This will be on the “Back Page” of the bulletin for Fishkill UMC this coming Sunday, June 23, 2019, 2nd Sunday after Pentecost (Year C)
To borrow a phrase from Thomas Paine, these are the times that try our souls. We see a world becoming enveloped by a cloud of darkness created by ignorance, hatred, and violence. And the church, long a beacon of light against the darkness is slowly becoming a part of the darkness.
Many individuals in the church, fortunately not all, are like the Gerasenes in the Gospel reading for today. The Gerasenes sold out their faith for economic and political security. Today’s Gerasenes have sold their faith for glory and power. Echoing their Old Testament counterparts, they worship at the altar of Baal and say that those who do not do likewise are not welcome in the church.
Elijah was forced into an exile because he dared criticize the followers of Baal; many of us today are faced with the same prospect. But as Elijah discovered, God is more likely to be found outside the walls of the church than the inside . And to force us from this church means that we have more opportunities to spread the Word.
As Paul wrote, God’s Kingdom is made of many individuals from different walks of life. The modern day Gerasenes, following the false God of Baal, will suffer the same fate as those who sought to challenge God in Elijah’s time. Those who feel they are in exile will find, freed from the constraints of walls that constrain and constrict, more and greater opportunities to share the Gospel message. ~~Tony Mitchell