Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

The 13th Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 16 
1 Kings 8:22-30, 41-43; Ephesians 6:10-20; John 6:56-69

(Gospel text is provided at the bottom of this post)

I always know the school year has started when I see clusters of parents walking their young children to school. I grew up in a time when parents rarely walked their kids to school. We’d jump on our bikes and head off on our own. Even so, there were rules we were expected to follow to keep us safe along the way.

3-29-2008_006-VG on FenceI remember one time, my younger sister, Virginia, was later than usual getting home from school, and Mom was getting worried. When my sister finally made it home, amid the relief, my mom asked her why it took so long. It turns out that when Virginia came to a busy intersection on her way home, she remembered the rule my parents taught her – to not cross the street until there weren’t any cars. While that’s a good rule, it doesn’t always work so well. If memory serves, the next lesson Virginia learned was about how to use the Walk/Don’t Walk signs at busy intersections!

Rules are important. For children, they can help set boundaries and keep them safe. Yet, as we grow older, we begin to use our own judgment; perhaps test the boundaries of the rules. And, as our context changes, like standing at a busy intersection, some rules need to be replaced with a new way forward.

John’s gospel shows us Jesus as the one who provides this new way; he’s all about transformation from what WAS to what’s NEXT! Read the rest of this entry »

Shared Vision

August 9, 2015

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

The 11th Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 14 
2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33; Ephesians 4:25-5:2; John 6:35, 41-51

(Epistle text is provided at the bottom of this post)

“Live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” This was the last verse of today’s reading from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.

Does it sound familiar? With a few minor changes, this is the phrase both Ceci and I use each Sunday as the Offertory Sentence – though you probably don’t recognize it so much as a lead-in to the Offertory, as a confirmation that the announcements have come to an end!

At face value, this verse seems like an odd invitation to the offertory. It isn’t as “in your face” as Bishop Wright’s recitation from 2 Corinthians:  “Let each of you give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor 9:7) When you hear that, you know it’s time to pull out your wallet… albeit cheerfully!

IMG_1379Yet I contend that to Walk in love; to Live in love as Christ loved us and gave himself [fully and completely], as an offering to God – this is asking even more from us. Giving all of ourselves as an offering to God is the ultimate act of stewardship – giving not only that which comes from our purse, but giving our whole selves; a fragrant offering – a sweet gift – to God. Read the rest of this entry »

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