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.
Shepherds + Sheep (sermon for Youth Sunday)Yr A Proper 29 Ez. 34:11-16,20-24; Eph. 1:15-23; Mt. 25:31-46
What is judgment? [leave room for answers…] We do it every day. We judge ourselves and others by what we wear, what we say, and what we do or don’t do. Sometimes it’s pretty mean.
Someone who looks physically different is made fun of or ignored. Someone who acts different ‘from us’ gets labeled “weird.” People with disabilities are put down, laughed at, and even abused. Someone or even something like a small creature or giant like the earth itself is harmed while we idly stand by and do nothing when we should do something; like stand up to the bully or get help instead of looking away. [story of Smokey; invite others to share]
Those who are on the receiving end of this harsh treatment, the marginalized, the voiceless, the weak and unprotected, are ‘the least of these.’ And Jesus aimed to change this.
Read more: This Week's Sermon
“Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen” (BCP, 245)
Many years ago I was given two of my dad’s old sweaters, of beautiful heathered cashmere; one greenish-gold and the other brownish-gold. I wore them so often that despite how many times I wove threads through to hold them together they became so tattered and raggedy that they weren’t fit to be seen outside of my home. But I kept them, anyway. Maybe it was because of their beauty, their softness, or the fact that they had belonged to my Dad and he had given them to me. It always felt like a giant hug.
Read more: Rector's Message