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
Black Friday? Or Advent Purple!
While consumers will be retiring their Black Friday armor until next year’s post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy, Christians stepping into Advent are invited to “put on the armor of light” [Collect for Advent I, BCP, p.211] while we await the the great day of our Savior’s birth. Only one year while raising our family was I ‘persuaded’ to go out on that notorious day after Thanksgiving, which by the way is now creeping into Thanksgiving day itself! I vowed never again. Sure great deals can be had but at what expense to workers at the stores and at what expense to ourselves?
The atmosphere borders on the edge of riot while unbridled greed and competition stokes the fires of frustration and mob-mentality. Where’s the peace? Where’s the sense of hushed expectancy? It can’t be heard over the din of the cashier’s machine going “bleep, bleep, bleep.”
Read more: Rector's Message