We make decisions – important ones, life changing ones, lesser ones. Joshua is asking people to choose a God who was unseen, except by his deeds, for whom they could not make any graven image, whose values included respect for the weakest and lowliest among them, to whom temple prostitution was a violation of their covenant. The decision: Chose this God as opposed to worshipping anything you could get your hands on, living like might makes right, and finding any pagan god that blessed your basest instincts, believe me in the land Canaan there were many.
One of the distinctive things about a kitchen is the aroma of something good cooking- fresh baked bread, a grilled steak, peach cobbler. Our sense of smell is perhaps the strongest sense that we have; it can even bring back memories of long ago when our momma was baking in the kitchen, bringing back a sense of comfort and security when we were children.
Last Sunday we began reading from the sixth chapter of the Gospel according to John. This chapter is so lengthy that the liturgy has divided it into five parts over five Sundays. The story began last Sunday with the familiar episode of the miracle of the loaves. Jesus fed five thousand people with five barley loaves and a couple of fish. The importance of this event can be seen in the fact that it is the only miracle of Jesus which is recorded in all four Gospels. The manner in which it is related by each evangelist leads people of faith to think of the Eucharist.
A story, as told by a daughter. My mother had a stroke and came to stay temporarily with me until she got back on her feet. I thought that this would be an opportunity to pay my mom back for all the many years my mom had cared for me. And I thought I could straighten out some of my mother's thinking while she was here. The days stretched into weeks, and the house began to get smaller and smaller for the two of us, and we had our squabbles and became more irritable. Until one day in the kitchen, where else, it all blew up over how to boil an egg- of all things.
For a change let's do the second reading – namely, St. Paul to the Ephesians. Paul terms himself a "prisoner for the Lord". He may mean that literally, and he was indeed a prisoner in Rome for about two years when he was sent from Jerusalem requesting that his case be heard by the emperor, as was his right as a Roman citizen. And/or Paul may have also meant that he had been captured by the love of Christ. In any case he is not writing for sympathy but rather to give a personal witness that there is a cost to being a disciple of Christ. And Paul's imprisonment gives him a strong position with which to call the community to live their faith.