Generosity: All Day Long

September 24, 2017

Church of the Servant, Wilmington, NC
Proper 20, Year A
Jonah 3:10-4:11; Philippians 1:21-30; Matthew 20:1-16

Listen here, or read below:

How’s everybody doing?

I don’t know about you, but it’s been a rough few weeks for me. I’m not talking about my start here at Church of the Servant and the move to Wilmington. That’s going great, unpacked boxes notwithstanding. I did finally take some time to go through the wonderful “gifts of Wilmington” y’all so generously left for me and Alice. We appreciate your kindness and your welcome!

The rough part has been all the images of destruction from the one-after-another natural disasters hitting our shores, as well as our neighbors in the Caribbean and Mexico. While the winds, waves, and tremors have caused havoc, taken lives, and left so many without power or shelter, the images relayed day after day on our tv’s and mobile devices have done their own share of beating-down our psyches.

And if that’s not enough, we have the anxiety producing rhetoric of world leaders threatening to destroy one another, a resurgence of unrest and racial tensions in St. Louis, and the very real fear of young Hispanic Dreamers whose future is now unclear with the repeal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA. It’s no surprise that tears welled-up in my eyes time and again as I watched the news this week. It’s just so much. Too much to take-in sometimes.  Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

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