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Along the Chilean coast

semi-overcast 67 °F


Bill and Hope - and Alex Manev, our musician. Photo taken by a parishioner who must have thought it was the Lenten season.

ECUMENICAL WORSHIP. Aboard the Silver Whisper on January 23, 2022

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us pray. Grant us Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

Psalm 49

Hear this, all you peoples; hearken, all you who dwell in the world, you of high degree and low, rich and poor together.

My mouth shall speak of wisdom, and my heart shall meditate on understanding.

Why should I be afraid in evil days, when the wickedness of those at my heels surrounds me,

The wickedness of those who put their trust in their goods, and boast of their great riches?

Do not be envious when some become rich, or when the grandeur of their house increases;

For they will carry nothing away at their death, nor will their grandeur follow them.

Those who are honored, but have no understanding, are like the beasts that perish. (1-2, 4-5, 16-17, 20)

A Reading from the Gospel of Matthew

Jesus said, ‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.' (6:19-21)

The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God.

A Reflection The Reverend William Eakins

We have been sailing this past week along the coast of the once great Incan empire whose fabled wealth was plundered by the Spanish conquistadors. Atahualpa, the last emperor of the Incas, tried to ransom his life with twenty tons, that is, one hundred forty thousand pounds, of silver and gold. It was enough treasure to fill three vast rooms but ultimately not enough to save Atahualpa’s life. After strangling him, Atahualpa’s conquerors loaded the treasure into the holds of great galleons bound for Spain.

And what became of all that gold and silver looted by the conquistadors from the Incas, the Aztecs, and other conquered peoples? Most of it eventually arrived in Spain where it made that country and its rulers the mightiest nation in the world for a few hundred years – until the money ran out. Some of all that gold and silver never made it to Cadiz and Seville. Many of the treasure galleons were intercepted en route and plundered by pirates; others were wrecked by hurricanes that poured their treasure out onto the ocean floor.

We might hear the fate of all that Spanish treasure as an illustration of Jesus’ warning, “Do not stow up for yourselves treasures on earth.” Hanging onto things like silver and gold is a difficult and risky business. Ships can be looted by thieves and sunk by storms. Stock markets can plunge in a few days; businesses can fail; real estate investments can turn sour. Fortunes can be lost no matter how we try to preserve them. And even if we manage to hang on to whatever wealth we have amassed in our lifetime, we will all lose it in the end. There are indeed no pockets in a shroud.

Wealth is not just transitory; it is illusory. People suppose that if they can get rich they will be happy, and they are often disappointed. Wealth brings problems of its own. True, money can buy pleasures and comforts but money cannot buy the sense of meaning and purpose in life that create the contentment and well-being of true happiness.

So, “do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,” Jesus urges us. But “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth not rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

Well, we know how to store up treasures on earth, but how re we to “store up treasures in heaven?” I’m sure you have heard more than one preacher suggest that Jesus is urging us here to do good deeds like giving to the poor or being faithful to God in adversity or visiting the sick and lonely – good deeds that will secure God’s favor and gain us entrance to heaven when we die. But what if storing up treasure in heaven is something we can experience not just some day but right now? Maybe Jesus is urging us to open our eyes and our hearts to discover that heaven – God’s presence and love – is all around us?

The famous Golden Buddha of Bangkok was made many centuries ago of SOLID gold. It weighs 5 ½ tons and is almost 16 feet high and 13 feet wide. When the Burmese attacked Siam in the 18th century, smart monks covered the Buddha with plaster to hide it, and did such a good job of disguising it that people forgot what was underneath. No temple wanted the Buddha because it was so lumpy and heavy. In the 20th century, one holy abbot decided otherwise and had the statue moved to his monastery, but alas it fell from the crane and cracked the plaster a bit. One day in 1955, a monk who was praying saw a glint beneath the crack and discovered the gold – all 5 ½ tons of it! Now the Golden Buddha sits in a magnificent temple of its own as a star attraction for tourists and worshippers alike.

What might be the hidden treasure in our lives? What are the signs of God’s presence and love, the bits of heaven that we may have overlooked or taken for granted? An obvious place to begin is to count your blessings – the people you love and the people who love you, times of joy and accomplishment, resources that give you security, delight and freedom, health of body and mind, all that gives you peace and joy and hope. But also consider well those negative experiences that have actually had a positive effect on your life – mistakes from which you learned wisdom and humility and a dependence upon God, disappointments that taught you patience and endurance, deaths and other losses that made you appreciate love and life all the more dearly.

The great benefit of discovering God’s hidden treasure, of finding heaven present here and now in our lives, is that the discovery leads to hearts that are full of thankfulness. “Where your treasure is there your heart will be also,” says Jesus. And when our hearts are full of thankfulness for all that God has given us, then we shall know how rich we are and share our abundance with others. And in the sharing we will find heaven on earth. So go, count your blessings!

The Prayers

Let us give thanks to God for all the gifts so freely bestowed upon us.

For the nations of the world in all their diversity, for leaders who strive to bring justice to your people and peace on earth,
We thank you, Lord.

For the beauty and wonder of creation in earth and sky and sea,
We thank you, Lord.

For the resources we have been given that allow us to explore the world and to respond to the world’s needs,
We thank you, Lord.

For the crew of the Whisper: for the Captain, engineers and sailors, for the staff, entertainers and lecturers, for those who clean and cook and serve, and for all whose work enriches our lives and our life together,
We thank you, Lord.

For our homes and families, and for friends old and new,
We thank you, Lord.

For health and strength to work, and leisure to rest and play,
We thank you, Lord.

For all we love who have gone before us and for Jesus’ promise that they are with you always,
We thank you, Lord.

Summing up all our petitions and all our thanksgivings, we pray in the words Jesus taught us

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name
Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil
For thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

The Blessing

May God give to you and to all those you love his comfort and his peace, his light and his joy, in this world and the next; and the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be with you now and always. Amen.

The Dismissal

Go forth in peace to love and serve the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Officiants: The Reverend Hope H. Eakins, The Reverend William J. Eakins; Music: Alex Manev
Expected time of next service: Sunday, January 30 at 9:15 am

Posted by HopeEakins 16:42 Archived in Chile

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