Necessary Still

August 12, 2018

Church of the Servant, Wilmington, NC

Proper 14, Year B
Ephesians 4:25-5:2

Listen here:

Text of last year’s reflection here

Scripture Text:

Putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

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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