A congregation gathers on a Sunday morning. There has been a lot of preparation. The altar has been set, bulletins have been printed, the heat turned up. The choir has practiced. Worship begins with The Word: Scripture and sermon, hymns and prayers have challenged and inspired. At God's Table, all come to to be reconciled to God and one another through Christ's body and blood. Renewed and strengthened we are Sent to live into our calling as apostles in the world. But first... the fellowship of coffee hour awaits. The Church, St. Paul said, is the body of Christ and each a member. It's true! Never perfect, filled with all sorts and characters and yet, a beautiful living organism of God's grace.

Fire Yr C Proper 15 Luke 12:49-56
Baptized with Spirit and Fire

“I came to bring fire to the earth,

and how I wish it were already kindled!” (v. 49)

What kind of fire are we talking about here?

Fire of passion? Torch of protest?

Of zeal ignited and love kindled for justice and truth?

Purifying fire?

A purging flame removing impurity; refining, cleansing?

Illuminating Flame? Inspiring flame?

A pillar of fire, God before us and with us, lighting the way?

Consuming fire?

Destructive, damaging, death-dealing?

Cauterizing, healing flame?

Resurrecting flame, wounds regenerating?

Kindling new growth, arising from the ashes?

Flame of sacrifice?

Testimony of faith under trial and tribulation,

Martyrdom of saints?

What fires claim us, hold sway over us? Beckon or deter us?

Read more: This Week's Sermon

Why I'll Be Last

Practice before policy. Change occurs on the ground before the institution catches up. This I learned in seminary. It was true in biblical days. It remains true today. And sometimes the more rigidly constructed the institution, the harder it is to dismantle the strongholds that are strangling it. That is the process of reformation.

Jesus was a reformer of the institutions of his day, be it religious, cultural and political. Many covenants between God and the people of God have transpired throughout the pages of the Bible. Jesus came with yet one more and it was sealed through blood as was the custom. But this one was different and we call it The Lord’s Supper.

On the night before he was betrayed by a friend, into the hands of the ‘institution’ he shared a meal with his disciples. “While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mt 26:26-28; Mk 14:22-24) He blessed it, broke it, gave it.

Jesus gave the blueprint at His Table for life. Bless, break, give. The ‘take’ is the ‘give’ - of one’s life, however ‘taking up one’s cross’ is understand by each of us. Jesus practiced downward mobility, self-emptying, servanthood ministry, giving himself at the expense of his life for others. Shouldn’t the priest’s actions similarly demonstrate the same?

Read more: Rector's Message

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