrast of persons present in the room that day.

Many were gathered to listen to what Jesus had to say. And were eager to believe in his words. But, the moment Jesus, offered a “hands-on” example of what he was speaking in word… the teachers of the law who were gathered in the room began to cry “blasphemy!” They were appalled at what Jesus had done: he forgave the sins of the paralytic…and healed him…telling him to take up his mat and go home…

The scriptures say that ALL were amazed and praised God, when they saw with their own eyes…the healing of the paralyzed man…who indeed did get up, take up his mat…and left, hurriedly…for home…

Were the teachers of the law, momentarily amazed at what Jesus did, too?

Was there a brief moment of belief in their hearts?

Sometimes…that’s all it takes, doesn’t it? One brief moment, in the midst of our doubt… to be witness to God’s forgiveness and healing in the world among us…and to see a life transformed…a community is transformed…by the love of God, made known to us…in Jesus…

It takes one brief moment to believe, to dare to have hope and faith in the One who reconciles us to God, and each other…

I’m ready to begin the day now…eyes wide open…ready to be amazed by God, wherever I go throughout the day…


Rev Julie Platson

St Peter’s by the Sea Episcopal Church

Sitka, Alaska

July 16, 2019

A Beloved Story

5 Pentecost/Year C

July 14, 2019

Amos: 7:7-17; Psalm 82; Colossians 1:1-14; Luke 10:25-37

A beloved story…

Today’s gospel reading includes one of the most well-known parables in the bible to many of us sitting here this morning…It’s also a pretty well-known story to those who perhaps claim no church affiliation, or had no association with a faith community when they were growing up. It is one of many familiar teaching stories that Jesus shares to help others see for themselves…what Loving God and your neighbors looks like: Loving God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.

I imagine many of us, sitting here today would have no trouble retelling this story with ease to others.

So, who needs another sermon on this passage...we all know the message and meaning of the story: The Samaritan, the compassionate one who stops to help the man who was robbed and beaten, the Samaritan, the one who shows mercy, and cares for the man who was left for dead, is the one who illustrates what it means to love your neighbor…and we discover…that  “our neighbor” is really everyone we pass by…and of course, as the story ends…Jesus tells us to “Go, and do likewise.” We get it.

So, why? Why another sermon on a familiar gospel story? Why read or listen to the scriptures that you’ve probably heard well over 100 times in your lifetime?

Why? Because…the scriptures still have something to teach us…every time we encounter them…

The familiar stories still have so much to teach us, every time we encounter them…there is always something new we can take away from the story…from the scriptures…every time we pause to open up our hearts and minds to listen anew…and allow ourselves to look again, listen again, look a little closer, listen a little closer, look at them from a different angle or perspective, listen again to the words being spoken today…Because today is a new day…we are not the same person…who heard that familiar story last time…the context in which we are hearing the story today is different…the people, the community, the world,  the blessings and challenges that are present in one’s lives today…have all changed…

I’m thinking of the children’s stories that I am currently reading and re-reading with my grandchildren and the children here in church. When I was a child, I noticed different things in the stories, than what I notice now. Even though the “story” is familiar…I am noticing new things in the details that I hadn’t noticed before…

In our first reading from Amos today, the Lord asks Amos, “What do you see?” In the beginning of our gospel reading today, Jesus asks the lawyer a question, “What do you read there?”

I wonder, if we could ask ourselves those same questions, every time we sat down to read or listen to the scriptures or a familiar story in the bible?

What do you see? What do you read there?

I wonder, if being intentional about looking for and listening for signs of what God is doing in our lives today…would help us pay attention to new details that reveal themselves to us…and discover something new that would inspire us to see our neighbors anew…and we would pray that we may know what things we ought to do, and be given the grace and power faithfully to accomplish them…

Let me give this a try…

When I read and re-read the familiar gospel story throughout the week…I kept those 2 questions in front of me….What do you see? What do you read there?

Those two questions…prompted me to wonder and ask more questions…

What is it about listening to familiar stories, that we are so quick to judge and zero in on the characters, who are portrayed as the ones Not doing the “right thing”…

What is it about listening to familiar stories which cause us to jump ahead to the ending that we already know, without paying closer attention to the details of the whole story…as we hear it today…

What is about listening to familiar stories, that draw our attention to the surface of the page – forgetting – that in this story – there was someone, a fellow human being, a neighbor, who was robbed, beaten, forgotten, passed by, and left for dead…why do we glance over that…

What is it about listening to familiar stories and thinking how wonderful “that Samaritan” did the right thing….he really was so kind, compassionate and caring…he really is a good example of what it means to love our neighbors as ourselves…

It is only fitting, that Jesus ends the story by telling the lawyer…Go, and do likewise…telling him to follow the example of the Samaritan…

But, what is it about listening to familiar stories and scriptures in the bible that we forget that Jesus is speaking to us today, too…when he says…Go, and do likewise…


Let me stop for a moment…and think about those 2 questions again, that I began with:

What do you see? What do you read there?

Right there on the page, I see…You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.

And who is my neighbor?

The neighbors I am thinking of today, are those like the man who was robbed and beaten in today’s story, the ones who are easily overlooked, the ones lying in the ditch, the ones we pass by every day, because they make us nervous, afraid, uncomfortable, and are an inconvenience…

The neighbors I am thinking of today, are the ones we judge and pass by, those struggling with addiction, or mental health issues…

The neighbors I am thinking of today are the ones who are afraid of their futures – their jobs, their healthcare, their education…

The neighbors I am thinking of today, are those who are fearful and being displaced because of fires, floods, earthquakes and hurricanes…

The neighbors I am thinking about today, are the mothers and fathers, the brothers and sisters, the grandparents, the aunts and the uncles…that are being separated from one another, from their children, the ones who are suffering, and being cast aside, passed by… hidden in plain sight…

If I could sum up, what’s rising to the surface for me today, in this familiar story, it would be the realization of so many forgotten neighbors, who are being passed by daily…we watch the daily news and are overwhelmed at the complexities of the issues and challenges before us…we don’t know what we can do or where to begin….

But, something else I see, once again, with new eyes today…in the example of the Samaritan who responded with love and compassion, is that it took one person, moved with pity, to stop and bring hope and healing to the life of another fellow human being…a person who matters to God….it took one person….to remind us…of our call to love our neighbor…a person who matters to God…and should matter to us, too…

Yes…one person…but imagine, how that one person, and another person, and another would add up…every time, each one of us answered the call to go and do likewise…Imagine if we payed attention to that detail too, of the familiar story and we were inspired to do the same…

In the re-reading and listening of this familiar story today, when we take a closer look at the world around us, indeed, we would see that there are already many people following the example of the Samaritan….reaching out in a variety of ways to love and help their neighbors…

But, as we heard in last week’s gospel reading…the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few…God can always use more helpers…

Fred Rogers, the one we know best from a long-running children’s show, Mr Roger’s Neighborhood…spent a lifetime teaching children and adults about being a good neighbor…

One of my favorite quotes attributed to him, has to do with focusing on the helpers that are out there…

He said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

So, yes…pay attention to the details of the people who are often passed over, discarded, and forgotten…but don’t stop there…look for the helpers…look to the ways you have seen God at work in the world around you,  through the neighbors you meet and are called to serve…. go, and do likewise…

There’s always more to the story, no matter how many ways we look at it…no matter how many times we hear it… we are all called to be a part of it…the greatest story ever told… the old, old story…of Jesus and his love…

We all love a good story…don’t we?

Then let’s leave this place today….inspired by the hearing of this beloved old story, once again, and go…go out into the world, to share this beloved story with others…the story of Jesus and his love.

Closing Prayer/Hymn: Lift Every Voice and Sing II - #64 I Love To Tell the Story – JAZZ RENDITION

I love to tell the story

Of unseen things above,

Of Jesus and His glory,

Of Jesus and His love.

I love to tell the story,

Because I know it's true;

It satisfies my longings

As nothing else would do.


I love to tell the story;

Twill be my theme in glory.

To tell the old, old story

Of Jesus and His love.


I love to tell the story,

For those who know it best

Seem hungering and thirsting

To hear it, like the rest.

And when, in scenes of glory,

I sing the new, new song,

'Twill be the old, old story

That I have loved so long.


I love to tell the story;

Twill be my theme in glory.

To tell the old, old story

Of Jesus and His love.




Rev. Julie Platson

St Peter’s by the Sea Episcopal Church

Sitka, Alaska

Why do you look for the living among the dead?

Luke 23:56-24:11 Common English Bible (CEB)

56 then they went away and prepared fragrant spices and perfumed oils. They rested on the Sabbath, in keeping with the commandment.

24 Very early in the morning on the first day of the week, the women went to the tomb, bringing the fragrant spices they had prepared. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in, they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 They didn’t know what to make of this. Suddenly, two men were standing beside them in gleaming bright clothing. 5 The women were frightened and bowed their faces toward the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He isn’t here, but has been raised. Remember what he told you while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Human One[a] must be handed over to sinners, be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” 8 Then they remembered his words. 9 When they returned from the tomb, they reported all these things to the eleven and all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles. 11 Their words struck the apostles as nonsense, and they didn’t believe the women.



Why do you look for the living among the dead?

We do that all the time don’t we?

Instead of looking at what is right before us, the gift of a new day, new beginnings, new life…we too often, look back…at what is no longer there…we forget…that with the gift of a new day, comes new opportunities, new hopes, new dreams to be explored….

The women in the story were reminded of that…they were reminded of Jesus’ words…that he would die, but on the third day, he would rise again… they were reminded and blessed in believing this…and they went back to share the good news with the others…and to invite them to remember too, the hope-filled promises that were fulfilled in this day of discovery…

But their words were received as nonsense…the women were not believed…

We find ourselves doing that too often, also…don’t we?

Discounting what others tell us, that seem to be unbelievable…not possible…

Discounting what others tell us, without really stopping to consider it….

Discounting what others tell us, because of who it is that told us…

Discounting what others tell us, because we didn’t see it for ourselves yet…


Today, in this reading…the women’s words were heard as nonsense…they were not believed…

But they know the words to be true…

So, even though they were not believed today…they know that in believing that Jesus is now among the living…the hope and promise of a new day, a new beginning is always just a moment away…

Today’s nonsense…may very well be the good news someone hears tomorrow…

Remember this…and share the good news of God’s love revealed to us today…and everyday!


Rev. Julie Platson

St Peter’s by the Sea Episcopal Church




2019 Sitka International Cello Seminar

Welcome the 2019 Seminar students! Here’s their schedule of public performances:

Tues July 9, 6:30 pm – Mean Queen (lower level)

Thurs July 11, 5:30 pm – Ludvig’s Wine Bar

Fri July 12, Noon – Sitka Public Library

Tues July 16, 6:30 pm – Mean Queen (lower level)

Wed July 17, Noon – Sitka Public Library

Thurs July 18, 5:30 pm – Ludvig’s Wine Bar

Saturday, July 20, 7:00 pm – Cellobration! Click here for tickets.

For more info: Meet the 2019 Cello Seminar Students


4 Pentecost/Year C

2 Kings 5:1-11; Psalm 30; Galatians 6: (1-6), 7-16; Luke 10: 1-11, 16-20)

Let us pray: our collect for today

O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Our gospel reading today begins with Jesus sending 70 others out ahead of him, to the places that He also intended to go. He is sending them out to proclaim the good news of God’s love, His peace, and the nearness of God’s kingdom…He’s sending them out on a mission...a mission that invites a response with their words and actions that says:  “yes, God”…by the grace of your Holy Spirit, I will be devoted to you with my whole heart, and I will strive to love my neighbor, as Jesus is always teaching us.

In today’s story, Jesus tells the ones being sent out…that it will not be easy…some will be ready to pounce on you, to try and discount anything you have to say. Some will make personal attacks on you perhaps, arguing with you about everything you have to share with them. Some will make you angry. But don’t retaliate with hatred. Don’t try to tell them, that they are wrong, and you are right. Just wipe the dust off your feet, remembering the kingdom of God has come very near to them. You brought the good news of God’s love to them, as you were called to do, on that day.

The ones being sent out, may also go out hesitantly, and with fear about those they will encounter, or whether or not, they will have anything worthy to offer them…because Jesus tells them, Don’t take anything: Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals

Just go… Jesus says…trusting in me, that you will have everything you need for this mission trip:  Just focus on the purpose of your mission in front of you…Loving God, and sharing that love that you have experienced and known…with your neighbors. Love God, through proclaiming to your neighbors, in word and action…that God’s love, His peace, and His kingdom has come very near to them…

Indeed… it has always been very near…to all of us…

Believe this, and rejoice in this Good news!

Open your eyes and ears again, dare enough to get out of the way…and let God’s voice do the talking once again…let God’s glory, as made known to us in the people, and the created world all around us…be what inspires us, and brings us home again, as a people united to one another, in pure affection.

Will we be laborers of God’s love, in helping to restore his creation to its original purpose: A world that God has created out of love…for His people, and for their abundant joy….a creation of a beloved community of diverse people, sharing their varied gifts with one another, in ways that reveal God’s love for one another, as God has always loved us?

God’s dream for his beloved community, has always been about His Love for all of us and all of creation. And it has always been about calling our attention to this love that is revealed to us, night and day… that reminds us of His love, and presence that is always among us...

But somewhere along the way, people have grown weary. We’ve stopped believing that there is a God who loves us. We’ve seen too much division in the world, too much hurt, too much anger, too much us vs them. We’ve given up on trying to get along with our neighbor, and instead of going to the places and people who perhaps we don’t agree with, it has become easier to not go…to just turn around…and go to someone that already believes what I do…already looks like me, thinks like me….It has been easier to just argue and keep disagreeing….and leave it at that…and believe that’s how it will always be..

It is tiring work, very tiring at times…and we may never see a solution or an end to this work of loving our neighbors, this difficult work of reconciliation…

But it is worthy work, sharing the Love of God, for all of His people….sharing this love, the only love,  that has the power to transform people’s hearts and lives and our communities…

Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few”. And He tells them to pray…that more laborers will be sent forth…

Will we be one of those new laborers sent forth…will we go out into the world, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to help others discover or rediscover how God is still at work in the world among us, and how he still reveals himself to us, every time, we have the courage to come to the table…and sit down with others, listen to one another, and do the difficult work together, of seeking ways to love one another, even in the midst of not understanding each other yet, even in the midst of our frustration and anger of those who seem to make decisions on behalf of those, who have no voice…those who are oppressed, those who are held hostage by fear and abandonment…

Will we be one of the new laborers sent forth to bring love and hope to those who are lost and lonely?

Will we be one of the new laborers sent forth to stand up for children and families?

Will we be one of the new laborers sent forth to work for the well-being of our communities, and other communities across the state?

Will we be one of the new laborers sent forth:

 To bring good news to the poor,
To heal the broken-hearted,
To announce release to captives
And freedom to those in prison.

Will we be one of the laborers sent forth to proclaim the Good News of God’s love for them, bringing the blessing of God’s peace to them, and affirming for them…that indeed ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.'

Let us pray that we will all answer the call to be laborers in fulfilling the Mission of Christ: The Mission of all the baptized….Inspiring in each one of us, to go out into the world: loving God and our neighbor….



The Hymnal 1982 - #541 Come, labor on

Come, labor on.

Who dares stand idle on the harvest plain,

while all around us waves the golden grain?

And to each servant does the Master say,

"Go work today."


Come, labor on.

Claim the high calling angels cannot share-

to young and old the Gospel gladness bear:

redeem the time; its hours too swiftly fly.

The night draws nigh.


Come, labor on.

No time for rest, till glows the western sky,

till the long shadows o'er our pathway lie,

and a glad sound comes with the setting sun,

"Servants, well done."



Rev Julie Platson

St Peter’s by the Sea Episcopal Church

Stopped in our tracks…

Acts 9:1-9 (GNT)


We hear things, see things, smell things, touch things, taste things everyday…we just kind of “go about our daily tasks” without giving much thought to them, these various senses, that connect us to the world around us…

Every once in awhile, something or someone stops us from our mindless wandering….and leaves us speechless…

In today’s reading from Acts, Saul is stopped in his tracks…He has been so busy looking for ways to persecute followers of Jesus…he has been so intent on depending on his own voice of reason and judgment…his heart has been so hardened against other fellow human beings that don’t think like him, or believe like him… that any sense of connection or relationship to them, is clearly not there..

Saul, is stopped in his tracks…by an unmistakable light and voice…

A light so bright, that it is blinding for a moment…a light that overpowers him and us with a sense of love and compassion…a light that calls us to stop…stop talking…stop judging and persecuting others….and listen…listen and hear what the voice of the Lord has to say to us…listen to what Jesus wants to say to us…listen, look, and pay attention with all of your senses…and you will notice…that following Jesus…is worth it…following Jesus means following a way of life that boldly proclaims love…love of God, love of neighbor, love of all of creation…

A love that is meant for all people…

Prayer for today… God of light and love….help us today, to stop…and use all of our senses to get to know you and our neighbors, to love you and our neighbors - transforming all of our lives, by uniting us as one family, strengthened by the power of your light and love. Amen.

Rev Julie Platson