Monthly Archives: February 2016

A Thursday Reflection 2.25.16

I suspect you all, like my beloved JoAnne, are sick and tired of my post-surgery comments.  But, for one last time, allow me to demonstrate what memories this has all brought up.

Forbidden to bend over for several weeks, I am now ever so grateful that Coach Byrnes once saw in a sophomore walk-on to varsity baseball not merely a snail-like potential 12th outfielder (“decent bat, good arm, but no speed”) but rather a quality prospective catcher.  Now years later I am using those same leg squatting thigh muscles to compensate for all the bending in life.

I am grateful to Fr. Wayne Funk and his harsh ways who taught us how to preach and how to deal with having to mentally compose a sermon in your mind in 2 minutes or less because you misplaced your text. (St. Paul’s people will get that joke).

Thinking back, I am even grateful that my dad wouldn’t allow me to consider taking a driver’s test until I had raced his car in the empty but snow covered parking lot of St. Gabriel’s Church so that I would learn to deal with bad skids the right way – not something I recommend to your 16 year old but it did work for me.

Here’s the obvious point:  God puts people in our lives who teach us things which may not be appreciated at the time.  But we learn from those experiences and grow through them.  Now here is the not-so-obvious question:  How is God using YOU?  Into whose lives has Our Lord Jesus put you and what, by your word or example, are you teaching?  Have you any idea how you might impact another’s life.  THAT IS WHY I AM SO INSISTENT THAT YOU BRING SOMEONE NEW TO CHURCH WITH YOU THIS WEEKEND!  You have no idea whose life you may end up touching!

A Thursday Reflection 2.18.16

There is among clergy a self-induced “pressure” to be more productive during the Holy Season of Lent.  Sermons should be longer, more penitential and soul piercing.  Lenten programs are not extra work for a paltry few but opportunities for active evangelism.  Almost always beginning in February, this liturgical season to warm consciences grown cold usually finds one trudging out in snow and cold and telling the Lord: “Seriously!   Why should I repent?  I’m too cold and uncomfortable to really sin well anyway!”

Cynicism aside, there is something wonderful about this season.  I am sitting in the church office on Monday (Presidents’ Day holiday) watching the snow fall and listening to .. nothing!  Not a sound.  It is so quiet.  No cars, no dog, not a telephone was stirring, not even a mouse!”

Lent has been titled: “A Season of the Spirit!”   It is a wonderful time to listen: where is God’s Holy Spirit leading you?  What is there within you that needs to change, to grow or to be jettisoned?  If you use the quiet and listen, you might be amazed at how much you can learn about our God, about yourself and about how to allow the Lord to make things right in that relationship.  It is not so much about doing as it is about listening and learning.

A Thursday Reflection 2.11.16

As the Holy Season of Lent begins, this week I shall defer to our Presiding Bishop, Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, and let you hear his voice as we all begin this “Season of the Spirit.”

Message for Lent 2016

Clarence Jorden of the Koinonia Movement many years ago wrote this:

Jesus founded the most revolutionary movement in human history, a movement built on the unconditional love of God for the world, and the mandate to those who follow to live that love.

The season of Lent is upon us.  It is a season of making a renewed commitment to participate and be a part of the movement of Jesus in this world.  You can see some of that in the Gospel lesson for the first Sunday of Lent where Luke says that after the Baptism of Jesus he went into the wilderness, there to be tempted of Satan.

After the Baptism.  Baptism is the sacrament of commitment to the Jesus Movement. It is to be washed, if you will, in the love and the reality of God, and to emerge from that great washing as one whose life is dedicated to living that love in the world.

In this season of Lent, we take some time to focus on what that means for our lives, whether it is as simple as giving up chocolate candy or as profound as taking on a commitment to serve the poor or to serve others in some new way. Whatever it is, let that something be something that helps you participate in the movement of God’s love in this world following in the footsteps of Jesus.

And the truth is, the fact that Jesus was baptized and began that movement in the world and immediately found himself tempted by the devil is an ever-present reminder that this movement is not without struggle. It is not easy. The truth is, this movement is difficult. It’s hard work. It’s work of following Jesus to the cross. And it’s work of following Jesus through the cross to the Resurrection. To new life. And new possibility. That is our calling. That is the work of the movement. To help this world move from what is often the nightmare of the world itself into the dream that God intends.

So I pray that this Lent, as they used to say many years ago, might be the first day of the rest of your life. It might be a new day for this world.

God love you. God bless you. Have a blessed Lent, a glorious Easter, and you keep the faith.

The Most Rev. Michael Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

A Thursday Reflection 2.4.16

Sunday morning, before y’all came to church, I got a phone call informing me that I “was carefully chosen and I have been selected as the winner of a 10 day luxury cruise in the Bahamas.”  (All I could see in my mind’s eye was the name of the ship – S. S. Minnow — and hear the tune from Gilligan’s Island about a “three hour tour.”)  Of course, I hung up immediately but this got me to thinking.

Whether caused by self-preservation or boredom, it’s been my experience that we tend to “tune out” messages we don’t think we need or want to hear.  I pray you do not ignore the take-away from this past Sunday’s Annual Meeting.  Yes, we are in better than anticipated financial shape but NO, we are not in good shape.  Fundraisers and even increased giving to the point we had hoped (and this seems to be falling short of desire) will not “redeem” our situation.

I hope you listened to both Jenny and Ron who each reminded us that, as Christians, we have an obligation to bring people to Christ. If we love this parish, then we want to bring them here to enjoy with us what we have.  We need to be evangelists and offer to others what we experience in this parish.  We need to remind others that being spiritually fed is the most important gift we receive, and we can offer this to others.  As we grow in numbers, then, of course, finances will slowly be sorted out.   But to do nothing is to be among the “walking dead.”  Did you hear what was being said?